Captain Jack Donaghy's Log
September 4, 1792:
I woke this morning to the brisk smell of encroaching winter, and in the far distance we can see snow approaching like a white shadow across the ground. To the south is a raging river that we couldn't hope to cross even without our caravan. To the north awaits colder temperatures and certain death. Our only course is to continue ever westward despite the imposing ridge of stone and ice we can now clearly see in our path. First Mate Kenneth Ellen is wary of starting the cross so close to the start of winter, but our guide Jonathan warns we should not remain in this valley for long lest the tribe of natives that have been tracking us should stumble over our latest camp.
They appeared out of nowhere. One moment the continent seemed empty in all directions, and then their group appeared on the horizon like a shadow. They moved swiftly across the plain, intercepting us before we could make our escape. Damn these wagons! They make it impossible to move at any speed whatsoever. Mister Griswold offered to fire a warning shot to scare them away, but I was curious enough to allow them to approach.
Their leader was a woman, I think, although given her manner of dress it was difficult to be certain. She introduced her group as the Teegee'ess tribe and offered to entertain the members of our expedition. I was wary, but they seemed harmless enough. The leader - whose name I have forgotten but was something like Lemone - gathered her people and seemed to be in charge of the performances.
While I did not entirely understand the appeal, the members of my expedition seemed to enjoy it. The troupe mocked the witch trials taking place in Massachusetts and the fine men who were dedicating their lives to saving young women from the devil. The playacting was fine, but the scene lasted longer than the joke. It was... tedious. Following that, it became clear that their intention was not a single story but a series of small, unrelated stories.
They mocked the upcoming election process and our certain-to-be-president Thomas Jefferson (George Washington may be a front-runner, but that wooden-toothed cherry-tree chopper will never be elected. Mark my words) in a scenario I found tasteless and derivative. They were very proud of their impressions, although to be honest many were not very good. The blonde woman was pretty, which carried her well enough, and the African man was bizarre enough to keep my attention.
All in all, an enjoyable experience. We thanked them for the performance and continued on with our journey. Spirits were high the following day, with many members of the expedition parroting favorite lines from the performance. "Fie, a witch!," amusing the first time, became rather grating after the twelfth repetition.
We traveled seven more days when, once again, Mister Griswold alerted me to movement on the horizon. How they had found us, I cannot say, but before long the Teegee'ess tribe was upon us once more. Lemone, their leader, greeted us as she would an old friend and asked if we were prepared for another wonderful experience. They had obviously worked hard, and we were already stopped for the night, so I didn't see the harm.
What followed was ninety minutes of sheer torture. Their material, mediocre at best the first time, was now stale. The impressions were not as cute. Halfway through the performance, the African man fell asleep and Mister Griswold was conscripted to finish his scenes. We applauded tepidly when the performers took their bows and I was grateful to see the backs of them.
In the morning we realized the troupe had left without returning Mister Griswold to our company.
It's been six weeks now. Every seven days they find us and force us to suffer through an increasingly painful series of sketches. In addition to Mister Griswold, they have made away with Daught-Calm. I begin to wonder if the beautiful pale blonde in their company is a victim of their thievery or if she joined her... mother, who seems to be the star of the show. Mother? No. Perhaps she is the lovely young blonde's grandmother.
Kenneth Ellen fears we will not survive a trip through the treacherous mountains that lie in our path, but it is the expedition leader's curse to be forced to choose the lesser evil. And I simply cannot - I will not - suffer through another episode of Teegee'ess.
I am prepared to give the order to break camp and head westward when a shout goes up from the man on watch. They are moving toward us across the plain. The women near me sob as the tribe gets closer, and I bravely move to the edge of camp, ready to defend my people at whatever cost. I narrow my eyes. I can see the costumes they carry and my heart is filled with dread.
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