Self-embetterment is to be taken one step at a time. Progress is seldom rapid, and even then most commonly on the larger scales. It all starts with a promise, a promise to the self, a promise to friends, a promise to the audience.
Promise improvement, and support will follow. Yes, even in these pursuits, humans are creatures of society. We lift each other up and help each other grow as the needs of our social circle expand. To allow oneself help can be daunting, especially for the entrepreneurial soul so used to relying only on its own powers. To limp on a shoulder of a friend is to make the most dangerous of trust falls.
Aforementioned steps are to be taken with care as well as courage. It is not a blind battle to be fought, rather a premeditated match to be won. Hardships of the mind arise in such times, yet with dedication, determination, and diligence even the wiles of one’s doubts can be overcome.
Most importantly, there is a need for time. As the best wines are the oldest, as cheese ages in cellars, human improvement cannot happen overnight. Do not, however, look to the future as if it were present. Realisation of one’s current needs is what drives us towards the future we desire and deserve.
Look to love, London.
Art of London
Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Three
by Cassius Mortemer
The Author couldn’t breathe.
It was an oddly curious sensation, really. He supposed the lack of a soul explained his general lack of fear. He also didn’t remember being such a weak runner. How did he even get out yesterday? Perhaps the lack of fear made him self-conscious, which in turn was slowing him down. He pushed those thoughts out of his head. No time for thinking.
He had a good rhythm going, jumping over rocks and rubble and ill-maintained roads. He could hear the Churlish Devil laughing in the distance. He had no doubt in his mind that even the slightest rest could be the end of him. He wouldn’t dare look back.
The Author vaulted over the ruins of a wall and immediately regretted it. His foot caught the edge, and he went sprawling into dust and cobwebs. Cobwebs? Oh no. Long sheets of sticky grey webs stuck to his clothes like tomb colonist bandages. Clumsily he got to his feet, continuing his run with prayers on his mind.
Except he didn’t get much farther. Where previously he could’ve sworn was an open courtyard, was now an unnecessarily sturdy stone wall. And to his left. And his right! He was boxed in, and the Churlish Devil was almost on him. Part of him hoped that the Introverted Devil will save him. The rest of him knew that was unlikely.
He was faced with an awful ultimatum: attempt to fight back, or succumb to his fate? The latter sounded less painful. But the former…
The Author leaned against the wall that now trapped him. Covered in sorrow spider webs and dust. Soulless and lost. Is this what they meant by ‘curiosity killed the cat’? If he had left the Introverted Devil alone, would he be any safer? The Churlish Devil jogged over, grinning smugly. The Author squeezed his eyes shut and turned his face away…
It was another curious sensation. The Author assumed the Devil must’ve crushed his windpipe, because his throat hurt considerably. That, and he couldn’t breathe. The Author felt like crying. Felt like cursing his luck and screaming in frustration. He didn’t, of course. He just knew that’d be something he’d do. He was vaguely aware of the stone wall scraping against his back. Oh, he was falling. He had fallen. Ah yes, and he was feeling cold now. He remembered dying before. Perhaps once or twice.
The Author woke up in a slow boat passing a dark beach on a silent river.
“What…?” he said. “But I’m soulless…” It sounded more like a question than a statement.
The other two passengers eyed him, but said nothing. The Boatman was grinning at him (not that he had a choice, otherwise).
“The Soul is complicated” the Boatman said. He was too preoccupied playing chess to further elaborate.
The Author found himself feeling… bored. All that drama and an echo of despair, for the same old result. Is getting his soul back worth it, when it’s seemingly most important function turns out to be false? What’s the point, then? The Author’s gaze fell onto the far bank. The far country. Death. He squinted, trying to see details. He could almost see…
“Bah!” the Chess-Playing Passenger said. The Author jumped and sat up straight. Perhaps not. The Passenger decided that now was a good time to take a break, catch their breath, and not smash the chessboard. The Chessboard… That’s how he got back, last time. Would the Boatman remember him? The Author took a seat and started setting up the board. The Boatman was only half caring.
Memories and Roses
by Professor Wensleydale
“How many times do I have to tell you, I’m not buying your- why, Bishop! What brings you here?”
“I require you to restore an epic, and perhaps modernize it.”
“Any old ______ would do. Why me?”
“Because all the others refused.”
“Not to mention, your department seems to imply that you are the most qualified.”
At this I leaned in.
“What language is it in?”
You’ve gained 1* Surface-Rose Petal(new total 3).
Renown: the Church is increasing…
A twist in your tale! You are now Restoring an Epic.
News of Art, Art of News
The two started out as the usual, modest couple. Days of courting and days of dates. Those bewedded know the pains of preparations, the legalities and the celebrations. Guest lists and wine, venues and sighs, all for the perfect wedding occasion.
The proposal came, by all accounts, rather fast, yet it was all but unexpected. The couple’s wonderous romantic alchemy is, after all, rather obvious, even tangible.
The affair was private. Very few were permitted inside; the venue was one of the Bazaar’s own. Intimate, truly, a precious thing in these times. We can, of course, only speculate upon the proceedings within.
The guest list of the proceeding celebration was, to state bluntly, exquisite beyond belief. Many a character had found themselves congratulating the happy couple; though most wish to stay anonymous, there have been sightings of several Masters of the Bazaar, prominent women of London, and a well-known Midnighter.
We at the Gazette wish the newlywed couple all the best in their married life. It can be tough, it can be dreadful, it can be the pinnacle of ecstasy. It will be what you make of it, with determination and hard work. Love is nothing if not a challenge of will.
As the courier states: Look to love, always!
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
Am I, perhaps, on the verge of mediocrity?
I am afraid we all are, at some point in our lives.