Well. That expedition did not go at all the way I had imagined it would. All the details I had worked out, all the grand leadership speeches and clever solutions, all for naught. The rest of our travel to the fort was uneventful, for which I was grateful, but, once within sight, we stopped to camp and observe… however, we were observed in kind and a warrior party was sent out to investigate, pummel or eat, I’m not sure which… but… with some luck and some good fighting, we managed to subdue them, bind them, and lead them back to the fort where Icarus, a constantly drunk air ship “captain” took the lead and challenged their chieftain for the sword we were sent after. I have to say, the fight was incredible to watch… it seemed to last forever, but only lasted a matter of short moments, but moments I spent with my pistol clutched tightly in my sweating palm, primed and cocked and hidden in a fold of my jacket… just in case. Unbelievably Icarus was victorious, and even more unbelievably the orcs honored the challenge and allowed us to take the sword… and… yet even more unbelievably gave us until sundown to remove the steam car… before they killed us. I still am not sure how he did it, still not sure where I could have done better, or accomplished more. I suppose I should realize my strengths, realize his, and be happy I am returned and successful… I cannot stay angry, or annoyed however, for I have the steam car, the beautiful, wee beastie.
…and… Oh she is a beauty. Rusted and cannibalized, wheels out of round and all wood weathered to useless, but I got her rolling. I could have gotten her moving under her own steam if I could have gotten water to fill her tank. She rests now under cover in my newly acquired workshop space. If I were not totally exhausted and drained to the bone I would be down there now, beginning the long, gloriously wonderful process of dismantling, cleaning and rebuilding. But. If I learned nothing else from my father, I learned that tired people make mistakes… so… I am eating a light dinner, catching up on my lack of water and will be sleeping soundly soon, dreaming of cogs and grease and mirror shining steel.