Miss Ceejay Writer arrives at the CocoaJava Cafe to tend to a misbehaving for-sale poster. She’s mending the item when Mister Ezy McAlpine stops in, followed by Miss Stella Linden.

Ceejay Writer: Good evening sir!

EzY McAlpine: Good evening Madam. i hear of some linden worshippers near by

Ceejay Writer: *laughs* Really

EzY McAlpine: i saw them here on sunday evening

Stella Linden: Sorry the what now?

Ceejay Writer: !

Stella Linden: ! indeed

EzY McAlpine: speak their name 3 times and they appear

Ceejay Writer: How strange and wonderful.

EzY McAlpine: indeed. a worrying trend. false idols

Ceejay Writer: Well, I have never been the religious sort, myself.

Stella Linden: Neither have I. Hahaha.

Ceejay Writer: Though I do give praise when I have my first cup of morning coffee.

Stella Linden: Mister Mcalpine have they got some sort of religious sect here? Should I be worried?

EzY McAlpine: you see what all this linden worship has done

Ceejay Writer: I live here and I’m not aware of it!

EzY McAlpine: it has manifested itself

Stella Linden: I’m looking this up. Nonsense and habberdashery I tell you …wait isnt habberdashery the making of hats….erm….

Ceejay Writer: Silliness and hats?

Stella Linden: It sounded good, I have no idea where I’m going with this

Ceejay Writer: That’s quite all right, my dear.

EzY McAlpine: i believe some dark incantations have been spoken

Ceejay Writer: Who spoke them? It wasn’t Bob, I hope. That urchin, I swear.

EzY McAlpine: well, i must continue my investigations!

Stella Linden: Huh. Sure enough. The Church of Linden. 12 members.

Beq Janus: Hi Ceejay, what has Bob done now?

Stella Linden: Interesting.

Ceejay Writer: Perhaps said incantations and raised…. powers?

EzY McAlpine: indeed

Ceejay Writer: Hello, Beq!

EzY McAlpine: my thoughts entirely. as you can plainly see, their power has grown, it has manifested itself

Stella Linden: …..

Ceejay Writer: I’m a little worried.

Stella Linden: What power are you speaking of, mister mcalpine

EzY McAlpine: hmmm

Beq Janus: I thought I heard Misr Llewelyn speak of such a thing recently

EzY McAlpine: must of been summoned else were. indeed!

Ceejay Writer: She has a church, on the other side of town, doesn’t she?

EzY McAlpine: i believe i spoke to said person

Beq Janus: No Darian, her cousin

EzY McAlpine: she does? interesting. thats is were they must be worshiping them. hmm. could you point me in the direction?

Beq Janus: I don’t think poor Red would have anything to do with such a cult

EzY McAlpine: if you would be so kind

Ceejay Writer: I am sorry I don’t know exactly where it is… I’m not a churchgoer!

EzY McAlpine: neither am i madam,

Beq Janus: That cousin of hers however

EzY McAlpine: i am just interested in this cult

Beq Janus: Her crypt is over in Wheatstone waterways

Ceejay Writer: Beq, do you know the way? I’m just a wee pagan girl, this is all so overwhelming.

Beq Janus: I think we should be able to find it quite well

EzY McAlpine: excellent. i will be most interested to see what they are up to

Ceejay Writer: Perhaps you could send for us? I’m curious now too.

EzY McAlpine: hmmm, this maybe dangerous

Ceejay Writer: I have guns and daggers.

EzY McAlpine: the cultists maybe far more powerful than we could possibly imagine

Beq Janus: What could possibly go wrong eh Ceejay?

Ceejay Writer: Right, Beq!

Ceejay Writer: See the crossstitch on the wall? Our town motto.

Ceejay Writer straps her dagger to her leg.

Beq Janus: Shall I send for you in a moment?

EzY McAlpine: please.

Ceejay Writer: That would be kind of you.

EzY McAlpine: have you lived in babbage long?

Ceejay Writer: Just edging up on a year! I love it here. I have a loft across the tracks, and this shoppe.

EzY McAlpine: ah, very nice

Ceejay Writer: I’m still building here, there’s a bit more to come.

EzY McAlpine: what might I ask, do you sell

Ceejay Writer: And a sweet shoppe around the corner. I sell chocolate!

EzY McAlpine: ah, i love jelly babies. would you like a jelly baby?

Ceejay Writer: This space is for socializing though, no purchases necessary.

Ceejay Writer: I would indeed!

EzY McAlpine gave you Jelly Babies.

Ceejay Writer: thank you sir!

EzY McAlpine: i find them most statisfying. especially on cold winter nights when the air is thick and it is cold to you’re bones

Ceejay Writer: I have some Nom Chocolates… they are truly horrid. *shudders* Made by our resident evil genius.

EzY McAlpine: ahhh

Ceejay Writer: Ah, I see our ride has arrived!

Ceejay looks around for Stella Linden, but she has vanished. EzY McAlpine and Ceejay trundle off to Wheatstone Waterways to join Beq Janus. They find themselves in the old cemetary. Ceejay is startled as she remembers she did make her way here on a previous evening, to pay her respects to a certain one of the departed. Beq stands quite close to a large momument topped by a cross.

EzY McAlpine: is this the cultists lair?

Beq Janus: The church is over here. Though I do not believe there is anything untoward going on here

Beq Janus leans on the grave. It slides back, revealing a passage downward.

EzY McAlpine: fascinating

Beq Janus: oh my! Sir. do not step back

EzY McAlpine: troubling

Ceejay Writer: Oh! I see it! Be careful!

Beq Janus: I accidentally leant upon the stone

EzY McAlpine: hmmm like this?

Beq Janus: yes, I guess so

EzY McAlpine: one can only imagine the horrors that lay beneath

Ceejay Writer: Are you armed, sir?

EzY McAlpine: i have my cane. and my wit

Beq Janus: I have my trusty derringer

Ceejay Writer: Can you swing it hard, I hope? I have my dagger.

EzY McAlpine: i may have a small musket

Ceejay Writer: I really should have dressed more battle-ready.

EzY McAlpine: let us descend

Beq Janus: through that mist I believe I perceive a set of steps

The intrepid, nervous explorers decend and find themselves in a low-ceiling room.

EzY McAlpine: my word, short fellows arent they

A bubbling vat of something thick and red is discovered. And in another corner… the bones of someone are slumped against the wall.

Beq Janus: oh my! oh Ceejay!

EzY McAlpine: what in the blazes

Ceejay Writer gasps!

EzY McAlpine: sacrificial altar. i must get down there

Ceejay Writer: It’s bubbling!

Ceejay Writer sticks her finger in it. “It’s warm.”

Beq Janus: Perhaps its …jam

EzY McAlpine: what devils are at work here

Ceejay Writer holds out her finger. “You tell me.”

Beq Janus: just the local ladies making strawberry preserve

EzY McAlpine: poor fellow over in the corner, looks like hes been here for decades. strange, certainly doesnt smell of strawberries

Ceejay Writer: This is very worrisome.

EzY McAlpine: and its

Beq Janus feels quite faint

EzY McAlpine: its

EzY McAlpine: pulsating

Beq stumbles and nearly faints, bumping a stone panel which swings open on a pivot.

Ceejay Writer: Beq!

Beq Janus: eeek!

EzY McAlpine: as if something was dwelling underneath. hmmm

Ceejay Writer: Beq! Can you hear me??????

Beq Janus: yes

EzY McAlpine: the cultists are getting more powerful

Ceejay Writer: How did you do that?

EzY McAlpine: sacrifice,

Beq Janus: wh…what happened?

Ceejay Writer: You should sit down and rest, my dear.

Beq Janus: I came over all faint and stumbled

Ceejay Writer: You opened a door! Like… that!

EzY McAlpine: this place is mysterious

Ceejay goes through the door, the rest follow. It’s a very small hidden chamber, containing a candle.

Beq Janus stands mouth agape

EzY McAlpine: cannibalism? poor chap

Ceejay Writer: It’s such a small room!

Beq Janus: Do you think it might be royalty?

EzY McAlpine: well, i dont think he died in here

Beq Janus: A…A Linden?

EzY McAlpine: look at the teeth marks on the bones. they arent dog teeth marks

Ceejay Writer gulps hard. “My own dad’s buried up in the cemetary. Um… don’t tell anyone.”

Beq Janus: perhaps it was not a wise choice to all enter at once

Ceejay Writer eyedarts.

EzY McAlpine: until they came. im so terribly sorry, this must of been a good place once. indeed, is there another switch

Ceejay Writer sighs, having never trusted religions.

EzY McAlpine: hmmm. i think i might have just the thing. hmmm, not that

Ceejay Writer: Try anything!

EzY McAlpine: a wise man gave me this once. i am to return it when i see him next

The pivot door opens again, allowing escape back to the main room.

Beq Janus: I wonder if these bones might be of that Linden who went missing. The one that Mr Jack was searching for

Ceejay Writer: RUN!

EzY McAlpine: ladies, after you

Ceejay Writer: Come out here, quickly!

EzY McAlpine: i will ensure your safety

Ceejay Writer: Beq! he didn’t get out!

EzY McAlpine: what is it. do you see something?

Ceejay Writer: Oh, whew. You did.

Beq Janus: Poor Ceejay

The apparition of a young woman is seen in ghostly form.

EzY McAlpine: MY WORD

Ceejay Writer: I see something!

EzY McAlpine: what is it

Beq Janus: oh! its gone

EzY McAlpine: ah poor soul, still trapped here

Ceejay Writer: I swear I saw something right here.

EzY McAlpine: on holy ground,

Beq Janus: Ceejay did that look like Red to you?

Ceejay Writer: Eeek!

EzY McAlpine: well, what was holy, till the cultists came

Ceejay Writer: I couldn’t tell what I saw!

EzY McAlpine: those monsters. this blasphemy must be stopped

Beq Janus: aggghhh! I swear that was Red or someone like her

EzY McAlpine: let us be away, i feel that this poor creature cannot communicate with us

Ceejay Writer: When did you last see Red?

EzY McAlpine: it is just a spectre of a young womans last torments

Beq Janus: I believe it was at the errr poetry party in Armadda

EzY McAlpine: poor creature

Ceejay Writer: ‘just’???

Beq Janus: but Sir, you do not understand,

EzY McAlpine: indeed, i think what we are seing is an echo

Beq Janus: we may know that young girl

EzY McAlpine: you do? and she lives?

Ceejay Writer: She looks so wistful.

EzY McAlpine: she is beautiful

Beq Janus: I cannot be sure, perhaps a relation, but that curly hair, is familiar. she is that

Ceejay Writer: She needs to be freed. This is a horrible place.

Beq Janus forces a smile

EzY McAlpine: hmmm. well, I will need to consult with a priest, or some holy man

Ceejay Writer: Do we have any in town?

Beq Janus: We should leave, if there are cultists here then we would do well not to be around when they return

EzY McAlpine: i have no experience in such things. indeed, you are right. i have no wish to meet the evildoers yet.

Ceejay Writer: I know solid things… the only spirits I know are Absinthe.

EzY McAlpine: after you

Ceejay Writer stands next to Beq, shivering.

Beq Janus holds Ceejay’s hand

EzY McAlpine: a horrid and dank place

EzY McAlpine: those poor people. i must be away.

Ceejay Writer worries for the spirits of those these tombstones stand for.

Ceejay Writer: Take care, sir. Please… you don’t know who is behind this.

EzY McAlpine: i will return, maybe one day, i will return when the cultists are in residence and put a stop to this madness

Ceejay Writer nods miserably.

EzY McAlpine: i will find out, and i will come prepared. they are obviously linden worshippers who will not stop at anything to appease their Gods

Beq Janus: I think sir that the Babage Militia will investigate further.

Ceejay Writer: That’s a good idea.

EzY McAlpine: the false Gods!

Ceejay Writer: The Linden I saw earlier seemed nice.

EzY McAlpine: Stella, indeed, she is noble and wise and has heard of the church

Ceejay Writer: Stella is a good strong name. I trust her.

Beq Janus: Clearly false then, Gods are rarely nice

EzY McAlpine: indeed, they can be vengeful and not to be trifled with

Beq Janus: Though my experience is limited to the elder gods

EzY McAlpine: they arent God’s. they may have powers but they can be killed

Ceejay Writer: I just want them all to leave me alone, the games of men are enough to cope with, I don’t need celestial antics.

Beq Janus swallows

EzY McAlpine: fear not, they rarley intefer with our plane of existence. well, they say such things

Ceejay Writer: Tell that to the bones and the ghosts below!

EzY McAlpine: obviously, the cultists have created a nexus point where the two planes are colliding. hmmm. troubling. most troubling

Ceejay Writer: We need to warn the townsfolk to avoid this area, then!

EzY McAlpine: indeed

Ceejay Writer: the urchins could be hurt.

Beq Janus: Ceejay, I think I may ask Jed to keep this area under surveilance

EzY McAlpine: indeed, I feel they could be subjected to sacrifical rites

Ceejay Writer nods vigourously.

Beq Janus: her detectives are very discrete

Ceejay Writer: Yes, yes – she’s quite good with a weapon.

Ceejay Writer: Ah, well then… I suppose she can be discreet, too.

Beq Janus returns her gun to its ankle holster

EzY McAlpine: let us be away from this terrible place, even the shaows feel like they watch us

Ceejay Writer: indeed. I need a drink.

EzY McAlpine: well, i must take my leave, I will return

Ceejay Writer: Please, be safe. Thank you for your aid today.

Beq Janus: Good day sir. Please take my card I can be contacted if you need a local guide

EzY McAlpine: indeed, i am most appreciative of your assistance in this matter

Ceejay Writer: Beq is a wonderful guide, she knows Babbage very well.

EzY McAlpine: indeed, you are an excellent guide. i must obtain a form of map of this place, the last time i was here, an urchin tried to steal from me,

Ceejay Writer: *coughs* Bob.

EzY McAlpine: a small fellow

Beq Janus smiles

Ceejay Writer: Green hair?

EzY McAlpine: blonde hair

EzY McAlpine: and a blade

Ceejay Writer: Ah, no, not Bob, then!

Beq Janus: Patch

EzY McAlpine: yes, hmmm

Ceejay Writer: Ah, dear Patch.

EzY McAlpine: sounds familiar. it was some time ago

Ceejay Writer: They’re hungry, poor dears.

EzY McAlpine: ok, well, thank you for being such kind hosts

Beq Janus: That is not to justify their actions of course but it is a sad reflection on our society. you are welcome sir

EzY McAlpine: indeed,

Ceejay Writer: I fear I must take my leave as well. I have a bit of business to attend to, and then I believe I shall get drunk.

Beq Janus: I am sad that it was such a disturbing visit

EzY McAlpine: sounds delightful

Ceejay Writer: Still.. it was good to make your acquaintance.

EzY McAlpine: indeed, well we shall put an end to this indeed!

Ceejay Writer: Beq, I must finish a transacation at my shoppe, if you need to rest, you could do so there.

Beq Janus: I think a good strong cup of coffee and some pleasant company would be a good idea Ceejay

EzY McAlpine: ive just been told, one of them is here in babbage somewhere. hmmmmm

Ceejay Writer: I’ll brew some fresh coffee, and spike it well.

EzY McAlpine: indeed, Irish it up. hehe

Ceejay Writer: Keep on alert, then!

EzY McAlpine: indeed i shall. i will take a walk. see what happens

Ceejay Writer: If you need to contact us, you can leave a message at my cafe. There is an empty upstairs room, I will check sometimes for notes.

EzY McAlpine: of course, farewell

Beq Janus: farewell

Ceejay Writer: Beq, are you strong enough to get to the cafe, or should I carry you?

Beq Janus: Take my hand, I should be OK if you steadye. a coffee, sounds delightful.

Is There A Linden-Worshipping Cult in New Babbage?
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Lori Alden Holuta


Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.


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