Diary Exceprt from Captain Canute Glasikis, September 7, 1855
September 7, 1855
Anteas Rowe is dead. Or, to be 100% accurate, missing and presumed dead. But it’s a fair presumption. We’ve been sitting outside Svestapol for 3 days, waiting for the bombardment to cease (Cadmus made contact with some guy in one of the besieging armies, and was assured that quote this was pretty much it and the blasted city would be in the hands of the British in no time at all unquote). I can’t explain why no one seems to care overly much about the huge boat sitting in the middle of the scenery but my guess is, what with the war and all, there are more important things to worry about. Anyway, the bombardment has been basically continuous (continual? blast my lack of formal education) and being inside Svestapol right around now, would be like being the proverbial polar bear in the ant farm, like poor Anteas used to say.
So, yes, Anteas. Presumed dead, though I’m damned sure of it. He’s shown no signs of improvement these past months, just wandering around, muttering about things that very occasionally make an alarming amount of sense, clutching his featherjar to his chest. Sincerity, in particular, found it all quite creepy, No idea what Juniper thought, though she must have thought something. But wandering, yes, wandering. And wandering does not mix well with constant bombardment from what sound like very large cannons. It must have been at some point last night when he left the confines of the camp and had an up close and personal with some portion of the aforementioned bombardment. Presumably (again with that weasel word) this did not have a happy ending for our late crewmember. It was Cadmus who found the evidence: about 500 yards from the ship was a large crater (really hoping it had gone off target and wasn’t being aimed in the direction of the DR, since that would just be so fucking bad I can’t even think about it), and at the bottom of the crater was Anteas’s featherjar. And that was it.
Preston, of all people, has been arguing that it “makes no fucken sense, cap, for Anteas to get exploded but a fucken glass jar to stay behind. ‘ts weird ‘swat it is. Think he’s still out there and he left the jar behind as a sign.” Perhaps. Or perhaps not. Whatever the case, I’m rid of a, hate to put it this way, burden. And if that sounds callous, it is. Greater good and all. I feel as though there should be some memorial, but the chaplain doesn’t seem up to it and no one really seems to care and anyway, there’s no body. This is, it seems, how we mourn for the dead: brief pause with no contemplation, and then oblivion. There is something tragic there. I will file the featherjar in the archives, for some future scholar to puzzle over. Maybe it will all make sense from that far perspective.
For now, there is nothing to do but wait for the siege to end. The ensuing chaos strikes me as a fair time to finish out the Haul, pulling the old DR through the streets of Svestapol (we’ve mounted it in a cradle, with wheels, and it looks suitably idiotic) like demented something or others (part of me wants to say “pirates,” but that word is taboo in these parts). It is entirely possible no one will notice us, and we will be able to get down to the docks or the shore or whatever. There we can dump the DR in the water (glossing over this bit, since it is likely to be a giant ball of suck), set sail and hope that I can figure out how to open a vortex. I think the silver ball is as good a focal point as any for that effort. Maybe the chaplain has some further ideas.
Shit. That’s about it. It’ll work or it won’t. If it doesn’t, I don’t imagine that our ending will be any happier than that of Anteas. Ah, Anteas. You were never my friend, but you were always there.
Alas poor Anteas, for I knew you not at all.