The bridge door swung open and a bedraggled woman stumbled in.
“Sir, we found this stowaway, poking around the nor’ west cloud storage. No sign of dust on her but I had ‘er drenched just in case.” A dark, thickset man with a rich black beard appeared in the doorway behind the scared looking woman. “And sir, she says Babbage sent her!” A sharp intake of breath passed audibly around the room and with two strides the captain covered the distance between them.
“Babbage!” The woman cowered as the captain growled, his face inches from her own. “So he lives, I guess anything is possible. What does he want with us?”
“I..I d..d..don’t understand?” The woman cowered. “Who lives? I..I..I’m just a reporter.”
“Yes. A spy, sent ot report on us, but not a very good one it seems.”
“No sir, j..just a r..r..reporter, I work for the Daily Prim in New Babbage.” The captain stood up to his full height to regard the woman.
“New Babbage?” His brow furrowed quizzically. “Stephenson, take her away. Take her to see Our Lady, help her dry off a bit.”
“Aye sir,” the woman’s captor stepped forward, grabbing her harshly by her clothing and dragging her stumbling out onto the decks. “you got lucky lass, the cap’n is feeling lenient it seems, I’d have seen you thrown o’erboard”.
“Stephenson!” The captin’s voice rang out clearly from the still open door. “I don’t want to hear of any accidents.”
“Aye sir”, the man growled shooting a dark look at the trembling woman.
“Something is not right here,” the captain turned to his first mate. “How’d she come to be on Asperatus and to have passed through the storms without us knowing and why would his name be the first thing she mentioned. I reckon it’d be about the last word I utter if I wanted to keep my feet on solid metal.”
“On your knees girl! You are about to meet Our Lady of Steam”, the captive found herself pushed to floor, in the centre of a large open platform. The throbbing and hissing of great steam engines enveloped her, the floor shaking with their strokes. Stephenson stepped forwards to pull a lever and slowly a shining brass sun turned, drawing back the bolt that held two giant doors closed. As the doors swung, the girl found herself shoved forward, pushed by a booted foot at her back. She turned her face to save her looks as she fell head-first to the deck. Rough hands unbound her arms. “Get up! And get shovelling”
“Our lady of steam…”, the young woman stared up at the towering arrangement of pipes and tanks, a boiler in human form, a many armed goddess. Behind her the clang of the doors resounded through the high ceilinged boiler-room, and as she heard the whirring, clicking sound of the lock mechanism sealing her inside she picked up the shovel and began to feed the furnace the burned between the goddess’ thighs.
Day 3 – The Faire is in full swing. Role play action from the Sanctuary group in Mourningvale Thicket, the Rickety Weasels in Wiggenstead Mooring and the Neo-Victorians in Asperatus and NeoLondon are drawing followers, follow the links to learn more and perhaps offer your help. Whilst the imminent launch of the first of the two hunts that the Faire will feature this year is on everybody’s lips.