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Mission 28, Cutlass Play 2/6/2019 (Ice Kingdoms)


Ten million doubloons was the value of our expedition’s cargo, and, if we failed to open profitable trade with the mysterious Mughals, either our Captain, Moridin, the Viceroy of Japan, or his cousin, Nemo McMoridin, would have hell - or the Fuggar bankers - to repay. Our trade fleet of four galleons had been at sea for over a year, quartering the Sea of Mugs, and had recently slaughtered a bull whale with gold and gems encrusted amongst it’s barnacles. Moridin had been satisfied with the bounty, but had been taken aback when informed by Monsignor Maurice of the true debt accrued.

Moridin remained unseen through the night, although muttered curses could be heard by any of the crew unlucky enough to pass near his cabin. He emerged at dawn, surveyed the sea with his telescope, then ordered the flagship, Alida’s, prow turned to the east.

Louis Brighteyes lived up to his name. From the crow’s nest of Alida he gave the cry, “Land, Ho!” A forested shoreline lay ahead. Once more we charted shores unknown to Europeans. Was this an arm of the continent to our north, or merely a large island? We followed the coastline south, to the tip of the land, then eastwards, charting our path.

The shallows off shore of this unknown land were treacherous. Twice vessels of the fleet struck shoals and reefs, and twice, unexpected tragedy. Bassano, a puppeteer, exiled from Genoa for his grotesque carvings of his country’s nobility, and Ferrari, a Nepalese pyrate who had lost both his hand to Turkish torture had both interviewed for specialist positions within the expedition. Neither had been hired, both had stowed away. Bassano perished when Abora struck a shoal, Ferrari when Honey-Dew rammed into a reef. The unexpected discoveries of the bodies weighed upon the crew, leaving them more distracted than vigilant, and the minor damage to the hulls and trim of the two ships left them looking more like battered war-craft than ships fit for commerce.

We were now sailing northwards along the eastern coast of the unknown land, when Moridin decided to change up the crew assignments. Sailors were to be rotated between the ships. Alain Gignot would take over as Master of Honey-Dew, Rolfe d’Ambray as Master of Abyssinian and Jean Lebeouf as Master of Abora. Captain Moridin, and the fleet’s officers were to personally inspect every vessel.

Felix Kryski, Grand Chancellor of Stockholm, Master of Honey-Dew took the demotion poorly, and locked himself in the Captain’s cabin. Gignot laughed and stated he was fine sleeping with the crew. “A Master who shares hardship with his crew earns their loyalty.” Olaf Porse, who had originally been Master aboard Abyssinian before transferring to Abora merely observed “I’ve been Captain before, I’ll be Captain again. For now, I am content.” However, he, too, kept his stateroom. Jean LeBeouf shrugged and observed, “Sometimes, Alain is right.”

Caron, the French tailor who had been placed in command of Abyssinian (for we all knew the man as a loyalist), did not take the demotion well at all. The maker of brass buttons proved even madder than Rolfe d’Ambray! Caron drew his epee (of course the tailor’s blade more more of an oversized needle!) and babbled bizarrely at Moridin. Moridin at first laughed at the man, thinking the action mere posturing, then quickly backed away when Caron lunged. Louis Brighteyes reached around Moridin with his own blade to slap down the point of the epee, while Moridin accidentally pushed me forwards during his withdrawal. I spun to clear the Captain’s path and stay from the arc of Louis’s riposte. My back was to the tailor, and so it was Jasc Bonadventure I saw, calling, “Duck!” before something heavy crashed in, knocking me, dazed and sprawling, to the decking.

The sea-mad Caron had grabbed his oil lantern from the table and swung it into my head. He swung his arm in a full arc, trying to shatter my skull with the heavy lantern. Given what was to occur, perhaps I am the only one who considered it lucky that the swing carried the lantern into the cross-beam of the door sill. The glass shattered with the impact and the lantern flew back from his grasp to land on the Captain’s bed. The bedding ignited and the flames roared up the wall. Scattered droplets of flaming oil also ignited the charts and other papers on the Captain’s desk as well as other sundry items.

The fight was surprisingly brutal. The manic tailor pierced Monsignor Maurice’s side with a wild stab and came close to skewering both Moridin and Louis! Jasc was battered badly by the brass specialist. Not viciously enough to cause lasting injury, but enough to remove him from the battle. As the fire spread, Moridin’s temper flared. He growled that he could not stand an “angry mutt,” tackled the crazed Caron and pummeled the man into morphic oblivion.

The tailor’s madness and paranoia must have been brewing for some time. Abyssinian held half of our stores of light arms, and the lunatic had raided the armory. The secret stash of gunpowder he had hidden under the bed detonated, blowing out Abyssinian’s stern. Abyssinian was lost.

I was still dazed. Whilst my compatriots dragged away the unconscious Caron and vacated the blazing inferno, I was pawing the deck, trying to scoop up the embers that shone like gold coins. Captain Moridin lifted me , dragged me above decks and dropped me in a jolly-boat before supervising the scuttling.

Abyssinian’s cargo of iron ingots was salvaged before she slipped beneath the waves. The remaining arms were lost.

The fearsome Moridin displayed rare pity. Despite the damages to the fleet, the psychotic Caron was not punished for his actions, but was remaindered to Honey-Dew for recovery. Rolfe d’Ambray was assigned to watch the man. Madness catering to madness! Rolfe was also to tend to the wounds of Monsignor Maurice. Madness, catering to the mad and the crazy caring for crazed!

During the melee Louis’s sword had penetrated some papers. They were stuck to his blade throughout the action. They turned out to be letters between two unknown parties. Someone among the Fleet was working against our best interests. Someone among the Fleet was an agent of the wily Japanese. The suspects were Alexander Pope, Olsen of Kleef, Alhambra the Moor, Quecha the Incago, Caron himself, Deacon Montaigne, Olaf Porse or Ben Jonson. We came to a consensus that the paranoid Caron lacked the temperament to be a suitable agent. The Incago had never shown signs of being literate. Wildemoon accused Olaf Porse, and seemed taken aback when Louis defended Porse. “It’s just a pyrate’s hunch” Louie shrugged. I felt it likely to be the deceptive Ben Jonson, but, in the absence of clear evidence, we could merely keep vigilant.

And so we sailed onwards, following the shore northwards until the land bent west. We put to in a sheltered cove and set ashore to explore. It was time to determine if we sailed around a massive island or a spur of a continent. Captain Moridin, Mathys Violette, Louis Brighteyes, Jasc Bonadventure and I crossed overland with our eighty-seven remaining cavalry.

West across the land we found a tribe calling themselves the “Penguin People” of the Inuit. The Penguin wore skin that enabled them to blend into the land and they fought and hunted with envenomed harpoons. They harvested a burning oil from the creatures of the sea and wore small ornaments of gold. Yet they remained curious and innocent heathens. Mathys Violette took it upon himself to prove to the heathens the superiority of the (Reformed) Church and the supremacy of the Lord. His approach was based on reason and argument, not on the point of a sword. The good-natured Penguins listened to Mathys’ words and seemed to find meaning in scripture. A hundred of their hunters joined our expedition. We broke out our remaining small-arms and trained them as troopers.

While the teachings of war and salvation continued we learned what we could from the guileless Penguins. They avoided the frozen lakes and bears in the mountains to the north, but knew they were not surrounded by water on all sides (Thus this land was not a new island, but part of the continent of Yarmouk). They had rumors of the Mughals, and their palace of Xanadu. They traded timber and oil with the fisher folk of the two small islands to the east.

After Abyssinian, no one wished to bring aboard vast quantities of unknown flaming oils, and so we decided to help the Inuit produce a glut of timber to trade. Louis tried teaching the Penguins the use of or fine axes, but the heathens proved uncomfortable with the tool. Mathys led our cavalry north to clear the forests of bears. The unlearned tribe remained too afraid of the creatures to venture into the virgin forest. Jasc was able to create sharp saws, similar to the flensing tools used by the Penguin. With these we quickly cut logs for trade. Our sea leg east was pure routine.

The fisher folk had never seen timber cut so smoothly and evenly, and Moridin was easily able to barter for information. The fishers knew little of the Mughals, but warned us of the larger islands to the east. They advised us to avoid them.

We had to choose. Sail back west and follow the coat of Yarmouk northwards or strike out north across the open ocean? We consulted with the charts of Admiral L’eonce and decided that a charted, but UN-named and unadorned continent to the north was more likely to house the Mughals than Yarmouk, and so, we turned towards deeper waters.

As we sailed we observed. There was still the mystery of the Japanese agent to uncover. As suspected, the Incago was illiterate, as was the Moor. Surprisingly, Olsen’s mastery of the paintbrush did not extend to the brush pen or quill! Our suspects dwindled to Alexander Pope, Deacon Montaigne, and Ben Jonson. The Deacon, while surly and intractable, was still a man of God, and it was unlikely he would betray fellow Christians to heathens. Pope? The man was too charming, open and easygoing to be a deceiver, while Jonson was nothing but deception personified. I had read the Chronicles published by Lord Baileigh, and was now aware of the actor’s perfidy. Moridin, Jasc, Chip and Louis had spoken of the journey to bring Jonson and Pope to Burma. To me it seemed obvious that Jonson was the agent. Still, with no evidence to bring to trial, Moridin was reluctant to preemptively arrest and hang the suspected traitor.

North into to the sea of Mughs we sailed. The shore of a vast island rose from the mists. A consultation with Admiral L’eonce’s charts indicated that this was likely the same island we had been warned of by the fisher folk, and so, we broke west. We came across a smaller island cluster and set ashore to refill our water casks. These islands were home to screaming savages. We tried to trade our remaining timber for water and the wild men swarmed at us. We were forced to cast off lest the thousands of raging fiends overrun us. Olsen of Kleef was killed in the retreat, his body left behind. From the stern castle of Alida I had one last glimpse of the man’s body being rent into gibbets by the cannibals.

Louis Brighteyes took Olsen’s tools and pigments for himself. I was unaware Louis was of an artistic mien, but I doubt his skills are anywhere near those of the slain Olsen. To this day the small icon Olsen crafted for me remains one of my most prized possessions. The artwork is a great comfort to me when long at sea, and will adorn the walls of my bedchamber on that far-off day when I leave voyaging behind and settle down.

We stayed on course, due north, across the sea. Again, we encountered a pod of whales. Jasc tried to slay one with his longbow to impress the Penguin aboard. Too many other sailors of the crew were shooting into the pod for Jasc’s skills to impress the tribesmen. They felt it was the firearms that felled the leviathan.

Farther the the north we encounter the land that must be the unnamed continent one the Admiral’s charts, and work east until we find a suitable cove to shelter in. We went ashore to explore and stretch our legs. The continent, we named Maxima, after our King, then we ventured west, overland. The plains gave way to gentle slopes that became impassable mountains. In the chill of the night it seemed the Deacon, Montaigne, met his death, frozen in his tent, yet something seemed off. Investigation revealed the Deacon had been bound, gagged, dragged from his tent, left to perish, then the body returned…. Murder, convoluted and foul! The Deacon was a petty, small-minded man. In the past he had proven ungrateful for sorely needed assistance, and he had been little more than a pest and parasite to our ships, yet I took no satisfaction in the man’s death.

Our suspects remained Pope, Porse and Jonson. It was unlikely that the diminutive Imp could manhandle the corpulent Deacon thusly. I still favored Jonson. We returned to the Fleet, where it was realized that Olaf Porse had gone missing. He was neither aboard ship or with the landing party. Jasc rudely asked if Porse were among the dead. The question was raised: try Porse in absentia for murder, or press on with the expedition. Moridin ordered us to make ready to cast off. Alive or dead, Olaf Porse was to be left behind.

Another question was raised; name the cove “Port Montaigne” after the departed Deacon? Mathys Violette settled the matter with the most forceful exclamation I had yet to hear from his lips. “NO!”

We charted towards the northeast, following the shoreline when the Imp, perhaps incensed at the years at sea and the murder of Montaigne, suddenly snapped and went sea-crazy. I had gone to fetch the man for dinner, only to find his stateroom door locked. Inside, the Imp wailed and cursed. I was concerned that the dwarf might be ill or injured, and so, I levered open the door. To my surprise, the dwarf ran at me, jumped, and clung to my chest like a small child seeking comfort from his mother. I was awkwardly attempting to comfort the Imp when his arm started rising and falling over my shoulders. His dirk tore into the flesh of my neck and shoulders, and I dropped, bleeding and gagging. I am told it was Mathys Violette who found us. The Imp was crying, shaking me, claiming I had fallen. Mathys saw through the lie and drew near, trying to lock Pope’s arms. Louis Brighteyes and Jasc Bonaventure, attracted by the commotion, entered. Saw the situation and moved in to assist Mathys. Louis reached down and took the Imp’s pistols. This enraged Pope. The little man struggled twice as hard as before and broke free of Mathys’ grasp. Jasc took no chances. He called on all his skills in the oriental fighting styles and beat Pope savagely. The Imp lived, but was injured by Jasc’s fist as badly as I by the Imp’s blade.

I was too badly hurt to continue in my duties, and stayed below-decks, resting and healing. During my convalescence, once again the expedition set ashore. The party was attacked by a pack of wolves, but the fearsome Moridin tamed the pack’s Alpha and brought the beast aboard as a personal pet! With his usual imagination, Moridin dubbed his “puppy” “Le Loupe.”

At the fleet travelled on, a jutting spike of undersea rock caught Honey-Dew. She was saved, but Mathys was severely injured. The damage to the ships, the murder of Montaigne, and the deaths, disappearance and injuries to so many of the Fleet’s specialists and officers had a deleterious effect upon the sailors. The terse Moridin held order, but it was through fear of his double-edged broadsword and sharp-toothed pet. The easy comradary of the fleet had spoiled.

To the north was Arctic ice. Travelling to the east, we somehow knew, would lead us away from our mission, and so, Moridin sailed the fleet back past the cove where Montaigne's body rested and into the west.

And finally, after nearly two years away, we encountered the strange people we sought. Khitan was the name of the Mughal port. The Mughals were intrigued by our appearance and manner, but not afeared or threatened. They were inquisitive people, exotic and dark, wrapped in fine silks, adorned with finer jade. Moridin wished to explore more, to learn more about their lands before attempting trade. The Mughals were willing to try to communicate! Tales abounded….

"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright
with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an
incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. "

Their Emperor had not been seen in a hundred years, ever since he returned to his palace of ice. The rumors and legends of the Penguin people had, thus far, proven accurate. Moreover, if we could, against all odds, locate and return the heirs to their missing Emperor, it could but help us open trade.

The expedition sailed on along the coastlines, moving to the north. The fortress of Tung greeted us with a barrage of fire. However, rather than cannon or Greek fire, the Tung shot off small decorative rockets that lit the night sky like swarms of shooting stars. Surely such a novel use of rockets would be worth much to the Fuggars! North and east of Tung lay fair Kir, and Kir was home to porcelain thinner and finer than any we had seen before. The delicate bowls, plates and cups were painted in bright patterns, yet so finely crafted as to be translucent in the firelight. The unique nature of the work was something we all knew would sell to all the rich and powerful of Europe.

Moridin and the officers met to discuss opening negotiations and offering our trade goods. It was decided to take a meeting with the Khan in Kir the next morning. Yet, when the sun arose, Honey-Dew and Abora were no-where to be seen.

With two of our three ships missing there was no rest for the weary and injured. I forced myself from convalescence to join Alida’s Captain and officers. We regretfully postponed our meeting with the Khan. Search for our strays or pursue the stories of Xanadu? Moridin listened to all sides, grunted and made his decision. We turned sails to the wind and made for the north.

The northern sea was clear, calm and cold. The sun hung low in the sky during the days, while, at night, the sky shimmered in sheets of blue and green, until that night were a section of sky lit in orange and yellow. Moridin had a hunch and followed it - and the anomalous colors.

Lo and behold, the air warmed, green land appeared, and, on the shore, a strange edifice stood, shining in the flicking aurora. The legends spoke of a palace heated by the northern lights. Some aboard whispered of miracles. Others spoke of magnetic lines crossing and creating a warming furnace. All agreed the lush greens of trees and grasses, shining bluish-gray domes, spires and minarets of the improbable palace and impossible garden were almost unearthly in their beauty.

“Almost unearthly in their beauty” also describes the bevy of women that greeted us ashore. Wrapped in diaphanous fabric, willowy and radiant, their voices were soft and mellifluous as they, somehow, greeting us in lilting French: “Welcome, Xa, welcome to Xanadu, your home, the one we have prepared for you.” They knelt and offered goblets of clear liquid. Others were reticent, but Jasc, Chip, Ben Jonson and I accepted the beverage. The liquid tasted of the purest water imaginable. We swallowed, then staggered from a momentary spate of dizziness. After a moment we stood, amazed. Wildemoon and Bonadventure were running their hands over their scalps where thick hair now flowed from Jasc’s once thinning scalp and Chip’s once bald pate. Jonson smiled and declared himself healed (prompting Moridin to sarcastically growl, “You’re not blind?”).

Meanwhile, I, stunned, removed the bandages from my neck and shoulders. The ugly, scabbed wounds left by the Imp had vanished, leaving behind pure, unblemished skin.

This wellness tonic would surely be a cargo beyond value. The maidens of Xanadu brought us within the glittering palace to a great hall. Food was brought and there was talk of trade and friendship. The Monsignor was lost in prayer which was overheard by the Mughals. They brought forth books and scrolls of science, philosophy and religion. Among them, what the Mughals maids claimed were Gospels, but which bore unfamiliar names like James, Thomas, and Clement. To some, these works represented a heretofore unknown perspective on God, to others, heresy.

And then the Imp scoffed and jeered. What paradise could offer water to cure baldness, illness and injury, yet not dwarfism? What just God would give his words into the keeping on unbelievers? Why was he left to suffer? He railed against those “too beautiful” to mock, cursed God himself for the afflictions heaped upon him, ranted about the slights, real and imagined, he had endured in his life, and bellowed insults to all assembled. The full power of Pope’s velvet tongue unleashed a poison tirade of an intensity no orator ever achieved.

Monsignor Maurice tried to reason with the man, then to silence him with a gag. Pope pushed aside, continuing his harangue. Moridin attempted to cut off Pope’s air to silence his tongue, but the Imp still fumed. Pope, broke free and ran, Jasc pulled his bow and pinned the dwarf to the ground with an arrow through his ankle. Still the Imp declaimed. Chip Wildemoon descended on the man, his knife flicking out and over Pope, screaming for him to shut up and inflicting dozens of small cuts. The Imp screamed his pain and his poison. With disgust for the dwarf’s now unconstrained evil, tempered with pity for the ruin of a once fine mind, I took one of the steel spears from one of our soldiers and ended the Imp.

The Mughals expressed confusion over the sudden violence, but they neither interfered, nor reacted once the deed was done. The maidens did wrap and remove his body and took his remains deep into Xanadu, where they promised to “prepare him for the eternal as we prepare all.”

We were offered lodgings for the night, and each man was shown to a fine room. The least of the bedchambers of Xanadu was fit for a King in France, and maidens stayed with all to provide food, drink and comfort through the night. If all the men experienced the quality of care given me, in all things, by the delicate waif who shared my bed, it’s no wonder that the events of the following morning worked out as they did.

For, come dawn, Ben Jonson declared to one and all that Xanadu truly was paradise and that here would be where he settled. He praised the waters and wine, the fruits and food, the sky and gardens, and the beauty of the maids. He exhorted us all to stay with him and dwell in this “eternal Eden.” The Monsignor scoffed that this agnostic land could be no earthly paradise. While WIldemoon proclaimed his paradise was the fields of France where he was nobility. Jasc had been swimming (I still find it odd how the man swims for pleasure), and emerged from the warm river, gasping and declaring that this could be no true paradise, for he was still but mortal. Moridin merely rumbled that he had contracts to fulfil. I was tempted to remain, but Ben Jonson was a vile and abominable man, and I mistrusted him greatly. A paradise with Ben Jonson would be a garden with a serpent, whereas the wealth we would all accrue from the trade of the miracle tonic would ensure I could find a slice of eternal bliss in every port.

Jonson’s sermon won over the hearts of the soldiers. All of the expedition cavalry metaphorically lay down their arms and jubilantly agreed to stay behind.

The maidens smiled, linked arms with Jonson and the soldiers and led them inside to break their fast with their first meal as dwellers in paradise. We were left behind. Confused, we looked at each other then followed the procession inside. We, too, wished for sustenance before beginning our negotiations in earnest.

There was a rustling from the bushes, and a lone male form burst from the growth. Olaf Porse! Porse cried out, “Not you!” and dashed towards Chip Wildemoon. WIldemoon’s hand was reaching for a sword that wasn’t there when Porse clubbed him down and dragged the unconscious soldier away before any of us could reach him.

We dashed after the man. We should have been able to catch up to the burdened Porse, but, of the man of Kleef we found no trace.

The trail led us into a walled garden of terra-cotta statues. We quartered the garden, seeking signs of Porse when Maurice gave a great shout. In the center of the garden was a throne. A plaque on the throne showed the words “Kubla Khan,” and, upon the throne was a terra-cottastatue of a strong-looking man is resplendent armor. His countenance was serene and relaxed, his lips curved in a warm smile

At the Khan’s feet stood the form of Alexander Pope, encased in terra-cotta. Pope’s aspect was tranquil and smiling - almost handsome in repose.

Moridin strode to the throne and kicked at the statue of Kubla Khan. The chest caved in with a snap. Revealed within, the bones of a long-dead man.

Horrified, we gaped at the collection of statues poised around the sweeping gardens. There were hundreds, if not thousands of statues, poised in leisure, all with looks of eerie gratification.

We retraced our steps back towards the main palace, this time fully noticing the ponds concealing pits of clay, and that the elegant domes dotted about were the chimneys of giant kilns. Through the numerous archways ringing the portico surrounding the main courtyard we glimpsed the still forms of our countrymen The dainty hands of the serving maidens moved with an artisan’s, touch, smoothing and shaping the clay around their contours. Their last meal was likely the most sumptuous any man ever tasted.

There was no time to negotiate or even to take treasures. “Those men made their choice,” Jasc scoffed, “and these witches can keep their treasures! My concern is for my cousin.” Together we sped our way back to the shore. We half-expected the maidens of Xanadu to hunt us down. One alone stood on the beach by out jolly-boat. She was young - a child, even - and in her elvish hands a dulcimer, which she strummed softly, A melancholy harmony rang in the air, somehow matching the rhythm of the pulsing surf.

“It has always been your choice to accept or refuse the peace of paradise.You still may choose to remain. Be it known any who refuse to stay will forever regret the decision - so the prophecy for-tells.”

Captain Moridin, Major Jasc Bonadventure, Monsignor Maurice and I regarded each other for a moment. Moridin unreadable, Bonadventure determined, Maurice disgusted. I do not know what showed in my own gaze. Silently we nodded to each other and Bonadventure took a step forwards.

“We go.”

And we went.

We sailed south, out of those shifting, icy seas, and magical, glowing skies into the blue seas and skies near Kir. Here we found Abora and Honey-Dew, sae in harbor.

Alain and d’Ambray were apologetically unrepentant under the cold gaze of Moridin. The two had spotted an incongruity on the oceans - a junk of the type used in Japan. The gargantuan vessels were lumbering in maneuver, but could cover leagues almost as swiftly as a caravel under full sail. It had taken days for the galleons to catch and cripple her. Aboard, letters written for Alexander Pope. The Japanese were using Pope as an agent in return for securing his (and Ben Jonson’s?) escape from Burma.

Alain and d’Ambray seemed pleased with themselves for discovering this information, and only slightly put out to learn of Pope’s fate.

And, in Kir, we were finally able to fulfill our mission. The Mughals were interested in our medicines, appreciative of our horses and fascinated by our exotic lions and tigers. The rest of our cargo was accepted, but, effectively only to avoid having it dumped into the harbor as refuse. Maurice was not pleased at the low price for which the Bibles were sold. In return we filled our holds with delicate porcelain and festive rockets. Should we return safely in all three ships we estimate our expedition will turn as much as four million doubloons in profit. Moridin seemed pleased.

And just this past night, as final preparations were nearly complete for our morning departure, who should appear in the city but the missing Chip Wildemoon. Bonadventure seemed relieved to see his cousin again. Porse, Wildemoon told us, had actually apologized for selling Wildemoon as a slave, long ago, and , honor demanded that he now act to save Wildemoon’s life. “He dragged me from paradise,” Wildemoon thundered, “he still dies!”


   Hugo Marque Lamarr

Message Replies:
Was a long one -- Mike Miller (posted: 2/8/2019) 
.... as they, somehow, greeting us in lilting French: .... -- Iron Bonadventure (posted: 8/2/2019) 
Mission 28 – Ice Kingdoms -- red (posted: 2/8/2019) 
Speaking for myself... -- Mike Miller (posted: 2/8/2019) 
Rime of the Ancient Mariner -- red (posted: 2/9/2019) 
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