Tales of the Elizabeth

Caspers Journal

Our adventure log is written by the talented Niall Mahon who plays as Casper Ward.

Day 1

Good news, diary… Today I get to fill you with an entry that is not as monotonous as a leaf falling from the tree I now stand beneath. After vacating my previous temporary accommodation (The landlord was growing suspicious at my inability to remove my armour…) I regret to inform you that I have been shot at point blank range with a shotgun. I’ll have to have someone repair the damage… I turn enough heads as it is without looking like a human slab of holey cheese…
An alchemist… (At least I assume he was one) Managed to blow a hole in the train I was on and triggered an avalanche. Only I and another, much older man called Alexander managed to escape. He has already bared witness to the full level of my condition… I may have thrown my head at him. All in good fun though, hm? He’s asleep at the moment. I must say I’m enjoying his passive company. He’s not much of a talker but… It’s a relief to not have to conceal it although if he starts revealing my secret to others I’ll have to break part of him… Maybe his arm.
We’re just going to head off down the road until we come across signs of civilisation and then maybe acquire some other form of transport. This part of the world is too empty for my liking… Hm… Some would say the same about me.

Day 2

Alexander and I witnessed a true act of grace and elegance today! An airship plummeting down from the sky with aerodynamic beauty and crashing into the ground with a boom we could hear from our distant hilltop. It would only be courteous of us to at least check the crash site for survivors. We are, after all, searching for a way out of this grassy void. Perhaps this airship, although damaged currently, could provide us with such a thing.
There were three survivors at the downed ship. Scarlet, a young woman who appears to be dexterous enough for skills involving vertical scaling… Phoenix, the ship’s pilot and mechanic as far as I can tell (He seems a little slow but I’m trying desperately to be tolerant) and Zed, a man I know nearly nothing about aside from the fact he’s suffering from a fairly severe gunshot wound. The others are being somewhat secretive about the origin of the victim’s bullet, but I see no reason to investigate further for now.

In the hope of searching for resources and a dash of sanctity, we have travelled to a town in the plains called Nova. Unfortunately, the town is just another victim to the ravages of uncontained alchemy and the residents have been transformed into stone. They seem fairly unfazed by their rocky exterior and continue their life as normal… I envy their mental strength.
The elder told us of the alchemist who committed the act. Evidently he has contaminated the town’s drinking water with something referred to as “The Blood of The Universe”. I’ve only heard this term used in very vague texts and such. He also mentioned a beast and reoccurring attacks. I decided to make a deal with the townsfolk… Fortunately my new friends seemed to appreciate it. We destroy the beast and they provide us with the materials needed to repair the downed ship. Everybody wins. I have no doubt that this creature is a chimera. I’ve read about them but never fought one… We had a look around the alchemist’s old house to reinforce my theory. We found a few books too.

Phoenix was kind enough to repair the holes in my body… I’ve managed to convince them all for now that I am just hiding in armour… I don’t know how long I can maintain this deceit. Alexander keeps trying to tell them! I swear he’s special…

Before the day was over, I bore witness to perhaps the most idiotic act ever committed by a human being. Scarlet managed to pour the contaminated water all over herself… In an attempt to wash it off we threw her in a bath that phoenix was currently engaged in washing himself in. He seemed disgruntled but only his pride was damaged. After washing Scarlet in the bath she seemed to remain completely unharmed. I felt relief course through me… for a few seconds. It was replaced by shame and disappointment when we heard Phoenix’s pain-filled cries emitting from the bathroom. The incomprehensively incompetent buffoon had got BACK into the bath. He knew it was tainted and yet he actually got back in. I have no idea why but right now he is writhing in pain in the room above me after the liquid did something to his arm. He has sharp spikes protruding from his skin… like a mutation. Perhaps it can prove to be useful in the future but he was clearly in a lot of pain. I know he’s foolish… But I hope he survives…

Day 3

I have little to report. We’ve set about assembling defences in preparation for the chimera attack. Scarlet has set up a number of transmutation circles. I must say her alchemy skills are most intriguing. Phoenix has made a miraculous recovery but he still has the spikes in his arm. Although not too attractive, he seems to have grown attached to his mutation already. He’s making a little dress for it. I predict it will have no use other than cosmetic when he is done.

Alexander has found a building in which he can see the whole town centre. It will be a good vantage point for when the chimera arrives. I’ve found evidence of the beast’s attack pattern… It appears it attacks from the forest a little way from here. I’ll have sentries posted at lookout points so they can warn us of its arrival. Zed is still unconscious. The night has so far been silent… I predict a lack of chimeras.

Day 4

The Chimera attacked. We all managed to escape fairly unscathed. The others found out about my condition during the fight… Scarlet was very understanding while Phoenix still seems to believe I am a midget in a suit. I have not the patience to inform him otherwise. Due to a failed alchemy attempt and a detonated barrel of gunpowder, we managed to deface a small portion of the town. Fortunately, however, we did defeat and destroy the prowler of the night. As we obliterated the house which it was cowering inside, I couldn’t help but feel a hint of sympathy. The creature was dangerous, no doubt, but so is much of this world’s wildlife… I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look in its eyes as we extinguished the light of life from them. The Elder was pleased with our accomplishment and upheld his end of the bargain. Phoenix and Scarlet received their materials and can now rebuild their ship. Alexander and I have decided to stay for the time being. Perhaps this is the start of a friendship or, at least, the start of a mutually beneficial partnership. Scarlet and Phoenix seem more than willing to allow us to accompany them on their departure. Phoenix says the ship’s repair will take some weeks however… I suppose we’ll have to find a way to occupy ourselves.

A number of mundane entries follow the previous one. The ship seems to take several weeks to get fixed. Casper talks about getting to know his new companions a little bit better and how he learnt a few basic skills with Alexander’s rifle. There’s also talk about the other man, Zed, being taken in the night and a note being left behind, saying he was now property of the thieves’ guild.

Day 25

Scarlet and Phoenix seem eager to get their friend, Zed, back from the malicious thieves guild that took him. With the ship now repaired, we fly for Lumen, my home town. I’ve spent a whole year avoiding that place… But I feel with an ounce of purpose there, I can stand up to my fears and swallow the past.

Day 26

We’ve arrived at the city of Lumen. It’s just as grim as I remember it. The slums in particular are a nasty place. On arrival, Phoenix and Scarlet were damn near arrested for crimes they must have forgot to inform me of. Thankfully they believed me when I said I was a bounty hunter… They let us escort our “bounties” to the imperial prisons completely unsupervised. An unwise decision, but one I appreciate none the less. To avoid suspicion, we decided it would be best if Phoenix were to be handed in and Scarlet were to “escape”. We sent her to the slums to wait for us while Phoenix was taken away by the guards and all of his possessions handed to me. I’m now the captain of his airship… I can see that coming back to haunt me. It worries me that the Collectors have managed to leak their influence into such positions of authority. Even the guard captain knew who I was… It was an unpleasant memory in humanoid form…

The day consisted of unfortunate and unexpected events. While tracking down members of this “Thieves’ guild” we encountered many problems. Some of them robbed us, some of them shot us, some of them even had the audacity to make rude remarks at us. We chased a pair of the members into an orphanage where oddly they disappeared. It turned out they had used a secret passage in the matron’s office. We came out of the orphanage slightly more encumbered than before, however. A small girl by the name of Melly has decided it would be in her best interests to bring the curs to justice as well. That’s what I assume is going on anyway, frankly I’m a little bit bewildered by the whole thing. She’s been useful today though and she was very brave.

As we ventured deeper into the catacombs of Lumen, we saw more signs of sentient activity. The guild had a presence down here. This became a thing of fact when we encountered a pair of thieves standing before a pool of water. We forced them to have a swim and ultimately acquired passage to the thieves’ guild HQ, through somewhat excessive force, of course. To our surprise, Phoenix was already there. Apparently some people had snatched Phoenix from his cell and practically tortured him. I fear it is due to his mutations. Perhaps they wanted to tame him or experiment on him. Either way, it was a stupid mistake. Phoenix was caked in the blood of others and it was clear his mental stability was a thing of the past. He had just watched his friend, Zed, take a bullet to the head at point blank range. Our mission, it would seem… was a failure. Now that Scarlet and Phoenix’s friend has been murdered, we have little reason to remain here… They are all currently asleep upstairs in this small Inn. I fear for Phoenix’s sanity… It would seem he is most upset by the ordeal. Oh also, I found a state alchemist’s watch! I’ve always wanted one.. Bael used to flash me his sometimes and I grew jealous. Let’s see who is jealous now…

Day 27

We managed to depart the city with no real problems. Melly will be joining us on our journey it would seem. Scarlet has taken quite a shine to her. It’s nice to see her acting so confident and motherly. Alexander received a letter from the guards as we left, informing him of one final pay check and the location of some of his belongings. We decided to go and collect, considering we could use every bit of money we could get and it’ll also be good for Phoenix if we spend a bit of time in the air. Flying relaxes him, it would seem. It was a fairly uneventful day. I have nothing else to report.

Day 28

Captain Greybeard. Sounds like a formidable opponent, correct? Wrong. It actually stuns me what an appalling adversary this man was. Sorry, I should tell you about what happened, little diary. The Elizabeth was boarded by pirates. Not just any pirates, little diary, oh no. Homosexual pirates. They enforced the stereotype of navy soldiers quite adequately. It was his plan to take all of the men onto his ship so he could… Well… I’m not actually entirely sure but I imagine it was something sex related. The pirates agreed to leave in peace following a ruleless duel and a little bit of Phoenix’s flirting. I admired him for a moment then, casting aside his sexuality for the good of the crew. They were incredibly polite, considering I killed at least one of them… Oh well. Life goes on I suppose. Well, for everyone except that one pirate anyway…

Day 29

Durian is dead. Sorry. Can’t write now. Hands are shaking too much.

Day 29… Again

Sorry about last night. I attempted to write out the events of the day as usual but I was in a somewhat excitable mood. I’m writing this the morning afterwards. We arrived at Alexander’s base and they treated us with much hospitality. They agreed to repay him for his years of flawless service by upgrading the ship! I was stunned by their generosity. They seemed like friendly and responsible individuals. I believe they allowed Melly into the library or something to read some books and they even offered Phoenix some psychological aid to help him with his paranoia. I must say I liked the base… Until I found out their dirty little secret.

It would seem they had been performing some sort of… sick experiments in the bowels of the facility. The alarms went off. Soldiers formed up. They informed me of some monstrosity that was coming up the elevator we were positioned directly in front of. They told us to shoot it, no matter how innocent it looked, we had to shoot it. Frankly, I wasn’t happy with this request so I stood by and awaited this… thing’s arrival.

The doors slid open and standing in the elevator was a woman. A perfectly normal woman. Alexander went pale as he recognised her. It was the spitting image of his now deceased wife… I can’t imagine what was going through his head at that moment, nor at the moment when the soldiers all simultaneously opened fire. The bullets tore through her and yet she still stood. Within seconds she had slaughtered half the group with blade like appendages and exploded her way through the walls of the base. We were lucky to survive. I have no clue what that monster was, but it certainly wasn’t human and it certainly wasn’t Alexander’s wife. The scientists responsible for the monster addressed it as “Alice”. It would seem that it was Alexander’s wife’s twin sister….
All of this aside, I had something more important on my mind. One of the guard captains had informed me of a prisoner they had recently acquired. In his attempt to flee over the boarders, Durian was caught. Durian… The hand that made me what I am. Durian, the soon to be ghost of my past. How I longed to torture him as he did me… To make him suffer for an eternity. Unfortunately, the guards didn’t let me take him with me… So I shot him between the eyes and made it look like he attacked me… I can’t put into words the sensation that flowed through me when I pulled that trigger. I wanted to do it again, a thousand times over… Unfortunately, the life that stole mine can only be extinguished once. He was stubborn to the end. I will fondly remember the frozen look of disbelief on his bloody skull for the rest of my empty days…

Just Phorus and Wilkins left… I do pray it won’t be as quick for them.

Day 30

Phoenix and Scarlet have expressed desires to clear their name. They honestly believe it’ll be possible by simply visiting an office in the Imperial City. I don’t know the city well enough to have a solid argument to stop them with, so I agreed to accompany them on their journey. The Elizabeth has been kitted out with some new armour pieces and a more powerful engine so at least travelling felt a little bit new. Phoenix continues to express his dislike of the fact that Melly is still with us. Scarlet is going to hurt him one day unless he learns to cope with her. I have little else to report on this day.

Day 31

I never realised the Imperial City was so… tall. It was like the pecking order was forged in stone and wood. At the bottom, dwelled the poor, subject to showers of excrement from those above them, metaphorically and literally. At the top, lived the rich and well off.
We docked fairly easily and didn’t have any trouble checking in. There are many queues in this city. Queues are boring. Additionally there is this incredibly irritating salsa track which they insist upon playing in every single enclosed space, including the very slow elevators. It would seem the city was in a state of alert… well.. at least more alert than they usually are. A serial killer known as “The Top Hat Murderer” is on the loose. He’s been plaguing the city for some time it would seem. Phoenix suggested that perhaps locating this murderer would be an excellent way of winning favours with the imperium and perhaps would make it easier to clear their names. He had a good argument and some fair points, so I played along. They were all fairly tired so they immediately went off to find an inn to stay in while I wondered off through the slums to see if I could acquire any information.

I was attacked by some lowly thugs, one of which had some sort of… transformation ability. I’d never seen anything quite like it. I hurt him quite badly and demanded information about the top hat murderer. He was silenced by a poisoned dart before I could get anything useful out of him. Whoever poisoned him was fast and managed to get away before I could get a decent look. I took the dart with me and brought it back to my friends staying at the inn. The barkeep said it was a sign of the thieves’ guild. Great, I thought, more of the bastards.

Day 32

We went up a level to the trade district today. We planned to visit the detective office and acquire whatever information we could about the Top Hat menace. The irritating salsa music was playing there too. Oddly enough, no one else seemed to hear it. When I questioned others about it, they looked at me like I was insane. They all had a slight… glazed look in their eyes… like they were all brain dead. I fear the irritating music may be more than just irritating. It’s possible it’s messing with people’s minds, maybe even injecting subliminal messages to control them. Such theories are absurd of course… but still…

I got all the info I could on the Top Hat Murderer (There wasn’t really anything useful) and I also grabbed the criminal files of Scarlet and Phoenix. I was approached by a man called William who claimed he used to work for my agency. He seemed trust worthy enough. Evidently the influence of my corrupted co-workers hasn’t had an effect on him, and neither had the irritating salsa music. He seems like he could be a useful contact in the future, so we exchanged radio frequencies and went our separate ways. I have little else to report, aside from the fact that Phoenix managed to piss off a Top Hat seller by demanding other types of hat.

Day 33

A call to arms! The imperial guard has asked us to oversee a royal wedding and ensure the Top Hat Murderer doesn’t make an unwelcome appearance. Alexander has come down with the flu, poor man, so he’s had to stay in bed. I’m writing this on the elevator on the way to the top level. I needed something to do during this agonising wait. The salsa music has been silenced. I destroyed the speaker emitting the noise…

Day 33 continued

It was an incredibly eventful day… and sadly not a very friendly one. I’ve seen many corpses today which I didn’t want to… and I can’t help but feel partly responsible.. Even though it happened before I arrived.

We arrived at the wedding and scouted the area out. Phoenix quickly managed to break his arm by doing some sort of profound, moronic stunt (he leapt from the balcony and punched the floor in an attempt to look stylish). We found corpses in the back rooms, all with top hats on, bleeding into what looked like alchemic circles, just like the one Scarlet uses. We hastily destroyed them to ensure they couldn’t be used. The Top Hat Murderer then revealed himself to the entire cathedral, pointing his weapons at the bride and groom. Scarlet was fairly shaken up after being knocked out and locked in a wardrobe with a corpse… fortunately we managed to get her out of there, unscathed. Alexander turned up, wanting to help. We executed a fairly synchronised plan and managed to kill the Top hat Murderer and disrupt his alchemic circles at the same time. The bride and groom survived and I felt they were somewhat grateful… It’s such a shame it happened on what’s meant to be the happiest day of their lives.

Afterwards, we found out it WASN’T the Top Hat Murderer! It was a copycat! Some fool who was out for infamy and glory! Bah! Anyway, the emperor was pleased. We had just saved his child and child in law so he invited us for a meal at his palace.

As reward for our actions, the emperor cleared Scarlet and Phoenix’s names, gave Alexander access to the royal armoury and gave me written access to my bank account and a large house. Unfortunately, it would seem even the emperor has connections with the Collectors… I can’t help but feel he is simply issuing me these assets simply to further his use for me. I dislike being some sort of tool… Anyway, we’re staying here for the night…

Wait… I think I hear Phoenix screaming. I’ll be right back.

Day 34

Phoenix mutated even more in the night. He now looks like some sort of… monster. His muscles have bulked out and his fingers are now home to some large, almost animalistic claws. He has a haunted look in his eye and I sense there is something he is not telling me. Alas, if it is important I’m sure he’ll have the brains to tell us.

The estate I have been given is most impressive. It is a large, manor like house, complete with a library, training hall and multiple bedrooms. There’s even a workshop in the garden for Phoenix to dwell in. The garden is big enough for Melly to have plenty of fun in as well. The house is however in utter disarray. The furniture is covered with white sheets, the wall paper is stained and peeling off. The library is empty, as are many of the other rooms. It will take a fairly large amount of money to renovate this place and make it a good place to live in. Fortunately, my bank account that the emperor gave me access too has about fifteen grand in… FIFTEEN GRAND! Fifteen thousand gold! I could do anything with that money! But first off I made a small withdraw to cover the costs of the estate’s repair and food. It should take about a month to get the estate back to its former glorious self.

A month later Day 65

The house is perfect. Have plenty of money left over and a whole team of maintenance workers, chefs, gardeners and servants keeping the place in check. Scarlet, Phoenix, Alexander and I are going to have a meeting later today to discuss where we should take our talents next. Phoenix has mentioned his home town a few times. Perhaps we will go there to shut him up.

Day 65 continued

Remember the meeting I talked about earlier? We found out some fairly sinister things. Phoenix and the others spoke to me about dreams they’ve been having; dreams depicting a monster that looks just like Phoenix. Worse still, they refer to this monster as a mage. Apparently, Phoenix bathing in that pink liquid two months ago has had more dire consequences than any of us could have imagined. It’s possible he’s resurrected the most powerful and evil race that ever walked this planet. If the mage is trying to hijack Phoenix’s body like he says, then we are in serious trouble. The pink liquid must have been mage blood. Old records say that mage blood was used in the war to actually fight them back. I don’t know how reliable these sources are but right now, it certainly isn’t fighting them off, it’s bringing them back.

The meeting was crashed by thieves’ guild thugs. They used tear gas and snatched away Alexander, Melly and Phoenix. Several hours passed before we managed to locate them in a secret part of the slums. It turned out The Top Hat Murderer was actually this city’s guild leader. He poisoned Alexander and Melly and set up a sadistic game, saying that if we were to catch him, he’d hand over the antidote. He also promised me information on some of the men I was hunting… He was fast and agile… but his fleeing was brought to an abrupt end when the chase led out onto the rooftops. He tried to sprint across some suspended cables but Alexander shot them in half with his rifle. He fell down onto the streets below. He died. I had mixed feelings about this… I didn’t want to kill him but there was no turning back now. We returned to Melly and gave her the antidote once it had been administered to Alexander first. Phoenix turned up again, caked in blood just as before. We really need to stop taking Phoenix to these thieves’ guilds… he always gets so violent…

Day 66

After the events of yesterday, Phoenix has decided that now would be a good time to leave the Imperial City and go to his home town. I, unfortunately, cannot stop him and even more unfortunately, I have to go with him. I can’t let him just walk around on his own while this mage is inside him, clawing his way out. Phoenix wants to get his identification from his home so he can claim back the ship which I still technically own. He promised to upgrade my suit with his tech if I complied so I saw no harm. We’re heading up to the ship shortly.

Day ….??

[The page is splattered with dots of blood and the text seems shakier and less structured than usual]

Something horrific happened. As we boarded the ship, Phoenix noticed the door to the quarters were open… He went down and the door slammed shut behind him. When we pried it open and followed, a great darkness washed over me and I think I blacked out… it would seem the others did too…

The mage spoke to me. Tried to toy with my mind. I managed to keep a steady head… I convinced myself it wasn’t real… that it was all a trick.

When I came too… and pushed myself off the floor, I heard voices coming from the engine room. I walked in to find Phoenix, Alexander and Scarlet standing there… their feet almost submerged in a pool of blood… Scarlet passed out as I walked in, traumatised by what she’d seen. I pushed Alexander aside and gazed down. Melly had been brutally torn asunder. Divided into two pieces with nothing but shear force… I demanded to know what had happened… and Phoenix laughed and said
“She’s half of what she used to be”. His arrogant, childish, infuriating voice caused something to erupt inside me and I hit him hard in the face before sending him away. My only regret is that I didn’t break his nose…

I had Alexander take Scarlet to her quarters while I attempted to clean up. I suspect Phoenix did this. I don’t know if he did it intentionally or if the mage took over momentarily… but he’s the only one capable doing that much damage. The ship is somewhere completely different. I don’t know how we got down here but I think we’re in the Wild Lands… I have no idea how much time has passed since we blacked out… I’m currently sat on the deck, writing this journal in case anyone finds it should something happen to me. Phoenix has already taken the ship back up and is just continuing his journey to his home town…. Part of me wants to snap his neck for being so insensitive.

Scarlet is completely traumatised. I just checked on her and she can’t even talk. She loved Melly… And now probably feels responsible for her death….
She’s coming onto the deck now. She looks like death. I need to keep an eye on her… I’ve heard of mental trauma like this bringing out some nasty elements in people. Bah, Alexander didn’t take her knives away. I’ll be back soon…

[The rest of the pages are blank.]

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