Fireborn: Dark Phoenix

An abandoned scrap of paper, ripped in two and crumpled, its contents slashed with ink

Leaffall – 5 – Shephame

Fled Trynsham 30th Midautumn; township sacked; Lord Acropolis remains vis-à-vis with militants i.e. hostage or dead. Mistress will not be pleased. Lobby brass will most certainly not be polished by the 7th, most irritating.

Regular timetable regressfully suspended under extraordinary circumstances, 5th Leaffall 1932. Signed: Postmaster Rotis.

Mistress says: idle hands have little need for fingers. With foresight I had packed my books; shall recommence my studies of the Art. Re: purported ‘sale’, investigate whereabouts of Gregor Acardi (& Magistrate Sorat). Last I’ll hear indeed.

[A crude diagram follows, attempting to connect several lines of thought, with names and descriptions connected with arrows]

3 x atypical parcels arrive, Syldovan serial codes (17/Midautumn) → First collected (27/MA) → Remainder placed with other unclaimed goods under police protection from repossession, discovered to be bombs (29/MA) → Likely collected now. (If passing through Syldova, visit post depot apropos of point of origin.)

Acardi trespasses gormlessly unaware of ongoing operations, somehow obtained keys (22/MA) → Met with Magistrate, transferal of contracts ensuring protection of lease for one decade (23/MA) → Met with Magistrate, sale (mistakenly) deemed valid; locksmith’s services charged to GSCS account; surrendered keys to constabulary (29/MA) → Locksmith summoned again, charged to GSCS account; fulfillment of service unclear, retain receipt for charge-back if necessary (30/MA).

Lord Acropolis’s belongings stolen (Night of 28/MA) → Crate dumped via rail-yard door. Delivery slip to City of Rastok Royal Postal Depot, however delivery unpaid; resolved to personally fulfill consignment in final fulfillment of duties (04:27 ± 00:03 due to dressing, brandishing paper-knife etcetera, morning of 30/MA) → Crate surrendered to police, stolen goods discovered inside; crate thoughtfully brought aboard train by the Hidden (took him for a layabout) → In the interests of returning what were deemed the most valuable and irreplaceable goods to their rightful owner, the following articles were removed from and taken into care:
[What follows is a thorough inventory of the items left behind in the crate and those taken by the five refugees. They are consecutively signed ‘Postmaster Rotis’ until, several items down the list, one of the signatures is soiled by a large splash of ink and (was subsequently) angrily crossed out).]
The remaining laboratory equipment was abandoned along with the carriage (30/MA).

Many irregularities in aforementioned sequence of events:

Observation 1: Only the National Rail Company is/was in possession of a key to the rail-yard door.
Observation 2: Two vigorous constables could move with neither agility nor haste while transferring crate to station; two Uruk had deposited the crate in depot. Uruk could not have carried the crate over a wall. Must have passed through other property or entered train-yard via public access.
Observation 3: Upon alerting the police that night, no patrols observed guarding public access to rail-yard; however, nightwatchmen likely on duty inside Rail Company buildings.
Coralline 1: Thieves exploited police incompetency and entered train-yard via public route, or permitted unmolested passage through Rail Company property.

Observation 4: Crate packed with unimportant laboratory apparatus (given risk); Elven artifacts of presumed interest few in number. Clumsily deposited, damaging some contents. This despite difficulty in transporting crate and risk of discovery.
Coralline 2: Thieves were acting under vague instruction and neither knew their precise charge nor its value (hence lack of care).

Observation 5: Invading brigands control Trynsham; thefts unnecessary if they desired stolen articles.
Observation 6: Efforts made to relocate/hide stolen goods despite neglect; stolen articles desired by someone (e.g. not mere ‘distraction from advancing paramilitary’).
Coralline 3: Brigands not also responsible for thefts; that would be stupid. Ergo, thefts unrelated or instigated by other party with foreknowledge of invasion.

Observation 7: Crate consigned to Rastok Royal Postal Depot, shipping unpaid; would not have been shipped by Grey’s Secure Courier Service.
Observation 8: No attempt made to hide crate among other goods in the depot; crate not ‘disguised’ as it were.
Coralline 4: Crate was intended to be forwarded privately, either by Rail Company or illegitimate new ‘owner’ of depot one Aziz Farukan. OR thieves did not think to pay shipping fees but only an idiot would think that.

Thus, I humbly believe I will be able to demonstrate attempted fraud and conspiracy to steal your rightful property, Mistress. However, as Postmaster General I intend to fulfill my remaining charge to the best of my capacity id est return of Lord Acropolis’s belongings. In journeying to Shoeshine with my fellow refugees following detachment of our carriage, there arose smoke from approximately where the carriage had been abandoned; lamentably, the apparatus is likely destroyed. This may have been intended by the brigands to eliminate the contents of the crate; burning the carriage would achieve little else. I fear the viscous glowing cloud hanging over the valley was a portent; dark forces seeking to stabotage my responsibilities, but I will remain steadfast Mistress. Happily, I appear to have an ally in this endeavour to return the Lord’s possessions.

From Shoeshine we journeyed to Kadakarkov, and then to Shephame however this train did not agree with me either. Although I was able to develop a technique for monetary exchange and discover your lawyers there they were of no assistance; I also do not like these. Indeed, I currently dislike: cities, smoke, smog, trains, Trynsham, lawyers, being touched, gentlemen who proselytize misguided views, fellows with no business sense, My Family, Zo.

Nonetheless, I will persist. My fellows appear capable and wish to meet with you following a detour via the tomb at Starfall peak. One of them in an Elf, Mistress. They will be my escorts, and I believe you will like them. I myself currently like: sensible Uruk with a sense of duty, Elves with a pendant for Magic, gentlemen with initiative, Zoe, Grandfather, Kakko, Pengolds 1919 Grange, The Art, Magic, Lady Syri, my Mistress.

I will write again soon. Your humble servant,
Rotis.

END JOURNAL

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