The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

June 20th 2014

I am glad we took Commodore Kane with us for although Jack and I might have managed our latest adventure well enough on our own having him along helped enormously. He arrived at Worlds End while Jack and I were going through our bags making sure we had everything we might need. According to the watch we were going to the Mesa Verta. I wasn't very familiar with the name but Jack explained that it was a cliff city in New Mexico that had been discovered completely abandoned in the early twentieth century. After making sure we were all prepared I opened the portal, then had to pause and explain to Draven what it was. He'd never seen it's like before. I don't think anyone had. Jack stepped through first and Draven followed. As I followed I heard them shouting and feared the worst but by then it was too late to stop. I started to plunge into empty air but Jack grabbed me. We had apparently been transported to the edge of a cliff. I must say this adventure really didn't do anything for my fear of heights.

After we managed to get back on solid ground we realized that there was something strange going on. The watch placed us sometime in the early 1200's when the city was occupied but there were no people that we could see. We began a search trying to determine what had happened and stumbled upon the corpse of a young woman. Further examination revealed that the city had been massacred. While I was looking for survivors I found a young boy who was simply terrified of me until I showed him I was not some kind of monster. I'd been wearing my goggles and the site of me in them was apparently quite frightening after all he'd been through. He was clinging to his dead mothers hand and when I got closer I saw that the woman had been shot. I gathered the boy into my arms and carried him back towards Jack and Draven only to be told to come no closer. Apparently while I'd been calming the boy they'd found a mass grave. There was one survivor in the grave and they hoisted him out. I am sad to say that I didn't even have a chance to save the poor mans life. He died a few moments after they pulled him from the grave.

Jack discovered that the poor man had been shot as well. He questioned the boy and was told that Yorks Henchmen had come looking for the watch but when the villagers wouldn't, or couldn't give it to them they had slaughtered them. Brack and Burnice confirmed what the boy told us. Yorks Henchmen had set up camp just over the ridge. After some debate it was decided that we would go back in time before the massacre and stop it from happening. I just know Edward will be furious when he hears of it but I don't care. These poor people did not deserve what happened to them. I gave the boy a sleeping pill hidden in jelly beans for he'd not take it by itself and once he was asleep we transported ourselves back. The watch took us to the day before the attack. It was remarked that perhaps we ought to have moved away from the village before transporting ourselves back through time for the villagers were giving us such looks of fright and awe. Jack spoke to them and was taken into a home where one of the sixteen bearers lay dieing. Apparently he'd had the same mishap we had and had fallen over the cliff. He hadn't been so lucky though and was now dieing from his injuries. While Jack and Draven spoke to the Chief I did my best to make the poor man comfortable. He told us his name was Mack Durance and that he'd hidden the watch for safe keeping.

Draven went to retrieve the watch while I injected the poor man with a powerful cocktail of pain relieving drugs. I've learned over the last few months to keep a well stocked field surgery kit on hand. I may not be a doctor but sometimes I'm all there is. He slipped into a dreamless sleep and Jack told me the man was not long for this world. He asked the chief to please watch over him until he passed. After Draven brought back the watch we left the small home only to find a large pile of items waiting for us. 'Gifts for the Great Travelers' we were told. We each took three items and returned the rest with our gratitude. Jack and Draven put their heads together and came up with a plan of attack. At dawn the next morning we would set ourselves up around Yorks camp and clean the earth of their murdering filth. Distressingly I was given a gun. I've never been good with a gun and it terrified me that my friends would be on the field of battle whilst I was shooting.

When dawn came Draven took me on his back to a high vantage point where I could get good clean shots. Again my fear of heights caused me to nearly embarrass myself and I fear I clung to him far more tightly than is appropriate. He didn't seem to mind though and I've the sneaking suspicion he enjoyed it. He deposited me safely then left for his own position. Kismet and Brack were flying overhead waiting to give me the signal to fire which would signal the others to attack as well. Kismet spoke in my mind as clear as a bell and I shot. I saw the man fall but I had no time to explore the feeling of successfully shooting another human being. I aimed and fired again. Then there was a great explosion. Burnice had set bombs all around the camp and had detonated them causing massive confusion amongst our enemies. It was all over in a matter of moments but it felt as if I had been shooting for hours. I was out of ammunition and I dropped the gun to the ground as wave after wave of guilt assailed me. I had shot another human being, several of them in fact. I'd never successfully hit a target much less a human and to my shame I started to weep.

That was how Jack found me. I gave him back his gun and told him I'd never shoot again. I will not. I loath guns for all their uses in battle and I cannot use one again. After Jack took me down to question the one man they'd kept alive I reaffirmed my previous assertion. I will not use a gun again. The damage to the body is too great, even a nonfatal wound is enough to cause major devastation to the victim. At least with my little knives I may defend myself and the wound will heal cleanly. Draven woke them man and was about to ask questions when the man bit down hard and crushed a poison capsule. He was dead in seconds. Closer examination revealed that they weren't infact men but golems. Magical constructs of clay in the shape of men. It made me feel a little better knowing I had not killed another human being. Draven says killing will get easier over time. That I shall become used to it. I do not want to become used to taking lives. They are not mine to take. No matter the evil they have done I haven't the authority to end anothers life.

We stripped the bodies of their modern trappings to preserve history and the dragons burned the remains to dust and I opened the portal to take us home. We found another watch on the body of the golem who poisoned itself. One of the sixteen. We took it with us. Now we have watch number 13 and watch number 8. We're making progress.

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