“I know it may come off as a shock to you.” The Dark Spectacled Admiral demurs. “But I’m afraid that it is the single, unquestionable truth. Your room at the Blind Helmsman has already been prepared. I bid you a good evening.”
A firm hand grasped on his shoulder as the Brusque Secretary promptly steered her away from the desk.
She quickly found herself shoved into the main workplace of the Admiralty Survey Office. Men and women in the blues of the Navy ambled about, someone seated at desks filing reports while others walked in and out, bearing recent news of ships. Occasionally, a zee-captain would stumble in, and make their way to give out reports of ports across the Underzee…
“Try not to think too much of what happened, Miss Delamere.” The Dark Spectacled Admiral says his voice still audible from halfway across the room. “Some things are just strange down here. Especially that far out North.”
With those finishing words, she found herself thrust out in the foggy streets of Fallen London.
The Blind Helmsman was an inn.
Run by a blind helmsman.
“Carried away by spiders.” He said with a chuckle when she first asked him about the matter. She wisely chose to abandon the subject shortly thereafter.
Her room was frugal, and smelled of stale beer and honey, and it was to no surprise that she spent most of her time away from that place. Besides, the Blind Helmsman was hardly a good place for company, unless you were a zailor.
Nowadays, she spent most of her time wandering the streets of Fallen London, though she limited herself to Wolfstack Docks.
Not that she minded of course. Wolfstack was a fascinating place, a thousand ships a day, or so they say, make their way in and out of the port, to old far off places she only knew by name.
If she was lucky, then she sometimes found herself listening to the boasted tales of zailors returning from months spent out at Zee.
Though today, she had a different purpose.
The Admiral was kind enough to provide her with a respectable amount of ‘Echoes’, that was, Fallen London’s currency, that should be able to last three weeks at the very least.
That meant she had three weeks to find a job before she got kicked out of the Blind Helmsman, and though she never really liked the place, it still served as the closest thing she had as a home down here.
She sighed, taking her place on a nearby bench. How did she get here? Briefly, she recalls what the Admiral had told her regarding her past.
Or perhaps, her lack of one.
Simply put, there was nothing at all. Not even a sliver of her name or appearance had ever been seen in London. Not that mattered, considering where she was found...
The creaking of the bench as a weight came upon it interrupted her thoughts.
A gentleman dressed in black had chosen to sit next to her. She noted his appearance; a smooth pale face, auburn hair, green and orange eyes, spectacles, a dark three piece suit, and a fedora with several small mirrors attached to it. He seemed to be a respectable, if rather grim sort of person.
“The Admiral told me I’d find you here.”
She couldn’t help but flinch at the tone of his voice. It wasn’t cold, but it certainly was emotionless. He gazes at her impassively as ge turns to face her completely. She squirmed under his stare, for she could feel nothing from him.
“I am the captain of the ship that rescued you.” He says in the same, monotonous voice. “We were on an expedition on Irem of the Pillared Sea when a Riddlefisher led me to you. You were asleep, on a bed of roses. Almost angelic I might add.”
She looked at him in slight confusion and wonder. This was the man who found her? The words he said were already known. The admiral had briefed her about this. Still, it was always odd to hear them, especially considering she had no idea what half of them meant.
The captain tilts his head curiously towards her. “Now you look just like your everyday Londoner...not very angelic if you ask me.”
He leans back on his seat before stretching out a gloved hand. “Professor Reinol von Lorica.”
For a while, she simply stared at the gloved appendage. She wonders who this person really was, and why he even bothered coming to her. To meet her? Though she knew she shouldn’t be too surprised. If what he said was true, then he would be most curious about a girl who was asleep on a bed of roses.
Almost hesitantly, she grabbed his hand with her own. She didn’t exactly trust him, but he was the closest person she could, save for maybe the Dark Spectacled Admiral.
Reinol lets go of her hand and stands up, before gesturing her to follow him with an emerald topped silver came. “You live in the Blind Helmsman, yes? I won’t be having that.”
She blinks, unsure how to react. Unrepelled, Reinol speaks on. “Come with me Miss Delamere. London is a strange and dangerous place.” She could’ve sworn there was a glint in his eye as he spoke his next few words.
“You’ll never survive without my help. So do yourself a favour and say yes. I hate repeating myself.”
Evensong Delamere didn’t know why she suddenly trusted this man. If anything, she should stand, and scream for help. But instead, she finds herself looking back at him. There was something compelling her to accept. Something that she couldn’t explain at all. Was this fate?
Then, without a word, Reinol turns and leaves.
And Evensong followed.