Sep 27, 2020 9:58 PM
Lucy gets warped to a different place and time in the Fallen London universe
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Over long enough time, coincidences add up. A freak accident, a one-in-a-billion chance, can occur eventually - especially once the Laws are no longer being enforced quite so strictly, in the places far away from shining light.

Correspondence-engraved artefacts rest in ancient ruins, and the craggy cliffs are sometimes shot through with crystallized time. Cantankeri consume the Hours, breaking apart the stone to get at them. A freak accident aboard an engine results in a series of artefacts being lost overboard - the captain judges it better not to turn back. The things were unnerving anyway.

But when the artefacts land on a concentration of time, one that just so happens to be slightly fraying at the edges, the sigils interact and begin unspooling the power they're now exposed to. More and more, a chain reaction, a chaotic conflagration of noise and light and times past and future all brought into being at once - 

And when the light and noise fades, things from distant places and times are littered about the now-cratered cliffside, explosions and rumbling echoing through the towering dark crags above, below, and around. Things, and a person.

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The person is a study in whites; pale skin, paler hair, a white silk dress with white embroidery and layers of skirt that billow as she falls to the ground, landing in a crouch. A strange collar around her neck that looks as though someone had encased it in marble and then carved out the shape of a snake. A pair of glass slippers that adorn but do not conceal her feet. 

When she rises and dusts herself off, looking around, none of the dirt or stone dust or anything clings to her dress despite the fact that a dress that white should quickly become less so in an environment like this. 

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The objects surrounding her are... Varied. Blotches of other kinds of stone and patches of vegetation surround the bit of the prickfinger wastes that came with her. Over there is what looks like a piece of a Surface building, and there is a fragment of a church. Pools of water, salt and fresh and muddy, dot the ground. A patch of wheat stands out, amber-gold.

A floating isopod about the size of a small cottage on the periphery of the phenomenon loudly grumbles, "What a mess! This sort of thing never happened in the old days! Far too loud, disorderly, I don't like it!"

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"Hello! Can you tell me where I am?"

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"Not even a proper greeting, how rude! Nobody knows the courtesies these days. You're far away from anything that has an ugly English name. This is near place-of-lamentation's-feast-denied-by-tradition-nine-and-ninety-times. What a sorry language, that doesn't reflect the true subtleties of it at all. If you want an English name for the place you're in you'll have to go somewhere else."

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Regret at having made an assumption which diverges from reality. Greetings from a lost traveler to one who dwells in the place at which the traveler now finds themself, she says in Correspondence. 

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The isopod freezes halfway through a scornful mutter.

(Extremely) reluctant apology for having given incorrect criticism. Deep irritation at having a quiet and pleasant day interrupted by strange events. Self-ashamed annoyance at one's relative lack of skill in the Correspondence.

"This sort of thing never used to happen. I don't like it."

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Ambiguity as to which language is preferable. Empathy at events being disrupted by arbitrary bullshit. 

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Being unable to choose between two disagreeable options. Bittersweet memories for a time long ago. The desire to make an unwise attack against an irritation, against one's better judgement.

"Go southwest if you want to find Londoners. That way." It waves some bristles. "If you can. Everything's terrible these days anyway, you're not making it much worse."

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The strong determination to improve the inadequate world one was born into. Curiosity as to the nature of better times so as to be able to better calibrate one's improvements.

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"Before the scrive-spinsters and curators and humans and too many other people started making noise and flying around things were a tiny fraction better. The nerve of the trees and the mushrooms these days! Before the Judgement who lived here died, things were almost acceptable. And humans, building things with metal bones and glass eyes and wooden skin! A disgrace!"

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Gratitude for the delivery of information one was not obliged to give, she says. 

And then she tips her chin down and murmurs something. 

The stone snake around her neck shifts and uncoils and slithers down into her dress, where something changes below the skirt that causes it to rustle oddly. 

And then she is moving very fast to the southwest, until she sees something worth stopping to try to figure out more. 

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She quickly comes to a steep downward slope terminating in an abrupt cliff, which vanishes into... Nothingness. Between thick patches of mist and cloud, the open sky is visible beyond, below her. Off in the distance, past the miles-wide gulf, other enormous crags and mountains are visible. A few chunks of rock and stone of varying sizes are floating in the air in the middle of the gulf. They're all fairly barren, with lichen and corded fungus clinging to bare, soil-less stone.

Is that ...A steam trail through the open air? Running lights? Possibly. It's miles off and half-obscured by dust. Hard to tell.

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ZOOM SHE IS THERE NOW.

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It's cold enough that an ordinary human would be suffering quite a lot right now. Ice attempts to form on her.

There appears to be a rusty, clanking, wheezing, battered, flying locomotive with cracked windows and flickering headlights and a hole in the roof and some sort of cannon sticking out the front, flying a pirate flag. The steam trail originates in the south, and they're heading north.

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A pirate flag. 

Well. 

Never let it be said that she passed up an opportunity to stick her nose into things. 

She looks for a door that could potentially be forced. 

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There are two doors near the front, plus some sort of cargo door further back, plus the hole in the roof.

There's faint sounds of carousing from inside.

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She grabs onto the roof and scuttles towards the hole and draws her legs inward and humanoid and ducks through the hole. 

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She lands on a pile of coal, with a closed bulkhead to the rest of the engine. It's almost as cold in here as outside. There's definitely some sort of party going on.

-There's the sharp sound of breaking glass. An angry shout. Cheers.

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She opens the door. 

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A short hallway crowded with rusty pipes, leading to a crowded galley where rough men and a few rough women are drunk and showing off recently-stolen goods. One of them is bragging about killing a man without getting a drop of blood on his nice coat. There's a body on the floor in the corner.

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She closes the door behind her loudly and props her fists on her hips. 

When everyone is looking at her, she says: "Killing people is bad." 

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How did she get in here. Why is she so unafraid. What can she do to us. These questions stun the less-drunk and less-reckless pirates into tense silence. One of them folds away her butterfly knife. Several of them glance between the braggart and her.

The braggart glances around at the suddenly changed atmosphere and sneers. "Killing people is easy. I'll show you if you like." And he quickdraws a pistol and aims it towards her-

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She dances nimbly to the side as his shot impacts the door where she was just standing and steps forward to relieve him of his gun. 

"None of that. We'd stain my nice dress, wouldn't we, and I'm much too lost to be confident of replacing it conveniently." 

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He shouts in fright and is successfully disarmed. He steps back and shouts, "Get her!"

A couple of people shift nervously, but nobody else attacks. "No matter what sort of person she is, we can overwhelm her!"

More silence and shifting. "...Seems like a bad plan, Captain Beau Bloodletter."

He pales. He shoves someone to the floor to get them out of his way and runs for the front of the engine.

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She twirls the gun around her finger. "What is he doing?" 

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