Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Ill-Fated Heatherington Expedition

Four years ago, outdoorsman and amateur natural philosopher Mr. Darbury Heatherington led a large, well-funded expedition eastward, beyond the bend of the great river, in an effort to survey the unknown lands beyond.  What truly happened during the Heatherington expedition is unknown, but Mr. Heatherington returned to River-Town by himself one year ago, gaunt and addled.  He spent three days in Colgate Hill Sanatorium under the care of various medical professionals, arranging his notes into a memoir, to which he affixed the following letter.

Outside my window at this facility I can see men, women, and children of all classes intermixed in the streets, tipsy and masqued, celebrating the day of the Satyr as they have each year for as long as I can remember.  And, in truth, I have some few happy memories of the occasion in my youth -- yet today is grim, and no revels can long draw my attention.  

As grateful as I should be to have returned safely to the edge of civilization after such desperate travails, my heart is broken.  I departed intoxicated with dreams of wonder, and return but a shallow husk.  Forty-seven men were under my charge; now they all sleep the sleep of ages.  Battered by the elements, rent in twain by horrible beasts, perforated by native arrows - each death preventable, had they but lacked foolish confidence in me as their leader.  The weight of their needless deaths is a burden I wish to bear no longer.  I have returned and delivered my records of the journey, as promised, though the map be incomplete.  

And I’ve little faith that any reasonable man will believe my tales of purple pygmies, the impossibly corpulent Emperor of Rubbish, the Valley of the Anti-Primitives, the Man Who Killed Ghosts, or anything else contained herein.  But I must fulfill my promise as tribute to those men who died along the way, sacrificing themselves for greater knowledge.  This is the only means I know of memorial, of coping with the crushing grief.  This memoir must stand as my Satyrday mourning.
Mr. Darbury Heatherington was found hanged in his room at the Sanatorium the next morning.  The publisher presents his unaltered manuscript, without comment regarding its veracity, as a monument to those men and women across the frontier who risk their lives in the name of discovery for the common good.

Sanford Grantle
Grantle & Brown, Bookbinders, River-Town

What remains of the Heatherington party makes camp in the unknown wilderness.

Side-project on the burner that's got my brain-pistons going full steam. A populated hexcrawl map alongside expedition notes, it's called Satyrday Mourning, and it's exactly what you think it is.

I am super-excited.