Blackwood Gazette #66-The Journey to Lelina: Tall Tales and Folklore I

By Adella Chatelaine, Investigative Reports

15/9-It’s been two days since we left New Crowndon on a riverboat, south on the Miskaton river toward the southern townships. I am told we will be making a couple of stops along the way, to take on supply and drop off and pick up new passengers. We will be disembarking in New Dennan, a port town about a day’s north from Lelina. All told, we should be arriving on sight on the 13th of Ten Month, if all goes well. From what I’ve heard, ‘all goes well’ is a tall order.

Passengers on the boat at present are rather scant…not many people are leaving New Crowndon for the southern frontier. A couple of years ago, this boat would have been full of prospectors, sales men, bar men, trappers, and purveyors of various amusements. However, word has gotten out that pickings are slim. Trappers and lumber men are still hitting it big, but gold seekers and those who follow have all but stopped, choosing to head northwest.

The boat itself is not without its amusements, of course. It is well stocked with cheap booze, a fact that Mister Mackay and Doctor Trenum are both exceedingly happy about. It is the only interest they seem to share, but it is more than enough. According to Doctor Trenum, she’d only corresponded with Mister Mackay once before, and through a proxy. Watching them now, once was enough. They sit at a roulette table, sharing a drink, either congratulating or ribbing each other over victories and losses, in equal amounts.

I spend the first evening of our journey in the presence of Doctor Rothery. He is pleasant enough, I have found, since expressing clearly my intention to have nothing more than a professional relationship with him. Well, at least to me. He often burbles things about Doctor Trenum into his cups at the end of the night. I get the feeling he is mostly harmless, and should he prove otherwise, I am sure Doctor Trenum is more than capable of dealing with him herself.

When he is not burbling, he is actually a rather rich source of information about the indigenous cultures. He is well regarded in his field for the time he spent with several southern tribes years before, an honor, I am told, that has never been granted to an outsider before or since.

He regales me with tales of his time living amongst them and participating in their traditions of oral storytelling. He tells me several. They are pleasant enough, until the sun goes down and he has a drink or two in him. Then he leans forward and tells me that there was one tale, from the very region into which we are heading, that made his blood run cold.

And what tale was that? I ask. Why, Miss Chatelaine, he says, that would be the tale of the Mist Walker.

*Real world note: Sorry that today’s entry is such a tease. Like I mentioned last week, I’m trying to keep these short, which can be difficult when you have a certain point in mind to make. And since the tale of intrepid reporter Adella Chatelaine and world renowned archaeologist Veronica Trenum is shaping up to be the longest, most plot and character heavy aspect of this whole Blackwood Gazette…thing…keeping them short is becoming increasingly difficult. I’m actually having doubts as to whether it fits within the whole ‘fictional newspaper set in a steampunk world’ framework I’ve built and whether or not I should spin it off in to its own thing. That’s a decision for another day, however. Errands to run, things to do. Enjoy!

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Blackwood Gazette #66-The Journey to Lelina: Tall Tales and Folklore I

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