A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

 #35211  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
Fadgett & Spinner's Outfitters, London
January 1894, mid-morning • Frosty and foggy


The Captain had hitched up to stay in London for a few nights. He was considering visiting his sister, but that was perhaps far too much hassle. His sister was only a couple of years younger than Gunner, but had seemed to have lived a full life as a counter-opposite. Where Gunnar had set out to travel and explore the seas, Lavinia had settled down rather quickly with a man named Phineas Wraith. Lavinia Wraith. It certainly felt like she was a wraith in many forms, now; hollow and down-trodden, the light in her eyes vanquished. Her dreams of becoming a famous poet had been destroyed, and he thought that now her children were grown she would pursue such a dream. But she hadn't.

The youngest of her seven children, Flora, had also scurried off to get married. Gunnar had always liked that one; she seemed far more outgoing and humourous than her straight-laced brothers and demure sisters. He had been sure that if he told her enough sea-fairer tales, she would pack up and be on board the day she hit eighteen. But that day had come and gone, and she had met some baker's son named Wilbert. Gunnar hadn't even attended the wedding due to his own disappointment - she'd promised to join him on at least one voyage. But now that was over, he suspected, and she hadn't forgiven him since.

He stood outside the window display of Fadgett & Spinner's, a thick brown envelope in hand. Likely a letter from Lavinia that she'd sent to his place of residence a little too late during his last visit - she had a habit of forgetting what day he was leaving. It really was like trying to catch water with Gunnar. But he'd brought it with him due to thickness of it; once again, Lavinia had handed over some savings for him. He'd insisted she didn't but...after a decade of this, and her very cushy life, she had aggressively pushed the notes into his fingers. Every visit home came with the funds, but he was only allowed to spend it on the practical needs.

She really was just like their mother.

Perhaps he should go and visit her, despite the impending headache from her husk of a husband. Carefully, he began to peel the sticky adhesive of the envelope.
 #35212  by Algernon Stagg
 
Algernon was rather depressed in his other state. His expedition had not been the rifling success he'd aimed for, and his articles had suffered for it. Nobody wanted to hear about the great carvings, expansive deserts and dunes, or the unusual animals there. They wanted to know about the treasures he had promised to find; nobody gave a damn (pardon, his language) about how the language and linguistic syntax altered in variation depending on the regional dialect norms. Nobody cared. And to make matters worse, he had not heard from his benefactor in months! He'd checked the post multiple times, sent owls, penned letters, spoken to possible connections to Mr. Iver and nothing was heard of the aristocratic man.

And now, they were threatening to take away additional educational funding due to the lack of evidence and findings. How was he supposed to pay his staff - er, crew - when he could barely take a wage himself?

He pressed his large glasses up his nose, a weary look in his eyes as he paced the cobbled streets of London. However, it was then that he spotted Gunnar. Inhaling sharply, Algernon made a swift turn toward the older man, clearing his throat.

"Captain Kaylock! You're back!" He exclaimed, an uneasy and nervous smile on his face. "I don't suppose you have read my job opportunity, have you? We are in vital need of-"
 #35213  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
"Yes, yes. A Captain and navigational expert, a crew, and a ship to take you on your travels to the Africas. It's quite hard to miss the posting, seemingly difficult - in fact- despite my numerous attempts to gloss over such a feat. Flyers, an advertisement in the Gazette, the bulletin board on the docks, several letters, your assistant accosting me in the street. Believe me, Mr Stagg, I have heard of your necessities."

He turned his head to the other, resealing the envelope and dropping his hand by his side.

"I must be honest; i have never met a man so unwittingly baron with his attempts to gain. The ambitious and innovation of reaching me is rather astounding, I will give you that. But perhaps your intuition is off, so allow me to expand upon it. I am not interested in your little venture. Have a good day, Mr Stagg." He ended abruptly, turning back to the window.
 #35215  by Algernon Stagg
 
Algernon opened his mouth as though to retort, but he was soon silenced by the Captain's continued scorning of him. Was he ultimately be told off, like a petulant child, for simply being too determined and ambitious? Was that even a common problem - to be too eager to succeed in life-long dreams and expeditions and journeys.

"Little venture!" He responded, aghast. "Mr Kaylock-"

"Captain" Gunnar interjected.

"Alright, Captain. This isn't simply some field trip for a mere jest upon the sea, nor is it a light-spirited holiday period. this is for science, for reason! Intellect is ever-growing, is it not? I merely wish to utilise your resources to achieve the same goals as you have in, perhaps, a slightly different direction."
 #35216  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
"Oh, I quite agree that it is for research and science and reason, young sir. Unfortunately for you," He turned, towering over the other man "science and reason come at a cost, and quite frankly, your bargaining chip is rather weathered."

He lifted a brow at the other man, a stern look on his face.

"You are merely offering a pittance for me to - not change course slightly - but critically. For a man of reason, surely you must see that East and West are on counter-poles of a compass! You are a clever man, Mr Stagg; don't let desperate fog your glasses so much, you may not be able to see so clearly if you do."
 #35217  by Algernon Stagg
 
Algernon nearly swallowed his tongue at the captain's abashed words!

"I - well, I do see your point, of course, I cannot miss such a thing. But please, do understand that perhaps payment comes after the voyage has concluded. Many treasures to be had, many things to learn, many advancements in technologies both nautical and land-based; a whole other civilisation, a brand new world, a place of mystery and contempt and discovery and a chance for Britain to truly staple itself as a pioneer for modern technology and advancements and, Sir-"

"Captain" Gunnar reiterated.

"Yes - yes, of course, Captain. Surely it is you that is wearing fogged goggles as to give such an opportunity amiss, is it not?"
 #35218  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
"No, it is not." Gunnar spoke bluntly, finally deciding to take the letter in his hand and shove it into his inside pocket, resting beneath the military medal he claimed to have been awarded. His hand almost lingered there to accentuate the prized possession. "Britain is already an industrial and mechanical giant among others. We are already pioneers in functionality, discovery, literature and linguistics, history, sciences, psychology and social encounters, architecture, machinery - the list is endless, good sir."

He gave Algernon a firm look.

"There is nothing I must advance for Britain; it turns its own wheel and I will not drop the anchor to steer it in another direction. You may do how you wish, but my ambitions are selfish and solitary. I travel the ocean for my private, personal discoveries - nothing for, frankly, bumptious scholar."
 #35411  by Algernon Stagg
 
"Bumptious scholar" Algernon echoed, aghast by the phrasing, his eyes as wide as dinner plates behind his circular glasses. He shook his head, the chain from his spectacles following the movement. "Now, I will have you know, Sir-"

"Capta-"

"Zounds! You are being nothing if not a fustilarian; not even willing to hear a proposition worth your ship tenfold!" He looked the captain up and down. "You are welcome to insult me, perhaps my impotence as an academic - but to insult the art of knowledge itself is blasphemous outright. And certainly unwarranted!"
 #35412  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
Gunnar tilted his head, stepping into Algernon's space, forcing him to retreat a step.

"And you, young scholar, are a scobberlotcher." He retorted sharply. He saw the confusion begin to form on his face. "Ah, for such an academic you have little knowledge of the language and linguistics in the Americas. A scobberlotcher, good sir, is a man who refrains from working hard. Although, perhaps your expertise is of the more latin origin, yes? In that case, cacafuego may be more appropriate."

Another baffled expression.

"No? A betwaddled, bug-hunting, zounderkite - and I believe a gentleman of four outs, such as you, should prepare to cop a mouse, should you instigate further."
 #35458  by Algernon Stagg
 
Algernon grit his teeth, jaw tight, expression tighter.

"Your disrespect and disregard for me is of no qualm nor quarrel I wish to pursue. It is of my right mind to slander your name and ensure you have no further funding to your voyages. You would be hanged - beheaded! - for such language to that of the Royal Highness, Queen Victoria-"
 #35459  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
"Perhaps. But you are not Queen Victoria, are you? And if you did so happen to be her, she certainly would seem to have become whinier, more pathetic and, hm..."

He leaned down.

"Far more unattractive."
 #35460  by Algernon Stagg
 
There was a an eerie wave of quiet that washed over the pair. Algie opened his mouth to speak, but he was cut off by another voice.

"Uncle Gunnar!" Exclaimed a melodic voice. A young woman, no older than twenty, came into frame. Her waist was cinched with a satin sash, the bellowed sleeved of her dress making her waist appear tinier in comparison, an ornate brooch at her neck with a ruffled collar - it was only recently that women in London had started wearing paler colours. And thus, the young woman was wearing pale greet with cream details. "I was hoping to run into you; I sent you dozens of letters, but mother said you may not have received them due to your travels. It's fairly difficult to send letters to a non-address, and the ocean is so vast that-"

Her attention dragged over to Algernon.

"Oh, pardon, Sir. Apologies for the intrusion. Flora Schumacher, niece to Captain Kaylock."

Algernon looked over her a moment; she was certainly attractive. Schumacher? She was German, then? Or perhaps...married to a German. That would make more sense, but it certainly was a shame that all the pretty ones were already rationed. He pursed his lips, looking back to Gunnar; thinking about it, he would much rather not be related to such a scoundrel.

"Algernon Stagg, writer for the Ma-" He cut himself off, suddenly realising that he may not be among magical folk. He cleared his throat. "I'm a history columnist."
 #35461  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
Gunnar rolled his eyes. Just what he needed. Although...he had wanted to see Flora again, but he didn't exactly want Algernon - bloody - Stagg making eyes at her, that was for certain.

"Flora, my darling niece." He cooed, wrapping a large arm around her and pulling her in for an embrace, a feather from her bonnet tickling his chin before he released her again. "Why are you here? How did you know I would be here?"

Flora shrugged, signalling she had simply guessed, though perhaps it was more so she could turn her attention to Algernon. "A history columnist - wow! You must be very clever. What do you write about?" She inquired, leaning in a little, clearly curious.
 #35462  by Algernon Stagg
 
"Well, everything." Algernon spoke, face lighting up. "I plan to travel around the world, collecting insight and intrigue, discovering and unraveling the mysteries of the world. It really is quite fascinating."

By the look on Flora's face, she agreed.

"I was actually just speaking to your uncle here; I was wondering if he would be kind enough to escort myself and some crew members to the Africas for a spot of adventure and academic research. Though, unfortunately, it appears as though he is otherwise engaged. I suppose I must stifle my research once again."

"Otherwise engaged?" Flora gasped, and then looked to Gunnar. "Oh, please, Uncle. Mr Stagg seems like an incredible asset for a journey out East - must you snub him so briskly? Surely this is a rampant opportunity for popularity, knowledge, credibility, and perhaps a few sovereigns." She spoke, smiling broadly as she hung on his arm.
 #35463  by Captain Gunnar Kaylock
 
Gunnar was now the one to grit his teeth.

"Yes, well, circumstances don't always align as such." He commented brashly, then sighed. "Flora, perhaps you could go inside and find your uncle a nice new cap; the salty air does tend to bite, I find, and my previous one was eaten by a mollusk of sorts." He spoke, bemused. Flora was clearly entertained by this, laughing slightly.

She knew he was just trying to get rid of her from the discussion, but she knew better than to oppose him, and quickly nodded before entering Fadgette & Spinners Outfitters. Once she was out of earshot, Gunnar rounded on the younger man.

"Now, I know you believe you are far more coy and cunning than I, but be warned, Mr Stagg; I do not make idle threats. You are treading a fine line, and I shan't have you manipulating a situation, because believe me, you will surely regret the outcome. The ocean is no mild feat. It is a vast pit of death and decay, a swelling jaw of spineless creatures with now concerns over swallowing you whole - if you travel alongside, you will die. I will make sure of it."