The Delta Pearl 75 — Pin

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Composite image by Teagan R. Geneviene, sourced via Pixabay
Composite image by Teagan R. Geneviene, sourced via Pixabay

Welcome, my chuckaboos. I hope everyone is safe and well.  The Delta Pearl is almost ready to come into dock.  It’s been a complex story, stretching over many months.  For quite some time, I’ve only been able to offer extra-short episodes.  Happily this one is a normal serial-sized length. 

I’m about to unearth some details from the past, as I tie-off the many threads of this story.  If you didn’t see the recap last weekend, it might be helpful to you.  Use the “Delta Pearl” category on the right margin as a shortcut to all the chapters.

Previously

Clockwork creatures continued to emerge from corners and hidden crannies.  A silver swan, a citrine bumble bee, and a sapphire bluebird flew to perch on Cécile’s outstretched arms.  A moonstone monkey, a rainbow fluorite rabbit, a small rose quartz kangaroo, and a gold grasshopper hopped to stand beside the mambo.  Soft clicks and whirs from dozens of other clockworks filled the room.

The Voodoo queen turned toward the empty hallway.  Light flashed off the cheval mirror.  A tall thin man in a green pinstripe tuxedo was in the reflection.  Malachite.  He was coming closer.

“I fear it is too late for hiding,” Cécile murmured.  “He comes.”

Then she turned to face me.  That time I really did scream.

All aboard!

The Delta Pearl

Chapter 75 — Pin

delta-pearl-cover-1
The Delta Pearl book cover created by Teagan R. Geneviene

 

At Cécile Perle’s warning, the moonstone monkey scampered down the hallway toward Malachite.  The clockwork made a huge clattering commotion.  Dared I hope the creature could lead him away?

Yes, Malachite knew I was there, but I didn’t want to remind him.  Seeing his reflection in the mirror, I stuffed my fist into my mouth because I couldn’t stop my horrified scream.  I wanted to close my eyes and pray that the monkey made enough noise to cover any sound I made.

However, my eyes were stuck open.  I couldn’t take my shocked gaze away from the Voodoo queen’s face.  The woman was beautiful, but she had been… altered.  Her face was ageless, neither young nor old, and without wrinkle.  However, her complexion was the same pallid gray as Malachite’s.  What startled me so was her eye.  One eye had been replaced by a device similar to a jeweler’s glass, but it had gears and rings that I expected allowed changes to its focus.

When the mambo moved, I could hear the faintest sound of gears whirring.  I trembled to think what might be under her taffeta skirts.  She seemed to be part human and part clockwork.

If Cécile noticed my dismay, she chose to ignore it.

The Mate lay against a wall doggedly holding onto consciousness despite his wounds.

“Blue, I don’t understand.  What is all this?” I asked and tried to stop gaping at Cécile’s face.

“Malachite made the clockworks, but it was Cécile’s Voodoo that gave them life,” he replied raggedly.

“Yes, that’s what she told me,” I said, still finding it hard to believe.  “But the Delta Pearl has innate magic too.”

Composite image by Teagan R. Geneviene
Composite image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Yes, she does and that was Malachite’s problem,” Blue John Boulton said.  “Malachite wanted to take over the Delta Pearl.  Cécile had been physically and spiritually connected to the riverboat.”

“Malachite was in love with me,” Cécile explained and tried to quiet Blue.  “He wanted it all.  The Delta Pearl, the captaincy, and me.  He tried to get control of the riverboat, but the Delta Pearl, she belongs to no one.  When his takeover failed, she banished him.”

“He begged me to go with him, but I could not.  And I would not.  Malachite believed that if he separated me from the riverboat, if he could sever the bond, then he could take make me go with him.  But since I was unwilling, that made the bond even stronger.  I could not go.  My heart belonged to another,” Cécile murmured.

As she spoke, tears welled in her one human eye.  A red spark appeared in the depths of her mechanical eye, and her lips tightened angrily.

“In his rage, Malachite damaged the Delta Pearl.  He accidentally killed me… or as good as anyway…  He managed to split the bond.  When that happened, I was maimed.  Malachite took me away, nearly dead.”

“I had taught Malachite as much of my Voodoo as I could,” Cécile continued.  “But what I taught him was only for the making of the clockworks.  Also, the magic was not a natural part of him as it is for me.  When he tried to use it on me, to keep me alive…  Well, you see the result.  Now I am as much machine as woman.  Once I was a Voodoo queen.  Now I am only a bird in a gilded cage.”

Image collage by Teagan
Image collage by Teagan

Immediately, I remembered Eliza’s music box, and the papyrus scroll.  The malachite scarab had dropped the scroll to me, when its master tried to use that net to kidnap me.  The holes punched into the scroll had been a match for the music box cylinder, which played the song “I’m only a bird in a gilded cage.”

“Worse, I am severed from the other half of my soul — the Delta Pearl.  It leaves me in constant mental anguish.  The closer we two come together, airship and riverboat, the more distressing it is to both of us,” she added.

Abruptly I remembered how Victor described the physical sensation when the brown cloud, which was actually the Geostrophic Pearl airship, drew near the riverboat the night that she jumped to a future time.

“I felt the most terrible sensations.  It felt like I was on a giant, powerful magnet.  As it would be if someone tried to force such a device to touch another magnet, but one of the opposite pole.  I could feel the approaching power, and then the way the two repelled one another,” Victor had told me.

“And Blue John was somehow more closely bonded to the riverboat than the rest of the crew,” I murmured in growing comprehension.  “So, when the two parts, now opposites, are pulled close together, he is also distraught.”

I looked out the porthole.  The Delta Pearl was far below.  Tiny shapes of people worked fervently on something.  To my amazement a hot air balloon quickly inflated.  As it rose higher, I could recognize the shapes of the Captain and the Dealer in the gondola.

“Oh no-no, this is not the way it’s meant to be,” Cécile murmured.

“What is it?” Blue John asked weakly and tried to sit up.

Hot air balloon over water wikimedia
Wikimedia

“It’s nothing cher.  Lay back and save your strength,” Cécile told him.

The mambo gently placed her hand on the Mate’s chest.  She started humming the lullaby I had heard her sing earlier.  It was the same song Jaspe used to sing to me when I was small.  Blue closed his eyes.

He sank into such a deep sleep that it worried me.  I suspected Cécile had done a little more than simply hum a song.

The Voodoo queen glanced at the balloon, which was quickly gaining altitude.  She reached up to take a beautifully made model of a balloon from a shelf.

Onyx, the Captain’s clockwork owl, fluttered to the shelf.  He perched there, watching curiously.

Cécile tied a length of twine to the toy balloon’s basket.  Then she carried it to a very large, heavy quartz geode.  She tied the other end of the twine around one of the crystal points that protruded from the quartz.  She chanted softly all the while.

Understanding sparked in my brain.  I whirled to look out the porthole.  The hot air balloon carrying the Captain and the Dealer had stopped its ascent.  It floated motionless fifty feet below the Geostrophic Pearl.

Onyx had led the riverboat’s clockwork creatures up to the airship.  Abruptly he flew out the porthole.  His brass wings folded and he dove toward the descending hot air balloon.  The Captain held out his arm, and Onyx alighted.

Cécile slowly wrapped the twine around the long crystal point.  She continued to mutter the chant.  Each time she wrapped the twine — causing it to become shorter, the balloon outside sank lower.  Finally, it came to a rest on the deck of the riverboat.

Pixabay
Pixabay

“Why would you do that?” I cried, knowing she used her magic to prevent a rescue by the Captain and Jaspe.

“Shhh… shush, ma chouchoutte.  We mustn’t wake Blue John.  He needs sleep if the very small gris-gris I used is to keep him alive.  If he had not forbade me to use my Voodoo on him, he could be strong by now,” she whispered but sounded annoyed.

“But the Captain… the Dealer!  They would have saved us,” I hissed.

My whispered tirade was cut short.  Onyx flew back into the airship.  The owl whistled to me.  He held a small object in his metal talons.  I put out my hands, and he dropped it into my palm.

“The Captain’s all-seeing eye pin,” I murmured, shocked.

It was an intriguing pin.  I remembered that it had belonged to his grandfather.  An oval white “blister” pearl made the eye, and a large round emerald was the iris.  A black diamond made the pupil.

The Captain always wore that pin.  I couldn’t believe he would willingly give it to anyone.  Why would he let the owl have it?

“The Delta Pearl will not permit a weak heir,” Cécile commented with a little smile.

Then I remembered a conversation I had overheard weeks before.  The senior staff of the riverboat had met privately.  The Captain meant me to have the pin, or at least its emerald.  I gathered it would gradually give me a level of attunement to the Delta Pearl rivaling his own.

In a lightning-fast motion, Cécile took the all-seeing eye from my hand.  She held it to her mechanical eye, inspecting it.  With a satisfied nod, she pinned the gem to my bodice.

Mon choupinou Jaspe and Cecil Perlog… Did you know, cher, that your Captain was named for me?  But I digress,” she began, but earned a startled gasp from me.

“They are unharmed and safely on the Delta Pearl.  The rescue is not theirs to make.  That belongs to the Delta Pearl — and to you!  You must save yourself if you are to be worthy of the Delta Pearl.” Cécile declared.

Pixabay (altered image)
Pixabay (altered image)

The look in her human eye was fierce and frightening — and not altogether sane.  I drew back from her expression as much as her words.

Scanning the chamber, I again beheld the dozens of clockwork creatures.  Their gems sparkled as the small bodies restlessly shifted.  The turning of countless gears created a soft but insistent hum.

Bright yellow-green stones glittered as Peridot gracefully fluttered toward me.  The Librarian’s clockwork butterfly secretly contained the gold key that activated the advanced working of the tuning forks used when the crew sang the six-tone scale of the bonding ceremony.  Despite my attempts to keep the key when the clockworks exited the riverboat, they had taken it with them.

I glimpsed the small gold rod which was the tuning key.  It was in the place which was made for it in the butterfly’s body.  Peridot attached herself to my shoulder.

The humming of the gathered clockworks lessened.  However, it continued at a lower drone.  Ominously it filled the background.

The emerald of the all-seeing eye pin glowed.

***

End Chapter 75

***

Let’s see… that takes care of: what made Émeraude scream, why Blue John has been having a breakdown, “a bird in a gilded cage” plus the papyrus (so usefully left by Olga), the all-seeing eye pin plus the “heir“, why Malachite was banished (that was mentioned at Émeraude’s sweet sixteen party when he attacked).  No… we aren’t done yet, my chuckaboos!

***

If you are following my monthly serialized novelettes, Dead of Winter, the June issue is now available.

Dead of Winter: Journey 6, The Fluting Fell

Dead of Winter: Journey 6, The Fluting Fell b cover and book y Teagan Riordain Geneviene
Dead of Winter: Journey 6, The Fluting Fell

Dead of Winter — The Journeys

Universal Purchase Links

Journey 6, The Fluting Fell

Kindle:  relinks.me/B096CPJNSX

Paperback: relinks.me/B096CPJNSX

Journey 5, Llyn Pistyll Falls

Kindle:  relinks.me/B09431TD6G

Paperback:  relinks.me/B0942KC471

Journey 4, The Old Road

Kindle:  relinks.me/B092G5LB7R

Paperback:  relinks.me/B092M51Y88

Journey 3, the Fever Field

Kindle: elinks.me/B08XTNZ9M8 

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08XXY3JXF

Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 3, the Fever Field eBook by Teagan Riordain Geneviene – 1230004609599 | Rakuten Kobo United States

Journey 2, Penllyn

Kindle:  relinks.me/B08VMNSF97

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08VLMR2KD

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dead-of-winter-journey-2-penllyn

Journey 1, Forlorn Peak

Kindle:  relinks.me/B08RBBVRGX

Paperback:  relinks.me/B08R7RH4F5

Kobo:  Dead of Winter: Journey 1, Forlorn Peak eBook by Teagan Geneviene – 1230004446033 | Rakuten Kobo United States

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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 2021 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.

 


85 thoughts on “The Delta Pearl 75 — Pin

  1. I’ve enjoyed following along all these months. Glad we’re not done but love how the loose ends are being tied up nicely. You’re such a talent dearest Teagan. Thanks so much for sharing your gift.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so kind, Jill — thank you. I’m so glad you’ve been on this riverboat. I just finished the draft of a hair-raising episode for next weekend. Then we’ll have a final wrap-up the weekend after that. Have a beautiful new week, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Kirt. I almost freaked out this morning, when I realized that the big dramatic finale is not enough. Readers will need something that sees everything settled. So I spent most of the morning making notes on that. LOL. Wheew! Close call. 😀 Wishing everyone at your place a beautiful weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emeraude is really what we call a power woman. 😉 I hope she will be able save the Delta Pearl. Now, i know why Emeraude had screamed, but there are still leaving plenty of suspense. Thank you, Teagan! Lets hope the best! Have a beautiful rest of the weekend! Big hugs! Michael xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Michael. Thanks for making me smile. You are correct — there are still many things to resolve. I’ve made a lot of notes this weekend. I’m not sure how many more chapters there will be. One? Two (most likely)? Maybe three…
      Happy weekend to you too. It’s too hot to do anything here. I got a few outside chores done while the temperature is only 90 F. At this altitude the sun is very intense. Soon it will be more than 100 degrees again. But maybe this “forced laziness” will help me finish writing The Delta Pearl. 😀 Crystal votes for being lazy. Hugs back to you, my chuckaboo!

      Like

      1. Dont hurry, Teagan! Hey, 90 F are predicted for us during the next week. Do it like Crystal, she knows it best. 😉 It will be very interesting how the Dealta Pearl will reach its determination. All the best to you, and enjoy the time, Teagan! xx Big Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

  3. AHHH–your story/plot thickens and broadens with your extraordinary imagination, originality and excitement. I was glued to the story and I believe it ends and brings all the various pieces together expertly. Waiting for your next! ! ! Your art continues to give their own excellent and beautiful revelations–and so well done! .

    Like

  4. Excellent chapter to this amazing story, Teagan. Pieces of the puzzle are coming together, but the question of Emeraude rescuing herself remains. I have no doubt she’ll find a way, and I’m hoping she, Blue John, the clockworks and maybe (with some luck and voodoo) even Cecile herself will return to the Delta Pearl. Be gone, Malachite, be gone!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Diana. Right now I’m trying to find the rhythm of the rest of the tale. I need to stop dancing as fast as I can with everything, and find the flow of the river — or the geostrophic air currents as the case may be. LOL.
      You’re so kind about Dead of Winter. I hope you love the sixth journey. Happy weekend, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed the images, but you know I’m saving up to read the book when you get it ready to publish…next year I read. I’ll wait, but I am behind in my reading and still have to finish several books actually, but Hullaba Lulu is one I want to finish before starting this one.

    I hope you have a lovely week-end too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yowzer, this is a great episode. So many answers finally…… but still so many questions. I have very mixed emotions Teagan. On the one hand I want to know all the answers, but that means “The End”. Bummer.

    I do believe that Émeraude will save herself but hopefully Malachite’s end is near. Ćecile strikes me as a good person (half person?!) so I hope she and Blue John fare well.

    Hope your cold/allergies have cleared up and that you and Crystsl have a relaxing weekend.
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly, Ginger. Yes, my cold or whatever it was finally seems to be gone.
      As long as readers like and imagine The Delta Pearl, she will continue. I’m so glad you’ve been part of this riverboat, my chuckaboo!

      Like

  7. Wow, Teagan! You have led us down an unexpected and exciting tributary. I echo GP’s comments. I want to see how this ends but I don’t ever want the voyage to be over. Now I’m wondering if Emeraude is the love child of the Captain and the Voodoo Queen. You certainly surprised me with her story. Hopefull hugs hovering your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah… to answer that, just consider whether in the 74 previous episodes there has ever been a hint to that. Yes, we finally know all about Cecile. She has been part of the story from the book cover to the first episode to mention the portrait. Remember recently she was revealed to be the woman in the old portrait. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hugs winging back, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Teagan, you never fail to excite and leave your readers wanting more!! When this is over (and I dread that day), I will HAVE to have a copy of the complete experience!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That means a lot to me, GP. Although I won’t be able to take on the editing project of The Delta Pearl (book-izing it will be quite a job) until after Dead of Winter finishes… so next year. Even though it’s fantasy, not steampunk, you might find you enjoy Dead of Winter. Instead of a riverboat, it’s wagons and horses. It’s not heavy on the magic — or the ghosts. A young heroine meeting fascinating people as they all follow clues and travel across a “non-industrialized” world. Of course there are plenty of close calls and scrapes along the way. The chapters within the monthly episodes are easily short enough to read in a quick sitting.

      I’m not trying to sell it, just offering you something for when this riverboat comes into dock. Since serials have been my blog-thing for nearly a decade, after I get a little break, an all new, from scratch serial will be born here. I hope you’ll be as much a part of it as you have The Delta Pearl. Stay happy and sassy, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Nope! And that’s the best part. Every little aspect will depend on reader things. It will start as a blank slate. 😀
          I plan to ask for people to give “things” in sets of three. And they will have to be random, not relating to the other two. For instance a *bad* example is “road, walk, sunset.” A good example of random is “cold, curtains, opossum.”
          I can promise that it won’t be a “romance” because I can’t write those. And I don’t write horror. Dead of Winter has ghosts and suspense, but even that one is not horror.

          Tell you what… Be thinking of your things, and I’ll let your 3 kick off the story. Deal?

          Liked by 1 person

  9. This was a lovely way to start a lazy rainy Saturday. I felt no need to rush, I could take it all in, and this episode had so much to offer. I am sure Émeraude will be up to the task of saving herself, but I was psyched when I read that the captain was coming.

    I really love the line, “The look in her human eye was fierce and frightening — and not altogether sane.“ That works so well.

    I hope you have an easy weekend, Teagan. Thanks for getting mine off to a great start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Thanks for picking up that line, Dan. I was fully into Émeraude’s head when I wrote that.
      Sorry about the rainy day. I’m sure Maddie is missing her “sits” on the porch with you. Yes, I think I will follow Crystal’s lead and have a low key day for myself. As my dad used to say “My get up and go, just got up and went.” A relaxed and happy weekend to you too, my chuckaboo!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am forever amazed at how you can manage to pull everything together. Poor Cécile… What a sad turn of events for all involved. I’ll be sorry to read the end, but I’m still wondering what’s going to happen… And thanks for the mention, dear Teagan. I’m reviewing Journey 5 and 6 of Dead of Winter on my blog next Tuesday. Fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I can’t wait! That’s music to my ears, Olga. I’m so glad you are part of the Jourenys.
      Haha, pulling everything together — sometimes I think my brain will explode. Thanks for being part of this riverboat from the very beginning, my chuckaboo!

      Like

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