St Helens

Where I am…

Where am I? That’s a good question you didn’t ask there and therefore you deserve an answer. Aren’t you glad you came? Don’t bother about trying to leave, I’ve locked the door. And the windows. And that chimney has been blocked off for years. Now sit down and let your Uncle HB tell you all about it. It all started with a couple of dickheads…

 

~~~~ wavey fade dissolve ~~~~

 

… And that’s how it went down. What do you mean you nodded off? Look, I’m not going through it again, I’ll recap the end part but that’s your lot, jeez!

  • HBA is staying in Steelhead St Helens but selling three of his five plots (contact me if you’d like one – mate’s rates of course).
  • HBA is also keeping his place in Cowell – it would take Sal burning the village to ground to get me out of there!
  • Ryne is staying in Steelhead Shanghai renting from Krystine.
  • Ya Yiwama I have yet to decide about – he’s either going to rent from Gia in Shanghai or move to Bay City and rent from Marianne McCann.
  • Alt No 4… Whilst there *is* no fourth alt yet, I *may* just create one to RP in Bay City instead of Ya Yiwama (who was only ever created to be a monster after all, hence the name).

What this means for my writing is that once “Gang Wars” has finished (it’ll be over very soon, at least my part in it will be) I’ll not be doing another one in Steelhead for a bit. I’ve done more than 18 months of writing there and whilst I’ve got more ideas, I don’t have the same drive. I refer you back to the starting point of this wee fireside chat. Let the babies have their milk and all that.

No, I’m going to be writing some stuff set in and around Bay City. Noir stuff. Horror noir. Think “Steal Head” mixed with “Goodunnit” but with Primouth motors instead of airships.

Gang Wars: The Doctor Belongs To Me!

Inside the seedy den Beck sat in a filthy, flea-ridden cot and drew deeply on the pipe until he fell backwards through the smoke and into the swirling winds of frozen memory. The winds were white (they were always white, they would always be white) but this time there seemed to be a strange, unsettling green tinge to them, an odd note of venom in the air that whipped around him and stung his nose with its queer and acrid odour. Through the blinding snow and above the howling winds he thought he saw and heard someone, someone watching him, moving around him, circling him. Beck turned, trying to see who, or what, was out there. He began backing away but something brushed his shoulder and he spun round, swinging a fist into the storm. Another touch and he span again with a punch. Again and again until he was turning and whirling like a dervish, shadow-boxing nothing but snow and wind, until the very storm seem to be full of ghosts and monsters mocking and laughing at his terror.

Back in the den rough hands pulled him from the cot and dragged his wildly twitching, shouting body to the door, “Get the crazy lofan out of here,” a woman said in Mandarin, “dump him well away, we don’t want any trouble from those damn jade dogs!”. Two male voices, complaining as they man-handled him, dragged his drugged and struggling body out into the squalid alleyways of the slums and towards a dark, shadowy yard behind a butcher’s shop. As the first flakes of snow fell from the storm-laden skies above, they threw his body into a pile of roting offal and off-cuts causing a small army of mice to squeal angrily and skitter away as he continued to twitch and rant in his opium-fulled delirium.

Unseen by all but the rats and mice who stopped their squeals and quickly vanished into the night, blue eyes glinted in the shadows, watching the proceedings with naked hunger and anticipation.

One of the men turned to leave but the other stopped him. “What?” said the first, the second smirked and nodded at the prone shape in the gloom, “Oh man,” moaned the first “you really want to roll him? Look at him, he’s a bum, he’s got nothing.”

“Let’s see,” grinned the second.

The second gave him a dismissive wave, “Go ahead, It’s too damn cold to be out here. I’m going to get back before the old hag docks my wages again,” he said and walked off into the snowy night.

The remaining man, looking down at the crumpled shape led on the shadowed floor, licked his lips and bent towards it, “At least the stupid smoke-head has stopped twitching,” he thought, “this will be an easy few dolla….” A hand shot from the inky black and grabbed his wrist with a grip of steel that shot pain deep into his shoulder as he felt the bones in his hand crack and snap, “You should have left with your friend, friend.” hissed a voice.

The first man was only two alleys away when he heard the screams and he pounded back through the piling snow & ice-cold mire to the butcher’s yard with all the speed he could manage. He found his companion sprawled face down in the filth sobbing and clasping his arm to his chest to protect a broken wrist whose hand jutted out at a sickening angle. Standing over him a young Chinese man dressed like a riverboat gambler and with a scarlet dragon tattooed across his face snarled at them both, “Get your filthy hands off him, do you hear me? He’s mine! You!” he addressed the the first, “take your stupid, thieving friend here and get back to the cesspit you crawled out of before I really loose my temper.” The men, too terrified to react, didn’t move at first “NOW!” the stranger bellowed and they jumped into life, pulling and scrabbling backwards away from him as fast as the snowy ground would let them. “Tell everyone,” the stranger shouted after them, “Tell them all. The Doctor is off limits! The Doctor is mine! The Doctor belongs to Jonny O! TELL THEM ALL!”

As their panicked footfalls vanished into the night, Jonny O smiled cruelly to himself. The Doc was safe, he’d hidden him away from prying eyes somewhere he could sleep the opium off. Well, almost all prying eyes… He pounced into the alleyway that cut away from the butcher’s yard and pulled a bundle of squealing rags from behind a rain barrel. The bundle wriggled and kicked and punched and spat and bit but he didn’t let go, instead he waited until the struggling stopped and two eyes, wide with fear, stared at him from the rags and muck. Jonny turned the scamp this way and that, it was dirty, smelly and crawling with fleas, “What does the fool see in you?” he asked out loud in perfect English.

“Wot?” the child asked back, defiance even in the face of fear.

“Hmm? Nothing you grubby little creature, merely thinking out loud,” Jonny replied.

“Ere? ‘Ow come youse is talkin American now but Chinesey befor’?” the child asked.

“None of your beeswax, boy. Or girl. Lord it’s hard to tell, you could be half-polecat for all I can tell, doesn’t your mistress ever give you lot baths?”

“I ‘aint ‘aving no bloody baff, mister! Not from ‘er or you or any bugger! I ‘ATES baffs!” the scamp was incensed and even raised its fists like a boxer in a sideshow poster.

Jonny laughed, maybe the Doc had a point about these brats after all, “Well, when you see your mistress shortly, tell her I think she should put you all through the flea dip once in a while.”

“Not that I’m sayin’ there is a mistress, right,” the scamp’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “but ‘ow do youse know about the mistress? An’ wot ifen I’m nots seein’ ‘er, eh? ‘Av you fought abouts that?”

Jonny lowered the scamp to the floor, “Oh you’ll see her alright. You’ll want to tell her about me like a good little messenger boy. Girl. Polecat. You’ll want your shiny coin and your sweet treats. And when you see her, make sure you tell her that Jonny O has a date. Remember this. Remember these words. Jonny O has a date with a shark in a tunnel.”

“A shark? I fink you must be tapped in the ‘ead, mister cos that don’t make no sense.” the scamp said.

Jonny laughed, “Oh it will to your mistress, but you make sure to tell her exactly that.”

“O I will, mister, I will,” the scamp stood there for a second as the snow fell silently around them..

“Well child, what are you waiting for?” Jonny asked.

“Well, uh, this!” the scamp aimed a good solid kick at Jonny and caught him on the shin before running off into the night. Jonny hopped up and down swearing loudly in Mandarin and English until he could stand on the throbbing leg again. “So that’s what he sees in the little animals,” he thought to himself as he hobbled off through the alleys of Shamian towards the bridge that would lead him to the St Helen’s tunnel and his date with Shayu…

To be continued…
All the “Gang War” posts can be read on my blog here and over on the Steelhead Ning here.

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Aoi hears about Shayu and draws up her plans for the Dragon Landshere.

Gang Wars: Visiting Meili

The bike ride through the dark, quiet city was a sobering affair. After the storm of the previous night, the air had turned cold and the edge of a bitter wind knifed through the streets and alleys. Even the old statues look perished, thought Beck as he left the Town Hall and headed back to Shanghai. He had the curious feeling of being watched and turned back to see the young novice who had called upon him that morning staring back from one of the cells. She was a strange one, he thought, so quiet and shy it hardly seemed possible she was being trained as one of the Perpetual Vigilance’s most deadly weapons. Still, young women in these parts were hardy and knew their own minds and he was sure that under the stewardship of that old battle-axe, the Mother Superior, she’d flourish. As he passed out of sight of the Town Hall and headed east across the city gardens and towards Shanghai’s western-most windmill gate, his attention shifted to another young woman, one he’d said some harsh things to, things he didn’t mean, things he had to try and make right. He had to see Meili at the hotel.

***{}***

“Ahh, Dr Beck,” the usual oily welcome from the host set Beck’s teeth on edge but he just grunted and pushed on past both him and the hired muscle behind him. Straining his eyes through the thick smoke until he saw her bending by the cots, tending to the pipes of the dreaming customers. He wove his way through the room and reached out through the opium haze to touch her shoulder gently. She turned with a smile that fell from her face as she saw him, “Doctor…” she started.

“Meili,” he replied, searching her face for some sign of welcome and finding none “I… That is…”

“Why have you come here?” her voice was low and she busied around him as if her were her customer.

“Meili. What I said… I want to explain,” he was whispering too, the bruiser by the door was watching them, looking for the first sign of trouble, “Please, can we go somewhere? I need to talk to you, I need to explain.”

Meili glanced at the doorman and gave him a barely perceptible shake of her head. He instantly relaxed and stepped back slightly, although his eyes remained on Beck, “You made it clear what you thought,” she replied, a cold, hurt edge to her voice, “What is there to explain?”

“Please… I wasn’t myself… if you would just grant me a few moments to explain,” he tried hard not to plead, “Is… is there somewhere we could talk?”

She looked up at him, her brilliant emerald eyes searching his face, “Follow me,” she sighed and led him through the deep red silk curtains behind the cots to the deeper, more private places hidden below the hotel. The sickly odour of opium smoke mingled with other less exotic yet infinitely more illicit scents – rich perfumes curled around him, sweet flowers of sweat bloomed from doorways full of shadows and sighs. This was the arena of angels, the temple in which they visited their gifts upon mortal men. Despite himself, he found his heart racing as she led him to a small, private room and shut the door behind him. Again she fixed him with her green eyes, “I can not be long,” she said cooly.

“Meili, please,” he said, “when you came to me, when we met, I mean to say after I was… rescued I wasn’t in my right mind and I said things I shouldn’t have…”

“You threw me out!” she hissed, “you told me you never wanted to see me again, you told me I was cursed!”

Tears welled in her eyes and the shame of his words stung him. “But what I said, I meant to protect you…”

“Protect me?” she repeated, her voice dripping with incredulity, “Protect me from what?”

He looked her, memories of his wife’s snarling face burned brightly in his mind, an arctic wind bit at his skin and images of lost children, his own and poor little Li Fe, danced behind his eyes. He didn’t want to give voice to the truth of his failings, his sins, but he needed her to understand, “Please… I have no excuses…”

“Protect me from what,” she asked again, her anger raw and brittle.

“I was out of my mind. The creature, it did something…”

“Protect me from what!” she snapped.

He looked into her perfect green eyes, tears rolling from them down her cheeks, and knew he was lost. He’d said both too much and not enough. How could he tell her now? How could he tell her what he’d done to his family, how he’d let down every member of hers? He was right, she was cursed, cursed to have ever met him. He turned and opened the door before looking back at Meili, “From me,” he said simply and walked out.

The night was cold but he didn’t feel it, after all he’d been to far colder places than this. His lungs itched and gnawed away inside him, his mind twisted and turned, nagging and pleading with him.. He needed to loose himself in the smoke and as the hotel was no longer an option he headed into the slums.

***{}***

Even at this late hour eyes watched him from the darkness. Not just him of course, these eyes, small eager eyes, watched all that happened in Shanghai day and night, but because these eyes were set in the grubby little faces of the street children, no one paid them any attention. Scamps were invisible to all but a few and although on any other day Beck would have noticed them, his opium-hunger blinded him to all but his path through the filthy back streets of Shamian and towards the seedy dens hidden in the deepest, darkest parts of the slums.

The eyes also saw another figure walking through the dark streets, this time heading out of Shanghai and towards the tunnel to St Helens. The eyes had much to report back to their mistress, the pretty lady who paid them and fed them, the doctor was up to his old tricks and a nasty Tong bully was heading into the forests…

To be continued…
All the “Gang War” posts can be read on my blog here and over on the Steelhead Ning here.

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Dr Beck hurt Meili in the epilogue to “Steal Head” here.

Gang Wars: A Meeting Of Gentlemen…

In the cannery the rhythmic clattering of cans rushing along to the hissing, breathing steam-cooker drowned out any hope of conversation between the gutters and packers who toiled away day and night to feed the world’s seemingly insatiable desire for Steelhead’s finest tinned salmon, yet even had the machines stood silent there would be no chatter between the workers less the three Tong thugs who were striding through the factory heard and meted out one of their feared beatings.

Normally the three brutes would have taken great pleasure in watching the workers shrink back from their approach in evident fear, but today they had other things on their mind. Today they had been called to see the boss and if the boss was here so were They; his generals.. As they approached the door to the meeting room Chang looked at Shayu and they booth looked at Fan, their unspoken leader. He looked nervous and that made them doubly so. Fan raised his hand to the door but the unmistakable voice of the boss said “Enter” before he had chance to knock, an unnerving trick at the best of times but even more so considering the boss was said to be stone deaf. Fan swallowed hard, beads of sweat forming down his spine as he pushed open the door and walked in.

The dark, smoky room wasn’t large, not really. Nor was it grand. The boss hated the small of fish so didn’t spend much time here, leaving the running of the crews to his two most trusted men, his generals; The Voice and Han Hong, the Korean Swan. These two most feared men stood either side of the boss who remained seated behind the simple table reading a slip of paper. Moments stretched out into forever as the three summoned enforcers nervously tried not to shift uncomfortably or in any way draw attention to themselves. Eventually the boss looked up and gazed at them with a look so inscrutable all three men felt their skin grow cold. “Report,” he said simply “What is happening outside in the harbour?”

Chang and Shayu glanced quickly at one another as Fan swallowed and started, “The demon seems to be dead, boss. The airship piloted by the robot sent troops into its lair, into the Dragon’s old railway car we blew up. The fight took the car into the harbour but the demon seems dead. I think the patrols will stop soon.”

“Hmmm, yes… the patrols. Despite their presence everywhere of late, the Dragon still manages to strike at our operations whilst our attacks go awry, is that not so?”

Fan’s eyes darted between the two generals behind the boss before returning to the old man himself, “Boss?”

The boss put the papers down and looked Fan directly in the face, “Let me put it this way. We have lost two warehouses, the ships no longer dock here and the merchants are beginning to think we are a toothless snake. Meanwhile the Dragon Lady suffers no such losses. Her dens are full, her clients many, her purse rattling. You were charged with killing her and look what that brought us, a head stealing-demon and so many Jager patrols we can’t even piss in the gutter without three green-skinned dogs watching us.”

Fan could feel the blood draining from his face.

“Now, before I ask The Voice to give you a very special message, I would like to hear what exactly went wrong with the bomb and what has been going wrong since. You have two minutes exactly and if I do not like what I hear by minute three you will be laying on the gutting tables happily ordering those peasants out there to skin you alive, do I make myself clear?”

Had the man stood in front of the boss been Chang there would be no doubt that the cannery boning knives would have been busy before the two minutes were up. Even Shayu, who was many times smarter than Chang, would have struggled to keep his composure. But the man in front of the boss was not Chang or Shayu but Fan and Fan may have been many things but one thing he was not was stupid, “I don’t think it’s a spy, boss. I’ve thought a lot about it but it doesn’t fit. The Dragon didn’t know about the bomb, she wasn’t warned. Shayu was watching and it was Xan himself who warned her. He shouted out at the last minute and tried to disarm the bomb. It seems he had a family member with the Dragon, working for her, and he moved to save her.”

“And the warehouses? The shipping?”

“That’s different boss. There’s someone new in town. No one knows who, but I think the Dragon has hired someone. She is keeping her distance yet attacking at the same time. I’ve been asking boss, Chang’s been banging heads, we’ve tried everyone but no one knows anything. And it’s not that they are scared boss, they just don’t know.”

“What about the steamer and the log? An accident?”

“No boss. No accident that’s for sure. I went up river to the burnt cowboy’s lumber yard and saw the chains for myself. They were cut with bolt cutters.”

“Does he have anything to do with it? Was he involved? Paid to look the other way maybe?”

“It’s possible but I’ll need to speak to him to be sure.”

The boss looked at him through the smoke, narrow eyes and unreadable face glowering out of the gloom. Fan’s heart was pumping like piston. Everything came down to this moment. If the boss believed him he’d live, if not… well not even running would help, not now, not with Han and The Voice here.

“Well done Fan,” the boss said. Fan felt the relief swell inside him but daren’t for one second let it show. “You’ve confirmed what we know and suspect. The Dragon bitch has hired some foreign scum to do her dirty work. I want you to go and find out who they are and I want you to introduce them to my generals, do I make myself clear?”

“Yes boss,” Fan had no idea the hell how he’d achieve this. They’d lent on everyone, broken bones, cut off fingers. No one knew anything.

“Someone knows, mark my words. You just haven’t found them yet,” the boss said. Fan’s eyes widened in fear – could the old bas… the boss read his thoughts?

“Have Chang here find that peasant’s relative, the one who works for the Dragon. Have Chang show these people what happens when they side with the Dragon. And Shayu, have him visit the logger and find out what he knows.”

“And if he knows nothing, boss?”

The old man smiled, a thin cruel smile like a razor slicing through old leather, “Logging is a dangerous business don’t you think, accidents happen all the time. You have your orders. Report back in two days. Go.”

Fan nodded, quickly eyed the generals and spun on his heel to leave, “And Fan,” the boss said behind him, “If you disappoint me I shall have you climb into the steam cooker and boil yourself alive, do you understand?”

“Yes boss.”

Fan, Chang ans Shayu made their way out of the cannery as quickly as they could and with only a knowing look shared between them they set off on their errands aware of just how much was at stake should they fail.

****{}****

To be continued…
All the “Gang Wars” posts can be read on my blog here and over on the Steelhead Ning here.

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
2) All my “Mutations” posts can be read here.

Steal Head: The Story In Full.

The great thing about multi-participant roleplay is the sheer scope & inventiveness of posts and photos that people post to their blogs. Unfortunately it can mean that it’s hard to follow the ebb and flow of the tale and sometime you can miss whole chunks. To try and address this I maintained a record of everyone’s posts and listed them in a chronological order that made sense to the tale. If you’ve never read “Steal Head” before, or are returning to re-read it, I hope this guide helps you find your way through what proved to be an amazing four months of my life 🙂

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The tale begins…

All across Steelhead, people start having nightmares… ((An OOC call to join in the nightmares!))

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the first time…

A vandal paints graffiti around town

A message is revealed and the Sentinel is on the case!

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the second time…

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the third time & Capt Creighton delivers a photograph…

Steal Head Arrives in Town!

Lunar calls for an expedition to the site of the photograph.

Dr Beck writes to the Town Council for the fourth time & Capt Creighton delivers a photograph from the expedition…

More from around Steelhead on the spate of vicious murders! ((An OOC call to join in the murderous fun!))

Dr Beck falls to the creature and a rescue is undertaken.

The end of Steelhead’s nightmare, yet Ya Yiwama claims one final victim…

In the murky waters of Steelhead’s Shanghai port, the legacy of evil battles on…

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Steal Head: The End.

All “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.

Steelhead Stories: Antfarm Lumber & Timber Supplies Now OPEN!

I’ve been hard at work in St Helens and can announce that Antfarm Lumber & Timber Supplies is now open!
HBA Sawmill working_004

I’m employing one of the latest steam engines to power my mammoth saw blade and it’s making quick work of the trees in my forest at the base of Mt St Helens…
HBA Sawmill working_002

As you can see from this aerial shot, the log flume takes the felled trees right down into the river where they can be either rafted up and floated to Shanghai & Port Harbour for transport out to Babbage, Steeltopia & the like, or they can be loaded onto my mighty saw and planed into planks in no time!
HBA Mine_004

Hmmm… I’m not sure what that cave-like rocky outcropping is at the back of my forest – maybe I’ll head up there and take a look…

In the meantime, remember that for all you lumber & timber needs, Antfarm Lumber & Timber Supplied uses only the finest trees from Steelhead’s own forests of St Helens!

HBA Lumber Stamp V1b

Gang Wars: Broken Chains…

Floating Logs_001

Floating Logs_002

Great. Just great. First goddamn week of business. Antfarm crouched by the water’s edge and stared out at the line of half-submerged logs bobbing along the river towards Boomtown and out towards the ports and docks of Shanghai. Somewhere out there one of these logs – his logs – had struck a boat. Three people had died. The harbour-master was coming out to investigate. This could shut him down. Antfarm shifted round and looked down at the remains of the log raft he’d chained together only the day before. The chains he’d used were new, strong. The shackle was bolted tightly. The weather overnight had been mild, the river calm. Nothing could have slipped out, nothing could have come loose. He turned a U-shaped piece of steel over in his hands, rubbing his thumb over the sharp, crimped ends. Bolt-cutters.

Floating Logs_003

First goddamn week of business.

Great.

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To be continued…
All the “Gang War” posts can be read on my blog here and over on the Steelhead Ning here.

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Links to other blogs and stories:
1) This post follows Alana’s on the Steelhead Ning here.

Nightfall in St Helens…

I’ve been working hard over at my log cabin, mainly constructing the parts for a wooden lathe, but I’m never too busy to enjoy a sunset like this…
Steelhead sunset_001

And who wouldn’t love sitting out on a night like this…
St Helens by moonlight_001

I knew I was right coming out here, even the Scamps have stopped exploring the forest and disturbing me. All is peace.

EDIT (3rd Nov 10): I took the two pictures above and wrote this short post waaaaay back in June or July, shortly before SL’s many glitches pissed me right off and I quit blogging for a while to let the blood pressure drop again. I re-scheduled it for 2011 meaning to post it once I calmed down, but once I had calmed down I got stuck into the Steal Head story. Anyhoo, now I’m getting more involved in St Helens again it is time to post this – especially as I’ve just moved the log cabin and replaced it with a small sawmill & log flume!
HBA Saw Mill_009

A Third Tour of Steelhead’s St Helens

It was time for me to ride into town again. Since my last trip (not to mention the one before that) many things had changed in St Helens, none so much as the residents. As Frank and I slowly trotted through the morning splendour of Steelhead’s beautiful wilderness, I recorded these changes for posterity. Here, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a pictorial record of my third tour of Stelhead’s St Helens, starting with my own, hand-built humble abode in the shadow of the mighty mountain itself…
Third Tour of St Helens (HBA)_001

Third Tour of St Helens (HBA)_002

I followed the river east to where, on the former site of Autopilotpatty Poppy’s tree-stump house, Thadicus Caligari has set up camp. Frank has a knack of finding other horses, y’know…
Third Tour of St Helens (Thadicus Caligari)_003

Journeying around the back of Mr Caligari’s property, it seems Mr Vain Adder has expanded his own land holdings considerably and built an impressively large town house in the middle of the forested wilderness.
Third Tour of St Helens (Vain Adder)_004

Frank led me over the mountain and past Miss Fogwoman Gray’s charming cottage (where Frank found yet another horse to snuffle at).
Third Tour of St Helens (Fogwoman Gray)_005

Nearby, Otenth Paderborn had set up a small stables for horses (which seems to have replaced Maev Ceawlin’s balloon air tours)…
Third Tour of St Helens (Otenth Paderborn)_006

…which dovetailed nicely with the Mayor’s blacksmith’s business near the welcome centre.
Third Tour of St Helens (TLE)_008

Frank stopped for a drink in Elegia Underwood’s rather eerie pool…
Third Tour of St Helens (Elegia Underwood)_009

Whilst I’d much rather have been in her saloon!
Third Tour of St Helens (Dragons Rest Saloon)_007

Nearby, MisLily Nightfire has a truly lovely home by the border with Shanghai.
Third Tour of St Helens (MissLily Nightfire)_010

And the Asian influences from Shanghai seem to have inspired Miss Kristianna Fotherington’s home (which I think has replaced the strange rabbit tent of Katsu Catnap).
Third Tour of St Helens (Kristianna Fotherington)_011

Third Tour of St Helens (Kristianna Fotherington)_012

It was a delight to find Miss Anna Darwinian’s gorgeous wee cottage and garden still here!
Third Tour of St Helens (Anna Darwinian)_013

As it was with Miss Mara Razor’s mill – hell, St Helens wouldn’t be St Helens without Mara’s mill!
Third Tour of St Helens (Mara Razor)_015

Across the road from the mill, Thadicus Caligari has a rather lovely piece of land by the river that I think replaces the house Maxim built.
Third Tour of St Helens (Thadicus Caligari)_014

Valdyr Dreamscape has built a Jagerhut (forgive the spelling if wrong) on the site of Mari Moonbeam’s old farm & campsite.
Third Tour of St Helens (Valdyr Dreamscape)_016

Which is even more striking inside!
Third Tour of St Helens_ (Valdyr Dreamscape)_017

Frequency Picnic has moved out and her wee log cabin has been renovated by Otenth Paderborn.
Third Tour of St Helens (Otenth Paderborn)_018

Who has a rather lovely prairie meadow just above it (Frank loved the fresh grass!)
Third Tour of St Helens (Otenth Paderborn)_019

The lovely BobbiJo Jonson still has her wonderful place above the river!
Third Tour of St Helens (BobiJo Jonson)_020

As does Miss Riven Homewood, who also has some rather fine horses to boot!
Third Tour of St Helens (Riven Homewood)_021

And that ends my third tour of St Helens my dear readers. As best as I cab figure, the only place I’ve never photographed is (or was, as he’s moved out) nichus Berman’s gorgeous log cabin. Ironic really as it was nichus who kindly showed me how to make log cabins and without his help and his cabin as both inspiration and guide, I would never have built my own!

p.s. Come and visit St Helens by beaming in at my place here.

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You can read more about the history of St Helens, as well as how to rent a plot there, over on the Steelhead Ning here. The rates and prim allocations (as of 29th Sept 2010 and subject to change by management, of course) are:

  • Land Fee or Buy in Price: 6144L$
  • Monthly Rental: 1800L$
  • Weekly: 450L$
  • Most lots are double prim 234 some sims offer more than double prims at an additional fee if available

For all my Steelhead related posts click here.

For all my St Helens related posts click here.

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Steal Head: Chapter 4 – Sharper Than Steel, Deeper Than Forever…

I’d told Beck some of my dreams but I couldn’t tell him all of them. Mostly they were memories and not all mine. Memories of other worlds. Some were of Shade, others were of the world that was here before. Others were of ‘his’ world and I liked those the least. They were of a life not mine. Things and people and places and events, none of them I had experienced yet I remembered them all as if I had. Tennyson should had tried having someone else’s happy memories swimming about his head for a week, especially after a fire reduced him to a walking freak show, and then see how he felt about loving and losing. No, Beck wouldn’t understand those dreams so I kept them to myself. But this dream, well this dream was different. Maybe I should tell Beck about this one.

It was night, the full moon sending silver light tumbling trough my cabin window. Something had woken me, some noise outside I think. I rose, the room swaying and bending as if made of jelly as I found I was unsteady on my feet. I looked down and gasped as I saw my legs: they were naked and covered in fur! In place of my burnt flesh and twisted limbs I was once more a strange mix of gazelle and human. Elated, I flung open the front door and leapt outside to the rocky overhang that jutted out into the river. On my knees, almost too nervous to see what the moonlit reflection would reveal, I stretched my head out over the still water. The breath caught in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes. My face was once more whole and unburnt, my ears and nose back from the stumps the fire had left me with, even my horns had returned, glinting darkly in the moonlight.

And then I saw it. As I gazed into the dark water like a dreaming Narcissus, the reflection of a quicksilver movement on the roof above and behind me caught my eye. I had a brief second in which the image of a monstrous toad came to mind before the air itself screamed as something sharper than steel sliced through it towards me. And then I was tumbling, rolling over and over into the water and down. And as I dropped to the depths of the river I saw my body, now headless on the rock above me, collapse onto its side before the darkness of the water closed the world above from my horrified eyes. With a gentle bump, my still concious head came to rest on the silty riverbed and silence began to envelop me.

There I lay. Alone, scared, undying, ever-concious until I felt I would go mad with the horror of it. And then I felt the movement. The water and silt shifting around me. I couldn’t move, only my eyes could flick back and forth, desperately searching for what I knew was coming until, with a cruel slow deliberateness, a huge clawed hand curled over my face and my head, silently screaming in terror, was dragged off into the dark.

Thankfully it was at this point I awoke, panting heavily and swearing like a navvy.

God alone knows what Beck would make of this one. Hopefully he won’t think I’ve gone totally loopy as, to be honest, I don’t fancy another stay at Caledon’s Sanitorium, not after the last time.

Headless HBA_001

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To be continued…

Links to other blogs and stories:
1) All my “Steal Head” posts can be read on my blog here and on the Steelhead Ning here.
2) A “Steal Head” Story So Far recap can be found here.
3) All my “Mutations” posts can be read on my blog here
4) Details of how HBA came to be burnt are in the “Lost and Found” posts on my blog here
5) Details of how HBA came to be in the dubious care of Caledon’s Sanatorium are in the “Far From Home” posts on my blog here
6) Details of how HBA came to be a half-gazelle are in the “Backpacking Burro” posts on my blog here

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