I Have Been Living In An Airship: Part 2
Both the Tiger Man and the Gandaberunda had done damage to the airship, and we had to stay in Bombay for a few days. Professor Eaglesbury was transported to a hospital in Bombay and I resolved to visit him before we headed north to Delhi, ourselves. But first I had some real work to do in terms of preparing myself for whatever transformation is slowly creeping through me. This is definitely not my first time in the bull ring as those bastard Spaniards living in that Mayan temple hidden deep in the Amazon liked to say. Aside from all the backstabbing and betrayals, they weren’t a bad group of sorcerers.
I spent much of the next few days performing rituals that I have created that tap into the Mayan, Outback, and Egyptian ‘Dream Times.’ It is tiring, but when not consecrating myself and the Airship, I am out on the drydocks where we getting refitted, documenting the various algae, and moulds that I can find, small innocuous unfamiliar weeds, most of which will have little value, but sometimes, I have found that odd things happen to these moulds in urban environments, especially in places like Bombay, and London, where the magic is literally humming its way throughout the populace, and clumping in odd ways that in places like the jungle or the desert, it does not. More difficult to harness those energies in the city, But it can be done. You just need patience, which is not an ‘urban’ trait.
I also spent a bit of time reading a book that Riley brought back from a visit he paid to the Lieutenant Governor of Bombay, Sir Patrick Keane. The book was and is of the salacious variety, what the Londoners call ‘a Penny Dreadful,’ though this one had a price of three pence.
The title alone had Lady Penelope gasping for air. As an Unmarried woman of substance, she is acutely aware that any kind of scandal around her name can affect her fortune in ways it would not were she a man. Sad that these folk in England (and anywhere else these days) cannot see past the old notions of the virgin and the whore. Everyone should be forced to live by their wits in the amazon jungle amidst the leopards and carnivorous dinosaurs, it matters not your gender when you have to stare down a T-Rex. Though, that phrase maybe disingenuous, as eye contact is not something you want to make, unless like me, you have a spell prepared, or a trap of some sort.
Anyway, enough digressions, dear journal, the past is ever present for me, here in India... The book’s title was “The Kennels of the Kerberos Club - Tales of the Ladies of The Kerberos Club.” I found them mostly to be amusing distortions of some of our adventures. There is of course in the book all these inferences to sexual activity, which to me is hilarious. Both The Lady and I have our hysteria doctor to help us keep our focus during our travails. But in fact there has never been an adventure we engaged in that really had any kind of carnal edge to it. In fact, quite the opposite: we are in fact a pretty celibate group compared to what I can scent of other Kerberans. But I guess that doesn’t make for the kind of reading folk who buy these Penny dreadfuls are looking for.
The Lady is certain that We are (especially her, as she is the Company we are here representing) being smeared by Ada Lovelace, assuredly many degrees separated from the actual publication. But you can smell her oily hands upon every word. I am going to find a copy to fetish-ize and we will see who gets the last laugh, Lovelace or myself, No one plays with The Lady like that and wins.
I had shared some of my Dream Time journey, after imbibing the alchemical transformative. I withheld my knowledge that the potion is slowly transforming me, though, as I still have no idea other than the rock solid sense that the transformation is one that will be a boon, and not the curse it would be for some who are less prepared than myself. I have transformed myself so many times now, I know not those other girls that I was.
I withhold this self knowledge from others, as they would not understand how many different people I have had to be since my family was taken by the curse of Amon Ra. One of the things I saw; and Reilly asked the Lt. Governor about, was the Cow headed man. It almost predictably turned out that the Bovine Brahmin was called Adi Raya, and was someone who Lord Eaglesbury had said we should talk to while in Bombay.
We went to the part of town where Adi Raya’s temple was located, and came upon a parade, it was a festival day, it seemed, many in the parade and the crowd wore different animal masks, and the star of the event, bringing up the rear was the Were Cow from my dreams, a being with the head of a local cow, and the body of a man. He wore colourful priestly robes. He rode astride an Elephant, with much smaller ears and slightly different shaped head compared to the ones I’d seen as a girl in Africa. four distinct versions of me ago, that was, I was thinking as I noticed that the four Guardsmen surrounding the Guru/Were Cow and his elephant were Were-Tigers, like The Professor’s Bearer.
They had the gait of life long soldier types, I was wondering how they kept the feral side of their nature in such rigid control, as a streak of wind that was vaguely shaped like a man whizzed past us, knocking Reilly into a fruit stand, and each of the Tiger Men quickly grasped their throats, as whatever this speedy demon was, it had sliced them open, each, faster than any one of them could react. I scented that whatever this was, smelled like a man, a strong powerful man, who scented as local to my experienced nose. I had a glimpse of his blurry shape against the backdrop of the crowd, and aided by my sense of smell I snared him with my bolo, screaming a Mayan invective upon him, as I ddid so.
The others snapped quickly to, and tried to protect the Brahmin, The Dervish (we later found out the name of the assassin) and capture the killer, but he was too fast for us. He did make a point, before loosening and wrecking my perfectly good bolo, of catching my eye, and sighing. I am pretty sure I have made an enemy of this aptly named Dervish, and a Giant Mythical bird. My trip to India is going pretty much as I expected. As the French like to say, Le Sigh.
The Guru, went back into his temple surrounded by his already healing retinue of Tiger Men. I hoped they would give the poor elephant some extra treats that night, sensitive creatures. I could feel how upset the whole event made the pachyderm feel. I patted it on the rump, as it went past. After some showings of ‘papers’ and talk with the local constabulary, we gained access to the brahmin. he had changed into his beatific human self, still gaily attired. I think all the bright colours and peacockery of the people here counters the horrific odours and strange dark magics that pollute a city so crowded with every caste in the nation.
The Brahmin confirmed our suspicions about various folks having a vested interest in our not bringing our death ray wielding mechanical dinosaurs into their country. We have concluded that these folks, and creatures plans dovetail nicely with those of Ada Lovelace and her rather large purse, and many bags of chicanery she has at her disposal.
I am fairly certain that my discussion with him about the dream time, and my experience with the alchemical oil has lead him to understand, that i am transforming, slowly, so slowly that even the keen observations of my fellows are not enough to notice.
You need to understand the world with no time, to see such things happen. Soon we will head north to Delhi, nominally to sell some weapons of mass destruction, but perhaps once again we will all be transformed by our experience, and hopefully in a more positive way than our last outing as a group two years ago.
Already this is the case, as the weirdness culminated at the end of the voyage, the group of lonely sad Airship dwellers, once again have become a team, a closely knit group of adventurers, and scholars. I hope they can handle my oncoming changes as well as I know I will. I see the future and it wears a mask.