The triviality of it all easily gets in the way. Perhaps it is the feeling of helplessness, inadequacy. The nagging exhaustion in an endless sea of restlessness.
Many paths have been laid out in front of me, many threads are beginning to connect. There is no room for pickiness – only a mad scramble to tie it all together, in a way that does not hurt, in a way that brings benefit rather than loss. All I can do is try. Work towards a tapestry of beauty, woven with grace and blood.
I do not mean to berate what is. After all, my own choices have led me here. Any shortcomings are merely shadows of what has been, to be swept away by the light of what will be. As the tapestry unfolds and the threads of fate converge, the work is nearing completion. Only then can one truly appreciate their own design. Soon, and not enough, not enough.
I feel rejuvenated now, writing these words. There is beauty in old paths, one we might often forget. Endeavours we are familiar with become a sort of respite from the constant change and struggle of moving forward. One cannot become better retreading old ground, but the path becomes clearer upon looking back.
Let us rejoice, then, in the old and the new, the forgotten and that yet to become forgotten. Let us learn from our past, lest it swallows our present.
Art of London
No Way Back
by Nikolos Zeloslav
Cinders, Albrecht, Petronella – the Rat Brigade
Eleven Unlucky Skyfarers
— DAY 1. CLOCKWORK SUN —
Liquid gold pours penetrate stained glass. Machinery hums. The sound of something swooshing the air. Furiously. Insanely. The Sun? THE SUN.
Albrecht taps the window with his sharp claw:
– Oi! The cap’n is bak.
The captain is indeed back.
– Did that thing ve prepaired for ya vorked vell enof?
I am distracted, I check my pocketwatches.
“The bomb is readied, the Storm-That-Speaks will be pleased.”
– We will learn about that soon. Navigator, we are leaving.
Navigator nods and makes her way to the bridge.
– Aunty, could you get us some tea? – I say, then pull out the crew journal and cross out one name.
– Jessy? What happened to him? – Asks the Navigator.
– THE SUN… It… stared at him.
Stockers feed the fire genius. Steam hisses, the engine pushes itself forward. Rails are left behind, the Sky unravels.
I get to the bridge.
– Navigator, plan the route to Wit & Vinegar Lumber Company at London.
Then in a few hours I check the pocket clock, then stare at Cinders.
– Twelve or twenty?
– What do you mean, boss? – She exhales milky smoke, then shakes the cigar.
– Did you set the clock mechanism on twelve or on twenty?
– On twelve. – Lit ashes fall on the couch, right next to her.
– But I aksed to put it on twenty!
– You asked twelve.
Cinders reaches her leg to shake off the fiery left-overs. Then says:
– What do you mean No?! Do you think I already forg…
THE SUN. It rages. Something blasts off at the outer ring. The metal squeals. A whirligig out of energy, the ring slows, then stops…
The light becomes dense, for a moment I feel drowning, not in water, in something more dense. We are a bunch of flies floating in honey. Navigator’s face twitches, he glances at me with the corner of his eyes.
The burning ash froze in the thick air. It does not fall, only changes color, crimson, then, black.
The ring stopped… for a mere moment, before gaining supersonic momentum.
THE SUN becomes blurry. A fire in a diverging lense. And there, behind the hazed flame – a burning eye without eyelids. It stares at me. IT. STARES. AT. ME.
I struggle. Trying to hold on what’s left of my will. There isn’t much… The lever is right next to my finger. I know that, but I can’t move my hand.
I lean towards THE SUN, and then fall, pushing the lever with myself.
Protective shields slide out, closing the windows. The yellow flood turns into a thick line. Then the bridge falls black.
I get myself up. Cinders and Navigator glance at me silently.
– What was that, cap’n? – Says Cinders.
Her cigar is on the floor. She doesn’t look down to find it.
– Oh, well THE SUN, ya’know. – I explain. – Anyway. We are still alive! Yes?
– Yes. – Says Navigator.
– Right, plan a course to the Wit & Vinegar Lumber Company. Now. I need to sleep. Really. Really bad.
by Edward Five
News of Art, Art of News
Nightmares Plague Citizenry – A Warmongering Menace Of Dreams?
Recently, Londoners have been waking before dawn in cold sweat with heavy breaths. Gasping for air and reaching for the stability of reality, they shake and quiver in a post-haunting stress. Perhaps you, dear reader, have yourself experienced this mortifying ordeal. Perhaps you yourself have dreamed the same nightmare as so many of our neighbours.
Many speak of the taste of iron – or perhaps blood? – and of roars, so deep and angry they chill the bones. They recall cannonades and waving banners. Gleaming bayonets and muskets commingling in a deathly ballet. Indeed, nightmares of rot, of battle, of war.
Not to be remiss – the dreams are not sudden. Not all find themselves embroiled in these apparent wars as unfortunate observers, caught in the crossfire. Not at all, as some dream of their recruitment. Be it by the purring of a cat, the taste of sweet wine, or the sincere laugh of a gentleman, their dreamed selves find their way to the ranks of otherworldly armies, marching, dining, and fighting alongside reflected battalions.
No one seems to be certain of the cause of these dreams. Perhaps there truly are powers beyond the mirrors and the dreams, campaigning in an endless frey. For wealth, for power, for knowledge, for truth? It is hard to gauge the intents of something so evasive as dreams.
In our investigation we have reached out to lucid experts, oneiric walkers, romantics, zookeepers, and magicians. Though they remain short on specificities, we have for you at least a few certainties:
- the dreams, as real as they may be, are nothing to be concerned with or about
- were you to see your dreams manifest in a mirror, it is no cause for concern
- were you to see your dreams outside of a mirror, it is pertinent to remain calm and contact the nearest mouser
- for those interested in further mysteries of the oneiric, contact [REDACTED]
The current Lord Mayor, the Viscountess of the Viric Jungle, has built her mayoral campaign on the promise of war in the realm of Parabola, battling those she calls the Finger Kings. Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach her or her retinue for comments.
We suggest to you, dear reader, to remain calm in these trying times, to attempt to get a full night’s rest, and, above all, to remain safe, awake or dreaming.
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
Rest, unrest, waiting, receiving. The ebb and flow of time – what does it demand of us?
It demands its passage. It enforces its passage. Relentlessly it draws forward, pulling and pushing us with its endless might. In a way, it demands nothing – for there is nothing you can offer it to change its course or divert its mission.