Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cast of Characters

Reproduction of playbill, Bastable Theatre, Drury Lane, London, c. 1738:

The Master of the Games is pleased to announce the upcoming Entertainment,
A Production of a Work by Gefridus Vasilescicus,
Featuring The Lincoln Streete Players in,

Doctor Sandorius
A Philosophical Fantasie

The Cast:

From Cambridge,

Leviathan Cherrycoate, a student of Natural Philosphie and Apprenticed to Doctor Newton in the Secret Arts

Wendyleen Penruddick, a gentlewoman and scholar whose family has been much importuned against by the said Prentice Cherrycoate

In London,

Doctor Sandorius, a scholar from far Transylvanie, in search of That Which Man Was Not Meant to Know

Graffein Georgina von Falkenburg, a noblewoman from the Germanies, of huge appetites and no mean stature

Colonel Alois van der Snaecht, a Walloon Mercenary, redoubtable in his profession and his commerce

The Prince’s Entourage upon the Grand Tour,

The Prince Ladislas Radziwill, a Most Noble youth, of Great Spirit but Lesser Wit

Anusia Borzboghati, a lesser noblewoman from Lithuanie, known for fierce rages and unwomanly violence

Octawjan Zagloba, a Polander nobleman and student of life, the Prince’s Tutor

Selim Mirski, a Lithuanie Tartar and a Musselman!

Act I,
Anno Domini 1683

Scene I, Southwark, London, in the Street of the Sign of the Turk’s Head wherein lies the lodging house of Doctor Sandorius.

Part the Ist: A Life Most Ordinary

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:[1]

January the 1st, 1683

Giving thanks to our Lord for my continued life and health into this new year of our Lord 1683, I, Leviathan Cherrycoate, of Oxfordshire do hereby resolve to make a record of my life, per diem.

This new year finds me whole and healthy with my accounts in order and little debt showing me. I am living well in my own, albeit small, rooms at Bodley's Court, King's College, near the Old Lodge. I have proven not to have had the French Pox as I much afeard, being of a passionate nature and much habited with attendance in the houses of bawdies and fallen women. For this most recent deliverance, I am much thankful to the Lord.

I have these three years past obtained my baccalaureate from King’s College, Cambridge and have entered study into those most arcane arts, first under Master E.H.[2] and did obtain the first level of initiation. This autumn past, through the intercession of E.H., I did become apprenticed in the arts to the most illustrious I.N.[3] That good sir is man of much brilliance but little compassion and quite odd eccentricities. He is as want to kick me as not even though I have committed no ill. But I have learned much under his tutelage and do progress well in my studies.
In the country there is much uproar as regards an claimed attempt at the assassination of His Grace, the Duke of York[4], the King’s brother. The foul attempt is said by some to have been instigated by His Grace, the Duke of Monmouth, the King’s bastard, on account of the Duke of York being a thorough Papist and slave to the Roman practices. What ills shall come when once good King Charles dies, one shudders to contemplate. God grant him a long reign.

There is much talk regarding Admiral Penn's son who has departed last year for the New World to establish a paradise there for his Quaking followers. Good riddance believes I. I would hazard that he and his company shall be eat by red Indians afore the year is out.

The plague, which so recently afflicted the Continent, appears to have passed these isles by, Praise be to God.

Across the sea, King Louis[5] of France is said to be readying another bout of trouble for the Germanies. There is much tumult in Holland and Spanish Flanders, there being talk of war betwixt the French King and Leopold, Emperor of the Austrians. There is even talk of the Sultan[6] bestirring himself for yet another try gainst the Polack King[7] who has made a habit of thrashing the Turk. Praise God for the isolation of this happy isle….

January the 19th, A.D. 1683

Mr. I.N. did complain to me of the way in which I had placed the water clock. He took to abusing me most severely, calling me a lazy layabout and filthy Papist, which is the worst appellation in his vocabulary. Spent all evening cleaning vessels in the work room of the experimentations. Despite his occasional odd and vexing behavior, I.N does teach me much and I have great hopes for discovering the secrets of which the Great Hermes Thrice-Blessed did write. Completed the work well after midnight. And so to bed.

February the 2nd, A.D. 1683

Went unto the glassblower on High Street to obtain contract for the casting of glass vessels to the most specific of instructions of I.N. Afterwards, I stopped to speak with a woman of the town. Could not agree to her price and returned, much vexed, to my chamber. I found I.N. working late in the laboratory, once again dressed all about in crimson. When I asked if he required ought of me, he responded by saying, “Have a care Sally, lest your eggs be smashed.” Having received such a response previously I knew better than to inquire further so I left him. And so to bed.

February the 5th, A.D. 1683

Was working at experimentation this day, when I.N. decided to examine me upon my lessons. He does this by skulking up behind me whilest I was working with fulminate and brimstone and then, discharging pistols over my head, shouts his questiones at me in a great voice. Fortunately, I have grown accustom to this manner of examination, thus:
Q: What is the Secret of our Art?
A: Man is the Measure of All Things, for in each of his atoms lies a map of the greater universe. Thus he contains the microcosm of the macrocosm.
Q: How might a man use this to bend the universe to his will?
A: By finding the affinity which ties himself with that which is all around him. Man might thus control the affinities and harmonies of the decans and thereby effect visible matter.
Q: What are the decans?
A: The tenth part of the Spheres, Thirty-Six in all each representing all the varied power and substance of the universe.
Q: Of what is the Universe composed?
A: The Four Realms or Spheres, to wit,
Assiah, the Material Realm where most men slumber
Yitzerah, the Insubstantial Realm, where living and dead might meet with that which nar was born.
Briah, the Iconic Realm where myth is real and on the borders of which the decans flow in purest form
Aziluth, the Perfect Realm where contact might be made with the Prime Mover who dwells beyond the Spheres. It can only be entered by a crossing of the Sword Bridge over the Great Abyss.
"Very well, Master Cherrycoate. I shall allow you to stay one more day."

March the 1st, 1683

Whilst on my way to I.N.’s this morn was accosted by the most violent of harpies. This shrew seized my arm and said she wished a word with me. At first I thought her to be a woman of the town since she was most fair of face and form with hair of the finest red colour, although not richly attired. I offered to meet her post-meridian if she charged a reasonable price. At this she flew into a great rage, calling me a whoremonger and defiler. She said her name was Penruddick and that I had gotten her sister with child. She demanded that I make satisfaction of her sister, a poor orphan whose father was dead and whose mother lies in debtors’ goal.

Having been acquainted with many country girls round about, I could not gainsay her although I could not remember any lass by the name of Pendruddick, not that I inquired o’er much into the matter of names at such times. Nevertheless, I immediately flew from this shrew and in my haste did knock o’er a market stall of river fish upon which the malevolent harpy slipp’d and fell. I ran, her angry words following me.

Much to my vexation, the entire scene was observed by I.N.'s other prentice, F. De D[8]. De D. is a foul toady and a Switzer, to boot. Many is the time I was sure he had interfered with my experimentations for shear malice towards me. I.N., normally not subject to such weaknesses, is taken in by DeD.'s toadying and flattery.

Worked all day and all my experimentations failed. I am sure that De D. did spat into one of my crucibles but could not prove it. As the foul Switzer was leaving, he asked if I had an assignation with the lovely Mistress Penruddick who proclaimed her admiration for me so loudly this morn. I did not answer but, after he had gone, did draw up much mucous from my throat and spat it well and good into all of his crucibles. And so to bed.

March the 3rd, A.D.1683

Arrived late at the house of I.N. this day since Mistress Penrucddick lay in wait for me upon King's Parade all morn. I was able to proceed only when she went off a way, no doubt even an unnaturally vicious she-bitch as she must needs to piss like any other mortal creature.

Worked late this evening when I heard unusual noises coming from I.N.’s chamber. Didst enter in a rush to find the Master in his teaching gown but no stocking and shoes and bearing his whipping rod. Also within was de.D. sitting upon a stool and dressed only in his night shirt and Dunce’s cap. I.N. appeared most embarrassed and gave me a gold sovereign and told me to go to town and get myself supper.

I went to Mrs. Hopewell’s and was much merry. And so to bed.

March the 4th, A.D. 1683

Mr. I.N. most constrained this morning, avoiding my eyes and most circumspect. At last, he blurted out that he and Master de D. had made a most interesting discovery last evening. I said I had presumed they had at which I.N. became most flustered and made some comment in regard to the celestial calculus and then asked if I had a good supper. I said I had a most wondrous supper and would like to have it again this evening but could not for want of money. I then asked if he and M. de D. would be working late again tonight.

At this I.N. replied most coolly that, no, they would not be working such anymore but that I might still take my supper in the town and he most grudgingly it seemed gave to me another sovereign.

I went first to Mrs. Hopewell’s but that virago Mistress Penruddick lay in wait for me there, no doubt to make a capon of me given half the chance.

I went instead to Mr. Bracegirdle’s and sported with two of his girls and we were all most merry. But became most terribly foxed and had trouble finding my way to my rooms but did so, not knowing what time I arrived.

And so to bed.

March the 5th, A.D. 1683

Awoke this morn with a grievous headache and sour belly. Arrived at the laboratory late to find I.N. most vigorous and shouting where the devil had I been. Before I could answer he waived a letter in front of my face, shouting it had come from Sandorius and shouting that this Sandorius must have it. Before I could ask who this Sandorius was and what “it” was which he had, and not caring about the answer to either question, I.N. shouted that I must go and fetch it.

In his own due time, I.N. explained that Doctor Sandorius was another great Alchymist, a Transylvanian by birth currently residing in London. He was known to have studied the lost language of the Angels. From which, I.N. added, might be obtained the Words of Power which our Lord uttered at the Creation. Dr. John Dee, in the time of the Great Virgin, E.R., was said to have known this language and had writ a great lexicon of the language. And the world still speaks of the mighty powers of Dr. Dee. This Sandorius had writ to I.N. on a question most arcane regarding the lineage of one of the ancient Hebrew kings, a study at which I.N. was most expert. It was such a question, I.N. informed me, that only he who knew the lost tongue might ask. No doubt, this Sandorius had found Dr. Dee's lost lexicon.

My aching head reeled from I.N.'s exposition as well as from the previous nights adventures. I ejaculated without thinking, "What has this sausage-eater to do with me?" I.N. looked at me most vexed. Finally, he spoke with some spirit, "You, Cherrycoate, shall be my messenger. I shall answer his query in writing and you shall take it to him. But once there, you shall obtain for me the lexicon! By hook or by crook."

I was greatly discomfited by this demand. I sputtered my refusal with some heat. In the end, however, I was perforce required to make the expedition. As an initiate, I was sworn to blind obedience to the Masters placed above me. The alternative was that I should be cast out of the Brotherhood, fate which distressed me more than death. Well, almost more than death.

At least I would be free for a time from the harping of Mistress Penruddick

And so I set my steps towards the great city and towards a meeting with the most mysterious Doctor Sandorius…
[1] All excerpts are taken from the original MS of the diary currently housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
[2] Sir Edmund Halley
[3] Sir Isaac Newton
[4] Later King James II
[5] King Loius XIV
[6] Sultan Mehmet IV "the Hunter"
[7] King John III Sobieski
[8] Fatio De Dulier, early associate of Isaac Newton and some theorize homosexual lover.

Part the IInd - The Company of the Turk's Head

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

March the 8th, A.D. 1683

Arrived in London about five of the clock post-meridian after three days wearisome travel by flying coach with a broken spring. Suffered through three days of rain, bad food taken on the road, rain, little sleep, rain, floods and the companionship of a bilious parson from Exeter. Then there was the rain.

I was therefore much pleased to be deposited at the Sign of the Turk's Head, a most commodious hostelry in one of the worst parts of London, Southwark. As I descended from my coach, all about me were the worst the great City has to offer and ne'er a pretty or clean looking trull to be found.

The Turk's Head Inn was most appropriate to its exotic name. Within I found the place infested with foreigners. There was the odd assortment of Frenchmen, probably all buggerers, the odd Portugee and some type of Dutch admiral who was cozying up to a great German virago who sang like a man, laughed like a horse and could drink both under the table. But the strangest occupants of all were a host of Polack nobles from Lithuanie, all fur-clad, armed to the teeth and drunk as bishops.

As I attempted to approach the innkeeper to ask the whereabouts of Sandorius, one great fat fellow blocked my way, not out of any spite but rather in the same way the Alps do block the road to the Italies. He placed me upon the counter without the slightest effort and asked my name. After much dispute, I resigned myself to their company, especially after they did treat me to ale. I noticed that the great fellow who called himself by the ridiculous name of Ziglova was himself drinking from a great flagon with a capacity of near half a keg. I observed him empty the monstrous thing twice, showing little drunkenness for the effort.

He introduced me to a youth, one Prince Radivue, who despite his youth was a man of some stature and repute among them, no doubt for his ability to produce cabbage-gas. This prince was a handsome fellow and could speak Latin after a fashion. It was oft difficult to follow what he had said but soon I realized that he was quite the fool and little of his gibberings made sense at all. What was to be expected, however, since this Ziglova was the Prince's tutor.

Also in the Prince's company was a young woman with so outlandish I name I could scarce repeat it. She was attractive but for having the dress of a man and her temples shorn in the fashion of these Easterners. I might have offered her a tumble had she not been so well armed. Also with them was a small lad named Eduard who served as the Prince's swordbearer, carrying a blade twice as tall as himself.

We were much merry and betimes I nearly forgot wherefore I had come. This was especially so after we had been joined by the Dutchman and his dolly. The Dutchman, a soldier of fortune named Vander Ketch was a strutting gamecock but bore himself in a gentlemanly fashion. The German lass was named Georgina and was Countess of one of their bunion-sized principalities but was buxom and handsome in a horsey sort of way and appeared willing enough given the right persuasion. I had little doubt that, given sufficient time and drink, she would be supine and shouting to heaven of her imminent arrival but for me lying on top of her to prevent the ascension.

Feeling a pang of guilt towards my master, and not knowing if I.N. had set spies upon to see to my fidelity, I asked if any knew the whereabouts of one Doctor Sandorius. I had hoped that none would know for the moment so that I might have further discourse with the lady Georgina. Two events conspired to despoil me of my desires. First, the landlord told me that Sandorius lived but two doors away in the house of a French laundress. At which, Ziglova, cried out in a great bellowing laugh, "A Transylvanian? Why he is a near countryman of ours and we shall go to visit him. I shall act as translator." Wrapping a great arm about me, he led a whole cavalcade in an advance toward the street.

The second event was the unexpected arrival of Mistress Penruddick. The violent she must have ensconced herself in the baggage of the flying coach in order to continue to vex me. Although, I must admit, her dishabille appearance and the fire of her eyes appeared quite fetching to me as she stood in the doorway panting with anger. Methought I had rogered the wrong Penruddick. But such thoughts flew from my mind when she rounded upon me.

A great tumult ensued, ending only when Ziglova discharged a great many-barreled musketoon into the ceiling. The large bison of a man then thrust me through the door and down the street, Mistress Pennruddick shouting imprecations whilst following along.

We found the Laundry of Mde. Roget easily enough. Smell alone could have guided us. Before we entered, a hag at the door required a toll of piss for the privilege. Ziglova paid for us all to such an extent that we could have visited the place three times more.

Mde. Roget was a right fetching woman, with the look of the strumpet about her which is natural to all Frenchwomen. I imagined her late husband died no doubt from exhaustion and was momentarily concerned for the great Sandorius. Feeling such sympathy I thought to relieve him of that danger at least for a night. But Mde. R. seemed reluctant to my advances and then the wretched Pennruddick spoke up again and we must needs be back to business. More's the pity.

By and by, Sandorius permitted us to his chamber, which was also the chamber of Mde. R. Sandorius was younger than I had expected, not above thirty years of age, and not half so mad, certainly nowhere as mad as I.N.

He was surrounded by great vats and beakers of substance I only half could recognize. He bore about him the secret signs of our Order. He spoke Latin well so Ziglova and the others were not needed. Still I felt more secure with this well armed host about me, since the look of Sandorius' eye was enough to chill any man's sack.

I told him of my errand and presented I.N.'s letter. He said he would provide me a response on the morrow and would send it to my lodgings at Turk's Head Inn. As quickly as it had begun, our interview was ended and we found ourselves out upon the street once more.

As the others went back to the Inn, I fell behind and attempted to skulk my way up the stair to Sandorius' room. Much to my surprise, Sandorius was engaged in the same behavior save for being headed down whilst I was heading up. Before we could recriminate upon one another, a shout went up from the street and several ruffians, Frenchmen by the look of them, all wearing the white apron of the dread Camisard,[1] burst in upon us.

I fired one of my pistols which I had prepare with a powerful Infusion but the magic mistokened and a great bolt of blue lighting rebounded through the stairwells. Sandorius bethumped the assailants and hurtled them down the stairs. I followed and laid about me with my rapier.

Meanwhile, the Polacks had charged to the rear of the laundry where a great horde of the Frenchmen attacked through the yard. In the street, Vander Knack, the lovely Georgina and even Penruddick were striking down the Frenchmen, admittedly not an onerous task but I was much gratified for their assistance.

Sandorius ran up to the high window at the top of stair. Looking out, he began an incantation. It was in a tongue which I had ne'er heard before. Cutting himself and flinging the blood out the window, he induced a great trench to form in the yard by conversion of Earth unto Air. A most remarkable spell and one I was determined to comprehend.

Several of the Camisard had been slain by the conversion and Ziglova, the Prince and Georgina were well capable of killing the rest themselves. They were facing merely Frenchmen after all.

I returned to the street where much to my surprise, a wildly appointed wagon rolled to a stop, and several dark men, Gypsies by their odd dress, sprang forth. Vander Slice and I stood to them and one fell dead from the Dutchman's fusil. I knocked their leader down and would have dispatched him but for the fact that several of his fellows had laid Mistress Penruddick low and were carrying her away to their wagon.

Now our Lord does work in mysterious ways. At the start of this evening I was most melancholy, having had a difficult journey and dangerous endeavor. By the end, it appeared, I had all but achieved my end, received the favor of a wealthy Prince, found a great master from whom I should learn great things, and now, had the pleasure of watching a great enemy being carried off to bondage. All things considered a most profitable evenings work.

Penruddick shrieked for my help but I merely waived my farewells. My greatest concern at that point was that some officious bumpkin would attempt a rescue. My fears proved groundless for they took her to the wagon and flung her into the back. Now this wagon did prove to be most wonderous. For the entire coach was filled with a shimmering oval of light, which I recognized at once from my study to be a Great Portal, no doubt opening upon some far off place, or even one of the other Spheres. Truly fare thee well, Penruddick.

I turned my attention back to the Gypsy placing my pistol at his chest. Before I could inquire of the reason for this attack, a most strange keening sounded at my back. Turning, I spied that the coach was still in the street and the Portal was disgorging a vast legion of heavily armed Turks, all wearing the curious white sleeved hat of the Janissary.

When I called them to halt or I would slay their comrade, three discharged their great muskets at me. I tried to dodge the weighty shot but was knocked off my feet, sure at first that I had been slain. As fortune would have, I fell into a great heap of turds that had been thrown from a dung wagon at the initial onslaught of the Camisards. As one would expect from Frenchmen. However, noisome, these nasty fewmets absorbed much of the power of the shots and I was able to be back upon my feet in a few moments.

Oh what tumult which then ensued. The Polacks who bear great hatred for the Turks fell upon them with great fury. There were such ambuscades amongst the laundry lines and baskets as could scarce be imagined. The Prince was most vigorous in this action, swinging from rope and pole like a great African Ape amongst the heathen, striking them down by the score. Even the boy Eduard, coming unexpectedly from behind with the great sword, struck down three of the Janissaries before my eyes.

In the midst of this affray, I thought suddenly of Sandorius who I had not seen since the onset of the Turks. I suddenly spied him atop the roof of the laundry running with the lifeless form of Mde. Roget in his arms. He lept down into the seat of the dung cart and hurried it off.

I followed quickly. Finding a wagon belonging to the laundry nearby, I cut the horse from its traces and hurried after. In a short time, I came upon the wrecked cart, the body of Mde Roget and several dead Turks littering the road. In the distance I could make out Sandorius riding pall-mall towards the river piers. I followed hastily after.

I suddenly heard a great explosion and, looking back, spied the top floors of the laundry torn asunder and all afire. Evidently, Sandorius had been prepared for such a visitation.

I followed Sandorius to a ship which appeared ready to depart on the evening tide. I crept closer whilst he spoke to the captain. Suddenly, he turned about, plucked me up and threw me into the river.

Now I cannot swim so I was sure I was done for when a great stick appeared before me and hurled me out of the water.

At the other end was Sandorius with a smile most sardonic. "You needed to bathe Cherrycoote," says he. "I could smell you from a mile away. Now, tell me why you follow me or I shall return you to King Neptune."

I stammered that I sought to learn the Arts from him since he had demonstrated his great skill this evening.

"Why should I take on a student, especially one the likes of you."

I had him now. I offered to show him my copy of I.N.'s great manuscript the Principia Decania. Even the grim Sandorius' eyes widened when I mentioned this for all in the Order had known of the outline of I.N.'s great work but none save I knew its contents.

I retrieved the dampened manuscript from my kit and Sandorius scanned it with the utmost interest.

Finally he looked up to me and said, "Very well Cherrycoate, you may stay with me this night. I shall most likely kill you in the morning."

He then turned to the captain and said, "We are ready to depart. My servant here shall work for passage."

And so I was placed at holystoning the deck until well into the night, after which I was shown to a small corner of the forecastle. And so to bed….

Editors' Note: The Turkish Visitation of Southwark of 1683 is one of the most bizarre and unexplained events in London's history. Most scholars have dismissed the event as the product of the war jitters that was sweeping Europe that spring coupled with the distribution of a bad batch of cheap gin. Cherrycoate's narrative is in fact the only eyewitness account and provides an alternative if highly dubious rationale for the event.

Most contemporary accounts of the event credit the suppression of the disturbance to a press gang from the warship, HMS Black Charles although legend does credit the initial halt of the invaders to the heroic laundresses of Southwark and even, in one account, a preternaturally large boar. Recently discovered Vatican archives not only confirm the presence of the Radziwill party in London at the time but also credit the Prince with almost single-handedly defeating the strange attack. See W. Zeligowski, Shadows over Rome, Vatican Correspondence Regarding Paranormal Phenomenon in Eastern Europe 1618-1721, New York, 1998.

For purposes of the narrative, what Cherrycoate does not explain, nor would he have been in the position to know, was that most of his recent associates from the Turk's Head had presumed both he and Sandorius killed in the explosion. This is the reason for their subsequent surprise upon meeting the pair some time later.

May the 2nd, A.D. 1683
From the Palace of Topkapi
In the Realm of the Sublime Porte

To Madame Nelle Lyzzard-Penruddick
Marshalsee Debtor's Goal

Dearest Mother,

I hope all is well with you and my dearest sister. I fear I shall not be able to get home for her confinement as I have been kidnapped by heathen Turks and am being held in the Sultan's seraglio. I hope Uncle Rafael's gout is not troubling him over much this season.

Rest assured I am in good health and spirit and hope to reunite my beloved family some day in the very near future.

As you know, I have been attempting to obtain satisfaction from Master Newton's Prentice Cherrycoate for having got our dear Honoria in such a way. Despite my best effort to make that vile scoundrel pay his due, he has denied my every reasonable demand whilst he goes about attempting to ravish any female on two feet and some four-footed ones no doubt as well. I had followed him to London where he engaged a whole gang of foreigners to protect him. Finally, he engaged a troop of gypsies to carry me off.

They placed me in what appeared to be a carriage with a strange aperture within. Thrust through this opening I found myself an instant later in barracks of the Sultan of Turkey's guards. Although the superstitious heathens have assured me this passage was magical, I am not taken in by such blather. It is quite clear that over the past few years, no doubt at the instigation of that evil, vile, filthy whoremonger Cherrycoate, the Turks have been engaged in building a great tunnel beneath Europe. They have placed therein a most efficient pneumatic tube with which they propel people to and fro.

Since arrival here, I have been kept prisoner in the harem and I do not know what they intend of me. I have been able to learn the Turkish tongue, which is not as difficult as has been said. I have the protection of a great blackamoor eunuch named Sufi who has shown considerable loyalty and nobility, as compared to the vile, cowardly Cherrycoate. It is through the assistance of Sufi that I am able to send you this letter.

Although I have not been harmed o'ermuch, I have been subjected to much Eastern immoral and decadent humiliation. I have been forced to bathe daily in scented waters. Slaves dress my hair and paint my eyes and face with scandalous cosmetics. I was forced to eat rich foods until surfeit and am forced to wear the sheerest silks and velvets that, while comfortable in this heat are quite immodest to the eye.

The women of the harem were quite a lazy bickering lot, many having grown quite fat upon their indolence. I had soon set them upon a more correct and productive path. I have started all upon a regime of exercise and proper diet. I have also undertaken to teach them to read and write and do their arithmetics. I have also started a gardening club and our first roses are already beginning to bloom. I have taken a date press and carved date pits for lettering, current juice for ink and the elaborately fashioned papier de toilet and begun to print a harem newspaper. My first editorial was upon the need for suffrage for women in the realm of the Sultan, which I thought was quite good until I was informed that even men do not have the right to vote.

But fear not, dearest Mother, for, despite my surrounding and dress, my virtue is intact. No man save the eunuchs are allowed within the Women's Quarters and my fellow inmates assure me that there are so many women here that it will take years, if ever, for the Sultan to get around to me.

Give my best to our dearest Honoria.

Your loving daughter,

Post Scriptum,

I have this moment been summoned to the Sultan's Quarters. I had prayed to be relieved from this visitation but His Will be done. I shall not give into such vile degradation and shall die a martyr preserving the honor of honest English womanhood. Please make sure my cat is fed.

[1] A sect of French religious fanatics who terrorized southern France in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Their origin was due to various causes; the Albigensian spirit which had not completely died out in that region, and which caused Pope Clement XI to style the Camisards "that execrable race of ancient Albigenses"; the apocalyptic preaching and literature of the French Calvinists, on which they were nourished; and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), along with the singular methods of conversion employed by the agents of Louis XIV. Sometimes suspected as one of the organizations from which the Order of Freemasons evolved.

[2] All excerpts of the famed Penruddick Mother-Daughter Correspondence are reprinted with special permission from the Ponsonby family archives with special thanks to the eighth Earl of Ponsonby.

Part the IIIrd - Roads Well Trod

May the 4th, A.D. 1683
From the Palace of Topkapi
In the Realm of the Sublime Porte

To Madame Nelle Lyzzard-Penruddick
Marshalsee Debtor's Goal

Dearest Mother,

You will be happy to learn that I have not been forced to slay myself yet. My interview with the Sultan turned out to be much more pleasant than I expected. And, knowing the question next on your mind, no, my virtue is still intact.

My Gypsy captors took me from the seraglio to a most austere room in the depths of the palace. The ventilation of this room must have been quite poor since it seemed filled by a mirky mist and foul odor. Betimes, I perceived another in the room, a tall handsome woman with red eyes and a icelike cold touch, not unlike Aunt Hecuba but far more personable.

They did not seem to be aware that I spoke the Turkish tongue and were quite free in their conversation regarding me. Apparently, I was to be used as an example of Western womanhood in order to convince the Sultan of a reason to attack the Austrians. I was to be presented by one Count Thokoly who was a Hungarian rebel quite spiteful to the Austrians.

I expressed my thanks for their complements to me but indicated that I did not have the time to participate in their little masque and could I be returned home now.

At this, the woman, who they referred to only as the Countess flew into a rage at not being told that I spoke their tongue. She pointed an accusatory finger at one of my captors and suddenly touched it to him. Since Gypsies are of a hot-blooded temperament, the man fell into a swoon when touched the Countess' cold finger. Personally, I found the coolness of her touch to be not entirely unpleasant, bringing to mind, for some reason, those wonderfully chill winter days I spent making rubbings off tombstones in the churchyard for amusement.

Betimes, I was taken into the Sultan's audience chamber, a most ornate and luxuriously wasteful apartment. The Sultan seemed a kindly man of about forty but well begone in the stupor of his pipe and bowl. He appeared also to be most lustful and surrounded himself even here with numerous indecently clad women of the harem.

With some difficulty, Thokoly explained that a great army was formed in Belgrade under the Grand Vizier, one Kara Mustafa, and whither should this army be sent, against the Austrians or gainst some land called Lechistan. Pointing to me, Thokoly argued that great beauties were to be found in the West, that the Austrians were not hardy soldiers and once crushed, the small states of Germany would fall as so many overripe fruit. This would allow them to meet their allies the French, somewhere near the Rhine, where in typical male fashion they should fall to congratulating one another on the great sack and rapine they has wrought, before they could then turn undistractedly against the fair British Isles.

When I expressed my outrage at this proposed course of action, all the men present were most rude and did caution me repeatedly to silence. They were most horribly put out when I refused to be a party to their plans and asked to be returned home. The Sultan was most seemingly offended by my simplest interjection. He became quite enraged when some of his women attendants showed the temerity of listening to what I had to say.

He finally said he would support the attack upon the Austrians and, in order that I trouble him no more, I should be given unto Kara Mustafa as a prize but only when Vienna falls. I was to take to the Vizier, a green cord tied in knots, about ninety in number. Each day a knot was to be untied and once all were untied, if Vienna had not fallen, Kara Mustafa was to be strangled with the cord and me along with it for failing to provide him with proper encouragement. Have you ever heard a more typically masculine plan, overwrought and overdramatic?

Although I know you had always hoped that I some day marry a wealthy man, I do not think this was what you intended. But never fear for I shall remain upright in my defense of English womanhood in these barbarous lands. Also I shall rather die than assist in their nefarious plans. I shall endeavor to the utmost, in whatever humble manner I can to interfere and frustrate the Turk's plan, even though it mean my death. For God and for England. Amen.

I do hope the pain in your liver has improved.

Your Loving Daughter
5th March 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

I have the honor of reporting to your Excellency that, per your instructions, I have obtained the adherence of the Most Excellent Colonel Alois van der Snaecht and all of his men to the service of His Imperial Highness, Leopold, Emperor of the Romans. The price agreed for one year's service was higher than anticipated but I believe necessary. The Noble Colonel van der Snaecht presents himself as a most martial man well skilled in the arts of war. I believe that the bargain is well made. His battalions, three in total of near 800 men each are said to be well equipped and well-handled, in cantonment now in the southern provinces of Holland from which employ they have recently been released. Absent misfortune, we should reach the rendezvous in the Rhineland within one month's time from whence the ambitions of the French can be checked.

7th March 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

…thus ended the incident of the London Turks.

I have had some concern about regarding Good Colonel van der Snaecht's behavior following the incident. Throughout the affray he demonstrated a most cool head and determined skill although not overmuch in the advance, preferring careful back-shooting and back-stabbing. He explained to me afterwards that this was not ungentlemanly conduct but rather fine stratagems. Upon the conclusion of the affray, however, he was found hidden in a corner, reduced to a most poltroonish form, shivering like a schoolgirl. Upon calming, he insisted that it was not cowardice but rather the rapid cooling of his over-heated choler which had rendered him thus. He then took several flagons of Rhenish right off and was quite himself again.

8th April 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

It was been one month since my last missive to you and I regret to inform Your Excellency that I have only now arrived in Amsterdam. Our departure from London was delayed for over a week due to our attendance upon the Prince Radziwill. We were further delayed for over two weeks whilst Colonel van der Snaecht obtained the outfitting of his own supply, all at the Emperor's expense. I questioned the wisdom of some of his choices but he insisted that he is by far the more experienced soldier and that I should be guided by him. Each time I inquired when he should be ready to depart he put me off with yet another excuse.

Finally growing weary of the delay, I accosted him in his rooms at Radziwill's Turk's Head Inn. I found him well after noon just arisen, in his nightshirt and busy with filling a pisspot with remainder of the previous night's infusion of Rhenish.

Enraged, I informed him that we would sail on the late morning tide the next morrow. To which he replied with a blank stare and belch.

When I returned the next morn, he was still in bed. Fortunately, the gracious Prince Radziwill and his man Zagloba assisted me in evicting the Colonel from his rooms and, only this way, did we make timely to our ship.

Arriving in Amsterdam, the Colonel attempted the same prevarication but this I prevented by the application of sword point and pistol barrel as well as threat of the termination of his company's employment and I expect he shall be more cooperative and motive in the future.

14th April 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

We have finally arrived in the camp of the Walloon battalions. I was surprised to find that they are less than half the size originally told me by the Colonel. He insists however that there are large numbers absent from camp, either as piquets or embarked upon the constant training with which he enures them to the rigours of campaign. I am mollified somewhat by his explanation especially since he has indicated that his troops shall be ready to march tomorrow.

3rd May 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

Three weeks have passed and still we have not moved from this cursed camp. The Colonel, refuses to move, citing the needs of first one consignment then another. Today we await a store of flints for his firelocks which are in terrible condition. We also must await his Sergeant Major who rides in search of his Adjutant who has stolen from the regiment and deserted. I come to think we would be better off if the Colonel would go and join him.

The regiment can barely field twelve hundred men, mostly by scouring the nearby village for beggars, old men and idiots. I believe one of the platoons of pike is made up entirely of syphilitics.

As you have suggested, I have sent orders to the Squadron of the Schnitterboch Cuirassiers to report to me here. They being close, most recently in Franconian service, I expect them within the fortnight. Once here, I shall be able to impress my will upon the most reluctant Colonel van der Snaecht.

May 15th , A.D. 1683
To His Holiness, Innocent XI
From Cardinal D., Grand Master of the Order of the Star of Bethlehem

It is with grave concern that I write to Your Holiness of the intentions of the Ottoman armies now gathering in Belgrade in former kingdom of Servia. Now numbering some three hundred thousand, the force has been gathered from throughout the Ottoman lands and is under the personal command of the Grand Vizier, Kara Mustafa. It is said that the Sultan's firman has been sent to the Vizier requiring him to conquer or die.

Our agente in rebus in Constantinople has reported that the expedition shall not be against the Polish lands as originally thought, but shall be against the Hapsburg realm. This is most unfortunate since Leopold has proved to be a most irresolute, petty and unwarlike monarch. He has abandoned much of the defense of his eastern lands in favor of opposing King Louis of Franc in the West. His army is commanded by Charles, Duke of Lorraine, a capable soldier but not of the type to inspire men to acts of great courage. The forces defending the Hapsburg lands are ill-paid, demoralized and number barely fifty thousand all told. They are also scattered widely in garrison towns where they are much more an affliction than comfort to the inhabitants. Little hope of stopping the Turks lies in Austrian arms alone.

Your Holiness knows what lies in Vienna and is most assuredly the true reason for this expedition. We are even now taking steps to prevent the success of this endeavor but the surest means of doing so is to drive the Turks and their Masters as far as possible away from the city. Therefore all effort should be made to enlist the aid of Bavaria, Saxony and the other German states to fly to the aid of the Emperor. Above all King John of Poland should be induced to take the lead in this succor.

There has also been a report of discord within the household of the Vizier. However, this report appears unreliable since it claims that the discord is amongst the Vizier's womenfolk.

15th May 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

I have confronted the foul Colonel van der Snaecht this day on his delays and he merely put me off. When I asked where the remainder of his troops was, he replied blandly that I have contracted for three battalions and could I not see the three flags.

At this I flew into a rage and cursed him for being a fool. He and his officers laughed until my cuirassiers rode onto the field. His men were so surprised that, when he ordered them to form square, a good third dropped their weapons and pleaded for mercy.

Among the rest however there was a glimmering of soldierlyness and with proper handling these men might yet make a presentable appearance.
2nd July 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

It is with horror that I have received your last missive, informing me of the expedition of the Turk against the Austrian lands, the siege of Gyor and their unopposed advance upon Vienna. I shall endeavor to hurry the Walloons unto the grand army forming now at Regensburg. We are currently encamped near the lands of the Elector of Bavaria.

Although their Colonel is a lazy, gluttonous wastrel, the Walloons do appear an adequate regiment and I hope shall acquit themselves well in the coming campaign.


We have begun the march to Regensburg this morn. I expect our journey shall be timely now that I have assigned a troop of heavy horse to act as both fore and rear guard to guide the Walloon regiment. With drawn saber and primed pistol.

June 6th , A.D. 1683
To His Holiness, Innocent XI
From Cardinal D., Grand Master of the Order of the Star of Bethlehem

It is with pleasure that I report that the interests of Holy Mother Church have been secured in the Polish Commonwealth and that an alliance between the Commonwealth and the Emperor Leopold has been approved by the Polish Diet. In this the Church's most loyal agentes in rebus have been quite active and the Church received assistance from one of Her simplest but loyalest sons.

As your Holiness is aware, the Constitution of the Polish Commonwealth is most liberal, bordering at time upon anarchy in its assurances of freedom to its citizens. They have a curious practice called the librum veto which allows a single member of their Diet not only to prevent the passage of a disfavored act but also to dissolve the session entirely. This strange practice is rarely used and he that invokes it is subjected to infamy for life.

Unscrupulous men, led by the ambassador of King Louis and abetted by Prince Sapieha, commander of the army of Lithuania, sought a dupe who could be bribed or persuaded to cast his veto upon the alliance.

The person they hoped to ensnare was the young Prince Ladislas Radziwill of a junior branch of that great family. He had most recently returned from a Grand Tour and was noted for the attractiveness of his personality and the simplicity of his mind. The two conspirators approached the prince and offered him a great bribe to break up the Diet. Relying upon the advice of Sir Octavianus Zaglobianus, his tutor and a most cunning and resolute man, the Prince feigned acceptance of this notorious bribe. However, Sir Octavianus, also an renown artificer, had created for the Prince a most ingeniously wrought camera obscura which secretly caught innumerable images of this act of bribery by Prince Sapieha and the French ambassador which were then available as evidence against them.

This information and proof were given unto King John in private interview. By the noon following, the French ambassador was ordered recalled to his King and Prince Sapieha withdrew from participation in the Diet to his estates, pleading illness.

The vote of the Diet was unanimous in favor of the alliance and all opposition quelled. Most influential proved to be a speech by Prince Radziwill in support of the alliance. Although few could recall the substance of the speech, all agreed that it was most handsomely and personably given that none could resist the Prince's considerable charms.

Even now martial preparation go forward in Poland. Four thousand horse have already been dispatched under Count Lubomirksi to assist the Austrian army while the royal army of King John is raised. It is requested that four hundred thousand gold ducats be presented to King John to assist in these preparation. It is requested that special dispensation be granted to the King to employ the Jewish cabbalists to assist the Royal Artificers and Cannoneers in the rendering of engines of power. As Your Holiness has written, magic wrought in the defense of Christendom is not sin.

It is also requested that fifty thousand gold ducats be presented to Prince Radziwill and he be confirmed in his title of Prince of the States of the Church. He has been given command of the King's regiments of hussars and will be much in need of support, both temporal and moral.

Part the IVth - A Gathering of Storm Clouds

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

March the 6th, A.D. 1683

Awoke this morning aboard the barque Flatulence or some such, after having a spent a restive night preserving my toes from being eat by the ship's rats and my virtue from be ravished by the ship's crew.

Up betimes and to work in the galley, did find much favor by increasing the ration of beer for all and sundry. So much so that I had three offers to protect me gainst rodents and sodomites and two proposals for marriage.

March the 10th, A.D. 1683

Well into the Northern Sea with much rough weather. As the waves were breaking over the gunwales, S. ordered me into the Captain's dingy for my first lesson in affinities. With much trepidation I entered the boat which was lowered aft but still tied to the ship by line.

S. had coated the hull of the boat with beer and had carved symbols upon to the old sea gods. I also reminded him that it was still the Sign of Pisces and wouldst be a propitious time for water related magic.

With great effort, he called out an invocation in Gaelic of all things but lo the boat did rise up fully ten foot from the water. S. was careful that none of the crew would apprehend this for fear that they would realize him a master of the Arts. Sailors being suspicious it is not clear, had they known his skill, if they would kill him for being ill omened or impugn upon him for love charms.

In a few moments, however, S. efforts in regard the spell failed him and I felt the boat drop suddenly back into the water. The impact which the boat had upon the water together with the sea's roughness did fling me high into the air and propel me downward with such force that I bethought myself soon to be an intimate of the Locker of Master David Jones.

I suddenly felt something grasp hold of my neck gainst which I struggled mightily, all the while gulping in great draughts of seawater. As suddenly I gained my breath and realized I had been brought unto the air again by S. who had swum out to succor me. Much to our surprise when we reached the surface, the ropes with which S. had bound himself to the ship had been cut and the barque was sailing away. The piratical crew apparently having cut the rope and marooned us in hopes of making off with our possessions.

S. lept into the dingy and plucked me in after. He then manned the tiller and shouted a great invocation in that wondrous tongue that knew the universe when it was ought but firmament and cut himself a mighty blow with his knife upon the hand. As his blood splattered, the boat rose high into the air and plunged rapidly after the fleeing ship. We hurtled past the mainmast foreyard and came to rest when I caught it with a line.

Now sailors being a superstitious lot and seeing two presumably drowned passagers flying o'er the masthead in their captain's dingy, they took us for demons sprung rapidly from hell. Scurrying from the deck like unto the verminous roaches which they were, the sailors fled. This allowed S. to retrieve our possessions from our cabin and did return quickly to the boat. I was much taken by the kindliness of S. in rescuing me and retrieving my goods as well as his. Such consideration wouldst never have entered the august head of Master N.

And so we flew onwards for the better part of the hour until the power of the magic receded and we found ourselves upon the sea once more. However, the dingy proved sturdy and well victualed and so on we sailed.

March the 12th, A.D. 1683

Having received a following sea, Master S. and I arrived in the town of Bremen, a great port on the northern coast of the Germanies. Much to my distress I have learned that S. has no money and we are forced to rely upon my skills at beer-making to finance our journey to meet with the philosopher Liebniz who may have knowledge of the whereabouts of the works which S. seeks. And so we set our feet on the road to Hanover.

March the 30th, A.D. 1683

After a most difficult and trying journey Master S. and I have arrived, by foot in Hannover. Having no money for lodgings we went immediately unto the Court of The Elector of Hanover. S. sent in signs of the Order to the great Liebnitz and we soon found ourselves closeted with the philosopher.

We were blest most fortunately as I surmised that Liebniz' pride was rivaled possibly only by N.'s. With some flattery, though not in exaggerate for he is of an intellect most keen, I was able to establish the location of the library of the late mad Emperor Rudolph which is sought by S. and which may contain the lost writings of the great Doctor John Dee.

I did also procure some much needed coin and, of course, subsequent physical relief with a rather buxom German tart, named Greta or Gretchen or some sort, of surprising vigor and imaginings. I felt much better than I had in weeks. It is amazing how the expulsion of bodily fluids, be it piss, snot, blood or semen, does balance the humors.

I believe further that I have engendered the most secretive S. in the belief that I am in dissatisfaction with Newton and seek S. as my Master new. Though I harbor no ill will towards S. for I have found he is of much knowledge, but his furtiveness and well...foreignness, is difficult to fully embrace. Whilst Newton may, in factum, be deranged I believe he has not yet crossed the slender partum betwixt true genius and insanity and can still open doors of many corridors in God's House of Knowledge; Knowledge that should be pursued by proper Englishmen and not the swarthy of dubious intent. My provision of the knowledge Newton seeks willst further ingratiate him to me leaving my task only to deal with the experimentia havoc-wreaking DeDulier, the buggering sod. It is of additional fortune, nay Providence, that the mechanism to ruin the blackguard was placed before me whereupon I seized it like one would a tawdry wench in lusty embrace!

I was most brilliant in forethought to pay the chambermaide of DeDullier's rooms (and not just in coine) to give onto me his soiled bedsheets. This being done following his deceitful ruination of mine experimentations. Upon careful examination I discovered that DeDuilier was in the habit of exuding a drool most profuse uponst his pillow covering. Even my lack of the mechanik of the Affinities did not preclude myself of the understanding of the potential value of bearing such personal biological icons. In fact, Newton's paranoia on the subject gave providence of stimulation of my plan against DeDullier. God be praised that in so soon a time, an adept presented himself to complete my plan. I only hope that Herr Liebniz can execute a casting that will remove DeDullier from my vexing tho he is in belief it is against Newton. Perhaps I can query Master S. on the matter.

Master S. calls, for we are off to Vienna. It should be delightful and opportune much relaxation through varied sport with the native ladies. And so off...

July the 12th, A.D. 1683

After suffering much vexations and grievous delays, we arrived in Vienna this morn. Master S. still much put out with me for the misadventure of the cheesemakers' twin daughters I suffered in Bamberg. But truly that delayed us but four days and cost only half our funds in the escape. Much of the delay was caused by the spring flooding which is most great this year. Also, there was the need to tread warily for the country is full of soldiers all marching against the Turk. It is with much trepidation that we proceed hence since Vienna is said by all to be the desire of these heathens.

Vienna is a great large town, bounded on two sides by the Flumen Danuvius. Aforetimes it must have been a splendid capital for the Emperor since there is fine new palace and the Cathedral of Saint John, although Papist, is as pretty a little church as ever I have seen. The women here are fair with that certain looseness of morals such as can only be found amongst those educated by nuns.

Much confusion reigns here with all who can fleeing the city. In this the Emperor has preceded them for he is said to be a callow, unwarlike fellow. It is said that the Turk shall be here any day. Thus do I hope that we shall find the books we seek soon so as to fly from this place of dread.

July the 14th, A.D. 1683

We have this day obtained an interview with the Archbishop of Vienna, whom Liebniz assured us was the possessor of Rudolph's library. We found the Archbishop to be a grizzled old former Knight of Malta who hath more the look of a prize fighter than a prelate about him. He is not Austrian or Italian as one would suppose and his accent is quite strange. All about the Archbishop's residence was much bustle with warlike preparation and we found him buckling on a well-used cuirass upon which was emblazoned the Cross of Malta.

S. introduced himself and asked if he might have a favor granted. The Archbishop did not respond at first, looking quite pensive. He then went to his credenza and produced a great sheaf of papers which he studied for a moment.

Finally says he, "Yes…so you are that damned philosopher Sandorius, we have quite a dossier about you, Sir. Like a copulating cat you appear to have nine lives. What is it you seek?"

Realizing that the Archbishop was not a man to dissemble gainst, S. asked if might we have the liberty of the books of Doctor Dee. The Archbishop was silent again for a while and then got about him an aspect most wolflike in its fierce satisfaction. Then a great explosion was heard from without. This seemed to bring him from his reverie.

He spake thus, "Tis but the demolition of the fornicating suburbs upon my orders. E'en now there are fires in the fornicating villages to the West…Tartars, copulating catamites that they are, come in advance to seal up the city. By tomorrow the whole of the fornicating Turkish host shall be upon us. If the fornicating city falls or if the Book of Dee falls into their hands, I need not say to you what the fate of the whole fornicating world shall be. The fornicating Duke of Lorraine is running to the west to meet such forces as may come from the Empire. We expect the fornicating King of Poland shall join him as well. But we must tarry the copulating catamite heathen here awhile to permit the gathering of the armies. If the reports are true, you are a man of great power. If you help myself and General von Staremburg to hold this fornicating place, then upon the day the copulating catamite Turk is driven off or destroyed shall you have free visit upon the library of Rudolph the fornicating Mad. Is this acceptable?"

"Fornicating Yea!" S. agreed. At this the Archbishop left us, swinging a Great Sword about his head as if it were toothpick and he well over sixty in years. I asked one of his friars what manner of man the Archbishop was. He says, "A Cretan by birth, raised in Venice and entered into the Order at a young age. He turned pirate after Malta fell and it is said he once laid waste to the coast of Morocco and has only recently completed his penance for all the murder he hath done. But you did not hear this from me."

From the Vatican Archives:

July 14th30th, A.D. 1683
To His Holiness, Innocent XI,
From Cardinal D., Grand Master of the Order of the Star of Bethlehem

Reports from Warsaw confirm that martial preparation are well in hand. The people here are rallied by their King and show the spirit of the Crusaders of old. The troops drill daily under the Marshal or as they call him here, Hetman Jablonski. A great troop of hussars, winged as angels, is being raised by the Prince Radzivill and all the young men of the Kingdom seek to serve with him.

Sir Octavianus has been much at work in the Royal Arsenal with General Katski, the Master of Artillery and with the assistance of the Jewish cabbalists. Much wonderous works spring forth from his hand. He has developed a new system for the firelocks in which he has sealed a drop of fulminate mercurius in a tiny button which when struck produces a truer spark than e'en the flintlocks of the new fusils. He says this will e'en allow the guns to be fired in a full rainstorm. Two regiment of foot and one squadron of armored carabineers are thus armed with these weapons. Also, he has wrought wondrous granadoes and bombadilloes as well as several light culverins which may be drawn by horse instead of oxen. He has also mounted a light mortar upon a quick cart which shall carry it cross the battlefield.

But much remains to be done and many more troops need to be gathered. The local councils balk at providing the funds necessary for the war, some saying that the jealous nobles, lead by Prince Sapieha are behind the opposition. Others say that French bribes seek to slow the great enterprise until it is too late to save the Hapsburg realm. As a result of this prevarication and tumult, it is unlikely that the army here shall be ready to march until summer's end.

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

July 21st A.D. 1683

The Turks have been before the city for nearly one week and still their troops of horse and foot continue to come in. They swarmed up like locusts and whole forests vanish under their axes. It is said the streams nearby have dried up from the thirst of this great host. Further that a new mountain arises to rival the Viener Wald Heights but this one made up of the steaming turds of the vast amount of horses in the Grand Army. A sea of tents has sprung to the west of the city and it is here that they begin to plant their Grand Batteries.

The Archbishop anticipated this and upon his advice we have chosen to place our mine. Working furiously through the nights after our interview, S. and I gathered up all the philosopher's mercury to be had in the town for to create such diabolical engines as we could conjure. S. took one part of the mercurius and made from it ingeniously wrought glass grenadoes infused in separate chambers with the spells of fire creation and air purifying. This should provide a most incendiary missile when thrown by the garrison grenadiers. Three volleys of these weapons are available. The remainder of the mercurius, we did mix with lead and a small part made into lead balls which were buried as our mine, the remainder, having an affinity with the small shot, are made into cannonballs which shall fly true to the source when we need our surest fire. However, only two rounds per battery are available. He is also at work on an engine which will react upon the resonance of air to the point of boiling a man's blood.

As a result of our efforts, S. and I have become quite celebrated about the town. At least two women of noble houses have welcomed me into their bed to show proper gratitude for their defenders. I have also found a fine bawdy house near the Church of St. John. I have struck up a deal with the proprietress to keep them in beer and wine through the siege in exchange for free sampling of the bill of fare. She has already supplied me with several fine doxies, including one fair little Hungarian lass named Maria who is most adept and vigorous especially with a rope of yarn and several small weights. I can scarce wait for the failing of the victuals in the town to see what choice rattles I shall be able to obtain as bargain for a meal. But for the near occasion of death and the constant need to be at the works, this would be as fine an occupation as I could wish.

This afternoon, I have been at the works with General von Staremburg for the laying of the guns using the calculus contained in Master N.'s notes. At one point a chill went through me and threatened to shrivel my twig for, in a sudden stillness, I thought I heard a familiar grating voice. And lo when I spied across the field using von Staremburg's glass, whom to my wondering eyes did I see but that ubiquitous she-wolf Penruddick engaged in some disputation with the Grand Vizier himself. 'Twas the first time I felt pity for the Turk…

Part the Vth - Fortresses Beleaguered

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

July the 18th, A.D. 1683

Up betimes to sit in council of war all morning, General von Staremberg presiding. The general is a bitter old murderer, kindred spirit to our bloody-minded former pirate of an Archbishop. Betwixt the two of them, I suspect they have whole legions of dead men's souls on their accounts. The Archbishop was there as well cursing the Turk for being mother-fornicating catamites (the physicks of which I am not entirely sure) and calling upon all in Vienna to make a good fornicating show of it. The dismal-dreaming General did comment upon our situation viz the siege with all that enthusiastic grimness which seems to mark the Teutonic race.

It seems that the Turk was all about us with o'er three hundred thousand, two third of which were troops of the line or sappers whose only intent was our destruction. We of the garrison lacked but a few of twelve thousand regulars together with a small force of rabble militia made up of beggars and priests. Joltheaded Staremberg estimated that the Turk needed but twelve weeks to dig his great saps and parallels close enough to batter down the walls and send his endless columns into the city, no doubt to sack and plunder in a copulating-catamite manner of way. But this was not the best tidings, for the city had not expected such a rapid advance and was ill-prepared for the siege. But seven weeks of powder, shot, etc were present in the town and but six weeks of victuals.

Our only hope was that a relieving army should come to our aid. However, best thought was that the Austrian lands could scarce muster thirty thousands while the Empire could provide but twenty thousands. E'en King John of Poland, should he come, could not bring o'er twenty-five thousands with him. And moldwarped Staremberg states that e'en these paltry forces could not be ready to march afore the coming of fall, some eight weeks away and have far to march, and could not be expected to arrive here before the Turk's trenches have doomed us and this well after our victuals and powder hath been exhausted.

To which the unmuzzled Archbishop replied that no copulating catamite of a Turk had beat him yet and no camel-fornicating Mohammedean was likely to now. At worst, says the old puttock, we shall all go gloriously into that fornicating outer darkness for which heaven shall be our fornicating reward. To which the clapper-clawed butcher Staremberg complimented the Archbishop with what a fine gallant speech it twas. Of course, what care these old dodderers who have a hundred and a half years betwixt them and for whom the only disadvantage of death would be the lack of more victims for their pathology.

Upon this, I retired from the council wherein all the officers, including Sandorius plotted ways to bring death to our enemies and great bloody entertainments for all. I then got myself to the house of Herr Baedecker the Pimp, but could not be relieved of my sour mood, despite sporting with three of his finest girls.

Jul the 30th, A.D. 1683
From the Camp of the Army of the Sublime Porte
Before Vienna
In the Realm of the Emperor Leopold

To Madame Nelle Lyzzard-Penruddick
Marshalsee Debtor's Goal

Dearest Mother,

I am well as well as can be expected, being still held amongst the volatile Turks and their murderous vassals. I do hope Aunt Hecuba's quinsy is improved.

I did arrive at the great camp at Belgrade on June the 15th. It was remarkable for both its size and stench, there being over three hundred thousand souls present with twice or more that number of beasts, horse, oxen, mules and camel all told.

Upon arrival, my Gypsy captors escorted me through a bewildering maze of tents, each becoming larger and more ornate as we progressed. The sinful luxuriousness of the officers of this army is astounding, with their pavilions resembling palaces rather than traveling tents. I was able to estimate our proximity to the Grand Vizier by the ever-increasing circumferences of the turbans of these officers.

Betimes we arrived at a courtyard containing a flock of peacocks and other animals. In the midst was a great covered space under which the Grand Vizier held court. The Vizier, Kara Mustafa Pasha, is a man of middle years, somewhat less than average in height and quite porcine in appearance. His eyes however show that ruthlessness and cruelty that mark him more as the fiercest of boars rather the most indolent of sows. There is a great household about him where'er he travels and all the soldiers, including the fierce Khan of the Krim Tartars, fear him without moderation.

I was ordered to present to him the Sultan's firman, or absolute order in the form of the green silk bowstring. This was tied upon the Vizier's neck and he was obligated daily to untie one of the ninety knots until Vienna fell. Failure of the siege within the allotted time would mean that the string would be used as a garrote on that most illustrious neck. Despite this grim missive, Kara Mustafa seemed quite pleased with my presence. It seems that red-hair is viewed as exotic amongst these dark peoples for e'en though the camp is full of Slavic slaves with fair skin and blonde hair, red is colouring not often seen.

I knew immediately that Kara Mustafa had conceived for me a most violent lust and only the Sultan's orders and Sufi's threatening posture saved me from being ravished upon our first interview.

Although I am disinclined to a flirtatious nature, I remember, Dearest Mother, what you had always told me, "The way to a man's heart is through his trousers but mind not to give in too easily for a man's intellect decreases in proportion to the increase of his lust." Thus I remember the manner, after Father's death, in which you had carried on with Lord Castlemain, Lord Hastings, Lord Ponsonby, Sir Henry Chartwell, Sir Roland Higgenbottom, Sir Thomas Culpepper, the Earl of Argyll, and so forth, bending them to your will with the merest suggestion of strumpetry. At the time I was much annoyed by your behavior, believing it a dishonour to Father's memory. Now, however, I have applied these lessons for the benefit of Christendom.

Kara Mustafa did prove most amenable to my coquetry. Since our first meeting, I have distracted him from his most pressing duties, often only by laying the merest touch upon his cheek. His is also quite taken with the game of chess and I also distract him much by the playing of the game. Being a man, he is quite aggressive but unsubtle in his attacks and I have beat him well and truly nine out every ten games which we have played. Because of his being smitten with me, I am allowed where no woman and few men are allowed to go. However, the cost I must pay to my dignity for this liberty is quite onerous. Per examplum, once I followed him into his counsel of war. When he noticed I followed, he commented on how much I must favor him and did waggle his buttocks most lasciviously, dropping some small item so that I might have the better view of his great vizieral posterior.

And thus his generals are much vexed by his indifference to the war but feared too much to protest. However, Kara Mustafa is quite the cunning man and even in repose is capable of clear thinking when needed. Per examplum, at the outset of the campaign at the start of July, his generals were much taken up with the matter of Gyor, an Austrian border fortress of some strength. Many called for the place to be taken, while others called for it to be bypassed. Half-thinkingly, Kara Mustafa ordered his armies to be moving "forward, always forward." Thus the fortress was masked by a small force and the grand army advanced quickly gainst the unprepared Austrians who fled in panic.

We arrived at Vienna on July the eighteenth, the van of the army having preceded us there by three days. Thus the great siege is begun but progresses with little direction from Kara Mustafa whom I have quite under my thumb.

Write to me soon, Dearest Mother, and tell me if my brother Rodry has sent word from the Indies yet and how fairs our dear Honoria who is, by my calculation six months unto her pregnancy.

Your Loving Daughter

30th July 1683
To His Excellency Furst Waldeck, KapitanGeneral der Reichsarmee
From Georgina, Grafein von Schnitterboch-Falkenburg, Fahnricka der Reichsarmee

I have the honor of reporting that I have arrived this day in Regensburg together with my Curassiers and the Walloon battalions. Since putting the Walloons under escort, they have been most correct in their behavior. I have even allowed their recruiting sergeant to proceed us upon our line of march. Thus the battalions are at their full promised strength, although some of the recruits do appear to have been slightly bruised in the process of recruitment.

Colonel van der Snaecht had been most reticent in the march and was always the last man turned out. That is until roused from his bed one morning when his tent caught on fire, most mysteriously. Since that time, the Colonel has billeted with Colonel von Heberdorf of the Curassiers, a man most punctilious when it comes to military duties.

These Walloons, once faced with no other choice, do know their business quite well and should acquit themselves well in the coming campaign. I make so bold as to suggest that they lead the van in the attempted relief, both on account of their apparent skill and of the fact that the Emperor shall not need to pay any that fall in the battle. One can only hope that the good Colonel shall be as forward as his men.

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

July the 31st, A.D. 1683

So has endth the second week of our siege and a most disagreeable business this war. Sandorius requires my assisting him night and day leaving with rarely time or vigor for e'en a hasty rattle with Maria. The town is quite surrounded and little above the rats canst leave or enter. The Turks do progress well in their works which crawl towards us like some malevolent caterpillar. 'Twas also found that much of the stuffs in the town granaries were moldy and foul and thus we have but five weeks victuals for the garrison and this on short ration.

I have remained safe and whole these two weeks, despite the best efforts of Turk, Austrian and Sandorius to see it otherwise. Except, that is, for a misadventure I suffered this Tuesday last. Whilst working near the forward outer works, I did chance to take my relief in the privy hardby. (Only a German would think there need to place a privy next to a great ditch of course.) Whilst I sat upon the seat of ease, I didst hear a great thumping. At first I bethought it originating from myself on the cause of too much cabbage soup and the lacking of venereal release to have constricted o'er much my bodily humours. But I did suddenly realize that the sound was of digging and the Turks were as like as not to open their mine immediately below mine ass. In quite a panic I hastily gathered up my britches and fled the privy, the imagery of pick-axe-wielding, copulating Turkish catamites foremost in my mind. I soon found Sandorius who was in deep conversation with General von Staremberg. In much dither, I was able to get out my story of the shit-house-encroaching Turks. To which, the good General, venomed spur-galled coxcomb that he is, did take me to his grenadiers and took up one of their larger grenadoes. He then escorted me back to the privy wherein the sound of digging had become quite pronounced. He then bade me light the fuse to the granadoe and drop it into the hole. At which point, the loggerheaded old canker-blossom calmly left and proceeded leisurely down the bomb-wracked street. I stood for a moment undecided upon my course of action, when I realized that a great grenadoe was about to explode below my feet. I rushed from the privy just an instant before a great roar went up and a rain of dung and dead Turks came down. For it seemed that the privy and the Turk's mine entire had gone up in a great conflagration.

I asked the old flap-dragon what had befallen. He was most glad of the question for truly the German is the most pedantic of races. He informed me with great seriousness and dignity, that he made quite a study of privies and fart gas and had found that all farts do contain a high quantity of flammable gases and that these gases do gather inside privies. Being ignited, they could produce a quite prodigious explosion. How he discovered this fact I do not know and would have paid any amount to have seen the lumpish clay-brained pumpion foist upon his own flatulent petard in the experimentation. He said he often theoried that if enou human gas could be gathered in one place, the whole of the Turkish works could be brought down. And thou could produce the whole amount thyself, thinks I but says nothing for the old skainsmate would have surely have run me through for a farthing.

That night I did not sell the beer ration which I rendered but drank it all myself but was only slightly merry, barely enough to give Maria a decent thumping, more out of gratitude of being alive than for lust. And so to bed.

August the 8th, A.D. 1683

We are now unto the fourth week of our besiegement and the third proved to be not an unpleasant one. The Turks did launch a great assault upon the walls which was put down with much effusion of blood, thanks largely to the magics of Doctor Sandorius. Fortunately, I took no part in these heroics since I had been hit on the head by a chamber pot at Herr Baedecker's the night before when one of his girls disputed with a customer over the reckoning and much crockery was flung about. However, I did claim the injury was from a Turkish missile and so have received much sympathy. The very fine Countess von S. did nurse me most prettily this week, hovering low o'er me with her fine buxomness and embracing me quite closely to her when I feigned a touch of the fever. But a little more work and I shall tumble her well and truly. Also twas found that most of the provender for the horse regiment has spoilt so at least there has been horse soup to eat instead of ever horrid cabbage.

August the 22nd, A.D. 1683

The sixth week of our siege hath begun and what poor excuse for victuals as remains shall be gone by the end of the week. The Turks batter away at our walls whilst ours remain silent for lack of powder. In my idleness, I have counted the Turkish guns which do reckon well over one hundred and forty. A messenger from the Duke of Lorraine hath come in this Friday last but with ill tidings. Although an army of relief is formed, it shall be another month till it is fully gathered and marched to us.

Sandorius was most grievously wounded in a sortie gainst the Turkish lines, lead by the Archbishop himself. They failed at the first outpost and a great body of Janissaries came gainst them so that of the two hundred men who went out scarce sixty returned and most of those shot up well and truly. The profane, gorbellied scut of an Archbishop of course was unscathed. As today is the Lord's Day, the Turks honored it by having their Gypsies impale thirty or so prisoners taken in the sortie. Their crosses are set up all along the lines and there is much despair in our lines for the fellow were still alive at the end of the day.

The only joy I had this week was to allow the court physician, one Doctor Pfalzschwanz or some such, to attend upon Sandorius. I let him bleed the Master a bit and cup him in the most embarrassing of places but soon threw the croaker out for the fen-sucked measle he is. Before he went, I did bribe him with some spirits that when next he instructed the Countess von S., who is a great student of nursing, that a proper nursely relief for fever was to place one's naked body upon that of the sufferer. The Lord grant me a chill day soon.

Excerpts from The Memoirs of Oktawjan Zagloba:

Chapter XXXVI
The First Occasion Where I Saved All Europe and Christendom Herself

…Thus it was that good King John proved to be a great assistant to my plans that summer. The percussive musketoons were soon readied in significant number. I directed the first thousand were to be given to Lubomirski's cavalry which was being sent immediately to the aid of the Austrians. The remainder I reserved for the infantry regiments of Chelmski and Buttler. I ensured that the horse artillery and light mortar batteries were all placed in readiness and begun to train under my ever watchful and skilled eye. Although I found them wanting for my high standards, they were doubtless the finest artillery in Europe by the end of the first week in which I worked with them. However, the special apiarian shot proved most pernicious to maintain at best but three great shot had been prepared. Finally, with the assistance of the learned Rabbi Loew I soon fashioned several golemi in the form of pigeons to act as scout and messenger for the beleaguered city.

Even Prince Radziwill showed some gratitude for once and left me in peace. I had asked the Prince to work upon the horse trappings for his hussars, knowing that he is easily distracted by bright colors and loud noises. Thus I was left to devote my considerable intellect to the problem of the Turk.

By the end of the summer all had been done according to my plan and I advised the King to fly to the aid of Vienna.

On the night before we departed Warsaw, I was summoned to His Majesty's Presence where he confided in me the doubts he had for the coming campaign. He was most concerned about Prince Sapieha, who commanded the ten thousand troops from Lithuania who would march into Hungary as a diversion. He did not trust the Prince but had not the power to relieve him from this hereditary command. Also, he knew that the Emperor was a small and venial man who was already shamed to the world by the precipitous flight he made from his capital which stood now so stoutly without him. Surely, if victory was achieved, the Emperor would do all in his power to belittle any good accomplished by the King.

Throughout the interview, of course, Prince Radziwill continued to miscount on his fingers and pick his nose.

Now the King was no coward and was always full of confidence but even Our Lord suffered moments of doubt. This I told him and I assured him that he was a fine king and would do well since I would be at hand to advise him. The King was much relieved and the next morn was in a fine fettle when he ordered the army to proceed.

The only trouble on this portion of the march occurred in Krakow where our good King was reunited with Her Majesty, Queen Marie Casimire, a Frenchwoman by birth, noted for her beauty and grace. Now I surmised immediately that the Queen had conceived a great and passionate love for me. I could tell thus by the studious manner in which she pretended to ignore me. But she and I knew our duties and the impossibility such a liaison would present to our country at such a critical time. Of course neither she not I ever spoke of it, for we both were full of loyalty to His Majesty. However, I think that His Majesty sensed his queen's attraction for me and endeavored to hurry us on the road to Vienna. Thus, even my mere presence gave impetus to the most noble endeavor.

We halted at the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa where the army received the blessings of that shrine. Although not a particularly religious man, I do hold enough faith that demonstrations of piety move me and also Our Lord has such confidence in the incredible skills which He has granted me, I have had worked the occasional small miracle. But more of that trifle anon.

At the beginning of August, I lead the army over the Tatras thence over the Sudeten Mountains and finally over the High Carpathians to reach the plain of the Danube. This was a most tedious endeavor with the need to haul our guns and wagons up these steep assents. Horse, oxen and men were all employed but could not speed the toil. I gave much thought to a manner or engine which could speed such a traverse. No thought came to me at the time but anon this problem I resolved in a most brilliant manner as I shall soon relate.

By the end of the first week of September, I had guided the noble army of the Commonwealth, as fine a force as ever marched since I had the hand in raising it, over all the obstacles and we descended to meet our allies and, soon enough, our enemies.

Of course, the liberation of Vienna would prove to be no great problem now that I had put my mind to it, but I was more concerned of the aftermath. For I knew well that the goal was not the mere conquest of territory but the seizure of a prize of such inestimable value that the Turks' Masters, or should I say Mistress, would squander the whole resources of the empire to achieve. But more of that anon…

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

August the 31st, A.D. 1683

Much rejoicing in the town for the latest adventure of Sandorius. He did divine underground paths to the fields where the Turks keep their flocks and with greatest effort did trace a small tunnel beneath them and snatched much mutton and goat. So there has been a revictualing of the garrison at least for a few weeks more. Staremberg ordered a great and noisy celebration with illuminations to give frustration to the Turks. The Grand Vizier himself was seen to look through his glass at our feasting and was said to have appeared much vexed. I spied with him a most wonderfully immodestly clad houri, at the sight of whose shapely naked belly I didst rival all the tall weaponry of a regiment of pike.

As a result, following the feast, I did contrive to counterfeit a swoon and called out for the Countess von S. to deliver me from my fever. However, the Countess was indisposed and a new nurse, younger but as pretty as the Countess did attend upon me. Fortunately, Doctor Pfalzschwanz must have taken my lesson to heart and hath apparently schooled, no doubt personally, all of his nurses in the Cherrycoate methodology of fever relief. I found the girl, whose name I cannot recall, to have been most attentive and willing in the treatment and we were soon well about the business. And so, much relieved, to bed.

September the 5th, A.D. 1683

Sandorius did rescue us yet again. Using his skill, he did divine that the Turks had progressed three great mines towards our walls. He called these to the attention of our artillery and all three were blown up with great vexation to the Turk. It is said that Austrian cavalry has been seen near the city and is in skirmish with the Turks. God grant them speed and victory.

Did go to the house of the Countess von S., complaining of fever, to celebrate but found her being instructed by Doctor Pfalzschwanz and so left, much vexed. I shall not follow in the traces where a lewdster greater than myself hath rode.

September the 5th, A.D. 1683
From the Camp of the Army of the Sublime Porte
Before Vienna
In the Realm of the Emperor Leopold

To Madame Nelle Lyzzard-Penruddick
Marshalsee Debtor's Goal

Dearest Mother,

I am still in dolorous bondage to the heathen with my life in danger at every moment. How fares my cat?

The valiant garrison of Vienna still holds. The courage they show is almost English in its tenacity. I continue in my game with the Vizier who grows more angry and frustrated with each passing day and each untied knot upon the firman. It lacks but ten days until the last knot is untied and the horrid Kara Mustafa sent to his death and me along with him.

Most recently, three great mines were sent below the town and near completion. Somehow, the garrison learned of their location and destroyed them by cannon-fire. The superstitious Turks say that Vienna hath a magician or two else it twould have fallen long ago. Rubbish, of course, it is merely the work of an Austrian spy.

The slave Sufi hath proven to be a great and loyal friend, often advising me, in that distinctive falsetto voice of his, on the course to take to frustrate the Vizier. He was stolen from his home in Al-Soodan, a land beyond Upper Egypt and reduced to his pitiable unmanly state by the Turk and so has no love for them to lose.

About the time the mines were wrecked, a messenger came in from the Khan, saying that a great body of Christian cavalry was now operating but a few leagues to the west. The generals were most distracted by the report that there might be Polish horse amongst them, the Turks being much afeared of the King John and his army. After much cajoling, the generals convinced Kara Mustafa to reconnoiter himself. I easily convinced him to take me along and needs ride behind him on a well-bedecked she-camel called Fatima.

After a very short journey o'er the hills to the west of the city, we came to the lines of the Krim Tartars. These fierce befurred horse archers are the most evil looking and foul smelling soldiers I have seen yet. It was said that close on eight thousand of them screen the army and act as scout. The Khan, Hadji Gersai took us to where the Austrian cavalry could be observed. On a nearby hill sat several thousand of this horse, all Austrian to my untrained eye. Kara Mustafa flew into a rage and ordered the Khan to drive them off and why had his time been wasted so on such a trifle. The Tartars flew towards the Austrians to shower them with arrow. Soon however, a great banner was flung up from within a small dip in the land which had been quite invisible from where we stood. The banner was red with a great white eagle upon it and hardby it a host of several thousand plumed and armored soldiers sprung up and discharged muskets very rapidly at the Tartars. Soon the Tartars were fleeing in panic having left several hundred of their number dead upon the field.

There was great tumult amongst the generals who called for Kara Mustafa to order the outward fortification of the great camp. Upon Sufi's suggestion, I implored him to desist in this design, stating that a simple ditch would stop no horseman worth his salt. Kara Mustafa had come to think of me as a great strategist due to my beating him so often at chess. He agreed with alacrity and called for isolated redoubts facing inward to be placed. Thus would the enemy horse be funneled into a killing field and destroyed. Now the most senior of the generals, Ibrahim, the Pasha of Buda, demurred to this, saying it was not logical and the separate redoubts could be taken in turn. Kara Mustafa dismissed this thought, especially after I removed several of my outer garments on account of the sun. Ibrahim Pasha and the other generals went away much vexed and we returned to the camp.

I know soon the army of relief shall arrive and a great battle shall be fought. Most likely, I shall not survive but I shall die happy knowing I have served the greater good.

Your Loving Daughter

Excerpts from the Diary of Leviathan Cherrychoate:

September 11th, A.D. 1683

This whole week have the Turks been raising the greatest commotion. It is quite clear that they are about a general assault upon the town, no doubt to take us afore the army of relief arrives. Their saps are now driven quite close to the walls and the mortars and great cannons do play most terribly upon us. Many more have died this week than in the whole siege afore. The boil-brained General and the crook-pated Archbishop are of course quite joyful at this, the spleeny Archbishop saying, "The copulating catamites are on their last leg. They shall have one fornicating chance to crush us and then fornicating Lorraine and fornicating King John shall have them by the marbles, the copulating catamites." What the plume-pluckered prelate does not mention is that as likely the Turk shall have us by the marbles well before the army of relief arrives. The officers of the garrison are all agreed that the attack shall come tomorrow at the dawn. And so, much troubled to bed, for what may be my last night's rest upon this earth. Too troubled to take Maria more than twice.

Addendum: Sandorius hath just awakened me, it being about four of the o'clock in the morning. He said that a signal rocket has been seen flying from the Kalhenberg Heights to the west of the city. The army of relief hath arrived! But I also can hear the beating of the great drums in the Turkish camp and over the din of cannon I can hear the Mohammedean priests calling upon the soldiers to give their lives for their god and their prophet…