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In Which the Heat Continues

The morning gave promise of another murderously hot day. I have seen dogs collapsed under trees, tongues striving desperately for any breeze to cool them. There hasn't been a single tree unaccompanied by a host of animals seeking its shade and some possibility of enough coolness to survive until the hot dark hours.

Yes, even the nights are proving to be unbearably hot. I stepped out the door at midnight to watch for Mr. Woolesley's aethership - he brings me new tools I ordered from Old London and Old Stuttgart - and the weight of the heat bore me to my knees.

There was no aethership arrival. I continue on in daily expectation.

this heat makes a trip to Amber Aurigae ever more attractive, nest of monsters or not. The aether does not suffer from this sodden, miserable heat, and Amber Aurigae is always wrapped in frost.

Frost.

Even that word sounds marvelous and wondrous and so, so desirable.

Frost.

If I keep thinking that word, before I know it I shall be on my own ship, navigating the ever changing currents of the aether and fending off the aetherlife that shares space with us frail humans. I've been charmed by the flocks of clockwork birds, so called because they click like clocks as they fly through the aether, and chime sonorously when mate - which is nearly hourly. They should have been called fuckerbirds, but I quite understand the sensibilities that prevented that from happening. And really, "clockwork birds" is truly a charming name for them.

I've hidden in my cabin when schools of needlefish have swarmed the ship. They pierce the flesh and suck it dry of fluids, then the sweepers come along and eat what is left. Their probosci are thin as a beading needle and sharper than obsidian and just as fragile, so even a thin veneer of wood suffices to protect from them. Their cries as their needly probosci break against the solidilty of the ship is heartrending, but the regrow quickly. I harden my heart against them.

Charming as those are, there are still dangers out here. I am safe enough in my gardens and laboratory here on Sextans III - ectoplasmic shields fueled by the specters of our ancestors protect us here. But away from my gardens and laboratory, even to visit a neighbor, is fraught with dangers. Travelling through the aether billions of miles away is even more hazardous, it's a miracle the supply ships and merchants ever arrive anywhere safely.

Perhaps I can bear the heat a little longer. And I really must check on my latest experiment.

Garden Notes

Today was inexcusably hot. Yes, I am quite aware that these are the Dog Days of summer, the hottest days of the year. Can that not be a merely incendiary 35*C? Fruit is boiling in its skin. I saw an apple worm hanging half out of a semi boiled unripe apple, panting!

The mourning doves are soaking in the stream, where the water runs slightly cooler. Slightly. I anticipate dove stew by sunset.

There wasn't a breeze at all, which makes the heat seem even more oppressive.

Since the death of the infant monster, I have spent almost as much time here in my gardens contemplating where I went wrong as I have spent in my labs, seeking answers in the corpse. It would have been such a feather in my cap to have documented the life cycle of this species of monster, but such is not to be - unless. Unless the rumors of a nest of these monsters out beyond Amber Aurigai are true.

Should I contact my crew and plan a trip out there? I hear the route is calm this time of year, and the merchants have started a patrol to ward against pirates, so it should also be safe.

I have become such a homebody that a trip of several dozen parsecs daunts me so.

I shall plan the trip and if my courage holds, then I shall gather my crew.

Well! That DIdn't Go Well

I am not amused. Trying to keep a monster alive is far more work than I truly expected. The ungrateful little beast died on me in spite of my best efforts.

At least it looks well preserved in parts. I found imminently suitable canopic jars and bottles in which to preserve most of it in formaldehyde and other preserving fluids.

Not all its parts are preserved, of course. Some I experimented upon and others went under microscopic study and extensive testing. It has added much to my knowledge of monsters.

I have filled 2 entire journals with notes on this creature. Should I encounter similar monsters in the future, I will know what must be done.

On a lighter note, the pigeon eggs have ripened into fledgling birds. They spend an inordinate amount of time in the carriage drive and the tomato beds. They also seem rather fond of the mint beds and that damnable horsetail. Their pin feathers are in enough that they can fly short distances. Give them another month and they'll be just the right size for a high tea.

Baby Monsters

It has been a few days.  Herding baby monsters is not easy.  I am now more determined than ever to never have children.  If I can't handle a wee monster, how can I possibly care for a human child?  I'd have to shuffle it off onto a nanny and governesses and what's the point of having one or more?  If I can't do it myself, then I'll not do it at all.

Back to that baby monster.  Apparently, chicken bones do not agree with it.  It has developed some disturbing rashes and lumps and I have carefully documented these things because I have no idea if they are normal or a sign of bad care on my part.

I am desperately searching for more monsters of a similar sort.  My intention is to leave this monster baby with them.  I can't work with the monster baby taking all of my time and attention.  I look away for one second and it's drinking the formaldehyde or smearing feces on my tea kettle. 

Note to self:  purchase a new tea kettle.

The monster baby makes the most distressing sounds.  It screels up into the higher registers then wails down into the registers that send the floors and walls vibrating.  I can't sleep with this racket and I don't believe the monster baby sleeps, either.

I am reluctant to kill this monster because it is merely a baby, but perhaps that is the female in me.  I should simply man up and kill it.  I have derived all the information from the living entity I can tolerate. 

Or perhaps I am merely catering to my own whims and not being properly scientific?  Perhaps the more manly thing to do is to continue my observations, from a distance.  Surely I can collect more information from this monster.

That's it.  I shall isolate the monster baby at some distance from the house, far enough away to prevent hearing it.  The undergardener's house should do just fine.  We haven't had an undergardener in my lifetime.  The house is gutted, a stone shell.  I can place food, water, and bedding in there.  I can observe for short times.

And then, if I get no new information, and I can't find adult monsters, then I shall kill it and perform a necropsy upon it.  That will provide more information.

Storming Monsters

There are storms stalking the land today.  Wind and rain has come again.  I love a good thunderstorm, but these tornadic spring storms are what make me reconsider what my favorite season is.  It seems the baby monster also dislikes the sirens and wind and rain.  It scurries about the cage in which I've confined it, seeking a hiding spot.

I am a kind monstrumologist.  I found a box and lined it with blankets.  When the monster was on the far side of the cage, I shoved it in.

The beast appeared grateful, for it scuttled its way to the box and paused to screel at me before it ducked inside.  It's been out twice to collect its water bowl and food with one of its favorite toys - a dollie I made it from rawhide that vaguely looks like it.  It croons to the dolly and is doing so now inside the box.

I begin to feel the monster has some degree of intelligence and compassion.  But I fear the adult version won't be as sweet as this baby seems to be.

I've made tea and am sipping it as I watch both the weather and it.  My aetheroglyphic device is sending images of funnel clouds and damage, thankfully far away, though I feel for the people whose homes and businesses are being trashed by the tornadoes.

Note to self:  must bake or buy more bread, this loaf is getting moldy.

Baby Monster

The baby monster I rescued, as it were, seems rather fond of cat gooshy food, but not so much for dog gooshy food.  It also has a strange fondness for Dr. Pepper, which it shall not get anymore as it makes the creature - unpredictable.

I spent most of the day perusing my notes for a clue about the type of little monster this is.  I am having no luck at all.  It is an entirely new type of monster.  Therefore, I must carefully document it for future research.

Those notes will go in my private journal for now.  Once I have reached some conclusion, I will post an abstract of those notes here.

Now it's time for tea.

What The Storm Brought In

The day literally burst upon us in the form of a raging thunderstorm.  The willows were positively flattened under the weight of the rain.

I, being prudent, made tea. 

Then I sipped it as I watched the walls of water cascade about my small cottage.  This must be what it feels like to a fish in an aquarium - surrounded by water that obscures one's vision of all that lies beyond.

The storm passed soon enough, and I wandered out into my gardens to view the storm-wrought damage.  There were the inevitable limbs down.  I noted my mulberries would be ripe in a week - I am rather fond of mulberry wine and jam.

I rounded the corner behind my greenhouse, and there, among my tiny orchard, was a - monster.  A baby monster, that's true, but nonetheless, a monster of minute proportions.

Its feathers were the feathers of an adolescent, its shape that of a four legged being, the muzzle long and filled with tiny sharp teeth.  I donned my thick leather gloves to probe it, for it lay quite unconscious.  It might have been dead.  Certainly that would be easier for me!  It proved to be alive, and perhaps even of some degree of intelligence, for upon probing, it, I discovered it was wearing a harness of cunning tools - a packet of ties, a pair of scissors, a pair of pliers, a quad of gloves, and some other devices I could not yet place.

Oh bother!  This meant I was duty bound to nurse it back to health and attempt to locate its kind.  I'd never seen a monster of this sort before, feathered, furred, four-haded, sharp muzzled, and tailed.  The tail was stubby as a puppy's, which meant it had yet to gain its full length.  It had no discernible ears and the eyes, closed as they were, offered no glimpse into its soul.

I have cleaned the monster p ascertained it had no obvious broken bones, and it now resides in the gilded dog crate in the warmest corner of my kitchen.  My camera is charging and when it is ready, I shall take pictures to add to my journal.  I have made some preliminary sketches but photographic evidence appears to be more compelling to the general public.

I need another cup of tea and breakfast.

We shall see where it goes from here.  I do hope this monster is not too labor-intensive, for I've a paper to present at the Royal College, and then I've been invited to New Cairngorm to view the remains of a monster there that may have once walked the earth and given rise to some of our more cherished myths.  I wish to say no more at the moment for I want confirmation first.  As a pre-eminent monstrumologist, my expert opinion carries some weight and I am aware of the responsibility that entails.

Dear Journal, you must wait for more information until I have more.  Until then, these hints must suffice.

Tea.

Being A Begining

I quite enjoy the lovely babbage that allows me to communicate through the ages and from any location.  It allows me to connect in many ways.  This is my first use of this marvelous device and I am quite pleased with it.  I understand I shall be able to also add photographs,so this is quite exciting.

I suppose I should write down who I am, what I am, and what I hope to accomplish.

My name is Cordelia Moontea.  I have disassociated myself with the Bennett half of my family and so have dropped the name.  I don't wish to ride on their coattails nor to have my fame accrue to their name.  The Moontea family - my mother's family - is obscure and embarrassed by me.  They are not likely to claim what modest fame I may garner, although they may expect to profit from any association with me.

I have a modest independence, enough to allow me to pursue my interests.  My interests have proven to be profitable so that my independence, while reliable and sometimes my sole support, pales in comparison.  This pleases me even more, for it chafes the Bennetts that I don't need their largesse.

My life was mapped out for me by them at my birth.  I, of course, immediately rebelled.  They wanted me to grow up to be the lovely and gratefully dowdy spinster sister, the free nanny and governess living on whatever crumbs and favors they chose to bestow upon me.  My Great-Aunt Sophelia understood exactly what my life would have been like for she escaped a similar one because of an independence she inherited from her Great-Aunt Sophronia.

Aunt Sophronia never spoke of how she got her independence, but she used it to further the cause of female emancipation.  When she died, she left her independence to Aunt Sophelia.

Aunt Sophelia used her bequest to develope the first true black rose and received a knighthood from our beloved Majesty for it.  When she died at the ripe age of 87, she left her independence to me.

I intend to use it to catalogue the monsters that inhabit the aether.  Not all monsters are evil, you must understand, but they are still monsters however benevolent they may be.  I will bring to bear all my education, skill, and knowledge in alchemy, spagyrics, taxidermy, fairytales, and biology.  I will document my endeavors here, in this babbage journal.  My hope is that others will be inspired by my work and conduct their own investigations.

Of course, this journal is more than a documentation of my work, it will also be a documentation fo my life, for there is no real way to separate the two, I have so immersed myself in what I do.  You will meet those monsters who are my friends, and those who are truly monstrous in mind as well as body.  And you will likely also be subjected to my thoughts and trivial pleasures.

At some point, should I live so long, I will sift through this data to refine my theories of monstrosity.  Thereby, I hope to elevate the science of monstrumology to one that is as well regarded as alchemy, astronomy, and zoology.