The Delta Pearl 24 — Walk

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Hello, my chuckaboos!  I hope everyone had a wonderful week and a lovely Valentine’s Day too.  Romance aside, it makes a good excuse to show gratitude for our friends.

I was beginning to wonder if I’d make it to the riverbank today, but I did, and the #steampunk riverboat is here!  However, with my other works in progress, I didn’t use any reader things today.  I only made a few revisions to this chapter of the re-write of The Delta Pearl.

Are you ready?  

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 24 — Walk

paddle-steamer-Riverboat 3 deck Pixabay
Pixabay

Walking around the upper decks of the riverboat, I scanned every high perch. I checked each hidey-hole and nook the clockwork owl liked to use. Yet I didn’t see Onyx anywhere. While it wasn’t exactly unusual for him to be scarce, I was beginning to be concerned.

“Should I ask he Captain?” I muttered to myself, as I squinted up at the flag poles.

Captain Cecil Perlog was convalescing after his exposure to the poison gas. The attack had ruined my sweet sixteen party.  I didn’t care about my birthday, I only cared about the Captain.

However, I was none the wiser about the strange sooty cloud and the glimpse I had of what it concealed. There was no point even trying to get the Dealer to divulge anything. Whenever I tried to ask the Captain, Agate shooed me out of his quarters. Although I could tell by the expression in the Cook’s eyes that she knew about whatever it was.

The Cook had an office on the same deck as the kitchens. However, it was much farther down the riverboat, so that it was away from the noise. Agate always said the peace and quiet was invaluable when she was working on the account books or planning a difficult menu.

Garnet bustled toward me with a polite nod. I stepped out in front of him to learn the reason why he was in such a hurry.

“Hey, Chief Porter. What’s your rush?”

“The Captain ordered an all hands meeting all of a sudden. Émeraude. Or at least it’s for the Delta Pearl’s senior staff. That’s all I know,” he told me, barely stopping.

In the past, they said I was too young for the senior meetings. I had not thought to ask if my milestone birthday made any difference.

“As they say,” I murmured. “It’s easier to apologize later…”

I decided to drop in on Agate to see if she needed any help. I didn’t know if refreshments were meant to be provided. If so, on such short notice, I was sure the Cook could use an extra pair of hands. That might also be the excuse that got me into the meeting.

Victorian woman Eavesdropping Knut_Ekwall-Frieriet
Victorian woman Eavesdropping, by Knut Ekwall-Frieriet, Wikipedia

When I got there, I found the office door closed. That tended to mean the Cook was not in her office. I raised my hand to knock on the door, just in case she was there. The unexpected sound of the Captain’s booming voice met my ears.

It was not that Cecil Perlog was a man who tended to yell. Not at all, in contrast to his great size, he was most gentle in his manner. However, the Captain had a large voice to fit his frame, moreover it was a voice that carried. I often wondered what kind of opera singer the man would have made.

Since the door closed, the meeting was clearly private. I was about to walk away. With one foot already turned to leave, I heard my name spoken. Tell me now — who would resist the temptation to listen after hearing their own name? I was certainly not so perfect that I would leave without at least hearing the context in which my name was used. I lowered the hand that had been poised to knock.

I could hear very little of what Agate said if she spoke in a normal voice. Hearing the Captain was an entirely different matter. The cook said something, but I couldn’t make out any of her words. However, her tone suggested that she disagreed with the Captain and felt whatever was being discussed was of no great concern.

“Aggie how could you do such a thing?” I heard the Captain say loud and clear. “No good can come of it. You’ll only cause the girl pain. Now I won’t stand for you meddling with things like that. Not when it comes to Émeraude.”

Agate didn’t exactly sound angry when she spoke, but she was intense enough that her voice rose, making it easy for me to hear what she said in return.

“Cecil Perlog! I’m not aboot to expect a man to understand, but are you blind?” the Cook declared heatedly. “Have you never noticed that Émeraude has never been in love?”

Composite Wikipedia & Pixabay images by Teagan
Composite Wikipedia & Pixabay images by Teagan

Her words caused me to draw back in shock. That was not any sort of conversation I ever expected to hear. How could they discuss me and such a personal thing? Then even worse, I realized Agate was right. I had never been in love.

I felt like a boat run aground with a big hole torn in its hull. My mouth was probably gaping like a fish stranded out of water. I was aware of moving my lips, but not of speaking any words.

“You can’t know that Émeraude loves this man. Hell’s bells woman! She couldn’t even know it herself in so short a time,” the Captain retorted.

“Well now, that’s just the point, isn’t it?” Agate told him and his muffled muttering sounds told me he didn’t expect her to say that. “I put the two of those ducklings together to make sure they had a proper chance to see if they was interested in one another, didna I?”

Put together? I groaned but they were too deep in their argument to hear me. First Agate ferreted out my crush on Dr. Elam and then she contrived to put us together in the kitchen the next morning. The Cook and the Captain were certainly discussing me and Victor Elam. I wanted to burst into Agate’s office and give them both a piece of my mind, but I was too stunned to move.

“How can you think any good can come of such a thing, Aggie?” the Captain admonished the Cook. “What if she does fall in love with that inventor? He’ll leave eventually! Even if he extends his voyage, sooner or later he will leave the Delta Pearl, and leave Émeraude behind too.”

“Tell me Cecil Perlog,” Agate said sternly. “Is what’s really got you in a state the fact that you’re afraid Emmie will leave the Delta Pearl with him?”

Grandma's Cameo by Dan Antion
Grandma’s Cameo by Dan Antion

“The Delta Pearl probably would not let her leave!” the Captain exclaimed. “Think about it, Agate. How many of the Pearl’s chosen have left, and under what dire circumstance? The Delta Pearl chose Émeraude for one of her own, and then damn if that portrait didn’t claim her too. How else do you think that cameo made its way into the girl’s hands?”

I barely heard the question that Agate so fiercely put to the Captain. Neither did his reply make its way into my consciousness. The Captain had not said anything that I didn’t already know. No, my thoughts had already been absorbed by internal conflict.

I had not thought about whether I might love Victor Elam. I had never thought beyond the attraction I felt.

However, I knew the Captain was right. My family was the crew of the Delta Pearl. At least it was the only family I wanted. Yet, the idea that I might not have the freedom to choose whether I left or stayed… what a sensation of emptiness I suddenly felt!

Silently, I walked away from the door.

***

End Chapter 24

***

Still no sign of Onyx.  We’re reminded of that mysterious and very old portrait… the one that almost seemed to breathe.  That was all the way back in Chapter 1. Plus, now Émeraude has her own issues to think about…  Thanks for visiting.  I hope you’ll leave a comment to say hello, before you leave, my chuckaboos.

 

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2016 and 2020 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved. 

No part of this work 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 provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

 


91 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 24 — Walk

  1. Teagan, thank you for this chapter and the great colrful illustrations , You write wonderful character studies and doesn’t everyone say novels are all about character? Sounds to me that you have your store of energy back. Best.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so nice to see you, Jennifer. I’m glad you liked the names. Gemstone names were popular during the Victorian Era (as were flower names). All the crew have gemstone names. Although it’s hard to think of a good one for the men! Thanks for visiting. Hugs on the wing!

      Like

    1. Hi Joanne. Thanks for visiting and leaving feedback. This is a good reminder to me to firm-up how things are for Emeraude and what she thinks about it.
      Women back then (even though this is fantasy and can be different) didn’t have as many choices. Also I don’t think she has really considered life beyond the Delta Pearl since the day they rescued her. Although she is likely thinking about it now. Something is not as enticing until we know it’s forbidden. 😉 I’m so glad you’re on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Like

        1. Haha. There’s more to come on that thread of the story. I had planted a clue many episodes ago. Unfortunately, that kind of thing doesn’t carry through so well in a serial. One of the pitfalls of writing (or rewriting) a novel this way. Have a wonderful week, my chuckaboo!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. It never occurred to me that Emerade would not have a choice about leaving. That does bring up a rather sinister thought, doesn’t it? What if Emerade is like the owl and spider and not real after all. What if the Pearl invented her? Oh my.Teagan. What a conundrum. (Hmmm I’ve used that word twice this week)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well dash my wig! You really are the Twist Master, John. LOL. There are a number of parents (fictional and real) who think they aren’t giving their children a choice or think they can control them. In that sense, perhaps things are not quite as they seem.
      Have you? Either way, “Conundrum” just became a “thing” for my story. Thanks so much for your comment, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. However, the Captain had a large voice to fit his frame,Lol
    Hell’s bells woman! Looooool Do women really listen on doors? 😉
    Ilove your way bringing twists into the story. Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s celebration, and wish you a beautiful weekend! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Michael. Haha! Many office buildings here have “temporary” walls (meant to be able to move around when a new company leases the building. So the walls are thin, like a partition. Many times (at different places) I’ve seen both men and women listening, not just at doors, but at walls too.
      Emeraude of course, is listening by accident. But when telling a story in “first person” eavesdropping is a very useful device. 🙂 Thanks for your wonderful comment, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Poor Emeraude! What a conversation to have to overhear. Of course, she’s never been in love at the tender age of sixteen. And, as she discovered by listening in, what good would it do. She cannot leave the Delta Pearl because the Delta Pearl chose her. I’m conflicted with my feelings for both the captain and Aggie. Their love for Emeraude is great and that is obvious. But they may not always know what’s right for her. Thank you, Teagan! Loved this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you, Jan. We’ll hope there is a greater wisdom at play for Emeraude. 🙂 This particular underlying aspect of the original story is something I wanted to expand on in this serialized re-write. I hope you’re having a good weekend. Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This story is becoming an entanglement of love and magic between Agate’s matchmaking, and the delta pearl and portrait laying claim to Émeraude. Curse or course? One has to wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I would’ve eavesdropped too! But now Emeraude is left with a lot of unanswered questions. The Captain and Agate certainly love her and want the best for her, but they’re not quite on the same page.

    Getting really worried about Onyx now….Amethyst too!! Where in the world are they hiding? And why? Or are they captive?

    Exciting episode. But creepy that the Delta Pearl “chose” Emeraude!!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to see you, Ginger. I appreciate your feedback. The hard part of spreading a novel out over the months as a weekly serial (or one of the hard parts) is with the subtle elements, like the Delta Pearl choosing her crew. Subtlety and nuance… not a good fit for serial. It’s hard to choose between my main goal of using this forum as a means of improving and finishing the *novel* and presenting the story in the best way for a *serial*. But this particular element can’t be left out.
      Sorry — I don’t mean to sound like I’m defending myself. I’m just pondering “out loud.” It helps my writing process. As always, your comments are a delight, my chuckaboo!

      Like

  7. I doubt anyone would walk away having heard their named mentioned behind an ajar door..
    Always good to read your chapters, even though I hit and miss many I know… But each little chapter to me holds lots of lovely insights and your descriptive text always catches my imagination…
    Have a lovely weekend dear Teagan.. Hope you are well…
    Take care of you.. ❤ Love and Hugs Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always lovely to see you, Sue, whenever you have time. Yes, I’m finally feeling stronger after that long bout with the “everything flu.” I hope you and yours are all feeling happy and sassy! Thanks for reading and commenting, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Another awesome chapter, Teagan. I love that the Captain is protective of Emmie, but also that Agate cares so much for her that she wants Emmie to find love and happiness. I wonder how this will play out?

    Oh, and the clockwork owl…where the heck is Onyx?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, and there’s the underlying mystery to the whole “novel” (because that’s what it’s meant to be, even though I’m doing the novel edits as a serial), Mary J. LOL, I’ve painted myself into an onyx corner. Having Onyx missing, or maybe just out of pocket, was not part of the original version. I don’t know where the heck he is either! LOL. Thanks for being part of this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! I’ve painted myself into an “onyx” colored corner with this part, Pat. It wasn’t in the original story. I need to make time to figure out what really is going on with that owl. Thanks for being on this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m used to you bringing us into exciting and complex scenes, but you’ve brought us into Émeraude’s thoughts today, and you did a wonderful job. So much to consider, and we’re awakening to these things as Emmie is. This is a great episode, and as GP said, it leaves us wanting more.

    I love that she used a variation of one of my favorite sayings – “It’s easier to apologize later…” good girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I loved that old adage as soon as I heard it. Since following rules was so strongly engrained in me as a child, and because “shoulds” are a big part of my problem as an adult, I try to remind myself of it.
      I’m happy you enjoyed this, Dan. I find the biggest difficult of writing in first person is the difficulty of telling all the parts and undercurrents of a complex story. In a serial I don’t like to bring in another “witness,” as I often do in books. Eavesdropping is a great device to get around this, but I don’t want to over-use it. (I already let Émeraude accidentally overhear a conversation between the Captain and Agate.) Thanks for your feedback, my chuckaboo. It really is valuable.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At work, we used to say “it’s easier to ask for for forgiveness than for permission” when we wanted to try something new. New things take forever to get through the process.

        Telling the story in short snippets (which we may or may not remember) must may this difficult. Each week seems to carry its own material – everything it needs – to a degree. You do that very well.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Priscilla, that’s how I wanted it to feel. I try to gradually reveal bits of the mysterious riverboat, even though this serial version is spread out over so many weeks. It’s meant to be a novel eventually. Happy weekend, my chuckaboo.

      Like

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it — stroy and illustrations, Fraggle, because I put effort into both. I’ve been delighted to find so many beautiful Victorian Era paintings at Wikipedia. Thanks for spending part of your weekend here, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to see you, Robbie. Eavesdropping is a great device when writing in first person (letting Émeraude accidentally overhear a conversation). At least she does it accidentally. 😀 In this case it caused her some emotional confusion. (Émeraude has never expressed any wish to leave the Delta Pearl, in fact she’s grateful.) But now she might consider the possiblilty of a different life elsewhere. Sometimes such confusion can lead to enlightenment… once we sort it out. We’ll have to see what Émeraude thinks.
      Thanks for spending part of your weekend here, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s always risky to listen to conversations that doesn’t concern us, and even more to listen yo conversations that do. Poor Émeraude! She’s in a pickle indeed! Great episode, Teagan!

    Liked by 2 people

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