by Adella Chatelaine, Investigative Reports
7/8- Sleep doesn’t come easy to me that first night. My brain is still buzzing from the excitement of coming to this new place, meeting these new people. I just lay in bed with my eyes closed, writing internally.
I get up early and go downstairs. It’s deserted, coffee has already been made. I pour a cup and throw a couple of coins into a jar set next to the pot. It’s a bit strong, the kind of strong meant more to sober people up and set them off to work than for enjoyment.
I spend an hour composing my thoughts while the sun comes up and the streets outside come to life. Just after dawn, Dr. Trenum comes down, along with two men and two other women. They joke and laugh, and Dr. Trenum sees them out.
“Are you going to write about that?” she asks me. I tell her only if she wants me to. She shakes her head.
“That disappoints me. I would expect you to tell the truth. I want to you tell the truth. Anyone who cannot deal with it…they are not worth our time.”
So, I write about it, only describing what I see. I’ll let the readers make their assumptions.
We eat a breakfast of eggs and sausage, very bare bones. Utilitarian, like the coffee. We trade stories we heard the night before.
Settlements in the north west are dealing with an outbreak of plague. In the south west, Doctor Argyle Von Grimm and his gang have taken over a new town. Refugees from their last town have started flooding east, toward Lelina, our destination.
After breakfast, we leave the inn and hire a carriage to take us to the main city. A pack of laughing, red faced children trail our wagon, waving as we leave toward the University of New Crowndon to meet with Doctor Trenum’s peers about the Lelina ruins. It is from here that we will set off to the southern territories, taking a steam boat along the Miskaton river.
Along the way, we see groups of Colonial Marshalls here and there, standing on street corners and balconies. They are looking for the Waystation Bravo fugitives, Klaudhopper and Villanova. Last night we heard rumors that they have slipped the net, however, and already made it farther inland.
We reach the outskirts of the old quarter, and the lumber mills, wood buildings and mud streets give way to brick and cobbles. The people change, as well. They are prettier, softer, but colder. I see no children playing. There are no scents on the air. This is a place for business and learning, but not living. Returning to a more developed part of the city should be a return to the familiar, but the whole thing is off putting. Something feels off here. I suppose I’ve just become accustomed to traveling.
We pull onto the main thoroughfare, and directly ahead of us I can see the University. It is here that we will begin to tease out the answers to one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of our time.