District of Dark Hope...and Beyond

While a storm rages -


It has been an interesting number of days. I sit, propped in a corner of Shadowmoon Salvage’s main building, my recently traded treasures spread around me like a protective ward made of technological junk. A runstorm rages outside and the establishment has been kind enough to allow everyone to ride it out within the safety of the walls. I am just me today… not too high, not too low… it is easy right now to be optimistic and look back on recent events with an amount of perspective even though I spent one of those days desperately low and and two of them crazy high. Today it is just me. I like these days. It gives me a chance to reflect and discard the horrid feelings left by Sue… to mull over and tone down the crazy optimism and enthusiasm of Manic M.

Anymahwhositz. We left Shadowmoon’s with a mission. Rode the Spiral without incident to Red Warren and wandered through until we found The Black Hole. I’d never been to the district before and was amazed and fascinated by some of the things I saw. There were, of course, more Ferrans on the street than anyone else, but the cogs and vehicles and devices on those streets were definitely of a higher class than found elsewhere. I particularly liked the brass monkeys on the street corners with lanterns of different colors, apparently directing traffic. I felt bad for Jimmy who did not appear to be happy to be there, so didn’t take time to stop and look and ask questions. We found the sinkhole without much difficulty, discovering a small rune well along the way. As sinkholes go it was, actually, rather impressive. About a half mile across and 150 feet down it lived up to its name. Looking in we could see several levels, buildings and easily a hundred people digging and sifting and harvesting. It seemed to me at the time, a very odd thing that any treasures at all were still left undiscovered.

Not wanting to just dive in unprepared, we retired to a flywheel overlooking the hole to see what we might be able to discover from the locals. We weren’t seated long before an enthusiastic little Ferran came over introducing himself as Tommy Gaslight. We spoke of the hole, he offered to guide us, although he had never heard of any place called the Chrystal Palace. We poked him for info, bartered a price and paid the mad to show us to an entrance that fit the description and could very possibly be known to others as the “palace” we had come looking for. It was an exorbitant price, but The Baron was willing to pay it, considering the alternative would be for us to pick and hunt on our own down there looking for a vague description of a building. We would never have found it otherwise. The entrance was simply a tunnel of sorts, the reason for the naming not apparent until one entered and could see the ceiling. Tommy left us there, not willing to enter as he claimed that slag rats lived within… and he was not wrong. We headed in, my arc light showing the way. Shortly we came to a ‘T’ junction and looking both directions saw that to our right there were arc lights… so… down to the right we go. The tunnel opened out into a room, the channel down the center of the tunnel continued across the floor and disappeared into another tunnel. Along the wall there were pictures… as I wandered over to have a look there was a rumbling from back down the tunnel dust, billowed out from one side and the slag rats that Tommy was so afraid of came out of the far tunnel and started in to chomping and scurrying and scratching. It was hectic, crazy, shots were fired, Jimmy lobbed devices and what not… we prevailed. However… the tunnel out was now closed with debris, rock and dirt.

Dismayed we explored the wreckage, hoping we wouldn’t have to explore further in to get out and discovered that the cave in actually opened up the wall and exposed a room beyond. Looking in I could see that this long narrow room’s floor was tilted. Windows lined the long walls and in the murk just beyond my arc light I could see another door. As the opening was too small for me to easily get through Jimmy scrambled in to have a look around. He found numerous burned out runestones, one live one… and paintings on the backs of what appeared to be benches in the middle of the room. One of the paintings was of an overwrought and was signed J 313… we found it. What an amazing stroke of luck! How long we could have wandered before we found this room… or cog car as it turned out. Jimmy and The Baron explored the little room, discovering that we could climb up onto the roof and up a scree slope to another car… with some digging and some work we got my own self through and up and out and worked out way through several old cog cars. To me, the things we found, looked like someone had been living in them for a time. There were doodles and discarded things you might find in an old abandoned tenement. Finally, toting the two bench backs carefully wrapped and strapped to my back we find the end car and alight into another tunnel. There are beams of sunlight ahead. It turns out they are being let in by an old drainage pipe…. but… there are stairs further down the tunnel.

The stairs upward begin a whole new trek indeed. At each new level we find doors that lead to sub cellar, cellar than street… but can we just go through the doors and make our way out without trouble? Nope. Someone was in the sub cellar and didn’t like that there were unknowns knocking on a disused door. Those someones turned out to be Blue Coats and one fancy pants who flung magic around. It was hot and heavy and crazy and chaotic… but… we finally made our way out onto the street. I tell you. I have never done so much fighting in my life. Scrapping with roomies or other workers over bits and pieces found by chance along the spiral… whacking rats and other scavenger beasties in the barrens who want a piece of your dinner or your hide… but to date, I had managed to avoid any real honest to clockwork fights for my life. I’m not sure what I think. I know that at the time it was exhilarating, exciting and I know I grinned and laughed at several points… but… in looking back… I’m not so sure I should be enjoying that sort of thing. I did wind up with several handguns… I think I will have to ask The Baron to teach me how to use them, I think he might…. just… if I asked real nice..

So. To make a long story short, I know… too late, right?… our journey back down the spiral to Pitchpitt was uneventful. However. The day spent walking to Shadowmoon’s was incredibly fabulous. I was wandering, adjacent to the road…. as you do…. in the hopes of seeing something no one else had seen before, and I fell into a hole. Well… it wasn’t a hole when I stepped onto it, but I guess several hundred pounds of brass and meat girl was just more than the roof of the shelter could take. The drop wasn’t far, and I wasn’t hurt, shook up a bit, but it was worth it. In that hole I found a clockwork walker of some sort. It reminds me of the feral dogs I have seen in the barrens… four legged, front legs joint forward, back legs joint back… with a few hours of tinkering I got it walking… and I think… I think it is mostly intact. It will take a total break down, clean, repair and replace, but from what I can see the little fella is actually an honest to Gods clockwork companion. He will be a brilliant addition to my life so long as I can keep clear of the retrievers. I know, you are thinking that I could clean it up and sell it to pay off my debt… but… I was forced into that debt. I am not going to pay it. I won’t. He’s mine. I am going to call him Georgie. I knew a Georgie once. That Georgie was my first and only love… although I was only 9 at the time, I knew what love was, and he was mine. I will love this Georgie like I wasn’t allow to love the other. This Georgie will not let his parents send him off to school… will not let my parents sell me to The Spiral….

Storm is subsiding. Time to gather up and move on to the next thing. This job paid really well. I think I like this sort of work arrangement.


MasterGameMaster AMKoenig

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