Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 18

Communication Breakdown

Communication Breakdown, It’s always the same;Victorian Airships
I’m having a nervous breakdown, Drive me insane…  Led Zeppelin

Pardon me for jittering off into a Zeppelin-zone… It was that kind of week.  I could describe all the chaos that resulted from lack of communication, but that would take all day. Just watch a clip of the Keystone Cops and you’ll get the general idea.

But it’s the weekend now, and I’ve escaped to my Sanctuary — this blog where our communications are so wonderful.  Communications are an integral part of all the “Three Things” serials here. If you didn’t send the things that drive the episodes, I wouldn’t be writing the stories.

At about the same time that John W. Howell (Episode-17) sent me a second set of “three things,” so did another reader — Suzanne Debrango, the extraordinary chef at “A Pug in the Kitchen.”  Her second set of things fueled our steam(punk) locomotive and kept the serial on track for this episode. She’s also involved in a new group blog, The Dinner Party Collective.  I know her plate is over-full right now, yet she always takes time to read the serial and leave helpful and encouraging comments.  So thank you Suzanne!

Vintage Pug paintingAll of you have given a lot of positive communication when I include menus in the story.  One of Suzanne’s “things” was a classic Victorian dish.  That inspired me to look for a menu for an actual Victorian meal.  It probably won’t make you as hungry as the menu in Episode-17 (go ahead and thank me now), but I found it fascinating.  Be sure to check out the links you’ll find along the way, in text and pictures, for interesting tidbits about how the Victorians lived.

Life in the Victorian Era was a long way from the world we know today. But the steam locomotive made the trip!  It just pulled up to the platform.  All aboard!

From last time

The movement of the water became intense.  Something was rising to the surface.  Involuntarily I took a step backward.  Victoria took Copper’s hand and pulled her several feet away from the shore.

For a moment I thought a whale would breach the surface.  Then I realized it was no living thing.  When the entire large shape was in full view, I still didn’t know what it could be. 

“Cornelis…” I began, but found I was at a loss for words.  “Wha—”

Cornelis Drebbel clasped his hands and a gleeful expression lit his face, as if he beheld something he had long missed.

“It’s my submarine!” he crowed.

 ***

18.  Feather, Yorkshire Pudding, Absinthe

A highly refined version of the submarine Cornelis Drebbel invented in 1620 breached the surface of the water.  I don’t know what I expected it would do after surfacing, but I thought it would at least do something.  However, the vessel bobbed on the gentle currents and other wise did not move.Drebbel Submarine painting

Alastair Wong spoke excitedly to Cornelis, marveling about the machine.  Our host clearly hoped for a tour of the submarine.

“This surely was a feather in your cap.  It’s amazing that you invented such a futuristic vehicle so very long ago!” Alastair exclaimed and Victoria nodded her agreement.

Cornelis looked unexpectedly worried.  That puzzled me, because he loved to show off his inventions.

“You must have a look at it.  But I’d best go aboard first to err… to make sure things are in order,” the alchemist said with a distracted smile.  “The hatch should have opened by now,” Cornelis murmured as he turned from Wong back toward the submarine.

As the Dutchman approached the shoreline the vessel’s hatch slowly opened.  Green vapors emanated from the opening.  The breeze carried an aroma like licorice to me.  Victoria smelled it too.fog on lake

“Is that scent anise?” she asked no one in particular.

“The king must have been thrilled,” Wong continued, not noticing the tiny woman’s softly spoken question.  “Just to think—” his words abruptly cut off.

Though it was far away, it was easy to hear the distant boom of the huge gong at the Wong estate.  Alastair turned back in the direction from which we came.  His face remained passive at the unexpected sound.  A second vibrant hollow tone crashed immediately after the first.  Wong and Victoria exchanged a quick concerned glance.  For the space of two heartbeats there was silence.  Victoria took a relieved breath, but Alastair had not moved a muscle.  Then a third beat rang across the countryside.

Victoria gasped.  Alastair sprang to life.  “I humbly beg your pardon Cornelis.  There is trouble at the pavilion.  I must return with all due haste,” he said.

Cornelis motioned for Wong to wait.  He unrolled the map with the alchemically inscribed word “Daddy.”  He produced his harmonic tuner out of thin air and rang it three times.  Then he took a crystal salt shaker from the basket that Victoria was hurriedly packing.  He sprinkled a pinch of the salt over the map.crystal salt shaker

The salt began to swirl into a tiny cloud.  It moved to the golden dot that indicated the Wong family’s estate.  As the salt settled onto the map it became little animated specks.  A dozen of them moved steadily toward the pavilion.

“What does it mean?” Victoria gasped.

“A group of people are moving toward your estate,” Cornelis explained.

“For the great gong to be sounded, they are strangers.  Not only strangers, but somehow they have aroused the distrust of the guards even at that distance,” Alastair said.  “Will the road locomotive get me back there before they reach the pavilion?” he asked the alchemist.

“I’ll see that it does,” Cornelis assured him.

“Umm,” Alastair began.  “Will you teach me to pilot it?”

I saw Victoria cringe and roll her eyes.  “It would be nice to get there in one piece,” she murmured, but I was the only one to hear her.

Cornelis grinned.  “You needn’t worry,” he told Alastair.  “Just rest your hands on the controls.  The locomotive will remember the way home.  I entrust it to your safe keeping.”

As Wong turned to go, Cornelis took his arm to detain him.  “It is likely that it is our foes, not any that you may have, who approach your home.  I should come back with you,” the Dutchman said.

Copper curious w-greenI knew Cornelis was sincere, but he gave a worried look at Copper.  The “foes” that converged on Wong’s estate were most likely from one of the groups that meant to abduct Copper.  We all knew that.  I only hoped Copper didn’t realize and feel responsible.  Wong caught our glances at the girl and he looked down at her with a warm smile, as if nothing whatever was wrong.  Victoria put her arm around Copper’s shoulders with a reassuring squeeze.

“My grandfather was once the guardian of your skull, Cornelis Drebbel.  It is my honor and privilege to defend you however I may,” Alastair said with an abrupt soldier’s bow, and he and Victoria were quickly gone.

I watched the steam engine in concern as it disappeared into the trees.  When I glanced down, I realized Copper was at my side.  She turned worried blue eyes up at me.

“Will they be alright?” she asked and I swallowed.

The Dutchman crouched down next to Copper and there was a small glint of mischief in his eyes.  He shook his head in mock regret.

“It’s really the people sneaking up on the pavilion that we should worry about,” he told her in an exaggeratedly grave voice.

Copper gave the alchemist a sidelong look that matched my own.  “What do you mean by that, Cornelis?” I asked.Victorian gentlemen martial arts

“Didn’t you know?” he returned a question.  “Why the Wong family business — or at any rate it’s practically their family business.  Has been for hundreds of years.”

“What?” I demanded, losing patience.

“Martial arts of course,” Cornelis said with a wave of his hand.  “That tiny Victoria is downright lethal.  I tell you, she and Alastair alone could take on the dozen people headed toward the pavilion,” he added.

I looked at the Dutchman closely.  Such a claim had to be an exaggeration meant to amuse Copper.  My eyes widened when I realized that he was perfectly serious.

Copper still looked worried so I tried to change the subject.  “After that delicious Italian feast, we might not be able to fit into the submarine,” I commented, joking.  “You enjoyed the food, didn’t you Copper?”

“It was strange food, but it was good,” she answered.  “But there wasn’t a sweet,” she added sadly.

Cornelis began describing an unusual but elaborate meal he had been served back in the sixteen hundreds.  “I was in service to the King of England then,” he supplied.  “But now a traditional meal one might serve company for dinner would be much different.  Have you ever had a Yorkshire pudding?” he asked Copper and went on to describe such a meal.  (All about Victorian dinner parties)Victorian dinner party 1860

Menu

Victorian Menu for a Simple Company Dinner

Oysters on the Half Shell

Soup a la Reine

Beverage:  Sherry

 ~~~~~~~~~~

Salmon with Green peas or cucumbers sliced

Filet de Boeuf and Mushrooms

Beverage:  White Wine

 ~~~~~~~~~~

Fried Potatoes

Beverage:  Champagne

  ~~~~~~~~~~

Salad of Lettuce or Tomatoes

Cold Chicken

Beverage:  Madeira

  ~~~~~~~~~~

Olives

Ices and Jellies, Cheese

Beverage:  Sherry

  ~~~~~~~~~~

Fruits

Beverage:  Coffee

Beverage: Cordials

 ~~~~~~~~~~

Menu Credit:  “The Successful Housekeeper, 1883” via Food Love Laughter.com

***

I looked at the submarine apprehensively.  “Are we going to have to swim out to the thing?” I asked then had a worried thought.  “Copper, can you swim?” I asked and she wore a doubtful expression but nodded affirmatively.  I didn’t believe her.Flying man w umbrella

“Not to worry,” Cornelis said cheerily.  “I can levitate all of us that minuscule distance.  I’m thoroughly rested and refreshed.”

We placed Copper between us.  Cornelis and I each held one of her hands.  I was amazed to not feel any sensation at all.  It was as if I suddenly realized that I no longer felt the ground beneath my feet.  We floated on a green nimbus over the water to the submarine.  As we drew close I could hear an odd sound that was like a combination of chirping and lip-smacking with an occasional snuffle.  Then I detected the licorice-like scent again.

“Cornelis,” I began doubtfully as a green tendril wafted up from the open hatch.  “What powers this submarine?  I could swear that I smell absinthe.”

“Oh no, no.  Of course not,” he sputtered.  “Well, not exactly.”

Albert Maignan's "Green Muse" 1895

Albert Maignan’s “Green Muse” 1895

“Cornelis Drebbel! Need I remind you that we have a child with us?” I threatened.

“No, it’s not like that at all,” Cornelis hastily tried to explain.  “The submarine is powered by the Green Fairy.”

Absinthe!” I accused.

“No!  And yes…  The fairy sometimes goes by the name Absinthe.  But it is not the liquor, I assure you.  The Green Fairy’s magic, along with my alchemy, powers the submarine,” he said.  “But do be careful not to startle it.”

“Why?” I spoke the question with raised eyebrows.

“Well,” the Dutchman hesitated.  “If the Green Fairy is startled he can spray a strong vapor.”

“Like a fart?” Copper giggled.

“Exactly,” Cornelis said.  “But not at all.  It’s not a vile odor.  However, it will cause…” he paused and looked at me sheepishly.  “Intoxication.  It’s quite strong,” he finished and wouldn’t look at me.

I looked at the green vaporous tendril and inhaled the anise, licorice scent.  I took a steadying breath and tried to gather my quickly escaping temper.

“Cornelis Drebbel, are you trying to tell me that this submarine is powered by a magical creature that farts a highly concentrated vaporous form of absinthe?” I asked and I couldn’t prevent my voice going up a full octave on the last word.

Cornelis twisted his lips over to one side and raised one bushy blonde eyebrow in a cringing expression.

“Well, yes.  That’s pretty much exactly what I meant.  But he only does that if you frighten him,” Cornelis said, nodding encouragingly.

***

What will happen with this potentially startled version of the Green Fairy?  Be at the train station next time and get on board the locomotive to find out!

***

Now for some real world information about absinthe, and then this episode’s recipe…

How to Prepare a Glass of Absinthe

Recipe:  Yorkshire Pudding

yorkshire pudding

 Photo and Recipe Credit:  RecipeReminiscing.com

This post includes more than one vintage recipe as well as a marvelous illustrated history of Yorkshire Pudding!  Pay a visit to Tedious Ted at this great blog.

***

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.

Lance’s Coach Tour #5

Since our steam(punk) locomotive didn’t make it to the platform this weekend, I thought you might want to hop aboard Lance Greenfield’s “Coach Tour.” Lance chauffeurs us on a wild ride through time and space. Maybe sometime he’ll make it to the Victorian Era, where “Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers” wait for Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine… Meanwhile — All aboard!

Lance Greenfield

“Today, ladies and gentlemen, is the most anticipated coach tour of this infamous time-traveling series. We have already seen the building of Stonehenge, enjoyed the jazz of 1920s New Orleans, witnessed the schooling of young Alexander the Great by Aristotle, and, best of all, spent some time with my old friend Archie, known to historians as the greatest inventor of all time, Archimedes. But I promise you that today’s tour promises to surpass them all. This is the one that has been most requested by you, my regular customers.”

coachI observe the looks of excited expectation on all your faces. Some of you have probably guessed already. In fact I am sure that some of you know where and when we are about to go.

“This is the one you have all been waiting for. Today, I am proud to announce that that we are about…

View original post 853 more words

Holiday Weekend and DoW Snippet

Trust UR Story Neil GaimanIn the past, part of my “real” job was writing a weekly motivational message.  I was basically “ghost writing” as/for the Senior Executive Service level director where I work, but he never made any secret of the fact that I wrote his messages.  (That was a couple of “Directors” ago.)

People would ask me (especially if they knew there were stressful or disappointing things going on) how I wrote such motivating missives week after week after week.  Well, believe me there were many weeks that I didn’t think I could write a single uplifting word.  But whenever I got started writing a message, I found that I was encouraging myself as much as I motivated my audience.  And if I heard the smallest whisper that I had lifted someone’s spirits, it sent my own faltering heart soaring.

That’s how I feel here, when anyone says I’ve buoyed them up in some small way — and that’s what keeps me coming back with a new chapter for you every weekend.  So I hope never to leave you completely adrift.Lazy Cat fluffy sad

However, it’s a holiday weekend here in the USA, Memorial Day.  And I am in desperate need of recharging my emotional batteries.  I haven’t gotten to do any of the actual writing for the next episode.  Copper and the woman in trousers still stand in astonishment as the alchemist delightedly watches his submarine rise to the surface of the water.

I do want to provide some entertainment though.  So here’s a snippet from my unpublished work The Dead of Winter.  A few of you may have seen me comment that I’d love to see this massive book turned into an anime series.

Just like live-action television and movies, some anime is gratuitous (I’m sorry, the story isn’t more interesting just because you throw in over-blown gore in fight scenes, or nudity for no real reason. And a preteen in a garter belt is just plain wrong — I don’t care what your excuse is.  See what I mean?  It’s just like regular TV.)  But I find some anime preferable to other forms of film. It can be beautifully done, particularly the backgrounds.  Here’s a video with some examples of the kind of anime into which I’d like to see The Dead of Winter made.

(There are movie clips here.)

My story has a wide cast of varied characters, but the heroine is a twelve year old girl, Emlyn. The snip below is early in the story, from Emlyn’s point of view, in the cold place her world has become.  Within The Dead of Winter I also built a world with many nations, traditions, religions, styles of dress, and societies — and magic.  I hope you enjoy this little visit to the world I built.

From The Dead of Winter

First Dream – Winter Is Coming

It was neither light nor dark, though there was a strange half-light.  The dim shapes of furniture seemed familiar as Emlyn looked around the room.  She went to the window, but could not see anything beyond it other than gray darkness.  Goosebumps pricked her arms.  She took the shawl she was required to use to cover her hair and wrapped it around her shoulders.  She felt like she should know this room; and it disturbed her that she could not place it.  Worse she felt that she should remember not liking it.

She turned to go to the door and leave, but a musical tone pierced her ears, surging in volume, but then dissipating.  As the tone died she thought she heard a voice.  Emlyn shook her head, trying to clear it.  She moved toward the door, and the sound blended with the rustle of her skirts, but she was sure she heard it again.  She froze, listening, with her hand reaching for the doorknob.

“Winter is coming.”

Emlyn tilted her head.  Had she heard correctly?  Then it came again more clearly, but still little more than the sound of dry leaves, “Winter is coming!”

DoW 06-15-2013She turned toward the sound, but saw nothing more than the oddly familiar room.  Then suddenly he was there, across the room.  He was a stranger to Emlyn, yet she felt that she knew him, even though she couldn’t see his face clearly.  Shadow seemed to cling to him even more than it did to the rest of the room.  “Did you hear that?  Was it you who spoke?” she asked.  He seemed to rush closer to her, though his feet didn’t move.  She drew back.

“No,” he replied, “but it’s true.  Winter is coming.  The Winter.  The Winter of the ages.  I know those fools have tried to stifle knowledge, but don’t tell me you haven’t at least learned about that.  You of all people should know about the Winter.”

It was plain that she didn’t know what he meant, and that seemed to make him angry.  Her hands gripped her shawl tightly.  Suddenly afraid, Emlyn didn’t know how to respond.  The voice came again, louder, “Winter is coming.”  She blinked and he was only inches away from her.

Emlyn awoke with a start and sat up in her bed.  She let out a relieved breath.  She was safe in her little room.  Then she heard it in his voice.  “Winter is coming.”  He stood at the foot of her bed.  Emlyn thought the dream must be clinging to her, and she rubbed her eyes.  He was still there.  She blinked hard.  He moved toward her and sat on the side of DoW_Cvr_Art-1the bed.  As she felt the bed shift with his weight she screamed.

Her cry roused the household.  Afanen, her sister, was there first, and then her father and brother-in-law crowded into the tiny room, demanding to know what the trouble was.

“There was a man,” she said before she could stop herself.  Their expressions were first astonished and then scandalized.  Emlyn tried to take the words back by saying, “It was a dream.  Just a nightmare.”

Her sister cut her off and exclaimed, “I had gotten up and was on my way back to bed when I heard her – mumbling in her sleep about winter.  She kept saying that winter is coming.”  Afanen wore a bemused smirk that suggested Emlyn was just a silly girl and not to be taken seriously.  She had told people often enough that there was something odd; something wrong about Emlyn.

“If she’s dreaming of men in her room, then it’s time she had a husband,” Dewydd, her brother-in-law said, barely hiding his leer.

“It was just a dream,” Emlyn defended herself.  Her sister and brother-in-law left the room to go back to bed, whispering to each other.  She heard her sister giggle as the door to their room closed.

Her father sat down on the bed, on the same place where he had sat.  Emlyn cringed, wondering if somehow her father would be able to tell that someone; or maybe some thing had just sat there.  He had gone pale, and she thought his voice shook a little.

“Winter, you say?” he looked intently at her as he asked.  “Winter is coming?  As if it was more than just winter?”

“Well yes, that’s how it was in the dream,” Emlyn told him.  However, her father sat looking at her coldly.  He seemed to appraise her, trying to determine her honesty, as if he had caught her in some mischief.

“Where have you heard of this?” he demanded as he stood.  She only looked up at him in confusion.  “It is not allowed for this to be taught.  This is blasphemy!  Where have you heard it?  Have you eavesdropped on the elders when they meet?”

“It was only a dream,” Emlyn stammered, “a nightmare.  Why are you angry?  I don’t understand.  I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Foschi_Winter Landscape with Paseant Family

***

I promise to be back next weekend with Episode-18 of  Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Update — I should have shared this to begin with. Now most of you won’t even see it… but here is a “pitch” for The Dead of Winter that will tell you about the story.  https://teagansbooks.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/pitchapalooza-the-dead-of-winter/

 

Copyright © 2012 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.

 

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 17

Orpheus Smoky Mary float Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Locomotive. Happy we’re back on track & ready to dance (Click here)

Back on Track

Last time I hit a bump in the road (or rather the railroad tracks).  However, the Victorian locomotive is back on schedule and running at full steam.

John W. Howell gave us the very first set of “things” to guide the plot of this pantser serial.  Happily later he sent a second set of three, which I’ve held in reserve.

You’ve heard about John’s great book, My GRL, and the first chapter is available for preview at his blog. But what you might not know about is a really cool radio interview he did.

Except for two second sets of “things,” the serial’s cupboards were bare. There was nothing to drive the train… (A second set of three things was also sent by real estate professional and cooking blogger Suzanne DeBrango.  Those will inspire the plot and setting for Episode-18.)

Alastair Wong the elder was a very minor character in both Three Ingredients serials. The set of “P” words John provided drove this plot to a connection with a different character from Three Ingredients 2, a Ghost in the Kitchen.  Those of you who were around for that story will be pleased to see this connection.

When I started “decorating” it seemed to me that the Victorians had a particular liking for mushrooms. If you think you see a theme in this episode, you are not mistaken.

The steam engine has reached the station.  All aboard!

From last time…

Cornelis held out his harmonic tuner.  A faint current of green streamed from the tuner all the way down the hill to the washing machine.  The machine wobbled, gurgled, and creaked.  The wringer started to turn again, the magic pulling the tablecloth on through as we watched.

Alchemically inscribed phosphorescent lettering appeared on the tablecloth.  The Dutchman shined the light on the cloth as it finished rolling from the mangle. 

It was in large glowing green script.  I read the word aloud, 

“Daddy.”

17.  Pistachio, Penne Pasta, Porcini

Mushrooms Hat VictorianMy first thought wasn’t exactly a thought.  All cogitation was clogged in a bottleneck of befuddled ideas.  The first thought that got through the blockage was relief that Copper was up at the pavilion.  It would be awful if the supernaturally printed word, Daddy, got her hopes up for no good reason.

I wasn’t feeling too optimistic myself, and to be honest, I was losing my sense of trust. And that single, magically written word brought out all my suppressed concerns.  As if it wasn’t bad enough that I experienced occasional twinges of distrust for Ignatius Belle (who turned out to be Copper’s half-brother), it also bothered me that I had begun having doubts about Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon.

Granted, if Hixon was abducted, he probably had no chance to leave a warning or reason.  But what if he left of his own accord?  The notion was so awful — had he willingly left his daughter with no explanation, and worse left the child on her own?

Other than his unfortunate money situation, Calvin Hixon appeared to be utterly brilliant.  Could the circumstances be more complicated than an abduction?  Did Hixon stand to somehow see a financial gain from the situation?  Could he be involved in his own disappearance?  Oh surely not, I told myself.  I’m over-analyzing things.Alice Mushroom Victorian

Most often the simplest answers are the correct ones.  But was running away as simple as being abducted…?  Had Calvin Hixon suddenly run away from his adversaries, perhaps thinking he would lead them away from his daughter, thereby keeping her safe?  I’m still over-analyzing, I admonished myself.

“Felicity,” I heard my name and realized that Cornelis had called it more than once while I pondered the unpleasant thoughts about Calvin Hixon.

“Do step back,” the alchemist told me.  “Something unexpected might happen,” he said as he reached into that supernatural void through which he sometimes fetched things.

“Unexpected?” I said sardonically, knowing how often Cornelis’ tricks tended to go awry.

To my surprise he produced the long map we had been looking at on the terrace.  The area on which he had used the harmonic tuner still gave off a greenish glow.  However, the phosphorescent script “Daddy” on the table cloth had begun to dim.  Cornelis noticed that with a frown.  Hurriedly he placed the map atop the cloth.

He held up the harmonic tuner and gave it one sharp clear ring.  The tiny ping of a sound reverberated and grew.  I felt the vibration at the base of my spine.  I could feel the sound spreading outward all around us.  In the distance the big gong in front of the pavilion gave a mighty boom, the volume of which was magically transported into our midst.  I put my hands over my ears, involuntarily squeezing my eyes shut.

Cautiously, I opened one eye.  The map was copied onto the tablecloth.  At first the drawings of topography overlaid the word “Daddy,” but then the script blazed through the map.  The word shone with eye-searing chartreuse light, before stabilizing and diming to a flat pistachio green.

***

Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset

Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset

I don’t know if it was a meteorological effect or if it was residual magic from the previous night, but when I got up the next morning, the sky above Alastair Wong’s home blazed with yellow clouds at sunrise.  No wonder they called it the Golden Pavillion, I thought.

Cornelis said he wanted to get an early start, but judging by the activity of the household staff, I suspected they were always up at that hour.  As I admired the sunrise, the alchemist drove up in the little steam engine.

Mushroom swing Victorian girlsIt didn’t seem like there could be enough room, but Cornelis, Copper, Alastair, and I all managed to get on the road locomotive.  To my surprise, Victoria, who was so taken with Copper, insisted on coming along.  I wouldn’t have thought one more person, not even a tiny woman like Victoria, could fit on the locomotive… and she carried a large picnic basket too.  Yet somehow the tiny woman and the big basket managed to fit.  When I saw the hint of a green aura surrounding the alchemist I understood how the group of us managed to get onboard.  One of his tricks had made room for everyone.

We would part company with Alastair and Victoria when we reached the Pacific.  Wong would take the road locomotive back to his pavilion estate for safekeeping, while Copper, the alchemist, and I continued our journey.

I looked a question at the basket Victoria carried.  The night before, all the noise and vibrations from the harmonic tuners had given me a headache — and I still had it.  So I was probably frowning fiercely.  Victoria looked a bit uneasy.

“It will be past time for a meal before we reach the ocean.  Copper is a growing girl and must eat,” the tiny woman said with a sharp nod that would have settled any row.  I tried to reign in my smile, because I truly did take her seriously.Mushroom ad Victorian

“Besides,” she turned and spoke to Cornelis in a flirtatious tone that took me completely by surprise.  “You will love what I’ve done with the porcini mushrooms you mentioned earlier,” she added, and the Dutchman’s eyebrows shot up toward his hairline.

“Ah yes,” the Dutchman sighed.  “Porcini are God’s great gift to humanity, a mushroom delicate enough to flavor a sauce, yet vigorous enough to stand up to a grilled steak.”

Really…, I thought.  Should he encourage the tiny woman by flirting?  And Could Victoria actually be attracted to Cornelis?  The idea seemed not merely imaginative and impractical, but just plain impossible.  I scratched my earlobe as the idea took root.  Then I had the wicked thought that I’d like to see an argument between Victoria and Cornelis.  The Dutchman would surely get his comeuppance.

“What are you smirking about?” Cornelis asked quietly.

“Oh?  Did it seem so?  It was just a bit of indigestion,” I said with no attempt to hide my expression.

Victoria held tightly to Copper’s hand as the steam engine barreled toward the ocean.  The tiny woman’s eyes were huge with astonishment for the speed at which we traveled.  However, it was clear that she possessed a fierce determination.  She would not have gone back if the chance was offered.

***

Burrell Road Locomotive

The sun was directly overhead when Cornelis slowed the road locomotive.  We were on high ground overlooking a blue river.  Below I could see a collection of log cabins of some sort.

“Look, it’s a fort!” Copper exclaimed.

“Have we really journeyed so far so fast?” Alastair Wong said in a tone of amazement.

“What do you mean?” I queried.

“That is Fort Clatsop,” Alastair explained though I looked at him blankly.  “It was built by the explorers, Lewis and Clark and their expedition.  They spent a difficult winter there before getting back on their way.”

“And they were hungry, you may be sure,” Victoria interjected, causing Alastair to chuckle as she pulled out the large picnic basket.  “That is a fate we shall not share with the explorers,” she said to our oohs and aahs as she opened the basket.

The woman surely could not have a single drop of Italian blood in her veins, but she laid out a feast worthy of any great Italian chef.

Mushrooms Victorian ad 2“Dear Victoria!” Cornelis exclaimed and bowed.  “This is a feast worthy of the 15th-century legend, Maestro Martino de Rubeis!”

“Who?” I couldn’t help asking, even though I knew my question would meet with derision from the alchemist.

Cornelis put on a mournful face and shook his head, muttering about my lacking education.  So naturally I had to tweak his nose, so to speak.  “Oh, did you know him then?” I made my question a playful taunt.

The Dutchman narrowed his eyes and pursed his lips.  “The 15th-century, the fourteen hundreds I remind you — that was quite before my time, as you well know.  I wasn’t even born until the year 1572,” he said and continued without missing a beat.  “Maestro Martino was a culinary expert unequalled in his field at the time.  He was quite the celebrity.  He was the chef at the Roman palazzo of the papal chamberlain, the Patriarch of Aquileia.  The Maestro Martino was called the prince of cooks,” Cornelis lectured.

Then he wriggled his bushy blonde eyebrows.  “So of course I did not know the Maestro in the fourteen hundreds,” he said and paused briefly.  “I did, however, meet him during his cursed afterlife.”Vintage kitchen bouquet ad

Though I knew I should not encourage Cornelis, I took his bait yet again.  “Cursed? How so?” I asked.

“The poor soul pissed off the Pope.  Enough said.  Please pass the porcinis,” the alchemist said.

That naturally prompted animated questions from everyone.  Cornelis loved to have an audience and he told the tale of the cursed chef and his acquaintance with him most vividly while we enjoyed Victoria’s Italian feast.

 

Menu

Antipasti

Warm Mediterranean Olives with rosemary and lemon zest

Insalata de Compo: Mesclun salad with cherry tomatoes

Primi

Penne Alla Vodka:  Penne pasta with tomato, cream, and vodka sauce

Risotto Ai Porcini:  Risotto with pecorino cheese, porcini mushroom and fresh basil

Secondi

Salmone in Padella:  Pan-seared salmon filet

Menu credit:  Scottadito.com

 

Needless to say, we were all quite pleasantly stuffed.  Alastair lit a beautifully carved pipe.  I faintly heard Victoria humming what I suspected was a nursery song from her home, as Copper rested her head in Victoria’s lap.  I was feeling rather sleepy in the sunshine myself.  Cornelis looked infinitely far away in thought as he toyed with a last spoonful of penne pasta in his plate.

“What’s on your mind, Dutchman?” I intruded on his thoughts.

“The next leg of our journey,” he replied, still examining the pasta.  “I need to summon our transportation.”Mushroom faries Carrousel

He picked up a piece of penne and held it up to his eye, looking at Copper through the pasta cylinder.  Copper giggled.  I told the Dutchman that he was a bad influence.

“Copper, could I see your mystic monkeys bell?” he asked the girl.

“Why not use the harmonic tuner that is more familiar to you?” Alastair asked quietly in a voice edged with concern.

I was in agreement with Alastair Wong in his newfound concern about Cornelis and his tricks.

“You are right,” Cornelis told him.  “Ordinarily, in the working of magic it is best use implements to which one has become attuned.  However, in this case the harmonic tuner that Copper has always thought of as her mystic monkeys bell was a gift from Daddy.  And that is whom we hope to find.  So the more elements relating to him, the better.”

Copper reverently handed Cornelis the second harmonic tuner.  A detailed carving of the fabled three mystic apes — see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil surrounded the bell.  He looked down at the scraps of pasta in his plate and arranged three pieces of penne end-to-end.  Then the alchemist held the harmonic tuner over them and flicked the bell with his fingernail.  It gave off a sharp ping sound.

Chicks Mushroom VictorianThe pasta glowed greenly.  The aura intensified until I had to shield my eyes.  When the supernatural light abated, a jade flute lay where the penne had once been.

The alchemist picked up the flute and played a trilling series of notes.  Then he abruptly stood.  “Shall we?” he asked, and we gingerly made our way down the steep hill to the water’s edge.

Once there he piped the same notes again.  Cornelis looked at the water unconcernedly.  I looked at him impatiently.

“I don’t see anything.  What’s supposed to be happening?” I wanted to know, but the infuriating man ignored me.  “Should you do it again?” I asked motioning to the jade flute.

The Dutchman’s mouth twitched to one side in a dissatisfied way.  “Perhaps I should…” he speculated.

As Cornelis raised the flute to his lips the water started to bubble and gently swirl.  He lowered the flute without playing another note.  He wriggled his bushy eyebrows and grinned.

“You’re going to love this,” he told Alastair.Mushrooms Victorian christmas

Wong looked somewhat apprehensive.  After all, he certainly had reason to be concerned, after the wayward alchemy caused his washing machine to break down the storage building door, and do assorted other damage at his hot spring.  But he quickly caught the contagious gleam of excitement in the Dutchman’s eyes.

The movement of the water became intense.  Something was rising to the surface.  Involuntarily I took a step backward.  Victoria took Copper’s hand and pulled her several feet away from the shore.

For a moment I thought a whale was breaching.  Then I realized it was no living thing.  Wong beheld the sight with gaping mouth, but I had the impression that he at least thought he knew what was coming to the surface.  Expressions of worry and wonder were at war on his face.

When the entire large shape was in full view, I still didn’t know what it could be.  “Cornelis…” I began, but found I was at a loss for words.  “Wha—”

Cornelis Drebbel clasped his hands and a gleeful expression lit his face, as if he beheld something he had long missed.

“It’s my submarine!” he crowed.

Drebbel submarine

***

Don’t get off the steam engine yet — here’s the recipe for this episode.  It’s something for all the carnivores out there!  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Porcini-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Butter Sauce

Porcini-Crusted Beef

Photo and Recipe Credit:  Epicurious.com

***

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.

Rewind — Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 16

Somebody hit the rewind button…

Inside a magic lantern in the collection of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Inside a magic lantern in the collection of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Believe it or not, I’ve been losing sleep over this all week…  Some of my readers said they were confused by the last sequence if Episode-16.  I see that as a serious flaw in me, both as a writer and as an editor.

Just as the English language is vastly different in different parts of the world, so are the many forms of writing.  Software manuals are a world away from biographies. Speech writing has little to do with writing poetry.  Copywriting is quite different from fiction writing.  In writing a serial — though it might later be pulled together as a novel, it has to be presented in a much different way than the novel, which gives the reader the entire story at once.

Even though I meant it as a play on words last time, maybe I really did “mangle the mangle.”  The last part of Episode-16 left some of you bewildered.

Serials and fantasies are strange beasts, and this story is both.  Serials expect a reader to have a better memory than anyone is likely to have — and they demand that I repeat myself, since there’s a time-gap between publications.  Fantasy demands mental agility, and leaps of thought from both the reader and the writer. As the cherry on top, this serial is pure pantser spontaneity.  Even if part of this “game” was revising, I don’t have the time.  I already give this serial the time I should be dedicating to writing novels…

Don’t think I’m going to make a habit of this — it’s a one-time thing; a sort of experiment in serial-story-blogging.  (Somewhere in one of my “About” pages I describe everything about Indie, including blogging, as part of my grand experiment.)  I’ll take one shot at clarifying that part of the episode, addressing each of the things that confused some readers. Then I’ll either move on or move out.  Also, if I’ve broken it down too far, I’m certainly not trying to belittle anyone.  I’m showing my clarifications in bold, so you can decide for yourself. Don’t feel like you have to tell me.

Hopefully this will give a boost to anyone who might have fallen off the steam locomotive. (And now, hopefully I’ll be able to finish Episode-17.)  Let’s take the Laterna Magica backward to the last part of that mangled episode…

Someone please get the lights…

Three slide projector with dissolve transition (1886)

Three slide projector with dissolve transition (1886)

***

A subtle green aura emanated from the alchemist, alerting me that he was doing one of his tricks.  He turned the harmonic tuner onto its side and rolled it around on the map in the area Wong indicated.

“Where were you going, raven?” the alchemist murmured the question making it part of the magic he worked.

At his words, the topography on that part of the map blurred and became three dimensional.  Then a part of that area took on a phosphorescent glow.

Although mesmerized by the magical transformation of the map, I was vaguely aware of faintly padding footsteps.  I turned to see Copper, wearing a dressing gown and slippers.  She clutched something wrapped in a scarf to her chest.

“Miss Copper,” Alastair Wong addressed her in a playful tone that was likely meant to distract her from what we were doing.  “You needn’t have come down here,” he told the girl and then turned to Cornelis and me somewhat awkwardly.Copper with Flowers

“I suggested Copper go back to bed when she saw me in the hallway.  I apologize that I made a bit of noise, and she got up to see what the bother was.  Copper I hope I didn’t frighten you, in a strange place, trying to sleep,” Wong told her.  “I said that I was bringing boring grownup things to show you,” he turned and said to us.

The girl must have begun to worry that she was about to get into trouble for leaving her room at so late an hour.  She hadn’t even noticed the phosphorescent glow that meant Cornelis worked his alchemy on the map, but then, Alastair may have blocked her view.

“Yes, but I had a favorite thing to show you too!” Copper told him, clearly wanting to participate.  “Because you’ve been so nice.  This is my favorite thing that Daddy gave me.”

Suddenly I realized that Copper held her cherished “mystic monkeys” bell, which her father had given her.  It was an ornate bell with detailed carvings of the fabled three mystic apes — see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.  It was also a harmonic tuner.  Yes, a magical implement with powers similar to the tuner Cornelis was using at that very moment.  The night we ran from the Hixon estate, the two harmonic tuners being in close proximity had a profound effect.  The magic the alchemist worked that night went out of control when the other harmonic tuner’s influence became involved.

I glanced at Cornelis for his reaction.  The alchemist was so focused on his trick with the map that I wasn’t sure he had even noticed Copper’s entrance.  He was completely absorbed in his work.  “What will we find here?” he muttered over the map as he rolled his harmonic tuner across the glowing area, asking the alchemy to show him what or who was in the area of the map that his harmonic tuner touched.

“Here it is,” Copper said proudly, and before I could shout a warning, she unceremoniously plopped the second tuner right onto the map on which the alchemist worked his trick.

LightningOnce again the inadvertent influence of the second harmonic tuner had an unpredictable effect on the magic Cornelis was working.  The existing harmonic sound from the Dutchman’s tuner quadrupled.  A varicolored aura made a rainbow around the bells and the map.  The sound seemed to vibrate through the entire world.  Then I felt it inside my throat, and just as before, I couldn’t help wondering if my voice would take on that dual harmonic sound when I spoke.

Alastair must have felt the bizarre sensation as well.  He put his hand to his throat.  The tiny woman dropped her tray to the paved terrace.  Fine china shattered, the sharp noise blending with the harmonic sound.

As I said, the sound seemed to vibrate throughout the entire world.  The magic reached far and wide.  In the distance I heard noises that I couldn’t quite define.  It reminded me of the sound of men scuffling, but it sounded heavier than that.  Then I heard a crash from that area, and I knew it had to be the work of the alchemy gone awry.  The din was followed by clacking and clanging sounds.  The louder noises were enough for me to know the commotion came from the hot spring.  The magic had traveled all the way down there.

Everyone turned at once, ready to race toward the sounds and the runaway magic.  Thankfully I had the presence of mind to tell Copper to stay where she was.  Even better, with a wise wink, Victoria, the tiny woman took the girl’s hand and led her to the kitchen with the promise of a serving of the apricot Charlotte.  I heaved a sigh of relief and followed Cornelis and Alastair toward the disturbance.1880 Woman laundry

When we reached the hot spring I saw that the door to one of the small gold-painted buildings was off its hinges.  The wayward alchemy affected the washing machine.  It had somehow bumped and thumped its way out of the storage building, under the influence of the magic.  It looked as though the machine had clambered around until it was caught between two maple trees.  Every few seconds it gave a futile bump to the trees.

“There’s something in the mangle,” Cornelis muttered, and I was sure that was also the magic at work.

“What’s that you say?  Oh yes, the mangle.  Here they call that part the wringer,” Alastair said absently as he looked in astonishment at the rogue washing machine and the damage it had done.

When the washing machine made its magical escape from the storage building, the washtub had been dragged along by the machine, halfway to the spring.  I remembered the young man putting a tablecloth in the tub to soak.  I suspected that was what hung from the mangle, or wringer — the magic having pulled the cloth into the wringer.  When I cautiously walked over to the still grumbling machine, I found that I was right.

Cornelis held out his harmonic tuner.  A faint magical current of green streamed from the tuner to the washing machine.  That had another effect on the washing machine.  It wobbled, gurgled, and creaked.  The mangle started to supernaturally turn again, pulling the tablecloth on through as we watched.

“All that hubbub and the cloth is not clean,” Alastair said, surprising me with his acerbic wit.  Of course he had no concern about whether the table cloth was clean.  Rather, he jokingly referred to something he saw; something the enchantment had put onto the cloth.

He was correct, there was something on the tablecloth, but it wasn’t simply dirty.  It looked like writing — phosphorescent writing.  Cornelis flicked the tuner with his fingernail, causing a faint ting sound and then the tuner cast a bright light like a torch.  The Dutchman shined the light on the cloth as it finished rolling from the mangle.

A word had been written by the rogue magic that resulted when Copper accidentally added a second harmonic tuner to the magic worked by the alchemist.  It wasn’t something anyone would want to wash away, because it was never part of the laundry.  As I said, that was only Alastair’s wit; a joke.  It was a magically provided clue, resulting from the alchemist’s spell. 

It shone in large glowing green script.  I read the word aloud.

Daddy.”

daddy

 

***

Photo/image credit: Wikipedia

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 16

Did I mangle the mangle?

Victorian schoolroom

English is an amazing language.  It’s amazing because with words that have the same spelling as another word but have a different sound and a different meaning… and then words that have the same sound as another word but are spelled differently and have a different meaning… Well, it’s a wonder we can communicate with one another at all.

Then we added to the chaos when words came to mean different things depending on the country in which you live…  But of course, that confusion can sometimes be entertaining!

(Speaking of entertaining — although this might be stretching the term… I’ve added a little work in progress treat at the very end of this post. I hope you enjoy it.)

Hugh RobertsThe “three things” for this episode were provided by Hugh Roberts at Hugh’s Views & News.  I had to do my research — but that’s the fun part.  A case in point would be the word “mangle,” one of Hugh’s things.  (And yes, I know.  I’m strange that way about enjoying research.)

Hugh blogs and tells stories about “everyday life,” which of course is often more interesting than any fiction.  Even so, you’re likely to find entertainingly unexpected posts amid the “everyday.”  He also does book reviews at Lit World Interviews.  I hope you’ll visit both sites and get to know Hugh.

 

Just one more thing.  It’s National Train Day!

national train Day

You know I had to add that. I just learned about it from Dan Antion at No Facilities.  Meanwhile, I believe our steam locomotive just chugged past the window.

All aboard!

From last time…

Then I suddenly saw what had been there all along.  A resemblance.  Copper’s face was full with youth, while Ignatius had masculine angles, but their features were very much alike.

“They’re related,” I said amazed.  “And closely I’ll wager…?”

“Hixon was youngish in the portrait…  I remember you asking Copper about it.  She indicated that he was much older when she was born,” I commented as assorted bits fell into place.  “But he had no previous marriage…” I started but did not finish my sentence.  “Oh.”

“Yet that’s not to say that Hixon had no other children.  I didn’t just prowl around, as you put it, at Hixon’s estate.  I went to Belle’s office at the Inn, and to his bedroom.  Based on letters Ignatius kept, he is the illegitimate son of Calvin Hixon,” Corenlis revealed.

“So he is Copper’s half-brother?  Why would she distrust him so?” I thought aloud.

***

16.  Moustache Cup, Apricot Charlotte, Mangle

The tiny woman who had shown me to my room when we arrived at the beautiful family estate of Alastair Wong appeared with a coffee and tea tray.  She had told me she was named Victoria, after the Queen.  She motioned more than asked if I would like more coffee.  Victoria seemed rather excited when she turned to the Dutchman.  At first I thought it was simply because of Mr. Wong’s admiration for the alchemist.  However, it turned out there was a little more to her enthusiasm than that.Mustache Cup

“Sir, mayhap you like this cup?” Victoria suggested to Cornelis as she lowered the tray to our table.

Smiling brightly she picked up a teacup with the same pattern as the rest of the dishes, but it was of a slightly different shape.  It must have been specially made to match the rest of the china, and she was obviously both proud of the cup and delighted to have the chance to offer it to a guest.  Inside the cup was a semicircular ledge.  The ledge had a half moon-shaped opening to allow the passage of liquids and to serve as a guard to keep a mustache dry.

“Look Cornelis!  Why it’s a mustache cup,” I exclaimed.

Cornelis Drebbel had a mustache and a short pointed beard, and bushy blonde eyebrows.  When he was in a playful mood, or a sarcastic mood, he wriggled his eyebrows.

Where Sheriff Bullard, back in Copper’s home town, had a very thick mustache — as was the fashion, Cornelis wore his neatly trimmed.  While Bullard would have desperately needed the special cup, it was not as much of an issue for the Dutchman.  However, I gave him a little nudge with my elbow when it looked like he might decline the cup.  With another look at the tiny woman, he seemed to realize that it was important to her.

So Cornelis, bushy brows wriggling flirtatiously, made over the cup and smiled when Victoria filled it with coffee.  The woman was obviously overjoyed to have someone use the cup.  I thought she must have put a lot of effort into having it made.Mustache protectors

A soft chuckle caused me to turn.  Our host, Alastair Wong had come back downstairs.  He carried a large roll of paper.

“I thought you were going to turn in early, my friend,” Cornelis told him.

The tiny woman turned at the sound of Alastair’s voice.  She was still all smiles.  “I feared that tonight no one would eat dessert — and it turned out so well.  It would have been a shame that you did not get to enjoy it,” Victoria said as she hurried away, presumably to get the dessert.

I gasped when I saw what she brought.  Sticky sweet glazed apricots peeped out from a golden brown cinnamon sugar crust, dusted with white powdered sugar.  When I asked what it was called, she told me proudly that it was an apricot Charlotte.  It was irresistible, so everyone had at least a bite before going back to the reason why Alastair had come back downstairs. “So did you find a second wind, as they call it?” Cornelis asked.

Map Columbia River Basin Lg Dams“It was my intention to retire early,” Wong admitted ruefully.  “However, sleep eluded me.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the raven you told me about — the one that tried to carry a message about your whereabouts.  I kept wondering where it might have been going.  When I realized you were still up, I thought it might be helpful to look at a good, detailed map,” he added and motioned for us to move to a long table where he unrolled the map.

“This is a beautiful work of cartography,” I admired the map, which covered part of California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia.

“We are here,” Alastair said pointing to a golden dot on the map.  “And I expect you were approximately… here when you were spotted?” he asked, pointing to another location and Cornelis nodded.  “So we know the bird was headed north of that area,” Alastair said motioning in a large circle.

“That covers a lot of ground,” I said in a dejected tone.

“Ah!  Perhaps we can be at least a little more precise,” Cornelis offered.Tiffany Arabesque bell

The alchemist reached into his coat and produced the device that looked like an intricately worked silver bell.  Wong’s eyes widened in obvious recognition.

“The harmonic tuner!” Alastair exclaimed interestedly.  “My grandfather told tales of its magic!  But wait.  It is not going to cause the large gong to sound again is it?  The hour is late, and I wouldn’t want to disturb the household.”

“Neither would I, my friend.  This time the tuner will have a different purpose,” Cornelis said, but I knew how often his tricks didn’t go as planned.

A subtle green aura emanated from the alchemist.  He turned the harmonic tuner onto its side and rolled it around on the map in the area Wong indicated.

“Where were you going, raven?” the alchemist murmured.

At his words, the topography on that part of the map blurred and became three dimensional.  Then a part of that area took on a phosphorescent glow.

Dressing gownAlthough mesmerized by the magical transformation of the map, I was vaguely aware of faintly padding footsteps.  I turned to see Copper, wearing a dressing gown and slippers.  She clutched something wrapped in a scarf to her chest.

“Miss Copper,” Alastair Wong addressed her in a playful tone that was likely meant to distract her from what we were doing.  “You needn’t have come down here,” he told the girl and then turned to Cornelis and me somewhat awkwardly.

“I suggested Copper go back to bed when she saw me in the hallway.  I apologize that I made a bit of noise, and she got up to see what the bother was.  Copper I hope I didn’t frighten you, in a strange place, trying to sleep,” Wong told her.  “I said that I was bringing boring grownup things to show you,” he said to us.

The girl must have begun to worry that she was about to get into trouble for leaving her room at so late an hour.  She hadn’t even noticed the phosphorescent glow on the map, but then, Alastair may have blocked her view.

“Yes, but I had a favorite thing to show you too!” Copper told him, clearly wanting to participate.  “Because you’ve been so nice.  This is my favorite thing that Daddy gave me.”Wise Monkeys statues

Suddenly I realized that Copper held her cherished “mystic monkeys” bell, which her father had given her.  It was an ornate bell with detailed carvings of the fabled three mystic apes — see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.  It was also a harmonic tuner.  The night we ran from the Hixon estate, the two harmonic tuners being in close proximity had a profound effect.

I glanced at Cornelis for his reaction.  The alchemist was so focused on his trick with the map that I wasn’t sure he had even noticed Copper’s entrance.  He was completely absorbed in his work.  “What will we find here?” he muttered over the map as he rolled his harmonic tuner across the glowing area.

“Here it is,” Copper said proudly, and before I could shout a warning, she unceremoniously plopped the second tuner right onto the map on which the alchemist worked his trick.

Auras 2 BodiesThe existing harmonic sound from the Dutchman’s tuner quadrupled.  A varicolored aura made a rainbow around the bells and the map.  The sound seemed to vibrate through the entire world.  Then I felt it inside my throat, and just as before, I couldn’t help wondering if my voice would take on that dual harmonic sound when I spoke.

Alastair must have felt the bizarre sensation as well.  He put his hand to his throat.  The tiny woman dropped her tray to the paved terrace.  Fine china shattered, the sharp noise blending with the harmonic sound.

In the distance I heard noises that I couldn’t quite define.  It reminded me of the sound of men scuffling, but it sounded heavier than that.  Then I heard a crash from that area.  The din was followed by clacking and clanging sounds.  The louder noises were enough for me to know the commotion came from the hot spring.

Everyone turned at once, ready to race toward the sounds.  Thankfully I had the presence of mind to tell Copper to stay there.  Even better, with a wise wink the tiny woman took the girl’s hand and led her to the kitchen with the promise of a serving of the apricot Charlotte.  I heaved a sigh of relief and followed Cornelis and Alastair toward the disturbance.

When we reached the hot spring I saw that the door to one of the small gold-painted buildings was off its hinges.  The washing machine had somehow bumped and thumped its way out of the storage building.  It looked as though it had clambered around until it was caught between two maple trees.  Every few seconds it gave a futile bump to the trees.

Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset

Kinkaku-ji Temple Sunset

“There’s something in the mangle,” Cornelis muttered.

“What’s that you say?  Oh yes, the mangle.  Here they call that part the wringer,” Alastair said absently as he looked in astonishment at the rogue washing machine and the damage it had done.

The washtub had been dragged along by the washing machine, halfway to the spring.  I remembered the young man putting a tablecloth in the tub to soak.  I suspected that was what hung from the mangle, or wringer.  When I cautiously walked over to the still grumbling machine, I found that I was right.

Cornelis held out his harmonic tuner.  A faint current of green streamed from the tuner to the washing machine.  That had another effect on the washing machine.  It wobbled, gurgled, and creaked.  The wringer started to turn again, pulling the tablecloth on through as we watched.

“All that hubbub and the cloth is not clean,” Alastair said, surprising me with his acerbic wit.Laundry washing machine

He was correct, there was something on the tablecloth, but it wasn’t simply dirty.  It looked like writing — phosphorescent writing.  Cornelis flicked the tuner with his fingernail, causing a faint ting sound and then the tuner cast a bright light like a torch.  The Dutchman shined the light on the cloth as it finished rolling from the mangle.  In large glowing green script I read the word aloud.

Daddy.”

***

Where will the mystically inscribed word, Daddy, take our characters? I hope you’ll be at the station when the steam engine returns to the platform.  The next “things” are from author John W. Howell. What kind of trouble can Pistachio, Penne Pasta, and Porcini create?

By the way, look for Hugh Roberts to be featured in the new theme for the “Sunday Show” at Sally G. Cronin’s Smorgasboard, Variety is the spice of life.

And now, here’s the recipe for this episode.  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Apple & Apricot Charlotte

 Apricot-apple Charlotte

Photo and recipe credit: Taste.com

 ***

Here’s a special treat — for reading to the end!

A trailer for my main work in progress, Atonement in Bloom.

https://animoto.com/play/OgE0TBW4wn1BM68VZ7wVrQ

***

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.

Five Star Review and guest post – Atonement and a Funny Thing Happened to Me by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Don’t be confused — It’s not Sunday yet… But I am tickled pink to be featured in a preview / kickoff of Sally G Cronin’s new theme for the Sunday Show.
> Sassy and sagacious, Sally is also among the most generous people I know in her unfailing support of authors and bloggers. Not only did she share my silly little story for her new theme (A Funny Thing Happened to Me…), she also gave my novel “Atonement, Tennessee” the five-star treatment!
With all this, believe me, I had no trouble making it over the mid-week hump, thanks to Sally.
> Mega-hugs to you all. Have a wonderful Wednesday, and a thriving Thursday.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

five-star25

Teagan is very kindly helping me promote the new Sunday Show that begins this weekend with the effervescent Hugh Roberts from http://hughsviewsandnews.com/ – a great start to the new series.  I have some great guests already lined up but you can never have too many talented people to interview so please see the link at the end of the post.

Teagan is a wonderful support to bloggers and my weekend would not be complete without an episode of her current ‘interactive’ serial.. more about that later.  In the meantime here is a look at her book Atonement and one of her latest reviews for the book.

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About the Book

Esmeralda Lawton is sick of the big city. “Ralda” was betrayed until trust became a theoretical concept. So it’s a dream come true when she buys an old estate, complete with historic cemetery. Okay, she isn’t excited about the cemetery, but…

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