Av did not recoil from the bundle of canes that clattered unceremoniously on his table. The lack of reaction did not surprise Shar. After all, Shar was certain he’d never once seen Av recoil from anything but the mention of a bath. The books Av had been reading, though, that was surprising.
Both men (if Av was a man, Shar was never quite certain) eyed the canes as if neither understood how they’d gotten there. “I’m not much of a thief,” Shar announced, “but when I am, I try for the good contraband.” He gestured to the canes, almost tensely. “You know these, of course?”
“Cains?” Av back-handedly brushed one off his book.
“No.” The cane briskly lifted, pulling Av’s attention with it. “Oriental canes.” Shar tugged on the handle, and it gave way with a wooden ‘pop.’ A small bottle of peach brandy slid into Shar’s palm, and the offering was set before Av. Shar grinned proudly.
Av, however, was not so impressed. Read the rest of this page »
It’s true, my relationship with Av was purely professional. I had certain talents in the social arena, and Av had certain talents in…other, less tasteful arenas. I won’t get into the details on how we met, but let’s just say it seemed only natural that we would work together.
We were, after all, two sides of the same coin.
There was a time when I held my composure around him. Whether out of pride, out of fear, or something in-between, we were both distinctly uncomfortable in our meetings. We needed each other, but we didn’t want each other. What would they say if a gentleman of my stature were to be found gallivanting with an individual of Av’s disposition? It was one matter to hire a thief, it was another to befriend one.
I would have to say it was the 77 First City coins that tipped the scales to our scandalous friendship. While trapezing the bars of Veilgarden, I overheard whisper that a set of coins could be found within the Museum of Mistakes. Further research (in and out of beds of one nature and another) revealed this to be quite true, and that the path into the museum would prove to be quite perilous. Read the rest of this page »
But where was I to begin? The section on the Third City? the Fourth? Oriental Traditions? Classical Myths? Lost Gods? Confounded Devils? The sketch of the flint idol I held in my hand wasn’t the best work of art I had produced, but the very thought of staring much longer at that scowl-less scowling face was abhorrent. I couldn’t very well bring the actual item with me. I did what I could, made the notes I could stand, and raced to the University in attempt to uncover the truth behind this…thing.
Several hours of fruitless hunting left me exasperated. But finally, on a topmost shelf, I stumbled across a collection of traveler’s journals. Some spoke of the unterzee, others of the exile’s rose. All very interesting, but what struck me was a leather-bound collection of anecdotes by a certain Dr. Balthus.
Dr. Balthus had in his notes a sketch of an idol quite like mine, though it was described as being much, much larger and carved from a crag of basalt. Natives of the Elder Continent called it the “Giver-of-Skins.” He continued with several gruesome details that I will not repeat on paper (lord please lift them from my mind) but was particularly adamant in reporting that any individual foolish enough to make sacrifice to the totem would be ritualistically executed by the natives.
What does this mean for me? And how did an idol such as The Giver make it all the way to Fallen London? The natives feared candles for they believed the flames attracted The Giver. Perhaps I should take to sleeping in darkness- though, admittedly, I may fear worse what those shadows will bring.
I must admit, the rooftops and docks are lonely without you, despite your incorporeal tendency even when you are present. The initiative has been taken by Maybell and myself to care for your lodgings, particularly your flock of endearing bats, while you are away. The, ah, ‘Out ta Lonch’ sign was removed as to allay suspicions of an empty and vulnerable boat.
Were you aware of my Maybell’s excavations in Spite? I became aware of her dealings after a ‘quid pro quo’ demand involving my injury. Oh, I just remembered you’d already spirited yourself away before that incident. Well, I was attacked by a lizard creature in the mushroom marshes and nearly had my leg torn off. Maybell was kind enough to care for me during my recovery, but only after I admitted the truth. I suppose claiming it was an injury inflicted by the Dutchess’s feline companions was stretching it a bit far, even for her wildly imaginative mind.
I’m writing this letter to divulge to you a concern of mine. While traveling the streets of Wolfstack one night, I stumbled upon a home with front doors wide open. The state of ease to which I could enter was alarming, and so having a curious spirit, I had to peer in. Read the rest of this page »