Wednesday, July 30, 2008

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…

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