A very bad week
Posted on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 @ 10:40pm by Mister Ciprian Cendrars
Chapter 4: Storm Brewing
Location: Adrift in Alchemical Fog
Timeline: Day One
It had been a bad week for Ciprian Cendrars. It was supposed to have been the beginning of the greatest adventure of his life, his dispatches to Montmartre du Monde back home would, at last, catapult him into the ranks of the world's great writers. It had been eight days since he lifted off from the Paree skyport. With limited funds, the only ship that would carry him was a rickety hulk of genially shabby Anatolian "traders."
He supposed he shouldn't have been surprised when, once clear of civilization, the captain and crew relieved him of his remaining valuables. He counted himself lucky that he had been able to persuade the Captain, a corpulent and arrogant slug who called himself Commodore Kemal, to let Ciprian keep his personal gear (As Ciprian had argued, "What use does a pirate have a type-writer and steam-mechanical dictaphone anyway?") and set him adrift in one of the uncomfortable floating coffins the Anatolians generously called a lifeboat.
After drifting for several days, Ciprian encountered the strange fog. Seemingly alchemical in nature, the phenomenon cut vision to almost nil and destroyed all sense of time and directrion. At first, the strange colors and lights of the fog were delightful, even in enchanting, like a serious absinthe bender without the inevitable headache. But monotony had quickly set in.
Ciprian was unsure how much later it was he encounter the ship, an older design, drifting through the fog. Thrill at the possibility of rescue quickly gave way to despair when he saw it was a derelict. Nevertheless, it was was a better prison than his life boat, and with great effort and more than a little luck, he managed to steer the lifeboat on the ship's deck.
Elegant calligraphy on the hull and engraving on the ship's bell proclaimed her "The Amethyst." It was depressing enough that this boat was likely to be his final resting place, and now it turned out to a Britannian ship at that. God, if there was one, could have at least sent him a Gaulish ship in which to meet his end.
So, was this how the grand adventure would end? Adrift on a derelict vessel in an alchemical sargasso, starving and, worst of all, out of alcohol. Ennui and physical weakness destroyed his curiosity about exploring the Amethyst, save confirming it contained neither food nor drink.
Ciprian sat down, took out his typewriter and began to compose a final letter to his family, alternating between nostalgia, regret and rage. Several pages in, ennui took ahold and Ciprian ceased typing, lay down and waited. So, this was how it would end, not with a bang but with a whimper.
At first he assumed the image of another vessel moving towards him was a hallucination, brought on by either hunger of the alchemical properties of the fog. As someone with a fair bit of experience in the field of hallucinations, however, Ciprian quickly determined that the new ship was as real as he was.
With an enthusiasm born of desperation, he stood up on the deck, began waving his arms wildly and shouting "Aide Moi! Aide Moi" with every bit of his soul.