Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 11

Location Revealed!

When my friend Olga at Just Olga offered “things” for an episode of this “interactive” serial, I knew they would be rich in detail. What I didn’t expect was for those things to reveal the location of the story… well, sort of.  It’s not an exact location, but a general one.

The Flying Scotsman
The Flying Scotsman

You see, that’s how my Three Things serials work.  The “things” (or sometimes “ingredients”) you readers send inspire everything about the stories — even important things like the characters and the setting. Although we’ve already reached Episode-11, I was still waiting for the things to reveal the location. And when author Olga Núñez Miret sent her three things, one of them did just that.

Which of “Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, and Vine Leaves” do you think gave me the location? Read on and find out.

Olga has published such an impressive and varied collections of books — whether mysterious, suspenseful, or romantic.  She publishes in both English and Spanish, and some works are in audio books too.  I’m in awe of people who can write (or for that matter even read) so fast.  Today I’ll share three of Olga’s books with you, since there are three things. Click on the image for purchase information.

3 books OlgaNM

Our steam locomotive is right on schedule.  It just arrived at the station.  All aboard!

From last time…

Ignatius Belle seems a little too intent on getting Copper to visit his paddle steamer, anchored at the riverside near the abandoned church compound where our trio took refuge.  Or is it just that he believes the girl is the niece of the woman in trousers, and he wants to get closer to her?

However, Cornelis invented “old family friends” who are on the way to transport the trio to a fabricated holiday. So the handsome innkeeper will surely have to part company with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Or will the “things” create more complications? Read on and find out.


11.  Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, Vine Leaves

There was a ragged hole in the roof of the old church.  Sunlight poured through the opening, engulfing Ignatius Belle.  He had taken off his coat and his white shirt caught the light so that it almost glowed.  The effect made him look tall, safe, and… angelic.

Angel Statue male mossI stared at him without realizing it.  Apparently I gawked for so long that it made him uncomfortable, because he chuckled and looked askance at me.  I stuttered, trying to explain without embarrassing myself by telling the man that he looked like an angel.

“It’s just that— Your shirt is dazzlingly bright in the sun’s light,” I stammered, then I reached up and wiped a drop of the shepherd’s pie from his collar, pretending that was the only thing on my mind.

“You’re right,” he agreed. “This is a fascinating ruin, but it is much too fine of a day to be indoors,” Ignatius said and surprised me by taking my hand.

He led me toward the front doors of the abandoned church.  “Oh wait.  What’s this?” I asked, stepping into an aisle where something was left behind on a pew.

At first I thought it was an old hymnal, but it was too large.  I carefully opened the book and turned thin, fragile pages.  Dates were recorded for births, deaths, and marriages.

Ruins St Dunstan
St Dunstan-in-the-East

“Look, it’s an old family Bible,” I commented in fascination.

I turned another page and my eyes were drawn to a name.  “Agustus Belle wed Antigone Stewart—”

“Please, let me see that,” Ignatius said, gently but eagerly taking the antiquated book from my hands.

He squinted and moved back to the place where the sun shone through the damaged roof.  “Those were my grandparents,” he marveled.  “They eloped.  No one was ever sure where they went to get married.  I wonder who this Bible belonged to,” he murmured, delicately turning the pages.

“It doesn’t appear to belong to anyone now.  The congregation, and apparently whatever village was nearby, they’ve all left long ago,” I began, as I looked up into serious brown eyes.  “I think whoever owned this book would want you to have it.  A tie to your grandparents,” I affirmed with a nod.

Ignatius took my hand again, smiled, and led me outside.  He held the old Bible under one arm, and pulled me close to him with the other.  I looked up, with sun-dazzled eyes as he lowered his head toward mine.


“Aunt Miiiina!” Copper cried my alias on a sustained note as she ran toward us.

I gave my head a sharp shake to bring myself out of the drowsy, mauve-colored moment.  Of all the bad timing.  But it was probably just as well, I thought.

“Look what I found!” Copper declared excitedly.

There was dirt under her fingernails as if she had been digging in the ground.  Tiny bits of rich soil littered the front of her dress.  The yellow petals of a black-eyed Susan stood out against hair the color of a new-penny.  She had tucked the blossom behind her ear.  I imagined her accidentally pulling up the flower by its roots, and spraying herself with dirt in the process.

Ignatius bowed playfully to Copper.  “Miss, that is a lovely flower, but it beauty pales next to your own,” he told the girl in a whimsical tone.

Copper tilted her head to one side and looked at the innkeeper as if she didn’t understand.  “He’s paying you a compliment,” I told her and tried not to laugh.  “Say thank you.”1860 Carved Whale Tooth

She made a quick movement that might have passed for a curtsey and mumbled her thanks.  Then Copper held her cupped hands toward me.  I hesitated, wondering if she dug up a mole and made a pet of it.

“Look!  Cornelis said it might be magic!” Copper said in a whisper that could have been heard at the riverbank.

In her hands was an ivory figurine inlayed with abalone shell, and not quite four inches long.  It depicted a man reclining on two humpback whales.  The style of the piece reminded me of Aztec artwork.

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle
Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

“I found it in the ground when I picked my flower.  Cornelis said it was an amulet,” Copper explained, testing the sound of what must have been an unfamiliar word.

“May I see it,” Ignatius asked.

Copper drew back slightly.  My warning look encouraged her to give the figure to Ignatius.  “It might well be magic of a sort,” he agreed in the tone sometimes used by adults encouraging children to believe in the supernatural.

The girl’s eyebrows went up expectantly and she moved a step closer to the handsome innkeeper.  “You realize we’re not far from the Pacific coast,” Ignatius said turning to me before continuing his examination of the ivory.

“This looks like the work of a coastal tribe to the north of here.  You see the little man?” he asked Copper who nodded interestedly.  “He is a shaman, and he is resting on the backs of his spirit animals — these two humpback whales, placed end-to-end.  Their eyes are made of abalone shell.  Oh, and look here,” he added in childlike excitement.  “You see where the shaman rests his head against the whale’s head?  That connects them and his mouth is the blowhole for the whale!  So this is meant to be the shaman traveling to the spirit world upon his whales,” Ignatius said to Copper’s amazement.Boulet Spirit Animal Totems

“So then,” I began.  “Is the ivory actually a carved whale’s tooth?” I asked and Ignatius affirmed with a smile.  “Copper, I’ll have to find a ribbon for you so you can wear this amulet around your neck.  After all, that’s how magic amulets are supposed to be worn,” I promised to her delight.

A shrill whistle interrupted our examination of the little carving.  At first I couldn’t tell from where the sound came, but I wasn’t looking up far enough.  The sun glinted off polished brass, high in a tree near the river.

“Cornelis Derbbel, of all things!” I declared when I spotted the alchemist in the upper branches of the tree.

The Dutchman whistled again and motioned for us to come to him.  By the time we reached the place, he had climbed down.  Or at least he pretended to have climbed for the innkeeper’s sake.  The alchemist probably descended via a less mundane means.  His face expressed a combination of excitement and worry that only Corenlis could achieve.

“You won’t believe this,” he told me.  “It would be wonderful if it wasn’t so horribly wrong.  But we have to hurry.  They’re only ten minutes or so away!” the Dutchman babbled.Drebbel stamp

“Cornelis, what are you talking about?” I demanded.

He calmed down minutely and held up his brass spyglass.  “I saw them headed this way on the river.  And they’re using a hydrofoil!” he added almost dancing in his enthusiasm.  “I can’t tell who it is though,” he added before I could ask.

I watched the attractive face of Ignatius blanch at the alchemist’s words.  “No.  It can’t be,” he groaned and paced a few steps as if torn.  “I should get you to safety.  But the hydrofoil can outrun my paddle steamer,” Ignatius fretted as he paced.

He seemed genuinely worried for our welfare.  I shot Cornelis a challenging look for his distrust of the dashing innkeeper.Burrell Road Locomotive

“We actually do have transportation,” I confessed.  “It’s just that we felt it had to be kept secret.  It’s one of Hixon— I mean my half-brother’s inventions, and I don’t think he was ready to show it to the world,” I told Ignatius a partial truth.

His eyes widened.  “Don’t tell me!  Do you mean to say that he finished the road locomotive?  That he actually got the steam engine working?” Ignatius cried.

I wondered how it was that the innkeeper knew so much about Calvin Hixon’s inventions.  “Well, mostly.  Cornelis put on the finishing touch, correcting a small problem with the design,” I said looking askance at the Dutchman who nodded with a wide grin.

“Then go!  Go quickly.  No, wait!” Ignatius faltered.  “The road locomotive makes a tremendous noise, does it not?” he asked and we all nodded emphatically.  “I’ll lead them away.  Hide and wait until they are well past.  I’ll make sure they see me.  If they think I have gotten the girl, they are sure to follow,” he said, and then inspiration lit his brown eyes.  “I can even make two bundles.  I’ll put hats on them or something so they can be you and Copper,” Ignatius said turning to me.Stripped Bustle Gown

“You can have my stripped gown,” I said catching his enthusiasm for the idea.  “It’s ruined anyway,” I justified my donation to the scheme.  When Ignatius looked like he would ask how it got ruined I added of my dive into the river to retrieve the skull of Cornelis Drebbel, “That’s a long story.  But there’s all manner of things in that large building,” I said pointing to the half ruined building where we hid the steam engine.  “I’m sure we can bundle up some things that will look like Copper and me, at least from a distance.”

“I’d love a look at the locomotive,” Ignatius said wistfully a moment later when we got to the building.

“Ah, but you realize there’s no time,” Cornelis reminded him with a sidelong look that made it clear to me that he still did not trust Ignatius Belle.

“I found this earlier,” Cornelis began in a sad tone.  “I meant to give it to Copper as the next thing to a playmate,” he told us as he presented a doll, about three feet tall, with hair the color of a new penny.  “But it’s better put to use to protect her,” the Dutchman sighed.Victorian Doll

“Oh what a shame,” I said.  Copper was a good deal taller than the doll, but from a distance it should be quite convincing. “She would love it,” I commented as I looked around for the girl.

I spotted her running back toward us, dragging my stripped frock behind her.  I reminded myself that it was already ruined.  She had also grabbed two ladies hats from that opened crate of accessories.  The hats didn’t match my gown or the doll’s dress, but that was of no importance.

Suddenly Ignatius pulled out a knife.  I gasped in shock and jumped back.  Cornelis had a green aura as he gathered his powers.  However, Ignatius didn’t see it because he was already running for the gaping hole in the wall of the abandoned storage building.  He shouted over his shoulder.  “I saw some vines growing just outside,” he called and he was gone.

Quickly he ran back inside, haloed in green vine leaves.  Ignatius used the vines to tie the bundles and they made passable human-like figures.


There was a cluster of bushes just far away enough from the riverbank.  Cornelis used one of his little tricks to make sure we wouldn’t be seen as we watched the paddle steamer pull away.  Just before it rounded a bend in the river, Ignatius gave a blast on the boat’s whistle.  He was making sure whomever piloted the hydrofoil didn’t lose him.

Forlanini hydrofoil
The HD-4

Ignatius claimed that he didn’t know who those people were.  He said the hydrofoil had changed hands a few times since all the chaos began.  I didn’t get to ask him about his involvement in the disappearance of Calvin Hixon, or any of the strange events surrounding it.  Neither could I ask him about his relationship with the man, Copper’s father.  But apparently there had been some level of interaction between the two men.  That might explain the girl’s distrust of the innkeeper.  However, there was no time for me to ask any questions.

Too soon a boat on feet-like skis that lifted it up out of the river neared our hiding place.  For the first time I wondered if Ignatius Belle was a hero or a traitor.  Perhaps he risked his life to lure villains away from Copper and myself.  Then again, he might be meeting them farther down the river, comrades in arms.

Cornelis Derbbel gave a soft surprised grunt.  He used one of his tricks to look farther than the human eye could see.  I raised the spyglass to see what startled the alchemist.  As the hydrofoil drew even with our vantage point, I saw a figure moving wildly on the vessel.  A very chimpanzee cavorted and gesticulated wildly.


Is Ignatius Belle now in jeopardy? The question remains as to whether the innkeeper is angel or aggressor.  And once again, who controls the chimpanzees?  Come back next time to learn where the “things” take our trio.

Next time our “things” are from delightful Christy Birmingham at Poetic Parfait. Stay tuned for her: one lone dandelion, free verse poem, and candle wax.

And now for this episode’s recipe.  My search of the WordPress countryside too, me to a lovely blog.  Though you are not likely in Cypress, you are sure to be intrigued – and it has a recipe page, Chef’s Choice Cypriot Recipes.  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Stuffed Vine Leaves

Stuffed Vine Leaves

Photo and recipe credit: Cypriot Recipes at The Foreign Residents in the TRNC




Copyright © 2015 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

78 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 11

  1. Wow! 82 people like your recipe. You must be proud and excited.
    Thanks for visiting my site this weekend. I’m glad you liked my post “How to Get Loyal Visitors to Repeatedly…”. Nice to meet you.


    1. Nice to meet you too Janice.
      I’m always happy with “likes” and thrilled with comments. 🙂
      It’s about the serial as much as sharing recipes. Good luck with your endeavors.


    1. Hey Shelley — it’s great to see you. Thanks for catching up. You can also do that via the “homepage” button for this serial at the top of the page. It might be a quicker read, since it skips the intros.
      I’m looking forward to reading your next adventure.
      As for Ignatius… the jury might still be out even after i reveal something in Episode 14 this weekend. 😈
      Happy Earth Day. Hugs!


  2. Hi Natasha and thanks for visiting. If you’d like to do catch-up reading, there is a “button” at the top of the page for the serial’s homepage, where I keep all the episodes together, in chronological order. I’m delighted that you stopped to comment. Hugs! 🙂


  3. A wonderful story, as always. Olga’s choices for the things were excellent, as are yours for the pictures.
    They are great every time. Whenever I see a new post of this serial I scroll down to see the pictures first.
    Happy Easter Hugs 🙂


    1. Thank you Christoph. I really do put more time into the images than i should (author’s guilt over time i should be writing). So I’m pleased to know you enjoy them so much. i’m happy you enjoyed the episode too. Huge hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Teagan and thanks for all the comments. We’ve had some talks on the team front. Who knows? I’m also wondering about the monkeys and Ignatius…


    1. Indeed we have (discussed a collaboration)! Though those comments took me by surprise just the same. I’d be all for it. There are so very, very many writing (& related) things I’d love to do, if i didn’t need my full time “real” job to keep a roof over my head. It’s so hard to believe they have me doing budget stuff when i can’t keep a number in my head… It takes me a year to learn my phone number, and sometimes i still go blank when asked for my street number. LOL, I’m not a numbers person. But i digress. Again. 😀
      Thank you again Olga for three great “things.” Mega-hugs my friend.


    1. Oh Melissa — thank you for the reblog. What a lovely Sunday morning surprise for me.
      Everyone — whether you are an author, or if you just toy with the idea of writing, check out Melissa’s writing prompts. I think you’ll be very glad you did. It’s rather like what i do with the “3 things” but I break mine down to a more basic level.
      What would you write about “W.P. # 84 Someone hands you a sword.” and great photo illustrations to inspire you even more!
      Hugs all ’round.


  5. Potential pet moles and cavorting primates! I’m so deep in the imagery I forget to breath sometimes. Great chapter Teagan. I’m glad I read sitting down. A person can get dizzy keeping up with the twists and turns.


    1. Daniel you are far too kind. I blush ^^’
      Ha! The way the congestion from my sinus infection shifted and started pressing against my ears — believe me i could have written an effective scene about actually being dizzy. 😀 (Thank goodness that has backed off.)
      Looking forward to reading more of your story. Never doubt your skills as a writer. Or at motivating people. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh My! Spring has sprung in the sinuses. Do get well soon! I have finished the story and programmed the last three chapters to publish themselves without interference from the author. They live their own life now 🙂 Chicken soup hugz aplenty!


        1. Then i expect your new/old venture is about to begin. Wishing you success and satisfaction.
          I’m much better than a week ago. Almost there, just coming along more slowly than I’d like. (If one more person reminds me that I can’t expect to “heal as fast as when i was young” i might scream… I mean, what am i — 102? LOL) 😀 Healing hugs back. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ha ha ha! When my age comes up I tell people between 20 and 85. It just depends on how I feel that day. My chronological age doesn’t seem to impact my feelings very much 🙂


  6. Riveting as always. I still don’t know what to think about Ignatious, but I wonder at his being a villain, although Copper didn’t approve of him from the start. I love a good mystery and this is it! Fantastic storytelling, Teagan. I can’t wait to find out about the chimps. Whose side are they on anyway? How did they find the trio? More questions than answers. 😮 😮 😮


    1. Tess, coming from someone with your talent, that is such high praise! Thank you 🙂
      Lol, I had to add a column to my spreadsheet because of all those questions. Around this point (in any of the serials) it starts getting hard to keep track. Happy weekend & mega hugs. 😀


    1. Hi Mary — it’s so good to see you! Yes go check out the Cypriot Recipes and the rest of their blog. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit here today. As for the innkeeper… who can say? Big chocolate bunny hugs to you. ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I always read these at least twice, I look for little clues that could be missed on first read.For now I trust Ignatious, I read what David said and will now read it yet again to see if I feel the same way but he is quite dashing and M is smitten I think. I thought Olga’s ingredients were wonderful and interesting and fed your creativity. You two do make a good team.


    1. Suzanne, thank heavens! I’ll come to you when i get lost in the labyrinth of my clues! LOL. 😀 I think “the Woman in Trousers” is level headed, and despite the temptation of a gorgeous man, she will try to keep an open mind. But how influenced will she be by Copper (who is only a kid) and Cornelis (who would likely disagree with her just to argue)?
      I’m delighted that you enjoyed this chapter, Suzanne. I do look forward to your feedback each week. Great-big-hug! 🙂


    1. Welcome, Kim. That was an interesting blog where I found the recipe. I enjoyed my visit there. If you get the mood to do catch up reading, there is a “button” at the top of the screen for the serial’s “homepage” where i paste all the episodes chronologically (but the homepage doesn’t include the introductions). Thanks for taking a moment to comment. Hugs! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I have just managed to get to Episode 11 of Copper, The Alchemist and The Woman in Trousers as I have been occupied elsewhere today.. Just got it in before the midnight bell here in Spain.. the pace is gaining as the three attempt to escape from their mystery pursuers.. The Inn Keeper is good looking but also seems to have a mysterious side… catch up over at Teagan’s place.


  9. The excitement builds and perhaps I can trust Ignatius after all – or perhaps not, still can’t wait to find out what’s going on with the chimps 🙂 Thanks for another great episode Teagan, hope the Easter bunny is kind to you!


    1. Hi Andrea. Thanks so much for visiting; i’m happy you enjoyed the episode. I’m glad the story is holding everyone’s interest. Yes, what *is* going on with those naughty chimps? There were a lot of them. Maybe they’re controlled by more than one of the three groups who were after Copper… Or maybe not. Or maybe the chimps are in charge! At the end, they might all wake up in Planet of the Apes. LOL. Huge hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, i’m so glad you had a good visit here. Ha! Having grown up in a part of the southern US where kudzu abounds, it’s pretty easy to picture “vine leaves” just about anywhere. 😀 It was “old family Bible” that had me thinking for a minute. (Yes, even though they were at an abandoned church compound… sometimes i’m just dense. o_O ) You enjoy your Easter. Chocolate bunny hugs! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Haha (laughs hysterically) as if i knew! 🙂 Ignatius said the hydrofoil has changed hands (presumably more than once), so other things might be changeable too…
    Thanks so much for dropping by, David. I do look forward to your visits. I hope you enjoy your Easter hugely. Hugs to Reuben. ❤ 😀


  11. Well done! Teagan serves up vine leaves with a whole lot of suspense! The innkeeper may well be less angelic than we realize… And great to see Olga here providing the ingredients! I enjoyed the episode and I wish you a beautiful Easter full of chocolate, mauve and smiles 🙂


  12. Teagan, another masterpiece episode. Fascinating how dashing Ignatius is showing concern, hand holding closeness as a possible manipulating tactic. Copper still looks at him askance! She has a good radar! Not so plied by the beautiful doll. Mystery prevails. I love it. Already waiting for the next episode and answers…Apes on the hydrofoil? Yikes! Amazing writing! Christine


  13. I just got into my mail (long story) and there it was and I had to read it twice just in case I missed any details. Thank you, Teagan for my fix and thank you, Olga, always magnificent – you make a fantastic team. 🙂
    I don’t know what thrilled me more, but I do know I now have a craving for Greek food.
    I hope your weekend is good to you, Teagan. 🙂
    Megahugs and Hoppy Easter! 😉


    1. Thank *you* Donna and the very same to you too! (I’m having a “long story” with my mail and Yahoo in general too…) LOL, I can agree with the Greek food craving. A nice Greek salad would have been so good with my lunch…
      Thanks for taking a moment to comment. Mega-chocolate-bunny hugs! 😀


  14. Thanks Teagan. What an stupendous episode. I love the angel reference (they are a huge part of my life right now) and the description of the whale’s tooth is wonderful. And the recipe! And the monkeys are back! Very exciting! Bravo!


    1. You are so welcome, Olga. Ha – I knew you’d enjoy the angel. I started to use them as a theme (after i made that one image), then I realized i had not mentioned your upcoming series in the intro… So I forged ahead…
      I hope you enjoy your Easter. Mega-hugs, and thanks for 3 fabulous things. ❤


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