Sir Ernest had a business appointment in Rome and the meeting place was set for the Roman Colosseum. Something about “neutral ground”–?
As the Passepartout was drawing near, Jacobee and unnamed associates somehow lured the bridge crew away so that Jacobee could play with the ship’s wheel. Her associates must have been able to predict the future, for they scarpered, and no one was there to warn Jacobee that she was about to hit the Colosseum. The good news is that the Colosseum was already in ruins, and no one is likely to notice the few additional stones she knocked off! Ivy swears she was in the library the whole time, except when she had to chase down one of the chained books, which had escaped. Fortunately she retrieved it before it encountered any of Minerva’s friends. Later, Ivy measured the recent damage to the Colosseum, purely for research purposes.
While Sir Ernest was on his errand, various other crew and passengers left the Passepartout and went aground on their own business. River Rose, for one, was deep in a cellar doing important research. The figure seen running across the top of the Colossseum being pursued by three or more assailants was certainly not her. No accurate description of the fleeting figure could be obtained anyhow. It is far more likely that it was some local citizen, engaged in local completely legitimate business or even local misbehavior.
Jake Gotto had very daringly climbed up to the top and sat on the edge. He was looking over Rome, drinking vodka from a flask and reflecting about the past and the future. He maintains that he was so lost in thought that he did not notice any chase happening anywhere nearby. We are happy to report that he returned safely.
Puzzle was off exploring who-knows-where; she was hoping to find where Rome hid all of its super-cool secret technology that she is certain exists. She assures us that she merely wanted to look at it, not to take it or anything. But all she found was a flock of chickens, and she reports glumly that she couldn’t even chase them without getting yelled at by some angry, no-fun farmer-lady-person.
Professor Holt and Ivy were noted to be ogling some hot Roman lads examining some local citizens – for research purposes. River Rose happened by in time to soothe passersby by explaining that they were checking for genetic drift from classical statues. So Professor Holt was free to continue her intended research into the Italian benandanti. These, she explained to us the next evening in an Improving Lecture, is not an ice cream, but rather an agrarian fertility cult in Northern Italy about three centuries ago. The name means “good walkers” and they became werewolves to fight the bad witches or demons; until the Inquisition began to burn them just the same as witches. See Professor Holt for a personalized lecture if you were not able to attend the general one.
When Sir Ernest returned, he appeared quite smug, though he did ask me for a leaf from one of my “safe” aloe plants to apply to his bleeding knuckles. Perhaps he slipped on the uneven ground.
Professor Holt, seconded by Ivy, Odetta, and Calamity Dawn, attempted to persuade Sir Ernest to hire some strapping young Centurions (there was one named Rory that they were particularly interested in) for the Passepartout – for defense, I am certain –and Sir Ernest obligingly went to see what he could do. He returned alone and said that we couldn’t afford their wages. They, alas, refused his offer of a trade of services.
Calamity Dawn returned a little late and a bit flushed, with an abashed Dorian in tow. They had spent the day researching Italian wines and unusual liqueurs. They had the pleasure of drinking heavily with some fine Roman gents. Dorian never should have wandered off, though, as Calamity had to rescue him from an irate gladiator. However, she was philosophical about the matter, as their extensive research into new libations often gets them into unusual and exciting circumstances.
Unfortunately, I was involved in some tricky and urgent business in my laboratory and was unable to go aground myself on this day, but it was my pleasure to hear others’ adventures in the evening. Did you come with us to Rome and go aground near the Colosseum? Please tell me about it in the comments.
–Dr. Gintia Peaseblossom