Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 31

Three Things & Three Blogs

I hesitated to ask for more “things” to fuel the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era, because the serial is nearing the end of the line.  What if I got more things than I could use?  I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  However, I still had to have the three things.  So as a way of showing my appreciation for your comments, I took one word from the blog names of the first three commenters on Episode 30!  (I was rather pleased with that idea, if I say so myself.)

So we have (drumroll please)…

3 locomotives


(Content removed.)

Kitchen from Suzanne at A Pug in the Kitchen, Good Food with Simple Ingredients

It’s a rather noisy episode. I didn’t even hear the locomotive pull up to the platform.  However, I see the conductor waving, and now I can hear his voice.  All aboard!

31.  Purple, Diary, Kitchen

My finger traced the edge of a purple leather portfolio I found.  Now the case held the priceless drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, which were previously hidden in the owl-shaped lamp.  I nearly dropped the folio at the sight before me.

In open-mouthed wonder I stared at the riot of possessions and the general confusion of what might have been the alchemist’s bedroom.  It was such a mess that I wasn’t completely sure it was a sleeping chamber.  I thought that was a bed under a stack of shoeboxes and a pile of clothing, though I couldn’t imagine anyone managing to sleep on it.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis
Terrence Mann as Cornelis

I came to the conclusion that the meticulously way in which the laboratory was organized was not the doing of the alchemist — or I should say the version of Cornelis Drebbel that inhabited the amethyst world.  I shrugged.  After all, our Cornelis kept the most haphazard scheme of things, whether on his submarine or anywhere else.  So I expected it was only natural that his doppelgänger would be a slob.  Alright… that wasn’t very generous of me to use such a word to describe my traveling companion.  Shall I say untidy?

Thank goodness his skull, which was safely in my hatbox, wasn’t capable of disarranging things too.  Then I had an uneasy thought.  What if the skull had capabilities of its own?  I firmly pushed that idea into a dark corner of my mind.  There was more than enough trouble at hand, without borrowing even more.  But I digress.

No, I thought, the orderly one must be Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape of the strange purple world of doppelgängers where we’d run aground.  Cal was also the double of Copper’s father, Calvin Hixon.

I tapped my foot in a restless rhythm, annoyed with myself for wasting time, yet drawn to the room nonetheless.  My intuition had become a feather, tickling a sleeping notion in my mind.  That feather suddenly woke the notion and in the full light of thought, it quickly morphed into a certainty.Victorian w purple feather hat

“Ooooh…” I murmured aloud, stretching out the word.

Abruptly I was sure that the alchemist of the amethyst world was with Copper’s missing father!  However, the question remained — where?  How they got together in the first place was a secondary matter.  I hoped to find some sort of clue in the personal quarters of amethyst world’s version of Cornelis Drebbel.  Unfortunately I had no idea what I sought, and the disarray of the room didn’t help.

A soft snuffling sound alerted me to the presence of Absinthe, the Green Fairy.  He fluttered around the eyesore of a room before perching on a shoebox.  Absinthe looked at me and gave a derisive snort, clearly an opinion about the state of the bedroom.  I laughed.  For once I understood the little fairy.

Then Aubrieta, his mate, flew into the room.  Her purple wings missed a beat when she beheld the mess.  Aubrieta gave a little scream before recovering herself.  I had to agree.

I felt a moment of comradery with the two fairies.  They seemed to understand everything I said, but I could not interpret their snorts, grunts, and snuffles at all.  However, emboldened by that friendly feeling, I told them my thoughts about the alchemist of the amethyst world and Calvin Hixon being together somewhere.  I opened the portfolio of Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical design drawings, and said that I felt one of the designs might also be involved.Aerial Screw drawing
When I added that I thought there might be a clue somewhere in the disarray of the bedroom, the fairies went quickly to work.  They busily looked through every pile and opened every box, cupboard, and drawer.

While they looked through the room, I turned to the closet.  When I opened the door I almost shrieked like Aubrieta.  Boxes and all manner of other things toppled out of the closet as soon as I opened the door.  Cases and trinkets continued to tumble for what seemed like an unnaturally long time.  A purple feather boa draped across my shoulders as it fell.  Aubrieta snuffled appreciatively.  Apparently the little skunk-looking fairy thought it looked good on me.

“So you like this?” I asked Aubrieta of the boa and she chirped enthusiastically.  “Well, it is your color,” I conceded with a smile.Woman in purple boa

As I held out the purple feather boa, Aubrieta wriggled the single eyebrow that was between her one eye and her golden unicorn-like horn.  Static ran through the feathers and with a spark the boa was transformed to a much smaller size — just the right length for the Purple Fairy.

By the way, I never mentioned that the Purple Fairy is a title for Aubrieta, just as Absinthe is the Green Fairy.  Though I had yet to meet them, there were other purple and green fairies, but our tiny companions held some particular distinction among their kind.

I bent down to pick up a full sized feather that was dislodged from the boa.  That’s when I saw the corner of a book.  Its cover was made of tooled lavender leather.  In the center elaborate script spelled the word diary.  It should be the journal of the Cornelis Drebbel doppelgänger.  Shouldn’t it?  Although, the Dutchman was a wily fellow.  It might belong to someone else.

Though it didn’t really help, I took a deep breath to steady my nerves.  Cautiously I opened the lavender tome.  The handwriting inside was a match for that of the alchemist of my world.  I surreptitiously looked over my shoulder.  I bit my lower lip, as with a bit of apprehension I began to read the diary.

However, the journal didn’t seem to be terribly personal.  (I admit I was a little disappointed.)  There were a lot of what I supposed were alchemy related notes, and symbols I didn’t understand.  Then I found a section of spells.  At least I could understand the language with those.

Lady writing lettersTurning the pages faster, I focused my search.  I hoped to find some mention of Cal Hicks, or even better, Calvin Hixon.  Unfortunately I hadn’t found either name.  However, I was skimming the pages awfully quickly.  I could easily have missed something.  I began to notice repeated references to “Cu” but that made no more sense than the rest of the text.  It seemed to be more of a name than initials.  I shrugged.  The inhabitants of the amethyst world did seem to be fond of very short names, like Cal and Von.

As I turned pages I also saw drawings and diagrams.  Some of the sketches reminded me of the da Vinci drawings.  I slowed down, paying closer attention.

My focus was broken by a commotion elsewhere in the laboratory.  It sounded like an argument.  Yes, there was some sort of disagreement.  Aubrieta made an impatient snuffling sound and winged away in a blur.  I figured the situation was safe in the Purple Fairy’s capable hands — or should I say wings?  Paws?  Whatever, I had no doubt that the one-eyed, erstwhile dragon could use that pointy horn to good effect.

I could hear the raised voice of Cornelis Drebbel, though I couldn’t make out his words.  I stood, placing my finger in the diary to hold my place.  I knew I’d best go see what the trouble might be before things got out of hand.  Then I heard Absinthe shriek an irritated noise.

As I walked quickly down the hallway I tried to determine where the commotion had come from.  Beyond the long workroom, the laboratory was a warren of hallways and alcoves.  I hesitated when I came to an intersection of corridors.

Jamie Murray as Felicity
Jamie Murray as Felicity

A teeth jarring screech of unused metal was followed by a crash.  The noise came from the kitchen.  The shouting was louder, but not coherent until I heard clearly the voice of Cal Hicks.  “Lord of Alchemy!” the amethyst ape cried.  “No!  Please wait!”

I broke into a run.

The “kitchen” of the laboratory was a combination food preparation area, dining room, and relaxation area, with several chaise lounges.  Above the wide open room was a clear crystal dome which let in the sunlight.  The dome was divided into sections, much like one would cut an orange.  The sections were held in place by brass strips.

Earlier, after a meal, I had stretched out on a chaise and gazed up at the pastel clouds drifting in the sky beyond the dome.  It was tranquil.  However, the sounds coming from the kitchen were anything but calming.

When I reached the kitchen I found Copper and Aubrieta perched on an open wooden packing crate.  Another metallic screech caused me to look upward.  The sections of the crystal dome slowly spread, opening to the sky.  It was a fanciful idea, but it made me imagine a clear flower bud with petals opening to the sun.

Directly beneath the dome I saw Cornelis and Absinthe.  They argued.  Cal Hicks stood between the two, urging them to be reasonable.  I got the feeling that the tableau might go on for a while.  There was nothing I could do to improve the situation, and no need for me to be agitated.  I leaned against the crate and turned to Copper who dangled her feet from the top of the wooden box.


“What was inside?” I asked her as I stuck my head into the empty container.

“That top thing Cornelis has.  I think Absinthe wants to play with it,” Copper said knowingly.  “Cornelis is too big for it.  He really ought to give it to Absinthe.”

Aubrieta snorted in a derisive tone and shook her purple head.  She didn’t seem to think Absinthe should have anything to do with it either.  I noticed the purple feather boa had returned to full size and was draped across Copper’s shoulders.  The little fairy must have wanted the boa so she could give it to the girl.  I was fascinated by the way both of the fae took to Copper.

“What top thing?” I wondered aloud and stretched in attempt to see around Cornelis and Cal Hicks.

The ape and the alchemist finally moved and I saw a working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It stood about waist high.  The “threads” of the screw were made of linen, and it rotated slowly.

“It’s only a model,” Cornelis told Absinthe.  “I need firsthand experience of it before we make a full-sized machine,” he said as the Green Fairy snorted and chirped.

Abruptly, Cornelis snapped his fingers.  A yellowish green glow surrounded the aerial screw and it gently rose from the floor.  With a last whine of metal, the dome finished opening.  The aerial screw continued to rise.  The alchemist schooled his face to a bland expression and he looked from Cal to Absinthe as the rotating machine rose above their heads.

“If the tiny fae thinks the device is unsafe,” Cal Hicks began, apparently understanding the sounds Absinthe made — was I the only one who didn’t understand fairy-speak?  “Don’t you think it would be wise to listen?  It needn’t be a long delay,” the ape offered in a reasonable tone.

With a mischievous glint in his eyes, Corenlis grinned.  He leaped up and grabbed onto the bottom of the aerial screw.  A green glow surrounded the contraption and the alchemist.  The device quickly moved up into the opening of the crystal dome.  Absinthe gave an angry scream.  He fluttered up to Cornelis and pointed his bantam backside at the alchemist’s face in a very threatening posture.  A poot of super-concentrated absinthe vapors would surely cause Cornelis to fall, and he was many feet above the floor.

“Well, climb on, old boy!” Cornelis told the Green Fairy.  “There’s room for one more,” Cornelis invited as he dangled high in the air.Green fairy skunk

However, Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear.  The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.


Now what has Cornelis Drebbel gotten himself into?  Be at the train station next week to catch the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era.

Since one of the three blogs I used as this episode’s three things is a chef’s blog, I’m taking the recipe from it.  How could I resist this beautiful lavender colored cake to go with the amethyst world?  Thank you Suzanne, for letting me use one of your recipes.  Suzanne is a marvelously talented chef.  So be sure to take a look at her blog.

Recipe:  White Cake With Whipped Cream Icing and Blackberry Lemon Cream Filling

Suzanne lavender cake

Recipe and photo credit: Suzanne Debrango at “A Pug in the Kitchen”


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.

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72 thoughts on “Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 31

    1. It’s wonderful to see you Olga. I’m sure you’re playing catch-up on everything after being on holiday for several weeks, so I appreciate you taking time here. Yes, Cornelis seems to be having an “up, up, and away” moment, but what goes up must come down! Huge hugs!


  1. I think I have said this before, but I can’t help to get impressed by your creativity! I love the way your create the purple fairy and green fairy 🙂 Not to mention the cake recipe to go along after the story..I feel like re-reading your story with the cake, oh well, I have to make one first! 😀 Thank you so much Teagan!


    1. Hi Indah. Thank you so very much — that really does mean a lot to me. And even thought the recipes are not mine, I’m delighted when I can promote a chef whose recipes are a hit with my readers. Suzanne’s dishes are delightful. Huge hugs my friend. 🙂


  2. I don’t know how you keep this up teagan, it seems your up coming break is going to be well earned. Another great post and what a great cake.


    1. Hi Laurie. Thank you! It’s odd how the “things” work with my strangely wired brain. I wish I could transfer that to my novel writing… I look at a word in print (or even spoken to me, when I’ve done this in presentations), and then images play out in my mind… I guess the images are as random as the “things” and maybe that’s why it doesn’t work for my novel writing…
      I’m delighted that you dropped by. You’ll find lots of delicious things (cake and meals) at Suzanne’s blog. Mega hugs my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Geez teagan at least your brain is wired. 🙂 Well you’re doing okay with your blog writing. Are you trying too hard when something pops into mind? it’s always great to drop by, I could almost taste that cake.


  3. Hi there dear Teagan!… A great installment!… 💫✨🌟
    Three things taht I´d love to highlight:
    1. The doppleganger´s game of Alter Egos. I was amazed to learn that in the amatiste world Purple Fairy is a title for Aubrieta, just as Absinthe is the Green Fairy. Do Aubrieta and Absinthe have also ape equivalents?.
    2. The lavender tome of the secret diary: And particularly the fact that the handwriting inside was a match for that of the alchemist… Isn´t that need … Should we ask a grapoloher to analyse that writing!?.
    3. The appearance of a the working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw… And the fact that the “threads” of the screw were made of linen.
    By the way… Did you know that linen could be a sort of everlasting durable material?.
    Check out this fact: “When the tomb of the Pharaoh Ramses II, who died in 1213 BC, was discovered in 1881, the linen wrappings were in a state of perfect preservation after more than 3000 years”. (Source Wikipedia)
    Thanks so much for sharing!… I am loving this saga. Many purple hugs to you! Aquileana 😀


    1. Hi Aquileana! It’s lovely to see you. Thank you for reading so attentively and commenting. That’s fascinating information about linen!
      Yes, since the liquor absinthe is known as the Green Fairy, I have always used that as a title for Absinthe. When Aubrieta came into the story, it seemed fitting that she should have a title as well. It also occurred to me that (since in my real job I encounter so very many people who engage in what i call “random capitalization”) people might wonder if i just randomly capitalized Purple Fairy or Green Fairy — without noticing the distinction I’ve always made… So i took that moment to clarify. 😉
      Do keep in mind that the point of this serial is to write everything spontaneously, completely unplanned, as readers provide the “things” along the way. That’s why recently I said that it is not “properly written.” It’s just for fun.
      Don’t you think that if one had a double that their handwriting would be a match? It seemed a logical tidbit for the story. Perhaps not.
      I’m happy to know you enjoyed this episode. Have a wonder-filled week. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No worries Aquileana. I understood what you meant, and few people would be familiar with graphologists, anyway I expect. 😀 I really do appreciate and enjoy your comments. Thanks for all the wonderful posts you do at your blog. Hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Labor Day, Teagan.
    Another breathtaking chapter. I became dizzy and in dire need of a deep breath when the alchemist rose and then lurched downward. Hope he doesn’t hurt himself.

    I’ll most likely be late-late-late for the next two installments as I’ll be away, but can’t wait to read them already. I’m experiencing a lack of oxygen methinks. 😀 😀 😀


        1. Well to be honest Tess, not so much. I had a bad allergy/sinus flare up Thursday that basically became a sinus infection. I’ve been miserable all weekend. Apparently the cold/allergy thing I ‘fought off’ a couple of times lately never completely left. Or that’s all I can think. But I am beginning to get better. Back to the office tomorrow. At least I had time off work so I didn’t have to work while sick. Nasty persistent cough as a result of the drainage, but I’m getting better. As they used to say where I’m from, “It’s all good.” But you, my friend — you have a fabulous time. Hugs. ❤


  5. I’m a little sad that we’re nearing the end, but also excited to find out how it all comes together! You could definitely do with a break after this Teagan, I’m in awe of your ability to pull this together every week 🙂


    1. Hi Andrea — and thank you so much for commenting. I’m not sure how the ending will play out… well, that’s a hazard of a “pantser” story. 😀 I just hope I can manage something this fun collection of characters deserves. I really appreciate your encouraging words. And I loved your post today! Mega hugs.


  6. Oh my, what did he get himself into? …
    It makes me sad that the end is near. Hope you have some new adventures prepared for Felicity and her friends. Thank you so much for sharing your stories!


    1. Dear Inese, it means a lot to me that you and others say they’ll miss this story. I have a glimmer of an idea of what to do next… Though I’m beginning to wonder if I should do a poll like I did when I started this story-line…. However, I’ll probably take a break in between.
      I especially enjoyed your photographic stroll this morning. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Taking a break is a must! You entertained us all for so long, and now it is time for recreation.
        Then there is Atonement in Bloom 😉 I am truly looking forward.
        A poll would be fun, but take your time 🙂


    1. Thank you Kathryn! I’m delighted to see you again. I hope the camping was relaxing and fun.
      To me, Cornelis wouldn’t be half as fun if he was infallible, so I have to give him “accidents of alchemy” every now and then. 😀 Hopefully he can work out the aerial screw.
      The allergy issue finally feels better, though I admit to being miserable for the past few days/nights. Maybe I would benefit from a (very long) trip to the desert. 😉
      Looking forward to your next post. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I arrived at the station a day late, but I still managed to get on board. In keeping with your theme of three things, I’m going to leave you with three thoughts (in addition to the main thought that I feel the energy rising in the locomotive as we near home), First, I love that although we are 31 episodes into this story, you are still revealing things to us about your characters. I don’t think I knew that the alchemist was a slob (I think I like him even more now that I do). I like the way you described the closet with things “continuing to tumble” which adds so much to the closet I imagined. And finally, love the description of the dome. Sometimes, your descriptions just pop an image into my head, and this was one of those times. Nicely done Teagan. I’ll be at the station on time next week.


    1. Dan — thank you! That means a lot to me. Sometimes I wonder if my descriptions get too wordy, so I appreciate that feedback.
      So… since you brought up the “three things” i’m going to take the next episode’s 3 from your comment! 😀 Let’s see… Revealing, Tumble, and Description.
      Wishing you a wonder-filled week. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m honored Teagan. Your descriptions are the best and rarely wordy. I am usually amazed at the way you convey things in a slightly unusual manner. You say one thing but there’s a description buried in it.


  8. I am usually away from my computer on the weekends, but visit especially to read your work…..which I love, and yes, once again we are left on a cliff hanger… imaginative, so very clever – all of it, and even thought it’s only 10 a.m. London time, I would love a piece of that cake:) Hummingbirds continue to surround you….Janet. xxx


    1. Dear Janet — It just takes my breath away for someone to say something like that; taking time just for my writing. I’m absolutely honored. Thank you for the hummingbirds. This has become the worst allergy season I’ve had in 30 years. Trying to fight my way back from yet another prolonged allergy attack/cold… whatever the blasted thing is. But you have cheered me greatly. Mega hugs! 🙂


      1. Sorry to hear about the allergies….they can be awful….but very glad to know that my comment cheered you….I do love your work…and will be checking Linkein again…but just busy with American guests coming this week:) Think of all that unseen magic surrounding you….Janet. xxx


        1. Thank you Janet. As for LinkedIn, I only do a post there on Thursdays. But remember– feel free to ask if there’s a particular aspect of LinkedIn you want help with.
          Though I wouldn’t have thought so this morning, I’m feeling better with the sinus situation. Hope to be normal in a couple of days. So yes, it is much easier to imagine that unseen magic! And you are a treasure, Janet! Enjoy your guests. Mega hugs.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I can’t wait til next week, I am excited to read more but soooooo sad it is coming to an end. Thank you so much for using my lavender cake, I had forgotten about it, how perfect. I want to see where this is going and how it will end but don’t want it to end. I love it so much!!!


    1. Suzanne, thank you so much for reading and commenting. You’ve truly brightened my day — and believe me, I needed it. It was a delight to use one of your recipes! I used the search utility on your blog, but as soon as I saw that gorgeous cake I remembered seeing the post before. It has been a huge hit, so thank you. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I almost started crying when you said we’re nearing the end of the line…nooooooooooooooo!!!!
    I understand, all good things must come to an end, but, really?
    Another amazing episode, Teagan, and just makes me want more.
    Loved your 3 things and where they came from (yahoo!!).
    OK, I’m taking deep breaths and just staying in the moment.
    And strangely. now I want cake (who am I kidding, I always want cake). 😉
    I’ll wait at the station, as always and I do trust you’re working on more ideas and not just leaving us, erm, hanging/ (I couldn’t resist). 🙂
    Thank you as always for the lovely treat. Megahugs!!! 🙂


    1. Oh nooo, Donna, no tears! Well… I keep saying I’m wrapping it up, yet I don’t seem to get there. I realize that I really do need to give myself a break, no matter how much I enjoy this. Once this one concludes I think I’ll take a month. But I have a couple of ideas glimmering behind my eyelids. My mind keeps going to an “atomic era” setting.
      Thank you my friend, for reading and commenting. It means so much to me. Mega hugs right back! 🙂


      1. Take all the time you need, Teagan, I understand and will just reread your posts, while your taking your break…. 🙂
        Oooh, the atomic era, that does sound intriguing! Can’t wait (but I will, they say it’s good for you to wait, right?). 😉


        1. Donna, what would I do without you? Thanks for saying that. When I take the break, I’ll still do some kind of weekly post to remind everyone I’m still around. Don’t want my readers to drift away. (Ha!… now Dobie Gray is in my head. But that’s not bad.) I was thinking it might keep me (novel writing) motivated if I did some kind of progress report on Atonement in Bloom… But I still can’t tell how many more episodes of “Copper” it will take to get to the “end of the line” for that steam locomotive. 😀 Have a lovely night.


  11. Are you familiar with the book “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak? Tristan loved it when she was young. Anyway, for some reason this episode reminded me of it. I hadn’t thought about it for years. Have a wonderful weekend.


    1. Hi Tim. Not so much re “Where the Wild Things Are” — I’m vaguely familiar with it, but not enough to make a connection. But I’m pleased to have reminded you of a happy time. 😀 Enjoy the rest of this Labor Day weekend. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sally, you’d be stunning in that boa. It would look great with your new hair style. 😀
      You’re so kind. I keep saying I’m working the story to a close, but I haven’t managed to get there yet. Many many thanks for reblogging! Mega hugs my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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