A Distribution of Gifts

The right arm is received by the trusty guard and doorman of Euphemia, along with a girl clad in red.
&quotZtinks of human flesh.&quot she mumbles, covering her nose.
&quotStinks, not ztinks, young lady.&quot Remarks the doorman tiredly.
&quotDat’s the fa-zz-ion now’days. The Z, dat is.&quot
&quotThere are things more important then your…&quot He stumbles on words.
&quotFazzion, pa. Fazzion.&quot
&quotYes. Things like proper pronunciation.&quot
&quotOh, please, are ya alzo goin’ to start talkin’ 'bout ‘thou’ and ‘you’. Thou’re not my teacher.&quot
&quotBut I am, young lady.&quot He provides a deserved glare.
&quotZe package, pa. Might wanna take dat inside before the rats get to 'im.&quot She reflects the undeserved glare.
An exasperated sigh. &quotIt.&quot
&quotMuch better.&quot
The mosaic door closes. Anything that follows will remain between the two and whatever else may lurk in the Tower of Mind and Law.
edited by Vavakx Nonexus on 10/3/2016

Drake’s Shade dances through the shadows of the Admiralty offices. Sketch’s residence was not to be found. Most irritating. Still, it remembered something that Sketch had told Drake, something about being a zailor.

The Shade sneaks into the record room. Aha, logs of registered captains. Skalton, Skambon, Skelly… Sketch. Charles Sketch. The Shade looks over the associated details. No listed address. Damn.

But wait, what’s this? Another zailor by the name of Sketch. And the age seems right. This is Sketch’s son. And there is an address. Perfect. The Shade darts into the night, jillyfleur-wrapped arm slung over its shoulder.

It arrives at a stately house located in the nicer half of London. The Shade raps on the door briskly. A young man comes to the door. The Shade looks him over.

“Your father is known to me. Keep this for him, lest misfortune fall upon your line.” The Shade declares, dropping the jillyfleur package on the doorstep, and disappearing into the shadows.

(Written by Drake Dynamo)

(Written by Professor Sketch)
Thomas Sketch has had an exhilarating, and tiring, day.
The youth had returned to London this morning, the Navy frigate known as the H.M.S Pugnator pulling into Wolfstack Docks in the chill of a light, steady drizzle, raindrops quietly peppering the ship’s thoroughly polished floorboards, exhausted Admiralty zailors pulling up the collars of their peacoats as they moved across the deck in one large blur of hard-working bodies.
Life in what remained of the English Navy is not easy.
The young zailor has spent the last three months out at zee, and in another two would go back, starting another three month cycle of uncomfortable living, vigorous exercising, endless ship maintaining, various drills of degrees of importance varying from pointless to life-saving, sudden, hectic, violent battles with enemies of a faction far outnumbering Thomas’ dwindling own, and blaring romantic tension, which was slightly worse than the tension resulting from the fear of your fellow zailors jumping you for being too good or too bad at your job or from the fear of supplies running too low and your fellow zailors jumping you to eat you.
It is not a greatly rewarding job.
Despite that, or perhaps because of that, Thomas was great at it. Of the entirety of the dying Navy’s tiny army, Thomas was one of, if not the, best. He excelled in every task given to him, performed excellently in every duty expected of him, and astounded in accomplishing feats neither assigned to him nor expected of him or any soldier. His record was spotless, adorned only in gleaming records of achievements, awards, and notable accomplishments. If Natalie von Fueger was known for being this year’s darling of the ambassador’s ball, Thomas was known for being this decade’s darling of the Admiralty, or as his fellow zailors called it, ‘the spit-shiniest booted man of all the spit-shined boot men.’
Indeed, the boots of Thomas’ uniforms, both fatigue and formal, were incredibly well spit-shined.
It was because of Thomas’ sleepless dedication to the Navy that he dedicated an equally sleepless dedication to getting roaringly, awfully drunk as soon as he was off duty and making as many awful decisions as possible. Today, he had succeeded in both, managing to win a drinking competition against four Watchmaker’s Hill boys and subsequently fail horribly in a shooting competition with the same men, blasting the hat off a nearby lifeberg hunter who decided it was his duty to help Thomas make his third awful decision of the day, which was agreeing to fight the humongous man. It was only thanks to the Lorn Fluke that had, three years ago, terribly broken the lifeberg hunter’s leg in the sinking of his ship, that Thomas did not ruin his own stellar reputation by unexpectedly dying in a puddle of blood and ale at Wolfstack Docks, managing to find the sensitive spot in the goliath’s leg and use it to his advantage. It was quite a good bit of luck, honestly, and right then and there would have been a perfect time for Thomas to go home and sober up.
If only that group of visiting Khanate zailors hadn’t shown up at that moment.
It has been a tiring day, and so reflects Thomas as he stands in his doorway, breathing through his mouth, nose stuffed with bloody cotton and left hand nursing the quickly darkening bruise that pulses on his brow, bloodshot eyes staring out into the darkness of the street.
It has been a tiring day, and Thomas has not thought of his father in anything past fleeting acknowledgements in ten years.
It has been a tiring day, and Thomas does not need any associates of his long-gone father dropping parcels off at his front door in the middle of the night.
What Thomas does need is sleep.
And so, the Admiralty soldier closes the door, snuffs the parlor lights, and trudges off to bed, leaving the parcel on his front step.
It is, unpleasantly, still there the next morning, showing that you can never rely on thieves and urchins for anything.
edited by Professor Sketch on 10/5/2016

David Henchard had a task, sort through Suinicide’s stuff. Unsurprising, as he was the closest living relative. Surprisingly, he had avoided this for so long the new owners were paying him to do this. His distaste for her had come in handy, and he ignored the guilt that came with that thought, focusing on the house.

The house was worse than a mess.  It was the product of a decaying mind, trying to change reality to fit with their new views.  Walls were torn down, constructed, or somehow moved, but these jobs were never done well.  The new owners agreed that they would take care of those.  What they were worried about were Suinicide’s notes.  Henchard shared their apprehension, remembering well the water and the whispers.  He agreed anyways.

Her notes were in the center of the maze she had shoddily constructed.  Protected from whatever she had thought was coming.  The notes covered everything since she had come to the neath, every discovery and every secret.  Henchard shoved them in a sack without preamble, only hesitating on the last one.  

“North” it said, it clear handwriting.  Even at the end she kept her carefulness with notes.  Into the sack.  Maybe some of it would be useful.  Probably not, as the good bits would be drowned out by whatever other nonsense she had discovered that day.  But there was a lot of it.

One thing caught his eye as he turned to leave.  A barrel of wine.  A letter on top.  Neither were covered in dust like the rest of the room.  Strange.  He tore open the letter in one motion, scanning its contents.  His fingers were absently tapping on the barrel when he finished.  Looked like he needed to take two trips.

The urchin girl Florence employed to acquire groceries, fetch mail, and generally keep the Intrepid Scholar’s life running smoothly made a habit of opening her packages to see what was inside. Florence was aware of this practice and minded little; the girl could not read (though Florence had tried to teach her) and knew what would happen if she stole from the odd lady with the glasses. Well, she didn’t, really, but the oddly gentle way she told her not to set her imagination running.

As such, she dragged the crate up to Florence’s room above a dusty old bookshop, the disaffected owner of the premises barely glancing up. There, she cracked the crate open and peeked in.

Books. Lots of them. Barely any pictures, either- the type of boring volumes that the lady always tried to make her read. And a severed leg! Wouldn’t that be a trophy to show the other kids that called the rooftops home! But, no, the lady could very well be expecting a leg in the mail. Almost reluctantly, the urchin put it down, shut the crate, and slunk away.

She pilfered some glim from the shop on the way out. She wouldn’t steal from the glasses lady, but sure sure as hell would help herself to a little treat from the dusty old bookshop.

The Harbourmaster is not happy about the chest. It is large and dark and old and it is brooding in the corner of his office. It’s part of his duty to hold onto messages for zailors until their return to London, but rarely is he given custody of such large packages - usually it’s love-letters from pining paramours, divorce papers from husbands and wives bored of waiting, unpaid bills and arrest warrants.

He gently fingers the corner of the letter that had been delivered with the zee-chest a day or so earlier. Care of Felton B. Malahyde, Harbourmaster. This package is to be delivered unto the Captain of the Reckoning Postponed upon his return to London… That’s the old wreck that the stevedores say is haunted, the ship that neither Cotterell & Hathersage nor Leadbeater & Stainrod will accept into their shipyards.

The chest, lock-less but locked tight shut, takes up a sizeable corner of the room. The Harbourmaster doesn’t like it. He doesn’t like it at all. For maybe the first time since The Reckoning Postponed surfaced from the deeps, someone in London thinks to himself, &quotI really hope it comes back to port soon…&quot
edited by Barselaar on 10/10/2016