The Journal of Kunigonde Stoutenburgh, Gentlewoman

Roger Burton West

Table of Contents

Newton-X

1720, Friday, the first Day of April: London
5 January 2011
(Times in this Journal are kept by the Standard of London.)
Arose betimes and to the Royal Society, where it seems that at long last my Learning is to be put to practical Use. First met my fellow Venturers: a Frenchman, M. Nodier, near as festooned with strange and valuable Objects as myself; an Englishman, Commander Hodgson, by his Dress clearly so unfortunate as to have to live on his Navy Pay; and a Foreigner, Balaban úr, carrying of all things a Greatsword in the Streets of London! I have fallen into strange Company indeed.
Introduced to Sir Hans Sloane and to Sir Edmond Halley, who has singular Ideas about the flow of Time on other Worlds, and who mentioned the idea of some Members of the Society that Mathematics will offer the best Possibilities of Communication with the Natives, having apparently little Experience of the ways of Power; also to Mr Gardner, who has been venturing across the Astral to locate those same Worlds and determine our Targets; finally to Hr. Mortensen, an Astronomer working under Sir Edmond, who will travel with us to make Observations. We are to make Measurements with a portable Clock, very cunning of design, to determine the Ratio of Time between our own World and a Foreign one, the latter said to be uninhabited by humanity.
First then to provision ourselves, where my Edith erred in naming her Mistress before a Price could be set; Balaban úr made his Feelings clear, however, and carried away Food for a Week for the entire Expedition.
Saturday, the second Day of April
At Greenwich Observatory, Balaban úr concentrated on his Sword, a red Glow spreading from the Gem in its Hilt, and cut a Hole in the Air. Being forewarned of its brief Duration, M. Nodier and Commander Hodgson went ahead, followed by Balaban úr, Edith and my self. Hr. Mortensen, with his Handcart of Equipment, followed, just passing through before the Hole could close; Mr Gardner travelled by his own Means. On the Astral, our Party navigated from the outer Ghost Zone towards the inner Astral Sea, then back out to a different Ghost Zone. It seems that some other worlds are hazardous to the Traveller, and none has yet returned from them; this will repay investigation from a careful Distance. Seeing no reason to hide my Talent, I created a Gateway into our new World and we passed through in somewhat less Haste.

Solitude

Winter, in a new World
This new World proved cold, dark, and wet; clearly England casts a great Shadow across the Sea of Worlds. We waited until Dawn in our Tents; while I confirmed our Location and the local Time, the others of our Party felled Trees to establish a crude Observatory and espie the Moons of Jupiter and other calendrical Referents. This Endeavour was obstructed by M. Nodier falling ill, and several others having a Discomfort; my experience with Plants and their Effects on the Corpus allowed me to identify and remove the Influence, a Metal carried in the Stream we had been using for our Water – on future Expeditions we shall bring more Wine.
19 January 2011
Hr. Mortensen made Experiment with magnetic Compass, Sun-dial and Shadow Stick, but the Clouds prevented his Observation. That evening we fell to watch-keeping, my own Vision extended below Light; my Companions seemed surprized by my Boldness in taking a Watch, but I am sure they will come to understand that to gainsay me is unwise. Hr. Mortensen and Commander Hodgson seemed disturbed by the patterns of Stars in the Sky, saying that they were out of their proper Places; it seemed that this indicated that we were far from our own Time as well as our own World; though we could not yet tell whether this Distance were forward or backward.
The next day, Hr. Mortensen required that more Trees be felled; the Day was somewhat clearer than the Rain of before, and he was able to establish true Noon for the Benefit of his Clock. The Time of Sunset was apparently acceptable to the learned Gentleman, and he commenced Observation as it grew dark. We had seen no large Animals, but this was no great Surprize given the Amount of Noise we had been making. Hr. Mortensen believed from his Work that we were probably several thousand Years in the Past, rather than some dozen thousands of Years into the Future; this seems not immediately useful, but the Work seemed to make him happy.
At Break-fast next day, Edith was startled by a Bear; my Companions rushed to defend her, drawing a Variety of lethal Ironmongery. Balaban úr, being closest, drew his Sword and felled the Beast with a single Blow. Commander Hodgson reduced the Creature to its constituent Parts and we planned to dine. Hr. Mortensen had been awoken by the Commotion, and determined with his Clock that the Length of the Day seemed to lie within the Margin of seasonal Variation. The Bear was somewhat challenging to our Palates, but Commander Hodgson in particular seemed enthused by the Taste, if not by the later Effects.
With further Observations, Hr. Mortensen was able to refine his Theories and gain a closer idea of the Time, some time between two and four thousand Years in our Past. Clearly I must learn of the Skies to supplement my studies of the Earth. Balaban úr cut a Hole to our Home, allowing direct observation of the Clock at Greenwich. It appeared that approximately as much Time had passed at Home as for Us, a great Convenience.
When Daylight returned, Commander Hodgson flung himself into the Sky, planning to espie Ways in which we might explore. He reported that the Forest stretched in all Directions, but that a Rise to the South-West, roughly where the Remains of the great North Wood lie at Home, might offer a better Vantage. He and M. Nodier purposed to visit this Spot, but lacking a separate Tent it was felt that the Conditions were too adverse.
The next Night, a full Day and Night after the previous Observation, Balaban úr cut a Hole again, but felt that it was not suitable to our Purpose; a further Hour later, he tried again, with more Success. Hr. Mortensen was disconcerted at this Observation, determining that this World was running more slowly than our own, by three Hours in the Day. If the two Worlds had begun at the same point, this would indicate that both Worlds were some dozens of thousands of Years old, rather than the five or six thousand believed by alpl sensible Men. More importantly, the scope for Arbitrage seems great, paying men in this Place for work done at Home.
The Difference in Time suggested to Hr. Mortensen that the Force of Gravity might differ here, but lacking Instruments the possibility of Measurement seemed remote. Duplicating the Experiment of Hooke, using lead Spheres on a Thread to measure the Force, seemed to promise some Possibility of Success; however, a more leisurely Approach seemed to be indicated, and this Project was deferred until a second Expedition might be arranged. Instead, we remained for three more Days, continuing to measure the Differential.
This Work completed, we planned our Return. As before, I brought up the Rear, being able to return Home on my own should it be necessary, but as it transpired we were all able to cross without Incident.
1720, Friday, the eighth Day of April
We returned to our various Homes, and attended the Royal Society on the next Day to make our Report.
Some Excitement, in that this Difference in Flow of Time was not something that had been learned in detail from the C—. While these Informations were being ruminated upon, it was suggested that another World might be visited, one in which Henry V was still on the Throne; though this Expedition would be one to be kept Covert.
After some Research, it appeared that the Land belonged to a Monastery in Bruges, and that presenting ourselves as foreign Religious (under a Vow not to sleep under solid Roofs) should allow us to claim Hospitality. With one of our Number ill of some unspecified Ailment, and another claiming to be his Physician, it should prove permissible to stay for several days.
2 February 2011
Balaban úr studied the Route to this newer World, but first there was a Party to be considered, held by Sir Edmond.
1720, Saturday, the sixteenth Day of April
I studied further Spells, while Edith arranged for new Clothes for the Occasion. Commander Hodgson was accosted on the way to the Event, by a fellow C––ist asking Direction to Sir Edmond’s Lodgings. The Commander was able to discern his partial Dissimulation, though he appeared not to be immediately Hostile.
On Arrival, the Stranger gave his Name as Mr Collins, and was admitted. He addressed himself to Sir Edmond, and explained that he was seeking Assistance; Commander Hodgson was able to pass on his Misgivings before any hasty Promises could be made.
After some Delay we were invited to join Sir Edmond and to meet several of his other Guests – Sir Hans Sloane, whom we had previously met; Mr Martin Folkes, a Theorist of Magic and the originator of the theory of Mathematics as a prerequisite for technical Development; Mr Robert Smith, a Mathematician; Mr William Stukeley, Antiquary; Mr Gardner; and Sr Rigos Sapienza, from the outworld portion of the C—. They discussed some of the Works of Engineering that were being developed: solar Concentrators, Vehicles powered by Springs, calculating Engines, and other Strangenesses.
I circulated and had Intercourse with these Gentles; Sr Sapienza spoke with Mr Collins, who was pressed to reveal his Mission: to free his World from the “Forces of Evil”. He had no magical Training or ability to travel Worlds, and had apparently been disposed of here. His Evil seemed to be the Forces of “Liberalism and the Jews”, and his home World was in the Year Nineteen Hundreds and Eighty-Five, where his Nation of American Colonies had rebelled against its rightful Masters. This, I must admit, rather shocked me to the Extent of losing Concentration for a Moment, but his further Babblings seemed concentrated on the Power of “Television” and how it could be used as a Tool of Revolution and Sedition.
Sr Sapienza offered Mr Collins a Position as a Consultant on Technology of the Future, and indeed his Alternatives seemed bleak, with no ready Means of returning him to his own World. While he considered his Position, Sr Sapienza spoke with us, in particular noting the difference in Philosophy between his own World’s secrecy and our own Society’s Approach to Inquiry and Sharing of Informaion gained. He offered some information on Worlds through which he had travelled, though quite properly not about his own (the C—’s own) Home; he also described a divinatory Art that offered some possibility of learning some characteristics of a World from study of its Shadow on the Astral, and the Possibility of learning this seemed most promising.
The Foreign parts of the C—, by Sr Sapienza’s Reckoning, tended to be less Curious than our own as to the Underpinnings and Nature of Worlds; but Sr Sapienza mentioned a World of Dragons and Magic, another of Imperial Rome (ruled in Secret by the C—), one apparently still Locked into our own Civil War, and another where the Spanish Invasion of Elizabethan Times had succeeded. Mr Gardner also spoke of Worlds, one from which the first Explorer had not returned, the two we had already considered, and one apparently before the Norman Conquest. He mentioned also a World claimed to be in Eighteen Hundred and Four, one where the Norman Invasion was a Failure, and one in Seventeen Hundred and Forty-Five. (Since their Newton died in their Great Plague, they could not be far technically advanced over us, but they might still repay our Attention.) Another World seemed pre-Saxon, but linguistic Difficulties had prevented him learning much; and one, described as Frightening, had a great deal of Magic, a Plantagenet King, and a concerning Willingness to talk of Angels.
We added our own Experience of Worlds to the Information, and noted a curious Divergence of Histories; even those in our own Past often seemed to differ in substantial Detail. This done, we left the Party and returned to our Homes.
We made further Preparation, and readied ourselves to travel to 1418, M. Nodier planning to be a Doctor, while Commander Hodgson would be unwell with the King’s Evil. Balaban úr went ahead to espie the Layout of the Roads, while the Remainder of our Party remained on the Astral, studying the new Divinatory Form. (It seems that Ur Baladan encountered a Monk and established friendly Relations, at least enough to camp for a single Night.)
1720, Sunday, the seventeenth Day of April

Henry V

16 February 2011
We passed to and through Ur Balaban’s Gate, onto the far Side of the Hill from the Monastery, and approached it on Foot. The Weather was not inclement, and we reached the Hill by shortly after Sunset. We pitched our Tents and espied the Monastery, some two Miles distant. Balaban úr returned to the Monastery to advise them of our Presence.
On his Return, he advised us that here the next Day would be Sunday, and that as Pilgrims we would be expected to attend Communion. As we had discussed, Commander Hodgson would play ill, and M. Nodier would play his Attendant, but the other four of us would go.
Before then, we made Measurement of the Moon and Planets, by magical and other Means. In the Morning we vested and proceeded to the Monastery, doing our best to appear as Catholics and apparently not raising Suspicions, since we were invited to break our Fast. The Monstery’s Physician wished to attend our sick Companion, but we were able to dissuade him, explaining that his own Attendant was more familiar with his Ailment.
We returned and conducted more Measurements; my gravitational Device shewed no Change from our Home. Balaban úr spoke with the Monks again, asking after news of England and her King, and returning his Recollection of contemporary News from Spain. They sent two Monks back with him, but Commander Hodgson’s imitation of a sick Man was sufficient to dissuade them from close Inspection; the ticking of our Clock was rather harder to mask, but with a variety of non-Explanations we persuaded them to leave.
Balaban úr opened a Gate to our Home, which allowed Observations with no Difficulty, and another later in the Afternoon. There had been a ten-minute Shift after some few Hours; this suggested that the Theory of a common starting Year was inadequate to explain the Rates of Time between Worlds.
After Nightfall, Hr. Mortensen measured the Positions of the Stars, to refine Sir Edmond’s observations of proper Motion. Again the Night was uneventful; a third Observation the next morning shewed a somewhat consistent Ratio of Time, some one Part in Thirty-Five.
A fourth Observation was made at Noon, and the Slippage remained as before. Our Objectives now being complete, we decided to take our Leave, visiting the Monastery one last Time. Once out of Sight, we returned to the Astral, Ur Balaban’s gate lasting just long enough for our Passage, and then home, to Bath and to Bed.
1720, Wednesday, the twentieth Day of April
We met the next Day at the Society, where Commander Hodgson had received some good News: that a Prize had finally been awarded to him, such that his Finances would be somewhat less straitened. I promised to ask my Brothers the Direction of a good Tailor for him.
As we spoke with Sir Edmond, it was clear that he was working on a new Theory of Time. He also spoke of several Worlds that might repay our Attention. The World of Seventeen Hundred and Forty-Five, absent Newton, seemed to offer great Possibilities, though the Possibility of meeting our Twins offered Danger. Learning from the new World’s Royal Society presented the greatest Opportunity, and other Book-sellers should be approachable.
As for Measurement of Time, Hr. Mortensen planned a Semaphore system to carry the Signal of Time from Greenwich to whatsoever Place on this World might correspond to that at which we might establish ourselves on the other Side, which by M. Nodier’s suggestion we would call Sans-Newton. We should need to arrange such a Place, some little way outside London but still near a main Road; Blackheath, across the Heath from Greenwich, seemed likely to serve us well..

Sans-Newton

1720, Thursday, the twenty-first Day of April
Balaban úr brought us on to the Astral, and Commander Hodgson brought us to the correct Place to espy Sans-Newton; attempting Divination gave little new Information, so we proceeded. The Season was clearly Autumn, with cloud and mizzle. A quick Glance across the Hill shewed that Greenwich was much as we should expect, with some little new Building but nothing revolutionary.
2 March 2011
The first order of Business seemed to be to procure a Place of Lodging, for which Purpose we should travel up River. Taking a Recommendation from the Boatman, we proceeded to an Hostelry in Clerkenwell to take Rooms for the Night. On the Way, Commander Hodgson purchased several Broadsheets, informing us that the date was November of 1745. It seemed that rebellious Stuarts were returning to their old Habits, having defeated some Armies in Scotland and even pushed into England. The “Astrological Gazette” was apparently devoted to the Subject of that Name, and appeared internally consistent, insofar as such Things can be. Our Coinage passed Muster; George II appeared to be on the Throne, since approximately 1725 or 1727.
The Night passed without Incident; on the Morrow, M. Nodier sold some of the Jewellery that he had brought for the Purpose. Meanwhile, Edith arranged for modern Clothing for us, while Commander Hodgson did the same for himself. After Noon, he went out again with M. Nodier and Balaban úr to rent a substantial House. We moved in, Edith and Balaban úr procuring what small Items were immediately needed.
Over the next several Days, we bought Books and Newspapers to learn all we could about this World. I located a Collection of the London Gazette, to allow us to learn History as well as current Affairs. Commander Hodgson established that the reflective Telescope had not been invented, suggesting that this world’s Newton might have died quite young – or, as I was coming to suspect, his Genius had been channelled in a different Direction.
It seemed also that one Thomas Brown of Winchelsea had predicted astrologically the Glorious Revolution, and had been martyred for it, the result of this being that scientific Astrology had become somewhat respectable. Many scientific Developments had happened later than in our world, but Technology was still somewhat more advanced from that with which we were familiar.
The House had also been built at Home, and belonged to a Gentleman who did not use it all Year; it was therefore arranged that the Royal Society should rent it. Commander Hodgson and Balaban úr considered the Possibility of purchasing Land near London that would soon be built on; my Concern was more in the Direction of Inventions that could be profitably brought Home and patented, particularly Clocks.
Commander Hodgson and Balaban úr travelled to Cambridge, to learn what they could of Sir Isaac’s early Career. By report they were briefly held up on the Highway, but without Loss; indeed, this gave them some Cachet with their fellow Passengers, allowing them Introduction to the Archivists of Trinity. This World’s Sir Isaac, having left Trinity when it closed because of the Plague, had not returned, and was assumed to have died. The Pair continued to Lincolnshire to examine Records of the Parish; this World’s Newton had indeed died in 1666.
Meanwhile, M. Nodier sought Consultations in Astrology, using his own Date of Birth and claiming to be seeking on behalf of an elderly Relative. This allowed him to learn the Elements of the astrological System and how it could be practically used – as well as the Course of the South Seas Affair. It appeared that the normal Means of learning the System was an Apprenticeship, which would take rather too long a time for our Purposes.
While shopping for Books, Commander Hodgson was accosted by the Bookseller’s Assistant, who recognised him as her deceased Brother “Eugene”; he attempted to disclaim all Knowledge, while learning that this world’s Hodgson had disappeared at Sea in 1719 during a Mission related to the Great Northern War; the Lady asked him to return in several Days by which Time she would have had Leisure to reflect on the Situation.
On Reflection, it seemed potentially rewarding to engage an Astrologer of our own, such that I could persuade him to teach me – much as I had learned the Sciences of our own World.
While we had not yet established Observations of Greenwich, Balaban úr reported that this world was running faster than ours, in the ratio of sixteen to eleven. This suggested a Point of Divergence in 1665: the Year of Newton’s Death! However, there were some minor Differences even before that date: different typographical Errors in the printed Bible, and in the exact dates and locations of Drake’s and Tasman’s Voyages.
While we were discussing these Matters, a Merchant named Smythe called unannounced, wishing to speak to the Master; I joined Commander Hodgson in speaking with him. He appeared not to be a Mage, nor was he Possessed or highly emotional. (Commander Hodgson, reading Smythe’s Mind, found him to be considering that both he and we were “blending in” well...)
23 March 2011
Mr Smythe verified that we were “all of one party”, then claimed to work for His Majesty in confidential Matters, and that certain odd Events had been detected in this House – specifically in the Matter of Travel to other Places, not by physical Means. He further claimed that his Job was to detect such Travellers, and ensure that they did not affect the orderly Flow of Society. His Object seemed to be to require us to answer Questions from his Fellows to assure them that we had no ill intentions.
Commander Hodgson was dubious; he felt that at the very least the Reference to His Majesty was surely not to this World’s current King, and that Smythe might well himself not be from this World. Indeed, his Carriage might take us rather further than we hoped. The Commander challenged Smythe with the former, and Smythe admitted that he was from indeed from elsewhere.
After a few moments of Impasse, there was a Crash from the front Door of the House, and Smythe pulled out a pocket Pistol of unfamiliar Design. Balaban úr drew his Sword at the same Moment; Smythe got off his Shot as his Arm was crippled, but this seemed to have no Effect on Balaban úr.
As more Foes seemed to be approaching, I conjured an Illusion of an empty Room to conceal our Positions, and we prepared to be attacked. The Door was kicked open, and the first Attacker threw himself in, to be grievously sliced by Balaban úr. Two more Attackers shot Balaban úr, discommoding him for the first time that we had observed.
As the Illusion had collapsed, I caused a clap of Thunder behind the Attackers to disorientate them. Commander Hodgson and I covered the wounded Foes while Balaban úr advanced on the others, though he was sadly unable to hit them at first. Once he was able to do so, one of them went down but the other survived his hit to shoot Balaban úr in return, apparently doing some substantial damage.
The two continued to struggle with each other, Balaban úr gaining an Advantage; the other, prompted by M. Nodier’s Magic, let fall his Weapon and was induced to surrender. Commander Hodgson proceeded to the lower Floor and outside, to deal with the Coachman, who saw him and took Cover while encouraging his Horses. The Commander caught up and stopped the Coach, at which the Coachman jumped down and fled, but when tripped and caught he also surrendered.
The fallen and now restrained Foes possessed a variety of strange Equipment, including tough Fabric shrouding their Bodies. Commander Hodgson recovered the Coach, which contained further odd Devices. I healed Balaban úr, who was not in Pain but apparently somewhat impaired nonetheless.
While we were discussing what to do with the Prisoners, Smythe made a Proposition: that he should tell us his Identity and Affiliation, in return for which we would leave each other alone hereafter. This seemed worth the Venture, so we agreed.
His Faction and World, it appeared, were called Centrum, and was of a very late Date (the third Millennium!) and great Population, using ingenious Technology rather than Magic to cross between Worlds, and attempting to build what appeared to be a cross-World Empire. We shared some Information; they had detected us by Coincidence, when Commander Hodgson had encountered his parallel-Sister, and watched us thereafter with a variety of Devices of Detection. He portrayed his principal Foe, “Infinity”, as a Collection of Organisations, essaying a variety of different and sometimes incompatible Goals.
In the more immediate Term, Smythe admitted that he could not conceal our Presence here from his Superiors; it seemed that we would have to leave this World (though others from our World might be able to return later).
Some Discussion ensued as to our proper Actions at this Point. We felt that we must indeed leave our Foes alive and in this World, with much of their Equipment. A particular Consideration was the Situation of Miss Hodgson, but there seemed little Possibility of keeping her out of Danger by moving her elsewhere. Commander Hodgson felt that we had taken steps to establish friendly Relations; the Remainder of us disagreed.
While Commander Hodgson went to see his Sister, M. Nodier and I cast Spells to allow us to track our Captives later; we then released them, but took the captured Coach to a quiet Spot sufficiently far from the House and not too far from the River, allowing us to take a Boat to Greenwich. Balaban úr took us to the empty World, Solitude, then to the Astral, and then Home, moving from Place to Place in each World.
30 March 2011
1720, Monday, the sixteenth Day of May
Having arrived on Blackheath early in the Morning, we proceeded to our Houses, then after some Sleep to the Royal Society and to make our Report to Sir Edmond. Our first Concern was to shut down the House corresponding to the Location on Sans-Newton, and remove all Trace pointing to us.
Sr Sapienza claimed to know little of Centrum, indeed to have had his Knowledge significantly increased by our Report. He raised the Question of the Means of Travel used by Infinity and Centrum; they apparently did not use the Astral, but were limited in the Worlds to which they would move by some other Parameter not clear to us.
The Risk to future Missions to Sans-Newton seemed great; however, Sr Sapienza believed he could discern the Interest of Centrum there, very probably hoping to assist the Scots in their attempted Rebellion against the rightful King. For this Reason, they might not be concentrated in London.
Lacking a more powerful Force, we felt that taking direct Advantage of the Spells might not be practicable; starting Rumours of our Foes’ Trachery with the local Authorities seemed as though it might be more viable, though still challenging.
It seemed reasonable to travel at once back to Sans-Newton, to attempt a Trace on the Spells; we did so on Hampstead Heath, but neither M. Nodier nor I was able to locate our erstwhile Foes; we returned to our Home and retired, attempting to re-set our Habits to the local Time. (When Commander Hodgson arrived at his Lodgings, his Sister revealed that she had received an anonymous Parcel containing three Works of Amatory Fiction; it was not clear why or from whom.)
Balaban úr proposed that we selectively rob the Library of the Sans-Newton Royal Society, but this appeared to present substantial potential Difficulties. Commander Hodgson attempted to buy Land that would be developed in the Future, on the basis of the Patterns observed in Sans-Newton, but found he had arrived somewhat late to the Game.
The armoured Fabric that we had recovered seemed possible to adapt for our Use, though none of the Jerkins was cut for a Lady; it proved possible to adapt the Frock-Coat for my use. The Weapons were less useful, lacking sufficient Quantities of Powder and Shot.
We met Sr Sapienza, he having consulted with fellow C—ists. It seemed that Centrum was prone to working on multiple Worlds at once, generally through political Means; some of their Machinations had the Effect of reducing the local Mana on a World. Infinity was less, as one might say, centralised, and seemed to have less of a coherent Philosophy, though they seemed in general to oppose the works of Centrum. It seemed likely that we might more easily find common Ground with some of the Merchant Venturers of Infinity than with the single Viewpoint of Centrum.
Commander Hodgson passed one of the Firearms to Mr Collins, our Visitor, who seemed greatly cheered to see something more advanced than could be developed locally. He recognised them as a form of Fowling-Piece, but was unable to assist us in duplicating Weapons or Ammunition. He also explained, to a very basic Level, his People’s method of communication at a Distance.
I continued with my Studies, attempting to lay out a Framework for the Classification of living Things.
1720, Monday, the fourth Day of July
After some weeks, we were ready to visit another World. After some Discussion, we settled on two: raiding Sans-Newton’s Library, and observing the World of Eighteen Hundred and Four from the Astral.
During the Raid, Commander Hodgson attempted to detect other Gates, but was unsuccessful. Using Magic to see in the Dark, we removed, had copied, and returned as many relevant Books as we were able, over a Period of some Weeks, to assist our the Philosophers at Home. This done, we observed the new World for some Time from the Astral, attempting to locate their Royal Society (it having moved from Crane Court), and espying Fashions and other Matters to allow us to have Clothes made so as to blend with the Natives of this World.

Napoleon Total War

27 April 2011
We passed into the new World, to find reasonably pleasant Weather and no immediate Observers. We progressed into Blackheath Village, listening to the local Accent (and paying Attention to foreign Accents, thinking that we might have to imitate them). In a Coffee-Shop with Newspapers, we attempted to learn what had lately been occurring; the great News was that some man called Napoleon had become Emperor of the French (with no Mention of the French Royal Family), and that Britain was at War with the French Empire (which appeared to include much of Europe).
This gave us somewhat to think. The local English Accent also seemed different from what we knew, more clipped; this would take Time for us to learn to speak. For the Moment, we went in search of a Bookshop, to find that many more Books were available than we were used to. We came away with a Variety of Books (some of them written for Children!) on History, the current War, and Popular Science.
We repaired to an Inn and commenced to read. The late Revolution in France, as well as later Developments, concerned us somewhat. The Failure of the Jacobite Rebellions was inevitable but more encouraging. Developments of Science were profound, manifold, and fascinating, consuming several Days of my Time.
Balaban úr christened this World “Napoleon Total War”, and proceeded with M. Nodier to carry our Treasure of Books back to our Home. Meanwhile, Commander Hodgson and I went to sell some of the Jewellery we had brought for the Purpose, then arranged the rental of a House.
Commander Hodgson purchased a set of Naval Chronometers, while I discovered Gazetteers and started to locate our Targets – firstly, of course, the Royal Society, which turned out to be in a new Building overlooking the Thames. I also attempted to locate the nearest natural Gate, in the Hope that this might allow us to learn when Centrum or other Powers arrived, but had no immediate Success.
Commander Hodgson tried similarly; he received a brief Impression from the general area of Hampton Court, but was unable to locate it more closely. Balaban úr returned a Chronometer to our Home, to allow us to measure the Rate of Time. Sending back a local Almanack allowed Mortensen to verify the Date.
After some further Days of reading, we decided to make an Expedition to Hampton Court in the Hope of re-locating the Magical Activity that Commander Hodgson had detected. On this Occasion I did detect a Gate – but it was many miles away, probably in Wookey Hole as expected, rather than nearby.
After two Weeks, we confirmed the Difference in Time – too little to be sure that it was not within the Range of Error of the Instrument. There was no further Sign of active Gates.
We studied a Factory, being concerned by the Noise and Conditions; we studied the new Science of Economics, making little initial Progress.
After much further Research, we made Plans to investigate the Library of the Royal Society. Balaban úr brought us via the Astral; M. Nodier ensured the Watchman would remain asleep; I caused myself to be able to see in the Dark, read the Catalogue, and started to abstract Books to be copied. We continued this for some Weeks before returning Home.
1720, Monday, the twelfth Day of September
Our next trip was to be the alternate Rome operated by the C—; on the Basis that the Preparations needed would teach us more about Methods of Infiltration on other Worlds, as well as about the C— itself. Sir Edmond asked that we keep in Mind the Return of his Comet, and inform him if we were to visit a World where this could be observed.
11 May 2011
Sr Sapienz was able to instruct our Tailors in the basics of Roman Clothing, as well as the Addresses of further C—ists in their Rome who would be able to provide accurate Replacements once we arrived. (It seemed that their Affairs in C––Rome were tied up with Modification of the Auspices, something they were at Pains to keep Secret.)
We planned to sail to New Ostia in our own World, then displace ourselves to C––Rome, and visit a C—ist there to provide proper Documentation. He would also be able to provide us with Teaching in the proper Accents and Behaviour for Barbarians from the outskirts of the C––Roman Empire.

C––Rome

Equipment was a matter of some Concern; we would have to leave behind not only our Guns but our modern Swords (except for Ur Balaban’s). While waiting for Information and Equipment, Balaban úr cut his way via the Astral to C––Rome’s Londinium, to enable us to measure the Rate of Time (though the two Chronometers, carried together through the Astral by Commander Hodgson, shewed different Times). We startled some of the Indigenes, but planned to stay for a little Time; Balaban úr would return directly Home with one Chronometer, then come back for us a Day later.
A little later, a Shepherd approached, but I was able to hide us under Cover of Illusion; the next Day, Balaban úr returned and brought us Home. The Rate of Time appeared close to identical to our Home.
Hr. Mortensen was concerned by our Observations; they seemed to indicate that the Date of C––Rome was closer to 1700 Anno Domini than to 246 (or possibly an hundred or so Years earlier)... if we could gain Information about Tycho’s Supernova, this could make Matters more Clear.
A return Trip with the larger Telescope left me at Home, but with Edith on C––Rome with the others. Hr. Mortensen confirmed the Date to be most probably 1700 after all. M. Nodier attempted to confirm by Divination that this was indeed C––Rome, with what he believed to be Success; further Confirmation came from Balaban úr and Commander Hodgson making a Trip to the Astral. Further Scrying gave conflicting Results with respect to the Flows of World-Currents, suggesting some Effect centred on this World’s Rome, perhaps even some work of Artifice in the Shape of the World.
On the group’s Return and Conference with Sir Edmond, it appeared that more might be learned by travelling to the Centre of the Effect: to wit, Rome! Of more Concern was whether Sr Sapienza would be informed of our Discoveries... Sir Edmond wished to consult Sir Hans. Some Days later, after further Consultation involving Sir Isaac, the Decision was made to ask Sr Sapienza about the Oddities, observing carefully his Reaction. He seemed more than anything else puzzled and advanced a Number of Theories, the most likely-seeming Explanation being a magical Oddity in Rome.
I was able to arrange for Passage on a Ship insured by the Family, and we packed Gems and other saleable Trinkets. The Voyage, my first of any Length, was most Enjoyable, particularly the little Chop across the Bay of Biscay, though for some Reason the Captain felt that Repairs were needed at Gibraltar even though my Companions had been assisting with needed Work.
On the next Leg of the Trip, all went well until the Attack by Barbary Corsairs. Two Ships attempted to contain us between them; my Magic being of little Use in such a Situation, Edith and I took Shelter below Decks while the Captain brought us much closer to the pursuing Ship than to the Other, allowing our Combatants to Fight the Crews of one Ship at a Time.
When the Noise had abated, we emerged. Many of the Pirates were now dead, and the Remainder had surrendered. Their Rigging we burned, their Deck-Guns we largely removed, and the Survivors we left secured below Decks. On seeing this Situation, the other Ship sheered off. I was able surreptitiously to heal our own Wounded more than conventional Skill would allow.
Some Days later, we arrived at Ostia...
25 May 2011
1720, Monday, the last Day of October
We disposed of the Guns, sharing the Money with our Captain, and proceeded to Rome, to stow the Equipment we would not take out-World.
The Place was in a shocking State of Disrepair, perhaps because of the poor Economy of the State; nonetheless, the Visit was educational and enjoyable. We located a Jeweller, and rented one of his Vaults for six Months (rather longer than we planned to remain), stowing therein various Guns, Clothes, Navigational Instruments and Weapons. More annoying was my Realisation that I would be unable to take Notes, Quill Pens and worthwhile Ink being too advanced for this World.
We took the Road towards Ostia, then stepped away from the Road for a suitable Place of Transition. We gained some few Hours of Daylight in the Journey; M. Nodier and I confirmed that the level of Mana was similar to ours or somewhat higher. Commander Hodgson sensed Currents of the World, tangled and thick above Rome, gradually thinning elsewhere.
We resumed our Walk towards Ostia and the C— Agent, gathering odd Looks from the Travellers we met; our Apparel was clearly out of Place. Furthermore, there seemed to be two Ostiae: both the real, old, Town, and the unexpected, New Ostia, further down the Tiber (though still in the Roman Style of Construction).
We followed Directions to the House of Gaius Aquila Falco, and made ourselves known to him. He seemed somewhat perturbed to meet us, though his Reasons were not clear – and he was at least prepared to take several Weeks to teach us the local Customs, the Foibles of the local Instance of Latin, &c. There was some Discussion of Price, which we were able to Negotiate. Or Story was not to be Romans, but rather to be foreign Barbarians newly arrived via Crete.
Among other Matters, we explained to Gaius the Confusion of Worlds and Time. Another C—ist, an Astrologer named Louis, told us the History of this World: some hundred and eighty Years ago, the World changed overnight, with the Tiber suddenly silting, the Planets shifting in the Sky, and such like Changes. However, Crops were still standing in the Fields, and in divers other Ways the World remained the same.
The current Emperor was Philip the Arab, well-liked but profligate; he was paying the Parthians but not the Germans. The C— had only been visiting this World for only an hundred Years or thereabouts.
We exchanged Information on our future History, not giving away an Excess of Detail, but mentioning the technological Travellers we had met.
Some Days later, Louis returned with Octavian, an Historian and Geographer. It seemed that the southern part of Greece had sunk overnight, as Commander Hodgson had predicted, this having happened more slowly in our own World. Weather, however, had not noticeably changed.
1720, Wednesday, the fifteenth Day of November
Our Lessons complete, we set off by Boat for this World’s Rome. We commenced by looking for a Guide, and found one Julian, who appeared young but competent. The only Lodging to be had was in an Insula, but it seemed more robust than many.
Julian shewed us many of the Sights of the Town, including the Circus and the Coliseum, as well as the Pantheon – though M. Nodier seemed unable to believe it could be a safe Structure.
A C—ist Astrologer named Dionysius would be, we hoped, able to enlighten us further. He regretted that no C—ist had been present to observe the Transition. Records of that Time suggested that Structures such as Fences had degenerated, though not to the extent one might expect for such a Shift of Time. It also transpired that the Great Fire of Rome, in 68 AD, had not happened – though the Transition had cleared much of the same Land, allowing Construction of the Coliseum and such. M. Nodier confirmed that the level of Mana here was higher than it had been without the Walls.
That night, Balaban úr went out alone for his own Purposes, coming back with his Clothing slightly disarrayed and a smug Mien.
1720, Thursday, the sixteenth Day of November
M. Nodier went out to obtain a pre-Transition Coin and a suitable Agate, as well as other magical Ingredients. Commander Hodgson studied the Flows in more Detail, reporting that at their Centre (over the Forum) was a great Eye. Meanwhile, unaware of this, I travelled to the Pantheon to determine the Level of Mana, finding it to my Surprize very much lower than outside – though the Forum was higher. (The Temple to the Deified Emperors was similarly low in Mana.)
M. Nodier discerned the History of a Coin from before the Transition; its Manufacture pre-dated the thousand-Year Reach of the Spell, suggesting that the World had been placed in some form of Stasis.
1 June 2011
A further C—ist Contact was Xerxes, a Persian Astrologer, and we travelled to visit him and ask about his Records. He was aware that, it seemed, everyone had fallen asleep for some Time, but had no Idea as to Causes; he had noticed that the Level of Magic was higher in Rome, and had come here to study it.
It seemed, by his Observation, that faithful Worship of the Roman Gods would suppress the true Magic and substitute another Kind, slower and less effective but nonetheless potent. However, the Adherents of these Ideas were, it seemed, unwilling to engage in scientific Discussion.
Commander Hodgson being indisposed, we explained to Xerxes our own Observations, and in particular Commander Hodgson’s Sense of an Eye over the Forum. Xerxes seemed suitably concerned, and most immediately responded that there was a Problem, graver than he had previously suspected, which we might be able to solve.
He had a fellow-Countryman, not a C—ist, a Worshipper of Mithras in his own peculiar Form, who had been speaking of Rome being “especially watched” and might well have more Information. But it seemed that this Man had been excessive in his Zeal for his own Gods (and more relevantly failing properly to observe the Roman Gods) and was at present a Prisoner in the Coliseum. This Man’s name was Majid, and Xerxes was able to give us a Description.
However, while it might be possible to talk to Majid, getting him out seemed as though it would prove somewhat harder – particularly considering our Wish to remain able to operate in Rome after the Extraction. Some Discussion ensued, leading to an Approach of two potential Strands: to find a Bookmaker able to tell us the Schedule of the Games and the Disposition of Prisoners, and to consider the Extraction of Majid by magical Means.
We returned that Night to Julian, and asked him entirely hypothetically how one would go about finding an appropriate Bookmaker. By a convoluted Route he gave us the Direction of a suitable Man, who would be available in the Morning.
The Possibility arose of learning the specific Spells for travelling to this World from the Astral, which seemed a worth-while Occupation, and I purposed to spend the next several Days doing that.
1720, Friday, the seventeenth Day of November
While I was undertaking these Studies, Balaban úr spoke to the Bookmaker Siderius and gathered Information on the Games. Majid was due to participate in an Event of the second Day, giving us some little Margin. Balaban úr placed a Number of Bets for Verisimilitude.
1720, Saturday, the eighteenth Day of November
This Information gathered, Balaban úr and M. Nodier studied the Coliseum from the Astral, attempting through some Difficulties to locate the Cell in which Majid was imprisoned.
1720, Sunday, the nineteenth Day of November
M. Nodier and Balaban úr continued their Researches on the Astral, encountering and defeating some Creature similar to the classical Fury, though not before it had scraped M. Nodier’s armour. They determined that they were able to re-locate the Cell in which Majid was held.
1720, Monday, the twentieth Day of November
My Studies complete, we proceeded with the Plan, travelling on the Astral to the Coliseum and to the relevant Cell. Two of the Prisoners, not those of Interest to us, were awake, and M. Nodier prepared to suppress them. I cast the Gate, and Balaban úr and M. Nodier stepped through. While Balaban úr picked up and retrieved the Men of Interest, M. Nodier stunned the two alert Prisoners, and we withdrew to the Astral.
Over the next little while we continued to observe the cell; one of the Prisoners who had seen us eventually recovered his Wits enough to start screaming, and was subdued by his fellow-Prisoners.
We left the other Prisoner, calling himself Julius, outside Rome on the Road to Ostia, and took Majid to that Port, I first disguising him somewhat. He was pleased to cö-operate with us, explaining to us that he was a Priest of the Roman Cult of Mithras (as opposed to its native Persian Form, and not discussing why the Persian Empire might wish this Cult to spread in its major Rival).
He referred to the watching Power as "IT", an Entity not lightly to be named, living in the Gaps between Worlds, forming the Astral as a Portion of its Dreams. He regarded his Persian Gods as "larger" than the Roman Gods, and IT was larger again, dealing with more essential Ideas and Concepts, fundamentally unaware of human Concerns. ITs own Imagination, it seemed, created Monsters; the Worlds were its Memories. (We considered this with due Terror.)
His Theory of History was that some Roman Worshippers of IT caused IT by some Means to Forget about Life for a Time – he theorised that this was for the Purposes of Looting. However, he was not aware of the greatness of the Span of Time that had passed without Life.
M. Nodier agreed to arrange for Majid to get away from Rome by Boat, procuring for him a suitable Passport (from Falco) and such like.
8 June 2011
1720, Tuesday, the twenty-first Day of November
We returned via the Astral to our Insula, finding Commander Hodgson much recovered (indeed, having had some gentle Adventures of his own), and considered what might next be done.
Via Julian, we gathered News of the Arena; it transpired that the News had indeed spread, that Majid had not entered the Arena; this Information was given in such a Way as to imply his Death in the Cells. We attempted to contact Xerxes to give him some Hint as to the happy Fate of his fellow Countryman, but without Success.
We felt that the Information we had learned from Majid did not perhaps deserve wide Dissemination just yet. It was, rather, the Time to continue our nominal Mission here, to meet more Members of the C—. We proceeded to visit Louis, who invited us to sup with him.
Louis was pleased with the Profligacy of the Empire, but concerned that the present imperial System offered little Stability of Succession. Among other Matters, we wondered how we might be of Assistance to the C— here in Rome; Louis in return was curious as to our Lack of Bragging, this being a Common Trait of other C—ists of whom he was aware.
On this World, Members of the C— had infiltrated the System of Collegia, both as Sponsors and as Participants, this giving Access to and Influence on the Government. There was however some Controversy as to whether the Government best served the Interests of the C— by Stability or Dynamism; indeed on some Occasions C—ists were prone to sponsor Candidates for the Imperial Throne, though the Results of this were at best unclear.
We planned to exchange magical Theory and Procedure with Louis, as the most direct Assistance that we could easily provide to each other – mostly our Knowledge of Magic and of Navigation. He would also ask his Colleagues whether our small Services might be useful to them. He knew of nobody who was a professional Explorer of new Worlds, but would consider his Connections.
It was not clear what the Women of Rome might do by way of Science and Magic; Louis planned to gain some more Information, and commended me to one Antonia, a female C—ist of his distant Acquaintance.
1720, Wednesday, the twenty-second Day of November
While waiting for other Events, we proceeded to the Baths (Edith and I escorted by Balaban úr). I found myself speaking with a local Lady on the Subject of the proper Place of Women, giving her to understand that in my hypothetical home Tribe north of the Rhine the Men were properly kept under Control. (M. Nodier, at his own Bath, spoke with a local Man, but without useful Result.)
On returning, I found I had received a Note from Antonia, inviting me to visit that Evening. Edith and I spent the After-Noon finding a Vase to serve as Gift, and in the Evening called on the Lady, escorted by Balaban úr and Edith. We spoke at some Length, she clearly testing my Knowledge and Commitment at first, but as the Evening drew on we engaged in deeper Converse with some mutual Benefit – and, some time after Midnight, I gained an Invitation to return the next Evening and meet some Friends and Colleagues of the Lady.
1720, Thursday, the twenty-third Day of November
In the After-Noon, Commander Hodgson and M. Nodier proceeded to a Collegium on Navigation among the Dodecanese, acquitting themselves creditably and receiving an Invitation to return.
22 June 2011
Antonia wished to learn more the Nature and Source of Magic; I was required to disappoint her in this regard, but we were able profitably to discuss the Philosophy of Science and Methods of Experimentation, and to begin to exchange a Variety of Spells. Antonia was most interested in Commander Hodgson’s Vision, and I agreed to make Introductions. Balaban úr escorted me, while Commander Hodgson and M. Nodier passed the Evening in a Wine-Shop.
1720, Friday, the twenty-fourth Day of November
We met Louis for Lunch, and discussed further the possible Exchange of Spells – his Magics of Knowledge, and Antoine’s of the Control of Body and Mind. Louis also knew one Siminax the Gaul, who himself knew an Explorer of other Worlds, but who would desire Compensation for the Introduction.
We passed the After-Noon at the Games, with various of our Party studying the Styles of Fighting used by the Participants, then repaired collectively to Mistress Antonia in the Evening.
Commander Hodgson demonstrated his Levitation to Antonia, then having demonstrated that there was indeed an Effect present he expanded his Perception (failing to see anything unexpected). Antonia, with the Commander’s Permission, read both the Currents of Magic and the outer Layers of his Mind – but in both Cases without useful Result.
The Experimentation continued, with the Commander attempting to read Antonia’s Mind – again without Success. She spoke further with Balaban úr, having previously ignored him as a Servant; she felt that he would most properly seek a Deity of Life and Fertility, but one for whom the Religion was still a Matter of real Belief rather than of Bureaucracy. (Balaban úr, while polite, seemed at best dubious.)
1720, Saturday, the twenty-fifth Day of November
I disguised myself as a more appropriate Gender and accompanied the others to meet Siminax in a Tavern of his Choosing. Balaban úr pointed out (in Hungarian) that he seemed profoundly frightened of us, and I was able to confirm this with Magic (though he held no particular Enmity for us); when I mentioned this to him, he excused himself, claiming that he had made a Mistake, and departed. Balaban úr chased and caught him, but he called for Assistance and Commander Hodgson persuaded Balaban úr to release him.
We decided to speak with Louis and clarify the Situation, but travelled by an indirect Route in case Siminax had taken other Precautions. We explained to him what had happened, holding no particular Grudge but making it clear that the Meeting had been unsuccessful. While we were conversing, Siminax arrived, and after some separate Conversation Louis reported to us that – as we had more or less supposed – he had been attempting to win our Favour in order to gain a temporal Advantage, but retreated when he found that we were more substantial than he had supposed. We agreed that there was no need to take Matters further. We spent the Balance of the Day watching Chariot Races.
6 July 2011
We spent the next Days severally in learning Magic, copying Texts from Libraries, and attending the Games.
One Night I was awoken by a determined Noise of sawing from above us. I shouted magically that "Housebreaking is Frowned on by the Gods", and the Noise ceased. Balaban úr proceeded to the Roof and, after some little Commotion, returned with a Miscreant. He and Commander Hodgson spoke with him, persuading him of the Error of his Ways, and he was enjoined not to repeat his Mistake.
1720, Saturday, the fifth Day of December
With Saturnalia approaching, we felt it prudent given the magical Climate to leave the City for a Time. We released our Lodgings, stored our copied Manuscripts and other Impedimenta with our C—ist Colleagues, and hired Horses for the Journey. (During our Pause for Refreshment, Edith discovered a Taste for the unusual Sauces used on the local Food; I suspected she would cause minor Ructions on our Return.)
In Tibur, a popular Resort at warmer Times of Year, we decided (with some minor Misgivings) to visit the Sibyl. We tested her through asking the Question of what Course of Action would lead to the Success of our Mission, leaving no Detail to be Read by her.
Her Actions manipulated the Level of Magic in the Area, and her Answers were expectedly vague but consistent with our Expectations. The Perceptions of the Mages of our Party were somewhat confused, with an Impression of many Echoes, though Balaban úr and Commander Hodgson had no such Experience; we considered this likely to be in some Way the Result of looking into multiple possible Futures, a risky Business at best.
With the Aim of gaining a better Vantage for the Commander, we hired Luigi, a Guide to the local Mountains, and proceeded up-Hill on horse-back. (M. Nodier did not proceed in Harmony with his Horse, and offered it Snuff to make Peace; he came off somewhat the worse from the Encounter.) However, the Commander perceived something of Interest, and we followed his Sense.
During the next Day, Edith slipped from her Horse and took a bad Fall, being saved from worse only by the prompt Action of Balaban úr. I took Steps to bandage both, applying surreptitious Healing. Our Guide was curious as to our Origin, but seemed satisfied with our Tale that we were Barbarians from Germany.
Continuing into the Valley where Commander Hodgson had noticed the unnatural Phenomenon, we came upon a Section of Roman Road, part of it well-maintained (at least by the Standards of this World), trailing off into crumbling Sections rather than continuing to Civilisation; the Commander declared that two World-Gates were present. M. Nodier attempted to Scry through the Gates, reporting that the Terrain through the northern looked similar to what we could see here; the one to the south was more resistant to his Magic, but did appear to be at a different Time of Day.

The Roman Road

20 July 2011
Balaban úr took Luigi to one Side, distracting him and hunting for Food, as the others of our Party considered our options. Commander Hodgson perceived an Aura on the whole visible Length of the Road, describing it as more blue than the predominant purple of this World’s Aura – and even more so on those Sides of the Gates that faced the Road. Sr Sapienza had mentioned Gates, but had never seen one himself; I had heard some Rumours of a Road in central Europe not unlike this, but only usable by Members of the fair Sex. We considered the possible Danger of visiting a World where Magic was without Function, but could not give up the Promise of further Worlds.
These Gates seemed egregiously concealed from Detection, being invisible to mundane Senses; further, the Result of M. Nodier’s Scrying was visible only to himself, where one might have expected it to be perceptible to all. For the Moment, we decided to explore further in the hope of finding additional Gates, then to return to this Spot; particularly since Luigi had been paid for some Time in advance and we did not wish him to be present when the Gates were breached. We proceeded through two more Valleys to one with good Hunting (and a welcome opportunity to Bathe), then started to return.
In the Valley of the Road, M. Nodier caused Luigi to sleep deeply, and we considered the northern Gate. Rocks, thrown, fell to Earth still on our Rome, but when Balaban úr and Commander Hodgson attempted to follow they disappeared; M. Nodier and I succeeded them, and we later discovered that an Intention to remain on one World was enough to keep one there. The World had a lower Level of Magic than C—Rome, though not none at all. Balaban úr was able to return without Difficulty, and Commander Hodgson sensed another Gate half a Mile ahead. The Sky was clouded, preventing us from many of our usual Observations, and my Magic revealed only that we were in much the same Place as before the Transition. The Road was clearly old but apparently well-maintained.
The next Gate was apparently even more shielded against Scrying than the last; M. Nodier was unable at first to penetrate its Shield. The Sound of a Stream passed through the Gate, but this gave little away assuming Geography to be relatively invariant across most Worlds. M. Nodier’s second Scrying was briefly successful: the World beyond was in Sunlight, he reported, and the Stream was dammed. The Risk of proceeding to a World potentially without Magic appeared severe, and some Discussion ensued, eventually cut short by Balaban úr, who planned to pass through and return at once. This he did, saying that he had felt profoundly unwell on entering the World and had experienced difficulty in returning. For now, this World would not be explored further, at least by our Group.
We returned to C––Rome, noting that the Flow of Time in the northern World was much like that on our present Base. Our Guide was still safely asleep, and we proceeded to the south. In this world was Daylight, a wider Road in good Condition (wider, indeed, than the Roman roads), and a great Number of Sheep. On entering we found that there was also a Shepherd, who addressed us in unlearned Latin and seemed happy to talk with Strangers. In this World, perhaps the most advanced in some Ways that we had encountered though the local Year was only 180AD, it turned out that Newcomen-Engines had been adapted to allow horseless Carriages travelling at some Speed. This seemed to offer the Possibility of a rapid Journey back to London, if their Range were sufficient, though a Pall of Smoke over Rome suggested that there were Drawbacks to this Technology. This World we dubbed for the moment Roma Mechana.
Half of another Mile to the south, was the next Gate; M. Nodier scryed a Valley, with Daylight and pouring Rain. Its Road was oddly grey and uniform, and Fences proliferated; this World seemed potentially far-Advanced, perhaps to the degree of Centrum.
Balaban úr proceeded through to learn the Feeling of the World for subsequent Investigation, noting that the Road here was no mere isolated Segment but part of a longer Route. While he was making this Study, a self-propelled Carriage approached him, and two blue-uniformed Men accosted him, speaking what seemed most probably a Dialect of Italian, though Communication was found to be challenging. They demanded Ur Balaban’s Papers, and when he had none required him to accompany them.
Commander Hodgson, concerned by Ur Balaban’s Delay, appeared behind them at this point; I followed, being somewhat taken aback by a peculiar Odour to the local Atmosphere. With prolonged Explanation, our Bearing and Mien (and a Suggestion that our Ball had been a little too successful, and a Gift of "antique" Roman Coins) persuaded the local Men to depart; we concealed ourselves for a while while Balaban úr memorised the World as he had Roma Mechanica, then did likewise. Commander Hodgson was unable to locate a further Gate.
Back on C––Rome, we decided to tell Luigi that M. Nodier had slept poorly, so that we would take the next Day as Rest.
17 August 2011
He did not object, and planned to spend the Day hunting. Commander Hodgson updated his Maps, and others of us rested and slept; on the following Day we returned to Tibur, dismissed Luigi, and rode back for Rome.
Mistress Antonia greeted us, and we informed her of the occluded Gates and Highway above Tibur. She was most willing to accompany us on a return Trip to the Highway, but first we would need to raise Money by moving Spices between Worlds. It seemed also that someone had attempted to kill a Senator, for no readily apparent Reason; he had not survived the Attempt, but the Vigiles were more attentive than had been usual.
We asked Mistress Antonia to consider a suitable Merchant to be our Agent on this World; then Balaban úr moved across to Solitude. It seemed that this Designation was something of a Misnomer, since he detected the Odour of Fires and roasting Meat. While he was building a Platform to make the Return easier, a local Man encountered him, but backed away. More of them returned later, with Gifts of Food; he gave them his Cloak, then returned.
We proceeded to visit Louis the Astrologer, whom Mistress Antonia had recommended in his Capacity as a Merchant. Some Research in the Markets suggested that Cloves would serve well as a Medium of Carried Value, being sufficiently expensive that a heavy Load for our selves would provide a Sufficiency of Funds. After Consideration of Prices, Mistress Antonia chose to invest in our Venture; we then proceeded to Ostia to speak to Falco on the matter of Passports and other Documentation, in Consideration of the Possibility of a rapid Trip Home. This seemed likely to present substantial Difficulties, and travel on the Astral seemed more likely to be of Use. However, we did arrange that he would copy Passes from Roma Mechana when a Contact of his from that World next brought some.
We stayed for the Night in Ostia, then en route back to Rome transferred to our own World, proceeded to our own Rome (spending the Remainder of this new Night in an Inn) and in the Morning reclaimed our Belongings. We began to purchase Cloves, and a little Silk.
Some of the Manuscripts we sent home, lodged until a Ship from the Family should arrive; the most choice, we planned to take with us. We moved to Solitude, rested for the Night, but discovered at Daybreak that we were close to a Camp of the Locals. They did not attempt to interfere with our Passage, and we continued to C––Rome and Mistress Antonia.
In the Morning, we visited Louis, who proceeded to make Arrangements for the Sale of our Cloves; the Silk we left with Mistress Antonia for her own Use in the long Term. With that in Train, we returned to Falco in Ostia; his Contact, Sextus Decimus Augustus, had returned, and we spoke at some Length about Roma Mechana and its steam-driven Machines. He believed that he would be able to carry us to Gaul aboard one of his own Engines, in return for learning more about our own World... We agreed to meet in Ostia after six Weeks. Augustus seemed to think that declaring a Race from Rome to Londinium was a good Plan... Balaban úr travelled to our Home’s Rome and returned with Silk as a Gift for Augustus to help defray the Costs of the Trip.
We proceeded to Tibur, and made Camp nearby; Mistress Antonia wished that we travel separately, to avoid Connections’ being drawn. The Lady wished to investigate who owned the Valley with the Gates, with an Eye to buying it...
31 August 2011
Some Hours later, we met again; the Owner was in Rome and had no local Agent. We hired Mules once more and proceeded into the Hills; this Journey taking some Days, and our Inexperience with long Marches becoming very Apparent. We made Camp in the Valley of the Gates, planning to travel on the next Day, though Mistress Antonia was unable at first to perceive the Portals.
In the Morning, we proceeded to the northern Gate, leaving Edith with the Party of Mistress Antonia’s Servants. The Road was, in this Light, clearly older but better maintained than the Road on the C—’s Rome – and of slightly differing Construction. We proceeded to examine the Dam, a basic Construction of Logs and Rocks, apparently made for the Purpose of watering Animals. There was no Pall of Smoke to the West, but Rome itself was not in Sight.
M. Nodier and Mistress Antonia considered the History of the Road, he determining that it had been here for at least a thousand Years in various Forms – indeed, changing Form without human Intervention. It seemed highly likely on this Basis that this was a later Rome than those we had met elsewhere.
Balaban úr returned, then attempted to cut from C—’s Rome to Rome Unfallen, a world with which he was already familiar; this was not immediately successful.
Commander Hodgson and Mistress Antonia’s Body-Guard proceeded up-hill towards the Sheep, thereby locating a Shepherd. They thereby determined the Year to be 1575 AUC (823 Anno Domini), and departed.
Ur Balaban’s second Experiment was a Success, and we determined that this World was indeed the one he knew – one in which the Caesar Germanicus was not Poisoned, and the Empire survived in the absence of Caligula and Nero. The Basis of Technology was somewhat more primitive than our own, and the History was somewhat convoluted. Mistress Antonia felt that the Road probably pre-Dated the Founding of Rome, and planned to Test this on the mechanical World.
We proceeded to consider the next Gate. It seemed plausible that there might be no Magic at all on the next World, so we determined a series of Rendezvous in case we were not able to return. First we returned to C—’s Rome for Packs of Equipment for Camping, in case they should be needed, and for me to explain to Edith the Situation.
Commander Hodgson and I proceeded through the Gate; this World proved indeed to be entirely without Magic. The Condition of the Road was good, but its Antiquity was not immediately possible to determine. A Goat-Herd approached us, speaking in what we determined to be relatively early Latin. The Year however was 1206 Anno Domini, and the Emperor Mark Anthony V. We joined him for Lunch in his Hut; his Knife was of rather better Quality than we expected given the Date; there were also Books, or rather a crudely-printed Old Testament in Latin.
(Meanwhile our Colleagues attemped to Scry what had become of us, seeing no immediate Cause for Concern.)
We took our Leave, and returned to the Road, confirming that there was another Gate further north. The southern Gate seemed to resist our Passage, but we returned without substantial Difficulty.
Given the Problems encountered by Balaban úr in this World, it seemed worth an Experiment as to his Ability to Survive. The Bodyguard of Mistress Antonia was unable to lift him, which closed off one Line of Consideration. M. Nodier, Mistress Antonia and I colluded with regard to Gates and No-Mana Worlds. It seemed quite clear that these Gates operated by no Principles with which we were familiar.
Balaban úr, Commander Hodgson and the Bodyguard proceeded through the Gate; Balaban úr was able to survive, though in some Pain. The Bodyguard found some Trouble in returning.
14 September 2011
We next proceeded to the Astral, in an Attempt to learn how these new Gates appeared there; they were rather less Concealed, though not blatant. The Road was also to some extent visible.
We proceeded towards the Astral Sea, but found no particular Correlations with other Worlds. The next Consideration was what might occur if someone were to pass through one of these Gates on the Astral; Balaban úr felt that he was most able to survive on his own a hostile Event. M. Nodier scryed through the Gate, seeing an apparently normal Portion of the Astral, and Balaban úr passed through and disappeared, returning after a short Time – and reported that he had seemed to be in Portion of the Astral near the expected World.
We proceeded through these Gates towards the World without Magic. M. Nodier’s Spell passed through the Gate, but failed at once. Commander Hodgson and I passed through – a somewhat traumatic passage, which apparently returned us to the material (and Magic-free) World. We decided to probe further, to see what Magic might be present in the next World, leaving a Note in case our Companions should investigate. The next World had a little Magic, though not a great Amount, and of a curious Kind, though I was unable to discern Details; its Road was in good Repair, though narrow.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the Party returned to the Material of Rome-Unfallen, and arrived through the Gate as we were drawing Close. After a little Discussion, we returned to Rome-Unfallen for Refreshment and Consideration.
Next we travelled to Roma Mechanica, where M. Nodier attempted again to determine the History of the Road – this World being young enough that his Spell should be able to reach past the Foundation of Rome. As far as he could tell, the Road had come into Existence as a Path shortly after that Foundation – though whether that might always have been true was not at all clear...
We continued to the World of high Technology, dubbed "Italian Police [A]  [A] Later “Roma – Il Duce 1933”", to examine it further and to introduce Mistress Antonia. The Substance of the Road, an Agglomeration of Stones in a sticky Substance, was new to us. Commander Hodgson took astronomical Observations, while Balaban úr and M. Nodier investigated one of the nearby, brightly-lit, Houses. They found well-appointed Rooms, Music being played without visible Musicians, and steady Light throughout. Balaban úr knocked on the Door, and it was opened; he asked for a News-Paper, and after some Discussion, Confusion and a flash of Light he was able to obtain one. Its Date implied that the Year was 1933 of our Lord. Commander Hodgson completed his Observations, and we prepared to depart. This World’s Italy seemed still to have an Emperor, though his Manner appeared odd to our Eyes.
We decided to explore the next Gate; M. Nodier’s Scrying revealed a more usual Style of Roman Road, with a Flock of Sheep nearby. The Magic here was still low, but usable, and there was no Scent of Machines. At Commander Hodgson’s Suggestion, we returned to C––Rome via the Gates on the Astral.
I studied the Newspaper with the Aid of the Gift of Letters, skimming at first to gain a Sense of its Subjects. The Italy of that World had both a King and "Il Duce", more or less an Emperor of the same Territory. We learned of flying-Machines and Travel by Rail, of the continued Importance of the Pope and the Roman Church, of the Independence of Greece, of Schedules for "wireless" Communication, of this Italy’s Claims to be the New Roman Empire, and of many other Things – though Mistress Antonia was in some Ways more concerned by our Familiarity with the Idea of an Anno Domini date.
21 September 2011
We proceeded to plan further Experiments. On the World without Magic, Balaban úr cut to Rome Unfallen, and found his Sword reluctant but able to perform its Function. Later, on his Return, he found that his Gate lasted rather more briefly than usual, though his Sword was able to recover its Charge more or less as normal.
The final Experiment of the Day, at least with the Sword, was to cut onto the Astral; the Gate did not open at first, but the second Attempt was successful. Balaban úr and Commander Hodgson reported on their Return that the Astral seemed distinctly more fragile than the usual, and that the Presence of this World on the Astral was not particularly correlated with those of the other Worlds we had used on the Road. Approaching from the astral Side was something like walking out on thin Ice, and the two Explorers dropped back onto what we now christened Roma Nil Magia.
On our Return, M. Nodier encountered particular Difficulties in escaping from the World, though we were able to pull him to Rome Unfallen. Mistress Antonia healed Commander Hodgson, who appeared to be suffering from a Ring of Bruises arising from his Precipitation from the Astral.
During the Evening, we spent further Time reading the Newspaper from Roma-Il Duce. gaining a better Sense of that World; then we camped for the Night.
In the morning, we performed further Experiments; taking Mules through the Gates appeared to require Contact with the Skin. From Rome Unfallen we proceeded to the Astral, then in to the Sea, the Commander looking for Landmarks that would lead him back to other Worlds that we knew – in particular either C––Rome or Roma Nil Magia.

First Steps onto New Renaissance

We proceeded close to a new World that seemed likely also to contain part of the Road; there was no immediate Sign of it, but a Fence with Posts of Stone and metal Wire between contained a Flock of Sheep. Commander Hodgson could not detect the Road once we had proceeded to the World. We moved to investigate some Buildings nearby; they seemed to be Barns, though with similar volcanic stone Walls and a metal Roof.
A Track nearby had Ruts both wider and further apart than we expected to see. It ran between fenced Fields, and we followed it up the nearest Hill. Gates here seemed to be made of steel Tube. Once we had gained some Height, we could see Tibur: brightly lit and large, similar to what we had seen on Roma – Il Duce; there were also self-moving Vehicles.
We rested until Dawn; Tibur was indeed larger than any we already knew, though some of its Buildings looked familiar from C––Rome. A Vehicle approached, apparently as part of the Work of the Farm; the Driver greeted us, and after a little Discussion was pleased to offer us a Lift into the Town. The Magic, or Technology, seemed most substantial, and was in liberal use even on this fairly remote Farm.
Buildings here seemed quite variable – some brick, some stone, some that we could not identify. Eventually we pulled into a Farm-Yard. and were offered Break-fast.
5 October 2011
The Family seemed quite extended, and we variously managed to converse with them. It seemed that the Family was going to Mass later, and we were invited to join them, to which with some Reluctance on my part we agreed. Meanwhile we established that a Joke had been played on us by Friends in Rome, leaving us stranded here; they said they would take us back to the "Station", by which we could return to Rome.
Music was being played, but with no visible Musicians; the Structure of it seemed somewhat convoluted, but distinctly interesting; the "New Renaissance" was mentioned, as was the equally incomprehensible "broadcast from Milan". As we listened, another son, Michael, arrived by powered Vehicle, in what seemed to be a brown Uniform (he worked for the "Air Force", it seemed).
We set off, with some Disconcertion, in these "Self-Mobiles", at alarming Speed, and soon arrived at the Church. The Service was much as expected from Catholics; Balaban úr arranged to take Confession afterwards, apparently somewhat disconcerting the Priest. Meanwhile we outside observed a Variety of Aircraft.
Following this, we were delivered to the Station, a Point on a System of overgrown Mine-Carts, and bid farewell to our Hosts. Once we had shed our idle Followers, we proceeded to the Astral, to make best Time back to the Valley.
After some Hours of walking, we were attacked by four Individuals, perhaps native to the Astral, using some Musket-like Gun fired from the Shoulder. Balaban úr and Commander Hodgson charged ahead, leaving little for the rest of us to do, though I was able to knock one of them down for the Commander to finish off. Once killed, they gradually vanished.
When we stopped for Lunch, we were approached by what appeared to be a normal Rabbit, though Commander Hodgson seemed rather concerned by the Complexity and Subtlety of its Mind, or perhaps Minds. Mistress Antonia regarded it as the Platonic Form of Rabbit, and while it did not behave threateningly we felt it best to move on. Once we returned to the Equivalent of the Valley, we returned to our Companions on C––Rome, and Rest.
Ur Balaban’s "Greater Hungary" did not contain the Road; nor did Newton-X, nor Aristotle-X.
We planned next to make a concerted Push along the Road, to attempt to discern some Theme or Pattern...

Astral Rome

19 October 2011
After a Day of Rest, we proceeded South along the Road. We encountered no Difficulty in Roma Mechana, but in Roma Il Duce we were somewhat delayed by a travelling Circus and its strange Beasts. The next World was dark, untenanted and damp; we made Plans for a Meeting on Rome Unfallen, an Attempt at Rescue after a Day, and an Abandonment after a Week, should we not be able to regain Contact, then Balaban úr proceeded through the next Gate.
He did not promptly return; M. Nodier was able with some Difficulty to see him conversing with a Stranger in a small Street or Alley. After some Minutes, Commander Hodgson followed; when he also did not return, M. Nodier and I went after him, with Mistress Antonia planning to take the Servants and Baggage Train back to the Rendez-vous.
We found Balaban úr and the Commander speaking with Decimus Sixtus, a junior Tribune of Rome. It seemed that this World, at 66 AD in our Reckoning, was in some way the Template or Ideal of the Empire of Rome, though whether it accrued its pattern from those others or sent it out was not clear.
It seemed that the two Gates on the Road in this World were known to the Natives, and that they operated only in one Direction at a time: this one was presently only allowing Passage into this World, while the other was allowing it out. With "the Comet" full in the Sky (though not visible to us), Travellers were expected; we would be brought to amuse the Emperor, then probably allowed to continue our Journey. Balaban úr attempted to cut directly to Roma Il Duce, but failed; it seemed that we must accept the Hospitality of these Romans.
We learned that the History of this World repeated over a long Period: when the Decadence and Decay of the later Empire grew too great (and the Keeping of Records grew too burdensome), in some unclear way the early Republic arose again from the Desire of the People for better Governance. The Cycle was not without some Variation, or so it appeared.
M. Nodier attempted to scry through the Gate, acquiring some Injury which I was able to heal. We were then admitted past some high Fortifications to the City proper, and met one Gaius Ludus Scripto, the Secretary in charge of arranging the Amusements for the Emperor. He explained the Procedure by which Nero was allowed to dissimulate Knowledge of the Arrangements: we would go in with a Message for his previous Guest, and ourselves be relieved after a time, perhaps as much as two Hours. Stories, for preference true, were the main Currency of Diversion.
After we had been fed, I attempted to locate the next Gate, gaining a good Impression of its Location; we felt that leaving rapidly after our Audience might be wise. In the Morning, we proceeded to the Palace; I gave amusing Tales from the History of the Netherlands, and attempted to avoid the Importunities of the Emperor by bringing in my Colleagues. The martial Stature of Balaban úr was clearly a Distraction, and Nero ordered one of his own Men to kill this Stranger. The Mastery with which Balaban úr wielded his Sword allowed him to amuse the Audience by gradually disarming his Foe of Shield, Sword, then Belt, and the Praise which Balaban úr gave to his Foe allowed the Man to live.
Commander Hodgson gave a stirring Tale of a naval battle, but the Emperor was distracted by talk of Cannon and Gunpowder; a Demonstration followed with Pistol. This was in turn interrupted by news of a Fire in the City; we proceeded out, and the Advice of the Commander to pull down Buildings in the Path of the Blaze seemed Helpful. He and M. Nodier were sent to teach the Alchemists of Rome the Techniques of Manufacture for Gunpowder, ostensibly to pull down Buildings with greater Speed; they gathered the raw Materials, explained Techniques, and introduced some elementary Precautions of Safety.
Meanwhile, finding the Attentions of the Emperor lacking in Manners, I gave him a kindly but stultifying Lecture on the Philosophy of Leibniz, specifically the Monads that make up the physical and spiritual World and their harmonious Interaction. I was able to remove myself with only an Invitation to the Banquet for that Evening.
2 November 2011
On meeting again, we decided to be ready to leave at very short >Notice, but first to consult the Scribes who had Records of other Travellers. A junior Scribe admitted us to the Scriptorium, which seemed to be in a State of Desuetude – and a more senior Scribe told us of the most recent other Travellers he had met, in patterned Clothes and speaking a Language which Balaban úr identified as something like Spanish.
I read the Scrolls on which previous Visits were recorded, but it seemed that only one or two Parties typically arrived in a Year. Many of them sounded as though they might well be of the C—, from a Variety of Factions. Some claimed that they had travelled hundreds of Miles, but were not Believed. One sounded as though he had been attempting to open a Route for Trade, and had last been seen around ten Years since; the Coins he had left behind had been studied to learn the Dates of other Roman Emperors, but not with complete Consistency.
Overall there seemed no particular Bias to one Gate or the other. We spoke in vague Terms of Patterns seen in some of the other Worlds and from our own History, particularly Monotheism. After a brief Interruption by the Alchemists, we continued our Research. Of recent Years there had been a small Influx of strangely-dressed Men, by ones and twos, with no Latin or known Language. One was at present in Prison, and we proposed to speak with him.
It seemed that this Rome was prone to Move along the Road, though slowly. The next World to the South was a Matriarchal Rome. We shared some Knowledge of the Worlds to the North. The World immediately to the North apparently had vast flying Whales in which people Travelled – which sounded perhaps like the Vehicles we had seen on New Renaissance.
There were at least Dozens more Worlds along the Road, though Records were fragmentary at best. We refreshed ourselves, and Balaban úr copied a Scroll of material lost in our World.
The imprisoned Man spoke English, and was most startled to meet someone else who did so. Simon Waugh was an Australian from 2015, "inter-World Traveller to the Gentry", and seemed to have some Trouble fitting us into the Hierarchy of inter-World Powers with which he was Familiar. He was a user of natural Gates between Worlds, but had no detailed Knowledge of the Astral or of the Nature of this Rome – some of which we gave him. He had been here for the better part of a Year, he thought, after a Misunderstanding involving his late Partner having shot one of the Locals as a Demonstration.
We offered to try to procure his Release. in return for his Information about the major Factions of Travellers. We also looked at some of the Equipment taken from other Travellers, including their clothing that seemed curiously hard to look at, and a variety of Insignia in a military Style. Their Firearms seemed most advanced, akin to those observed from Centrum (branded "Colt Mfg M16A4" on one, and "Beretta 1935" in the other), and Commander Hodgson seemed to have some Facility with the Examples we examined.
It seemed that we would have to ask a Boon from the Emperor to obtain the Release of Mr Waugh; this seemed likely to present some moral Difficulty, but I agreed to make the Attempt. More immediately, the Alchemists were exploring the Possibilities of creating Fire-breaks with Powder. Looking at an Insula, I worked out from first Principles the weak Points at which Charges should be placed, and the Commander and I did so. The Powder was not as potent as that made by the Experts, but the Building collapsed nonetheless. We hoped that the Fire-Fighters might be persuaded to put in a good Word with the Emperor’s Majordomo...
At the Banquet, the Commander was mysteriously absent when the Emperor called on us to present ourselves. I compounded Flattery and Suggestion to persuade Nero to grant us, in return for the Secret of Blasting-Powder, Mr Waugh. When the Explosions, that had been occurring periodically, became close enough to knock Shutters into the Room, a sense of Panic took hold in the Room, and we took the Opportunity to depart, retrieving our Baggage and Mr Waugh (after a certain amount of Negotiation with his Gaolers; I explained to him that for reasons of Technicality he was now my Slave, but that this would be remedied as soon as Practicable).
We left the Palace, located the Gate, and Departed to the next World; it was Morning, and two Shepherds were hard by. We asked them for Directions to a place of Refreshment, just over the Edge of the Valley. For administrative Purposes, I manumitted Mr Waugh.
16 November 2011
We planned to return to C––Rome, which we would call Antonia’s Rome for Mr Waugh’s Benefit. The first Stage was a cut to Rome Unfallen, to get around the Astral Rome and meet our Colleagues; Commander Hodgson took the Opportunity to read the Mind of Mr Waugh as he picked him up.
We made our Introductions, and found that we had lost slightly less Time here than the Duration of our Sojourn in Astral Rome had implied. Mistress Antonia hypothesised that the Nature of that World might be in some wise influenced by the Beliefs of those in other Romes.
Since by our Bodies it was late Evening, but here it was mid-Morning, we decided to continue to the home of Mistress Antonia, first by Gate to Antonia’s Rome and then over-Land. As we travelled and once we had arrived at her Home, Mr Waugh gave us a brief Description of his Travels, explaining that he had travelled from Australia to Paris to study History, with some Divagations into Scientific Antiquarianism. He had found himself kidnapped, via a mechanical Contrivance for such Travel (a "Conveyor"), and suborned into inter-World Fraud (evaluating the Porcelain in which he was expert).
This worked for some Months, but the Conveyor failed in a troublesome Manner, arriving in an unexpected Place; at this point he started to perceive the Auras of off-Planar objects, but one of his Companions could read Minds, another could throw Bolts of Energy, and the Pilot of the Conveyor had gone mad. The Group attempted to continue to operate the Conveyor, but found themselves surrounded by Soldiers, attemped a final Escape, and then landed in the Location of Paris, but without that City.
At this Point the group travelled over Land from Gate to Gate, with the Madman left at a Monastery, and the other two taking up Positions as trival Wizards. Waugh himself continued, growing increasingly weary, but met Lorenzo, who already knew about the Roman Road. They gradually worked their Way along the Road, and ended in Astral Rome.
Waugh was now hoping to get to a world with Flight, whence he could return to Australia and search for Gates there. We explained to him the Race in which we purposed to engage; once we were in London, we could take him to the London of New Renaissance. (We mentioned Il Duce, but he felt that things there would go very wrong in the near Future.)
Waugh introduced us to the broader Canvas of the Infinite Worlds: explaining that some were divergent Histories, some seemed to be non-divergent but earlier Versions of other Worlds, and some were simply strange. The Methods of Travel he knew included Magic (perhaps including some monstrous Creatures), natural Gates and Roads, Worlds that changed their Adjacency to other Worlds, some odd natural Ability, and the mechanical Conveyors of Centrum and Infinity – and their close Kin, machines that could send Items to other Worlds, farther if they were used to send Conveyors.
Centrum, it seemed, was trying to build a cross-World Empire in its own Image, having grown from the Anglo-French Empire of Eleanor of Aquitaine. (A brief Divergence into the Theories of Atomick Weaponry was Needed, which he apparently found Plausible.) In Response to their Atomick War, they set up a System of Global Government based in theory on Intelligence but which in Practice seemed to devolve into reflexive Bureaucracy.
Infinity, on the other Hand, had had no Atomick War, and Countries persisted in recognisable Form; the Inventor of their Conveyor had somehow managed to maintain some Control over his Invention... so that a Variety of Companies and Governments used Conveyors for a Panoply of Uses. They seemed to have some strong Feelings about minimal Interference to Worlds, but the Reason was unclear.
Another inter-World Actor was some subset of the National Socialists, also explained to us at some confusing Length, who on one particular World had some Means of inter-World Travel not entirely Clear to us, though including one natural Road, and had much in the Style of Centrum set out to conquer all Worlds.
There seemed to be a Plethora of false Mages in a Variety of Worlds from the late 1800s, with Claims of Magic but no Practicality. We found this most Surprising. We spoke further with Mr Waugh of various Techniques for not being noticed when entering new Worlds.

Roma Mechana and the Great Race

7 December 2011
We proceeded to Ostia, meeting Falco and Sextus Decimus, then travelling via Gateway to Roma Mechana. What appeared to be our Transport was waiting, a Construct some twenty Feet in Length with six solid Wheels, powered by a condensing Steam-Engine, and a separate Trailer with further Supplies of Water and Fuel. Enchantment gave us Advantages: an Elemental of Fire in the Boiler, an Enchantment making the Condenser work, and magical Illumination. His fellow Driver was Aulus Grattius Vindex, and the Mechanics were Argentus and Canius.
We had five Competitors, two from the blue Faction, one each from the green and red; most were smaller and probably faster than our own Vehicle, though the red Car was probably about the same Size as our own. Domitian Equitius, not of the Factions, was a Descendant of one of the Inventors of the Steam-Car, and had an long, low, eight-wheeled suspended Vehicle. A Merchant had gone ahead with Stocks of Fuel and Food, which allowed for the Possibility of mischievous Purchases...
Some of our Party were interested in learning to Drive the Vehicle, though I found the Details of the Mechanism more fascinating. I suggested that perhaps a Winch might be added, since running off the Road appeared to be a significant Hazard. When we returned to the Villa of Sextus Decimus, I assisted the Mechanicks in adding the Winch, and we retired for the Evening, meeting the Family of our Patron.
On the next Day we tested the Winch, considering the types of Tree that might provide sufficient Anchorage, and made final Adjustments, then had a small Feast before Departure, set for Noon on the next Day.
Something of a Crowd had appeared to watch the Start, and the Auspex found the Omens favourable. The lighter Vehicles took an immediate Lead, but we found ourselves at the Front of the slower Pack; after some time we pulled away slightly from the Reds and Domitian, to enable us to use our unofficial Improvements, and soon passed the Blues, who had apparently run out of Fuel or Water.
At Saleborna we made our first Stop for Fuel and Water, learning we were perhaps half an Hour behind the Green, though he was short of Fuel when he made it; another Car approached from behind as we were leaving, and Commander Hodgson identified it as Domitian. When we arrived at Pisis, Darkness was beginning to fall, and the Green was now an Hour and a half ahead of us. We ran off the Road, but recovered with the aid of the Winch (and Balaban úr, and M. Nodier’s Magic), and arrived at Genua some hours after Midnight, having passed the Green at Camp. We took on further Fuel and Water, then made Camp nearby.
Considering the Time of Day, we felt that the best Approach was to make a short Leg the next day, ending at Augusta Taurinorum, thus leaving a full Day for the Mountains. We were passed by the Green during the Day.
On the Road, when considering a Pause to change Drivers, we came upon the Green again, shewing some Sign of having been burned. The Commander and I, by various Means, spotted several People in the Undergrowth; when the Commander called to them, they shot Arrows at us; Balaban úr dismounted and charged towards them. Others uncovered, and shot at Balaban úr, without great Effect. The Commander fired on our Attackers, while I readied Pistols and aimed, but failed to hit my Target. With the effectiveness of the Fire of the Commander’s and the Sword of Balaban úr, the Attackers were induced to flee; we discovered the Crew of the Greens, freed them, then proceeded to Taurinorum, for Fuel and Rest. Following us, the Greens and Domitian rolled in.
The following Morning, as we were getting up Steam, the Reds rolled in, looking the worse for Wear. We heard that the Blues had abandoned the Race, lacking Range between stops for Fuel. The Greens soon over-took us as we headed into the Hills, planning to take the most direct Route through the Mountains to Culabone. We had some Difficulty as the Trailer struck a mountainous Wall, but Commander Hodgson was able to levitate a Rope to the most advantageous Positions and we soon got under Way once more. Having crossed the Pass, we descended into Transalpine Gaul at Morginno.
21 December 2011
At a narrow Bridge we encountered the Greens, who had come to Mishap in attempting to ford; the Bridge was too narrow for either their Vehicle or Ours. They were clearly unable to Continue, with a sheared Axle; our own Progress was at least temporarily halted.
Our Solution was to construct a Causeway down the River’s Bank, across the Stream, and up the other Side: thus avoiding the Need to build a free-standing Structure.
The Reds and Domitian arrived as Evening drew in, and after some Discussion they agreed to combine all Efforts to continue the Construction; they would gain Time, but we would all benefit from the Collaboration. Some suspicious Glances were exchanged, but the Night passed quietly.
We hauled the Green Vehicle out of the way, and continued to cut and strip Trees, binding the Logs together. At the end of this Day’s Work our own Vehicle had crossed the River, and was being used to aid Construction on the far Side.
On the third Day we finished the Construction, and starting to bring the Machine of Domitian across; Red followed, but the Coupling of his Tender was excessively Rigid and caused the Vehicle to Ground. We allowed Domitian to Pass, then assisted the Reds in un-coupling their Tender, and winched both onto the Road.
After a light Lunch, we set off, and arrived at Lugdunum more or less together, only to find that our Supply of Fuel had been unofficially requisitioned by a local Faction. We decided to attempt to recover this from both sides: the influential people following official channels, and the Remainder of us taking a more direct Approach.
Some gentle Questions to relevant People elicited some Pointers, and we visited the District of the Horse-Renderers; while M. Nodier conducted a Divination for a Passer-By, I allowed Magic to lead me to the Fuel. A Gentleman of low Aspect failed to prevent our Admission, and we borrowed – or, technically, rented – sufficient Horses to move the Wagons. Several of the Locals accompanied us, but did not object with any great Vigour. Given the political Situation, we decided to depart at once, making a few Hours of Travel before the Light failed – and indeed pressing on through the Night, to Durocortorum.
We there left at first Light; Domitian arrived, very tired, as we were departing, and reported that the Reds had tried to sabotage him at Camp; he thought they might have run off the Road while chasing him. We rolled into Portus Itius clearly before Noon, and began to search for a suitable Boat. Some Captains had arrived in spe, but their Boats were too small for our Vehicle; we negotiated Passage on a Stone-Boat, but first needed to obtain more Money, which Balaban úr achieved by travelling to our Home. This took Time, allowing Domitian to arrive; we took the Passage together, on a slightly blustery Day, with some wallowing as we crossed.
We waited for Daylight to unload, then set off for Londinium at full Tilt – in some Confusion as we negotiated the Streets of Dubris, and Domitian came out ahead of us. We caught up, and pressed him on Speed. On the narrow British Roads, there were few Opportunities to pass, but eventually we were able to achieve this, with the aid of a judicious Apportation to retard one of Domitian’s Wheels.
We ran astray and off the Road, losing our Lead, and raced Domitian for the End of London Bridge; Sextus Decimus dismounted, raced across the Bridge with the Aid of Balaban úr, and was welcomed as the Victor. The Hungarian returned to assist Domitian in his final Run, parting the Crowds for him. We were welcomed with a Banquet at the Governor’s Mansion, and a small Parade.
4 January 2012
This Affair completed, we proceeded to the Hampstead Heath of the World, and returned to our Home on Newton-X; the Weather was Poor. We walked to London, finding the date to be
1721, Tuesday, the twelfth Day of January
Our first Call was the Home of the Commander, to call on his Sister; Mr Waugh was introduced as an Associate from the American Colonies. He was prepared to accept a Status in the C— of Associate.
We sent Messages to the Society informing them of our Return, then proceeded to our various Homes to rest.
1721, Wednesday, the thirteenth Day of January
To the Royal Society once more, a Meeting with Sir Edmond and others – and one Master Book, a student of Sir Isaac with Knowledge of Magic. Our Notes and Journals were presented over several Days.
Sir Edmond recommended that we learn from Mr Waugh a greater Detail of the History of the Future, as well as Techniques for the Infiltration of other Worlds; as an Example, we might jointly approach New Renaissance, particularly since we had promised him Passage thither.
Master Book was working on the Project in Measurement of Time of Sir Isaac, and appeared through Mishap to have acquired some limited Ability to travel between Worlds – in some cases even being able to proceed to the World of Origin of an Object in his Hands.
Speaking with Mr Waugh suggested that the process of Infiltration and Insinuation would be more length and complex than we had hitherto supposed, particularly in Worlds of later Date – involving the progressive Theft of Clothes, Books, and the like. One Consideration was the Possibility of attaining for Mr Waugh a Sinecure as Dealer in Antiquities, and Agent of the C—, on New Renaissance.
Several of our Party wished to stay at Home for some Months, but Balaban úr carried Mr Waugh and Master Book to New Renaissance via several Worlds and the Astral, for Purposes of Reconnaissance. They spent some Time there in petty Thievery, for local Clothes, Books and Money.
18 January 2012
The Fabrics of New Renaissance seemed most promising, though not as resistant to Fire as one might have hoped. The Commander spent time with the literary Circle of his Sister, collecting an Admirer.
Sir Edmond gave us some more Questions to consider in our Peregrinations: Why do the various Worlds exist? What determines the magical Character of a World? How did inter-World Empires become established? Did any of them use the Astral? If we met Nazis, we should probably put them to the Question where we found them, rather than risk bringing them Home.
1721, Monday, the 15th Day of March
We planned at first to separate on New Renaissance, to learn the local Accent without being a blatantly mis-assorted Group. Consideration of broadcast Wireless suggested that using this might be a better Approach. Finding a House extant in both Worlds seemed also worthwhile, and we examined new Construction in order to locate one.

New Renaissance

On New Renaissance, Master Book and M. Nodier made astronomical Observations and confirmed the local Date was more or less as expected. Balaban úr had been studying the History of the World, and noticed a Divergence from the Pattern established by Mr Waugh: in the 1930s, the Northern American state had disintegrated into warring Principalities, and the War of the Nineteen-Forties had sputtered rather than flamed.
We established an initial Address in Camden Town, and gained Accounts at Banks, then travelled on the Under-Ground Railway, a most distinctive Experience. We visited the Royal Observatory, finding it somewhat less changed than expected, and generally gained an Impression of this London.
With the Assistance of Balaban úr, we made several Trips, exchanging Spices and Herbs for Porcelain and Gold, then established our Base of Operations in a House on the Outer Circle of the Regent’s Park.
After we had been established some six Weeks, Master Book found himself being followed when returning from a Book-buying Expedition. His Poursuivante was a young Lady; he accosted her and accused her of following him, which she admitted. They established that both were from other Worlds, but reserved their Factions for the Moment; she claimed to be willing to establish peaceful Contact, and set up a Meeting for the next Day.
We felt that the Lady most probably represented either Infinity or another Faction of the C—. Commander Hodgson. Master Book and I would be overtly at the Meeting, with Balaban úr and M. Nodier nearby.
The Lady arrived nearly on Time, having also apparently brought a Pair of subtle Friends. We introduced ourselves (she calling herself Hilary, though the Commander, reading her Mind, thought this untrue). She had apparently closely considered our Activities here, and established that her Goal was to confirm our Affiliations and establish Contact with part of the C—. We explained that of an Organisation that was essentially mad, we were a differently mad Part, and carefully approached the matter of our C— Affiliation without stating it explicitly. Her own Organisation was clearly Infinity, a relatively flexible Faction.
While both Sides remained cautious, we seemed to be establishing a mutually beneficial Understanding. The Mission of Infinity here was to study the unusual technological Developments of this World.
Balaban úr joined us as we retired to a Tea-House for further Discussion. We explained that we had only a loose Theory of Magic, but that the Ability to perform it varied greatly between Worlds. Hilary seemed to specialize in Relations with the C—, to Date more in Theory than in Practice. It appeared that she regarded Centrum and the Nazis as a greater Threat than our own Colleagues. Commander Hodgson revealed that we wished to use this World for rapid Travel, but gained in Return the Knowledge that Infinity was similarly restricted in Terms of Points of Arrival.
We exchanged more Information, remaining moderately Careful, and keeping most of our Secrets, but maintaining essentially friendly Relations. We used our Experience with Centrum as a quiet Warning that we were perhaps easily Underestimated.
1 February 2012
It seemed that the Manifestation of physical Laws could vary from one World to another – the atomick Aircraft of this World seemed much more dangerous back on the home World of Hilary than they were here. The Physicists of that World were also troubled by the extent to which Time varied from one World to another.
Hilary wished to normalise our Relations, or rather those of our respective Powers – at the very least, we could both ask Questions freely, and understand our Attitudes to each other. Balaban úr suggested that a Series of regular Meetings seemed as though it might be mutually Beneficial. We considered that we might trade our Knowledge of the Astral for Knowledge of advanced Technology.
Hilary was also interested in Devices to detect Magic, and in particular to prevent the reading of Minds; Commander Hodgson sought the Ability to detect cross-World Intrusions. Considering the World of Sans-Newton, Hilary considered that Centrum might have been seeking to create an Anglo-French Empire, apparently a Habit of theirs. I hinted that an associate Membership in the C— might be a Possibility, and we ended on a Note of mild Confusion.
We returned to Newton-X and reported to Sir Edmond. We explained what we had learned about his Comet, then mentioned our Encounter with Hilary. Once we had explained the Basics, he called for Sr Sapienza, who was somewhat surprized by the Degree of Contact which we had achieved, but not intrinsically opposed to such Contact – or indeed to the possibility of a Status of Associate for Hilary.
It was agreed that Hilary could be introduced to the Astral, though nowhere near Newton-X; and could perhaps be taken to Sans-Newton, though not immediately.
As we left, Balaban úr was approached by a Gentleman who offered him Employment in the Potsdam Guard of the King of Prussia.
Balaban úr, M. Nodier and I returned briefly to Sans-Newton to obtain a Broadsheet. It seemed that the Stuart Rebellion had prospered, and their Army was encamped in Birmingham.
We returned to New Renaissance, and took a Journey by Train, to become Accustomed to the Mode of Transport. On the following Day we met Hilary for further Discussion; we considered that we might be transported by them to suitable Worlds for the gradual Learning of Technology. It appeared that our Systems of locating Worlds were not directly Compatible, not entirely surprisingly, but she was able to describe some of the underlying Principles, including the Property she called the Quantum Level, that Centrum would call a Wave (and that this was on their Quantum 6.
We agreed that she would provide us with an Apparatus able to determine the Quantum of a world, in return for information on the Levels of twenty Worlds that we visited. We further agreed to transport Hilary and her Colleagues to the Astral, in return for a fuller Understanding of their System of Coordinates of Worlds.
Hilary suggested that we might visit a World of Interest to Infinity, where armed Resistance against the Centrum-supported Empires was progressing; she wished to Discover whether Magic was involved. (The Reports of Bolts of Fire, and Mind-Reading, seemed indicative to us.)
We agreed to test Hilary for magical Power, then to shew her to the Astral.
15 February 2012
We conferred at some Length, then retired to an Hotel, where I read the Aura of Hilary; alas, she had no magical Gift. Meanwhile, our Colleagues and the others of Infinity played Chess and discussed various Matters.
We travelled by Underground Railway to Epping, Master Book produced a Gate to the Astral and we passed through. The Detector operated by Hilary did not work at all; we gave her some Warnings concerning astral Denizens, then began to travel.
We came upon a Vehicle, a flying Nautiloid of some Type passing over the astral Sea. Balaban úr waved to it, and it changed Course towards us. In the Opening of the Shell was a Platform carrying three Figures, Human in Form other than the Tentacles on their Heads.
They communicated mentally with Commander Hodgson, but apparently did not like the Conversation, as they attempted to control his Mind. M. Nodier stepped forward with the apparent Intention of joining them. The situation appeared to be one of Hostility.
Balaban úr ran, leaped. and cut at the Lip of the Vessel. Commander Hodgson hit one of the Attackers with an accelerated Rock. I attempted to board the Vessel, casting some of my limited offensive Spells, but failed to have Effect before another Rock went in from the Commander, and Balaban úr decapitated another Foe; I increased his Grace, and he and the Commander finished off the Remainder. Sadly, the Vessel ascended and turned away over the Astral Sea, Balaban úr leaping clear just in Time.
Commander Hodgson explained to Hilary the Essentials of astral Navigation and Divination. Balaban úr left us to take the Body back to Newton-X, while we returned to New Renaissance – in a slightly different Location from that whence we had departed. The Detector used by Hilary recovered, eventually.
She planned to returned to her Superiors to report, and we thought we would probably do the same.
22 February 2012
We arranged to meet Hilary again in five Days in a different Park, at Noon. We also reassured her that the Astral Plane is not normally that eventful, although M. Nodier, lacking Tact, qualified the Reassurance with some Remarks on our previous Encounters. We Returned to London by Underground Railway, parted from Hilary, and re-entered our House.
On Newton-X, Balaban úr handed over the Corpse of the Monster for proper Preservation and Study;
With the aid of Master Book, we re-joined Balaban úr, who had taken the Corpse of the Monster to the Royal Society for proper Preservation and Study. Efforts at the former had failed, and the Flesh was Dissolving or Shrinking; with the aid of an Artist we preserved as much Information as could be had. Sr Sapienza gave them the outlandish Name of Yithoglu, commenting that normally some Difficulty attached to their Transport away from the Astral; they were Beings of psychic Power, making their home in the "Citadel of Polished Bone"; the Flesh was following its essential Nature and transporting itself piecemeal back to the Astral. We spoke with the Fellows, reporting both on this Situation and on Hilary.
For the next several Days we conducted Experiments on the Astral, finding it slightly less alien than our previous Experiences had indicated; Gunpowder burned slowly, rather than not at all, and inanimate Objects removed from our Persons disappeared after several Days (in one case at least returning to its World of Origin).
Returning to New Renaissance, we delivered some Items to Master Waugh, who believed that he could obtain limited Passports for us, widening our Scope of Travel. We met Hilary again, and explained the Experiments on the Astral, then agreed a Trip to a World in the Year 1418. Master Book brought us across to the Astral, and we conducted further Experiments (an electric Torch gave only a weak Light and rapidly Faded, but a Book describing Electricity was still legible).
We located the Pool for the World, after something of a long Journey through the Astral, and traversed it, though our Destination appeared to be dark. The Torch now worked normally, though its Batteries were drained. The Arts of Hilary informed her that our Quantum was 7. We returned to the Astral, then proceeded to the Pool for Sans-Newton (a rather shorter Journey) and travelled there. According to Hilary, the Arts of Centrum could detect Arrivals almost at once, but not locate them with Precision, so Time should not be of the Essence. Whether they could tell such Gates apart from the Spoor of Conveyors was not known.
Sans-Newton turned out to be on Quantum 9, suggesting no Correlation between the Proximity of Astral Pools and the Quantum Scale, and Hilary was happy to leave again with some Expedition. We espied the Site from the Astral, and viewed a Party of Soldiers, led by "Smythe" of Centrum, investigating the Area and studying our Footprints. We considered the possibility of kidnapping one or more of them, but this seemed both risky and provocative. We studied them instead as they departed, following them to a Barracks, of which they seemed to have Control of at least one Building. Their Manner with Mr Smythe was more informal than seemed proper for Soldiers, and Hilary believed that their Guns were more advanced Firearms than were native to the World, disguised to casual Inspection.
14 March 2012
Hilary expressed some Concern about the Possibility of Espionage from the Astral; she asked about un-magical Worlds, and we confirmed that no Access from the Astral seemed possible there. Considering both that and the Problems or Opportunities posed by the widespread Ability to read Minds, she wished to ponder further.
There seemed some Irregularity in the Arrangement of the Barracks – not only the Presence of the Officer with the Men, but the Paucity of People. We observed the Remainder of the Building, but found no blatantly unworldly Equipment. Commander Hodgson expressed Concern that the Abilities of Centrum to detect off-World Travel had improved since our previous Visit. We returned to the Hampstead Heath of this World, then to New Renaissance. Or so we had hoped, but the Odour of our Destination was more industrial and faecal than that of New Renaissance... and there was no Magic in the air. Aircraft were in the Sky, though of unfamiliar Design. Hilary stated that this was on Quantum 3, but knew nothing of the specific World. Commander Hodgson detected a Gate somwhere in central London, and we descended into the City.
We encountered a Man walking across the Heath with his Dog; his Clothing was not immediately familiar, comprising Trousers and a bulky Jacket. His Hair was short and augmented by a Moustache. Hilary estimated a Date of the late twentieth or early twenty-first Century, but found the Styles of Clothing unfamiliar. Once we encountered the Names of Streets, we found them to be in English, but not those we expected from New Renaissance. A News-paper gave the Year as 2027, which the Commander and Hilary both recognised as that which the Theories of Hilary stated was the latest possible Date.
Hilary believed that she recognised the World, and felt we should leave it as quickly as possible. We reversed our Course and entered a Stand of Trees, where she explained that the Name of the World was Shikaku-Mon, one where a Swedish Empire owned London and overall Power rested with the Japanese. A working Theory was that the Gate detected by Commander Hodgson was a Projector belonging to the Indigenes. After some Negotiation, Balaban úr cut us back to New Renaissance, and Hilary summoned a Vehicle to take us all back to our various Lodgings.
We invited Hilary and her Driver into our Lodgings. She raised the Possibility of a Device or Indicator that would demonstrate the Presence of Magic on her World; we considered how this might be achieved. We agreed that Balaban úr would give Infinity Astral Locations as well as Quantum Levels on the Worlds that he examined, after which the Theoreticians of Infinity would attempt to build a Scheme of Mapping.
We agreed to meet again in a Week, to give time to speak with our respective Superiors and to take some Rest. Hilary planned to travel with us to a remote Place, perhaps in the Wilds of Scotland, then to take us by Conveyor to the World of Magic in the early twentieth Century, with magical Opposition to Centrum. And so to Bed.
Balaban úr and Commander Hodgson visited several Worlds to determine their Quanta, and to retrieve Items for Master Book to follow. He, meanwhile, was purchasing a Variety of small Items, including a Camera. M. Nodier and I read local Books.
Overnight, by the Time of New Renaissance, we travelled via Hampstead Heath to Newton-X to report. I spoke briefly with Edith, and we discussed Methods by which the comfortable nether Garments of New Renaissance might be duplicated with our own Materials. After some Delay we spoke with Sir Edmond to give our Report.
We speculated on the possible Correlation between Levels of Magic and present Date, but without a sufficient Number of Worlds to theorise in great Detail. We considered that we might reasonably ask Infinity for multiple comprehensive sets of Text-Books in the Natural Sciences, in return for the Information on the magical Status of their World and that we had already given them on the Location of Shikaku-Mon.
We decided that we would try the Journey to the World of the early Twentieth Century, both for our Interest in a Trip by Conveyor and as a bargaining Tool with Infinity.
28 March 2012
“Yes, but six Months of theoretical Work could save us half an Hour in the Field.” – Nell
We conducted several Experiments at Greenwich, to determine how our Detection of Magic could be extended. A refracting Telescope extended the Range, but a Reflector of Speculum-Metal did not – though one of Silver did, as did tests with Mercury Amalgam and common Glass.
Back on New Renaissance, we took Vaccinations in an Attempt to forestall any Passage of Disease, while Balaban úr (who had no Need of such Considerations) visited several more Worlds in Order to record their Quanta.
In order to accommodate ourselves to the local Technology, we travelled by Express Train to Exeter; I spoke with the Driver, who explained some of the Intricacies of Signals. We passed on by local Train to Penzance, where we remained over-Night. The following Day we encountered mass Tourism, and rapidly returned to Plymouth, where Commander Hodgson would Plymouth Dockyard much expanded and supporting atomick Battleships with Crews of more than a Thousand.
We passed the next Night in Exeter, and visited Bristol on the way back to London to see a commercial Dock, though its Days of Glory had passed; we also saw Aircraft of the Bristol Aircraft Company.
After our Return to London, we met Hilary, and negotiated for Books. We agreed that I might cast an Alteration of Visage, which would expire after an Hour; if this were to survive Passage in a Conveyor, it would give them Information as to the Level of Magic on their Home.
The next Day, with Agreement on the Matter of Books, Hilary began to move the Conveyor to Scotland, while we agreed to follow by Sleeper Train, this one Diesel-hauled by a "Napier Quad". Master Book fell into Converse with a young Lady going by the Name of Marilyn, of whom Commander Hodgson seemed somewhat suspicious at first; we meanwhile were accosted by a man with what he claimed was a secret Invention, though he turned out to be insane.
In the Morning, Marilyn had attached herself to Daniel, and he decided to remain with her for the Moment. His Absence rather startled Hilary. Once we had travelled away from the Town to the Conveyor, I altered the Visage of Hilary, and we (and Balaban úr) travelled to Greater Hungary via the Conveyor – while M. Nodier and Commander Hodgson remained to observe.
Since the Alteration had persisted, we returned to New Renaissance while Hilary travelled to her Home; she joined us later, reporting that the Alteration had faded as soon as she arrived there. This was somewhat reassuring to her, as we explained the relative Difficulty of magical Espionage in such a Situation.

Machen

11 April 2012
We readied ourselves for the Trip to Machen, the World of Interest to Hilary. Our Objective was simple: to ascertain the Level of Magic and its Location on the Astral.
Sensing the Level while in Transit suggested that it was low, similar to our World of Origin. Commander Hodgson studied the Quantum Flows but appeared not to become enlightened.
On our arrival at Machen, we determined that the level of Magic was Low, and disembarked; Hilary and her people removed themselves. I could detect no nearby Magic, and the Commander saw nothing particularly unusual with his own Senses – though he thought something odd might be occurring in the Direction of Edinburgh. Balaban úr took us to the Astral – but our Location there was not clear, being far from any of our known Landmarks. With this in Mind, we returned to Machen, then moved our Location some Distance, both to confound potential Minions of Centrum and to give the Commander a higher starting Point for the Flight he planned.
He ascended, reporting on his Return a Pillar of distorted Space rising out of Edinburgh – and another similar one in the Western Isles. I attempted to locate the nearest Gate, but saw neither of these: rather, I found one roughly to the south-west, less than a hundred Miles away – perhaps near Stirling or Dunblane. M. Nodier was able to locate another, some two thousand Miles to the east.
We returned to the near Astral and rested, watching for a possible Response by Agents of Centrum. A half-Dozen of cavalry Troopers arrived on Machen after nearly an Hour, apparently searching for Tracks, it seemed without Success, even with use of Devices such as we had seen before. After some Time, they departed, and we passed on to the Astral Sea. On some higher Ground, I espied a Feature of the Terrain not entirely unlike one seen near Astral Rome. We proceeded in that Direction, but were approached by a Mass of gelid Matter; since it headed directly towards us, we attempted to draw it into some astral Hazard; this allowed us to increase the Distance, but it continued to follow.
We passed the world of Dragons, and with some Effort maintained our Separation until we reached C––Rome, whither the Mass did not pursue us; Balaban úr brought us back to New Renaissance. We rested briefly, then rejoined Hilary and her Colleagues to report. She was most concerned at the Disparity between our various Perceptions of Gates and other Phenomena.
Infinity had learned of Machen from Agents of Centrum who had suffered a Mishap in their Travels, and were not themselves entirely clear on the Situation. The Resistance to Centrum had occurred some Time later, perhaps as a Coalition of rebellious Groups; it was not apparent just where Magic entered the Equation, but the Resistance was most successful in Anglo-French Colonies.
We were curious as to whether Conveyors and other parachronic Machinery registered as Gates, and planned an Experiment to determine this.
25 April 2012
We returned to Glasgow by Train, and Balaban úr attempted to locate Master Book by Telephone, finding us invited to visit the Residence of his Inamorata and her Grandmother.
We located the Place and were invited in. Daniel evinced some Reluctance to rejoin us, but after Refreshment and some careful Converse we left together – Master Book giving his Lady his great Cogwheel from Roma Mechanica.
We returned to London, and to Newton-X, where Commander Hodgson and M. Nodier updated their Maps of the Astral. Balaban úr and Master Book travelled to the Royal Society to gain an Appointment with Sir Edmond, while I carried on with my own Research. In the Afternoon we met Sir Edmond and Sir Isaac; the Latter seemed concerned about Marilyn, regarding her as a potential Agent of the C—.
Sir Isaac was most interested in the Pillars, and planned to ask Sr Sapienze more about this World – and about the Nature of Factions and Splits in the C—.
Edith was working on Underwear, not yet aware that I intended to assign to her the Majority of the Profit in this Business. I considered the Importation of Sewing-Machines, but considered that our local Thread might be insufficiently consistent.
Balaban úr returned on the next Day from New Renaissance with the promised Books from Infinity, though we discovered a slight Problem; these Books were written for their own People travelling to more primitive Worlds, rather than for raising the People of those primitive Worlds to their own Level. They were, it seemed, working on this.
With Sr Sapienza now present, Sir Isaac questioned him closely on the Matter of Factions. These seemed to fall into several Species: principally those following a particular Master or Grand Master, those existing to oppose another Faction, and those taking a particular interest in an Objective or Cause not in Opposition to any other. One curious Aspect of the Royal Society as a Faction was our Ability to allow our overall Goals, the Acquisition of Knowledge, to surmount our individual Cupidity.
Sr Sapienza claimed not to know of Machen, but would ask his Colleagues. We considered with Sir Edmond and Sir Isaac the Difficulties of operating on Machen without becoming involved in the Conflicts there. Sir Isaac suggested that we first discern the Nature of the Pillars, avoid the Attentions of Centrum, and make Contact with the C— as possible; if some of the Resistance were purely Native, we would of course have to use our own Judgement, but we would have first to determine their Affiliation or otherwise with the C—, without ourselves being discovered.
We returned to New Renaissance, for our Meeting with Hilary on the next Day. Before that Time, Balaban úr visited a Book-shop, compiling a small Collection on the History and Philosophy of Science; Commander Hodgson had less Success obtaining original Texts, but made some Progress; I purchased a pair of Sewing-Machines for Edith, including an Array of spare Parts.
We discussed Matters with Hilary at some Length. We requested her Assistance in obtaining suitable Clothing and Equipment to allow us not to be blatantly out of Place. Money might be more difficult, though we should be able to start by selling Jewellery; Hilary enquired about the Possibility of reshaping one Coin to match another, but this was beyond our immediate Capacities. Infinity had little Detail on the specific Differences between this World and the others of the same Period, but even on the usual Model there was plenty to interest Centrum.
16 May 2012
We spend a small Number of Days studying the History of New Renaissance, in particular the earlier Part of the present Century, on the Basis that this would be useful both to us here and on Machen, the two Worlds not being extremely divergent.
Master Book asked after his Inamorata, and verified that her Story was more or less Correct. Commander Hodgson looked at small sailing Vessels, to see how Technology had modified them, but was unable at first to gain Permission. At a different Club, he was better able to persuade the Owners to allow him to try a small Boat, and impressed the Locals with his Aptitude.
Our Clothing arrived after some Days, and Edith was able to perform the necessary Alterations. We planned to be reasonably subtle in our Transfers, and I obtained the Lease of an isolated Cottage some Miles from Edinburgh to serve as a Base. We then proceeded on the Moors to an isolated Point, whence we could proceed to the Astral; thence Balaban úr cut directly to Machen, and Master Book brought us to the near Astral – by which Means we progressed to Edinburgh. Commander Hodgson found the astral Texture round the City somewhat odd, but was unable to articulate Details.
Observing the Locals, we felt that our Clothing would probably pass as lower Class, but acquiring more would be a Priority. Commander Hodgson found the Distortion centred on the Rock, but was as yet unable to confirm whether this was the Location of the Pillar. Pedestrian Traffic seemed much as expected, and we located both the central Station and several Pawnbrokers’ Establishments.
We emerged on the Rock via the good Offices of Master Book, then travelled down-hill into the City, making Efforts to blur our Trail. I pawned some of the Jewellery, after which we proceeded to book Rooms in the Railway Hotel, then to go shopping for Clothes and appropriate Styles of Hair.
The Magic was higher here – and aspected in the Mode of Connections – and Commander Hodgson confirmed that we were inside the Pillar. Sensing Gates gave me the Locations of nine, though this was still not one of them. We walked towards the Forth, and found the Pillar to be roughly cylindrical and some two Miles in Diameter, centred on the Castle, and with a soft Boundary – coincident with the Change in Level of Magic.
For the Moment, we Rested, planning to visit the Castle on the Morrow. I enhanced my Perceptions with Magic; we dined; and we retired for the Night.
I maintained the enhanced Perceptions the next Day as we travelled to the Castle. There appeared to be a School for Boys attached to the Castle, something that was not present in New Renaissance or our own World. I observed a man in his Forties with active Magic, as he observed me; I nodded to him and we moved to a more private Area.
We exchanged Signs of Recognition of the C—, though he was unwilling to speak of the Nature of this Place (and claimed not to be a Native). He regarded Centrum as being mostly a Nuisance to be avoided, rather than a serious Threat, and did not seem to be aware of any Involvement by the C— in the Uprisings in the outer Parts of the Empire. He asked us to leave Edinburgh, on the basis that his own People were conducting delicate Procedures, but we continued to converse, and it proved that he wished us to speak with his Superiors. He led us back into the City and into the Rear of a second-hand Bookshop, where we met an elderly Man introducing himself as Israel Rosenkrantz.
He was quite surprised that we could perceive the Pillar, and while not claiming to have created it did assert that he was now its Custodian. We revealed that Sir Isaac was our Master, and had given us the Task of learning more about this World.
Centrum were indeed attempting to promote the British Empire, and some of Rosenkrantz’ People were backing the Uprisings against them – on the Fringes, because these were the easiest Places to get such things Started. We mentioned that we could put him in touch with Infinity, who might be able to assist in this Rebellion.
Rosenkrantz asserted that Centrum attempted to be a Meritocracy, though with the usual Friction and Difficulty of any human Endeavour. We discussed the Nature of Centrum (and indeed of Infinity), and speculated on their Plans. His Branch of the Order had been here for some twenty Years, less than the thirty since Centrum had arrived.
The other Pillars of which he was Aware were at Callanish on the Island of Lewis, on Anglesey, one in in the Wash, at Glastonbury Tor and at Aldershot. He wished to provide us an Escort as we investigated others, being concerned that we not interfere to a great Extent with these powerful Areas.
We discussed the Possibility of taking someone from this Branch of the C— to Newton-X; this seemed as though it should be a Possibility, though we wished to confirm it first. We bought some Books, and started to consider Arrangements for our Journey to the Western Isles.
23 May 2012
We decided that we would remain in Edinburgh for a Week or so, without interfering with the local Magic; we would learn more of the World, and (the Hope of Balaban úr) we might encounter Minions of Centrum.
Over these Days, we gathered a variety of Books dealing with the Knowledge of the Era, as well as some of the more portable practical Examples thereof (some Firearms, some small Steam-driven Engines, and such like Matters). By the efforts of Balaban úr, these were stored in the Cottage on New Renaissance. Back on Machen, I travelled with the Commander and M. Nodier a few Miles across the Bridge, a somewhat impressive Artefact, and then to the Coast at Crail, in order that he might try out some of the local sailing-Craft.
We repaired to the Yacht Club, where the Commander was able to persuade a Member to take us out; the Afternoon passed pleasantly enough.
Our Escort to the Western Isles was Vincent du Thym, and our Plan was to travel by Train to Inverness, then proceed in some suitable Manner overland to Ullapool, and onward by Ferry to Stornoway.
The Site at Callanish was under the Control of the Laird of Clan Lewis, whose Family had been practising informally for some Years prior to the Arrival of the C— on this World – there were quite a few such Groups, though the Majority of them had been below the Level of sophisticated Art required for true Effectiveness.
du Thym’s View on Sources of Magic was intriguing, regarding Civitas – the Effect of the Collection of many intelligent Beings – as a potential Source in itself, though clearly the presence of Pillars only in Britain suggested that while this might be a necessary Precondition for them it was clearly not sufficient.
From Inverness we travelled on to Dingwall, then hired Horses for the next Stage – though Balaban úr could not be accomodated. With more than forty Miles to travel, and Rain delaying us, we broke our Journey at a Distillery en route (the local Spirits being unimpressive compared with Hollands, but not as much so as the Food).
On the next Day Master Book disagreed with his Horse on the proper Methods of Locomotion, but we arrived at Ullapool still in Daylight. We disposed of our Horses and stayed in the main Hotel of the Town, the next Ferry not being until the early Morning two Days later.
Being educated People, we were expected to wish to speak with the Minister; his Passion was Geology, though his Converse was more varied. His apparent View of the female Sex as a lesser Species was something of a stumbling-Block.
We arose early, broke our Fast, and made our Way to the Boat, a somewhat small and slow Vessel. The Weather was mostly clement, but strong Tides slowed our Progress, which took up most of the Day. We spoke with du Thym, who mentioned that some other Worlds shewed Evidence of similar Pillars in similar Locations – and the other common Factor seemed to be an historical and celtic King Arthur, based in North Wales. We discussed Matters Astral, and mentioned to du Thym the Roman Road; he described another, a Pair of Roads of the same Type passing through Turkey and Mesopotamia, this Set being infested by Nazis.
We arrived at Stornoway, and turned in almost at once; in the Morning, we hired more Horses, and proceeded the short Distance to Callanish – where we confirmed another Pillar, of much the same Size and Nature as that at Edinburgh, centred on the stone Circle but encompassing the Village. We arranged to stay at the local Inn, while du Thym spoke with the local Servants of the Laird to establish our Bona Fides; MacDougal, apparently the senior of these Men, came to speak with us later, bringing with him an Apprentice or similar.
We discussed our own Origins and the Nature of the Pillars, and reached a tentative Agreement to conduct Experients with the Goal of mutual Enlightenment. MacDougal confirmed that a long Working, Details of which he was not willing to disclose, was in Progress, and that this was not a Matter we should disturb. We also introduced MacDougal to our own History, which he found most fascinating. He knew nothing of the detailed History of the Stones – some slight Excavation had been done, but without interesting Result.
6 June 2012
We set Watches, but were not disturbed. In the Morning we met McLeod, one of MacDougal’s Subordinates, who was apparently to be assigned to us for Moment-to-Moment matters. We began by surveying the Extents of the Pillar, until the Commander mentioned that the Pillar had just flickered, something McLeod had never previously observed. There was no other obvious Effect, but a Cloud now contained a visible Gap, and there seemed to be some Agitation in the Village – and thus we returned there expeditiously.
M. Nodier strode ahead and engaged in somewhat hostile Converse with MacDougal. As we began to catch up, the Ground began to shake, and one of the standing Stones leaned visibly. M. Nodier began to walk in that Direction, and we followed, particularly as we could hear Screaming. Odd shapes were passing out of the Circle, and the Term "Qlippoth" was mentioned, something we had heard about but not previously encountered; a Class of contaminant Beings believed to be Relics of an earlier and inferior Creation.
I temporarily lost my Composure, but understand the Commander was throwing Pebbles at great Speed, while M. Nodier enhanced his Speed and Balaban úr engaged the Creature, or one of them, they having human Form but remaining connected to each other, with his sword. While these Attacks were not wholly ineffective, they appeared to inflict no great Injury on the Creature(s), though a Ball of Flame from MacDougal was more potent, and repeated Attacks, it seems, caused more Damage.
As I regained my Senses I found Balaban úr at the Centre of a Group of the Creatures, but was able to take a Moment to examine their Aura before moving to assist. This appeared most interesting, even intriguing, but I did not have Time at that Instant to consider the Implications.
I was of some slight Assistance, principally by healing the Combatants, as M. Nodier, Balaban úr, and MacDougal were all corrosively wounded.
MacDougal averred that this was not an Error of Casting, but rather a deliberate Attack; his Faction, the Order of Phlebas, was one attempting specifically to defeat Qlippoth, and another Faction (which we christened Cumberland) in a similar World to this one was believed to have fallen Prey to the Lures of such Creatures – and indeed the Order of Phlebas had already been conducting Attacks against them. This Attack from elsewhere, it seemed, might well have been repeated at all the Pillars, but our Evidence might at least be of some Use in the greater Dealings of the C—. The Actions of Centrum might also be a confounding Factor.
MacDougal was able to bespeak the Groups at other Pillars: Edinburgh had come off worst, with several dead. At Anglesey the Intrusion had been handled well; at Aldershot there had been an Escape and some public Involvement; at Glastonbury, the Attack had been aborted as the Gate closed early; and no word had come from the Wash.
In order to travel there in Haste, we purposed to return to New Renaissance and travel by Air, then return to Machen – taking MacLeod with us.
20 June 2012
First we would go to Solitude, to provide a little Isolation between Worlds, considering recent Events. The Terrain was favourable in spite of the Snow, and we quickly progressed half a Mile across the open Ground, with the aim of muddying our Trail. Master Book opened the second Gate, but it closed quickly, isolating Balaban úr on Solitude – with the majority of the Tents. I put up my own, to shelter our Baggage from the Rain, and we waited until Balaban úr could arrive, then waited out the Night.
We located a Telephone-Box and called on Mr Waugh to wire Funds, as well as to tell us the Location of the Air-Port, after which we walked into Callanish and took an Omnibus to Stornoway. I negotiated the Charter of an Aircraft, which took us to Edinburgh and then on to Skegness in the Afternoon. By Taxicab to Long Sutton, then out into a less-observed spot, whence Master Book took us to Machen.
Here it was early Morning, and nothing was apparently wrong. Commander Hodgson was able to perceive the Pillar, which looked to him much like the others, and to confirm the Presence of Fishermen on the Wash. MacLeod told us that the local C—ists were expected to be in some Houses by the Shore, and we walked in that Direction.
M. Nodier was the first to observe an Oddity: a narrow Line of some Description leading from House to Sea, or perhaps in the other Direction. We approached the House, seeing that the Line led to the front Door.
Nell: “Just on previous form, if when we see them I scream and start to bibble, this is probably a bad sign.”
A Woman answered our Knock somewhat timorously, and did not respond to a Phrase of the C—; when Balaban úr stated that we had come to meet the Occupants, she hesitantly asked us in. I spied her Aura, and fell back with a Cry to my Comrades, upon which the House seemed to stretch and attempted to engulf Balaban úr.
Master Book and I retreated to what we hoped might be a safe Distance, while the others of our Party attacked with Sword, Rifles, and many Pebbles. The Inhabitants of the House retaliated with Spells of Fire, wounding the Commander, but neither side was able to prevail for some time. The Sea was starting to boil and rise, and the Line in the Sand had disgorged a Tendril between House and Sea which now seemed to be under Tension. I drew a Knife and cut at it, though without immediate Effect. The Mass in the Sea heaved itself higher, and I temporarily lost my Presence of Mind.
As I was later informed, the House collapsed when Balaban úr more successfully cut at the Tendril. The Mass in the Sea continued to writhe, and apparently took on a molluscan Form. M. Nodier shot at it, but most of us were to some extent hors de combat. Master Book took MacLeod, who had also lost his Composure, to the Astral. The Mass started to collapse as it moved inshore, but still perturbed the Commander, to the extent that he lost Consciousness.
Janos: So, that’s a few tentacles, then.
Balaban úr carried the Commander, and M. Nodier assisted me, into a further Gate to the Astral. Balaban úr calmed MacLeod, while I healed the Commander. We travelled via the Astral to New Renaissance, and for Verisimilitude doused ourselves in the Wash, before approaching the nearest House to the Shore with a Tale of Boat-Wreck. After some Discussion we were able to persuade the Locals to take us back to Skegness, where we arrived about an Hour before Midnight.
We returned to the Skegness of Machen, where MacLeod sent a Telegram to MacDougal to apprise him of the Situation – then departed by Train for Edinburgh.
As we were leaving Skegness, we saw a Flash behind us and felt a Tremor in the Earth – and considering the Number of Gates we had used in the Area, we suspected that Agents of Centrum had discovered the Intrusion and used puissant Weapons upon it.

Mr Collins’ World

17 October 2012
My Dear Mistress Stoutenburgh,
Following your decision to remain at home during our latest venture across the worlds, for purposes of Study, it was put to me that I might prepare for you a Note concerning events on that expedition. Such an Account follows, which I hope that you will find convenient.
As you will recall, we had determined that a visit to the world of Mister Collins’s origin was appropriate, for purposes of reconnaissance. To protect the secrecy of our own origin point and for other reasons, we determined to travel by way of the world of New Renaissance, and when all were assembled, Balaban úr cut a passage to our house in that realm. Once there, we changed into what would, by the standards of New Renaissance, be considered subdued garb, thinking that this would likely attract least attention in another world of similar history and with a present date a mere few years later.
We then travelled by way of rail-way tunnel to the all too familiar Hampstead Heath, where Daniel was given – I hesitate to mention this, but delicacy must be subdued in the interests of the promotion of the Art and of scholarship – an item of under-clothing extracted from Mr Collins’s possession, an overly refined form of breech-clout. Applying his Gift to this, Daniel enabled up to make smooth passage to this new world.
The time there proved to be Night, and the weather to be most unpleasantly chill; a full foot of snow lay on the ground, and much more was descending. My own senses informed me that the degree of Mana was low, while Commander Hodgson’s observations lead him to suggest that the date was in December or January. (This was excellent news, in that Master Halley’s comet may be expected to return to view there in February.) Taking shelter under convenient trees, we operated the appropriate instruments and established that the "Quantum Level" of this world was of the seventh order – placing it in the zone of contention between Infinity and Centrum, with Centrum perhaps favoured.
This raised the undesired possibility of the powers of Centrum being turned against us here in short order, and the snow was already proving displeasing. Hence, we transferred to the Near Astral Realm to escape these inconveniences, and resolved to make observation for a period of one hour, curious as to whether Centrum’s minions might come into view.
In fact, none that had that look did appear, but two other persons did. They were of quite modest years, and carried neither exotic devices or tools nor evident weapons. They were, however, dressed as befitted in this weather, so much may have been concealed on their persons. They fell into what appeared to be some dispute, eventually as it seemed resolving to take shelter under the trees and watch the scene more. However, in so moving themselves, they chanced upon the tracks which we had perforce left, which terminated suddenly where we had departed that Realm.
This gave them concern, as it seemed, and they clearly resolved to depart the Heath. We followed them, surely invisible to their mundane senses, and yet they gave signs of thinking themselves watched. A modest way from the Heath, they attained a Motor Carriage to which they had access, and used this to depart at a speed which we could not emulate, even in our Astral guise.
Wishing to determine more of the world, we located a shop which was continuing to do business even at this late hour, and then a nearby alley-way, where Daniel returned us to our material presence, apparently, from his remarks, narrowly avoiding any inconvenience caused by the imprecision of his Power. We resolved that Balaban úr should serve as our agent now, and he took a modest amount of specie which we had carried from the world of New Renaissance and entered the Place of Commerce.
At this point, as he subsequently explained to us, it emerged that the coins which he bore were inappropriate to his needs. Perhaps the two worlds are divergent in subtle ways, or perhaps there had been a Re-Casting of the English Coinage at some point between the two dates. For certain, Balaban úr reported, prices were marked with the letter "p", presumably indicating pennies, rather than the Shillings and Pence we have encountered in other aspects of the English Realm across the many worlds. Furthermore, the shop-keeper, a Hindoo whose grasp of the English tongue was not entirely perfect, seemed most confused by Ur Balaban’s attempts to discuss or negotiate the matter, and Balaban úr was reduced to presenting himself, accurately but no doubt humiliatingly, as a confused Stranger from the lands of the Hungarians.
Hence, he made no purchase. However, he did at least determine from brief examination of the news-papers on display that the date was the 30th day of December, in the year 1985, and also that the shop-keeper, whatever his own beliefs regarding Religion or Ur Balaban’s nature, wished him to have a happy Christmas-time.
While all this passed, we remained in the snow in the street. Daniel found a waste-bin and extracted an empty glass bottle therefrom, to facilitate other returns to this world, the garish papers on which bottle declaring it to have held a substance, unknown to any of us, termed Tizer.
The Party thus reunited, we resolved to depart and explore this world’s position in relation to the Higher Realms. Daniel gave us passage once more to the Astral Plane, where we made expedition in the direction of the Astral Sea.
On our way there, we encountered another traveller, seemingly a mortal man by appearance, seeming healthy if rather stout of person, but dressed in some wise peculiarly, being clad in tunic and trews together of iridescent white sateeen. He bore no weapons nor signs of hostility, but hailed us fairly if in vulgar mode, saying "Howdy Strangers". We returned his salute, and he enquired what we might be doing in, as he put it, the Realm of Ideas. We informed him that we were simple travellers, and asked as to his own concerns, which he said were the Maintenance of his own Legend.
This of course suggested that he might be less mortal than he appeared, and we enquired as to his name, which he gave as Elvis Presley. Some of our number knew of this person from our visits to worlds in the later years of the Twentieth Century of our Lord, informing others of our number that Master Presley was an entertainer, by birth an American, and yet of such renown that, perhaps like Orpheus, his various occurrences might indeed cast such an Archetypical Shadow into the Astral Realm. (That century sees some strange transformations in the world, does it not, Miss Stoutenburgh?) Daniel, having heard of Master Presley and perhaps in his youth being susceptible to the mundane glamours of worldly renown, or perhaps seeking merely to impress his inamorata, requested that he sign his name upon a fragment of paper which he had about his person, by way of a keep-sake.
The Archetype seemed accustomed to such requests and amused by them, consenting willingly and asking for whom he might be writing. When Daniel gave the name Marilyn, he displayed amusement and even a little respect; it is possible that there was some confusion there regarding bearers of that name.
Venturing onwards, we came to the shores of the Astral Sea, where we were able in conference to identify some landmarks, which suggested that we might return to our own world of Newton-X, by way of an extended walk. As we made our way, though, we were distracted by other World-Pools. I exercised my trained skills of Divination upon it to full effect, learning thereby that it gave access to a realm in which both Magic and Holy Power held great sway. Venturing closer to that reality, we met a being which flaunted all the traditional and arcane aspects of a true Angel. Balaban úr showed it the reverence which he felt to be due to such a being, kneeling before it. I however chose to preserve my calm detachment, holding that even if this was in truth a servant of the Highest Power, it was but a servant, to be respected as such. I have little training in theology beyond the minimum befitting a scholar, but my understanding is that offering worship to a being which is created to serve is greatly inappropriate. A show of respectful dignity seemed more apt in my judgement.
We questioned the being as to its identity, and it declared itself openly to be named Brookiel, guardian of this world and servant of Michael, Archangel of War. From this and its other responses to our courtesies and inquiries, Balaban úr formed the belief that the world was one which he had visited in his past travels, and to which he refers with the words "Richard’s Grail", as there, the Duke of Normandy and King of England, Richard, is said to have discovered the True Grail while upon Crusade to the Holy Land. This unleashed such powers upon that Earth that even the bold Balaban úr has little desire to return there.
Thus, we walked on, soon encountering another World-Pool, which proved somehow less susceptible to our divinations, although we could tell that the world is not inherently inimical to human life. Venturing closer without encountering guardians in this case, we again observed Hampstead Heath. London there was, as it appeared, again in the late part of the Twentieth Century, with motor-cars upon its streets. The time was dusk, with few persons present, so we formed an intent to learn more, So Daniel opened a gate to its materiality.
It was cold but not snowing on this Earth, and I sensed a degree of mana that I am enjoined to term Normal. Our own device assigned the world a Quantum value of four, but that which Hillary had given us gave only an unpleasant screeching note, and no numerical value. I cast a spell of Sense Mana to good effect, and thus determined that the very fabric of reality here was more malleable than usual for most worlds, which explained the mana level in a way that I will be happy to clarify when we have time and opportunity for detailed scholarly conversation.
Casting about, we located a waste-bin in, some of us observed, the precisely identical place as we had found one on the world we have been told to call Shikaku-Mon. It contained a news-paper showing a date in 1984, and making references to a person named President Formby of this land. This seemed quite curious to us, as it is rare to find an Earth where the people of England have discarded their monarchy in favour of other arrangements.
And here I must pause. I will continue my account in due course.
With the Respect Due a Sister in the Art, I sign Myself,
Antoine Nodier, Scholar
31 October 2012
My Dear Mistress Stoutenburgh,
Circumstance permits and impells me to continue the Note concerning events on the recent expedition from which you were absent. I continue to hope that you will find this convenient.
Our party being placed in another wint’ry circumstance, we discussed the charms of warmer garb. But how should we return home to acquire such, we wondered. In due course, we reached agreement and required Balaban úr to cut a portal to the world we term Solitude, where it proved to be both evening-time and raining. Moreover, we caught the odour of smoke, suggestive of human settlement, as we had not previously detected in the British Isles in that realm. It seemed only wise to investigate this phenomenon.
The others moved forward with due caution, while I held back, lest aid might be required in desperate emergency. They later told me that they heard voices, speaking in no language known to them, and then discovered a Clearing among the trees, which in turn proved to be the site of a pair of dwellings of the lowliest kind, mere huts. No persons were out and about, but it was clear that the inhabitants were not entirely fools, as they owned dogs which were trained to make noise when they sensed intruders, as now. A pair of sordid and lowly fellows emerged from the dwellings, but failed to detect our friends.
Young Daniel decided to slip in closer and acquire something of human artifice, that he might regain this realm with ease at later date. Balaban úr too moved closer, and he was seen. Daniel took fright at the possibility of detection, and fled, but Balaban úr stood his ground, bowing with due respect, but also casting what some seem to regard as his most Fearsome stare upon these persons.
Daniel met the good Commander, and instantly claimed that Balaban úr was taken prisoner and perhaps pressed into battle, but the Commander observed the absence of any cries of strife, and doubted this. In sooth, Balaban úr was preserving all politeness, and seeking to offer coins as a gift. The gross unsophisticates regarded this presentation with suspicion, clasping them only with the protection of a leather patch, presumably lest they burned or suchlike.
The good Commander, approaching, observed these exchanges and therefore spoke with Balaban úr, demanding to know the justice of his acts, as all of us were growing damp in the typical British weather, and leaving our coins in this place brought the risk of later discovery by other venturers across the Worlds. Balaban úr justified himself by reference to the desirability of making fair acquaintance with these persons, against future need or use.
By now, Daniel and I had met, and the Commander regained our position in a mood of wrath, proclaiming Balaban úr a disobedient servant who was expending valuable time on futile and possibly dangerous endeavours. He favoured immediate return to our own world, using our own magical resources, leaving Balaban úr to join us when his sword’s powers were restored. However, I was most curious as to what Balaban úr sought to gain from his acts, and did not feel that our time was so short as to make the desertion of even a servant and guard necessary. Nor did Daniel share our naval colleague’s sense of urgency. Hence, we stood our ground despite his ill mood.
Hence, we were still present when Balaban úr came to us, bearing the shell of some local mollusc, of some modest quality as decoration. This, he declared, was a gift from the denizens of this place, with whom his association was now passably courteous. He declared that his long experience of roving the Many Worlds had taught him the great virtue of such courtesies. He handed Daniel the shell, and Daniel evidently found his alchemically augmented senses awoken, perhaps by entire chance. It was, he declared, a valuable gift in the eyes of its previous bearer – but insufficiently worked by human hands to serve as a focus for his own Gift of gateway-opening.
We retired a little distance, and then Daniel employed that gift to transport us to the world we know as that of New Renaissance, where we once more took passage by rail-way to our local domicile, seeking a warm shower-bath each and then dry clothes. We used local devices to contact the woman Hilary, who suggested a meeting on the morrow morn to discuss our recent experiences. We also gave Master Simon Waugh Newton’s list of books that he did desire.
Refreshed, we fell briefly into discussion of schedules, and decided to remain in this place for one or two days or thereabouts, as we had assorted matters to accomplish. Daniel wished to renew his acquaintance with the girl Marilyn, his inamorata, but first, he went with the Commander, who sought to purchase a player-device for recorded sounds, for his own delight. Daniel himself acquired such a recorded sound, being the work of the mortal aspect here of Master Elvis Presley. The words of the song therein being printed on the wrapping-paper, he made study thereof.
He decided to surprise Marilyn, apparently feeling this to be in keeping with his mission of secrecy, now that he was charged to determine the Good Faith of her love. I accompanied him, feeling that his safety should be our concern, and took a seat in the nearest coffee-house that I could find to his destination, where I could read in peace while remaining alert for violent occurence. He later spoke a little to me of what passed for him.
Marilyn proved to be dwelling in a Hall of Residence associated with the University now grown up in London in this world. The porter, preserving correct proprieties, refused Daniel admittance to this Place of Women, but could inform him that the girl was not at the time present there. Daniel’s response was to wait.
His inamorata returned at around the sixth hour after noon, in company with a band of woman-friends. She proclaimed herself glad at the sight of Daniel, introducing him to her company with great enthusiasm. He presented her with the record-music and with the signature of Master Presley, claiming that his Uncle in some wise had access to the Great Musician, and she was vastly impressed.
For this, she carried him for further converse to a coffee-house – not, regrettably, the one where I awaited – and there did talk considerably. She spoke of the weather, following the customs of this country, and of her pleasure at the Tolerance of Religion in London, which is more advanced than her native Scot-land in this.
Daniel in response sought to speak to her of matters of theology, hoping to discover more of her spiritual life, with some view to discovering the likelihood of her being some manner of Spy. No doubt, this was a greatly cunning plan, but all that appeared to ensue was that Marilyn thought him a clever fellow and knowledgeable. Then, he sought to speak to her of Geography, that being her chosen course of study at the University. He proclaims that she appeared convincing. Then, seeking to disguise his intent in a cloak of misleading truth, he made jests to her that he did consider that she might be a spy. She found true humour in this, responding with jests concerning a nest of spies lately discovered connected with the great and ancient University of Cambridge.
When he made account of all this to us later, some of the party expressed the thought that Daniel’s great intellect defends him against normality. This I take to be English Humour. In any event, continuing his policy of befuddlement by means of truth, Daniel spoke to Marilyn of an uncle named “Isaac Newton” who travels greatly and who might take him off on travels at any moment, giving this as a reason why his fervent hope to see her again on the night of the morrow might be frustrated. They parted with, no doubt, the usual mutual expressions of regard.
On the Next day we met Mistress Hilary, who was greatly interested in our report, and dumfounded at some of the detailed elements, even though we were circumspect in some points, as seemed wise. She expressed a desire to visit the World of Sans Newton with our aid, to examine the progress of events there for herself. We gave her some explanation of matters there, forming together with her the theory that Centrum might be presumed to be promoting the Jacobites cause as a route to building an Anglo-French Empire that they could exploit. We agreed to make expedition there after two more days.
Hilary also expressed a desire to meet Master Edmund Halley, on neutral ground if we so wished. The world where his comet might soon be observed was suggested.
Hilary retired to digest our news, and we returned to the house which is our base, and had Balaban úr cut a gate to the world of Newton X, where it proved to be night-time. So we retired.
The next day, we assigned largely to the resolution of each our personal concerns, while making appointment with Master Halley in the afternoon. At that encounter, we laid further practical plans.
Later. we made some practical experiments to determine the drift rate of New Renaissance with regard to the comet world. The results of that, we will publish in due course.
Then, back to the world where we might meet with Hilary again. The savants of Infinity had offered a Theory as to why their Quantum Measuring Device might be incapable of useful action on that world where it failed us; the claim is that it places pressure on the fabric of reality itself, and where it met no resistance at all, its function was perhaps discommoded.
Then we progressed to the comet-world to make preparations for observation there in due course. This was best done outside London, we decided, as the lights of that mighty city of futurity pollute the very sky itself. We also made arrangements to have useful funds there, so we could in turn acquire clothes in the local fashion, and concerned ourselves with finding a house that would be available for rent or purchase on two worlds including this one, for convenience of our peculiar travels.
And then, we progressed homewards, to report to Master Halley, explaining the problems with cometary observation from London. Indeed, if we could somehow make shift to travel to the southern hemisphere of that Earth somehow, those observations might be greatly improved, but that may prove too hard to undertake. At this point, we also received notes from the great Sir Isaac Newton about possible explanations for that world of unstable realities, which are so wise and convincing that we will take some short while to comprehend them, I fear.
Then we made swift transit to the world we call Sans Newton, by way of those we name New Renaissance and Solitude. However, we arrived in that realm in the afternoon, in vilely pouring rain, and most unpleasantly of all, in the midst of what appeared most surely to be an encampment of a great army.
And there, I must once more set down my pen.

Sans-Newton

21 November 2012
We were rapidly surrounded by armed Men. M. Nodier sensed some change in the Flavour of the Magic here, though we had no immediate Scope for Discussion. We presented our selves as friendly, considering the Odds not to be in our Favour, and gave the Names we had previously established here. M. Nodier came up with a plausible Idea, suggesting that a philosophical Investigation had produced unexpected Results, and I performed some Embroidery on this Canvas; the Captain who accosted us was not entirely convinced, but was prepared to take us to his Colonel. I repeated the Story to him, and he seemed essentially unconvinced at first.
We were kept under Guard while the Field Marshal was fetched; the local Date seemed to be 9 April 1746. One Marcus Brown, Astrologer to the Field Marshal, entered, and I attempted to baffle him, with only limited Success. Commander Hodgson read his Mind as he spoke with me, and he seemed concerned particularly about Strangers in the Jacobite camp, some of whom had been observed leaving Tents that they had certainly not entered.
Seeing that we had made little Progress, I spoke with Brown privily, explaining that we were indeed Travellers from elsewhere, and that those assisting the Jacobites were also such – and that as a Result we had Interests at least touching on theirs. It occurred to me also that the Centrans might be concerned at our Arrival, and I suggested to Brown that their investigating Parties might be ambushed.
We gave our Parole for the Moment, and Brown left to consult the Field Marshal. Master Book mistrusted the Intentions of our Hosts, and chose to move himself to the Astral while we were briefly unobserved.
I sensed the Magical Currents, and found the Level substantially lower than it had been on our previous Visit. We ate, and retired to sleep, though keeping Watches. When I awoke, Master Book had returned, and we were supplied Breakfast, of Bread, roast Pork, and Rum – the latter of which appeared distinctly Unhealthy, and Brown caught the Soldier – one James d’Alembert – who had brought it when he attempted to escape. Commander Hodgson easily read his Mind, and we confirmed that he was indeed a Spy for Centrum – with wireless communication Equipment. He offered us his Services, and although he had no Magery we were inclined to accept. He had little direct Information, having been deliberately kept ignorant of much of the Centran Plans.
We travelled, with d’Alembert, to speak with Field Marshal Wade, who was concerned and impressed by our new Prisoner. We discussed the Centran Effort, which appeared to consist primarily of Resupply via Conveyor, and how it might be fought; the Puissance of the Centran Arms would clearly present a Difficulty.
5 December 2012
With some Suggestion that at least some of the Centran Conveyors were known to be coming from a specific Wood, and with the agreed Threat of Force if we did not cö-operate, we agreed that some of our Number would be willing to search the Wood for the Conveyors’ Site.
Balaban úr would take our Prisoner to Roma Mechanica, which required some Travels with Master Book to get him some suitable Clothes. Commander Hodgson, M. Nodier and I mean-while considered Maps of the Area and planned our Approach. A first Stage would be to Trace one of the Wagons as it left the Enemy’s Camp...
With the Prisoner bestowed to Balaban úr, we transferred to the Astral in order to leave this Camp and approach the other. In our Passage we felt we were being Followed, and Master Book mentioned that on a previous Trip he had been Accosted by non-human Beings.
We stopped, turned, and waved, and saw two twisted Creatures, apparently non-plussed, who changed their Course; Master Book called out to them, and offered to buy back his Sword. We conversed at some Length, and learned that they stole from both Armies, mostly by doing so at Night; we parted on friendly Terms, apparently something of a Novelty to them.
We crossed the Picket Line and continued, on the Astral, into the Camp; we searched for the Tent of the Commander, and looked inside, where a bibulous Discussion was in Progress.
A large wagon was leaving to the North, and we followed it. There were several more in its Train, and we progressed ahead on the Astral past at least eight more to reach the first. Eventually they were met at a large Clearing in the Woods, where all fifteen stopped. There were Pickets further out, who remained hidden in the woods. All the local Drivers returned towards the Camp in a small Wagon, and another Team arrived to take over the Wagons, continuing to the North.
The Wood became thicker, and the Convoy paused in a smaller Clearing. The lead Driver used a Device, there was a delay and then an astral Shimmer, and a large, tracked, metal Box appeared in the Clearing. The Wagons were driven into it, one at a Time (seemingly its Capacity), and it disappeared.
This Site also had its Pickets, with plain Sight of the Clearing. We considered how we might more closely observe the Transit, and interfere therewith. The Tents of the Pickets had thoroughly modern Conveniences, and their Firearms, while disguised, were Rifled.
Once all the Wagons had left, the Conveyor returned and the Pickets were replaced, with new Soldiers who continued to look more or less like local Men.
The Conveyor left again, and did not return for some time. We camped on the Astral while waiting to see if this would happen; Master Book awoke us when he espied a Knight on horseback, in rusty Armour. M. Nodier spoke with him of Philosophy, and he departed.
In the Morning, the Guards were replaced again via Conveyor; Master Book believed it was the same Machine. An Hour later, loaded Wagons began to arrive, being marshalled in the same way as before – only thirteen in Number, though some of them were the same individual Wagons. There seemed to be no Pickets on the three Miles of Road back to the first Clearing. There were no Drivers waiting there, though after about half an Hour they arrived. The Pickets here appeared more likely to be local, though we could not be certain that they had no Equipment from off-World; the Drivers from the Conveyor were all armed with concealed Firearms.
12 December 2012
On the Road back to the Camp, there were Pickets and Guards of local Men; they appeared quite competent but not to Excess. We returned to the Camp of Marshal Wade, ate, and readied ourselves to report later in the Morning – to the Marshal and his Astrologer. The Astrologer asked about the Dysfunction of his, and others’ Divinations; the Precision of Forecasts had dropped sharply in recent months, consistent with the general Decay of magical Puissance. He was able to detect some Activity when M. Nodier and I cast minor Spells, though not from the Commander’s Levitation. We believed, and mentioned, that there was some Correlation between the Worlds favoured by Centrum and those with little Magic, though whether there might be any causal Relation in either Direction was not at all clear.
We mentioned among other Details the Influence of Sir Isaac, particularly into the Future, and he grew most interested in the possibility of Trade. But that was in the longer Term, and more immediately we considered our Options for attacking the enemy Supplies – and for the later Conduct of the War. Our ultimate Plan was for Balaban úr to take us from the Astral into the Conveyor, with a Stock of Powder and a Pair of skilled Sappers, and for us to do as much Damage to the Vehicle as we were able before Master Book or I returned us to the Astral; mean-while a Force of Skirmishers would be useful to provide a Back-stop.
We returned, on the Astral, to the first Clearing, though with some Delay, so we were not able to see the Centran Drivers arriving there. They were seventeen in Number, and were spending Time largely as the Indigenes would; they were not obviously armed. We carried on to the second Clearing, which appeared deserted, though the Pickets were in place.
After the Wagons arrived, the Leader activated his Device, and after a Delay of some Minutes there was a brief astral Disturbance and the Conveyor arrived; Balaban úr confirmed that he was able to enter the Vehicle, as expected in the Astral, and went in ahead of the remainder of the Party.
The Floor, Roof and Walls were Metal, the Floor being Textured for Grip and the other Surfaces being painted. Near the far End was an internal Door, of some thickness, which he passed through and ascended a cramped Staircase
Commander Hodgson, M. Nodier and I ascended the Ramp, and I apported myself upward into a cramped Area that appeared to be the Bridge – at least to judge by the Controls, and the two Men operating them. The Commander and M. Nodier studied the lower Room, and we all removed ourselves before the Machine departed – I through the remaining Space for which we had not accounted, which appeared to be filled with odd Machinery.
On future Trips we examined the Conveyor in greater Detail; the Bridge had room for only two or so more People than were there already, which rendered Plans difficult. The internal Doors were secured.
Our eventual Plan was for Balaban úr and M. Nodier to enter via Sword and subdue the Operators, after which I would follow up with a Gate to allow the Powder in and our Companions out. All this would have to be done up a Ladder, providing extra Complication.
“We do not know how firm the Astral is for standing step-ladders on.”
2 January 2013
We would need first to survey the area and draw a Map thereof, so as to allow the Troops of Marshal Wade to mop up the Pickets; Commander Hodgson went with some of said Troops, while Balaban úr inspected the Stores of the Pretender from the Astral. The Skirmishers would attack when loud Noises were heard – either from our Charges, or from the Resistance of the Enemy.
Master Book took us to the Astral, where the Sappers were somewhat affrighted. We proceeded to the Site of the Transfer, and practiced with the Ladder. On the first appearance of the Conveyor, the Commander corrected the Position, and Balaban úr stood ready to ascend.
As he passed through, we learned later, at least one of the Operators activated the Machine, and it began to shimmer. Balaban úr struck rapidly at them, heavily wounding both; I ascended and began to cast my Gate. Balaban úr laid about him with his Sword, attempting to damage the Vehicle. However, it still disappeared; I ceased my Spell.
As we later learned, the Vehicle arrived in a Shower of tiny Frogs, in a World without Magic. Balaban úr and M. Nodier observed the Efforts of the People in the Hold to Escape – which they achieved with some Difficulty – but were not able to determine their Location beyond that it was on Quantum 9. From the Outside, blue-uniformed Men addressed our Brethren of the C— by some mechanical Device, then attempted, and failed, to open the interior Door. After some Minutes, more and more heavily-armed Men arrived, trying the Door again. An Attempt by M. Nodier to convince the Strangers that he was of the Crew was a Failure, and they breached the lower Door. Balaban úr completed his Demolition of the Panels, starting a Fire in the aft Compartment. The upper Door was breached, Gas was piped in, and M. Nodier lost Consciousness; Balaban úr cut at the Hose, then threw back a Grenade, and charged out at the Invaders. He evaded their Gunfire, stabbed at the first Man up the Stairs, and forced him to retreat, pushing him into the second Centran as the latter attempted to shoot, an Evolution ending with a pile of Bodies at the base of the Stairs, Balaban úr mostly atop it. He was confronted by yet a third Man, whom he attempted to stab, but the return shot knocked him out.
Neither Balaban úr nor the Conveyor returned immediately – nor for the next two Hours. At about that Time, the two Drivers of the first Wagon began to set off for their second Camp. We moved ahead on the Astral to lay an Ambush, where Commander Hodgson struck them down with Pebbles. We searched and bandaged them, removing Weapons, Armour, and what was perhaps Equipment for Communications; then we moved the Wagon a little closer to the main Site, and the Sappers set the Gunpowder; we retreated to the Astral with the Sappers and our Prisoners, and returned to the Clearing, where our Skirmishers’ Numbers were telling, but the Centrans were holding their own for the Moment. On further Thought we retrieved some Pieces of the Wagon, with the hope that Master Book might be able to Trace it to the World from which the Conveyor had been travelling; Commander Hodgson detected a new and odd form of Quantum Flow, that he thought might represent the Changing of History; then we returned to the Astral to question our Prisoners.
Later, M. Nodier woke up in a Sickbed, confronted by Smythe... and Balaban úr in a steel Cage...
16 January 2013
The Arm of M. Nodier was sore, as after an Injection. Smythe addressed him in the English of our home World, and quizzed him about the Nature of the C—, its Headquarters and Organization; he seemed to know very little of the Ways of Mages. He asked further about those left behind by M. Nodier, and while he mentioned other People on the Astral he went into no Detail. M. Nodier confused him with talk of the Mechanics of the Astral, and of our Travel between Worlds; ultimately M. Nodier accepted a Glass of Wine, though not his Hospitality.
Meanwhile, Balaban úr requested of his Interlocutor that he might speak with someone senior in order to make an Offer. Such a Person arrived, and was somewhat confused by the un-living State of Balaban úr; Balaban úr attempted to give his Parole, but the Agent was so lacking in Education as to be unable properly to accept it. Balaban úr expressed Relief that none of those he had fought had perished. He offered as part of his Ransom the Possibility of Access to Worlds on Quanta, or rather Waves, to which Centrum could not travel by its own Efforts. This interested the Agent, but produced no immediate Results.
M. Nodier was later asked about his Relationship with Infinity, and revealed some of the Truth.
Commander Hodgson tied the Prisoners, and we returned on the Astral to the Camp of Marshal Wade. En Route we encountered something that appeared to be a Star, at the same Time both huge and a little taller than a Man; we changed our Course, but it followed us, then greeted us in a profound Voice. It claimed to be Aldebaran, a Star I had often observed, which often listened to and answered Questions from this World, but of late had found the Voices incomprehensible. I explained that we hoped that Matters might soon return to normal, and were working towards this; Aldebaran offered to help, asking who had studied the Arts of Fire, and passing to me an astral Flame, advising me to cast it towards that which I wished to burn. It rose above us, and stated that it intended to observe. With the Jacobite Army in our Sight, our Course seemed clear.
Master Book felt that we should at least call upon the Rebels to surrender, but after some Consideration we felt that any Plan to send a convincing Message was too complex – though as a Compromise we agreed to concentrate on the Generals. The Commander carried me up for a better View, and I opened the Gate, concentrated my View, cast the Flame, and closed the Gate. The Flame spread apart into many smaller Fires, and anything Flammable began to ignite, including Tents, Clothing, and Stores of Powder both large and small. This Army was clearly in a State of disarray.
We set off for the Camp of Marshal Wade, and Master Book, Commander Hodgson, and the two Sappers travelled into the Tent of the Astrologer, where they adverted him of the Situation; the Forces of Marshal Wade were already readying their Attack. The Commander detected wildly-moving green Flows, of the History-changing Species he had seen earlier, and he and Master Book returned to the Astral.
Balaban úr was questioned extensively on Matters he felt unable to answer. Some Hours later, M. Nodier was asked whether any of his Comrades was particularly puissant in the Magic of Fire...
Our Prisoners were most traumatised, and one at least believed himself to be Dead and in Hell. I healed their minor Wounds, and the other started to recover himself somewhat. He expressed himself willing in Principle to cö-operate in an Exchange. He explained the operation of his signalling Device, and I purposed to leave a Note offering the Exchange at the Site of the Conveyor. He was willing to write this, and did so.
We travelled to the Site, observing something of a Rout in the Enemy’s Camp as we passed, and Master Book and Commander Hodgson dropped to Sans-Newton. They placed the Note, activated the Device, and returned to the Astral, Master Book even more malaffected by the Transition than usual. Our next Move was to wait for a Response from Centrum, so we made Camp and waited...
30 January 2013
A mechanical Device appeared, in the Manner of a Conveyor or Shuttle; it appeared auto-mobile, and moved to where we had left the Note, picked it up, and stowed it inside its Structure. It moved back to its Point of Arrival and disappeared.
Less than than Hour later, it appeared again in the same Place, deposited a Note of its own under the Rock, and removed itself again. After a short Delay, Master Book and the Commander descended to retrieve the Note; the Commander believing himself observed, they moved behind a Tree before returning.
The Substance of the Note indicated a willingness to consider an Exchange, and described the Names of our Colleagues and their State of Injury; it mentioned that the People of Centrum were speaking with them.
The Centran Agent released Balaban úr, taking him up on his offer of Parole and a Visit to Shikaku-Mon. He explained some of the Limitations of his Sword, and requested that M. Nodier come along, but this was denied; the Centran was also unwilling or unable to provide him with new Armour, though his own would be restored him.
The newest Interlocutor of M. Nodier informed him of the Plan, and of his impending Release. He discussed the Nature of Magic, at Length, and managed deliberately to confuse the Centran.
Balaban úr was transported by Omnibus to the Site for his Mission, introduced to two Soldiers and one Scholar, and briefed on what would happen – the Chain of Command, and the Priorities in Case of Difficulty. He cut to Shikaku-Mon, where it was dark, and the Scholar worked with his Instruments. An Hour later, they all returned without Incident.
We left another Note, suggesting some Procedures and asking when the Exchange might be effected; some Minutes later, it was collected. The Reply agreed, and suggested that they would be ready in some three Hours (Sans-Newton time).
Both M. Nodier and Balaban úr were taken back to a Tent containing the damaged Shuttle, where a smaller Model was used to return them to Sans-Newton.
A small Shuttle arrived, and we all returned to the Material to see Balaban úr and M. Nodier; we released our Prisoners, cautioning them not to worry about the Dreams. We returned to the Astral and exchanged News, and I began to heal Balaban úr, still damaged from the electrical Charge in the Shuttle.
We speculated on the magical Level of Sans-Newton, and on whether something done by Centrum, consciously or not, might be provoking this Loss of Level. We returned briefly to Sans-Newton to gain a more detailed Impression of this Magic, and thought it still weak but more stable.
After some Discussion we decided to walk across the Astral to New Renaissance, both to confuse any Centran Devices and so that we might leave the captured Equipment there.
While we rested, we were approached by a Knight armoured in Green. He sought a worthy Opponent, and Balaban úr awoke before he moved on. He explained that he wished to die by Beheading, and those valiant enough would accept his Challenge to allow him to behead them in turn, after the Span of a Year.
The Commander attempted to relieve the Weariness of the Knight, and woke M. Nodier to ask him to expound his advanced Philosophy. Balaban úr and the Commander tried more generally to interest the Knight in the Results of his Actions, the Consequences stretching beyond the Span of the Life of one Person. As the Knight seemed about to leave, Balaban úr made the Offer which I had hoped he would not...
The two stood to fight, Balaban úr evading the first Blow and returning a good Hit to the Neck of the Knight. His first Blows were inconclusive, but he continued to parry and evade, and the Weight of his Strikes ultimately told. He delivered a coup de grâce, and finally the Head of the Knight came off – and his Body began slowly to dissolve (as, alas, did that of his Horse).
Once our Rest was complete, we set out again for New Renaissance, arriving after several more Hours of Walking and returning to our House there. Commander Hodgson contacted Hilary, and we met after we had bathed and rested.
She seemed somewhat taken aback when we mentioned Aldebaran, but we distracted her with Questions about Centran Equipment and Technology. She felt that the Centran Agent might use the Information from Balaban úr in order to save Face with his Superiors in spite of the Failure of his Operation.
We further discussed Centrum and its Policies as regard to shifting Worlds, and hypothesised that the green Flows encountered by Commander Hodgson were related to major shifts in the historical Record, what Infinity called “Reality Quakes”. We wondered about the astral Presence of worlds without Humans, and agreed that it would be interesting to visit one in the Future.
M. Nodier arranged for an Appointment to be examined in a Manner that should reveal any Devices implanted in him by the Centrans...
13 February 2013
Balaban úr, Commander Nodier and I travelled to Roma Mechana to rejoin Master Gardner and to interrogate our Centran Prisoner d’Alembert – the former achieved after some Difficulty. It seemed that d’Alembert hoped to retire from cross-World Travel – some effect of the Astral, perhaps.
He seemed still somewhat bemused, finding us somewhat terrifying, not having previously met autonomous Travellers – particularly ones who were able to make social Connections with Speed. I did explain that his Departure from Sans-Newton had come at a propitious Time, but this only seemed to worry him further.
We engaged in some philosophical Debate on the Ethics of Interference in other Worlds. We gained from him some Information on the Arrangement of Centrum, the thirty Worlds fully Part of the System, the others that were Colonies; very few Worlds, it seemed, were very far back in Time, and it sounded as though our own Solitude might be one of the earliest.
We discussed the nature of Waves – Quanta – and how the Centrans travelled between them, which added substantially to the Information we had gained from Hilary.
(At the same Time, insofar as this was meaningful, the Examination of M. Nodier took place. Under the Guise of an artistic Endeavour, he obtained the Films and examined them privily; he found nothing untoward, though he took the Occasion to wax philosophical.)
d’Alembert waxed confused on the Nature of Infinity, or the World of Chaos as he understood it; he clearly had little Apprehension of the true and deliberate lack of Organisation of the C—, and we chose not to enlighten him.
As for other Travellers across Worlds, he mentioned natural Gates, Creatures capable of their own Travel, and psychic and magical Humans – but he had little or no Experience with any of these, only Rumours and half-remembered Lectures. As for the Experience of d’Alembert himself, he had operated on only two other Worlds, neither of them especially odd.
We discussed Matters further, considering the Procedures by which Centrum would find and explore new Worlds, and Balaban úr wished to learn the Basics of the Centran Language. Balaban úr was prepared to take him to the Centran World, and we purposed to bargain one for the other.
d’Alembert was agreeable to this, and we studied with him for a Fortnight, M. Nodier joining us. After this we considered Means of getting to the Centran World: only Balaban úr would be able to move us either in or out, without immediate access to the Astral.
We travelled at the Suggestion of d’Alembert to Verulamium, then Balaban úr cut to the Centran World. We arrived in farm Land, under a white Flag, and spoke with the female Operator of a Tractor – and with some Explanation – d’Alembert, or Johannes Goethe, claiming to have been lost among the Worlds – she was willing to inform the Authorities. A Helicopter soon arrived, with Centran Soldiers, and the Explanation was repeated, to some Confusion. The Centrans seemed at a Loss for the proper Procedure to deal with us, and we dared hope that we might be able to remove ourselves without further Complication. Their Leader departed in the Helicopter to fetch his own Superior. This turned out to be Smythe, whom we had met before, some of us more recently than others. Goethe gave him an Account of his Travels and Travails, and admitted that he had not been maltreated or severely threatened.
In the remaining few Minutes before our Departure, Smythe said that he had not fully understood the Accounts of M. Nodier on the Nature of Magic; we concurred, especially where Wine was involved. We admitted that our Group was relatively new to Travel between the Worlds, though Balaban úr had been doing it for rather longer. We explained, with some Difficulty, how our Part of the C– was in no Wise wishing to conquer the other Parts, and indeed that we found the Concept something essentially impossible of Achievement in Theory, still less in Practice.
We considered Means of staying in Contact, but while we could easily come here to leave a Message, Communication in the other Direction might be more troublesome – but we arranged that a Shipper on Sans-Newton would hold a Message for us.
Smythe did not attempt to prevent our Departure, and we moved to the Astral – several of us noting our Location, in such a way as this was meaningful. We seemed to be a Day or two distant from areas we knew; we proceeded for some Time to be sure of our Marks, and then Balaban úr returned us directly to Roma Mechana. I completed my Report for Sir Isaac and Sir Edmond, and we prepared to return Home.
27 February 2013
For convoluted Reasons, we returned first via the Astral to the Vicinity of New Renaissance, where it was Night – an Hour and a Half short of Midnight, according to a large Clock. We therefore walked back on the Astral to our Lodgings, where we entered the Cellar astrally and returned to the World.
We took a brief Rest and arose betimes, readying ourselves for the Return to our Home. I conducted a belated Experiment, and determined that the Gates created by Balaban úr were to some extent congruent with my own Gates.
We passed on many of the Papers and Books we had retrieved for Sir Isaac, and met Sir Edmond and Sr Sapienza, to whom I recounted our recent Activities – in particular the matter of Aldebaran.
It appeared that we had gained something of a Reputation among the wider C—, particularly for our Habits of sharing Information. Those of the C— who valued their Secrets might be ill-disposed towards us; but one Annio da Viterbo had a possible Commission for us.
da Viterbo was an Expert on ancient History and Documents, and had a burning Desire to learn Etruscan. While we knew of no Worlds immediately Suitable, several Avenues of Enquiry presented themselves, including the Roman Road and Worlds known by Infinity – however, since all of these would probably involve some Travel, this would have to wait until after our Observations of the Comet. Sr Sapienza would begin to negotiate with him on our Behalf.

Halley’s World

We returned to our House in Halley’s World, and negotiated some Specie and Items into local Cash; then to pay Bills which had accrued in our Absence; then on to buy Clothes (ordering some by Measurement for Sir Edmond). The Date was the third of February, 1986, and we obtained Guides to Observation of the Comet. We would have to travel South to gain Sight of it, and considered Naples or a similar City as a suitable Location.
The News was filled with Images of the Destruction of a high and fast Aircraft, clearly a Casualty of the lack of Atomick Engines such as would be used on New Renaissance.
Travel would be Problematic, but using the Astral might allow us to cross Borders without Documentation – if we could board a Train from there. Experimentation was indicated, and we went to a suburban Station at a quiet Time. Boarding was difficult; I was able to remain there for a little While, but not all the way to the next Station.
Our second Plan was to walk on the Astral across the Bed of the Sea; we travelled to Portsmouth to make a Test, onto the Astral, and set out into the Sea. It was dark, and the Footing was a little poor; we made slow Time, and felt that the many Hours of a Trip across the Channel might be too much for Sir Edmond. We spent the Night on the Island, and returned by Hover-Craft and Train. Our third Plan involved taking a small Boat, and scuttling her on the far Side.
Then to New Renaissance for more Money, and to meet Hilary. She was not immediately available, so we spent the Day establishing a more accurate Measurement of the Rate of Time between New Renaissance and Halley’s World, and making other Preparations.
27 March 2013
At our meeting with Hilary, she suggested that she would be able to obtain local Passports within a week or so, and we agreed that travel on New Renaissance would be the best Approach, perhaps into Italy given our potentially increased Range. I bought local clothing for Edith on New Renaissance, and we returned to Newton-X to bring Edith and Sir Edmond to be photographed.
Sir Edmond was taken somewhat aback by the Styles of Clothing, but he and Edith dressed and returned with us to New Renaissance, where we helped him to acclimatise himself to the Technology of the Day – electrical Lights, recorded Music (particularly Beethoven and Mozart), and such like.
Hilary arrived, we performed Introductions, and the Photographs were taken. We considered the Recruitment of Staff from our Home, taking into Account the Risks of bringing in Locals. Our Party split: Edith stayed at the House; Balaban úr went with Hilary to Halley’s World to find out Details of the best Site for Observation, and to buy local clothes for Sir Edmond and (as it transpired) order two Telescopes and a Case for a Contrabassoon suitable to the Transport of his Sword; the others of us went to see how well Sir Edmond would adjust to rapid Transport, taking a Taxi, an underground Train, and a larger Train to Glasgow – where we finally had sufficient Privacy to engage in philosophical Discourse, though Sir Edmond preferred a lighter Choice of Subject.
We spent the Night in Glasgow, and learned by Telephone of the Success of Balaban úr and Hilary. It seemed that the Cape Colony in South Africa might be a good Choice. The next Day, we flew back to London, and Sir Edmond dealt well with the Trip – at least until the Landing.
Hilary reported that the best Approach would be to fly to Cape Town, which we could do in one of the atomick Aircraft, taking some ten Hours; I obtained the Tickets.
We spent the next Week taking care of our Affairs of Business.
10 April 2013
The Commander began Arrangements to marry a Lady he had been courting. We met again on New Renaissance, where Master Book had been attempting to follow the Instructions of Sir Isaac to find out whether his Inamorata was a Spy.
We moved to Halley’s World, to continue Preparations for the Trip. Balaban úr, the Commander and Hilary went to collect the Telescopes, then continued to a Library to determine the political Situation in South Africa – noting that there were Areas most unwise for us to visit, and a strong Presence from the Police.
We made further Preparations over the next Weeks. We initiated Balaban úr formally into the C—. Master Book studied the Technology of New Renaissance; M. Nodier and I learned Spells.
Commander Hodgson and I joined Master Book and his Lady for Lunch. He spoke with her about a Film concerning Espionage that they had recently seen. The Commander and I applied various arcane Means to determine her Motivations and Personality, to attempt to answer the Question posed by Sir Isaac. I had not previously observed Master Book through this Sight, and was most interested to observe his thaumaturgical Field.
However, while we were able to determine that she did not appear to be a Spy, she became concerned that we might be of that Profession ourselves. We discussed how we might act next, with Master Book and I considering that simply demonstrating to her the reality of cross-World Travel would be a reasonable step.
A Day later the Lady telephoned Master Book, and asked that they meet in a public Place. Balaban úr and I followed, he to provide physical Surety and I to detect other Threats. No such Threat appeared; the Conversation appeared somewhat emotional but seemed to be essentially friendly, at least after a while. I retired at this point; Balaban úr continued to follow, as they walked to an Alley where as we later learned Master Book demonstrated his Magic by taking her to the near Astral. She reacted somewhat better than might have been expected. They returned slightly off the Target, but eventually Master Book returned to us – without the Lady.
17 April 2013
M. Nodier and I spent the next little While increasing our arcane Knowledge, while Balaban úr learned to Drive; the Commander made himself familiar with the Telescope; Master Book, Balaban úr and I all studied Methods of Research on this World.
In the matter of Marilyn, Master Book met her again, finding her somewhat nervous. He and Balaban úr, with some careful Discussion, offered her Employment – both to satisfy her Curiosity about us and to give her Protection from potential Enemies. As it transpired, she also desired Matrimony, and Master Book was not entirely averse to the Idea.
I went with Master Book to obtain a Ring for his Lady, and she was introduced to Master Waugh. After some Persuasion from the Commander, she decided to continue her Studies, but would move into our House.
The Commander visited his Intended again, and Edith spoke with her in Consideration of Undergarments and other commercial Ventures.
We were summoned to Sir Isaac, and he explained to us a Speculation of his on the Theories of Einstein. One Solution to Equations of Tensors that he had found (among the Papers we had retrieved for him) involved Universes that could sub-divide themselves. He would therefore aim to construct an Enchantment to precipitate this State, while we would attempt to locate an expendable World on which it could be attempted.
With all the Preparations made, we flew to the Cape Colony with Sir Edmond. Our Cabin on the Aircraft was large and comfortable, though not as luxurious as I had hoped. The Commander asked Hilary about the Spread of Disease across Worlds; it seemed that many Animalcules were harmed by Passage from one Universe to another. The Theories of Infinity could not account for this. Some of Infinity held that Worlds were mere Shadows of another, and not as separate as they appeared – some even claimed that Narrative, or God, was a measurable guiding Force – but Hilary was clearly not enthusiastic for these Ideas.
Hilary did reveal that, unlike the Worlds we had mostly encountered, Infinity had not particularly observed a Preponderance of Worlds at Moments of great Decision; this suggested that there might be significant Numbers of Worlds not accessible to the Astral. We asked her about Worlds with Speakers of Etruscan, and she had no immediate Candidate, but would consider further.
We spent a Night in Cape Town, then collected our Vehicle, which Balaban úr would drive. We also purchased Tents, Provisions, and some Rifles.
8 May 2013
We travelled through Towns and across the Wilderness of New Renaissance, this being safer than that of Halley’s World. We attempted to leave People pleased in our Wake, and not to make our Trail too excessively plain. A short way off the Track, we found a good Place to conceal the Vehicle during our Absence; then Master Book took us, and the Baggage, across.
The far Side was somewhat warmer, and we looked around and set up Camp. The Comet was visible in the Sky, though not impressive without aid.
Balaban úr and I mostly stayed awake during the Days, while the Astronomers of our Party were active at Night. The Hyenas that gathered around our Camp waited for us to sleep, gradually realising that we were not planning to do so. Eventually, Balaban úr shot one with Arrows, disposing of its Corpse. We spent the day in Study of the local animal and plant Life, and spoke with Hilary of Philosophy and Magic once she arose, in particular the Identification of potential Mages – whether in Person or by Device.
In the Evening, the Commander detected a Fluctuation, which he thought might be a Gate, some Miles distant. The Observation was good. Later in the Evening, some Visitors approached, apparently Local and armed. The Commander detected no Residue of Gates on them. We spoke to each other in somewhat broken Dutch, and explained that we were watching the Sky; they explained that we should not be here, but I reassured them that we were not harming the Animals, and we established friendly Relations and ate together. They were glad to meet Outsiders who were not Anthropologists, though careful and suspicious of us (particularly when I borrowed their Language); they explained that the Site beyond the Hill was a Place where Spirits of larger Animals came and went. Commander Hodgson thought that this was a rather specialised Form of Gate, and decided that it would probably be worth avoiding, though M. Nodier and Master Book felt otherwise. He further discussed our Observations of the Comet, and they left, apparently regarding us as harmless – this being more or less my Goal.
The next Day, M. Nodier, Master Book, the Commander and Hilary went to visit the Gate, via the Astral. Commander Hodgson continued to urge Caution, but Master Book and M. Nodier advanced with Interest. Master Book unearthed a Scorpion, and considered the Shape and Size of the Rocks – in a Fibonacci Sequence – and the Symmetry of the Hill nearby as deliberate Markers. The Gate itself was a roughly conical Form lying in the centre of the Rocks.
M. Nodier used his Magics to look through the Gate, and gained the Impression of many different Places overlaid, containing different Climates and the Animals that suited them.
Master Book suffered slightly from the Effects of the Scorpion, and the Party returned over Land. We moved to the Astral to see if it would affect the Progress of the Poison, but it did not have any apparent Effect, so I cured it on the Astral.
5 June 2013
There were no further Incidents overnight. We discussed the Possibilities of closer Observation of celestial Bodies, and several of us studied farther in Astronomy and Mathematics.
In the Morning, Balaban úr observed two Vehicles approaching. One Man, Laurent Bicquet, dismounted, and Balaban úr conversed with him, eventually settling on French as the most convenient Language; they turned out to be Anthropologists, and asked after a local sacred Site, Knowledge of which we denied politely.
As they left, M. Nodier and I noticed that the Head-Band of the Leader was in some way Magical, but we did not have Time to examine it in more Detail. The Party passed round the Hill towards the Site, and we felt we should find out just what these Newcomers were doing. After a light Lunch, Balaban úr and I set off to observe, walking up the Hill and proceeding under Cover. Balaban úr was, unfortunately, spotted, and we re-made Contact. Bicquet was standing in the affected Area, so we did not approach him closely, but I was able to observe him magically. His Head-Band, and the Amulets that all three of his Assistants wore, all reeked of Magic to control Minds.
Bicquet had worked on roughly similar Sites before, but knew more of northern Africa; he was studying the Symbolism of Animals in various Places. (The one of his Assistants I tested was clearly under mental Control.) We conversed for a little Time in the Shade; Bicquet was keen to get back to Work, and we then observed for a short While. As we left, Bicquet looked a little confused. He did not respond to C—istic Words.
We returned to our Camp to consider, it now being Evening. It seemed most likely that getting in to the animal Heavens would be easier than getting out. Hilary and I considered that the Natives would have mentioned it had a human Heaven been present. The Commander viewed the Area from our Camp; the Glow he had observed now seemed larger, and was oscillating regularly (speeding up very slowly); he believed it might be something like a Heart-Beat.
I located our Friends from the previous Night, but they were some twelve Miles away and I was unable to convey a Message to them.
Balaban úr, M. Nodier, the Commander and I moved to the Astral, where the Commander – and even I – found the Quantum Flows most visible. We moved quickly to the Site.
Bicquet, now wearing Robes and with various Implements around him, was holding a Sack or similar Object, very apparent on the Astral, into which animal Spirits – sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and other large animals – were being captured. His Procedures were essentially distinct from our own. This seemed very likely to have poor Effects
With some Discussion we decided to threaten Bicquet, and to strike him down if he would not immediately coöperate. Balaban úr went through first, shouting at Bicquet to stop, which he was so foolish as not to do. M. Nodier and the Commander followed, stepping to the Sides, and I brought up the Rear.
Someone had apparently persuaded him of the Implications of his Spell, for he asked a “skilled Magician” to take the Bag – a soft, old Piece of Leather – and to open it at his Word; I did so, and he began a Procedure to control the Gate. When the Gate was back to something like normal, I upended the Bag, and after a slight Delay the Majority of the Spirits returned through the Gate.
We held something of a conversational Advantage; Bicquet admitted that he had been trying to achieve Dominance over Agriculture, but there had been more Spirits than he had expected. When the situation was explained he was taken somewhat aback.
Balaban úr went after the three Assistants, and after some Contretemps managed to remove their Amulets. They were at first determined to kill Bicquet, but after some Discussion were persuaded to take his Money and depart.
On Reflection the best Resolution seemed to be Education: he would of course not keep a Promise not to continue his Research, as indeed we would not, and killing him seemed wasteful, so we would have to take him with us for proper Training. On Consultation, Sir Edmond agreed. Hilary considered how we might go about obtaining a Passport for him on New Renaissance; Forgery seemed like a Possibility.
Bicquet had developed his own System based on what sounded remarkably like a C––ic Book (from its Description, no earlier than the sixteenth Century); it seemed likely that his claim to be the most powerful Mage on this World might indeed be correct, since these new Techniques were substantially more effective than those of the soi-disant Ritualists of this World.
The next Night, the Tribesmen returned, and with the Situation explained thanked us for our Intervention.
19 June 2013
Commander Hodgson asked them in return to explain more of the Principles of the Gate, and this was done.
We considered how we would arrange ourselves, our Guests and our Prisoner. The Commander, Master Book and I would take Bicquet and his Assistants back to the Cape at once in two Cars, so that Bicquet could recompense the Assistants for their Trouble and prepare for the Journey, while the others would remain for the last Days of Observation.
The Headband gave Bicquet clearer Thought, or so he claimed, but it seemed to be specific to him. The Amulet, as we had suspected, was a Master for the others. These would remain with Balaban úr and the Comet-Party.
I kept Bicquet distracted by suggestions of the greater Knowledge that he would be able to gather as a Member of the C––, and he made no immediate Attempt to escape. In the Morning, the Commander found him thinking of Evasion, but prepared to cö-operate for now. That Night we stayed in a small Hotel, and I hoped to keep Bicquet distracted with some elementary Techniques, but he was unable to apprehend them.
With no Disturbances during the Night, we transferred all of the Funds locally available to Bicquet to his three Victims – the Commander was aware that he had other Accounts, but chose not to reveal his Abilities just yet. The three departed, wishing to have no further Connection with us.
We ascended Table Mountain, waited for the Crowd to depart and for a Time which would be Night on both Worlds, and passed through a Gate of Master Book. Bicquet coped moderately well with the Situation, and with our Explanation of the Realities of multiple Worlds – and indeed of the Identity of Sir Edmond.
We returned to the City, and joined our Colleagues; they had arrived two Days before us. Hilary, Balaban úr and Bicquet went out to obtain a suitable forged Passport for the latter. In the mean while, M. Nodier and I examined the Head-Band, determining that it increased both Alertness and magical Puissance, though only in the Field of Control of Minds; however, when he tried it on, he found himself briefly intoxicated. The Commander also tried it, and to my Perception he gained a limited Magery.
Bicquet asserted that he had constructed these Items himself, following Directions in his Book; we decided that retrieving this was even more important.
10 July 2013
We began in the airport boarding lounge, in Cape Town. We all boarded together (we were after all travelling in the same cabin), but we were a little concerned to see the emigration official making some manner of notes regarding M. Briquet’s passport; we suspected that the forgery might not be perfect. There followed some discussion of the best way to get through UK Customs, if they had been warned. Antoine could try some from among his spells, but there might well be range issues involved; M. Briquet declared that he could do better, if he had his headband, so we decided to give that back, after politely pointing out to him what a bad idea trying to run away would be. Antoine cast a Trace spell on him in case he was arrested nonetheless.
In London, he worked his trick, which seemed to work well enough, despite strong resistance from the official’s mind. We sauntered away calmly.
Sir Edmund decided to stay on that world for a night, to recover from the flight and enjoy some high-tech comforts. Hilary took her leave of us. We reclaimed the headband from M. Briquet.
We then talked to him about his magic. It seemed that he built up power in advance, then released it on “casting” – an interestingly varied approach. We also discussed his other competences – the fact that he came from a high-tech world, for a start – which might be useful to the C—. He admitted to having his own objectives, of course.
Nell had received word that her family back home were attempting to marry her off once again, and vanished to resolve that problem. We three other C—ists made our way back to Newton-X with Sir Edmund, to report to Royal Society – and to deal with some paperwork of assorted kinds. The next day, we dealt with some more shipping of items through from other worlds, for purposes of profit, and with a little more accumulated business. The Commander talked to his lawyer about his prospective bride, concluding that this arrangement still seemed satisfactory.
We also sat in an outer room while Sir Edmund reported to the Society. Sir Isaac considered M. Briquet’s application for membership, and noted that his book sounded like it definitely demanded retrieving – our gaining access to it would be a condition of his joining.
So we (now once more including Nell) set out to return to Halley’s World with Briquet, and discussed travel arrangements and methods for gaining access to the vault in Paris where he stored the book. We travelled by train, boat, and train, and then by Metro to the Bois de Bologne area, took hotel rooms until the wee small hours.
While waiting, Antoine cast a Seeker spell to locate the remaining one-third part, and succeeded. Those pages were in a glass case in a pentagonal museum-type room (!), and were labelled in American English – “Book of Nu-Shen, remainder possibly destroyed...” We noted this, but decided against further investigation for now.
Early in the morning we entered the park (ignoring assorted local sordid low-lifes – our numbers provided any necessary deterrence), and cut through the worlds. The park proved equally popular with low-lifes where we arrived, but they all decided to depart from our arrival point at speed.
Then followed more waiting around, until the bank opened. Antoine accompanied Briquet, as his “business associate”. Everything went well; as we came out, Antoine put another Trace on the book (which proved magical to our prompt tests), and it went into Janos’s backpack, while we went to see the sights of this Paris for a few hours.
At this point, some unknown person seemed to be following us, but Nell drove him off with a fearsome stare as we reached the Bois de Bologne once again. We cut back through the worlds.
In our hotel, Nell assessed the book, deciding that it manifested some variant form of Hermetic magic. So Antoine used an Ancient History spell, and found it to be around 850 years old, and to have been written by an Egyptian wizard named Nu-Shen as a record of his development of ritual magic for Mind Control. 250 years later, a third of its pages were ripped away in a quarrel between two wizards over ownership. Then, it passed through the hands of many owners; Briquet stole it from the French National Archives in 1958.
We then returned to London by trains and boat, cut through to Newton-X, and delivered M. Briquet to the Royal Society, briefing him on how to deal with his new leaders on the way. Then, the Commander went off to ask her mother for Louise’s hand in marriage.

The Jackal

17 July 2013
1 June 1721
His Suit was successful, and the Date was set for three Months hence.
We visited Sr Sapienza, and spoke of da Viterbo; he had heard Rumours of our Doings. He lived in an uncommonly accommodating Medici Florence, in the 15th Century; Sapienza had travelled to this World to speak with him remotely.
The Challenge was to find a suitable World; Balaban úr already knew of one Possibility, and he and Commander Hodgson travelled there to investigate before going with Sapienza. First they went to New Renaissance to collect the Telescopes; then on to Aristotle-X, the World where Etruscan might potentially be learned. Hr. Mortensen learned of the Telescopes, while Balaban úr sought local Information. There was a small City where London might be expected, though its architectural style was distinctly odd, lending itself to Pillars with sloped Roofs; other Towns were nearby.
Meanwhile, M. Nodier and I assisted the Society with the creation of a permanent Portal between our Home and New Renaissance. The Quantity of Force required seemed distinctly large, but Sir Isaac had an Idea. The large Leyden Jars turned out to be a Part of this; as did the many other Members of the Society, several of whom we had not previously met. We were positioned according to our astrological Signs, and instructed in the Operation of the Jars, which would supplement our own vital Force as the Ritual progressed. Some of our Colleagues were not equal to the Strain, but the Working continued. Our Perceptions seemed to become transferred briefly to the Astral, in the Presence of something much greater than Aldebaran, but this faded quickly, and the Operation was successful.
On Aristotle-X, the Date appeared to be something like 739 AD; Balaban úr, Hr. Mortensen and Commander Hodgson speculated on the possibility of the Etruscan Language having survived. They returned to New Renaissance, and were met by one of the Society testing the Gate. Mortensen was introduced to Plumbing, an Idea the Time of which Sir Edmond believed had come.
We met again, and planned our Trip to the Medici Florence, Annio’s World. As so many times before, we travelled to Blackheath and to the Astral. While progressing there, we observed a Merchant Ship travelling apparently across and through the Ground. Their Intentions were initially unclear, but the crudely-cut Gun-Mounts and the black Flag gave us Hints. Balaban úr approached with Enthusiasm, and the rest of us followed. They fired on us, mostly ineffectually, as Balaban úr cut into the Hull of the Ship. Two Pirates descended on Ropes, cutting at Balaban úr, and he returned the Favour.
While M. Nodier and I stayed on the Ground, Balaban úr and Commander Hodgson boarded the Ship, withstood the Attacks of the Crew, and called on the Pirates to surrender. They did not have the Sense to obey at first, and Balaban úr killed several while Commander Hodgson attacked the Captain with telekinetic Bullets, then cut him down with his Sabre. The Bosun seemed a Source of Resistance, and Balaban úr approached and decapitated a Fellow who seemed like to dissent. The remaining Pirates surrendered, and Commander Hodgson claimed the Ship, Josyntje, as a Prize.
The Bosun explained that the Ship had some Years gone been a Caribbean Merchantman, hired to transport an odd Fellow to Haïti; a Storm had blown up from a clear Sky, and Matters had grown confusing. The odd Passenger had, he thought, been taken by a giant Squid. Since then they had been wandering, for a time not determined but probably more than a Century. He and all the Crew perceived a blue-green Sea of no particular Characteristics, with occasional Weed or Whirlpools, where we saw the Land of the Astral – though the Commander was able to espy some Sense of Waves. The Commander took us towards Annio’s World...
31 July 2013
Astral Pools appeared to them as unusual Patches of Ocean, which would bind or ground the Ship, and which they had learned to avoid. Sr Sapienza pointed out that the Ship appeared to be travelling in physical Space as well as in the Astral, something that had not thus far been achieved. This raised some Concerns about our ability to find our Route away, but there was no helping the Matter now.
One of the Crew was apparently not human, being some four Feet tall, with strong Arms, thin Legs, and a heavy Build. He named himself Norris, and hailed from London, though one with much Variation in physical Type. He asked for a Drink, the Commander supplied him some Brandy, and after draining the Flask he fell over. Another Crewman said that he had come aboard from a captured Prize, the only survivor of four who had signed on.
M. Nodier divined the Location of the astral Pool on the target World, and had a Result that seemed more inconclusive than anything else – but, at least, we seemed still to be in England.
Sr Sapienza asserted that he could now begin to see the Waves. We felt that we should act expeditiously; he and Balaban úr were let down to the Surface and faded into the astral Pool. Some half an Hour later, they returned, having been unsure of their Location.
On Reflection we decided that it might be a good Idea to leave the Ship. Balaban úr and Sr Sapienza returned to the World, this time proceeding fully through the Pool. After some Hours they reappeared, having made Contact with Annio; they had moved some half a Mile.
After this Time, both M. Nodier and I found ourselves able to see the Waves, and decided to depart. Commander Hodgson was unwilling to give up the Ship, and we considered how she might be made ours rather than subsuming us into her own Theme. Sr Sapienza believed that the Ship might be its own Ghost, an astral Realm in its own right. While an Ensign presented some Difficulty, the Commander flew his Shirt; and M. Nodier suggested that the Ship be re-named Jackal, for the Connection with Mercury.
The Commander was the only one of our Party to remain on board, beginning to drill the Crew in Naval Practice; we walked while he sailed Jackal, tacking against the Wind. We returned Home with the Intention of gathering an Ensign, some Flags for signalling, his Commission-Papers, a new Name-Board, and such like – not to mention several Officers, to allow the Commander to leave.
We were some two Miles from the Point of our Departure, nearly off the Heath, and marked the Location. With suitable Application of Money, we travelled to London in a Hay-Wain. Balaban úr gathered the Ensign, Flags and Papers from the Home of the Commander, and bought a Barrel of Rum and some empty Barrels which he filled with Water.
Back on Blackheath, Balaban úr rigged a Harness to move the Barrels as well as the various small Items, then moved to the Astral and gradually moved them to the Ship.
The next Morning I went to a Chandler and commissioned the Board, spending the Day working with the Limner to inspire his Work (and healing the worst of his Fatigue afterward).
21 August 2013
M. Nodier found at the Royal Society that a new C—ist from a mechanically-advanced World wished to join our Party, and called on Captain Fitzpatrick at his Lodgings; he invited the Captain to join him at the Royal Society, where they spoke with Sir Edmond. It seemed as though he might indeed be from the same World as Mr Collins.
Fitzpatrick had been a Soldier of the Americans, who had recovered a Device from a destroyed foreign Air-Ship, perhaps a Conveyor; it had thrown him elsewhere, and after some Experimentation he had managed to exert some Control over it. But he had been unable readily to return to his Home, and had encountered a C—ist who had brought him here. Among others, he had visited a World of a similar Date, but with much Magic that had appeared suddenly, which was where he had discovered his own Talent.
Balaban úr returned to the Royal Society, and was Introduced. The next Morning, I arrived with the Board, and agreed with Fitzpatrick that we would share Knowledge.
The Royal Society put forward a Lieutenant Simmons, who while not a Member of the C— was working regularly for the Society. I explained the Situation, though he was not fully equipped to understand it. He was somewhat concerned at the Oaths required of an Associate of the C—, but, he once having sworn, we introduced him to the larger Universe, and more specifically the Provenance of the Jackal (omitting, for the moment, her History of Piracy).
We took a Carriage to Blackheath, then returned to the Astral, explaining to both Simmons and Fitzpatrick the Nature of the Plane and the Hazards thereof. The Ship and Commander Hodgson were where we expected them to be, and the Commander explained more to Simmons, including more Detail of the Risks. We discussed just how one might cause the Ship to move its physical Location in a predictable Manner – this Movement might perhaps be the Lee-Way – and felt that Experiment was required.

The Quest for Etruscan

28 August 2013
Commander Hodgson allowed Simmons to take the Ship out for a brief Voyage, while the rest of our Party remained on the Astral to observe. As she moved away, she turned ghostly, then began to fade away; this gave the learned Members of our Group the Impression of a new astral Direction. The Commander decided that it was not the Lee, but perhaps the Turning of the Ship, that determined the Fading – when Simmons reversed his Turn, the Ship became visible again. But clearly this was not every Turn; Simmons had simply felt that the one he had made was the correct one.
With this Rotation becoming a Translation, it occurred to me that some Translations might become Rotations, though lacking a Balloon we were unable at once to determine this. Some half of the Crew, all of them original Members, had noticed something amiss.
While considering the Implications of this Transformation, Simmons reached in an untoward Direction, and found his Arm broken. I mended it, and he had a greater Respect for the Procedures.
I next waited with Fitzpatrick while the others sailed, observing with Spells, and the Ship faded as before. M. Nodier was able to perceive at least three more than the conventional Dimensions, and indeed to see us from the Ship – and to observe Master Gardner. When he cut his Spell, his new Perceptions were diminished, but remained.
I also was able to see more Directions than before, and took Notes on this larger System; these Axes which on our on World did not have the Space to un-roll were here able to achieve their full Potential.
On the next Voyage, Hodgson, M. Nodier and Balaban úr stayed behind; I observed Simmons’s Aura, which was not conventional in Nature – not Magery, but something not un-akin to it. I was able to see a new, sixth, Dimension from this moving Platform. When Simmons attempted to return, something went amiss; we were not immediately able to determine the Problem, so halted to consider further. After some Time we were able to re-establish our Location, and to return. These new directions we called q, r and φ, in Imitation of the x, y and z of Descartes and the i, or In-Out, of more conventional astral Navigation.
We left Fitzpatrick aboard the Jackal to return Simmons to us should aught go amiss. As we returned to Newton-X, q and r became most compressed, and eventually vanished entirely. We had moved a slight Distance from our point of Departure.
We returned to London to spend the Night, and returned to the Royal Society in the Morning to consult Sir Edmond and Sr Sapienza. The Latter congratulated us on having learned a Secret normally reserved to C—ists of the middle Circle, something that many of us in any case were. He was more concerned at Simmons’ Discovery.
The φ dimension was related in some ways to a Change of Height, and apparently to Effort and Exhaustion. Changing q and r in the middle Astral was still regarded as highly hazardous, though (in response to the Question of Balaban úr) the Astral did appear to follow the Surface of the Earth.
The Commander considered Officers of the Royal Navy who might be suited to the C—, and to Command on the Astral – as well as some Marines – and administered Oaths, and Balaban úr took them to the Jackal. The first job for the new Crew would be to get the Ship back in Order, and ready for independent Missions.
We returned to New Renaissance, and reliably hot Water. We travelled to Florence, found a suitably quiet Location, then crossed to Annio’s World to collect him, first garnering Accommodation and Clothing. The local Standard of Artistry was most high, as was the Quality of Goods for Sale. There appeared to be a religious Component to this, with Works being regarded as a Glorification of God.
We met Annio, though he was in Conversation with someone who wished at first not to be put off. We retired to his Home, and learned more: he was not native to this World, but found this one most agreeable. The political Situation was somewhat unsettled after the recent Fall of the Medici; the present Ruler of Florence, Piero Soderini, had as his Chancellor Niccolò Macchiavelli.
Enchantment, it seemed, was primarily a result not of Magic in the usual Sense but of highly skilled Labour. Balaban úr had, it seemed, previously asked about the Possibility of restoring his Sense of Touch, and Annio arranged that he would speak to the Golem-Makers, the three Brothers Albertini. After some Discussion Annio indicated that he would rather not accompany us on the Exploration.
11 September 2013
We spent some time looking around the Town, particularly the Workshops. Captain Fitzpatrick returned briefly with Commander Hodgson to Newton-X, so that the Commander could order a fine Violin from Cremona. M. Nodier explored the magical Ambience, and particularly the Items available for Purchase – largely decorative.
Balaban úr spoke with the Golem-Makers, with the Assistance of Commander Hodgson, asking also about his Senses of Taste and Smell – this would be harder. They performed some Analysis and Examination, and thought his Sword might be connected with an obscure form of Necromancy, dealing with Planes and Transitions between them – entirely separate from the Magic of Gates – and indeed that it might be a “Master-Work of higher Necromancy”, though they did not have the Detail that might be wished. They believed that Manipulation of the Spirit of Balaban úr might be a possible Means of restoring his Senses. They would need to study him in more Detail before beginning Construction, and this would take some Time not to mention Expense.
Commander Hodgson studied the Minds of the Makers, with their Permission, and found them in permanent Communication.
M. Nodier visited a Salle, where his Skill with Fencing was clearly superior to that of the Locals. I had been listening to the Language, working on learning it, but when I heard of the Juxtaposition of Necromantic Magic and the Magic of Gates, I chose to observe the Working on Balaban úr; M. Nodier joined us.
The Study done, and Annio apprized of the Cost, we moved to New Renaissance, then took a Train to Rome. Balaban úr and the Commander purchased a Vehicle to get us to the Valley where we might find the Road, as well as Supplies for our Journey. Balaban úr and I re-made Acquaintance at the Farm where we had visited on our first Trip to this World, and arranged to leave our Vehicle there.
We moved to C—-Rome, and met the Majordomo of Mistress Antonia, who was supervising the Construction of her new Villa. We asked him to pass on a Message to her describing our Mission, and agreed that we would visit again in four Days in case she wished to speak with us. Indeed, he was willing to obtain further Provisions to be delivered several Days later. We passed along the road southwards to Roma Mechana, seeing no Engines, on to Il Duce, and then to Skywhale – where, as before, it was raining. We set up Camp, and waited for an Opportunity to observe the Sky and establish a Date. The road was small Cobbles, bound with Asphalt, and carried on in the Direction from which we had come. The Magic seemed perhaps aspected towards Air.
The next Morning the Rain stopped, though the Sky was still covered for the Moment. The Commander espied what might be one of the “Sky Whales” of this World, and observed it with the good Telescope; it proved to be an Air-Ship such as we had seen in the History-Books of New Renaissance. Buildings in the Distance involved corrugated Metal, and Fences were Wire but not barbed. Balaban úr went closer, determining that this World had the Production of Wire in Mass – and possibly a Horse-drawn Cart, though the Tracks were not clear.
25 September 2013
We made Camp and waited for Night, so that we could determine our Date by examination of the Stars. The Sky became clear; Commander Hodgson and M. Nodier observed for some Time, and announced that the year was close to 1350. While this seemed unlikely for flying Machines, we determined to leave for the Moment, and returned to C—-Rome, taking care in case of Traffic but suffering no worse Injury than the Insult of being scorned as Gyptians.
We restored our Provisions and passed North along the Road to Rome Unfallen, then Roma Nil Magia. We moved through the next World, since it was on this visit populated, then on to the next, where Night was falling on a Winter’s Evening. Sheep, and a well-maintained Road, were present; Observations were conducted, but Balaban úr moved off to investigate a Light from the Hills. He met a peasant Woman, who gave him the Date, 230AD. She was it seemed in some Difficulty, with her Husband recently dead and no Sheepfold for the Winter; Balaban úr felt the Stirrings of Chivalry and determined to assist her. On the next Day, he and I visited the local Squire, or what heathen Term these Romans use, presenting ourselves as of higher Status, and paid for the Use of his Barn for the Sheep over Winter.
However, there seemed no Evidence of Etruscan in use here, and we passed onwards. The next World had potent Magic, and the Road seemed new, but more narrow and primitive than we had oft seen it. The Valley was wooded rather than cultivated, with deciduous Trees, and we believed the Date might be relatively early. I observed an Outfall of Sewage into the River, and we decided to look further here. A Channel of cut Stone led to a Path clearly in frequent Use, and a Tower in something of the Palestinian Style. The Master here was called Ezekiel, and claimed that his Brother was an Advisor to the Emperor; he recognized us as Travellers from another World, with the Aid of a Parchment. He and the Tower, it seemed, were here to watch the Road, since some Travellers were also Ruffians and Robbers; he was not familiar with the C–– or with the other Worlds themselves.
The year was 75, and Rome controlled the Mediterranean; each Power had its own Magic, the Romans using their own as well as Jewish Magic in Warfare, thus not needing such great Roads. We spoke of good Faith and demonstrated our Powers, then spoke of the Nature of Magic.
23 October 2013
My Dear Mistress Stoutenburgh,
I believe that you desire an account of the initial expedition conducted by Commander Hodgson and myself to this, the latest world on the Road of Rome, for the sake of comprehensiveness of your personal records. Thus, please accept the following with my compliments.
As you will recall, you had, with Balaban úr, formed a desire to remain in the preceding world, to rest & recover & speak with our host. The Commander, though, was in a state of greater restlessness and desire for intelligence of the next realm or two on our path, and I agreed to walk on with him. Working a spell of Scrying on the next gate, I perceived a land in daylight, perhaps a few minutes after noon, traversed by a road, not "metalled" as in advanced worlds but in the old Roman mode, and at the limits of my vision, perhaps half a mile on, a small building with the look of a temple about it. I did not perceive any persons.
Thus, we passed through, I carrying a tent for shelter, Commander Hodgson a telescope for the usual purposes thereof. Another brief work of enchantment determined the presence of a Low level of Mana, while the simple device we carried declared that the Quantum Level was Three. The season had the feel of Spring, and we perceived that the road here was not one of those peculiar segments, but continued beyond the Gate behind us.
We walked on, and found the Temple or Shrine, as indeed the building was, to be a simple structure with no upper floors. It was unoccupied, with no signs of fire or other occupancy. The merest glance suggested that it was a shrine to the Founding Twins of Rome. We were most pleased, though, to see inscriptions, some in familiar Latin, some in what we surmised at once to be the script of Etruria, subject of our search. So far as we could estimate, given the formulaic nature of the Latin writing, these were matched texts in both languages.
The Commander expressed the opinion that rain might be expected soon. Desiring shelter where we might wait on the opportunity to conduct astronomical observations, we pitched our tent in the lee of the Shrine, gathered some firewood, and sat to eat the unlovely rations of the road. After we had sat a few hours in casual converse, we had a clear night sky above us, and so we made our astronomical observations, and the Commander examined his tables, identifying Mars and Venus. He desired too a sighting of Saturn to complete his estimate of the date, but that seemed set to require a wait of hours, and so we looked instead for Neptune and Uranus, and found them. Now with nearly adequate intelligence, Commander Hodgson made an uncertain estimate of a date of 55 years Before Christ. After a small sufficiency of sleep, we did find Saturn in that sky, confirming the year and enabling the Commander to estimate that the date might be late in the month of May.
We rested further, broke our fast at a civilised late hour, and then spoke together of means of determining the state of urban civilisation in this realm, resolving first to seek sight of the town of Tibur. Ascending a nearby hill with the Telescope, we found that place, developed but not overly so, with smoke rising from its fires. Through the Telescope, we perceived what we agreed was a town typical of the late Republican stage of Roman history. With neither the devastations of wartime nor many persons on the road to be seen, we concluded that this Roman Empire was in an unexceptional state.
Our next project, as we decided then, was to have Commander Hodgson work his powers of Levitation to ascend a nearby mountain, whence to make observation of Rome itself. As you will recall, we returned to the tower where you were still at rest at that time, acquiring additional ropes and notifying you of our discoveries so far.
Then, making Survey of the slope with binoculars, we planned a route for the Commander’s ascent. That consumed the rest of the day entire, so we made Camp at the base of the mountain, allowing Commander Hodgson to begin his ascent on the morning of the next day. Combining his Powers and his skill in the arts of climbing, he made safe ascent to the summit in perhaps three hours.
Rome and its environs, perceived telescopically, was in a state much as we had expected. There was, the Commander noted, significant traffic on the roads, some of it military. Exerting his vaunted sense for arcane phenomena, the Commander perceived in Rome some transient thing which he declared firmly was Blue. This inspired him to remain atop the mountain for some time, gazing more upon the City, after sending an explanatory note down to me, tied to a stone, but no other events disturbed his perception before he gave up upon that interest, and descended to the foot of the mountain once more.
As we rested. we finally encountered a person. A young goatherd, who seemed pleasant after his proletarian fashion, this fellow stated when we asked that he knew little about the road, not even knowing whence or whither it travelled. He had, he said, heard that the great Julius was out fighting among the barbarians of Gaul. More interestingly, when we asked, he freely declared that he knew Etruscans, born and bred, in person. They were, by his account, honoured citizens of the Republic, and often scholars. He was surprised at our ignorance of such matters, having taken us for scholars, and so we proclaimed ourselves to be travellers from a distant land, with a desire to have converse with Etruscan persons. A single silver coin cemented his happiness to have helped us.
We agreed to share camp and fire with him for the night, the Commander and I having both assessed him as amiable, likely honest, and unlikely to essay banditry against two armed persons. During that night, as I stood watch, I perceived creatures approaching, Recognising wolves, I cried alert and then cast personal enchantments of Night Vision & Reflexes. The Commander and the goatherd woke quickly, the one drawing steel, the other a sling, leaving us ready to respond when the creatures, gnawed no doubt by remnant hungers of winter and desire for the goatherd’s flock advanced upon us.
These were not creatures experienced in harrying men; I brought down one, and Commander Hodgson two, in large part because their attempts to bite at us led to them grasping at our blades with their jaws. The goatherd’s sling brought down a fourth, and the pack retreated in discomfort, having but maimed one goat. The Commander and I cleansed our blades of blood and privily discussed buying the carcass for transformation into more supplies for the road. Then, once more, we sought sleep, before regaining your esteemed company the next day.
With My Compliments &c., Antoine Nodier, Scholar of the Art
6 November 2013
Master Ezekiel and I spoke at some Length; each Culture, apparently, had its own Magic. The Romans tended to favour Divination and Warfare; the Jews studied Compromise, Understanding and Trade; and so on. Clearly these People would be an Asset to the C—, and I extended a basic Invitation, though Details would have to wait.
The Commander and M. Nodier returned from their Explorations, and reported that the Etruscan Language was present in the next World along the Road. The date was 55BC, Caesar was conquering Gaul, and a Shrine had been found with Inscription in both Latin and, it was believed, Etruscan. The Commander had detected some Magic, possibly related to Gates, in Rome. The Road was active, rather than dis-used as in many Worlds.
We passed through the Gate to Etruscan Rome, and walked to Tibur. I examined the Inscription at the Shrine, which was in a Language I did not read, but with some Magics I was able to verify that the Meaning was the same. After a Night of Camping, we arrived at Tibur on the next Day; it was small and somewhat dirty, and our lack of Pass-Ports saw us taken to the Prefect. We gave a long and not entirely convincing Story, but an Application of Gold and good Manners solved the major Problems. Our Pass-Ports were written in Latin, though the Seal affixed to them had both Latin and Etruscan Letters.
There were three Heads on each Coin: Pompey, Crassus and Caesar, consistent with the History we knew. After a Night at the Inn, we set off for Rome, where we would have a better Chance of finding People able to teach Etruscan; we travelled by Wagon, and were only slightly beset by Ducks. We broke our Journey at an Inn and spoke briefly with a young Scholar, who explained the Differences between legal and religious Etruscan and the Language as a native Tongue – some one in ten of the Population of Rome still had the Language as their own, though it was perhaps falling slowly out of Use. We expressed an Interest in Study, and he gave us the Direction of his own Tutor in Rome.
At the Gates of Rome, the Guard asked if I were with the Lightning-Men, which I denied – apparently they were fair-Haired People like myself, who had arrived some Weeks earlier, wearing Insignia of two Bolts of Lightning.
We arranged Lodgings, planning to take an Insula on the next Day. First, though, we visited the Tutor, who was somewhat disconcerted by our Appearance, but as a Legalist was willing to pass us on to a more general Teacher of the Language – specifically his own Tutor. Mercurius, who had recently retired.
Some Hours later we returned, but Mercurius had already taken on a Group of Students who wanted much the same Thing – blonde ones, apparently. But our Man would speak to his Aunt Murcia, who had taught the Language to slow Children, and see if an Arrangement could be made.
We arranged for Accommodation, and returned for News; Murcia was interested, and we would visit her the next Day. This we did; the large Gentleman with the Gladius seemed disconcerted to see us, but allowed us Entry. We spoke with Murcia, and explained our Mission, she was surprised but willing to cö-operate, and we arranged a reasonable Price. Next we would fetch Annio, and possibly Mistress Antonia.
20 November 2013
Some time in late August, 1721
Balaban úr and I left Rome, shifted to the near Astral with Commander Hodgson, and then moved together to New Renaissance, where it was late at Night but Clear; we walked to the first Village, then took a Taxicab to Tibur, and then on to the Farm; we left our erstwhile Hosts to sleep, and cut to C—-Rome to visit Mistress Antonia. We reached the new Villa; the Lady was not yet in Residence, but we left Information for her as to the Possibility of learning Etruscan, as well as Directions should she wish to travel on her own.
We attemped to cut to New Renaissance, but were unable on the first Attempt; then walked to the Farm, were fed again, collected our Van and drove to Florence. Or such was the Plan; attempting to navigate in a mere three, or perhaps four and a half, Dimensions, confused us, and we found ourselves in Naples, where we cut our Losses and spent the Night in an Hotel. The next Day, we drove back to Florence, stored the Van, then cut to Annio’s World. We visited him immediately, and apprised him of the Situation; he needed a few Days to set his Affairs in order, and we agreed to meet again at that Time. We returned to New Renaissance for the Nonce, and spent the time in Sight-Seeing and Study.
Again we met Annio, causing some slight Disconcertion on our Arrival, and evading those who had been interested by our Arrival. Annio was disconcerted by the Air of this World, but soon adjusted, and we drove back to the Valley, and introduced Annio to the Farmers. Annio and I waited there over Night, while Balaban úr visited Mistress Antonia again; she did not wish to absent herself for an extended Period, but wished us to buy Grammars and other Texts. In the Morning, we stored the Van again, and took a Taxi to Rome; Annio was disconcerted but coped well. We returned to Etruscan Rome, where we discovered that we had forgotten to forge a Passport for Annio – though the Application of Money resolved this.
While we were doing all of this, Commander Hodgson and M. Nodier were studying in Etruscan Rome, doing their best not to attract Attention. We considered how the Commander might best move themselves to Newton-X for his Wedding. The best Option seemed to be for him and Captain Fitzpatrick to return to New Renaissance, fly to London, and use our House there, which they did. The Commander took the Time to catch up with his Affairs, and narrowly evaded a Mission to speak with Angels. He also went briefly to New Renaissance and informed Hilary of our Learning – and learned something of why Infinity disliked Nazis with such Enthusiasm. Hilary even proposed the possibility of kidnapping and removing these particular Nazis, but this would require further Discussion with Sir Isaac and others.
4 December 2013
Meanwhile Balaban úr, M. Nodier, Annio and I were studying Etruscan. We gathered the location of the School of Mercurius, and lacking the Talents ourselves hired a local Child to follow the Lightning-Men to their Lodgings. This he did, finding the relevant Insula and locating them on the second Floor – and revealed that there was another of their Number who did not Leave the Lodgings, at least not frequently, and who looked as though he were in constant Pain. Our Spies were set to observe their Times of Arrival and Departure.
We approached the Insula in Person, and after some Consideration M. Nodier approached the Doorman and enquired about Apartments to Let. When there were none available, he asked whether he might be shewn round one such, and indeed it transpired that a Man from Germania was willing to do so – our Target, who thought it possible he and his Friends might be gone in another Month. He was blonde-haired and acceptably handsome, but Nodier confirmed that he moved in a pained Manner; there was no Magic active on him. He and M. Nodier spoke casually as the latter looked around; M. Nodier thought he had some form of Armour beneath his Clothing. He asserted that his Limp was an old War Wound. Little seemed out of Place, though there was a small Portrait, of an unknown Man, with the Lightning-Runes worked into the Frame. The Resident claimed it was a leader of their Tribe, and on further Questioning gave the name of Kurt Müller.
Once M. Nodier had returned and passed on his Information – Balaban úr did not recognise the Name – we decided to retire for the Moment. We continued to learn, and I was able to assist Annio with some of the more obscure Features of the Grammar.
1 October 1721
Several Friends and Shipmates of the Commander arrived to lend Vigour to the Proceedings of the Wedding, but otherwise matters went well, and he began his domestic Life. When he met Hilary, she briefed him further on the Nazis, and advised extreme Caution when dealing with them.
The Commander returned, via New Renaissance, the Farm, the Astral and Roma Il Duce. He crossed Etruscan Rome towards Tibur on the Astral to save Time, but encountered a Group of perhaps a hundred People, a Mixture of Legionaries, robed Figures, and one Giant, some thrice the Height of the others – whom he recognised as Pluto, God of the Underworld, and immediately removed himself to the Physical.
He spent the Night in Tibur, then arranged Passage on a Cart to Rome to re-join us. He asked a Priest about the Army of Pluto, but could obtain no firm Answer, though others had been having a similar Dream. The Commander told us what he had learned from Hilary, and we considered what we might do next.
18 December 2013
Balaban úr and I having learned rather more quickly than the others, we decided to remove ourselves from Lessons and watch the Nazis from the Astral; the Commander took us there, not having Plans to travel further.
We moved to the insula of the Nazis, but it was too new to allow us to climb the Stairs; we observed through the Floor and Walls. Three of the Nazis left, and the other remained behind; I remained to observe him, while Balaban úr followed the others to their Lessons, then on to a Wine-Shop. My own Subject remained in the Flat, reading, then sleeping. I followed the Servant on his Errands, then returned in case of any Oddity, but my Subject still slept. He went out after Lunch, apparently just for Air.
When everyone returned, they spoke for some Time over their Meal, apparently in a friendly Manner. We considered how we might speak with the sole Man, but considered that simply approaching him could hold too much Risk. After the Meal, he stood up and disappeared, in a non-magical way.
Balaban úr returned to the others and brought them back; the Jumper had not returned. He returned something more than an Hour after he had left, again not in a magical Manner, then addressed the others clearly with some new Information. Balaban úr had picked one of the others as the Leader, and this one seemed to be making a Plan. Commander Hodgson attempted to read their Poses, and believed them to be concerned but not worried.
I read the Aura of the Jumper, and found it surprisingly unexceptional. He felt Resentment, some Excitement, and considered that some Action might allow him to take over the Leadership of the Group. We considered how we might go about learning more, with the Commander shifting back to the World on their Landing, then looking through their Door to read the Mind of the Jumper. It was clear that he was considering us, there not being many new tall Barbarians in the City; they had our Address (from M. Nodier and the Concierge), and were planning to drug us, capture us, and take us back to “Burgundy” for Study. The Leader wished to consider overnight; the Jumper would collect more Equipment. (He contemplated that infinite Wealth and control over Rome was an interesting Diversion while waiting for the more interesting Things to happen.) He then considered the Dreams he would be sending that Night – among other things, “dealing with that upstart Caesar”.
The Commander had exhausted himself while listening, and retreated up the Stairs while he rested; he then extracted himself subtly and returned to our Insula, where we rejoined him, supped, compared Notes, and made our Plans. Annio took himself elsewhere so as to avoid Risk.
The next Day we observed the Nazis again; three of them took strenuous Exercise before departing. The Jumper remained for a little Time, then vanished. We moved from the Astral into the building, and approached the Door…
15 January 2014
I knocked, and the Slave answered. I distracted him with a plea for Assistance in oddly-accented Latin, while my Colleague M. Nodier caused him to sleep and I eased him to the Floor. The Commander tied and gagged him, the latter a bit too tightly given his blocked Nose but this was soon remedied.
Some Hours later, the Commander warned us of a Disturbance, and our Target appeared, wearing a Back-Pack. Balaban úr distracted him, and M. Nodier caused him too to sleep. The Commander searched him, carefully so as not to wake him, removing a Knife and a small Pistol (which Balaban úr believed was intended to resemble, but was not, a Luger) but not his concealed Armour.
His Backpack contained Helmets, Firearms, Ammunition, and more Armour, all of an advanced Design.
The Commander tied, gagged and blind-folded our Victim. I left to buy a Cart, M. Nodier stunning the Concierge on our way out and making him sleep on the way back.
The others searched the Rooms, and found a variety of Drugs, some Papier de Toilette, and an odd Set of Symbology disguised as a Shrine.
I waited with the Cart, then drove it to the Door; the others brought out our Prisoner. I drove out of the City, pausing to convey the Language of our Prisoner to myself and to the Commander.
The Commander read the Mind of the Prisoner, and realised he was attempting to project himself into the Dreams of another; the Bumps of the Journey prevented his Concentration.
We found an isolated Location to continue with our Interrogation. Balaban úr and I took the Lead, with the Commander maintaining his Monitoring. His Aura hinted that he was controlled in some non-magical Manner, but not a supernatural Being.
He gave his name as Gebhard von Gemeinschaft, of the Office for Ancestry and Racial Purity. His Plan had been to capture us, as obvious non-Natives of this World (learning the Language, speaking in a Language not generally known, and the Like), return us to their Headquarters (on “Burgundy”), learn more about us, and if possible enlist us in their Cause (the Conquest of the Universe).
His own Interest in this World was somewhat lacking, but had been sent to learn the Language in case it was connected to the Elder Futhark, the Norse Runes. He claimed not to know how many World-Walkers were available to the Nazis. Because of the Circumstances, the Team would probably be missed quite soon. He did not fully understand how he had become a World-Walker, but it was something that had been done to him, involving Surgery. (It had also given him a Dream-Sending Power, and left him in constant Pain.)
I asked what might cause his Organisation to lose Interest in the World; he felt that the Disappearance of the whole Team might do it. He requested Refuge. A simple Spell of relieving Disease helped Matters, and we retired for a brief Conference.
He knew of tens of Worlds, though none was yet Conquered, thanks to limits of Logistics – he knew of a Road that would help, bu reaching hundreds of Worlds, but did not wish at first to speak of it. He was able to move himself between four Worlds: this, their Home, the World with the Road, and one other at about 5AD where the Nazis were planning to dominate at the Battle of the Teutoburger Wald. These Worlds were to be used for Man-Power. He knew little of Infinity, other than that they were the Enemy.
We felt that healing his Pain might destroy his Power, but he was willing to take that Risk. We made a Contract: he would take us to the World of the Road (two Roads, in Fact, that crossed in northern Mesopotamia) for Balaban úr to learn it. We would do our best to cure his Pain. If this left him unable to jump, we would take him to a World where he should be Safe from Reich-5.
Balaban úr and the Commander accompanied Gebhard to the world of the Road, known as Nostradamus; they remained for an Hour, then returned.
I then proceeded to examine Gebhard; as we had Suspected, the Pressure and Influence of the implanted Glands was the Cause of his Difficulties. With decanic Assistance, I cast a Ritual of Restoration, in the Hope that this might remove the Pain: if this failed, a full Regeneration seemed likely to help. We considered where we would leave him for the Moment...
29 January 2014
Gebhard explained further that he had been dream-sending to Marcus Livinius Crassus, one of the Triumvirate, with the Aim of swaying him to their Side; he offered to send one disavowing these former Dreams, but Balaban úr and I felt that a more direct Warning of a Plot might be more appropriate. This would involve Risk, and he would seek further Reward for it. We confirmed that we would settle him on a modern World, and make at least moderate financial Provision for him.
We travelled a little further towards Tibur, then Balaban úr and the Commander took him to New Renaissance. They installed him in an Inn and gave him the number for Waugh in London.
We returned to Rome via the near Astral, entering the Building of our Enemies at Ground Level since it was untenanted. M. Nodier stunned the Concierge again, and we moved upstairs. I concealed Balaban úr under a Mask of Illusion and prepared a Fire-Ball.
After about an Hour they arrived; finding the Door un-fastened, they seemed Concerned, and advanced cautiously. The third Man in spotted me, drew his Firearm and shot me. Balaban úr decapitated his Target with one Blow, the Commander attacked with his Rapier without great Effect, the other Nazis opened fire, and I threw the Fire-Ball. Somewhat to my Surprize my Target remained alive through this Experience; Balaban úr finished him off. The third Man ran to escape, but was persuaded to surrender. and then secured.
As we were doing this, the Concierge entered, perhaps following the Noise; he was disconcerted, and a generous Offer of Money (and a Promise that he would never have to see any of these People again) was able to persuade him to retreat for the Moment.
We collected the Bodies, and the Slave brought his cooking Equipment and the Heads. M. Nodier confused the Concierge again, and we departed to Solitude. Balaban úr dealt with the Locals by giving them Trinkets, and we buried our Victims.
We interrogated our Prisoner, Adolf, much as we had Gebhard. The Team had been attempting, as we had thought, to gain political Position, a challenging Task – perhaps by making themselves useful to the great of this Rome via the Powers of Gebhard. He confirmed that “Burgundy”, to him, was a Land ruled by the Schutzstaffel. He had not been to any other Worlds. He had planned to abduct us simply because we were outside Influences, and was disconcerted when we pointed out that we had had no Plans to interfere with his Operation until our Hands had been forced.
We stayed the Night in Solitude, and prepared to visit Mistress Julia (for the Slave, who had been frightened by our Passage) and New Renaissance (to hand over our Captive and tell Hilary about the Chronobahn, and to get Gerhard to London), and return to Etruscan Rome to retrieve Annio and take him to his Home, at least for now.
When we at least returned to the Royal Society, we were introduced to M. Carnot, a Visitor from a revolutionary France; he had been working with Sir Isaac and considering the motive Power of Magical Energy.

Divergent Worlds and the B-Axis

12 February 2014
12 November 1721
Balaban úr continued to teach Etruscan to Annio, until Sir Isaac called us together for Planning. He had been continuing to study Relativity, and had completed the Mathematics for a new Experiment, but not yet the magical Dynamics. He wished us to find a suitable World for this Experiment. It must be uninhabited, of Low (ideally) or perhaps Normal Mana. We would need to develop a Means of detecting human Life at a great Distance.
Commander Hodgson raised the Question of Disease, in particular the Divergence of Organisms.
Sir Edmond was prone to regard Divergence of Worlds as principally the Result of human Activity, with some Evidence (in particular our Observations on Sans-Newton).
We decided to introduce M. Carnot to the Astral, an Environ of which he he had no Experience. (The attentive Reader will already have noted this Material from earlier in this Journal.)
We also discussed the Technologies of Infinity and Centrum.
We considered Ways to find the empty World. To ask Infinity, or to develop our own Techniques of Searching, seemed the most fruitful.
We returned to Newton-X, then to our House and through the Gate to New Renaissance. Gerlach was still in the Process of Healing, but Matters seemed to be progressing well. We introduced him to the Technology of the World, and invited Hilary to join us on the Morrow.
We spoke with her of the Experiment, which concerned her more than seemed reasonable, but she was willing to provide M. Carnot with a Passport and to ask her Superiors about suitable Worlds, though the latter might take some Weeks. We speculated that uninhabited Worlds might well not be connected to the Astral…
26 February 2014
M. Carnot considered various Means of employing an Associate for perilous Experiments; and of obtaining, legally, a more powerful and reliable Pistol on New Renaissance.
When we met Hilary, she produced Papers for M. Carnot on New Renaissance. In the Matter of Disease, Hilary had un-covered Dis-Information from Infinity; there was less genetic Diversity between Worlds than one might have expected, and while established Infections would travel between Worlds, those not already set in could not. This was a Matter of some Concern for Infinity, hard to reconcile with their View of the World. Some Worlds had even managed to destroy themselves with engineered Diseases. Zombies were also mentioned.
As for the Matter of a disposable World, there was no immediate Candidate, but the People of Infinity were prepared to take us to one or more Worlds with no Humans. The first was one with no animal Life either, known for its Plains of Grass; Infinity called it Prairie-1. Since it was on Quantum 6, we would meet on Napoleon Total War rather than risk Travel to the home World of Infinity.
We returned to our Home, then from Blackheath to the Astral. As we emerged at the astral Sea, an emaciated knightly Figure on a spavined Horse greeted us in Spanish; he appeared to have mislaid himself, blaming his Squire. He sought, he said, Honour and Adventure. We travelled together for some little Way, Balaban úr engaging him in Intercourse, then entered the Pool that seemed to be more or less at the right Place. The Don wearied of our Company, and went to look around the World.
After some Time a Vehicle arrived; Hilary and a Man emerged, and we descended to the Material. We entered, and the Vehicle made a Transition.
Tall Grass surrounded us. There was no Magic on this World. Commander Hodgson levitated and reported the expected Geography and much Grass, with some Ferns. The Commander moved us to the Astral, much more agreeable, though the Magic and indeed the Fabric of the Place was still somewhat thin. No Land-Marks were visible from the astral Sea, even when the Commander levitated again. We returned to the near Astral, and M. Carnot was able to fall out of the Astral back to Prairie-1; the rest of us followed by Gate.
After a light Lunch we returned to the Astral with Hilary, then went on to the mid-Astral. We picked another Pool and investigated, waiting on the near Astral until Dawn. This Blackheath had trees and birds, and freezing rain. We began to walk towards London, where there were Houses, People, and Cars; judging by New Renaissance, and the Experience of Hilary, we were in the 1930s or 1940s, perhaps the middle of the Second World War. We dropped from the Edge of the Heath, and established Quantum 4 and low Magic. Hilary and Balaban úr sought out Receptacles for Waste, in the hope of locating a News-Paper, but without success; we checked our Pockets for suitably old Coinage, and Hilary was able to buy one. There seemed nothing immediately unexpected for the Date in January 1941.
12 March 2014
We returned to the Astral, that World being without immediate Relevance, it having now been shewn that astral Adjacency was no Guide to the Nature of a World.
Hilary mentioned that the travelling Nazis had a Quest for a new Hitler, their original having died of old Age. She guided us back to the near Astral of Prairie-1, and M. Carnot returned us to that World. We suggested to Hilary that checking multiple uninhabited Worlds would be useful to us, and particularly Relevant though she would need the Permission of her Superiors. Hilary and her Colleague left, and we returned to New Renaissance.
For the benefit of M. Carnot we moved on to Halley’s World, and visited our House there. We spent a few Days there, buying Books (and in the case of M. Nodier a computing Machine).
Ultimately we returned to Newton-X to report. Sir Edmond wondered whether human Presence might have an Effect, and suggested that we ask Hilary to keep Track of the Visits of Humans to an otherwise uninhabited World.
We considered other Possibilities. The remarkable Fact that all three of the most advanced Worlds had, as far as we knew, no Magic, was surely relevant. But we would need to search further for uninhabited Worlds with some Magic.
On New Renaissance we met Hilary again. She knew of one formerly inhabited World, but it was one where every Person had apparently Vanished at the same Moment. She did not wish to make an extended Visit here, but could take us there to measure the Level of Magic.
Another World was one which suffered frequent Strikes from Asteroids, and had little higher Life. Another had animal Life but no Primates. Another had the Niche of Humans occupied by bipedal Dinosaurs.
The next Day we returned to Prairie-1, to visit the world of Asteroids, named by Infinity “Dinosaur-Killer-5”. There was as we had feared no Magic there. Commander Hodgson took us to the Astral, which was thin as we had suspected. We walked to the Astral Sea to get our Bearings. The Pool, as we emerged from it, seemed to contain a short Man looking something like a Pixie. He identified himself as Robin Goodfellow and was somewhat importunate, making intriguing Offers and leading me into a Dance. M. Carnot intruded before I was able to learn more, though as he and the Commander pulled me down the Astral I broke away. The Commander attempted to restrain me physically, thewhile I stunned and made him clumsy; M. Carnot was more convincing by use of Poetry, and we returned.
We then visited “Mycelium”, another World on Quantum 6, where Fungus had prevented the Development of higher Plants or Animals before dying of Starvation. From the Astral Sea, we found we were moderately Close to our Home, a surprising Development. We returned to Hilary.
19 March 2014
Then back to Napoleon Total War, and then New Renaissance. M. Carnot had a message from our Home; a M. Bernoulli was interested in participating in his Experiment regarding Movement on the Astral. We would not be able to reach him in Time before our next Trip.
Hilary and her Colleague drove to meet us, and we moved to the World they called Enigma. The Commander detected a yellowish Tinge in the Quantum Flows, a Colour he had not previously encountered, that permeated the Environment. There was Magic here, but low, even lower than in most other Places.
The Commander, Balaban úr, and M. Nodier went to the Astral, and first observed that a Pebble taken with them still had the Taint of the World. They walked to the Astral Sea, finding themselves in an unfamiliar Area. The Pebble had faded, but as they returned it regained its Colour, becoming briefly on the mid-Astral even more so than it had been before. They turned back from the Pool and found that it brightened again; then they returned to us.
We drove into central London for better Information. We found a tall Building, and M. Nodier and I ascended by the Art; when our Colleagues joined us, we observed the Taint and saw no Variation.
M. Carnot located some wrapped Newspapers that had survived, searching them for Precursors of the Disappearance, but was unable to find any Matter of obvious Significance. He and the Commander moved to Prairie-1 with some local Rocks, and found the Taint disappeared at once. They moved to the Astral, and the Taint did not return, though it did so when they returned to Enigma. After some Discussion we decided not to remove other Things from the Place; M. Carnot wished to observe the Moon, so we waited some Hours. Balaban úr went back into London for Purposes of his own, returning with a heavy Load which he buried on the Heath under a tree to which M. Carnot had attached Cloth, for the Purposes to measuring the Spread of the Taint.
We returned to New Renaissance and bade farewell to Hilary.
Back on Newton-X, M. Carnot met Daniel Bernoulli, who through the Auspices of the Royal Society had discovered the future History of his own Work, and wished therefore to change his Field of Endeavour so as still to be able to produce some original Research. However, he did desire a great Payment, and we applied to other Members of the Society for Subscriptions towards this; Sir Isaac took an Interest, which solved that Problem.
After some Practice we moved to the Astral for the Experiment. I Traced M. Bernoulli, and M. Nodier and I observed Magically. At three Metres there was a slight visual Oddity, suggesting perhaps Movement in a new Dimension, and to the Commander a slight yellow Taint, though this vanished on his Return. When we repeated this Experiment the Movement seemed to be in a Direction akin to the q and r, more than φ. M. Carnot termed this the Bernoulli Axis, or B. At a four-Metre Distance, the Taint had intensified, and there was a greater B-Axis Displacement. An anti-clockwise Movement still resulted in a positive B-Axis Displacement. At five Metres we lost Sight of M. Bernoulli, though he seemed still to be well on his Return.
Sir Isaac, when he read our Report, demanded more Detail, this seeming to be a new Phenomenon to him. We hypothesised that the world Enigma might have itself been displaced in the B Direction. The available Depth of B acted consistently with the Behaviour of the Rock.
At a Meeting the next Day Sr Sapienza claimed to have no prior Knowledge of this Direction.
9 April 2014
We considered how our Experiments might be continued. We moved to New Renaissance, then to Enigma. Inspecting the Site of our House on Enigma, we found it to have been demolished and replaced with Offices. We lunched, then took a Pebble from Enigma to the mid-Astral, to evaluate its Yellowness as an indicative Instrument. We set up at the mid-Point of the Astral where the Pebble was most bright.
As Commander Hodgson moved in the B-Direction with the Pebble, he noticed all of us becoming more yellow before we vanished from Sight, but the Yellowness of the Pebble was fading. He found himself in a yellowish Tunnel formed of the Stuff of the Astral which prevented Movement in non-B Directions. He returned until this faded, then moved in the inward Direction towards the Astral Sea. However, after some Moments he realised his Rope was broken. He was able to re-trace his Steps and find the End of the Rope.
He attempted to parallel the Course back to us without following the Rope, but did not find us; walking back along the Length of the Rope, he found it Broken; counting Knots he found more Rope than he had paid out. He attempted to work out his Course, and at least once believed he heard us.
M. Nodier followed the Rope with a wizardly Eye, and found the broken End some thirty or so Yards away; the end appeared to have become un-woven.
I walked away with another Rope in a different Direction, in order to give the Commander a better Chance of stumbling across it.
M. Nodier moved his Eye further in a similar Direction, and located the Commander, who was sitting and thinking; he was able to lead them both back to us.
I attempted as a Matter of Interest to determine our Location, and received confusing Information.
Some of the extra Rope began to turn transparent, then disappeared.
M. Nodier cast tracing and observational Magics, and the Commander moved out again, until the tunnel began to appear. This Time the Pebble became brighter. The Commander was able to find his Way back.
On the next Trip he went farther into the Tunnel. The Pebble from Enigma became brighter. When he threw a Pebble at the Wall, it vanished immediately into it (to the Eye of M. Nodier, it disappeared into emptiness). When the Rope was taut at fifty Yards, he turned round and walked back along the Line of the Rope, though again it seemed not to be straight.
For the next Trip we used all seventy Yards of Rope that had not broken. The Pebble became dimmer again, and the Tunnel seemed at seventy Yards to be starting to open out.
With all the Rope spliced together, the Commander moved off again, this time the Pebble becoming brighter. He left a Wine-Bottle in the Tunnel, and at the End found terrain distinctly indicative of a mid-Astral. The Bottle was still present.
On the next Trip, the Bottle was not visible, and the Tunnel seemed to be longer. Two more trips shewed a dimmer Pebble and no Bottle, but on the next “bright” Trip, the Bottle was found. Marking the “dark” Tunnel with a Baguette, we found a Consistency: the long Tunnel with Baguette and dim Pebble, and the short Tunnel with Bottle and bright Pebble. Repeating this many times we found no other Tunnels.
The Commander and Balaban úr moved away towards the Material. Starting from fifty Yards away, they found the same Tunnels; the same at an Hundred Yards, and at two Hundred. At four Hundred the Tunnels were hard to locate, and the two saw a lumbering horned-headed Shape moving towards them. He ran back to Balaban úr, and attempted to gore him. Balaban úr evaded and cut at the Neck of the Minotaur (for such it was). It gored again, and Balaban úr cut it again while the Commander hit it in the Leg with an accelerated Pebble, and Balaban úr cut it for a third time as it well, though it was still mobile and attempting to attack. The second Pebble was less effective; the Minotaur on the Ground clawed at Balaban úr, but the Parry damaged its Arm, the Commander was able to cripple its other Leg, and in the end the two of them were able to finish it off.
Testing again, at three Hundred Yards, Tunnels could still be found, but with Difficulty. Repeating in the opposite Direction, towards the Astral Sea, shewed the same Reactions at the same Distances, though the Changes in Brightness of the Pebble were much less.
Trying four Hundred Yards in the Direction of the Material again, the Commander heard someone walking behind him, staying there as he turned round. Balaban úr could hear and see nothing. The Commander heard a Sound as of a Knife being sharpened. They returned to us, and M. Nodier and I were able to observe the Follower, a Man in black Hat and long Coat holding a Butcher’s Knife.
He took an Interest in me, and was unable to hear my Explanations of the Unwisdom of this Course, but M. Nodier dismissed him and we returned to New Renaissance.
23 April 2014
After Food and a Rest, we continued Discussion. We commissioned a Chain made of hollowed Bone, and returned to Newton-X to make Report. With Rope of Nylon and other Equipment such as iron Numbers for marking Locations we moved back to Prairie and its mid-Astral. This time I left with the Commander, and we found only one Tunnel: similar to those we had seen near Enigma, if much shorter than the others that Commander Hodgson had reported, but always in the positive B Direction. We found ourselves in a mid-Astral that appeared quite normal. The Pebble from Enigma had faded completely at the far End.
Our next Experiment was for two of us to ascend to the astral Sea at the same Moment, I from the near End and M. Carnot from the far. This was a negative-B Expedition.
At the Astral Sea, I met a large Human-like Creature, red of Skin and with four Arms. We had no Language in Common, but I was able to cover this Lack with Magic. He introduced himself as Lord Kargan of Olympus, and this seemed after Discussion to be the one on Mars, and to believe himself to be dreaming. M. Carnot appeared, and we spoke at some Length.
We moved into the upper Astral, to find that we were travelling together; we returned to find Balaban úr. He was most interested in the Possibility of Speech with Lord Kargan, and we remained while he left. M. Carnot followed the Rope to retrieve the Commander, and Balaban úr returned having not found the Martian.
We repeated the Experiment several Times, returning together. On each occasion, we arrived at the nearer End, which we dubbed B0. When we met at the Sea, then returned separately, we still returned to B0. Without even a meeting at the Sea, everyone who ascended from either B0 or B1 (the far End of the Tunnel) returned on B0.
Next came the corresponding Experiment in the opposite Direction: the Commander and Balaban úr returned, from opposite ends of the Tunnel, to the substrate World. The Worlds seemed similar, the B1 being astrally yellow, but they could not locate each other. When they changed Ends they found the Numbers they had left on the previous Visit.
We returned to New Renaissance to rest and report, ensuring that our Knowledge would not be lost in case of Mishap; we also bought substantially more Rope.
We returned to Prairie and its mid-Astral. The Commander and M. Carnot went through the Tunnel; the Numbers left on the Astral the previous Day had gone. They then continued into B2, and onward, the Stone gaining further in Brightness with each Transition; at the End of the Rope they were in the Tunnel between B10 and B11. Balaban úr and the Commander then investigated the substrate Worlds of B1, B2, B3 and B4to determine their Quantum Level, all of which were the same Quantum 6 as Prairie-1.
We returned again to report, then took a Day to rest, with Lunch via the Tunnel between London and Paris.
We returned to the mid-Astral of Enigma, and M. Carnot and the Commander set off in the negative B Direction. It appeared that Enigma itself was at B1. The Commander, M. Carnot and I returned to B0 and proceeded to the near Astral. We were still at Blackheath, and felt it looked more maintained than on the B1 Enigma. Moving into a more urban Area, we saw many People moving around in Pairs or Groups of Four; those not in Pairs tended to be young or old.
We returned to our Base on B1 and then proceeded to B2, and spied similarly from the near Astral; from the Feel of the place, we suspected there was no Magic here. This was inhabited and civilized, but with fewer Cars and different Buildings we speculated that it might be at an earlier point in History. B3 was earlier still, with no Automobiles. B4 was somewhere in the Middle of the nineteenth Century. We returned to report. Sir Isaac was most impressed, and requested that we inform Hilary; she took it quite well.
She mentioned also the Existence of Echo Worlds, those similar to others but at an earlier Date. Infinity had previously only discovered these with respect to its own Homeline. Most of them were in the same Quantum as Homeline, but not all.
7 May 2014
From New Renaissance we moved to the Astral, then in positive B, though I had other Ideas which I felt needed later Investigation. The near Astral of B1 felt fragile in the manner of a World lacking in Mana. The World appeared perhaps to be in its 1950s, though the odd Development of New Renaissance made this difficult to determine. With some more Detail, we believed the Year to be 1957, perhaps early 1958.
At B2, the Astral was fragile, and Balaban úr placed the World between 1946 and 1948. At B3, he thought that the Date was the late 1930s, perhaps 1936-1937.
We moved on to Roma Il Duce, which also seemed to be at B0. We had not previously been to this London, and the Motorcars seemed most odd. At B1, as before, the near Astral was fragile, and we observed the Construction of the Cenotaph, putting the Date at 1920. At B2, the Date was 1905. At B3, it seemed to be at some Time in the 1880s.
We moved to Roma Nil Magia, and verified its Status on B0. Its B1-B3 all existed, without Magic and with at least some Form of London. Rome Unfallen seemed as we expected, and was at B0. Its B1 was, like all the other non-zero Bs, fragile, and a London of Sorts was present and probably a little earlier than the B0. B2 appeared even earlier.
(While we were resting on New Renaissance, Balaban úr explored the London of Etruscan Rome; there was no London, but he did come upon some Indigenes who were concerned at his Appearance; an Offer of Alcohol helped with this.)
The next Day we went to Jewish Rome; even its B1 was fragile, in spite of the high Magic of the B0 world. There was still a Roman Londinium, though we had insufficient Information to establish a Date. By B3 it was a fortified Camp. We then went to Etruscan Rome, and saw several Celtic Villages. The other-B worlds were as expected; the same in Dictator and in Roma Mechana, though in the latter the B1 seemed surprisingly similar; the B2 had no Sign of Steam.
Back at New Renaissance there was News of a Package from Sir Isaac. These turned out to be his Notes on the Development and Re-Design of the Spell of Mage Sight, with Comments in particular on how it had been amended for q, r and φ (but also all previous Notes, of some Interest, and the strong Implication that there were more Axes of which we were not yet aware). I began to consider the Work needed to extend this to B.
The next Day we verified the Pattern at Sans-Newton (twenty Years to B1, about as many more to B2 and B3), Napoleon Total War (perhaps ten or so Years at a Time), and Henry V.
21 May 2014
A Letter from Hilary informed us that Discussions were still in Progress as regards Enigma; but they wished us to examine the B-Worlds of another World, hight Blip. It was recently discovered, and Time there was running very fast: some thirteen Hundreds of Days to one of ours.
First we visited the Astral of Newton-X and confirmed that it was at B0; examining the first few B-Axis Worlds shewed inconsistent Intervals of roughly twenty, a little over twenty and a further thirty Years.
On B1, we moved astrally to the Area that would later be the Regent’s Park, then descended to the World itself; as we had suspected, it was entirely lacking in Magic, and we returned to the Astral. We moved to New Renaissance to speak with Hilary. The Leaders of Infinity were still mired in Politics regarding Enigma.
We considered the Possibility of a Trip to Shikaku-Mon; Infinity would like our Data, and might be prepared to provide concealed Armour.
For the moment we planned to take Hilary to visit the B1 of New Renaissance, and then to Blip. That Evening we confirmed that the former existed. B1 seemed to be at about 1950, with B2 at some Point in the early 1930s and B3 at perhaps 1912.
On our Return, we seemed to have arrived in the wrong Cellar: it was dark, and free of Magic. Using Light shewed that this Place had been used for Storage, but not actively. Among the Discards were Magazines with Dates as late as 2015; among these were Mentions of the Interworld Council, the Organisation known as Infinity, and other indications.
Commander Hodgson moved us to the Astral. The Building appeared to be the same as the one we knew; this World appeared to be on B0, and while we could not date B1 the B2 seemed to be somewhere in the late 1980s, B3 in the 1960s. The Astral Sea appeared normal, though the Commander thought there was something distinctive about the Pool of this World, perhaps that it had more Depth.
One of the Pools near-by had a familiar Form, and I felt that it might be that of Shikaku-Mon; we descended to learn more, and confirmed that it was a B0 World. From the near Astral, it certainly seemed as though it might indeed be that World. Back by the Sea, there seemed to be four such Pools with this Characteristic of Depth. One of the remaining two seemed not to be Centrum, so we visited the other first; it was B0, and fragile-Astral, and the Architecture was at least consistent with that of Centrum that Balaban úr and M. Nodier had previously seen.
The fourth World, similarly B0 and fragile-Astral, had few Buildings, all of them of an alien Design: Domes and Spires were the predominant Form, each set in their own Grounds of an Acre or so. One of the People appeared to catch sight of us, and waved to us; we returned the Gesture, but could make no easy Contact. He beckoned, and we descended. Balaban úr greeted him, and the reply sounded within his Mind; then all of us were able to hear that which was not Speech.
28 May 2014
Balaban úr spoke with our Host; he described us as from a Western European Christian Time-Line, and that his own had diverged in the early Days of the western Egyptian Kingdom when the first Developments in mental Science had been made.
He wore no Decoration or Ornament, merely plain Clothing of grey. He was familiar with the Idea of other Worlds, knowing of Travel with Powers of the Mind via the Astral (not unlike the Procedure used by Commander Hodgson), but his People had retreated from such Adventure some Centuries since, finding the life of the Mind more interesting. In the normal Course of Life, all of these People, some five Millions of them, lived in permanent telepathic Commerce, a State they called Unity; he had detached himself in order to have Intercourse with us.
He, or they, had no Objection to Visitors, if they were polite and left quite soon. (Impolite Visitors tended to change their Minds.) With his Permission we measured the Quantum of the World: 13, and as we had expected no Magic at all.
Not wishing to trespass on the Hospitality of our Host, we expressed Concern, but he replied that “some parts of the Unity will find you interesting or entertaining”. He invited us to have our Memories transferred into the Unity, but since we all had some Secrets that we would not be willing to share, and since selective Transfer required some Skill which we did not possess, we felt we had to decline.
The Unity had lost much that we considered essential: it had no Forms of creative Endeavour outside the pure Life of the Mind, apart from a few odd Individuals. Its Members did have personal Names, but they were complex Sets of sensory Impressions: our Host for example was a Pool below Rapids, with the Scent of Grass, and so on. He was personally some Thousand and more Years in Age, considered a Youth by his People.
Our Host asked us not to divulge the Location of this World, and we agreed, pointing out that we could not be sure of the Function of the Device; we passed it to him, and he caused it to vanish, returning it a few Moments later with the Explanation that it did indeed merely record the Quantum.
I asked about Entities within the Unity that had no Bodies. Some Groups, it seemed, could gain some Degree of mental Existence that might persist even when their original Members had been replaced. On Occasion, an Individual might continue to exist in the Unity after the Death of its Body, but this was something our Host claimed was not understood. While the Unity was willing in Theory to accept new Members, the Process of mental Change necessary to be able to join might well be beyond Achievement for one not brought up within it.
In the Matter of Worlds at the leading Edge of Time, the Unity had last studied the Matter some five hundred Years since; at that time there had been three such Worlds, one of which was clearly Shikaku-Mon, but the other might from his vague Description have been either Infinity or Centrum. We mentioned the possible new one, and he explained that in the two Cases of which he was aware such fast-running Worlds had either disintegrated or slowed to a more normal Rate as they approached the leading Edge.
Although the Sky was light, our Host informed us of the Position of the Planets and we were able to confirm that the Date was at least close to that of Infinity.
We spoke with our Host on the Matter of Infinity, Centrum, and their Conveyors. After Consultation he seemed Surprised that their Range was so limited, and suggested that we tell them to look more closely at their Theories.
The Divergence of this World had been, it seemed, in the Time of Imhotep; there were, or at least had been, rather more Pyramids built here than in our own World.
As far as the Unity was aware there was no Pattern to the Placement of Worlds in the Astral Sea; they had not encountered the Roman Road, however.
As for the Lack of Magic on some Worlds, it seemed that those at the leading Edge were “too solidly real” to be affected by the Minds of Humans, while those on positive B were “not real enough”; only a middle Point allowed Malleability.
We said our Farewells and departed, via the Cellar of Homeline to New Renaissance. We slept most thoroughly.
On the next Day we met Hilary and informed her of the Unity. She was somewhat perturbed.
We travelled with her to Epping Forest and then to Roma Mechana, where we found by Radio a Team from Infinity with their own Conveyor. Thus we travelled together to Blip, I now able to perceive the Damage caused by a Conveyor as it moved.
Blip had little Magic, and seemed unexceptional at the physical World. On the near Astral, the Ground was constantly shaking and odd Noises of Roaring could be heard. The Commander perceived B-Axis Shift, Change in History, and occasional Gates. The mid-Astral was shaking even more, and the single B Tunnel was convulsing. By the astral Sea, the shaking had faded, but the Pool of the World was bubbling, in a way that suggested to the astral Diviners that the World might fall apart at any Moment. I hypothesised that we might be at a conventional Rate of Time, so suggested that we return quickly.
The Commander, Balaban úr, M. Nodier and Hilary explored the B Tunnel, finding it most unstable; as they moved along it, it expanded and contracted after the Manner of an Intestine. It seemed to stretch away ahead of them; periodically, it would break apart, and a new open Space would form between two Segments of Tunnel, they presumed a new Echo of the World.
Returning to Blip we learned that we had indeed been gone some three Hours, suggesting that only our Excursion to the Astral Sea had been without the accelerated Time of the World. Having been unable to give Hilary a conventional View of the B Dimension, we moved with her to New Renaissance, then to its near Astral. We walked astrally to London, then to the mid-Astral, and moved along the B Tunnel, shewing Hilary the Worlds we passed. B4 was in perhaps the early 1920s, before this World had diverged from the Course known to Infinity; Hilary wondered whether it might also be an Echo of Homeline.
We walked to Epping Forest and descended. The world was on Quantum 7, like New Renaissance, and unlike all known Echoes of Homeline. Other Parameters that Hilary was able to measure also varied from Worlds she knew. She carved a Tree in a distinctive Pattern, so that an Infinity team on its own Echoes might look for the Sign; we looked at the same Tree on B3, and were relieved to find it un-marked. We then returned to New Renaissance.
18 June 2014
We considered not only what we might do but how we should report, particularly considering our Vows in the Matter of Unity; apart from its actual Location, we gave all Information, and held nothing back in the matter of Blip (hoping that none of our Order would have to go back there). We wrote a Report, and visited Sir Edmond; he had a Letter from Sir Isaac, that the Need for a World for the Experiment in Splitting was no longer important, since with greater Consideration he now felt that the Generation of B-Axis Worlds was a Part of the same Process.
I continued my Work on the Enhancement of Spells of Perception in Consideration of astral Dimensions. The Commander spoke with Gerhart, learning that he had been adjusting with Difficulty to his new Life; but he was at least still Healthy after the Changes I had made.
The others of the Team met Hilary, who explained her Difficulties. The Idea of keeping the Secret of the Theory of Travel between Worlds was most ingrained in their Culture, to the Extent that they felt unable to trust us, both as C—ists and as People who Travelled to dangerous Worlds, with the Information. This was important to the Extent that Hilary could think of no immediate Answer to this Problem.
There was Discussion of the Problem of Centrum, and its Practice of moving Echoes between Quanta.
In return for Measurements of the Quanta of B-Stack Worlds of Shikaku-Mon, Infinity was prepared to supply a List of interesting Worlds and their Descriptions — as well as Armour for the Trip.
I rejoined the others for the Journey to Shikaku-Mon, which we performed in a remote Valley in Scotland. We moved immediately to the Astral, and found what seemed a normal Tunnel. The Astral of the B1 was fragile as expected, but two People were present on the World, apparently following Deer; we gave them Time to get clear. We descended, and operated Equipment; this Echo was on Quantum 4, though of course we could not tell the Date. B2 was similarly on Quantum 4, as was B3 — though it was after Dark, and the Commander was hit in the Back by a Shot as we departed. We watched from the Astral as the Attacker found our Foot-Prints and marked the Spot. At B4 the Spot was occupied by a Picnic-Party, with Vacuum Flasks; we moved on the near Astral to a more suitable Location, and determined that this too was on Quantum 4, as was B5. We returned directly to New Renaissance and passed on the Information to Hilary, who gave us their Catalogue of Worlds as promised.
2 July 2014
The Commander suggested that it would be profitable to locate the Echoes of Shikaku-Mon (and indeed of Centrum). Considering the Age of the Development of cross-World Travel on Centrum, we planned to travel fairly far in positive B.
Since this would take some Time I instructed Edith to pack Provisions; I also purchased an antique Pistol on New Renaissance. Our Plan was to proceed through the Wilds of Scotland, Shikaku-Mon, the Astral Sea, the mid-Astral of Centrum, and then into its B-Worlds. We moved to the B10 of that World, examined it, and descended. The Quantum of this World was 7; B11 was dark, so we avoided it, but the Quantum remained 7 on B12, B13 (where the Season was Winter) and B14. We moved to B15, then went astrally upward, and arrived at the Set of four distinctive Pools.
While the Commander ascended in an Attempt to espy familiar Scenery, we took a light Lunch. He had, it seemed, seen some familiar Mountains, and with no other Direction to prefer we set off that way.
After some Hours the Head of M. Nodier seemed to have been replaced by a leather Ball. As we considered re-tracing our Steps, we found that we were being followed by Lobsters; they spoke good Spanish and seemed harmless, though they had no Idea why they were following us. M. Carnot found himself becoming cubical, and my Dress changed Shape and I took on more classical Proportions. As we discussed Matters, the Commander also found his Dress changing, and Oddities continued to progress., as we all found ourselves taking on the Forms of a Variety of artistic Styles.
M. Nodier and I were both able to detect a Spirit, and he conversed with it on the Philosophy (or Philosophies) of Art; something caused it to depart hurriedly. His Form returned; those of the Remainder of us did not. M. Carnot contemplated classical Proportions and got some Benefit of Form therefrom; I shifted to the Form of a Wolf in the Hope that when I returned it would be to my own Form.
This did not work, and I returned to my artistically-modified Form just as we encountered an inchoate multi-coloured Creature of a Type that we had met before; it had perceived us. I prepared Fire.
The Commander hurled Stones, and Balaban úr fired an Arrow, but to no visible Effect. We prepared Gates for New Renaissance. I hurled the Fire as we departed; this did some Damage to the Creature, but certainly did not stop it. Back on New Renaissance, M. Carnot and M. Nodier did not appear with us.
Those latter also found themselves in a Scotland; they took Shelter from the Rain and considered what to do next.
9 July 2014
As they were clearly in the wrong Place, they waited a short Time in case the Error had been temporal, then rejoined us.
We travelled to a World without Mana, and with Time removed the Changes that had been made to us. Back on Newton-X, Sir Isaac was unusually pleased to see us. He had realised that he desired a Collaborator: an Albert Einstein, young enough still to be creative, but old enough to have proven his Brilliance.
M. Carnot studied the Work of Einstein, and we considered that a Date around 1920 would be ideal. The B4 Echo of New Renaissance was at about the right Date, and we considered how he might be persuaded to accompany us; we obtained a House in Berlin of New Renaissance (taking Advantage of the Lack of a total War to find the same one in the Echo).
30 July 2014
This Einstein was 41 years old, a Professor without teaching Duties, and newly married. Considering the Practice of celebrating the fiftieth Anniversary of a significant Paper, we obtained a Copy of the Proceedings of such an Event; M. Carnot then wrote a Letter containing a Solution to the Field Equations, and asking for a Meeting.
Four Days later we received a Reply, agreeing. M. Carnot, Commander Hodgson and I obtained local Clothing and went to the Meeting, while Balaban úr and M. Nodier remained nearby. M. Carnot opened by shewing him the Book, and when Einstein demanded an Explanation stated the Truth: that Sir Isaac Newton wished to invite him to the Royal Society in order to collaborate on a Theory of Everything.
He quite reasonably requested Proof, and we offered to take him to other Worlds. I explained what would happen, and the need for Promptness. We moved through, and pointed out Features of the near Astral to him, moving to the Tiergarten. M. Carnot brought us to New Renaissance, and we were able to shew him an Aircraft in the Sky as well as Automobiles. He was sufficiently convinced, and we returned (via his Office in the near Astral).
Einstein agreed to join us for a Visit to London and Sir Isaac. For his Convenience we would travel to London on this World. Balaban úr, M. Carnot and I remained in Berlin, while the others returned to New Renaissance. They then went to the B4 while remaining in London, and determined that our House existed there. It was leased, and owned by an Individual.
“You’re French and callous – let me do the talking.”
The Commander approached the Lessee, who seemed cautiously interested and would start to make Arrangements. In order to arrange a Supply of Gold, the Commander approached me to open the Vault of the Bank of England on Enigma; we moved some of the Gold to Newton-X, where it was re-cast into less identifiable Ingots for Deposit into a Bank on New Renaissance B4. Once the Arrangement had been completed, the Landlord enquired as to whether we would like to buy the House, which we did.
M. Carnot reported to Sir Isaac, and it was felt that the House on New Renaissance would be the best Venue. We made suitable Preparations, including suitable Influences of a magical Sort, though we would keep these subtle.
20 August 2014
January 1722
We spoke with the Staff of the Royal Society to ascertain the Quirks of Sir Isaac, and placed Edith in Charge of the Household for the Duration. During this Time Balaban úr visited Annio’s World to look after his Concerns there, as well as collecting some Gifts for Einstein and for Sir Isaac. We also returned the tailored Armour to Gerhard.
M. Carnot observed a Camera mounted in the Eaves of a nearby House, pointed towards our own Property. We invited its Owner, one Willoughby, a Civil Servant, to Dinner, and while the Commander read the Mind of his Wife (having failed to read \Willoughby himself) M. Carnot mentioned the Camera. He claimed that this was a matter of Security for his own Household, and his Wife seemed to recall that this had been mentioned before. On closer Examination the Device appeared mostly to cover the Street outside his House, though its View would include our front Door; we decided that recognisable People should move by other Routes.
The Commander, M. Carnot, and Balaban úr travelled to New Renaissance B4 to collect Einstein. On their way across the Astral they ran into what seemed a small, but mobile, Volcano, which seemed interested in them; it claimed to be the Spirit of a Volcano to the North, and followed them through the Astral. It was seeking Inspiration, and to inspire. M. Carnot distracted this Being with Tales of the Revolution in France while the Commander removed Einstein from the Situation. M. Carnot ultimately left the Volcano to the Astral of Blip, and returned to Newton-X, shortly before Newton arrived for his Transit.
At the same Time, Balaban úr, M. Nodier and the Commander travelled to find Carnot, searching without Success. We all met again on New Renaissance, and introduced Einstein and Sir Isaac to each other and to the Facilities which we had provided. They started to discuss Notation, and rapidly settled in to Work. We went on with our own various Projects until Dinner.
It soon transpired that our two Guests wished to observe unusual Worlds in Person, and indeed to determine what they needed to measure; we gave to Einstein a Description of the Types of World we had observed, including the Astral Sea, the B Dimension, the Worlds at the Leading Edge, and the possibility of moving Worlds.
Hilary telephoned, and informed us that Blip had “blown up”. M. Carnot arranged to meet her for Lunch the next Day. Argument and Discussion continued until the small Hours.
M. Carnot, and Balaban úr, went to meet Hilary; M. Carnot described his Actions of the previous Day. Hilary explained that an attempt to send a Probe had failed, indicating that the World was no longer Present. M. Carnot suggested that travelling by our own Means would be interesting, and agreed to meet the next Day. Einstein had been introduced to an Enchantment that would solve sufficiently well-specified Equations, which generated some Interest among us.
M. Carnot, M. Nodier and I travelled via the Astral to the previous Location of Blip. There was a Fog in its Location, and a Number of small Pools where one Large one had been. On Inspection and Divination, the first few Pools seemed to be too Dangerous to enter, being in a State with an Excess of Energy; one found by M. Nodier seemed to be generating a new Universe. As we watched for an Hour or so, some of the smaller Pools seemed to be moving; the smallest seemed to vanish completely, or to merge with larger Bodies. We made Sketches of the Arrangement.
I called a Creature using the Ritual of Summons which was a Precursor to the Ritual of planar Travel; a Ritual specific to the World of Blip. He appeared to be a human Ghost, and described his World coming apart in Fire (following a spectacular Sun-Set the previous Night). This seemed most helpful to our Understanding of the Situation.
17 September 2014
We returned to the Site of the Conference, and explained to Sir Isaac what had occurred, and the present Situation with Hilary. He felt that the loss of the Possibility of Observation was significant, and further that providing Infinity with some Information would be a useful Gesture.
Sir Isaac was concerned that the Decans might be correlated with the fundamental Forces of the Universe, but having thirty-six of them seemed rather too many. On the other hand there might be a form of meta- or sub-Decan which would also be a significant magical Development.

The Decan of Quantum

3 September 2014
Sir Isaac had a Plan for Experiment, but would first need to tell us a Secret of the Inner Circle of the C—. The Decans, as we had surmised, were associated with Places: most of those with Colleges associated were tied to the material World. Iudal was tied to the Near Astral; the Astral Sea was associated with Axiôphêth, the Lady of Oppression, while the q, r and φ dimensions were the Domain of Barsafael, the Lady of Ancient Strength. Naturally he was interested in determining which Decan might be associated with B. Akton and Anostêr were associated with Worlds of which Sir Isaac might not yet speak. For the Purpose of this Search he had developed a new Spell, of Pendulum Divination. I studied this and its Requirements over the next several Days, the while we assembled Materials with the appropriate Resonances for the un-assigned Decans.
Balaban úr warned me that the Matter of Blip might cause the Leaders of Infinity to be more concerned with us than before, and indeed might attempt to kill us. I considered how we might go about being warned of Attack, but there were no obvious Answers.
We moved to the B-Tunnels of New Renaissance and proceeded to work with the Pendula. While the Commander and Balaban úr kept watch, we proceeded with the unknown Decans, alternating Casting and Rest. I gained an unexpected Insight into the Decan of Hephesimereth, the ultimate Decay and Nothingness (so much more useful than Entropy), but the last we tried, Tepsisem, generated a distinct Effect: the Pendulum swung asymmetrically, aligning itself with the Tunnel, tilted towards the Direction of higher B. This was repeated on a second Attempt.
On our Return, a large Head was visible at the end of the Tunnel; as we approached, it seemed to be attached to a proportionately large Gorilla, which took a Swipe at Balaban úr. He parried the Attack, and decided to enjoy the Fight; a few good Blows against its Hand, and the Ape removed itself towards the Astral Sea. We returned to New Renaissance to report.
This seemed to offer the Possibility of jumping to high-B Worlds. We decided to survey along a B-Stack to see how the decanic Influence changed: both the Worlds, and the Tunnels. With a need for greater Precision we abandoned the Experiment, developed more appropriate Apparatus, and continued on the next Day. It became clear that there was an exponential Decay in Asymmetry, by a factor of e between each adjacent Pair of Worlds. M. Nodier felt that this was sufficient to determine the appropriate Modifications to the Spell, and we progressed with its Design.
A Test on B0 shewed no Asymmetry at all. Including Iudal solved this Problem. I cast the Spell, with some Difficulty, and opened the Gate; the Items that the Commander had deposited were present as expected, and he and Balaban úr stepped through. They verified the Location, then returned to us.
17 September 2014
We decided that we would give Hilary all our Information on Enigma, as a Gesture of Peace. The Commander telephoned her and made the Offer; she would join us in a few Days.
We arranged for a portable Generator, and receiving Equipment for televisual and radio Signals. I bought a small Lorry, after which we drove to the Highlands and met Hilary there with two Agents of the Patrol.
M. Carnot took us to Enigma B1, with Balaban úr delayed by a premature Closure of the Gate, and the People from Infinity took Measurements to confirm the Identity of this World. The Commander brought us to the near-Astral, and we passed through the B-Tunnel to the new World, the Patrolmen looking somewhat perturbed. Then we descended to the B0 world, where two near-identical local Men with Shotguns were perturbed to see us, running away after a few Seconds. Balaban úr followed in Haste, eventually catching them and attempting to establish friendly Relations — without much Success, but he did bring them back with him, discussing with them the Experience they had had with their sudden Doubles, or Others as they called them. He was able to give them some Information, but it did not seem to help them.
Balaban úr kept them away from the main Group, and Hilary suggested we get them drunk enough not to be credible. The Commander heroically took on this Task, and spoke with the Hamishes about the Adjustments this World had made to a sudden near-Doubling of its Population: there was still Rationing of Food, Politics had become somewhat confusing, and overall things had changed in an essentially disturbing way.
Once they had lost Consciousness, M. Nodier made them temporarily forget their Meeting with us, and Balaban úr carried them away; the Team from Infinity was not yet able to measure any Differences between this at the B1 World that they had already explored, and thus we moved back to New Renaissance with the Plan of taking Infinity down the B-Stack there.
1 October 2014
While we lunched, Hilary and her Crew re-measured New Renaissance itself. We then moved to the B1 world, and put up a Tarpaulin to keep off the Rain. The Crew could detect no Difference from New Renaissance, so we proceeded back to the Astral and to B10. The Gate from the Astral closed before I could pass Through, and the Commander took us down.
The Measurements were unexpected in some Manner not immediately clear, and the Crew repeated them, but without Success. M. Carnot felt that the astral Transition might have affected Matters, and Balaban úr moved to the Astral to experiment. This time the Apparatus failed some Minutes in, and we made Camp; the Crew repaired it in the Morning.
This done, we repeated the Experiment, and the Transference of Balaban úr made no Difference to the Readings. Trying it during the Generation of a Tunnel by Balaban úr also produced nothing of Interest. We returned to New Renaissance.
During Discussion the Crew confirmed that Magic, per se, had no specific Rôle in their Theory of multiple Worlds. There was some Correlation with the Phenomenon they knew as “Oz Particles”, which caused Difficulties with their Travel and flowed generally towards their Home, but there was Argument as to whether these even Existed, and the Correlation was not absolute. We all returned to our Homes.
We reported to Sir Isaac and Einstein, who had been designing Experiments. It would be interesting to discover whether any Decan had any Relationship to the Phenomenon of Quantum Number, which would require Worlds similar in Respects other than Quantum. Looking down the B-Stack of one of the Leading Worlds seemed worthwhile, but neither Homeline nor Shikaku-Mon appeared promising; the latter we decided was better from a social Point of View, since in the Case of catastrophic Error we would not appear to have betrayed Trust.
We proceeded to the most uninteresting part of Wales we could find, to Shikaku-Mon, and then to its B1, these Processes being unremarkable. However, said B1 had ambient Magic, and we went to it. M. Nodier began our Measurements, beginning with the unassigned Decans, which took some Days.
On the second Day, the Commander left to look for a Village, finding a Receptacle for Waste and acquiring a number of Newspapers from it. He was able to determine that the Year was 2004, and the Date early September. Various small Indicators suggested that the World was not as advanced as he expected, odd given its great Technology in the B0 of 2028. The few Pictures from London suggested that Technology was very much higher there; this Divergence was causing social Tension and Violence, though Balaban úr felt that at least some of this was Propaganda intended to increase Fear.
While he was away, a Shepherd approached. He seemed mildly curious but happy to accept the Explanations of Balaban úr.
15 October 2014
The Commander being anxious to return, we considered our Options; rather than completing our decanic Survey, we made basic Measure of a Selection of the B-Worlds of Shikaku-Mon, using the Equipment from Infinity and descending as far as B21 though with only cursory Inspection.
We returned to New Renaissance to find the Tyres of the Lorry had been let down, made Repair, and returned with only minor Incident. Newton suggested that incorporating Iudal in the Divination could be of Assistance. Commander Hodgson arranged a Lunch with Hilary to hand over the Data. I sent the Design of an Amulet on which I was working to our Home, and arranged for the Materials to be gathered for its Construction. Balaban úr visited Paris on Etruscan Rome to attempt to gather Manuscripts for Annio, and ended up speaking with Caesar during the Siege of Lutetia, not to say assisting his Troops during the Siege by leaping up a Wall and killing the Lutetian Defenders there.
29 October 2014
Remaining on New Renaissance, we travelled back to London. The Commander passed the Readings from the Shikaku-Mon series to Hilary, and spoke of Echoes, especially that of Centrum.
We considered the Wisdom of becoming further involved in the Struggles of Infinity and Centrum, and rejected this for now. We flew from London to Rome, and M. Carnot and I went in search of a Machine to manufacture Coffee; we could find none with Atomick Power, but settled for Gas Turbine.
The mean While, Balaban úr and the Commander went to Etruscan Rome, where they were asked to report to the Prefects, and made something of an Explanation of their sudden Vanishment. The Message that Balaban úr brought from Caesar outside Lutetia was still too new, so this did not seem the time.
We wished to make Contact with Mistress Julia, so went to visit her on C—-Rome to bring her up to Date on our Activities. The Villa had been completed, and we were invited to visit her there in some Days. (We also introduced M. Carnot to the Eye and to the History of this World.) In New Renaissance we purchased various Goods for Trade, should the Occasion arise, and a Vehicle.
We proceeded up to Tibur and out to the Farm where we had first entered New Renaissance. Having met our Hosts again, we proceeded up to the Road, then M. Carnot took us back to C—-Rome and we deposited some Goods at the Villa.
We planned to examine Roma Mechana and Rome Dictator, as two similar Worlds on different Quanta, to see if we could divine any decanic Differences between them. Mechana was first, and we settled down for a Week of casting Divinations.
Iudal and Alath produced a heavily damped Motion, Belbel on its own was attracted to Balaban úr, Marderô reacted to M. Carnot, Buldumêch with Iudal circled spontaneously.
19 November 2014
We moved to C—-Rome and the Villa of Mistress Antonia, and Baths. People had, it seemed, been asking when we would return, particularly the Collegium of Navigators whom the Commander and M. Nodier had addressed.
We discussed the Nature of the Road, realising that we had learned little since we first met it.
The next Day, we espied a new Building on the Road, a wooden Shed. We moved to the near Astral and along the Shadow of the Road into Rome Unfallen, then a little farther up the Astral; Balaban úr went through the Gate into Roma Nil Magia, and fell into that World, then returned through the material Gate and rejoined us. From even farther up the Astral, there was rather less Difficulty, and proceeded thus into Dictator and onto that World.
While we conducted our Divinations, the Commander arranged our Tent, and Balaban úr visited his local Contact. During the Castings, the Apparel of M. Carnot disappeared, to be found on the Astral shrunk to one-tenth the Size (even the Structure of the Fibre, examined under minute Vision, had shrunk, though it was not now Magical). Some Time later, as we were ending our Work, he found himself turned green, scaled and clawed. This being an illusory Transformation I took it as of no Account, but he seemed perturbed, and went with the Commander to camp on Roma Nil Magia.
This time, the Decans which had reacted to us as Individuals shewed rather less of such Response (Marderô to M. Carnot not at all). Buldumêch with Iudal circled spontaneously as before, but slightly less so. Alath with Iudal was less damped than before.
The next Morning, we rejoined on Dictator, M. Carnot now seeming quite recovered, and moved on to Rome Unfallen, where it was Night. Here we tried the two most promising Combinations first: Alath with Iudal was much as on Dictator; Buldumêch with Iudal circled much more widely, and seemed likely to be associated with the Value of the Quantum. Again, there was no Reaction from Marderô to M. Carnot.
(While we were conducting our Tests, the Shepherd with whom Balaban úr had spoken before approached him; apparently in Rome, female Diviners were now being executed, perhaps as a Result of a Scandal at the Games.)
26 November 2014
We moved to one last World, Skywhale, where none of the Creatures (or Vehicles) of that World was immediately visible, and conducted the same set of Experiments, with particular Attention to Isrö, the Decan of Air. While we were doing the Work, M. Carnot espied one of the titular Items and made Observation of it. It was some Thousand Feet in Length, with six Engines; it was flying a small Number of Thousands of Feet above the Ground, and making some fifty-four Knots.
Isrö did indeed respond strongly to our divination. Buldumêch with Iudal responded in a way consistent with our Theory, overall Energy now appearing linear with Quantum. Iudal with Alath was less damped than we had previously observed.
Starting to consider going home, we moved to Etruscan Rome, and gained the expected Result with a Divination of Buldumêch with Iudal. Similarly on Jewish Rome, with no Difference from the Level of Mana. We made Experiment with the B Levels and our Divination for them. On the non-zero B Worlds, there was no sign of the astral Gates on the Road (and even the B1 of Jewish Rome shewed no Mana). The Tower of the Sorcerer was present, and wishing to find out the Effects of the Lack of Mana on what might be an historical Echo of Jewish Rome we presented ourselves at the Tower, though the Inhabitants seemed most cautious, though our Interlocutor was at least aware of Magic though not as the convenient Mode of Achievement that it had been on the B0 World.
We returned to New Renaissance, conducted a Quantum Divination, and returned to Rome. Balaban úr arranged for several Documents (this now long enough since the Siege of Lutetia that the Signature of Caesar could possibly have reached Rome from Lutetia), though not all were available and their Production would take some Weeks. M. Carnot made some Attempt to hear the great Cicero, but he was not in that Rome at that Time. He stayed on C—-Rome for M. Carnot to learn the Basics of the Culture of the Empire, while Balaban úr visited Florence of Annio’s World. The remainder of us returned to New Renaissance, flew to London and made our Reports.
After some Discussion with Sir Isaac, I returned to Newton-X; the Mother-in-Law of Commander Hodgson asked discreetly about the Prevention of Children, and I made suitable Arrangements. I arranged for a Jeweller to construct an Item that I had had in Mind for some Time, that would store magical Power for use in Worlds so benighted as to have none of their own. Balaban úr obtained an Amulet, intended to restore his Senses of Touch, Taste and Smell.

The Chronobahn

10 December 2014
1 March 1722
I worked with the Jeweller to construct an Amulet to precise Specifications.
A small cubical purple tortoiseshell Locket. (Suspended from one Corner, and split on the hexagonal Equator.) The two Halves are held together by iron Magnets. When they are pulled apart, they remain connected by a lead Chain (leading between the inside Corners), on which is strung a green moonstone Pyramid.
The mean while, Sir Isaac and Einstein had arrived at something of an Impasse; even with our recent Measurements, they felt that a Break from the Work would be beneficial. The Commander carried a Letter saying he would soon be getting home, to account for the Time theoretically taken in Travel, and in the mean Time they saw the Sights of London and Paris in New Renaissance.
mid-April 1722
We divined the Quantum of our own World, and determined that it appeared to be Four.
Simon Waugh wished to try to find his original World, and while it was none we knew he wished to consult Infinity to see whether they had more Knowledge.
M. Nodier wished to see whether the B-Axis could be reached from the Astral Sea. so on our way to Napoleon Total War we made the Attempt. Neither the Commander nor I was able to perceive it here, though the q, r, and φ Dimensions were available as expected. A Divination of Quantum gave no Circularity or other Indications that the Concept had useful Meaning here.
We descended to Napoleon Total War, where the Date was 1806, some two Months later than two Years since our previous Visit two Years ago.
The Commander was particularly keen to study the Publications of Beethoven; it was not an exact Match to what he had learned at New Renaissance, with some Items appearing earlier and others later. Indeed, some Details of the Music itself differed, with different Figures in the second Symphony. The Commander was interested in a particular Concert, historically happening just before Christmas of 1808; we would clearly have to confirm the Date later on.
Back at the Royal Society, Sr Sapienza and Sir Edmond suggested that we might investigate the Chronobahn, a Convolution of the Universe similar to our Roman Road, but in Use by the Nazis. This particular one ran for some Distance through the Levant; Sapienza thought that the Road was probably not very noticeable to the Inhabitants of the World, and was Curious about the great Distances claimed for it (three hundred Miles). His Suspicion was that the Cross-Roads might perhaps have the first Place identified as such, the iconic Instance of it. (The Astral Implications would also be interesting.) We would speak with Gebhard and do other Research…
7 January 2015
Gebhard was doing well, and my Healing of him seemed to have been a Success. He had not tried to cross Worlds again, and we asked that we might observe if he chose to do so. As for the Matter of the Road, he knew of four Worlds altogether, the Fourth being one around the Birth of the Christ, where the Nazis were planning to study the Battle of the Teutoburgerwald; he had not travelled on the Chronobahn itself, but knew that the Route facing most nearly towards Europe led to a World named Friedrich, where Barbarossa was conquering the World.
We spoke with Hilary about finding the native World of Simon Waugh; she seemed pessimistic but would try. As for the Chronobahn, she was not aware of any Operations by Infinity, but would try to find out.
Hilary introduced us to a Pair of Operatives from Infinity, these clearly of military Mien, known as “James” and “Phil”. They were reserved about many Things, but prepared to speak about the Nazis on Nostradamus.
Imitating Nazis would be hard Work, since they would know the members of deployed Forces, or expect to be informed of the Arrival of others; they would not use local Labour in any Form. Imitating Nazis seemed unlikely to work. We discussed Matters back and forth, and eventually offered to take them with us.
We worked with them for a Week or so, for all of us to become accustomed to the Manners and Principles of Operation of the others. We also brought them to the Astral, to introduce them to the Place and to our Magics; where it transpired that James had the Rudiments of Magery.
On New Renaissance, we would potentially be dealing with the Turkish Secular Republic, with a somewhat unstable Syria, and with the nascent Democratic Republic of Palestine.
After some Discussion, we decided that we would need to obtain a Nazi Vehicle, and would have to improvise from there. We flew to Turkey, and drove (with some minor Complications) to a concealed Point near the Border with Syria. We moved to Nostradamus, where we were not immediately in Danger, camped until Dawn and discussed Means of Travel between Worlds. In the Morning, I experimented with Coffee; we broke Camp and moved off on the near Astral towards the Road.
21 January 2015
We considered our Avenues of Escape, and felt that Machen was the best Option; apart from anything else, it had a substantial Presence from Centrum.
The Road, purple/blue to the Perceptions of the Commander, was clearly visible to some of us; roughly one Mile in the Distance, there was a purple Arch across the Road, reminding us of the Gates on the Roman Road.
We moved astrally up, and found the Road remained visible for longer than other Features of Worlds. We moved to B1, where the near Astral was fragile, and the Road had no special Characteristics.
On the B1 world, the Stones of the Road were slightly worn but very consistent in Size (a Yard or so across), though Colour varied slightly; they were very clearly not a natural Formation, though in Places they had slid against each other opening slight Gaps. Digging down a couple of Feet shewed straight Sides continuing downwards, with no Sign of Marks from Tools.
We returned to the B0 Astral and descended to the World, where it seemed that the Cracks were not apparently correlated with the Gates. M. Nodier was not able to discern any great Events from the previous thousand Years. I considered Traffic for the previous Year: several small Cars in each Week, occasionally Herds of Sheep, some Carts, and some Months ago a small Convoy of Gyptians; but no heavy Lorries. To the Commander there was a clear Aura of Magic that would distort Worlds.
We moved to the Gate nearby. On the far Side, I could discern by Magic a greener Land, with Sheep and primitive Buildings nearby. (The Gate seemed to connect to the same World from both Sides.)
We passed through the Gate on the Astral, not requiring Acts of Will. The Buildings were cubical in Shape and made of Stone, with no Windows nor Doors, but with Ladders leaning against them. The Commander found a Hole in the Roof, with another Ladder leading inside. Inside he found sleeping-Paces and a Fire-Pit, but clearly very primitive Technology. M. Carnot suspected that this might be at least ten thousand Years in the Past, and wished to spend Time in Study. Balaban úr brought him back, and we tried moving to the physical World and traversing the Gate there – without success.
So we moved back via the Astral and down in an un-tenanted Area. The Magic was higher than we had expected, and the World was on Quantum 3. (The Commander and Balaban úr confirmed that this world too was a B0.) The Road seemed perhaps a little less weathered.
We arranged to Appear in a shewy Manner, and were met by Locals: four Spearmen, and one who seemed to be their Leader. They approached slowly, and I stole their Language to allow Balaban úr, M. Carnot and me to speak with them. M. Carnot offered them Food as an Expression of good Will, and Balaban úr explained that we were travelling along the Road (“the great Road that Kairu made”, in the local Tongue). We walked around the Village, quite Large considering the number of People living there, and we sat in something like a central Square for further Discussion.
Kairu was the God of their Road; he seemed to have no physical Manifestation. The Leader did not wish to discuss Magic in any Detail, it being bound up with Kairu. They seemed to know little of the Gate by their Village, but recognised our Description as the “Place of Dreams”; he thought of what sounded like the Astral as a Realm to be met in Dream rather than in the Body.
We mentioned that we were travelling to the Junction of Roads; our Host had not been there, but was interested. His Father was old and ill, and I offered to assist him as best I could. I was able to remove his Cancer, and rebuild his Vitality to help with his Healing.
11 February 2015
Before the inevitable Feast, Balaban úr and M. Nodier travelled to Halley’s World in search of a few Essentials: Grain, Tools, and such like. They had poor Fortune, walking along the Road for an Hour or so without finding a Settlement, and were then collected by two Soldiers. Once it was clear that they had been arrested as Spies, Balaban úr removed them from the Police Station after only minor Gun-Play.
They moved on to Greater Hungary, arriving in a Barn. Although Balaban úr got off to a poor Start, startling an elder Lady of the Farm, he was able to negotiate for the Purchase of Barley, Millet, some Saws, Nails, and a Knife. They remained over-Night.
While I rested, M. Carnot taught the Natives of the Wheel, and we proceeded to the Feast (Barley-Porridge, Goat, and such like) and Entertainment. I spoke with James on the Advisability of learning Magic, though from the C—istic point of View it was not possible to give him useful Teaching.
In the Morning M. Carnot taught Tallys, while Balaban úr and M. Nodier walked out of Sight from the Farm, moved to the Astral of Nostradamus, then found the right Spot on the Road and returned to us. They handed over the Gifts and we departed.
Having moved out of Sight from the Village, we transferred to the Near Astral. Moving further in the same Direction, we saw no further Gates for some Time. We moved back, and passed back through the Gate that had taken us to the Village, then returned to the underlying World and confirmed that it was still Nostradamus. Passing by the Gate to the neolithic World we continued to, and through, the next Gate. The Geography matched; there was no made Road in the Valley, but many Horse-drawn Carts were passing along the Track in the Valley-Bed. The Era was not clear, but certainly not earlier than the late nineteenth Century. A few Westerners appeared to be in a supervisory Rôle, armed with Rifles.
We moved on the Astral behind a Hill, then descended to the World; Magic was Low, and the Quantum was 3. Observing the Convoy directly, there was some Shouting, but no physical Force. M. Nodier and Balaban úr moved in more closely, and heard the Westerners shouting in German-accented Turkish. The Carts contained Sleepers for use on a Railway. They returned to us, and once the Convoy had passed attempted a light Excavation, finding no Sign of the Basalt Road.
We camped for the Night.
25 February 2015
Having exhausted the immediate Possibilities of this World, we returned to the Astral of Nostradamus and proceeded towards the Crossroads; after some four or five Miles on the Astral we passed through another Gate. The Terrain was somewhat rugged here, and the Road was not immediately visible; there were no Buildings or People in Sight, and we descended to the World. Magic was normal, Quantum was 3, and after a little digging we uncovered the Road. After a small Search, M. Carnot discovered an Arrow-Head of Flint, with wooden Shaft.
The Coincidence of two Worlds at this primitive Era seemed surprising. Commander Hodgson raised himself some hundred Yards, to espy a small Family: they had a Train of Horses, and were armed with Spears and Bows.
We left the World and carried on along the Astral – some six or seven Miles. Through the Gate we saw a Valley filled with Vehicles, some wheeled, some tracked. The Vehicles were marked with a Shield, the Device on it not being visible; the Men were armed. The Road was darker than usual, perhaps covered with Tarmac.
We moved off the Road and down to the World. Quantum was 3; Magic was low. We moved up for a closer Look; some of the Locals spotted us, so the Commander removed us to the Astral before they could get too close.
Perhaps another six or seven Miles on we found another Gate. Again there was no immediate Sign of the Road; nor any Structures or People. Again, Quantum 3, and normal Mana; and the Road was visible after some Digging. Six Men on Ponies approached on the Road; they wore Tunics and carried bronze-tipped Spears. They stopped some Distance away; Balaban úr addressed them in Greek, without Success. After we had tried various Languages, I cast a Spell to be able to understand and address them. Balaban úr could not identify their Features.
Their Leader asked if we had seen any Natives (taller and slimmer than them), which of course we had not. He asked who was our Master, so I replied that this was His Imperial Majesty King George (ruling, of course, far to the West); they were from the North and East. We shared Food and Wine (they had a fascinating, if challenging, Cheese); it was clear that they were the Scouts of an advancing Army, and we parted quite amicably.
M. Carnot determined the History of the Road: it had been built in a single Act of Magic, or some allied Process, some eight thousand Years before the present Date. The Creator seemed to be originating or affirming the Concept of Travel, and of Roads; there were Echoes of this in our own decanic System.
We moved back to Nostradamus to rest; in the Morning, we spied four Travellers on Horseback, who had seen our Camp; they were armed with Spears and primitive Pistols. They asked after the Lightning-Men, and we indicated our lack of Enthusiasm for such Persons. They joined us for Breakfast, and shared Food and Information: the Nazis had a Base to the South of the Cross-Roads, but not at the Cross-Roads itself. Their large Movements of Caravans were typically every Week or two, but smaller Cars were more Common.
We started to plan a joint Attack on a Caravan.
4 March 2015
The Patterns of Caravans were not Obvious, if they were indeed not random; and their Contents were unknown. We took Inventory of our Talents and Resources, and considered the Size of the Caravan which we would take on. We moved to a new Site, where there was a gentle Bend in the Road with good Opportunities for Observation.
The first Caravan was too large to be Attacked, with more than twenty Vehicles, but we were able to espy the Arrangement and Style of the Equipment. M. Carnot detected Machines at a Distance, and another Caravan would come the other Way in the Morning, but too early for us to attack in Darkness. M. Carnot detected two magical Beings as Passengers.
The Turks left to make Report, and we waited, with few Convoys and them too small. Ultimately we found one coming from the West of two small and two large Vehicles, and readied ourselves for the Attack.
18 March 2015
Jim and Phil took up Aim, while I prepared a Ball of Fire. They hit the two small Vehicles, which were destroyed. I looked out from Cover to see one of the larger Vehicles turned sideways, Balaban úr killing its Driver, and the other attempting to evade; the Commander attacked and injured the Driver of the moving Truck, and it weaved off the Road. As Soldiers started to emerge from the first Truck, I aimed and threw the Fire, not as effectively as I had hoped, but Balaban úr was able to finish off the wounded.
M. Nodier transferred himself into the moving Truck, then out of it again when he was attacked; its Driver lost Consciousness and the Truck ran into a Boulder and tipped; and the Commander, injured by the Fire of Rifles, came to me for Healing. Some of the Enemy were left alive and dazed in the tipped Truck, and I healed but the others were killed without Loss to us.
We did recover ten of their Rifles, with fifty-five Magazines for them; two Pistols and nine Clips; various Paperwork; six Uniforms not too badly damaged, two armoured Cuirasses and ten steel Helmets. We cleared the Road of the Bodies, and of the wrecked and stolen Vehicles, and conducted Interrogations.
The Soldiers were from various Parts of greater Germany, and had been brought here through a Gate. This World, it seemed, was used mostly for Transit; they had been training native Levies on the World of Friedrich, but they had some Hundreds of Troops here. There were about ten at one of the Camps of which we knew, merely a Base for Resupply, perhaps twice as many at the other, the Gate to Friedrich, and rather more at the Gate back to Reich-5.
We felt that the Cross-Roads was the most significant Place to visit next.
1 April 2015
The Interrogations and Cleaning took most of a Day. In the Trucks were Examples of Weaponry and Art, perhaps the Contents of a Museum being moved; also damaged modern Weapons apparently being taken for Repair; further Supplies of Ammunition; personal Belongings of the Soldiers; some Rations; and some Maps, specifically of the route from Friedrich to the crossing of the Bosphorus.
After most of a Day and a Night we were prepared to set off for the Cross-Roads. It was situated in a Pair of crossing Valleys, which Phil recognized at once as a poor Place for a Fortification, as it would be often flooded. One Valley was clearly of a normal Profess of Folding, but the other was perhaps Glacial in Origin. One Gate was visible to the North, but nothing at the Junction itself.
M. Carnot studied the Cross-Roads; some eleven Thousands of Years before the Present, a single Being of a Nature not entirely unlike that of Sir Isaac, wished the Road into Existence for the Purpose of easing Travel for every Being and every Thing. It seemed further that some of the decanic Associations with Travel were more or less coincidental, based upon Elements in the Mind of the Creator. We considered how we might extend the Range in Time of the Spell, to gain more Detail.
As we had Discussion, a Woman stepped out of the Astral onto this World, wearing Clothing consistent with the Place, and carrying Spear, Sword and some Knives; Balaban úr introduced himself to her, finding her Name was Mara. She had been watching from the Astral, examining both us and the Nazis; Balaban úr explained what we had learned of them. She was also most interested in Balaban úr himself, his Nature as a Construct of Necromancy, and in his Sword.
I thought I had heard of her as a Being known to kill some C—ists, particularly those extending their Powers of Necromancy. She seemed interested in our Research, and in our Selves. Her principal Occupation seemed to be the Hunting of those who killed en masse to increase their own Power. Her History involved Gods, both beneficent and otherwise.
In the Morning M. Carnot detected at least one Vehicle approaching from the North; some of us stayed to watch and allow it to pass. The Convoy consisted of several Vehicles, five small and six large; they appeared to have no Magician among them; the Commander probed the mind of their Leader and determined that they were hauling more Artefacts to their Home. He had come from another World, the Land of the Mongols, and the Items were of interest to the Inheritance, an Organisation; the Magicians were mostly in Reichsprotektorat Mesopotamia, closer to the Gate to their own Home.
Once they had gone, M. Carnot and I cast the new Spell. The Associations of Fulgurites and the Colour Violet with the Decan of Anatreth appeared to originate from this particular creative Moment. He departed to the North into his own Shadow.
Mara seemed to think that this God might no longer be extant; Nameless and Star, her former Apprentices, had lasted some nineteen Centuries, and that was unusually long.
8 April 2015
We formed the Intention of visiting other Locations on this World; Mara offered to shew us a Means of moving rapidly through what she called Shadow. With this in Mind, we concealed the Vehicle, then joined Hands with Mara. She stepped to the near Astral with great Ease, then moved a little up, away from the World; then she began to Walk, moving through deeper Astral than our usual Mode but in the same Manner. We were not able to perceive our Location, though I had some little Sense of Direction, but we soon arrived, after less than a Minute, near the Base of the Enemy. It was well Fortified, and significantly Populated. The Convoy we had seen earlier was taking on Fuel.
Mara planned to follow the Chronobahn to a Gate, and seemed to be using some type of ded. Reckoning to align her Travel in the less-near Astral, though we were able dimly to perceive the Chronobahn.
We arrived at a large Compound, with several Buildings one of them clearly containing a Gate, Fencing of Wire, and Towers with Guns. Mara inspected the Building with the Gate, and we followed; it seemed to be inactive. The Structure was a large open Space, containing two large Pillars covered with Machinery, including Tanks apparently containing Brains. Some of us felt more strongly than others about the Ethics of the Situation; Balaban úr and I felt that acting soon was necessary; Mara planned also to move through the Gate on the Astral, then find the Creators of the Gate and kill them. I briefly gave her the Gifts of the local Languages, in order that she might acquire that Ability for herself.
Around local Midnight, Activity began, with several Scientists working at the Gate. We moved away so as not to be obvious to those who could perceive the Astral. According to the Commander, the Gate, as it became active, seemed to be doing distinctly more Violence to the Fabric of the Universe than the Conveyors or our own Methods. Four People stepped through, three of them high-ranking Officers, the last a Soldier pushing a large Trolley carrying Boxes and Files, and after a few Seconds the Gate was closed again. There was some Argument, with one of the Newcomers pointing to the Pillar behind which Mara had been hiding, and then looked magically for us, but this seemed inconclusive; Mara was no longer with us.
We considered an Attack, but waited for a few Minutes; a Search was made and completed, and the Newcomers moved away; only a few Technicians remained to make the Apparatus safe, this last taking some half an Hour as Charge of some sort was dispersed.
We descended to attack the Mechanism, tracing the Pipes supplying Fluid to the Brains; Balaban úr cut them, spraying the Fluid across the Floor; Alarms sounded; and one of the small Doors opened.
29 April 2015
Jim opened Fire, and the Door was closed again. The Commander and I started to attack the Cylinders holding the Brains; they were surprisingly robust, so the Commander shot the higher Cases, I used Balls of Fire, and Balaban úr broke up the lower ones with his Sword; M. Nodier erected an Illusion of Balaban úr to cause Confusion.
The Enemy did not respond quickly, and once all the Matter of the Gate had been damaged, we removed ourselves, Balaban úr going last to leave behind a Grenade. We watched from the Astral as the Enemy advanced, and were confounded. We followed the more senior Men as they examined the Wreckage, then departed to console themselves and make a Plan. As they were left nearly alone, we decided to descend and exterminate them. As we shot and struck at them, one tried to terrify us, so I stared at him until he desisted; others made do with Hand-Guns, but this did not help them. We departed with Celerity as the Nazis responded. All of the Survivors set up a defensive Formation in the centre of the Camp, and we planned to search the other Buildings.
13 May 2015
We considered what Places would repay a Search. Many Buildings were obvious in their Function, but two were placed apart in the Manner of an Armoury; one of them, by the Building which had held the Gate, was instead a Work-Shop for the Components of the Machine, though with no Facilities for the Handling of Brains.
We descended to the most well-appointed Office and collected the most interesting Matter: Balaban úr took a Cabinet of Files, I collected some Papers from the Desk, and Phil took the Diary from the Office outside. As we returned to the Astral, one Nazi, charging forward to attempt to capture us, followed us there; he was disconcerted, and was induced to surrender.
We decided that the Armoury should be our next Target, and I augmented the Vision of M. Carnot and Jim, and they descended, to plant a Grenade in a Crate of Explosives, returning before the Nazis could usefully react to them. It exploded, and the Armoury was no more.
This seemed to spoil the Morale of the remaining Nazis, and the Officers failed to control their Men; one Officer shot a Man, was shot in return, and the Troops packed up to leave, taking the Vehicles with them.
We descended to the World, and I prevented the immediate Death of some of the Wounded. I opened the Cabinet, and M. Carnot started to examine the Papers therein.
For the Moment, we secured the Prisoners and got some Rest, with Balaban úr as our Guard. Once we had slept, M. Carnot found the Manual for the Gate, and determined that specific types of Brain were needed; psychic ones, of a particular Family. It seemed there was more Machinery, embedded in Concrete under the Gate.
Files stored near the Gate were Schedules and Records of Transfer. We considered how we might destroy the extra Machinery.
20 May 2015
M. Carnot and Balaban úr moved to the Astral and across to the Chronobahn, and scanned for Engines. The nearest was static, some forty Miles to the north. Phil and the Commander worked on the Truck. Jim worked on the Generator, planning to send excessive Current into the subterranean Machinery, but had some Difficulties; M. Nodier magically convinced one of our Prisoners that he should sabotage the Machinery in order to foil our Plans, which he did, but destroyed the Generator as well.
M. Nodier and I examined the Records, selecting those that seemed of most Interest. The Components of the Gate seemed all to come from a single Family in Schleswig-Holstein, and could be replaced within a Week. Some few failed at once; in the long Term they tended to die of degenerative Diseases. I felt that this system might work better with Spirits that were not Sapient, such as those of Angels.
The Truck being repaired, we filled the back with Fuel, leaving enough Space for Spares and our selves, and fitted a Machine-Gun to the Cab. M. Carnot could by now find no Engines on the Road, at least with any Reliability, though he thought there might be one in the Distance.
I healed the Prisoners such that they would not need significant medical Attention. By the time we Left, two Vehicles had passed the Cross-Roads and were heading towards us.
Examining the German Records, the World through the Gate to the south seemed to be in the nineteenth Century, with British and Ottoman Factions; they had become involved in Fire-fights and had not investigated further. They had been here for three Years, and had waited two before investigating this.
We left the Road for the Night, when we found no other Engines on the Road, and set off again in the Morning; the Chronobahn seemed to assist other Spells of Perception, making Distances effectively shorter.
We arrived at the Gate, which was not at all obvious to conventional Senses; Balaban úr walked through the Gate, and returned to report a Barricade in the Road, manned by two Soldiers of the Ottomans, with more nearby, with whom he was able to make peaceful Contact.
We left Jim and M. Carnot and passed through to meet the Ottomans, whose Officer had arrived by this point. Their Account of the Incursion was consistent with the one we had Read. The local British had invaded some three Years ago, and taken Jerusalem and enough Land to make it defensible, calling themselves a New Crusade. We advised our Hosts not to attack the Nazis should they arrive, and returned.
The Detection of Engines did not reach through the Gate, but to the north the two were closer to the destroyed Base than we were. To the far side of the Gate, the Road ended some two or three Miles away, and we travelled to it: at that End, the Hexagons in each Row became smaller until they were indistinguishable from Sand; there was an astral Gate some hundred Yards back, which more or less marked the End of the Flows.
Passing through the gate to New Crusade on the Astral, the Flows continued, and the southward Road eventually began to turn to the left. To the north on New Crusade, the Road ended as it had on Nostradamus, again with one final astral Gate. M. Carnot attempted to measure one of the Blocks, and was taken somewhat aback, particularly in that its Depth was not consistent but was rather entangled with two other Dimensions not clearly apparent to us. Perhaps fifty Feet, or hundreds of Instances, or 9,854 Years… I measured the same Block and received the same Answers.
10 June 2015
We arranged ourselves to appear most plausible, and continued on our Journey, while discussing the Nature and Ethics of the Gates being used by the Nazis and examining the Documents we had retrieved. It seemed that many of the Brains had been cloned, though Details were scant. The next Day, we passed the Camp that we had attacked, and the small Base we had passed on the Astral (where we were observed but not attacked); there was no Sign of Activity. At the Cross-Roads, we could detect no Engines at all.
We found the Lorry we had left near the Cross-Roads, but it had been interfered with; one Tyre had gone flat, there were Tracks of Boots nearby, and viewing from the Astral it seemed the Contents had been moved about. I probed it with a remote Eye and found a Wire from the Tail-Gate to an Assembly of what seemed to be Explosives in the Back, though I was unable to espy any Oddities elsewhere. M. Nodier experienced Difficulties in magically opening the Tail-Gate, and the Commander moved in to remove the Explosives, and such of our Loot as we desired. When M. Nodier moved the Tool-Box, another Grenade made itself apparent, and detonated, without Harm to us.
We continued to our starting Point, moved our Loot, and returned to New Renaissance and our own Vehicle. We made Contact with Infinity, and proceeded into Turkey and to Istanbul. We moved to an Establishment owned by Infinity, and deposited much of the Equipment, then flew back to London, bidding fare-well to Jim and Phil, and returning to Newton-X.
22 May 1722
We reported to the Royal Society, including Sr Sapienza, Sir Hans and Sir Edmond. Sapienza had heard of Mara, who had it seemed killed several C—ists. The Nazi Gate was distinctly inferior to ours in many Respects, but still of technical Interest. Also of Interest was the Interaction between Magic and Psionics, and we would put out a Call for Psionicists.

The Decan of Psi

24 June 2015
My dear Mistress Stoutenburgh,
You requested that I provide you with some brief Account of recent Events taking place while you have been distracted. There is, in truth, only a little to tell.
Following Debate concerning what might usefully determined, our Allies and Superiors agreed that Word should put about of our need for experts in the relationship between magical arts and the science knows as "Psionics", but no such could be found. Records were identified among the C—’s papers of working on the matter, but it was clearly deeply and tiresomely Faulty; it has, it would appear, been thought that the Decans of Sphandor and Ruax might in some way be implied, but no Proof existed to correspond to this obvious Hypothesis.
Hence, M. Carnot commenced experimentation on the Commander and his Abilities using the Pendulum Magic of our recent creation, pebbles from Newton-X B1, and a deal of time. This returned some small hints of possible Relationship to the Decans of Naoth and Alleboreth; further experiments confirmed this. It proves, perhaps, that involving both in Psionic work achieves a very great deal more than either on their own. M. Carnot and the Commander extracted the makings of a somewhat worthwhile Paper from this study, and the Commander shaped himself an Amulet that augments his Power, while M. Carnot developed a refinement of the Aura spell that he asserts will indicate Psionic Potential in an individual.
Meanhile, the Commander and his Allies laboured to bring a great public scheme of Vaccination under way on our Home World. A Mundane process of Engineering and Plumbing-Work to improve the Public Drainage and reduce Noxious Effluvia also is being shaped, but the scale of the task is acknowledged to be considerable in mundane terms.
Also, we received questions transmitted to us from the Offices of Infinity, asking what, if anything, we had caused to occur to Reich-5 and its minions. Those Nazis have, it seems, proved skittish of late; their System of Logistics between Worlds would seem to have collapsed entire. We discussed the likelihoods of Mara being implicated in this convenient occurrence, or of our destruction of their Machine being a consideration.
As you will appreciate, this carried us to the second and then the third Weeks of the Month of September 1722 in our World. At this time, we have lately been informed that Magister Newton wishes Professor Einstein once more to hand, to have Converse regarding possible Implications of our own work, and so we are undertaking an Expedition to his World, to send a Telegram.

B-Stacks and Time Skew

8 July 2015
3 October 1722
We readied our House on B4 of New Renaissance for Professor Einstein. While waiting, I studied the local Music, particularly Jazz, here in its Infancy. Once Einstein had arrived, we rested for a Night, and proceeded to New Renaissance B0 to meet Sir Isaac.
As it became clearer that the Decanic Model was applicable not only to Magic but to the Universe as a whole, it was rapidly becoming apparent that we would need more works of Physics, particularly the Universal Model; Infinity B1 seemed a promising Source. While we were considering the Nature of this Expedition, Newton asked us to investigate why so many Worlds seemed to branch from the History of Infinity rather than of Centrum, Shikaku-Mon or Unity.
We met Hilary, to little practical Effect, though we did explore the Possibility of setting up some Phrases that could be used to allow us to be Recognised; and M. Carnot offered to exchange his System of World-Jumping for that of Infinity. We also considered the Concert of the Works of Beethoven, due in several Months on Napoleon Total War; and Hilary planned to send Probes to Reich-5 to see what might be happening there. We also tested her for psychic Abilities, without positive Result.
For our next Expedition, we obtained Clothes on Halley’s World, then in Epping Forest Balaban úr cut to Shikaku-Mon and the Commander brought us to the Astral. The Pools at the Sea were still present, but those of Infinity and Centrum were closer than before. We moved to the Pool for Infinity, then to its B1, and descended to the World, which was at 1997. We waited for Morning, then moved to the Underground, and proceeded into London. Some Gold suitably converted into Cash, we went to a Book-Shop, set up in a most peculiar Manner. We spent all Day locating the core Texts of our relevant Subjects, then considered a possible asymptotic Relationship between Time on this World and that elsewhere (since this World could we assumed not pass beyond the Experiment that developed Parachronics) and returned to Newton-X, to find that a Week had passed.
Clearly it would be necessary to investigate other Worlds on the Leading Edge, though there were political Considerations in what we could tell Infinity.
29 July 2015
We decided that Centrum B1 should be our next Target, where we would measure the Date by astronomical Means – though if the Rate of Time differed, that might take us some external Time, so Publications were also worth considering. We did not of course know what Calendar might be used in Centrum, and were reluctant to ask Infinity.
We travelled to New Renaissance, then with a Telescope and various Provisions to Blackheath; then to Infinity B1, onwards to its Astral, and to the Astral Sea. We were preparing to move to Centrum, when a Voice said “Excuse me”; the rather large Dragon asked for Assistance with an Object of its that had Exploded: a World proceeding forward in Time. After some fencing, and an Exchange of secret Signals of the C—, M. Carnot admitted his Culpability, explained the Situation, and apologised. The Dragon introduced himself as Flamefang. He claimed Responsibility for the State of Blip: it had been one of the B-Stack Worlds under Unity, and he had pried it free, with its trailing B-Stack, released Tension increasing its temporal Speed and moving it across the Astral.
We discussed the Astral, and Travel between Worlds, and the Reasons for these four collecting Here. Flamefang wished to meet Newton, and we agreed to arrange it. We moved to the near Astral of Centrum, and roughly observed its London, which was entirely unfamiliar to us. We moved to Roma Nil Magia, then up and out through the Astral, and to New Renaissance to meet Sir Isaac and Prof. Einstein, giving the News to the former. He thought the Meeting a good Idea, and made Preparations.
We moved through a Sequence of Worlds, including one without Magic, and the two met. They conversed in a Language entirely unknown to us, though Balaban úr thought it might be Adamic. After some Time Sir Isaac dismissed us, and we continued with our original Plan, though moving to the B10 of Centrum to avoid the worst of the Dilation of Time. This was clearly a relatively modern London, lower in Technology than the B0, but with motorized Vehicles as well as Horses. Moving up the Stack we saw somewhat less Change in the use of Horses than we might have expected over Intervals of twenty Years. By B6 there were Aircraft; at B5, a Waste-Land. There was even less Change from here on, with the same Bush clearly visible in what might often have been the same Season, and we stayed away from B1. We moved to Neolithic-1, then to New Renaissance, and found we had lost some two Days.
For Calibration, we moved to Infinity B1, then down to B10. This had no motorized Traffic, and Balaban úr calculated the Date as the first Half of the nineteenth Century. B9 was a little Later, as expected, with some Railways. We measured further:
B
10
1800-1850
B
9
Mid 1800s
B
8
1871
B
7
1910
B
6
late 1920s/early 1930s
B
5
late 1930s
B
4
1950s
B
3
late 1960s
B
2
early 1980s
B
1
1997
B
0
2029
We returned to B2 and moved onto the world, where it was 8.30 in the Evening of 9 September 1980; we spent the Night in an Hotel, discussing various Considerations including what Information to provide to Hilary…
12 August 2015
Having spent twelve Hours on B2, we returned to New Renaissance for Calibration; in our local Time we calculated the Ratio as something less than two Parts in one, where B1 had been closer to six Parts in one.
We spoke with Einstein about the Ratios in Time of Worlds of the B-Stack behind Worlds which had developed Parachronics. A Solution would need complex Mathematics, and M. Carnot and I moved to Newton-X to learn a Spell of mathematical Solution. With some further Work we reduced it to a factorial Term based on Time since Discovery.
Newton returned, and we colluded. We considered that, since B-Stacks were necessarily malleable, the “Echoes” beloved of Infinity might have been removed from their own Stack.
A further Step might be to visit Echoes of Infinity; most conveniently via one of their own Conveyors; this would be most readily done by acquiring one that had been stolen by Criminals, which we could then return to Infinity for political Benefit. But this had no immediate practical Use.
Sir Isaac suggested that we tell Hilary that we now knew, though could not disclose how, that Worlds could leave the B-Stack and become independent. If they had access to a World-Echo “stolen” by Centrum, we might be able to make useful Observations.
Hilary could not make this Decision for herself, but was intrigued, and would seek Permission.
We visited Sans-Newton to examine its own B-Stack. Its Magic had recovered since we were last Here. From its Astral, we determined that it was indeed at B0; its B1 was, as expected, without Magic. We walked on the Astral to New Renaissance, and decided to experiment with fast Movement on the Astral, in a Place from which we might well be able to recover ourselves. We moved to Kings Cross, and set off separately for York. We all had more or less Difficulty in finding our Way, arriving in a variety of Places en route, with M. Nodier doing best. I arrived third; it turned out that M. Carnot had abandoned the Attempt, and the Commander seemed to be lost.
19 August 2015
Those of us who had made the Trip stayed for the Night, and when the Commander did not arrive at either End we took steps to divine his Location, which turned out to be on a Ship or Platform of some Kind, in any case not in immediate Danger.
The next Day those of us in York moved through the Astral at the Direction of M. Nodier, to meet M. Carnot in Great Yarmouth. We re-established the Link, and found that the Commander was at the Top of a Mast.
The Commander had become mislaid on a new Part of the Astral, where the usual Directions did not exist, and had a strange Encounter with an Elephant; when he jumped back to New Renaissance he found himself in the Ocean, returned to the Astral, eventually established his Position, and proceeded to a Light-Ship for the Night, then to a Freighter bound towards England.
We caught up with the Freighter, but could not see the Commander; we hailed her, then Balaban úr spotted the Commander, and we made his Presence known to the Crew of the Freighter. We placated them with Money, took him aboard, and returned to Great Yarmouth and then via the Astral to London, where we reported to Newton and Einstein, who had been working on the Equations describing the removal of Worlds from a B-Stack.
Hilary returned to us, and reported that she had Permission to tell us of a suitable World: an Echo that was probably moved by Centrum, and was now on Quantum 7 rather than the usual 6, by the name of Marshall-3: after the Second World War, Negotiations to end the Chinese Civil War had failed at once, and the Kuomintang had quickly won the renewed Conflict. We would travel within the British Isles, but without formal Documentation would have to stay in remote Places.
2 September 2015
We met Hilary and the other two of her Team in Shrewsbury, and proceeded by Land Rover to remote Wales. The Translation was smooth, and we arrived in Winter. There was a magical Ambience, suggesting a B0 world, and moving to the Astral shewed just one Tunnel. We moved to B1, and found that there was no other Tunnel.
We moved to the near Astral, and determined that the B1 World had no Magic – but did have Snow. Without the Opportunity for astronomical Observations, we declined to visit the World at this Point. Balaban úr descended to the World and measured the Quantum, finding that it was 7.
We returned to B0 and the Land Rover. We had taken what felt like some two Hours, but were eight Hours later; consistent with our Experiments in the Stack of Worlds on the leading Edge, but not with those on Blink. We returned to Shrewsbury for the Night.
With local Maps, we chose a Location that seemed likely to be on a Road near a Village. In Marshall-3 B0, the Weather was light Sleet; we moved to the near Astral and towards the Village, then across to the B1 and down, and into the Village. The newest Houses seemed roughly to match the 1930s. I went into the Post Office and Shop to buy a Newspaper (with worn Coinage from before the War, that should pass). The Date was September 1947, some eighteen Months after the Divergence. Given the Proximity to the Point of Divergence, I moved us out quickly, and we considered the Implications. We returned to the B0 (confirming that Time on the B1 was running at some four Times the Rate) and then by Conveyor to New Renaissance.
After further Discussion, we decided that examining a further detached Echo would be necessary. This was on Quantum 5, and we would travel via Roma Nil Magia, which Hilary knew as Johnson’s Rome. We met there, then moved on to Armada-7B, where History had diverged at the Assassination of Elizabeth I in 1576, and to its Astral. This also seemed to be a B0 World, and its Stack ended at B2. Balaban úr and the Crew from Infinity descended to the B1, where by enquiring at a Church they found the Date was May of 1572, the B0 being at 1584.
We rested on the Astral of B0, though during the Night the Forest surrounding us seemed to manifest an ill Intent; we moved away with astral Speed to avoid it. In the Morning, with some Searching, we found the Land Rover again to establish our Location. We moved to B2, and again visited the Church, where the Date was 1558, rather earlier than we had expected. After some unavoidable Conversation, we returned to the others.
This seemed very different from the other Echo we had explored, and we suspected that Echoes were not the same Kind of Thing as the B-Stack. We would attempt to gain Permission to visit an Echo still attached to Infinity.
9 September 2015
While waiting, Balaban úr and I had Business on Annio’s World, arranging the Construction of an Item to give him the Ability to perceive into the B-Axis, using the Spell of my Construction. The Brothers Albertini took Interest both in this and in the other Task from Balaban úr, the Concealment of his Sword within the Form of a large wooden Cross from which it could be removed in Haste, the whole enchanted against casual Notice.
When we returned, Hilary had contacted us; the Echo was on Quantum 6, so first we went to Napoleon Total War to confirm the Date was as expected. We met the Team from Infinity, and proceeded to the target World, which they knew as Echo 76: its local Date was 1952. There was Magic here, unlike any of the Worlds of the B-Stack that we had found, though on a metaplanar Level it was inactive.
We moved to the mid-Astral, to find a single B Tunnel; in the Tunnel between B1 and B2 we found, lying in the Tunnel, a Pile of deceased Frogs; Hilary was concerned and interested, as apparently this was a form of Failure of Conveyors (we had seen it before when dealing with Centrum). Beyond B2 there were no further Worlds.
On B2 and in the Village near-by, we felt it was prior to the 1930s. As before, we bought a Newspaper; the Date was 1924. The 28-year Interval was the Time since the Discovery of Parachronics. On the B1 it was Night, so we did not descend. We proceeded to the Astral Sea, which M. Nodier felt was close to the four Pools including Infinity, though of course he said nothing. The Pool leading back to the B0 seemed oddly new in a Manner hard to define. We looked at some others near-by, but found nothing especially notable; M. Nodier felt two were relatively new, and another might be, though the rest of us could not be certain. This was clearly anomalous, and we proceeded to visit these Worlds to allow Hilary to measure the Parameters of each.
The first Pool gave us a B0 World, with three Worlds below it. The B0 was in the Middle of the Night; Hilary made Measurements, and determined that it was Echo 158. We moved back to the B3: Daylight, and Cloud, but no Rain. Balaban úr could only place us in the first Half of the nineteenth Century. A Board on the Church gave the Date as 12 June 1842, again twenty-eight Years in the Past. This certainly seemed to indicate that the Development of Parachronics was in some way a significant Factor in the Development of the multiple Worlds.
23 September 2015
We spoke with Hilary about the Nature of Conveyors and Projectors. Down the second Pool we found a B0 and only a single World beyond it. This appeared to be roughly in the 1930s, though with Discs expiring at the earliest in 1949. We obtained a Newspaper, with the Date 14 April 1948, then returned to the B0, which had low Mana and was not a known Echo – though it seemed as though it might be an un-known one. We were expecting the Date to be in 1976, and this appeared to be the Case: late September. We would need many more Data, and Hilary returned Home; before we did the same, we examined the Astral in more Detail. There did not seem to be any particular Correlation in Density of Pattern around the four Pools. Balaban úr learned the Elements of Astral Divination, and we spent some Time observing the Area; many of them seemed to be relatively new Worlds, and we worked on identifying the distinctive Characteristics, several of which were also well-correlated with Infinity. However, one World seemed new but not related to Infinity; neither did it appear well-correlated with the other advanced Worlds.
We descended, naturally, and found an extensive B-Tunnel, reaching at least to B10. On its B0, we observed, finding roughly the usual View; we descended, finding the Weather colder than expected given the Height of the Sun. There was no Road, a largely coniferous Forest, and no Village. Magic was minimal, suggesting to me that there might be only a very few Humans; the Commander thought there was unusually little animal or insect Life. Above the Trees he saw no Signs of Habitation nor of large Fauna, though he did espie one Bird. The Date, according to limited Magic, was the “second Century of Winter”; we moved to the B10 and confirmed that there was no Magic, the Temperature seemed more amenable to Life, and the Forest was more mixed in both plant and animal Life; the Date was the Year of the Otter.
We returned to New Renaissance for our Telescopes and more Equipment, briefing Newton and Einstein on advancing our Discoveries. They had some Ideas, but would need to theorise further.
We moved to Epping Forest, then to Infinity B1 and to its Astral, across to the newly-christened Winter-1 and down to the World. There was Sleet and Darkness; though these ended at much the same Moment, the Overcast remained. M. Carnot viewed the History of the advancing Ice; the next Night we set up the Telescopes and made Observations overnight. We established the Date at some 50,000 BC. This might be an Echo of Unity, but not of any of the other advanced Worlds.
4 November 2015 – “it’s not under version control”
We considered the apparent Necessity of People for the Presence of Magic in a World. And indeed the “Fiction Parallels” known to Infinity.
We returned to the B10 for astronomical Observation, but found Rain. B11 was suffering from a Thunder-Storm, but B12 had Sun, and we went there to Rest, awaiting the Rising of a fast-moving Star. With rough Calculation we determined an Interval of some 250 Years from the B0; this gave us finer planetary Calculation and a date of 267 Years from B0.
We thought the Depth of this Stack might be around a Couple of hundred down, and proceeded to find out. Some two hundred and fifty down, the Weather was most poor. We rested on B252, then continued. Around five hundred, we found a World with suitably clement Weather, and observed again; this gave a rough Date of 61,500BC – some 11,500 years before the B0, clearly too early for the historical Imhotep if this were an Echo of Unity. We turned at B513, M. Carnot wishing to plant a Flag; a large Animal, perhaps related to the Sloth, approached while he was doing so. Balaban úr investigated, it attacked him, and he retaliated, cutting into its Neck and then removing its Head after it collapsed.
We returned to New Renaissance and our Home. Newton and Einstein were making Progress, but wished to look at the Manuals for a Conveyor. This seemed likely to be challenging, particularly considering the possible adverse Reaction from Elements within Infinity.
Hilary contacted us, and we met in Regent’s Park. Infinity had doubted her at first, but now felt that she at least genuinely believed what she had reported to them. They now wanted more Information, and so did we; investigating more Echoes seemed worth-while. There was the Possibility of a small portable Conveyor that could transport itself, though with no Payload, from a world down a B-Stack to see where it would arrive. Mention of Shikaku-Mon seemed to provoke some Interest, and its own B-Stack a third Experiment. As for the Things we wanted, one was to consider and remedy the Damage apparently being done to the Universe. We could indeed speak with Centrum, to see what they knew about the Echoes by making our own Claims of Knowledge; we also considered a fourth Experiment, observing a Projector from the Astral, operating repeatedly at a known Time and Place.

Creation of Worlds

18 November 2015
We spoke with Newton on the Matter of the Theory of the Creation of Worlds. It seemed that the Energy needed to cause a World to Fork might be quite small, perhaps a mere π or so troy Ounces.
We also arranged for the formal Induction of Einstein into the Order – we would act as his Ultors in Case of Misfortune – and his Return to his own World.
We travelled to the Home of the Sister of the Commander, to confirm that she had neither magical nor psionic Talent. We searched Records of the C— for Investigations of strange Events which had not proven to be magical, especially those that had continued after Investigation, this in the Hope that some might prove to be psionic in Nature. There were several, though some were questionable; one in Carshalton seemed promising, a Matter of a levitating Child. The Commander and M. Nodier went to investigate, tracking this Sarah Cheshunt to a Convent in Morden, verifying that she did indeed have psionic Talents, and arranging for her to move to a sister House in London, or at least Barnet, at the private Expense of the Commander.
Balaban úr and I practiced our travel across the Astral. We believed we might have encountered someone, who was curious about us, our Mode of Travel, and our Associations, but this was not clear. Our Location was not certain. so we turned back to the South, arriving on the Isle of Wight, then on to a Village in France for Lunch, Dinner, and indeed Breakfast; we returned some Days later, to find that M. Carnot had continued his Work in our Absence.
Hilary contacted us, and we began to make Arrangements for Experiments with a Projector; we would take Hilary and an Observer from Infinity, one Yurek Rutz.
It proved that the Commander had been learning Worlds without telling us, and took us to Winter-1, a more convenient Point of Access than our earlier Plan for Shikaku-Mon. We moved to the near Astral, then closer to Infinity, and set up to watch.
9 December 2015
Or more specifically we set up Watches, in different Directions and at different Times. After what seemed like some Hours, I observed a small astral Pool which had not been present earlier. We examined it more closely and saw that it was growing at a rate visible to the naked Eye, its Colours and Consistency changing every Moment; the Commander took Hilary to inform Infinity that they should now cease the Experiment. A near-by Pool did not seem to be changing at all in response to this new one. Balaban úr made Measurements of the Distances between Pools, and found them to be moving slowly away from the new one.
After Lunch, Balaban úr, M. Carnot and I entered the Pool, and found a thoroughly chaotic and transformative middle Astral. I gained substantial Insight regarding my Methods, and helpful Ideas for future Research; M. Carnot was not as strong of Will and found his Mind transformed. Balaban úr followed to investigate, and entered a physical Confrontation with M. Carnot, which I attempted to mediate, but without success; while they continued, I raised the Strength of Magic in this middle Astral to see what would happen. M. Carnot evaded the Attacks and proceeded towards the B-Tunnels, but was caught by Balaban úr and restrained.
At the same Time (insofar as this is Meaningful) on the Astral, Flamefang greeted the other Members of our Party, and they discussed the Experiment; we returned to them just as the Pool became stable and explained our Findings, then returned to the Astral of the new World. The B-Tunnels were convulsing, and indeed appeared to be calving a new World as we watched.
We moved down to the World, and it seemed not entirely unlike New Renaissance in approximate Era, though closer to Infinity in general Style. We descended to the World to buy Newspapers: 24 March, 1965, and consistent with the known History of Infinity; Instrumentation indicated that this was indeed an Echo, some 63 years behind Infinity, and we returned to the Astral. We planned to repeat the Experiment after some Days, then moved to New Renaissance, at which Hilary departed.
13 January 2015
After some Discussion and Examnation, Sir Isaac stated that M. Carnot and I had become possessed by something approximating a Spirit of the Age of the new World we had visited. This seemed unlikely, but I suggested that mine be removed for Investigation. I sat in the Centre of a ritual Circle with appropriate decanic Influences, though the Effects seemed minimal at first; after further Efforts I underwent an interesting Change in Feelings. The Spirit was captured in a Gem, then placed in a Head of Clay, and was highly confused by its Situation; it did wish to be returned to its World, and Sir Isaac felt that this might somehow stop it from being an Echo.
I constructed a final Cup of fine Coffee for M. Carnot, and his Spirit was removed. For the Moment, Sir Isaac would retain the Spirits, and we would inform Hilary. M. Carnot made some chemical Efforts to remove the Taste of Gauloises from his Mouth, in the Process obtaining some fascinating Cheese.
The next Day, we met Hilary. She was willing to conduct further Experiments, and we arranged for three further Attempts. We finished the Cheese, and a few Days later returned to Winter-1, then the Astral, and settled down to wait. Quite soon, I espied a small Distortion, and we went to examine it. M. Nodier and Flamefang (who had appeared without Fuss) discerned Details of the Nature of this new World. They and I were able to map some Features of the Pool to the social Shapes of the underlying World.
We took Tea with Flamefang while we considered. Some two Hours after the Initiation there was a sudden Change that left the Pool looking like a normal World. With some more Time elapsed, we entered the Pool and the World. The B-Stack was unstable though not particularly active, and we proceeded to the near Astral and then down to the World. Going by an abandoned Newspaper, the Date was later than July 1902. Hilary made Measurements, these being consistent with this World’s being an Echo, and returned to the Astral. We arranged the next Experiments, and managed to avoid hinting to Hilary that there was anything significant in the Pattern of certain Pools she had observed.
27 January 2016
The next Day we returned to Winter-1, then to the new World, noted as Edwardian-1 or, once its Status was confirmed, Echo-126B. That done, we returned to the Astral to wait, then quite soon observed another new World in the Process of Formation. After some Time we entered the near Astral; we arrived in a Town, but not with the Plan of the London that we knew, and a Horse-drawn Cart passing. Balaban úr placed the Architecture earlier than our Own, and probably in the sixteenth Century. We waited for Dark and entered the World. As Yurek completed his Measurements, an Indigene hurled himself round the Corner and attacked M. Carnot. He knocked M. Carnot down; the Commander stabbed him with a Sword, and he fell to the Ground; I glanced at him and he crawled away. We returned to the Astral, but realising the the Instrumentation of Yurek did not reveal the Year, Balaban úr returned to the World to interrogate our Assailant and determine that the Year was in fact 1664.
We set up another Experiment for the Afternoon, and then went to Dine on Newton-X. Once back on the Astral we waited for the new World to appear, which it did. As we reached the early Pool we found it even less stable than the earlier ones, and considered the Addition of Materials of particular decanic Influence, in some future Experiment. The View from the Astral was an exact Match for our own World in 1720 (except for the Lack of Digging for Drainage).
As we arrived we found we could all read the Minds of other Members of the Group, and indeed of the Indigenes. I concentrated on Ephemerides rather than exploring further, though the Thoughts of Yurek as he operated his Device were hard to ignore. Once back on New Renaissance, Hilary and Yurek left us, losing Contact at some hundred Yards.
10 February 2016
My Dear Mistress Stoutenburgh,
I believe that you may have a Wish to know of what transpired after your retirement to the cellar and return to Newton-X.
Firstly, the good Commander declared that he was considering attendance at an orchestral performance, employing our new and temporary Powers to research the nature of the players’ craft. For the most part, however, we took time to use magical arts and other tests to determine more about this curious phenomenon. It proved to be “psionic” in nature, and I determined that appropriate magic could shield against it, but imperfectly, as is regrettably the nature of such interactions.
Then, we took decision to make Transition to Newton-X, whereat, you will recall, we found that you had been in communication with our leaders, and soon, a Servant-Messenger arrived from Sir Isaac, who it proved had rendered the fellow Immune to our reading of minds. Thank you, incidentally for using that spell of Aura Determination to determine that Commander had a little magic about him.
Hence, we reached that decision whereby Janos bore Myself and M. Carnot through to Rome Nil-Magia from a location in the district of Primrose Hill. As it fell out, the Reading of Minds persisted in operation on that world lacking Magic, but the range of its effect fell from around 98 yards to to about 75 yards. We perforce needed to pass an hour before moving on, but a passing shepherd caused us no inconvenience, and we noted that we could hear such thoughts as his sheep could form. You might also wish to know that it was cloudy with sunny intervals in that world; I know that every detail can be important in matters of thaumaturgic research, and I know of your Great Desire to learn all facts.
And so we passed to the world named by us Nostradamus, where we arrived in a area with some significant human populace, causing consternation among a band of folk who spoke the civilised language of France. Gentlemen among them interrogated us as to our nature and that of our Means of Travel. M. Carnot listened to their thoughts, finding that they would be content if he declared us to be serving the French Crown. He did so, to Janos’s amazement, who is aware of M. Carnot’s disdain for royalty. They asked us if our business related to the Horrors of the Levant, and we felt it politic to agree that this was the case. We again conducted a test of our transient powers’ reach, and learned that it had seemingly fallen perpetually to 75 yards.
M. Carnot then bore all we three to the world Named by our party Revolution-5, with predetermined intent when there to avoid being taken for French. We caused less confusion among the Indigenes on this occasion, having made subtler entrance, and were able to pass as philosophers with curious habits of dress. The range of our power once again proved to be 75 yards.
And so M. Carnot carried us back to the world of the New Renaissance, where we were unsurprised to find ourselves only able to eavesdrop thoughts within 75 yards, and we made shift to regain our home dwelling. M. Carnot spoke of being tempted to visit the world of Unity, although Janos and myself took this as occasion to compliment him on his Witty Ways, and instead he made a visit to the Astral Realm to investigate whether he could read minds across dimensional walls. He could not.
And so the other two of us were induced to Enter that Realm. Our new Powers had similar ranges to that which they could accomplish elsewhere, but proved very erratic and variable. Curious, we turned them upon some Astral Pools, discerning a lack of apparent sapience in the Pools themselves, but we were capable of hearing something of the aggregate minds of each world’s population with an effort. For some reason, this persuaded M. Carnot to persist in his Unwise Consideration of a visit to the World of Unity, although he proved susceptible to dissuasion. I applied my skill in Astral Divination to enhancing this new art of reading the populace behind each Pool as an aggregate mind. Successful, I confess that I found the Roar of Voices a little Overwhelming. We might be able to formulate some manner of Filter to obtain more useful results.
Also, M. Carnot essayed a Grand Survey of the Astral Realm with this power. He declared that he became aware of a vast, distant, and nebulous consciousness. This may merit further examination, although I suppose that this would place us in the tiresome realms of Theology. Further, M. Carnot contemplated espying on Infinity’s World of Homeline, but was deterred or dissuaded by our exposition regarding the Virtues of Tact and Caution. And so, We Three regained the material world, and took dinner in an Eating-House named "The Power Station," curious as to what we could determine about the thinking implicit in its proclaimed Radical Mode of Cuisine. As it proved, however, and despite an intense scent of ozone, its philosophy was that of gimcrack gimmickry, its sole true novelty being the intensive use of Ohmic Heating to no particular benefit.
In another place, I am told, the Commander had gained some ideas about how a Symphony Orchestra operates. I am sure that he finds great profit in this. Then, on finding that you had departed for some place in the County of Essex where Sir Isaac could conduct some further tests in solitude, he followed, duly finding himself in discourse with Sir Isaac, who sent him back to London to find out what more had been determined by us.
Thus it was that the next day, we all Gathered Together and were able as a band to regain the company of Sir Isaac and your good self. We reported our own discoveries so far. As you will recall, we agreed that visiting a world entirely lacking Mana evidently deletes the magical aspect from the Mind Reading effect, and thus reduces the Range of that Effect. We may be Identifying a conjoining principle between Decanic Magic, psionics, and parachronic technology. This in turn may force us to ask our acquaintances in Infinity some questions regarding that Technology.
In addition, as you will recall, because we had recalled Words spoken by Mistress Hillary, I was required to make shift to make explanation of the Philosophy of Postmodernism to all there, including Sir Isaac.
17 February 2016
My Dear Mistress Stoutenburgh,
Concerning further matters which may concern you despite your absence for many of them, and preoccupation during others, one might note as follows.
We were, you may recall, all in the Time-Line which we know as Newton-X, in and about that rustic dwelling with Sir Isaac. M. Carnot was desirous to conduct some Experiments with his mind-reading Abilities, applying them to animals including even social insects. He inquired of the countryman who operates the adjacent farm about bee hives, and finding that the man owned one such, applied Himself. He declares that he heard a slow mind forming the concept “INTRUDER”.
Sensing hostility, he departed the location of the hive, pursued for some little way by the swarm. Fortunately, M. Carnot has no especial vulnerability to bee-stings, and the swarm did abandon their pursuit before many yards were passed, but he did return to the cottage in some little distress. That was when, as you will recall, you were deep engaged in being evaluated by Sir Isaac, but M. Carnot will no doubt in due course wish to give you Thanks for the advice which you supplied, inducing Janos and my self to spend some modest amount of Time dousing him in such Vinegar as we could locate about the building.
In this same time, the Commander was conducting Experiments in the reading of the minds of sundry animals, but deriving but small profit from the enterprise. He declares that he contemplated making expedition to a Zoological Collection, but Sir Isaac had desires to examine the Decline of the externally imposed mind-reading power with which we were all afflicted.
There was in general much Making of Notes.
This was the moment when Sir Isaac and Yourself did make Tests, and did Determine that all of us had suffered a Small but determinable transformation in the Balance Of Decanic Influences compromising our persons. It was agreed that we were glad that this had strangely not caused us to Die. It was also agreed that great Curiosity lay in the fact this temporary Transformation also Had Effect on worlds where there was no Mana. We must indeed Make Shift to acquire Intelligence from Infinity regarding other catastrophes associated with the conduct of Parachronic Sciences.
And so we did retire to that Inn for the Night. Save for Janos, who betook himself to the World of the New Renaissance to make Telephone Calls.
The Next Day, M. Carnot betook himself to The Royal Society to examine certain Notes, the Commander betook himself to New Renaissance, and I returned to the cottage, that You and Sir Isaac might make study of the anticipated Fading of the mind-power in Excruciating Detail.
Hilary, it befalls, did return the call made by Janos. She and a colleague did meet him and the Commander in a coffee-house to compare notes on Parachronic Peculiarities, and Conclusions regarding the Nature of Things begin to develop. The Commander betook himself to the Royal Society of Newton-X to research other C—ists’ misfortunes in world-jumping, by way of the knowledge of Mr Sapienza, who did confirm (among much else) that frogs do seem Most Curiously Common. Learning of this, M. Carnot insisted on raising Question regarding the species of frog, and prepared Special Implements in anticipation of future Frog encounters.
The Next Day again, Janos received a further Telephone Call. Yurek, it transpired, had lost the Mind-Power. We predicted that Mistress Hillary should follow soon enough. All this was Reported to Sir Isaac.
A curious matter among the many Discussions that took place in this time was the eruption of a surely Inexplicable Brawl of sorts between Janos and M. Carnot. Janos expressed the opinion that M. Carnot should make shift to learn more of the arts of defence of the self, while M. Carnot proclaimed himself Unconvinced.
There was also, as I am informed, discussion on New Renaissance between the Commander and Mistress Hillary about the Nature of the Power Fading. Hillary also explained what she indicated by the term "Post-Modernist" Explanations. This, she declares, is Infinity colloquialism for Ideas about the Infinite Worlds involving extreme subjectivity. For example, it is proposed that Conveyors may sometimes become lost while taking Persons into their own Imaginations. She now also wishes to run a Control Experiment, observing the Astral Sea for Spontaneous Unprovoked World Generation at appropriate Times.
In exchange for our Consideration of such Concepts, Mistress Hillary has undertaken to find Records of the species of Frog implicated in certain accidents. We, meanwhile, are all gathering in the Cottage to contemplate further Steps.
24 February 2016
M. Carnot and I waited in the Cottage, and the Effect ended for both of us the next Day. Sir Isaac examined the Spirits of the new World in more Detail.
We assembled, with Hilary and Yurek, and proceeded to the Astral for the Experiment, conducting philosophical Debate while we waited. On the second Day, Flamefang arrived, and the Commander moved over to speak with him briefly, Yurek still being affrighted by our Ally. We spent several Sleeps without Incident, until those who were awake noticed a Darkening of the Sky and heard a slight droning Sound; the Commander found the Surface of the Astral smoother and more gelid than usual, and the World-Pools smaller; it seemed as though we were surrounded by a vast Phenomenon; a tentacular Form detached itself from the Horizon and started to quest towards us. We decided to depart, M. Carnot taking us to Neolithic-1, and his Gate closed as expected, but the Soul of Yurek had acquired a Rider, a formless Spirit; M. Nodier identified it as a Spirit of elemental Terror. We moved on to Roma Nil Magia, but I was able to confirm that the Spirit was still present, thus onwards to the Astral; with the additional Magic, M. Nodier was able to force the Spirit out of Yurek, and we moved to Winter-1 to confirm its Absence, then on to New Renaissance. Yurek was troubled in his Mind, and M. Nodier calmed him until he could be returned to his Home.
The next Day we met Hilary again, and confirmed that Yurek was receiving Treatment. Opinions on the Matter of Echoes, among the Leaders of Infinity, was varied. Information from Centrum would be most useful in this Regard. Hilary was concerned that her Superiors might be monitoring her, and we moved to the Astral; she then explained that Infinity had little Talent for the Natural Sciences, since the Retirement of the Inventor of their Techniques, and her Leaders had not the right Habits of Mind to think in this Manner; we considered how we might apply political Leverage and perhaps demonstrate the relative lack of Harm intrinsic to sharing Knowledge with us. Among other Ideas we considered building a Spell without decanic Effects and teaching it to one of the Staff of Infinity with a Talent for such Matters.
Back at the House, Sir Isaac met us; he had been Theorising on the Creation of Worlds and on whether perhaps some other Worlds had been destroyed, in particular whether the System could be considered Lagrangian and thus perhaps conserving some Quantity not yet known to us. Hilary did not have the relevant Knowledge to answer this, but it seemed distressingly plausible.
9 March 2016
We considered carefully, and left a Message for Centrum, using the Conduit we had established after the Matter of Sans-Newton; suggesting that we had Information we could trade about the workings of the Worlds.
Newton asked us to find another Collaborator, a Specialist in symbolic and combinatorial Mathematics, to help him work further on his Theory of the Universe. Among our potential Candidates were Emmy Noether, John von Neumann, Srinivasa Ramanujan and Paul Erdős. Newton would create a new Version of the Problem, stripped of Relevance, for use as Bait.
Hilary visited us. In the Matter of Frogs, some had been local to the Area, though on other Occasions Frogs from Africa had appeared in the South-Western Desert of North America. We considered whether a World that had ceased to be an Echo would still have distinct Characteristics, and if so for how long; but there were none such available; similarly any newly-discovered Echoes would be of Interest.
We reconsidered old Proposals: Infinity to build a portable Conveyor to be sent from a B-Stack to see where or whether it would arrive, further investigating the B-Stack of Shikaku-Mon. We would meet Hilary again in a few Weeks.
I worked on a re-Creation of a Procedure of simple Illusion, without Influences from the decanic Procedures which formed the Core of our Magic. Following this we went to Winter-1 and its Astral, to meet Flamefang. He believed but without formal Record that the Rates both of Disappearance and of Appearance of Worlds had risen substantially since the Development of Parachronics by Infinity. Asked for more Details, he felt a Need to Depart, as we were not of the Inner Circle of the C— and he must needs perform Procedures that were not for our Eyes. When he returned, he explained that the Rates had been substantially unchanging over the previous two Centuries, some four or five of each per several Thousand Worlds within the Purview of Flamefang; once Infinity had begun its Operations, the Rate had roughly Doubled. (We managed to confirm that Flamefang had met one World with intelligent Life, but without Humans; and that it did have Magic.)
Flamefang taught us further Details of Divination, to determine from an astral Pool whether a World was new. Next we would investigate the B-Stack of Shikaku-Mon.
23 March 2016
Supplied with essential Provisions, we moved to Winter-1, then to the Astral and Shikaku-Mon; but according to M. Nodier something palpable had changed, and we hypothesised that their Experiments in jumping between Worlds had been successful. We passed to the near Astral of Shikaku-Mon, and then moved to its B-Stack; after some Progress, we examined a World selected largely at Random, and descended to it. There was Smoke from London, but the Air did not smell of Industry.
Balaban úr spoke with a Shepherd, and seemed largely to allay his Suspicions. Apparently the new King had denounced Tobacco, which allowed us to establish a rough Date in the early seventeenth Century, not far from the time of the Divergence of this World from the Standard. We moved a little away to a Wood, and set up Camp to rest, then (in local Evening) returned to the Astral and the B-Stack. The next Day passed in much the same Manner; this London was rather smaller, and we placed ourselves somewhere in the twelfth or thirteenth Century. We moved around to get a little closer to London, largely avoiding Habitations, but as we passed a Village a small Boy called on us to visit the Priest; he made Gestures as to ward off Demons, and when we were not alarmed seemed relieved. We were in the Reign of King John, and after some Discussion arranged to spend the Day in a Barn, interrupted only by some local Youth.
After another Day of Travel we descended again on a pleasant Evening in Spring, into a London largely unpopulated and in poor Repair. We entered the Church of St Paul’s on Ludgate Hill and managed to communicate in Latin; it was something like 600 AD and the Church was recently founded on this Site, under the Direction of Augustine at Canterbury.
In the Morning, Balaban úr and M. Carnot set off for Canterbury to speak with Augustine, for Reasons of their own; I spent the day with the Priests and their Books. After another Night of Rest we moved a little to the North and continued our Journey; at our next Stop, B65, there was no visible London, though there were some Tracks of Animals to be observed, the same at B81 without the Tracks, and the same at B98, though at the right Time of Year to observe the Star known as Barnard (this turned out to be roughly 2100 BC, and B147 at 8000BC. We reached B202, 16,000BC, before we returned Home. The overall Result was that the B-Stack was largely as expected.
Newton was still working on the mathematical Hook. A Reply had come from Centrum: they were willing to talk on the Morrow on Sans-Newton.
6 April 2016
We made Transfer in Blackheath, and passed into London to the Coffee-House. After a short Wait, Robert Smythe entered, with a Lady of Oriental Mien, one Chan Ding; we joined them in a back Room and explained our recent Learning, in the Matter of the increased Rate of Creation of Worlds since the Advent of Projectors, and the relative Constancy of the total Number of Worlds – we proposed an Experiment similar to the one already done with Infinity – and we discussed how Steps might be taken to reduce the Creation and Destruction of Worlds. Smythe quite reasonably asked for further Evidence, which to some Extent we were able to provide, but of course further Verification would be needed. Clearly the Possibility of Co-Operation must be raised, while of course a Matter for the distant Future, but we laid some Foundations for this Eventuality. We agreed to meet again in two Days. We had learned, among other Matters, that Centrum itself had no great Number of Echoes.
We waited on Sans-Newton for the intervening Time, looking at the new State of the World. M. Carnot studied its History, while I learned of advanced Mathematics from the Commander.
At our next Meeting, our Centran Friends were Delayed by some Quarter of an Hour, and arrived in some Haste. Smythe wished to see the Place where we had observed the Creation of Worlds, and to meet our Informant, these not presenting substantial Difficulty; their Engineers were still attempting to work out the Fault in Conveyors that produced this Effect; but we could take them to the Astral at once, and did, from Blackheath to Winter-1, and then on to the near Astral for their Acclimatisation to this Space.
We passed up to the astral Sea, where Flamefang appeared, and we performed Introductions. He recounted some Part of his History, describing how he had observed Worlds, and had determined their Movement and in some Cases Destruction. Our Centran Guests managed reasonably well, and were intrigued by a potential Solution to the Matter of Waves (Quanta).
With many Experiences about which they wished to think, we returned our Guests to Sans-Newton. After a Meal and some Opportunity to relax we agreed to meet on a future Occasion.
20 April 2016
Sir Isaac had completed the Bait, the Restatement of some Problems of Decans and the Shape of Worlds in such a Manner as not to reveal their Applications. This should, it was hoped, be comprehensible to a competent Mathematician; we made many Copies, for Surety.
We searched upon Halley’s World for Books on the Work of Noether, obtaining some and References to more, though we would have to find these latter in Germany. We went on to München via New Renaissance, where we obtained Copies via the Press of the relevant University; we studied this for the next few Days, in November of New Renaissance.
From there we moved by Train to Berlin, then on to the B4: in the Tiergarten, late in the Evening, then on to a Gasthaus, where we soothed our Host with Money. The next Day being Friday, we visited Einstein and explained our Mission; he was reluctant to introduce us, in case she should decline. We shewed him the Bait, which intrigued him at some Length, though he wished to consider some of the Ideas further; we left him a Copy, and at his Suggestion modified the Article to make the Date of the Death of Noether less obvious.
We took Trains to Göttingen, and stayed over the Week-End; on Monday we presented ourselves to Privatdozentin Noether (with some minor Difficulties proving our Provenance) and introduced our Bait – which was clearly intriguing, and we arranged to return in several Days. When we did so she had made some Progress, though considering the likely Difficulty of Publication she reluctantly admitted that she would require Payment; this being immediately forthcoming, we began work on an Agreement, and explained that Newton was a co-Author. This clearly required extraordinary Evidence, and I ignited a small Fire as a Demonstration, then went on at her Insistence to explain what we knew of the Nature of the Worlds. She desired Time to reflect and consult a Lawyer for the Construction of a Contract; some Days later we went to confirm this and arrange for Payment. In the mean Time the Commander made Arrangements on New Renaissance for Documentation for the Privatdozentin, and checked the Box on Sans-Newton for Messages.
4 May 2016
After the Privatdozentin had made Arrangements, we took Train to Berlin, then made Transition in the Tiergarten. I took the Privatdozentin to buy Clothes, and returned to find that Balaban úr had obtained Tickets for our Flight. We attempted to insulate the Privatdozentin from excessive Shock, while not coddling her, and brought her to our House.
The next Day, Sir Isaac arrived, and we made Introductions at Breakfast. The Privatdozentin had spotted a Point on which Einstein had been unsure, and Newton agreed. Some Hours later, we went out to Lunch to meet Hilary, who had News of Developments; the Engineers believed they had a Means of Preventing the Malfunctions that had created new Worlds, and wished to test this. We agreed, and set a pair of Days on which we could conduct the Experiment. In Return, we would have Access to Materials for the Teaching of more advanced Technology.
The Privatdozentin was sworn in to the C— as an Associate, and we moved to the Astral for our Observations. (The new Engineer, Brian Haggerty, who had previously worked with the Generation of Power, took Measurements of Winter-1 and suspected that it might be a “Myth Parallel”.) There was a new World, which Balaban úr believed was another newly-created Echo.
Hilary spotted a new World almost at once, though it seemed to be growing very slowly; then after some Moments it disappeared; my Perceptions indicated that the World had failed to form completely. Shortly thereafter, two formed nearly at once; the first vanished, but the second was maintained, though small and not settling into a usual Pattern. Flamefang leaped into the Air, and we all withdrew to what we hoped might be a safe Distance; the Commander and Hilary left to ask the Experimenters to cease their Activities. There seemed to be some Contagion into adjacent World-Pools, which caused us some Concern; the Oscillations within the Knot of the new World-Pool developed into consistent harmonic Forms, in a way that seemed likely to reinforce itself soon; and this was also carried into two adjacent Worlds. We considered how we might go about disarming this in a relatively safe Manner; M. Carnot considered the Mathematics and the necessary Manipulation, while I prepared the relevant Spell, and M. Nodier rephrased this in poetical Form; I cast, and spent some time attempting to control part of the Knot, then found myself removed by Flamefang; the Pool oscillated, then evaporated.
18 May 2016
The affected Pool seemed reasonably stable soon after the Commander and Hilary had returned, though there was some Disturbance in the Pool suggesting recent Calamity. The B-Tunnel seemed firm, and we descended to the near Astral; this Part of the World was in Night, though there was Fire in the middle Distance. We investigated that, and found many Trees fallen, mostly aligned with Crowns to the North, though with some Disarray near the Fire. Greenwich was damaged as from a Blast to the South, destroying and damaging Buildings, though there were many Survivors present. We dropped to the World; the Air smelled of broken Plants and Trees, and Fire. The Sky was entirely obscured, and the Rain starting tasted of Salt. Haggerty speculated that a large aerial Mass had impacted in the Channel.
M. Nodier found a Radio about his Person, but could find no Programmes in English and little in any other Language. Hilary made Measurements and determined that the World was moving.
M. Carnot, Balaban úr, and I went in to the Town to render what Assistance we could to the injured without arousing Suspicion; at Dawn we returned, to find that the Changes to the Coordinates of the World were continuing but slowing. M. Nodier and Balaban úr returned to the Astral to inform Flamefang of the Situation; he confirmed that the World was still moving within the Astral as well. Eventually the World settled on Quantum 4, having started on 6, and had a palpable magical Aura.
There was some Dislocation as we tried to re-join, and while we waited M. Carnot spoke with Haggerty. Balaban úr had been injured in a Fall from the Astral, but not seriously.
The other World that had seen Ripples had suffered a volcanic Eruption in Scotland, though distinctly less apocalyptic than in “Oops-2”. It too had seen shifted Coordinates and was in Quantum 5, though it had rather more Magic than that World. The next farther World had suffered no apparent Catastrophe.
We returned to New Renaissance and relaxed.
Sir Isaac and the Privatdozentin were trying to refine the mathematical Representations of the Decans, and she was realising that the Approach necessary would be more like a Language, perhaps an Ur-Language such as the Adamic rumoured to be known to Grand Masters of the C—; unless it was something like an emergent Complexity from an underlying simple Problem. Or perhaps both. The Privatdozentin expressed an informed Desire to see her own Work from later in her Life, as a Step towards the needed Complexity, with the obvious concomitant Disadvantages, though she still felt some Conflict; we broadly encouraged her in this, confirming that we would do our best to be of Assistance in whatever Case, and she decided to speak with Sir Isaac on the current Problem.
We made Contact, explained and returned with him. The Language known to the C— as Adamic seemed unlikely to be relevant, though the Idea seemed sound. There was however a Language in which truer Names of the Decans were Words, Words of Power, the Speaking of which had the Potential to cause great Harm.
(At this Point the Reader may wish to be reminded of the Shape of the World: Assiah the Material, Yetzirah the Astral, Briah the Iconic, and beyond all of those Atziluth the Spiritual.)
While it was not necessarily the case that we would have to travel to Atziluth, Sir Isaac could not be confident of this.

The Savoy Conference

25 May 2016
late December 1722
We took some Time to Study; I visited Halley’s World to learn the Arts of Driving and simple Medicine, and purchased Materials to allow me to learn more advanced Physics.
Agents of Centrum indicated a Willingness to Meet on Sans-Newton, and we did so. Smythe and Chan Ding joined us, and indicated that the Powers of Centrum had replicated the Theory of mis-tuned Projectors and the Creation and Destruction of Worlds; however, they believed their own System did not fail in this way. We discussed in broad Terms the Experiments we had conducted with Infinity; we agreed to carry a Message from Centrum to Infinity, on Condition that we were able to read it.
On Return to New Renaissance, we passed on the Information to Hilary and broached the Possibility of an eventual Meeting of all three Sides, especially considering the potential and imminent Problem of Shikaku-Mon. We received the promised Package of advanced Information on Physics and other Sciences from Infinity, and made appropriate Disposition thereof.
After the relevant Time we met Centrum again, to receive the Letter and to broach also to them the Idea of a Meeting. The Letter seemed pompous but constructive, giving Details of the Theory of Conveyors as an initial Basis for Discussion; we passed this back to Hilary, who seemed concerned but willing to continue. Some Days later she returned with an older Man, a higher Officer; we handed over the carefully-designed Spell of Illusion, and Hilary suggested that we could be sworn in as notional Operatives of I-SWAT, the arm of Infinity that dealt with those from other Worlds, with no Obligations in either Direction. This seemed acceptable to us, and made it easier for Infinity to pass Information through us.
Considering that a proper Location for a Meeting would be one that could be reached by neither Side without our Assistance, we travelled to the World of Italian Police to see what London might be like.
15 June 2016
My Dear Mistress Stoutenburgh, My Dear M. Carnot,
As is our custom, in the absence of Mistress Stoutenburgh, the most frequent record-keeper for our band, I am charged to present you with a brief record of recent Events pertaining to that group, while Mistress Stoutenburgh was working on her current project, and M. Carnot was enjoying the hospitality of this world’s Places of Refreshment.
It appeared to those of us working on the Current Project that it would be politic to survey the city of London in the world that we know as Italian Police or Rome Il Duce, with a view to assessing its usefulness as a location for the Proposed Diplomatic Conference. We also decided that it might be best to go there by way of New Renaissance B4, which would enable us to acquire clothing & acceptable currency first, and so the Commander took us There. It was the work of a day or two to make fit arrangements, and of another day or two to acquire another black leather coat for Balaban úr that meets his requirements. Then, we departed to the Astral Plane.
Surveying our destination London from the Astral Plane showed us that our house was there, albeit with an occupant. So we moved through the Astral Plane to view a street nearby which proved, to our Judgement, quite Typical of London in the fourth decade of the Twentieth Century, and located a Quiet Place where to descend. The Commander took us there. Then, while he Learned The World, Balaban úr and I visited a news-agent to acquire news-papers, to wit, a copy of the Times & a copy of the Morning Star, which latter we thought to be unusually substantial for that title as we have seen it elsewhere.
It proved that the date was in September 1934, that George the Fifth was the King of Great Britain and that Mister Stanley Baldwin had become Prime Minister of that Realm - a little early as compared to his history in some worlds, we believe. More interestingly, there was a deal of Conflict reported in lands formerly part of the Russian Empire, with Comrade Vladimir Lenin still alive and leading the Communist Party, Ukrainian national loyalties run riot, and "White Russians" still in play. Furthermore, Poland had attained an unusually great extent, encompassing all of Byelorussia. Germany had no sign of that Chancellor Hitler who frequently causes so much warlike difficulty through his assertive irrationality and prejudice. Rather, Germany had a Chancellor von Schleicher.
Hence, we thought it best to acquire some Books of History and a current Atlas of Maps, and to read more. We thereby learned that the Great War of the Early Years of the century had seemingly gone very similarly to the History we have seen elsewhere, so the point of Historical Divergence must have transpired since the year 1918. On closer inspection, the Morning Star news-paper (combined with other sources) implied to us that Comrade Lenin had purged Comrade Stalin & retained the loyalties of Comrade Trotsky, but a New Russian Civil War erupted in the year 1928. That Conflict was now largely but not entirely resolved. It appeared that Western nations were sustaining some Russian States, probably to keep Communist Russia in a state of weakness. Beyond the ranks of its devotees, Communism was seen as a dangerous but inherently self-destructive Political Philosophy. Poland appeared to us to have the form of a Military Dictatorship, while Herr Hitler’s Nazi party existed within Germany, but lacked effectuality.
From all this, we came to a Significant Conclusion, viz. that this Earth and this London were a suitable location for the proposed Meeting between Ourselves, Infinity, and Centrum. We would need a Postal Address in order to create an Account with a Bank, and in order to, as the term is in some company, launder monetary funds by way of Gold and Diamonds for use here. We thus fell to a little shaping and execution of plans in order to save time later, on the assumption that those other two groups would agree to this Proposal. We retained a Suite at the Savoy Hotel, and established an Account, well filled with Funds.
We then transferred ourselves to other Worlds, and set to presenting this proposal of a Conference to Centrum & to Infinity, emphasising that this World we had selected was not accessible to either. Neither faction seemed unreservedly happy but each could see the transparent Logic of our Proposal. A pair or so of weeks were spent on shuttling letters. Centrum & Infinity agreed to some minor points of Terminology easily enough, but then became more Guarded. We fell into much discussion with Mistress Hillary of habitual Views among world-travellers of other Timelines, these creating many of the inconvenient obstacles to swift agreement.
We also found cause to confer with Privatdozentin Noether concerning optimal methods for dealing with certain pressing problems, which caused her to express a desire to confer with Herr Einstein. We took it upon ourselves to inform her that the version of Herr Einstein who was In Play in these matters was that from her world. She wrote him a carefully worded letter to establish communication with him, and the Commander took it to an appropriate Posting-Box.
She expressed the opinion in these discussions that the supposed Two Quantum Limit on interworld interactions was in fact a Delusion, and declared that it might be appropriate to raise the possibility in the planned Conference, in the Abstract at least. The interaction of this Possibility with what we know of the world Shikaku-Mon raises especial concern.
In time, the Indirect Interactions between representatives of Infinity and Centrum bore fruit. We were pleased to observe that the two sides could begin to formulate methods for the Prevention of the Known Problems with their technologies. They agreed that they shared a Theoretical Basis for a safe Projector-machine. This would need to be tested, and Hillary proposed a Schedule for that. Centrum desired to send the same two people as had previously Experienced the Astral Plane; Infinity would send Hillary, with Phil as a bodyguard.
Meanwhile, Herr Einstein visited Privatdozentin Noether, and A Great Deal Of Mathematics Ensued.
At the Time of the Test, Janos brought the Centrans by way of Sans Newton; the Commander brought the Infinity two. We were not Unduly disconcerted when Flamefang manifested. The test involved observing in, as Hillary phrased the concept, shifts, to avoid loss of effectiveness through the sheer tedium of apparent success.
After what we judged to be around Four Hours in which nothing befell, the Commander carried Hillary down to the Material Plane to make a Telephonic Communication, then brought her back by way of Winter-1. No more happened for some hours after that. Those of us who needed to, slept, and Watches were arranged on All Parts with Appropriate Discretion. The Commander once again took Hillary to Instruct her Party to Continue through the night. During that visit, she had a Chance Encounter with Herr Einstein, who she recognised. She now seems bemused by the implications.
There were Still No Disasters through the Night. After all the baguettes brought from Various Places were finished, all parties agreed that we had Statistically Plausible Results. Centrum took this as Reason to agree to the Proposed Conference, while Infinity announced that they could agree if Centrum agreed. The Agenda, it was determined, will be kept, in essence, open, with Small Representative Contingents in the First Cases. The proposed Quantum-2 Venue was acceptable to Both Sides.
I might also mention that Hillary has admitted that dealing with the C— without Disaster has brought Credit to the British Arm of Infinity. She quite overtly sought to determine the Geographical Centre of Centrum, receiving in reply vague generality, but with mention of Terra Australis.
Yours &c. &c.,
Antoine Nodier
6 July 2016
We returned our Guests to their Homes, or at least those Points near them which they were willing to admit to us, and agreed to meet in a Week to begin the Meeting. Robert Smythe and Chan Ding would represent Centrum; Hilary and another would represent Infinity, while Balaban úr and I would speak for our fragment of the C—. We made arrangements with the Savoy in Roma - Il Duce; M. Carnot concentrated on the Kitchens, while the Commander and M. Nodier considered the esoteric Atmosphere.
When collected from New Renaissance, Hilary introduced Brian Bradshaw, an Expert in comparative Systems of Law. Once all Parties were settled in the Hotel, we started to discuss our Objectives:
These Matters being taken under Consideration, we went out to obtain Books about Diplomacy, then returned for all Parties to take Time to read. At Dinner we discussed the various Cultures of our Worlds, and Ding mentioned in particular the vestigial Inequalities of Gender across many of the Worlds they had seen, something not present in the partially-synthetic Culture of Centrum.
We considered Matters of Authority: Smythe was some four Levels below the Council that would make a Decision on diplomatic Representation, while Hilary was some three below hers. In the Matter of Diplomacy, there was clearly much Material for the Centrans to consider, particularly the Breakdowns of direct hierarchical Authority, and the beneficial Characteristics to be considered in the Selection of Ambassadors.
The next Day, the Delegations asked us directly whether we knew the Locations of the Homeworlds of Infinity and Centrum; I admitted that we did, and that this had been the Case for a Year or so. We explained, as best we could, the astral Proximity of the four Worlds on the leading Edge, and described Unity to Smythe and Ding. They had suspected our Knowledge and were glad to see our prompt Admission. We in turn agreed that we were not planning to pass on any of this Information to the wider C— rather than the Royal Society.
Smythe raised again the Matter of Contention between Infinity and Centrum, regarding the Use of Worlds. The principal Objective of Centrum was a distributed and resilient Empire; while that of Infinity was more complex, involving commercial Exploitation, humanitarian Assistance to Individuals or whole Worlds, and the like, with an explicit Objection to Empire, in Part because of their History having seen the Degeneracy and Collapse of Empire. The Conflict over Echoes had now largely been de-fused, but the Number of Worlds was still thoroughly limited. As we offered the Possibility of many new Discoveries, Smythe and Hilary proposed a Division between Quanta 6 and 7, not taking into Account those already Contacted by either Power, and while this would clearly have to be re-considered when more Powers entered the Arena it seemed a good starting Point. Smythe proposed that the System of Co-Ordinates used by Infinity might be shared as partial Recompense for the Data on Projectors. M. Carnot suggested the System used by his own Machine might be an helpful Contribution.
I raised the Potential for pro-active Contact of Shikaku-Mon, for future Consideration. We also considered the Potential for Means of Identification, to allow Members of the Royal Society to avoid Complications on Worlds occupied by the other Powers.
27 July 2016
In the Matter of Identification, we consented to be Photographed, and would carry a simple Token, all of these to be combined to reinforce the Claims of those seeking to be known; clearly over Time all these Means would become available to the Ungodly. Some other Details concluded, we returned the Delegations to their starting-Points and ourselves to Sir Isaac, who was pleased; the Work was progressing, though slowly, with the linguistic Approach proving more fruitful than the mathematical.
Some Days later Hilary contacted us and visited, with Brian. All the Points save the Diplomacy were agreed in Principle; Infinity seemed more prone to make this two-sided rather than three-, and Hilary felt that getting Centrum to speak in our Favour would be of Assistance. We later received a Message from Centrum, suggesting a Conference on Sans-Newton, there meeting Smythe and Ding, who reported Success with most Matters, though the Delegation of Powers to Ambassadors could be problematic; they felt that strengthening the Provisions for diplomatic Pouches might be of Assistance, in particular Speed of Delivery, and we discussed Matters of Travel between the Worlds of the various Powers, as well as our Status with Respect to Infinity. Back with Newton, it was felt that more Jumpers were required, particularly those not reliant on Magic (in the Manner of Balaban úr and the Commander). A Letter in Support of the Tripartite System was passed from Centrum to Infinity, and this seemed to resolve the Point.
At our next Meeting Hilary delivered the System of Coordinates, which we duplicated to pass on to Centrum; Privatdozentin Noether found our Copy of great Interest, deriving from it the Theory behind the cross-World Travel of Infinity — and the Flaw in it that generated the Limit of two Quanta.
The next Step, after Agreements had been drawn, would be the Selection and Introduction of Ambassadors, the Party of all Six to visit all three Home-Worlds and sign Agreements there.
10 August 2016
As we did not wish to become Ambassadors ourselves, we considered who might take on this Role: Sir Isaac settled upon John Machin and João de Castro – the latter from another World, recruited by Richard Gardner, and destined for Centrum. Our Ambassadors from Infinity and Centrum would be Hilary and Robert Smythe; Brian Bradshaw would go from Infinity to Centrum, and in Return Centrum would send John Baliol, a Specialist in Study of Infinity.
We passed to Winter-1, the near Astral, and up to the astral Sea, where we met a Fool who wished to entertain us. As we spoke with him, Flamefang arrived, and he departed. The Ambassadors had no particular Difficulty with his Form, and Baliol asked him specific Details in the Matter of the disappearing Worlds. We pointed out the Pools for the four Worlds on the leading Edge; Baliol wished to see all the Worlds, except for Unity, and we conducted him to view Shikaku-Mon, Centrum, and Infinity from the near Astral; then back to the Savoy for Dinner. For Transit in the long Term, we would use New Renaissance, as well as a world on Quantum 6 to be determined. (Direct Travel to Infinity and to Centrum would be considered at a later Date.)
Some Weeks later Balaban úr picked up Smythe and Baliol from Sans-Newton and returned them to New Renaissance; we passed by Conveyor to a World without Magic, which seemed to be the Homeline of Infinity, where we dealt with local Formalities, as well as a Performance of an Opera and extensive Dining. The next Day we passed on to the intermediate World to be used for Transfers from Infinity to Centrum, Wilhelm Junior, and to the Facility operated by Centrum there; and thence to Centrum itself, where the Ceremonies were similar in Principle but differed in Detail from those offered by Infinity; there followed a musical Performance of distinct Oddity, though there were Elements that some of us were able to appreciate.
April 1723
To simplify matters we moved directly to Newton-X, on Blackheath; and to the House of Sir Hans Sloane, for Lunch and to meet Sir Isaac, Sir Edmond and others; a Concert by Handel was arranged in the Evening. All Credentials now accepted, we returned to New Renaissance and repeated the Loop, leaving behind the appropriate Ambassadors as well as the Commander, on Infinity, and Balaban úr, on Centrum.
24 August 2016
The Commander, and Baliol and Machin, underwent a Process of Learning about Infinity: Culture, Language and Politics. Similarly on Centrum, Balaban úr, M. Nodier, de Castro and Bradshaw learned more of that World. M. Nodier spoke with a local Philosopher.
I spoke with Sir Isaac and we jointly constructed a Series of Questions for the Evaluation of potential Candidates for an outer Circle of the Society, this both to provide future female Members for the Society, and for the C—, and to allow Discussion of the Changes in Society inevitably consequent on the Discovery by the People of the Existence of other Worlds. Clearly my first Candidate should be Lady Montagu, who seemed interested though perhaps intimidated by the Test; she did well, and introduced me to a young Friend, one Miss Emma Rosalind Kirkby, who had had Difficulty in being taken seriously in the Matter of Mathematics, and was similarly suited to the Task at Hand. Clearly we would need to establish a Series of Scholarships, as well as letting Word of this Opportunity spread.
We began the Undertaking of constructing a much-needed new Headquarters for the Society: clearly the Houses off Fleet Street was no longer adequate to our Purpose, so we began Proceedings to purchase the Marsh at Lambeth and begin both Drainage and Designs for the Buildings. To ease Access to the Gold, Balaban úr proposed that we move the Gold from the Bank of England on Enigma to the Site of our own House there, this to make Access simpler. On Newton-X this would be moved through “A Company for Carrying Out an Undertaking of Great Advantage, but Nobody to Know What it Is” – this by Design, to deter other Investors from wishing to become involved.
We spoke with Sir Edmond and agreed that it was Time to describe the B-Stacks to Centrum, in a Spirit of Co-Operation; which we did, with Hilary as an Observer, visiting Smythe. After some Discussion we agreed that we would visit Sans-Newton.
7 September 2016
Tuesday 15 June, 1723
When we and Hilary went to Sans-Newton, Smythe returned with a new Colleague, one Joe Bowman, with some technical Skill and the Strength to carry the Equipment. We agreed to begin the Experiment on Hampstead Heath, and first walked on the Astral into the Centre of London and back. From there we moved to the first Tunnel, and the B1 World; we placed this in the 1730s, but the B2 was harder to Date, perhaps 1710-1720. The B3 was around the turn of the Century (after the Burning of the Palace of Whitehall, 1699 it seemed), and this certainly shewed a smaller Interval than usual, but B4 was before the Great Fire, with the old Cathedral of St Paul, suggesting a much greater Jump.
While l shared my Vision of the Astral with Smythe, he espied a large Creature through the Side of the Tunnel, having the Form of a great Fish; we departed before it might observe us. Balaban úr placed the Date of B5 around 1619 based on the State of the Palace of Whitehall; and we moved out of the Centre of London to find an empty Spot on which to descend to the World. We dined on Rations from Centrum, and Bowman made his Measurements, and found something of Interest, an Anomaly in the Results that would take him some Time to investigate.
We discussed what we knew of the Nature of the B-Stacks, their Relationship to the World-Travel of Infinity and their Echoes, the Process of Generation of new B-Worlds, and the Oddities of Time seen around Worlds of the Leading Edge.
As Night fell, the Commander made Observations but had little Success with the more challenging Bodies. Bowman after some Time felt he had determined a possible Solution; I assisted with Calculation, and he wrote down the basic Theory, though soon felt the Need for Sleep.
While Smyth and I were watching, I heard someone being quiet near-by; I kept Track of him, and as Dawn came and we roused he seemed surprized, then set off down the Road, visibly paying no Attention to us.
We moved directly to the B0, and Bowman repeated his Measurements, to some pyrotechnic Results. We returned to the B2 at his Request, the Commander confirmed the Date, and Bowman felt he had some useful Thing; he asked to return to his Home to write up his Results, and we took him back to the B0 to do so and work on refining his Equipment.
M. Nodier returned to our Home to work on his Treatise; I spent time with my Circle; the Commander passed on his Copy of the Calculations to Privatdozentin Noether, who made Sense of them and wrote a Letter to Sir Isaac; Balaban úr visited Annio’s World to speak with the Brothers Albertini and collect his specialised, enchanted Telescope, and a Scabbard to allow his Sword to be concealed, and commissioned new Devices.

The Pearl-Bright Ocean

21 September 2016
Tuesday 29 June 1723
M. Carnot had been working on a System of Coordinates, based loosely on polar Coordinates from the Worlds on the leading Edge.
We spoke with Sir Isaac and Privatdozentin Noether in the Matter of the Language of the Decans; it seemed that there was no readily accessible mathematical Representation of the decanic Concepts, and so they posited that said Concepts were more linguistically based. This was it seemed not the “Adamic” spoken by the C—, but Sir Isaac had some Suggestions as to where to start looking – with one Mebahel, Lady of Peace Restored, Embodiment of the Decan of Naôth. We would find her in the iconic Realm of Briah, a long way “up” in the Astral, most readily reached across the Pearl-Bright Ocean. Reaching that Ocean would be done with a Gate taking us to the Area, opposite that on the central Continent, of a specific Decan; and only four were known: Iudal, Sphandôr, Alleborith and Phthenoth. This would mean a significant Amount of Travel by Boat, and we obtained some Practice at this crude Art in increasingly challenging Conditions.
We moved to the near Astral, and I cast the Spell for the Gate to the Realm of Alleborith, a Beach of azure Sand against a Sea that glowed as the Waves joined. The arrangement of the Sun among the visible Constellations, that being all of them, matched those of the Worlds on the leading Edge.
We returned to our Home by our various Methods and readied ourselves for the Expedition.
5 October 2016
We determined Techniques for moving the Boat through our various Gates, and packing our Equipment; no Food would be required, though Wine seemed a fine Idea.
We made the Transition and deployed the Boat, then began to Row, through the Day and some of the Night after the Sun had faded; we rested until Dawn. By Day we confirmed that the Horizon was flat, but the consistent position of the Sun made Navigation by Day most practicable. When the Commander began to tow the Boat, a Wind arose, and ceased when he ceased to pull; though singing seemed to restore it. I created Food and Water through the Day, and we made Landfall on another azure Coast; in a Cove were some Shacks and Nets hanging to dry, though no Sign of Habitation; in-land from the Coast, there was a Cliff, less azure Sand, and more conventional Grass, though still of somewhat unusual Hue.
We were Greeted by a Voice from the Air, which sounded to us as though it were speaking in our own Languages; she named herself Bless, as specifically the Spell, and her husband Curse, who was out fishing; for Ideas, which was the Purpose of the Nets. Crossing the Realms of the Decans on Land was often difficult, she claimed, and by Sea was generally a better Choice. Other Travellers had sometimes tried to en-snare her; but it was simpler of course to invoke her by more conventional Means, which happened once while we were Speaking.
We agreed to wait for Curse to return; M. Carnot attempted Detection of Magic, and found it hard though possible to Distinguish our Hosts from the Environment; after some Time a Boat, apparently Empty but for Nets, arrived, and Curse introduced himself; he sought Ideas from us, of both Methods and Reasons for harming others, and to Balaban úr he bestowed the Ability to afflict a Sea-Shanty fixed in the Mind.
The Commander played some Pieces on his Violin; the Wind, after a little Time, appeared to match the Tempo.
12 October 2016
My Dear Mistress Stoutenburgh,
As you appear to have been briefly distracted by some trivial phenomenon this last brief period, I can, as you wish, supply you with a brief memorandum of events for insertion into your journal for future reference.
As you will recall, we decided to move onwards from our converse with the spell-entities Curse and Bless, and after you had most generously prepared breakfast, we set to that procedure. We determined to set out in the direction of Anoster, Decan of the Unknowable, and there was a little discussion of procedures. Janos’s singing induced a helpful wind, especially when I contributed poetic vocal elements of appropriate classical rectitude.
However, after a little sailing, we found ourselves slowed and beset by seaweed, and indeed seaweed of an unfamiliar type, which was prone to a wriggling motion, and which seemed consciously intent on delaying us. We found a channel through at first, but were much impeded, and the weed began to mound up in such a way as to make it harder for us to reach the inner shore.
M. Carnot cast a spell of Hawk Vision, which enabled him to see at least one Trapped Ship. Not wishing to share its fate, we made shift to press on. Also, looking toward the outer edge of the Sea, we observed that its colours appeared to have changed, the sand having faded from azure to white.
And so we sailed on, hoping to enter Less Hostile Regions. In time, evening fell, and so we turned for the outer shore, in which direction progress was feasible. The white sand there seemed to be pure quartz, as we found when we had drawn the boat up. We made camp and set watches, but the Night passed without excitement - or dreams, as we consciously noted when we gave it thought and discussion. We employed magics of Essential Food in the morning, but found the results less Satisfying than is the norm. Nonetheless, it sufficed, and we Sailed onward.
We anticipated that we would thus be approaching the realm of Harpax, that is of Vegetation. But before that, as we Sailed on for a while, we noted Signs of others who had failed in Attempts to reach the Inner Shore. As we discussed this, however, more pressing concerns impinged upon us. A vast Tentacle, some five metres or so in thickness, reared upwards from the Water with evident Hostile Intent, lunging to wrap itself around our boat. Balaban úr responded with his customary admirable despatch, attacking it with his blade and scoring great gashes in its flesh. I then applied the necessary substantial thaumic energies to cause it to Spasm, reducing the threat it offered to our craft, and the Commander used the power of his mind to bombard it with a veritable Salvo of stones. The creature clearly recognised that we were best not Trifled with, and departed the scene.
The shore we could observe as we then advanced was, we noted, wildly variable in Colour, albeit with a theme of green. There was, nonetheless, much less seaweed about, so we turned for the Inner Shore, which proved to be Verdant in the extreme. We sailed onward after a little discussion, looking for anything Interesting. The Commander made close observation with his Spy-Glass, and reported an absence of animals. What we could all discern was a strong, appealing verdant aroma. Also, after a while, on the shore, wild vegetation gave way to Fields, although with no Persons tending them.
And yet, by evening, despite that absence, we were pleased to observe a cove with a small Harbour, Houses, and a Boatyard. We landed, and encountered the manifestation of the spell to Shape Timber, which in that place exerted its powers, for whatever reason, to cause Boats to be made. We told it of our quest to learn new languages, and of our recent Adventures, and it professed itself Impressed at our Deterring of the the betentacled creature, which for the most part carries the day in Encounters on that sea. The spell also Offered to see to the Strengthening of our Boat; we accepted, at which it declared that it would call for its compatriot, Essential Wood, while warning us that there would be a Fee.
It went about this mission, while we looked about the houses, noting the presence of a plethora of architectural styles. The spell returned with its promised companion. Essential Wood set its price at some new intelligence concerning Wood, and the Commander was inspired to respond by demonstrating his Violin. The Spells seemed Interested, departed briefly, and returned with a new Bow, which the Commander declared to be smooth-stringed and fine for its purpose.
We were then invited into a workshop, where the Spells created a new violin. The Commander declared it fine, though not to the standard set by Maestro Stradivarius.
We then returned to our boat, with which the Spells tinkered, rendering it proof against leaks. They then offered us Dinner, a meal entirely Vegetarian in composition but very Hearty. We collected some seeds and such for future examination, and departed.
The Boat, we found, now rode differently, but not in a Worse sense, being stiffer. Passing on toward the realm of Axiopheth, we noted the Coasts becomes less verdant and more rocky, and these rocks were dark. Also, the Winds died down as we progressed. Balaban úr proclaimed the belief that a specifically Astral nature was implicit in that rock, and M. Carnot declared that he sensed similarly – a distant astral potential. As we rowed onward, we determined that the Mana level here was detectably Normal save that it was High for purposes of Containment – appropriate for the Decan, it seemed.
We also found that we were all growing notably tired from the labour of Rowing, which made us cautiously glad to observe what seemed like to be a stone jetty – though not one of worked Stone. We paused at this jetty, and went ashore. There, our ears discerned a distant weeping. M. Carnot and I determined to investigate, walking inland a way. There, we encountered a Dark-Haired Lady, who we recognised as the Lady Amael, Aethyr of that Decan. Given its nature, we thought it politic to make a polite withdrawal, finding ourselves a little wearied as if by imprisonment as we went.
And so we departed the Shore Of Imprisonment.
Yours &c. in the C—,
Antoine Nodier
2 November 2016
With some Difficulty, it transpired, as further Hours of Rowing were un-productive of useful Movement; we continued through the Night. At Dawn, or so it seemed, we found a Coastline of Fire: no Smoke, merely Fire, in the Form of Plants and even Seaweed in the Water. We gathered a Sample of the Water, finding it both very hot and quite cool at the same Time, in a magical Manner. The Commander gathered a Bottle of the same, then placed a Piece of Paper on the Land; it was visibly alight, but extinguished itself before it returned to us, and was not consumed. I swam ashore through the burning Weed and walked up the Beach, while the Commander carried M. Carnot overhead and deposited him next to me. As we moved away from the Beach we started to see Trees, also burning; we moved along the Shore to remove ourselves from the Border with Axiôphêth, and espied a Bird of Fire, a Parrot burning blue, and later a Warren full of Rabbits. After some further Time we found a cleared Path leading away from the Shore, and followed its Foot-Prints; it spread into an Area of less-trodden Ground. We found ourselves speaking with the Spell, Seek Fire, which had seen very few Visitors, at least alive, for the last Centuries. Since our Bodies felt we had spent some Hours here, we returned to the Shore, taking the Path and then walking a little further along the Beach; we found an Area of Cold, and M. Carnot discoursed on the Subject of Thermodynamics.
The Party on the Boat had found their Rowing much faster than our Walking, and we returned with some minor Incident to pass the Night aboard. A Storm of Fire passed in the Evening; we moved out of its Path, and could observe Volcanoes towards the Centre of the Realm. On the next Day we espied an Inlet; there were Fires giving Smoke, and the Sound of Metal being worked. M. Carnot and I swam ashore to find Ramps and a Boatyard, and were greeted by Fuse Iron, a Spell of which we had not been aware; it offered to make the Boat fire-proof, and the others brought her in, while in return M. Carnot talked of Cannon and their Use, and I spoke of my Experience with Aldebaran. It seemed that Visitors were more common here than further along the Coast, and one recent one had wanted a Quantity of Equipment in order, in some Manner, for his Henchmen to be able to kill a God; he had annoyed the Aethyr, and burned.
9 November 2016
We left, and set Sail; the burning Sea shrank away and we made good Speed past the next Land; Animals moved with some Speed. We did not Land, but continued; given the Nature of the next Decan we put out a Sea-Anchor for the Night. However, at Dawn we were out of Sight of Land; we moved towards central Land and found another Sargasso, with wrecked and rotted Ships embedded within, though not ones we had previously sighted. The Commander was able, at Elevation, to see the Shore; but could make out no Details beyond dark Shapes that seemed to Move slowly – though when he inspected them for Quantum Flows he found them strangely attractive.
In the Distance we espied two Creatures, flying out from the Land; they were both large and distant, having the Form of great Bats some twenty Ells in Span. They gave out Cries as they approached, one assumes meant to terrify, and we readied our Defences. The Commander discouraged one, but the other was more agile or perhaps more foolish; Balaban úr struck off one of its Legs with his Sword, and I burned what was left as it struck the Boat; then we finished it off with cruder Weapons, it showing surprising Resilience, and I re-floated the Boat. We moved to the outer Shore to re-organize our Equipment and spent the Night on Land.
Some Hours into the next Day, we found an enticing Land, but with high Winds and Seas preventing us from readily landing.
14 December 2016
Indeed, the Commander noticed that Waves were starting at the Shore, and gaining in Height as they went out to Sea. He attempted to fly towards the Shore, and was unable to stay even with the Wind; we turned the Boat and brought him back aboard.
M. Carnot kept up Observation as we passed at a greater Distance; there was a Town somewhat inland, another on the Shore, but no visible People.
We slept on the outer Shore, which was unremarkable in Appearance. While Balaban úr and the Commander were on Watch, they espied a green-white Light in mid-Air and awoke us. It seemed most interested in the Commander, and entered his Ear; his Eyes (and, it later proved, Ears and Nostrils) showed a dim Glow, though on Inspection he did not seem possessed or controlled in any Way.
He claimed to feel that his Mind was Larger, and was certainly able to lift M. Carnot with little Difficulty, though not both him and M. Nodier (our calibrated reference Frenchmen). His Thinking was not noticeably improved, and after some Time he was able to get to Sleep, at which Time the Glow faded.
In the Morning the Glow returned, though in Daylight it was not at apparent. We sailed further, to the realm of Tepsisem to find an autumnal Shore with what seemed a long City, of mixed architectural Styles and a consistent state of Decay. The Plans of the City seemed partially to repeat itself after several Miles, with some Gaps and some Changes. Those of us who perceived astral Flows were able to detect a further Consistency. We came to a Harbour of sorts, which mixed a Jetty of Masonry with a Mess of sunken Ships, two of them seeming to be the same Ship.
As we landed, I felt discommoded, and perceived an Entity attempting to escape from within my Aura. After a few Moments I decided to let it loose; it was unable to speak, until I lent it Language, and it identified itself as the Variant of Mage Sight which I had created to show Changes in the B-Axis. This seemed indeed to be its natural Home, and I spent some Time arranging for it to be able to retain the Language in our Absence. We also considered the development of another Spell, a variant of History also to employ the B-Axis, and whether it might be constructed with greater Speed here. In the mean Time, the Commander experimented with his Powers, and found himself distinctly more capable; he attempted to develop a new Insight into the Nature of the Worlds of the leading Edge, in Terms of their Position in the Astral Sea, but found he lacked the Information.
M. Carnot completed his Plan for the Spell, which seemed good.
11 January 2017
We began the Work, and rapidly developed an experimental Model; but there was no Opportunity for testing. Balaban úr meditated on the Nature of this Place and the Decan. The Commander searched for natural Gates, and found the Sense of one in-Land some Miles. He found a geometrical Oddity within a Building, and while required to crawl, found himself becoming smaller as he approached; the Stairs above seemed distorted, smaller ahead and larger behind him, and he approached a Mouse-Hole in some Doubt as to whether he would be able to fight off the Mouse. This Aspect of the Realm seemed to be of the Things which were over-looked, and this Gate was in some Ways like those encountered in Stories for Children.
When he returned, he found us committed to other Tasks, and decided to enter the Gate on his own on the next day. After a Flicker he emerged from another Mouse-Hole, in a Room. (My Trace on him remained, though somewhat confused.) There were Gas-Lamps, upholstered Chairs, and a general Air of Disuse. A Mouse took some Interest in him, and he levitated out of its Reach; the Mouse ran away, and the flying Commander looked over the Tables; a Newspaper gave a Date in 1898.
A young Girl entered the Room, left, then re-entered and started to roll up the Carpet; a Pentagram was visible on the Floor. She took out Candles from a Smoking-Cabinet, placed them at the Points of the Pentagram, and lit them.
Some Moments after she began a Ritual, two Creatures appeared, presumably Demons though not of a Type which the Commander recognized; the Candles were extinguished and perhaps at some later point vanished. They formed an Arch; she walked into it and disappeared through a Gate. After some further Moments the Demons started to take on the Appearance of new Chairs; the Pentagram appeared to be a Pattern on the Carpet, which was not rolled back, though to Quantum Flows it still was.
Some twenty Minutes later, the Girl returned, leading a Dog by one Ear, or at least a Hell-Hound; as she spoke sharply to it it took on a more conventional Appearance. She dismissed the Demons and replaced the Carpet, then led the Dog from the Room and shut the Door. The Commander looked around some more, then returned to the Mouse-Hole; a Spider attacked him as he emerged from the Gate, and he defended himself with his Sword, killing it. He returned to us, bringing the Head with him; we made Preparations to leave.
25 January 2017
We landed for the Night, and on the next Day passed on to the Domain of Alath, with brownish Sand and Palm Trees. After some Time we saw Signs of Habitation, varied Styles of Dwelling and even some Individuals, clothed in simple Manner. Carrying on, we saw a Marble-covered Pyramid, with Cap of Metal, and over my Objections we landed; I waited with the Boat while the others explored. Several Men were resting nearby, with Signs that they had been engaged in heavy Labour of Construction. The Group made little Progress without my linguistic Skills; the Commander was able to speak with the Mind of two of them, but was unable to establish clear Communication. Some of the Party that had gone ashore felt some Reluctance to leave, but the Commander and I were able to persuade them aboard.
We passed Race-Tracks, great Trees, and other Means of gaining Enjoyment without great Exertion. On the Water, a Boat of some Size was coming in the opposite Direction; it seemed likely to be of this Realm rather than another Traveller, and M. Carnot insisted that we go aboard what turned out to be the Holiday; Drinks, Gambling, and other Pleasures of the Flesh were available, and the others, apart from Balaban úr, indulged. After about a Day we distracted the others with Brandy and Discussion, and in some Cases physical Force, and returned to our Voyage – or at least to the outer Coast, where we made Camp for the Night.
A Divination by M. Carnot for the Nature of the Plane indicated the Centre of the Zodiac, the Axis of the Universe, suggesting perhaps the Place of Rest at the Centre of All.
The next Day, we passed on the Realm of Marderô, where outer Sand was cratered; at the inner Shore these Craters were larger, some of them Miles across, including the Bay in which we arrived, and as we passed along the Shore there was extensive Evidence of damaged Armaments and Machines of War. A City had a wooden Fence around it, and Towers facing inwards; M. Carnot reported the Soldiers in the Towers in various Uniforms, armed with large Cross-Bows.
8 February 2017
The Commander, with enhanced Sight, raised himself to see over the Fence. As well as the large Buildings we had seen earlier, there were many smaller of mixed Eras, from Wattle-and-Daub to Concrete via Tipis and other Styles; generally they were in poor Repair. He saw very few People, and when he did they were acting surreptitiously, mostly moving quickly from one Building to another. As he returned, some Guards shot at him, but missed.
We proceeded along the Coast; this City was some Miles long, with frequent Towers along the Fence. This was followed by more cratered Landscape, and a large Bay perhaps itself a Crater, with a small rocky Island in the centre that seemed to be a volcanic Plug of some Type. While we were deciding whether to land, the Ivy growing over the Rock made a beckoning Motion; the Commander tried to read its Mind, found it hungry, and engaged it in Conversation. We continued to find a Fortress, a Keep in the European Style set on a large Rock but without Walls. M. Nodier reported that on the Battlements were horned Creatures wearing heavy Armour that seemed more decorative than suited for War. As we watched, part of the Roof of the Castle opened; a Dome with a Slit rotated to face us, and a large Ball of Fire rushed towards us, missing; after each Minute or so, the Effect was repeated. M. Carnot predicted the Fall of Shot, and the Commander sailed evasively; later Shot was prone to home on us, but with a combination of unpredictable Sailing, Walls of Water, an Illusion of our Boat afire, Accelerations of Time to increase our Speed, and our own good Fortune, we managed to evade the Attacks. Our Captain’s Confidence was an Inspiration to us all [B]  [B] “Bloody hell, I’ve dodged.”.
We continued our Journey, further from the Shore, with occasional Inspections; the Cove at the Centre was well-defended with Fences. We sailed for the outer Edge, and camped there; M. Carnot seemed mildly affected by the Environment, under the Influence of a revolutionary Idea. I potentiated Drink to confuse him, and he became fuddled.
22 February 2017
We continued on the next Day, with M. Carnot mildly recovered; the Beach gradually began to appear less cratered and more normal; perhaps indicating the Realm of Naôth. The Wind was less regular than before, and the Sand constantly forming and changing Patterns. M. Carnot listened to the Sounds of the Wind, and the Flapping of the Sail, and found Pattern (especially when we ceased to Sing) but was unable to discern Meaning.
After some Hours we came towards Land, which bore a Forest of regular Arrangement. We made Landfall, and took Steps to become Familiar with the World. On Consideration, we saw that the Trees were planted in Rows, and had Gaps within them.
We sailed along the Coast to see a City, some Distance in-Land, made of Towers with Mirrors, and Flashes of Light moving between them. Another City appeared to consist largely of Libraries; we landed to investigate. They were in differing Styles, and we approached the one in classical Greek; it had a human Inhabitant, of the C—, who seemed to have been here for some 500 Years, studying the while.
We read for some Hours, during which M. Carnot found himself in mild Contention for a Book explaining written Greek, with a Russian Scholar, but this was rapidly resolved. There were some Statues, one of which represented the Lady Mebahel, and the Library explained to Balaban úr that she would normally be found towards the Centre of the Realm.
As Darkness fell, we were invited to a Colloqium, and the Commander joined us from the Boat. We spoke with others there, many of them C—ists and all from other Worlds; none had met the Aethyr, but some had travelled into the inner Realm, and thought it less physically than mentally hazardous. Some attempt had been made to communicate with the Lights, but without Success (our Interlocutor, a German of the early twentieth Century, was a Student of the Privatdozentin).
Several of the same Person seemed to be bringing Food and encouraging the Conversation; Balaban úr spoke with her, thinking her perhaps an Extension of the Place, but She-who-listens-carefully explained that she was in Effect keeping a Diary of the Libraries, of what had been thought when and by whom. She was able to give us little Information regarding the Language underpinning the Decans, if any, but could show us some Material on the latest common Language of Humans (not, as it transpired, at all related to Adamic).
In the Morning we considered how best to progress with our Task; M. Carnot delved into the early Languages of Africa (though not finding sufficient Details of the World which had been studied to produce the most interesting Text; though a Date was recorded).
Balaban úr found a Book on the Technology of parachonic Systems, written by a Researcher from Infinity, and I studied it during the Night. The next Day we sailed to the Cove, and encountered Truthsayer (or so it claimed).
8 March 2017
We beached the Boat and moved in-Land, following a crude Trail and accompanied also by Lend Language; after some Time we came upon a Group of Buildings in a Japanese Style, centred on a Pagoda; this was, it seemed, the Abode of a Master of Meditation. A young Man was seated by the Fields, and greeted us in Latin; we explained our Task, and he checked that he would soon be available to receive us; we took Tea and spoke with him. It seemed that one Reason for the Sargasso was to prevent casual Incursion into the Abyss, and that Return from Aziluth was rather harder than the Achievement thereof; we considered the Sephiroth in its Relationship to the Decans, then separated to our individual Contemplations.
An older Man emerged as we considered, and we spoke with him of our Mission; he seemed mildly intrigued, suggesting that this was an Idea that the Aethyr might find of Interest, and spoke of his own Meeting with the her. His own Developments had suggested that Communication was the Purpose of Mind, and that perfected Communication was per se an Error, in that Confusions and Misunderstandings themselves were generative of new Ideas. Lend Language was concerned at the Idea that some such Errors might have become manifest as the original Spells.
The Commander saw a human Figure approaching, a Woman walking out of the inner Lands. He spoke with her about what might be found further in-Land (in particular those who had chosen to settle here), and she mentioned that she was a minor Goddess of Trade; the Commander did not particularly wish to trade with her, but mentioned the Nature of our Mission; this disconcerted her, and she left in slight Haste.
We continued, and the Paths branched; we continued on our Course, and soon came to the Village that Lend Language called Home. We spoke of our Mission with Gift of Tongues and Gift of Letters; M. Carnot decided to attempt the Gift of Tongues with the Names of the Decans as the Language, and we observed closely. He learned something of the true Names of the Decans, in Particular of Naôth.
22 March 2017
He went on to study the written Form of the same Decan via the Gift of Letters, gaining a greater Understanding thereof. He transcribed it, at some Length, in a Form which itself was most fascinating. I gained Understanding of Sphandôr, the Commander of Alleborith in its written Form; the two written Decans together worked to make a greater Boost in his psychic Power than with the decanic Resonances he had been wearing; M. Nodier made the greater Acquaintance of Barsafael, and Balaban úr of Phthenoth, gaining some Idea of how he might return to Life – and transcribing it to a Paper which I carried.
While we were discussing these Matters, a Lady who appeared to be the Aethyr Mehabel approached us, and we spoke of this Discovery and other Matters – including the Origin of the Language Euskara.
5 April 2017
M. Nodier learned another Symbol, Marderô, as did the Commander, Naôth, M. Carnot, Sphandôr, Bianakith, Ruax, Eneuth and Atrax, M. Nodier, Barsafael and Marderô, Balaban úr, Kumeatêl and Nefthada, and I, Iudal and Phthenoth, as we observed; and we spoke further with the various Spells, and with the Aethyr, about the Nature of magical Knowledge. As part of an Experiment I taught Apportation to the Gift of Tongues, with some Success, and instructed Balaban úr in the first Elements of Thaumatology.
We spent the Night and, next Day, returned to the Cove and our Boat, to speak with the Spells there. The Goddess of Trade had apparently departed in some Haste. We sailed back to the Library, and the Commander and I further investigated the Centran Section and in particular its Material regarding Parachronics. M. Carnot studied Mathematics, Balaban úr the Theory of Magic, and M. Nodier some Details of Philosophy. This done, we returned to our Home, to find that some two Months had passed. Many Matters seemed slightly off, as we had become accustomed to the Manners of Briah.
We met Sir Isaac and the other Seniors and demonstrated to him the Phthenoth-Symbol and others, to his Satisfaction.
19 April 2017
After some Work on the Symbols, we established some Uses for them in their written Form, giving Benefit to Spells and other Workings. This systematic Approach was new to Sapienza, though it was not clear to him what other Members of the C— might have developed.
We managed, with some Difficulties, to obtain a full Set of Knowledge of the Symbols spread among the Seniors of the Society, and Privatdozentin Noether worked further on these Representations.
6 October 1723
The Commander looked into historical Uses of the Words of Power, particularly those associated with the Survival of those who spoke them.
Sir Edmond speculated on the Grammar and Syntax that might connect what appeared to be a Set of Nouns. Considering our Conversations with the Spells, and the Theory of Borrow Language that the Spells are in some way Fragments of the Symbol or Word of the governing Decan, Halley suggested looking for Relationships within the Details of existing Spells, and locating decanic Commonalities.
Balaban úr travelled to Annio’s World to give Copies of, though not to teach, the Glyph of Kumeatêl, assisting with Enchantment; and gaining greater Protection for himself against Missiles.
M. Nodier began learning Danish, then travelled to a suitable World to consult Kierkegaard on Matters of linguistic Philosophy.
The Commander wrote Notes on the Parachronic System as used by Centrum, according to his Recollection, and I did my poor best to supplement these Details; I then spent some time on Centrum, based in our Embassy there, learning the Ways of a highly technological World – and what Legends they had of Magic, very few of these having survived. This done, I returned to Newton-X to consider a Group of related Spells, in particular those of Iudal, concerning the Transitions between Worlds. The Utility of the Fragments of the Symbol in the Context of the Spells began to become apparent, in particular how the decanic Influences gained their Effect – and how the Spells could be derived one from another and from their common Root.
We spoke with Hilary about Reich-5: her Probes suggested a concerted and successful Effort by Mara to destroy anyone there with Knowledge of Parachronics.
We considered the naturally-occurring Routes between Worlds, which Privatdozentin Noether considered might be derived from Flaws in the Substrate connecting multiple Worlds.

Return to q, r and φ

10 May 2017
5 January 1724
Sir Isaac suggested that further Investigation of q, r and φ might be of technical Interest; we planned to find Flamefang, an Expert in such Matters, by travelling to Winter-1 and the Astral Source of Worlds; to find that he was already present. We spoke of our Experiences on the Pearl-Bright Ocean, and of our Investigations into both Words and Symbols of Power; we shared our Developments and spoke of the Dimensions, and their connection with the Technique of fast Movement across the Astral. Flamefang established a Linkage of Minds, and showed me a differing Perspective on them, and on how to move within them; he went on to repeat the Demonstration to the others of our Group.
We moved as a Group in q and r, observing that the Edges of the Pool by which we stood looked different, and this proved a Mechanism of Navigation. Flamefang spoke further of φ, and advised Caution in its use; but above the Clouds that formed the Sky of the Astral could be found another Realm – among which would be found the tentacular Creatures we had met on an early Voyage.
31 May 2017
12 January 1724
We considered Experiments in this new Mode of Movement; the Commander passed on our new Techniques to M. Carnot, and we made experimental Confirmation of the Magnification of Distance of Movement that had been generated. We travelled to the Brig Jackal, lying astrally at Blackheath; Balaban úr investigated the Shops that had arisen nearby, the while the Remainder of our Party went on board; the Crew was recovered, M. Carnot investigated the Workings of the Ship and particularly its Interface with the Water and the Properties holding the Ship to the Surface of the Astral Sea (subtle Workings based on Axiôphêth, for the Stem and Masts, and Barsafael, for Rudder and Keel, as well as some in Atrax one assumes meant to keep us fed). I studied the Crew and Captain, whose Auras were thin and ill-bounded, merging with the Concept-Aura of the Ship.
We sailed to a known Destination, with changes in q and r, then M. Nodier, Balaban úr and I walked rapidly back to the Jetty, while the Commander and Carnot remained aboard. We arranged a Pick-Nick to await the Return of the Ship.
14 June 2017
Under the direction of M. Carnot, we took some Measurements of our effective Displacement from different astral Locations in q and r. A single Pace, and ten, left the moving and static Parties visible to each other; at a hundred Paces there was no Contact on the near Astral and a Displacement of about a Mile; the Range determining Invisibility seemed to be some eight to twelve Paces, or less with Intent by the moving Party, and such Vanishing still led to a Mile of Displacement. Travelling with a second Stage of Vanishing produced roughly a further Mile and a Half.
M. Nodier tried a Spell of rapid Displacement; he found himself descending into an unfamiliar and over-grown Forest. Walking back in the same Direction, he was on a Coast, with People, suggestive of France, and slowly continued to work his Way back, losing his Directions several Times.
After some Hours I attempted to Locate M. Nodier, finding him over Sea, and the Commander spoke with him; eventually he returned to us.
Balaban úr and I set out for a long Trip with a Chain of an Hundred Vanishings. We arrived somewhere Temperate with Hedges, which Balaban úr reckoned was perhaps Bedfordshire an hundred Miles to the North; we returned with astral Speed, an hundred Paces producing perhaps a Third of that Distance, and rejoined the Group.
We returned to our Home to make Report. Sir Isaac suggested the Construction of a Machine to travel in φ, and our immediate Consideration was a Hot-Air Balloon; M. Carnot considered incorporating such Abilities into his new Machine.
9 February 1724
M. Nodier and I worked with M. Carnot on the Machine, arranging that it could be mounted to the Boat. We took Machine and Boat to the Astral Sea, and started to ascend, though constant Effort was needed to maintain Altitude. We made a Transition, losing Sight of the Jackal and founding the Clouds rather closer. We moved into the Clouds, and found ourselves joined in the Boat by a winged human Woman; she introduced herself as Stratocumulus, a Sylph of this Region, the Upper Air; other Travellers were not unknown to her, but Balloons worked poorly, as the Region above was hot and bright, and beyond it the Castles and other Dwellings of which we had heard.
It was indeed bright, and warm, and the Machine was beginning to fail, so we allowed ourselves to float downward, then returned to the Ground. I provided some edible Oil for Lubrication, but the Machine would clearly need Repairs.
26 July 2017
Remarks by M. Antoine Nodier, Philosopher of the C—.
One has recently noted that the most excellent records kept by one’s Fellow Philosopher Kunigonde Stoutenburgh, one’s associate in the Cabal, have suffered an arbitrary lacuna, despite her presence at certain Events of Minor Interest. Pausing only to remark that Careless Experimentation in the Resonances of the Decans Anostêr and Sphandôr may have Most Inconvenient Effects, one feels obliged to interject certain Remarks to those same Records.
At the time of these Events, our Party had recently Descended from higher regions of the Astral Plane, bearing the Overheated Machine of the creation of M. Carnot. Discussion ensued as to how that Machine might be enhanced to achieve the desired effectiveness. M. Carnot appeared notably willing to perform Extreme Operations with his Machine, although the proposal of fuelling an Enhanced Version with the Burning Bones of his Enemies was felt to be injudicious.
Other options for moving in this Peculiar Dimension were discussed. M. Carnot believed he might be able to employ the Decanic Power of Ouare to Reinforce the Necessary Enchantment on his Machine. M. Balaban suggested that spells of Flight might be preferable, but M. Carnot adhered to his own idea with Devotion. Hence, a journey to Florence on Annio’s World, that he might learn the Art and Science of Engraving, was suggested (that World being chosen simply because Art is Greatly refined there). M. Balaban agreed to accompany M. Carnot in That Place, albeit after Journeying Thence by Means of a partially different itinerary, as he desired himself to practice the Arts of Swift Astral Travel. The Others of us each had our own Ideas as to what we needed or could best learn next. While the Commander travelled to Vienna on the World of Napoleon Total War to visit M. Beethoven, I returned to our Home to master some additional Spells.
M. Balaban, I deduced from Later Discussion of his Experiments, became somewhat lost en route to an intended Rendez-Vous with M. Carnot on the World of New Renaissance, visiting the Adriatic Sea, and having to Navigate by a Method of Successive Approximations, entering the Material Realm in Milan and taking a railway-train to Florence, whence the Two undertook the final step in their Travel. When they both attained their Destination, M. Carnot was also somewhat Distracted by an encounter with M. Leonardo da Vinci, who proved, as it appeared, here to be a Member of The C—, of Indeterminate Rank. Introduced in Conversation to one or two Decanic Symbols, M. da Vinci declared the Intent to Deduce the others from First Principles, while Discussing a Resonant thirty-six-sided workshop which he proposed to construct for his own Use. Later, known Local Officers of The C— proved somewhat unnerved when informed that M. Leonardo was a fellow member, of which Fact they were unaware, and Nervous that he might manifest Unfortunate Abilities and Intervene injudiciously in the War then and there Taking Place.
Meanwhile, I am informed, the Commander made payment for Lessons in the local dialect of German-Austrian on Napoleon Total War, and then made further study of Playing of the Violin with a group of Musicians of that city.
30 August 2017
Balaban úr considered his Developments in Navigation at Speed on the Astral, and made further Experiment at specific Levels over New Renaissance. He also came upon a Trail within the Astral, near the eastern End of the Pyrénées, which made his Progress rather easier; he proceeded to follow it, to what appeared to be Andorra. In the other Direction it ended at an unknown Bay, somewhere near Girona.
He continued up the Atlantic Coast seeing no further Trails, then in London returned to Enigma, retrieved some Gold, and remained over-Night. The next Day he reversed his Trip and paid for the Boat, as well as offering to obtain other Materials for the Brothers in the Future.
M. Carnot attempted to track down and sabotage Leonardo, who had moved on. He and Balaban úr returned to the Trail near the eastern Town, and inspected its History in broad Scope; the Creation of the Path seemed to be through Use rather than deliberate Act. While crossing the Channel they became briefly mislaid.
On Newton-X we made Practice of assembling the Coracle, then paddled it into the Air; we were also able to make it descend more rapidly than it would if left to itself. Two paddlers could manage it, but one could not.
We considered the Construction of the new Headquarters of the Royal Society; among other Problems, the King had found it a little too grand, and would require Mollification.
The Roman Road seemed an obvious Place to look for further astral Trails, and we set off for Rome with astral Speed; first via the Route of Pilgrimage, which had its own Trail to Canterbury, and (with some Searching) another Trail on to Dover (easier to perceive in the opposite Direction). We crossed the Channel, then followed the Coast to the Pyrénées, along to the opposite Coast, then round to Rome, or rather the Road from Ostia – at least in Theory, though it took some Attempts to locate it. We searched further for the Appian Way, which most certainly had a Trail.
We made Experiment in Distances of Visibility; when both Observer and Walker were on the Trail they could be seen at greater Distance than when one or both were off. Balaban úr tried for the maximal Speed that the Trail would sustain, on a Journey to Brindisi and back, but found it easy to come adrift on Bends; he could manage some twice the normal Speed, but not reliably. This made them more convenient as navigational Aids than as Means of increasing our Speed.
We moved to C— Rome, and visited Mistress Antonia, then carried on to the Roman Road. It did indeed have a Presence at higher Levels of the Astral, though these higher Levels did not pass through the Gates, and it was hard to generate sufficient Speed to use them effectively.
We moved to New Renaissance and searched for astral Trails out of Rome towards Boulogne. One Road seemed to start normally but to curl into a Spiral, and to move apparently of its own Volition, slowly shifting Shape into a Cone, which made Sound and eventually Speech, in Latin. It seemed to regard itself as a Road not yet in Use; the older Roads were less able to converse.
It showed us to the Road we desired, and asked to accompany us; it was able to shrink itself and we took it along. With Practice we found an effective Speed for staying on the Road, slower overall than the coastal Route but also shorter, then crossed the Channel and localized ourselves. We left the young Road astrally near Charing Cross.
6 September 2017
25 March 1724
M. Carnot conducted some Engraving on the Gears of his improved Machine, with the aim of increasing its Resilience under Stress. In the mean Time, the Commander and Hilary visited Napoleon Total War to see how Preparations for the Concert were progressing; they found that, thanks to a new Patron, it had been cancelled. They considered whether to intervene, but decided to refrain for the Moment. Balaban úr and M. Nodier made further Practice with the new Coracle, developing a Technique for holding it at Altitude without horizontal Movement; I began Work on my Reconciliation of the parachronic Theories of Infinity and Centrum, and on divers other Projects.
When we reconvened, we proceeded to the Astral with the Coracle, and ascended; the Commander found that his Levitation provided an Impetus only in the mundane Axes of x and y, not the q and r we might have expected. A large Crow or Raven flew nearby and we addressed it; this seemed to startle it, but it croaked “Beware” and refused further Converse.
We passed through the Clouds into a brightly lit Space, but used appropriate Protection. Many Islands were visible, scattered across the Firmament, and varying in Composition; but one was clearly closest, so we climbed to its Level and Approached, espying first Gulls and then Buildings in the mediæval Greek Style. Indeed, there was an Area of Sea around the Island, a Harbour and a Variety of Boats including one rather more Modern than is usual in the Astral, though it had clearly come to Grief. We landed on the Sea, and were greeted by a Party in a small Boat, addressing us in Greek with an Influence from the Turkish; we confirmed that we had no Diseases and were welcomed to the Island of Imbros. The Inhabitants were at least generally aware of their Situation, commenting that Dates meant very little, and indeed that this was in some Senses an iconic Port.
Over a Meal of excellent Fish and reasonable Wine, we found out a little more. Many of the Inhabitants were native to the Island; the Owner of the modern Boat had left some time ago, and nobody had arrived lately, but those who had tended to have come from other Islands of the Ægean or in a few Cases elsewhere in the Mediterranean. We visited the Temple (to Poseidon) and spoke with the Priest, while M. Carnot examined the Records; there was no Record of a Transformation of the Island from its presumed former Location, but Travellers from the Dodecanese and Turkey were the first known Inhabitants. More recent Immigrants often reported Waterspouts, an unusual Sight in these Waters. The Owner of the modern Boat, it transpired, had not spoken or learned the Language, and had made himself unpleasant to the Inhabitants, who had not repined when he chose to Leave.
The Priest regarded this Place, the Pearl-Bright Ocean, as a higher Level of Existence; there were many Islands, seemingly fixed in Place, and it was theorised a greater Shore at some Remove, but this latter without reliable Report. We shared our own Tale, then looked for Magic; there was a clear Dome around the Island, but less within, and an odd magical Flow around the Inhabitants.
We examined the modern Boat, the Lady Arlene of Dunwich, and found it made of Fibre-Glass and visibly crumbling, unsurprising given the Nature of this Place. The Commander levitated to examine the Engine, finding it thoroughly seized but of a Design using internal Combustion. The Logs and Charts had been lost or destroyed. On examining the History of the Boat, M. Carnot found the Owner to be an unpleasant Character, crusing in the Ægean, and choosing when he saw a Squall to steer into it thanks to his poor Temper. On his Arrival here the Engine had immediately failed, and the Hull soon thereafter.
Searching through the Ballast revealed an interestingly magical Stone shaped with a shocked Face; this proved to be the Focus for a Curse of ill-Fortune at Sea. We considered its Destruction, but the Priest felt that it would be better dropped into deep Water.
4 October 2017
A small Schooner had arrived, and we spoke with their Crew, the Commander taking the Lead as I translated. They had most recently come from Crete, before that Cape Matapan, before that Ithaca, and visited perhaps twenty different Ports in their Voyages; Pirates were a Hazard to them, as was severe Weather, and the very occasional Monster.
In the Morning with some of our Number indisposed, Balaban úr, the Commander and I spoke with the Captain; to him the Navigation of these Seas, mostly the Mediterranean with some Excursions into the Black, was a conventional Matter of Cross-Staff, Star-Sighting and Compass, and the small Area of Sea that we perceived about each Island was not part of his Experience. There were to him no common Threats from above or below. He mentioned another Stranger at Crete, who had claimed to be King Minos; the real King objecting, this had a short Duration.
We considered taking Passage to visit some of these other Places. M. Carnot experimented with the Coracle: in the Harbour he was unable to depart from the local World at all, but some half a Mile out to Sea this was possible but challenging; as he lifted from the Sea the Sky changed to that with which we were more familiar on the Pearl-Bright Ocean.
We all travelled east towards what should be the Turkish Coast, though it was not visible from the Island; indeed, only once the Island had passed beyond the Horizon did it become apparent. The Commander believed that this indicated a greater Distance than on our own World. We made Landfall, and M. Carnot transferred directly back to Imbros, while we raised ourselves — and found that the Turkish Coast was not visible from the Astral as the Island-Bubbles had been. Our own Trip was faster than the outward Voyage by a Factor of some two or three Times, and we met M. Carnot again. Balaban úr asked some of the Locals of Troy, but was told it had been lost.
On the next Day we travelled on the Astral to the Island to the north-west, known as Samothrace, and returned on the Sea; this to determine whether each Island had its own distinct Manifold with Shadows of the other Islands, or whether they shared a single one, this latter being the case. We decided to take Passage to Crete, then to Sicily, to see how “real” these Places might be. First, though, the Commander flew out to Sea and deposited the cursed Stone in deep Water, beyond the Bubble surrounding the Island.
18 October 2017
After a Pair of Days, we took Ship for Crete, taking the Coracle with us; some half a Mile from the Island we observed a brief Distortion, and could then see the Island as before. The Voyage progressed much in the Manner of a Voyage on our own Earth, with some Wind in the Night (we continued in Darkness, rather than setting Anchor). The next Day the Weather continued slightly rough, and I supplemented and improved the Food as it could not be cooked. In all the Journey took some three Days, interrupted by an unfriendly Ship; they desired some Cargo, and after some Negotiation we repaid them with Fire and Balaban úr. He and the Commander stayed aboard to ensure the surrendered Crew followed us to Crete, particularly with the Suggestion that we would report on the Degree of their Co-öperation. (Their most recent complaisant Port was the Island of Makra, which Information we would also pass on to the Authorities of Crete.) On the final Evening we anchored near Crete; there was some Screaming from the Shore, and a Pirate missing. M. Nodier espied two Horses and two human Forms on the Shore, taking some Action on the Ground. With more Observation it seemed that a Body had been impaled, or perhaps hung from a Stake. The Commander read the Mind of one of the two, who was surprised to have caught this particular Person, a known Criminal, and curious as to where he had come from.
15 November 2017
We came on next Day to Knossos, where the Palace above the City appeared somewhat odd; its lower Levels resembled the Construction of the City, but as our Gazes rose the Construction increased in Age, with the lower Levels now supporting the Upper; indeed those upper Levels lost some Definition and Solidity.
We moored, made ourselves known, and disposed of our Prisoners. A Priest of Poseidon came to speak with us, and we joined him; it seemed that our Coming had been foretold some thousands of Years before, and that we would visit the Grand King Minos – to whom he was willing to conduct us. We were escorted by ceremonial Guards in polished bronze Armour, who appeared not to be trying to draw Attention to themselves; the escorting Priest seemed frightened. The Commander attempted to read his Mind, without Success; he reached one of the Guards, who was concentrating entirely on his Job, and on a Probe learned that his Orders were to get these Strangers to the upper Palace with little Friction. (And he had never met the King himself.) M. Carnot asked the Priest for more Details, but he could add little to what we had already learned.
We passed through the grand Entrance to the Palace at the top of the City, through multiple large Rooms, then up a double Set of Stairs, gradually moving inwards as well as up. We saw nobody else during our Ascent; the Architecture became more refinedly Classical; Decoration was primarily naval in Style, with a significant Motif of Bulls.
Some ten Flights up, we passed along a substantial Corridor into the Hill, then started up a second Staircase, a wide and open Spiral, surrounded by pre-Classical Architecture (but the Stairs themselves intricately supported). The Commander tried again to read the Priest, who was relieved that things had gone well so far; his Impression of Minos was “vast, bull-headed, powerful and whimsical”.
We emerged onto a large Landing, a square Room with simple fluted Pillars in an early Style, to be met by another Priest and more Guards; these latter seemed to have cruder Equipment, but to be stronger. We had certainly ascended more than the visible Height of the Palace. The Commander found our Priest hugely relieved; he spoke to the new Priest with a memorised Phrase in a Language other than Greek, and received a Reply in the same Language. This new Priest seemed calm and assured in his Manner.
The first Priest and Guards left us and descended, with some sense of Relief. The Commander observed Indications of a Gate within the Stairs; the new Guards moved to open bronze Doors at this Level. The Commander found these Guards more assured, and less impressed by the Situation; and M. Carnot asked the Priest, who confirmed that he was a Worshipper of Minos. The Language was Minoan, related by Mycenæan.
It appeared that because of Distortion of Time, our Actions now would become the Prophecy of the future Era in which we had arrived.
Beyond the Doors was a Painting of a naval Battle, bull-headed men winning, and to one Side the King himself, bull-headed and perhaps some thirty Feet tall, surrounded by a distinct Aura of Magic (and even more of it on some of his Equipment). We introduced ourselves; Minos stated that we must undergo the proper Trial, and commanded that we be taken to the Labyrinth, Entrance Epsilon. We followed the Priest through another Door opposite the Throne; the Scale returned gradually to Human, and we arrived in a Room with a Table, Guards, and Lanterns. We took Refreshment, and Speech with the Priest who admitted little about the Labyrinth but was informative about the Minoan Language; it seemed to be a Creole of very early Greek and something not immediately classifiable, with Grammar related to the Etruscan and Vocabulary from elsewhere. The Commander asked about other Islands with similar Links to their own Past; he thought Crete the most conspicuous, but thought there might be a similar effect at Ithaca (and identified it as the modern Ithaca, close to Kephalonia off the west Coast of Greece).
After some Rest, we proceeded to enter.