Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Arrival of the Raven.

(This is sort a "mood" story for something I have been thinking about called " Muskets and Magic" Basicly colonial America with a twist.)

The fog hung thick over Boston Harbor as the carriage carrying Sir Thomas Gage, the British Military Governor of His Majesties North American Colonies came to a halt. The gray mist cast the entire area with a sense of doom, A eerie silence that was caused and amplified by it added to Gage’s increasing feeling of unease.
He pulled his finally tailored cloak tightly around himself as he step onto the cobbled road leading a short way to the pier…the specific pier he was told to be at, at the exact time. A young Captain, Seconded from the 17th Light Dragoons to act as his aide, followed closely behind him as he walked slowly towards it.
Even the lap of the water against the Dock pilings radiated foreboding. Boston was one of the Colonies largest cities, but here, on this pier, you would have thought that he and his aide were the only people on earth. The hollow foot falls of their well made boots sounded like a coffin maker’s hammer nailing the final Pin into the lid of their coffin.
The two men reached the end of the dock and cast their eyes into the hazy gloom. After a moment, as if to relieve his own tension, The captain spoke. “ Really sir…” He stated “ You are a General of His Majesties army…and Military Governor to boot, This sort of thing seems wholly beneath you” he could barely conceal the apprehension in his voice. Gage paused a moment, looking towards the harbor but seeing nothing “Oh I quite agree Mappleton…but his Majesty demands our obedience in such subjects and we are obliged to obey…” and as if a after thought “ and so we shall”. Mapleton in his Dragoon helmet, its red haired plume standing in contrast to the Smokey gray surroundings, glanced about, The General, in his Gold Trimmed Tricorn from one of London’s finest tailors strained his neck peering into the impenetrable blanket that had descended over the harbor.
It was Mappleton’s surprised gasp, precisely as the church bells rang out Six AM that drew the General’s attention. He to was shocked, but comported himself better then the young captain, as the prow of a ship sliced through the fog like a knife through warm butter. With out so much as a sound the ship seemed to slip into being as it floated silently to the dock. On its deck, Its sailors stood as if working under the gaze of the Devil himself.
It was a 20 gun Frigate called HMS Raven, a old but serviceable vessel, that had until 4 days ago, been tied to a dock in the Thames. Normally a journey over the Atlantic to Boston could take three months…HMS Raven had made it in 4 days and the crew, including the officers gathered on the bridge looked terrified.
Gage took a step back involuntarily as he watched ropes from the raven, alive like snakes, slither from their neat coils, descend the side of the ship, a cross the water and up to the mooring cleats. So strong were these things that together the pulled the considerable vessel towards the dock.
“ Saints preserve us” Mappleton muttered from behind Gage “ Steady on Mappleton…” Gage said finding his resolve “ This is the Kings High Magic”. He did not turn to see the pale expression on the Captains face as he muttered “ indeed”.
Like a great beast unrolling its tongue, a gangway descended from the Raven without so much a sound. The Tars on deck seemed to drift away from it, finding tasks to do at the furthest points from it or the main hold cover, several crossed themselves.
It was at that moment the air seemed to go perfectly still, the fog seemed to clear between Gage and the vessel as if by command as three men slowly rose up through the hatch. It was as if they were floating, carried by a wind as their long leather coach coats ( embroidered with the Royal coat of arms) fluttered around them. Each man wore a Tricornered hat (of a fashion popular 30 years ago) that cast their face in shadow. These figures, like aberrations, floated across the deck and down the gangway towards the Governor and his aide. Gage, A man who had see war at its worst, found himself unconsciously giving ground to these men as they settled on the dock before them.
“General Gage?” hissed the figure in the middle, his accent that of the English north and barely concealing a common up bringing. “ At your service sir” Gage answered surveying the three men. As if he was stepping into a light, the shadow slid from the mans face revealing his visage. His nose was thin and had obviously been broken in his youth, his skin was pale and bore the marks of smallpoxs, his teeth, that showed from his mouth that seemed to naturally hang half open, were chiped and lacked any uniformity and the mans eyes, those soulless orbs, were the color of the void.
“ I am Inquisitor Linus Cravel of the Royal Arcanium…” there was a sneer in a voice, a subconscious gloating of a man who enjoyed lording over Lords “ I trust the preparations requested in my message have been seen to”. “ Yes Inquisitor…All is in order. I believe…” he started but Cravel’s hand shot up seemingly producing a gilded Envelope from Thin Air “ I have your instructions ?” Cravel finished Gage’s sentence as he handed him the envelope.
Merrily by examining the exterior Gage was taken aback by the Authority behind it. Transfixed on it’s fine parchment were the seals of King George III, The Prime Minister, Lord North and The amazing seal of Lord Escher, the Grand Magi of the British Isles and head of Royal Arcanum. It was Eschers seal that amazed gage, light seemed to flow through it raised lines, St George and Dragon, located over a Pentagram, seemed to engage in combat before his eyes.
“ I trust you’ll find everything in order….” Cravel spat with disdain “My Lord”. All Gage could do was nod as minutes later he was following the men to his coach, still cognizant that he had not been introduced, nor even new the description of the Inquisitor’s two companions.
As the Coach made its way through boston, heading towards the Massachusetts countryside and the home Gage had confiscated for the Arcanum’s use, The General broke open the seals and read the orders there in, a deep feeling of dread growing inside.

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