Letters From the Surface

Professor Wensleydale of Hardwick

I awoke, the morning after one of Mr Wines’ revels. Thoughts soared through my head. Gant… Wells… Zee…

I heard a knocking at the door of my Orphanage/Townhouse. A letter? Addressed to: Sir Wensleydale of Hardwick, Orphanage at Fiacre’s Foot. Well, it is for me, but my orphanage is on Childcake Street.

I opened the letter:

“Wensley,
You may not escape what you have done. I know where you are.
I know why you are there. I will meet you at the junction of
Takepenny Street and Bad Monkey Row, at Midnight.
We must discuss the plans you have. If you do not turn up, the
Constabulary will know everything you did on the surface.
x”

Oh. Him.

Watchful is increasing…
Shadowy is increasing…
Melancholy is increasing…
Nightmares is increasing…
Suspicion is increasing…
An occurrence! Your “Letters From the Surface” quality is now 1!


More Postage

That night, I trudged over to the junction of Bad Monkey and Takepenny. I had arrived fifteen minutes early, so I watched spies running like maniacs, under orders of players.

The mailman saw me, again, and brought me a second letter. I would read it once I got back to my Townhouse.

I waited. And waited. A hunger broke, but I waited still. A silhouette approached myself, and I felt a fear.

“Come on, you know I bite less than you.”

Shadowy is increasing…
Austere is increasing…
Steadfast is increasing…
Suspicion is increasing…
An occurrence! Your “Letters From the Surface” Quality is now 2!


Down from Above

“You bite less than me? Why do I not believe that?”

“Because you are arrogant. You think you can steal that diamond? It’s the size of a bloody cow! Not to mention the fact that you do not know how to be silent. You are also doing it out of spite for us- me, the Constabulary, and all of your attempted victims.”

“Ha! Right there! You say you bite less than I, but you just spat out insult after insult! I am capable- the Constables have me on their side! I am sought out for my knowledge of a secret alphabet!”

“Since when do you have a brain? Ambition clouds all thoughts! Especially your own ambition. You insufferable git!”

“Since when do you have a ______ heart? Or even a gut? You are a coward!”

Silence.

“At least I have capability, and know my limits.”

“Get the hell out of here. If we meet again, I’m pinning a Sanguine Ribbon.”

“I’m sorry, what was that?”

Steadfast is increasing…
Daring is increasing…
Subtle is increasing…
Heartless is increasing…
Suspicion is increasing…
An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” Quality is now 3!
An occurrence! Your “An Argument at Midnight” Quality is now 1!


I walked back to my Townhouse, then down into a Third City Sub-Temple I resided at. I opened my letter.

“Wensleydale,
I have heard that you are significant in London. What happened?
One must think-if you are significant, how obscure are others? Do some want to be out of the picture?
Anyways, have a rose-petal.”

A rose-petal? I suppose I can deal.

Watchful is increasing…
Melancholy is increasing…
An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” quality is now 4!
You now have 1*Surface Rose-Petal


A Letter for Someone Else

One of the orphans ran down the stairs. He said, “A letter.”
The letter was addressed to a one Mr. Netae. I recognized the name. Mr. Netae was one of my acquaintances, who once poisoned me unprovoked. I considered the dilemma carefully.

I walked to a smoky flophouse, the address of my acquaintance. … They had been scandalized! Off to the tomb colonies! Five minutes too late. My adversary began to snigger.

Later that night, I couldn’t remember what had been done for the scandals.

Steadfast is increasing…
Shadowy is increasing…
An occurrence! Your “Irrigo” quality is now 7!
An occurrence! Your “Letters From the Surface” quality is now 5!


A Foolish Mistake

Eventually, Mr Netae returned to London. I went to their home, at the same time my opponent did.
I remembered a moment that they had deceived me, Mr Netae.
He had just arrived in London. I was badly wounded from a fight in the sparring rings of the hill. He offered help.
I accepted, only to be fatally poisoned.

Mr Netae walked out of their home, ready to go to the University. I stopped them. My opponent chuckled. It seemed that they knew each other, as they began arguing.
One of the Special Constables began to make the rounds. I had to end this.
I took my prison shiv, and shanked both of them. The Constable arrived. He accused me of treason against the Masters of the Bazaar, recognizing Mr Netae and associating us two.
I dismissed these claims, but remained on guard.

Shadowy is increasing…
Dangerous is increasing…
Heartless has increased to 2!
Steadfast is increasing…
Suspicion has increased to 7-A Desperate Fugitive!
An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” quality is now 6!


Welcome Back

I had just arrived back in London. On the islands, I had received letters of praise and belittling. One such letter was from a fellow at court:

“I have heard of your work overzee. I am sure that when you return, you will receive a warm welcome from the noticeably powerful.”

When I returned, I began hallucinating. A jungle. But I could return to London, no nightmares remaining.

When I entered the Shuttered Palace, I knocked three times. I came to write another opera. After that, all shall be well between us. I was greeted fondly, but cautiously. I then found my rival, writing a film of slanderous material.

Well. This would be interesting.


At Summerset

I’d written my works. As I roamed London, I decided to visit Summerset College. Perhaps, eventually, I could be a Professor. Many thought I could become a Poet-Laureate. If so, London would be much better.

My opponent had provided materials to the University, including no less than 35 branded hearts.

I found a rose-petal among the supplies. Interesting.

Watchful has increased to 150- A Focused Brilliance!
Letters from the Surface has increased to 8!
Suspicion is increasing…
You’ve gained 1*Surface-Rose Petal (new total 2)


A Weeping Scar

One night, I was up late, writing a short story. I was about to enter a plagued sleep, when…

SLASH

I ran in the general direction of the noise. Mr Netae’s home. They were dead. Dead of slicing. Four scars, in the shape of Correspondence.

I poured salt on the corpse. Perhaps that would burn it.

But it did not burn. Not a candle.

I wondered what was next.


A Particularly Ruthless Spy

Another letter, among the junk. This one was addressed to “the Professor of Spycraft”. I was shocked. I am not a high-ranking piece in any of the Game’s machinations, nor do I consider myself a careful observer. Take my work on the Correspondence.

The letter exploded like a Molotov Cocktail. It read,

“I have heard of your work. I am a fairly new piece to the Game, so I figured I might ask you: what is the purpose of it? Also, might you train me in the art of espionage?”

I shuddered. I barely knew that myself. As for my skill… One might scoff at me for attempting to teach that.

I receded into my study. I continued to read. I began to pen a reply, but that haunting image did what it does. Seven is the number in many things. Even scars, memories, and stains.

After a night of increasingly haunted sleep, I awoke, somehow refreshed. But I was locked in from the outside.

Watchful is increasing…
Shadowy is increasing…
Dangerous is increasing…
Persuasive is increasing…
Nightmares is increasing…
Suspicion is increasing…
Melancholy is increasing…
Subtle is increasing…
A twist in your tale! You are now At war with a single person!
An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” quality is now 10-Known to the Shadows!
You now have 1*Surface Letter
You’ve gained 1*Whispered Hint
You have moved to a new area: your study


An Escape Attempt

Now, what happened? Who locked me in my room? More importantly, who knew my address?
I had a key in my dancing slippers. I took them off, and found no key.
Now I was ticked. I couldn’t just stay here, below the Fourth City. If I could… Nope.

I lit a cigar. The room gained it’s scent. If I couldn’t leave, I could smoke the intruder out!

I failed to get out. A letter slid under the door. I opened it.

“You had your chance. Never again.”

My mind raced. Why was this happening?

…That bleeding bastard.

I took my bejeweled cane, a gift from a lapidary, and swung at the door-knob.

Success! Now to catch the ______!

Watchful has increased to 160-A Focused Brilliance!
Shadowy is decreasing…
Dangerous has increased to 155- A Terrible Power!
An occurrence! Your “At War With a Single Person” quality is now 2!
Wounds is increasing…
Subtle is increasing…
Heartless is increasing…
Melancholy is increasing…
Daring is increasing…
You now have 1*Cane-Shank


The Chase

I chased the criminal. His movements were quick, but not quick enough. As I entered my townhouse, I caught up with him, and shanked him.

Some of the urchins, later, came up to me and asked why the parlor smelt like blood. I gave no answer.

I read one of my letters. I would have, anyway, but a Special Constable opened the door. I was accused of permanent manslaughter.

This is bad.

Shadowy is increasing…
Dangerous is increasing…
An occurrence! Your “Suspicion” quality is now 10- Imprisoned!
At War With a Single Person has increased to 3!
An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” quality is now 12!
You have moved to a new area: New Newgate Prison-Again!


Counting the Days

I had been told that my sentence would last a total of one year. Perhaps I could escape sooner.

Day 3
The Stuttering Fence came up to me, and said that a new prisoner arrived. This one deserved it completely.
The cell number was scratched on a wall. Cell G-4N7. So… G Wing, 4th floor from top, Block N, and Cell 7.

An occurrence! Your “The Prisoner of G-4N7” quality is now 1!
Counting the Days is increasing…

I visited the cell, and found no one. However… Is that a sorrow-spider?
Oh no.

An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” quality is now 13!
Suspicion is dropping…
Nightmares is increasing…
Dangerous is increasing…
Counting the Days is increasing…


Vital Information

It was two weeks after that, when something new happened. I had been accustomed to prison life at this point, but I learned that one of the Cheery Man’s goons was in prison. Figures.

We met at mid-day to trade information. When I mentioned my adversary, the conversation took a turn for the worse.

“What happened?”

“I am trying to steal a diamond. He thought this was out of spi-“

“THE diamond?”

“Yes.”

“Guess you should be glad you aren’t on Mr Fires’ bad side.”

“How do you know that?”

“If you were, you’d be dead. The Orphanage burned down two days ago.”

Watchful is increasing…
Shadowy has increased to 150- Shrouded in Shadows!
An Occurrence! Your “Letters From the Surface” Quality is now 14!
An Occurrence! Your “Remembering the Orphanage” Quality is now 1-Haunted by Flames!
Your “Counting the Days” Quality has gone!


Casing the Remains

Fires was a fool to leave me alive. Now I can wreck it’s plans.
I remember what Vaughan said to me. Clarabelle was in love with the Orphanage, because of a Moon-Miser.
The moon-miser… Was my endgame- is my endgame.

I stroll through Spite, and see the remains of an old building. The Orphanage itself.
No one was left alive, but the Special Constables remain alert. Time to be one with the shadows.

A plan forms, in the back of my mind. But for ethics’ sake, I must cash in favors.

The urchins are willing to spread my good name through the Flit. Now I can analyze the Orphanage from all angles, with the help of some escapees.
This opportunity is mine, and mine alone.

An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” quality is now 15!
Casing shows your progress in the venture.
You’ve lost 1* Favors:Urchins(new total 0)
You now have 1*Favors:Criminals


Penning a Letter

I wrote a letter, up to one of England’s colonies. It went like this:

“To Anyone This Concerns-
London is a hub of intrigues. All scandals that you hear of are true. People go mad in pursuit of knowledge. The Empress has lost most legal power, and her replacements have plots against each other. Many speak of revolution, but said revolution is worse for the common man.
It is also an opportunity for wealth. My venture down here has become more of a permanent residence, and I have been in pursuit of a diamond that is not a diamond. Art is also flourishing.
Write to the papers! Tell them stories of the Fallen city of London, and it’s predecessors! And yes, it has predecessors!

Professor Wensleydale of Hardwick”

Persuasive has not increased from 200.
Making Waves has increased to 25!
You’ve gained 10*Influence(new total 43)
An occurrence! Your “Letters from the Surface” quality is now 50- Master of Communications!
An occurrence! Your “Spider in the Web” quality is now 1-Honest!
A Defender of Truth is increasing…
An occurrence! Suspicion is now 15- Imprisoned!
An occurrence! Scandal is now 15- UNTHINKABLE!

The papers devoured this letter. Constables from the surface began showing up. I’d seen this intrigue through.


Addendum

A Compilation of the Good Bits- Credited, of Course, and put together in such a way that it makes no goddamn sense

I then found my rival, writing a film of slanderous material. The Devil looked mockingly offended. “Me? Insult one of our best associates?” I ran in the general direction of the noise. Just like my mother. The Neath grows dark in their absence. This opportunity is mine, and mine alone. This wasn’t exactly planned. An old woman gingerly entered the hall. I only take the cup and shake it a while. I already knew this was to be our fate.

Credit where it is due:
Wolf Grim Rine
Reinol von Lorica
Rowley Ruskin
Tuesday Next
RJ Frogvarian
Chronic Dreamer


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