Mr Jarvis’ Book of the Dead | Deathscent



depressing deathscent roses
In this post we record for posterity and remembrance the names of all those who have fallen to the fatal stroke of Mr Jarvis’ pen. Hero, villain, or neither, we honour their sacrifice for the greater myth of the story.


The deceased of Deathscent are as follows: 

MASTER EDWIN DRITCHLY (Surviving Adam o’ the Cogs to O Mistress Mine)  Malmes-Wutton’s respected Master of Motive Science was tragically killed as a result of a Spanish plot to prevent experts in the mechanical mysteries from reaching London, and thus the armouries of the Queen. During the visit of Sir Francis Walsingham and Doctor John Dee to Malmes-Wutton, Master Edwin was trampled to death by a mechanical horse which had, unbeknownst to all, been augmented with a deadly new ichor. The perpetrator of this heinous crime was revealed to be a member of the visiting party, Walsignham’s own secretary, Arnold Tewkes; secretly a spy for the Spanish powers. The apprehension of the murderer did nothing to alleviate the grief of the Malmes-Wutton community, however, particularly that of Mistress Dritchly, and of Master Edwin’s apprentices – Cog Adam, Henry Wattle, and Jack Flye.

SUET THE PIGLET (Grunting from Adam o’ the Cogs to Angel Versus Demon)   Beloved companion to Cog Adam, Suet became one of the most sophisticated mechanicals on Malmes-Wutton after being imbued with a little black ichor from Doctor Dee’s mechanical secretary, Lantern. Loyal to the end, this little piglet did not survive Jack Flye’s final confrontation with Old Scratch, however, Suet’s black ichor was rescued. It now resides within a Tizzy which was rejected from the Queen’s household. Adam now studies Motive Science to the tune of ‘O Mistress Mine’ and the memory of his first mechanical friend.

JACK FLYE (Surviving Adam o’ the Cogs to Angel Versus Demon)   Eldest of Master Edwin’s apprentices, Jack Flye would have been sent to London in his master’s place, had he not met his end at the tusks of his greatest creation and folly, the wild boar Old Scratch. Inspired by the presence of the Iribian, Brindle – then a new and much respected visitor to the Isle of Malmes-Wutton – to pursue and put an end to the tyranny of Old Scratch, Master Flye and his fellow apprentices sought to still the boar which had plagued the Wutton forests for so many years, terrorising the villagers and causing Lord Richard to dread venturing into his own estate. Though Brindle eventually managed to destroy the mechanical, Old Scratch’s death came at the cost of Master Flye’s life. He is mourned by Adam and Henry, and by all on Malmes-Wutton.

OLD SCRATCH  (Surviving O Mistress Mine to Angel Versus Demon)   Old Scratch, that demonic parody of Motive Science, spent many years as the scourge of Malmes-Wutton before he was at last dispatched. What was left of the mechanical boar was put to the blacksmith’s furnace shortly after Lord Richard left for London with Brindle and the remaining apprentices, but for many months after, every new tool and device which emerged from that forge was twisted and corrupt, and could not be used.

CLINK KITSON [‘CLINKER’]   (Surviving To the Copper Cow to Gog and Magog)  Hardened criminal and wanted personage on the Isle of Havering, Clink Kitson caused much grief and ended many lives before he was mysteriously delivered to his final judgement one night, shortly before Thomas Herrick’s party continued on from Havering to the Isle of London. Hobbling John and the more law-abiding patrons of the Copper Cow looked upon ‘Clinker’s’ death as a form of extremely gory divine intervention, though the truth of it had little to do with the Almighty.

THE SPECIAL AMBASSADORS (Surviving Two Gentlemen of Physic to Scrying the Shew Stone)  The kindly, coral-browed people who uplifted Englandia and patiently tutored the first Masters of Motive Science were massacred shortly after the Beatification. Slain for the deathscent by the ravaging Iribian hordes, none were left alive upon the Ambassadors’ home world, and that planet now lies forsaken and abandoned. The only known survivors of that scholarly and ingeniously creative people are two ‘collectors’; Bosco-Uttwar, and, it is to be assumed, his assistant Arvel. Where they now reside is unknown to all except Doctor Dee, who has had cause to seek audience with Bosco-Uttwar via the Shew Stone, formerly a piece of Ambassador technology.

THOMAS HERRICK  (Surviving Rats and Ashes to The Deathscent)  Loyal to Gloriana but somewhat conceited and conniving, Thomas Herrick never achieved the central role in court life that he had always longed for. Doomed to play a supporting part even in his own demise, this unfortunate ‘gallant’ of the Queen accidentally caught Brindle’s reaping hook in the face as a result of his own stubborn interference, unleashing the Iribian’s ghastly inner nature upon the court and condemning many of Elizabeth’s subjects to death as a result. At Whitehall, Herrick is remembered more for his manner of dying than of living, if at all.

ENGLISH ROYAL GUARDS, SOLDIERS, AND YEOMEN  (Appearing in The Deathscent)  These loyal men of the Crown were cruelly cut down by Brindle, who they would have known as the ‘Suffolk Miracle’, as he rampaged through London in the thrall of the deathscent. Whether all were aware of their imminent demise is unknown, but each was much lamented in the aftermath. There was a memorial service held for them in later weeks, which the Queen and many of the court attended. 

HIRED MEN OF THE COUNT DE FERIA (Appearing in The Deathscent and The Breath of Innocence)   Tasked with Don Gomez’s protection and with removing the ‘Suffolk Miracle’ to a Spanish nightboat, these unfortunate guards were unprepared for an Iribian in warlike fury, and died in grievous numbers. Stampeded by Elizabeth’s cavalry, they did not even succeed in protecting the Count de Feria, who escaped the maelstrom through good fortune alone.

UNNAMED NIGHTBOATMEN (Appearing in The Breath of Innocence) The last victims of Brindle’s deathscent-induced wrath, these unnamed souls are remembered by their families and community. May the rest in peace with all the above who were slain on that dreadful night .

THE TORTURE MASTER (Clanking from With the Count de Feria to The Breath of Innocence)   This infernal device was a prototype of a mechanical torture chamber masterminded by the Spanish Inquisition. Owned, and frequently put to evil use, by the Count de Feria, the so-called Torture Master took on a hideous personality to both its owner and its victims. Possessing no stilling crest, the abomination was at last torn apart by Brindle, following his liberation from the deathscent. Both Adam and Henry still bear the marks of the hellish contraption, as does Lantern, who dared to confront it in de Feria’s safehouse.

BRINDLE (Surviving The Scorched and Drunken Bee to The Breath of Innocence)  A merchant of balms and fragrance from the sphere of Iribia, Brindle was delivered from a fiery demise within his wrecked trading vessel, only to meet a similar fate aboard a burning nightboat above the Thames. Of what transpired between, we have witnessed the full measure, and I daresay none of us will regard historic rose gardens in quite the same way hereafter.




4 thoughts on “Mr Jarvis’ Book of the Dead | Deathscent

  1. Re: the Special Ambassadors, here’s a piece of very old lore – when I first read Deathscent, it always seemed peculiar to me that the name of their people was never mentioned, so I named them the Argathai. (Being the conlang nerd I am, I also named the rest of Brindle’s kids, and a veritable plethora of Iribian power structures, places, and nouns, but I’m boggled if I can remember them now.)

    Actually, I have a burning question regarding that: Mr Jarvis, why ‘Brindle’ as a name? We’ve already had a Mary-Anne Brindle in The Fatal Strand, but I always thought that was too remote to be anything other than coincidence. Yet Brindle’s son is called Nidor, a perfectly unremarkable sci-fi name. Is it a torc translation thing? Do Iribians have last names? I’m, er, dying to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I chose Brindle because in first year junior school I sat next to Tracy Brindle and I always liked it as a word and name. It seemed very appropriate for this Iribian because it means streaked with another colour, almost tiger striped. Perfect really.

    As for Nidor… it means the smell of cooking, or burning, meat. I think the torc might have missed the subtle nuances of the actual Iribian word and went for the nearest, and clumsiest, English substitute. Again though, it’s grimly appropriate, for reasons not explained.

    Iribians have tribal names, which only their own kind recognise, because it’s a scent that is passed down, which isn’t really translatable, or if it is, Brindle didn’t attempt it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly that’s an anachronistically adorable origin story for the name ‘Brindle’. I sincerely hope Tracy never grew up to read this book though (or, indeed, The Fatal Strand!). As for Nidor, I probably ought to have looked his name up before I asked that, so it’s my bad for not recognising that it’s a descriptor too. That’s also a bit spooky, because I’ve remembered in the course of these comments that I translated the name of one of Brindle’s daughters as ‘Hemlock’ – an unassuming but deadly plant.

      I have one last and final question that’s not ancient, but actually just occurred to me recently: I’ve obviously been spending a lot of time looking at the Deathscent cover since it’s on every post, and I got to wondering; was Goya ever an influence in your design for the Iribians? A while back I discovered his ‘black paintings’, and it struck me that Brindle, with his greyish, out-of-proportion, vaguely disconcerting face, would slot quite neatly into ‘Witches’ Sabbath’ or ‘Men Reading’. (Sorry if that’s way off!)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh how interesting. I was a bit obsessed by the black paintings when I was on my foundation course. I don’t think they were an inspiration here though. I’m not actually sure where the Iribian ‘look’ came from, but there were various sketches done and I chose the one that suited him best.

    … do all Iribians look the same though?

    Liked by 1 person

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