Op. Ed. for Session 18 – Apocalypso…. – Wednesday 20th October 2010 – by Frithhill
Elapsed time – 132 days real time, 123 days game time (12th November 1602 ?)
Location – Tortage
As the Crimson Dawn struck out for Port-au-Hôpital, Alejandro struck upon an intention to return to Tortage presenting himself on the stern-castle to borrow a telescope, in order to spy out the activities of Red Jack Stavros’ force. Captain de Bruit refused (Note: Jan Lipperssy, a German-Dutch lens grinder first built a 3X magnification telescope in 1608, Galileo Galileis experiments which produced a refractive telescope with a power of 6X occurred after 1612, probably no earlier than 1616. The “Dutch perspective glass”, may have produced an upside down image). He sailed on to carry the alarm to Hata and shelter under the harbour guns while preparing for his next move. His mind had turned to to resumng a law-abiding commerce on the other side of the Ocean Sea and to re-building his fortunes. This would require a new crew, a cargo, a new name on the bell. The Crimson Dawn would vanish from the world, and the Odile would sail out from Hata.
The captain surveyed his ship and the six strangers he had for a crew, as they set about clearing the deck and mending flapping sails. The canoe bore away back to Tortage bearing in it the fighting strenth of the broken compact. “A fools errand”, he thought. Still, free of The Governor of Tortage and Sir Frederick Westmoroughs machinations, they were free to come or go as they pleased.
Doctor Vincent Walker had his own plans. Going in search of fellows in the Invisible College, he heard stories of of an islet off the coast which the people of Hata are in the habit of avoiding. Returning to Captain de Bruit he sought passage.
Other matters detained his attention. Something was stinging him. Morgan, by his own reckoning an honourable man could not entirely concentrate on business. With the bruises of the gaolers in Tortage still aching a remembrance preoccupied him. Walking into the lions den was not the act of self-serving men. Could he do any less ? There were perhaps three men he could count on. With a wherry or jacht the debt could be discharge. So when his ship’s surgeon came to him and returned again to remonstrate he could not interest himself in this adventure. There was no more he wished to know about a Russ pirate with a Peloponese name. His pride had been impugned. Alone on the Dawn, he brooded.
A voluble Hibernian, gleeful avarice plain on his face carried Doctor Walker and Lady Nightshade and settled down to anticipate spending an extortionate and easy fee. Perhaps he would wait, perhaps he wouldn’t, he thought to himself watching his gig’s oars waving wildly as it crabbed clumsily toward a dock. He would take an Albans money any day of the week, and could buy another boat, with plenty to spare.
A hoarse-voiced hunchback, shrouded in a great, shapeless garment, covering other unguessable disfigurements and carrying a lantern hobbled down from where a light showed in a window to the dock; to meet the boat. Hauling Doctor Walker up with a massively muscled arm, he preceded his master guest to the hut, which is the only building on the island. Inside an ancient man awaited and greeted Doctor Walker by name. How he knew of their coming was matter unworthy of speculation, since Presperino is not simply a wizard but perhaps one of the greatest. He knew why they came, and the answers to the questions they would ask. Doctor Walker cane wishing to know what powers Red Jack Stavros now had at his command, and whence they came, and left more and less satisfied, rankling at the reproofs which had been made to him. Perhaps he should have asked whether the pirate warlord is coming to Hata and what is ignominious about the conquest of death ? Is this not what doctors strive for ? What powers might the face and the jaw of the Crystal Skull proffer ?
Four days before and two hundred miles away a small rough craft with water near the gunnels landed on the northern side of Tortage and Alejandro Jurez led his companions, Brem O’Gellwyn, Vittorio Tornatore and Thomas Rede into the interior. The sound of bleating led to a farmhouse with a yard full of goats and fields of crops. As the most presentable specimen on offer (the other choices being a shirtless Tuathan covered in tattoos , an armoured Alban who must be carried and a painted shirtless and trouserless indigene) Vittorio, a raddled Cadoccian cavalier, approached the house. Greeted by a musket barrel poking out of the loophole in a shutter and the panicky voice of the son of a colonist, he stopped. Unbuckling his array of weapons Vittorio, looking every bit a pirate (on an island infested with pirates at the best of times) sought to allay the natural fear that he was a pirate.
The lady of the house broke the stalemate by confiscating the firelock from her son. Anxious for news she invited the unexpected visitors in, only to learn that the smoke her husband took the cart to investigate a day before was perhaps the worst thing.