Anywhere but North

Author: David VC /

The moment I ripped the satin mask from my face, memories began to trickle in. One fact lead to another, another secret revealed to myself, more and more until I felt I was being buried again like in the sinking cockpit. I remembered growing up at the Mason Plantation on the Chesapeake. My brother and I were still only boys when our father, the Senator, resigned in disgrace as our nation ripped itself in two. He sent us to school in London to escape the chaos of war.

And then London fell.

And now I'm a doctor (and a surgeon, and a physician) in a town where some of my patients are already dead. And my brother? He was on his way to becoming an accomplished engineer, but turned into a honey-mazed fop who cavorts with poets, pamphleteers, sport-killers and redstockings!

The distant baying of a marsh-wolf shocked me back to the situation at hand. I wasn't just going to sit there and wait for the Constables to track down the wreck and clap me in irons again! Nor would I let whatever was out in the swamp turn me into a main course! But which way back to civilizaton? There was no telling in this mist! And while the shoulder bag did have the pilot's lunch inside (a mushroom pastry, delectable compared to the prisoner's gruel!), I didn't find a compass.

When one is lost in Fallen London, one feels a growing preternatural urge to tread a path to the North. This urge consumes the traveler until he is oblivious to his surroundings and quickly becomes a statistic. I devised a strategy. I noted the swath of destruction of fungi and long dead trees from the now nearly sunken ship. I made a conscious effort to follow that path. It was easy enough for the first mile or two as scraps of canvas ripped apart by the bats littered the swamp. I rolled up a particularly large swath of the heavy fabric it and slung it over my back for use as a tent or a bedroll later.

Was I making good progress when my candle finally flickered out into a smoking stub? It was very hard to tell. All I knew was that the faint glow of patches of luminescent mushrooms were my only clue to navigation through this limitless expanse of eternal night.


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