The Way is No Longer Shut

At last, at last there is word. Something is happening at that small, nondescript house neat Wolfstack Docks. No one is certain quite what is occurring, but all agree the constables are providing the same time frame.

Two weeks, or thereabouts. Two weeks.

There is much yet to be done. All thoughts of relocating my household are gone. I must see to Feducci, regardless.  I must settle things at Court, and it is a mark of my impatience with that place that I would much rather face Feducci. My guest lecture courses at Summerset must be concluded.

I have not, however, stopped playing cards. My skills are as sharp as ever — I have not lost a game in… months.

There are no guarantees. I ask for none. The way is no longer shut. I will be able to move forward. Again soon. No more diversions. No more distractions.

Nicholas… I’m coming, darlingas quickly as ever I can…

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From a Journal…

I begin to wonder if I should not leave Fallen London for a time.

So much here now is stagnant. I cannot continue in my quest to gather the players for the Marvellous, the way is blocked. Life at court is banal and useless beyond imagining — ironic that I feel this just as I have achieved some peak in personal power, charisma, and allure! My studies of the Correspondence have gone as far as they might go, and life at the University is in its own way as limited as life at court. My work on the Parabola Equation is likewise stymied — I am not truly a theoretical mathematician, my equations now resolve themselves in circular fashion. My friends all seem to want to speculate endlessly upon the collective nightmares we have, as if mere speculation can provide answers — I do not wish to be short-tempered with them, but such endless maunderings…!

In other ways, I am left with unpleasant choices: Deal with Feducci or the spider council, in Wolfstack Docks. I wish to do neither, I never came to this city to earn a name as a fearsome fighter, or a conqueror of beasts from a child’s worst nightmares. And yet I cannot escape Feducci’s… imperative, I am justified in terming it. He will have an answer…

…as will Randall Ross, in the Flit, I suppose. Each time I return, if I stop to catch my breath even for a moment some agent of his is at my elbow, whispering in my ear about the allure of a life of high-crime., about the theft of a major work of art, as if I am the only person in Fallen London who might attempt the crime. As I am no warrior, I would not be a thief — for me the Flit is an escape only, or was. Now it has become yet another wall, an obstacle to my progress, a bar which I must either negotiate or destroy.

I cannot help but feel that this stagnation, this thwarting of purpose has contributed to the choices I’ve made concerning dear Henrik, and inevitably Theodor. Would I have been tempted at all, had I had my Heart’s Desire to focus upon? Their entry into my life coincided so closely with that d—able 38:11 moment that I can no longer separate the two. Ah, but grandmother did say there were no coincidences — only minds which have not grown large enough to see Purpose, instead. Well, dear Grandmother, in whatever Heaven you came to reside, I freely confess I cannot see Purpose in any of this. I can barely remember what it was like to have a Purpose here…

I have invitations here from the Brass Embassy, and from the Royal Bethlehem, each mentioning residential suites available. I have avoided alliance with either Hell or with Madness, and I am sure I only consider them now for mere diversion, as if diversion alone could provide the purpose I have lost. I am not dear Narciso, a life of such pursuits was never meant to be mine. That I am seeking diversion tells me clearer than words that something must be done.

Henrik… ah, dear man… if I leave, you will have Theodor, there in your shared rooms above the bookshop. Nothing much will change for you, really, should I go for a time. I do believe you love me, in your way — you are too honourable to toy with me even if such things are the fashion at Court just now. I do not know if I can be content with what part of yourself you can offer me, in turn. In truth, the purposeless days and nights here are simply too long for me to bear them alone, anymore.

And Scarlet… you are so fierce, so strong, so ambitious, so determined! I do not know what causes you to seek the Marvellous, but I do know that you still have far to go in your seeking, and that will sustain you if I go…

I must find some use for myself. That has become imperative, clearly. Perhaps I should have Dr. Mason over for dinner some night very soon, so he may tell me more of this other life he knows…

A Touch of Scandal

Written by cl0ckw0rks and TheSelks after their conversation in the Tea Room.

With a mysterious smile, Merri takes Tobias’ arm and leads him toward the stairs. On the walls are paintings and sketches, most of landscapes, flowers, and a few portraits though none are labelled. “I’ve had to take my time redecorating here. As I’m sure you know, it’s costly and my funds have gone to other pursuits much as yours have. Still, it’s been a pleasure to bring this old townhouse back to some semblance of its former glory. I do enjoy beauty so.”

His eyes move over the portraits as she lead him on, a faint smile crossing his face as he saw the landscapes.  “The care you are taking certainly shows, I am firmly impressed.  There is no doubt in my mind that you will have this house back to it’s full glory soon, you have an eye for such things.”

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Heart’s Desire – the Topsy King

This is the address you’ve been given for Cora Bagley: a neat brick house in a street beside a little fungal park. Lights blaze in every window. Special Constables, the strong arm of the Ministry of Public Decency, stand watch front and back.

[This is the end of the road, but only for now. Heart’s Desire! will continue when Book 2 Part 2 opens.

I… feel as if I’ve been kicked in the chest by a horse. I cannot… cannot draw breath… to have come so far, to have endured so much and forsaken so much more… only to be told it ends here, even if only temporarily… that I must wait again, wait some more, wait and wait and WAIT as I have waited for two endless years, now…!

Perhaps God truly did forsake me when I moved to within sight of Hell; can He have heard my prayers at all?

oh Nicholas… dear one… pray be patient… I’m coming as quickly as I can…!

Surface Ties

This is our last working morning in camp, as tomorrow we’ll be heading back to the coast and our disparate lives. Dear Dr. J is already anxious to get some of his findings submitted to the national institute here which governs such things and to begin writing his next paper on the flora and fauna here. He’s become quite the American in these latter years, an observation I shared with him last night which made him laugh.

It felt good and right to mend our quarrel over dinner yestereve, for unless he ventures to Fallen London I doubt I shall ever see him again.

The Madisons are already discussing their next adventure, which entails gold mining in the mountains just north of here. It’s a life that seems to suit them both for they are very much “laws unto themselves” and belong out in this country where legal protection is a far thing to seek.

As my parents have long been dead and my paternal grandparents more recently so… My marriage is dead. My child is of course dead and that is why I came to Fallen London…

…Which is now my home, the only one in this world I have left. Mayhap if I do win the Marvellous and achieve my Heart’s Desire I’ll have reason to return Northumbria – a pleasanter place for a child to grow up than the Neath, I should think, much easier to set up and maintain my laboratories here on the surface where materials are more readily available.

Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps. The future is never certain, only the past. For now I am free of surface ties; they are my past.

Like everyone else, I step into that unknown future as boldly as I may.

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