Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 27

So the Drama…Fox Theatre ticked booth

I’m afraid I gave in to the dramatic again.  I might as well tell you that there is another cliffhanger ahead.  But you’re forewarned, so try not to scream “Akkk!” about my theatrics when you get there.

The multi-talented Sarah Vernon at “Rogues & Vagabonds” sent the three things that fueled the steam locomotive to the Victorian Era for this chapter.  Sarah’s blogs are visual treats.  “Rogues & Vagabonds” is for anyone with a passion for theatre.  The feeling I get when I visit there puts me in mind of the era of this serial.

Here’s the steam locomotive.  Remember to watch for informative and fun links in text and images.  Now, let’s hurry onto the train!  There was a lot going on when we left the amethyst world last time.  All aboard!

27.  Silver Locket, Green Chartreuse, Salmon Koulibiac

Cornelis Drebbel wore a grave expression as Absinthe popped off to confront the Purple Fairy — also known as the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater.  Our ape host and his housekeeper continued to murmur worriedly about the safety of the tiny Green Fairy.

I looked at the Dutchman.  His mouth twitched.  Then he smirked.  As I drew a breath to ask him what the devil he was thinking, Cornelis burst out laughing.  What preposterous behavior!  I was speechless, my question utterly forgotten.Hair brooch

Viola clutched a silver locket suspended from a chain around her neck.  A tear from her good eye trickled down her cheek.  She looked like she might swoon again.  Cal Hicks patted her shoulder, trying to comfort the violet chimpanzee.

She was so distraught that I said the first thing that came to my mind, meaning to distract her.  “What’s that pretty thing you have there?” I asked, meaning the locket she held tightly.

Viola sniffled and nodded as if she acknowledged the fact that she should compose herself.  Then she opened the locket.  Within was a narrow plait of reddish purple hair.

Lovers Eye Brooch“It belonged to my son.  He perished that day,” she explained softly and touched the corner of her glass eye.  “I wasn’t able to protect him!” she added on a wail.  “Oh that lovely fluffy green fae; so unique and beautiful.  And he’s so noble too,” she said with a glare at Cornelis who was still chuckling.

I was stunned that the alchemist would laugh when Absinthe had left in such a state.  Could the Green Fairy really mean to sacrifice himself, as Viola and Cal assumed?

Cal Hicks cleared his throat.  A parade of expressions marched across the amethyst ape’s face.  He looked confused, then appalled, and then scandalized before his features turned again to a perplexed expression.

“Lord of Alchemy,” the ape began but stopped to clear his throat again.  “Is the Green Fae so powerful that you have no concern for his safety?” Cal asked sincerely.  “Even against the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater?”

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

“The little fellow’s poots are perniciously powerful!” Cornelis exclaimed with delight, but no one laughed.  “Absinthe is—” Cornelis paused as if he chose his words carefully.  “Absinthe has encountered the Purple Fairy before.  He’s well aware of the creature’s capabilities.”

“That would explain why the poor little thing seemed so sad!” Viola exclaimed in a sarcastic and irate tone before sinking back into her usually reserved manner.

The Dutchman laughed again, but he finally seemed to grasp how truly dismayed Cal and Viola were.  His mouth twisted any number of ways as he fought unsuccessfully to contain his mirth.  I thought he was about to explain his incomprehensible attitude.  However, he became serious immediately when he turned to see the reason for a loud behhh from the lavender alpine goat.

Copper had said she wasn’t feeling well, and neither was I.  Cornelis said it was the physical effect of our doppelgängers being too close.  In the scant moment since the girl sat down on the floor, she had completely lost consciousness.  The lavender goat made a sound that was very similar to a baby’s cry as she nuzzled Copper’s bright new-penny colored hair.

I sank to the floor beside Copper.  The truth is I meant to kneel beside the girl, but I was in a poor state myself.  Once my body started downward, I had little control over it.  I put my hand to Copper’s forehead.  However, she seemed neither warm nor cold.  Abruptly I realized that we both had the same condition, and perhaps we also had the same temperature, whatever that was.  My thinking was foggy and I found it irritating to try and reason out the situation.Copper pensive

I put my fingers to Copper’s wrist, feeling her pulse.  It was very slow.  Cornelis deduced something with a single glance.  The alchemist vanished with a sharp pop, but he reappeared almost immediately.

He knelt down beside Copper.  Cornelis produced several crystal shot glasses and a bottle of liquor.  He poured green liquid into three of the shot glasses, handing two of them to Cal Hicks and Viola.

“Go ahead,” the Dutchman encouraged them.  “Drink up.  It will set you straight — fortify your nerves,” he added and they obediently drank.

He offered me the third glass.  I felt woozier by the minute.  Adding the effects of alcohol seemed like a bad idea.  “What is it?” I inquired.

Green Chartreuse,” he supplied the name of the liquor.  “Um, maybe you’re right,” Cornelis muttered as if he knew what was on my mind, and then he upended the shot glass of green spirits himself.

Green Chartreuse“Ah yes…” Cornelis sighed.  “That’s better.”

The alchemist asked Cal Hicks for the ape’s harmonic tuner.  It was similar to the one Copper cherished as a gift from her father, except Cal’s tuner didn’t have three mystic monkeys postured to see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.  Rather it had three mystic humans in the poses.

Cal Hicks wore a worried but excited expression as he handed the alchemist the mystic humans tuner.  Cornelis examined the ape’s tuner and a bemused expression briefly came to his face.  He poured another glass of the Green Chartreuse.  Then he held the device over the liquor and delicately flicked the harmonic tuner with his fingernail.

The tuner produced a very quiet sound that steadily grew in volume and resonance.  The glass of Chartreuse vibrated until the tone from the crystal shifted to match the tone from the harmonic tuner.  I saw a green aura surround the glass.

Jamie Murray as Felicity 3

Jaime Murray as Felicity

I blinked hard, thinking something was wrong with my vision — after all, the effects of my amethyst world double being nearby wreaked havoc with all my senses.  I started to think the green aura was actually the color of the sound produced by the tuner!  It seems strange to say, but I could also taste the sound.  It was like coarsely ground raw sugar.

Giving my head a sharp shake to clear it, I nearly fell over.  Cornelis glanced at me briefly, still intent on the glass of green liquor.  The vibration stopped as the tone dissipated.  Cornelis took a spoon from his jacket pocket.

The alchemist started to speak to me but twisted his mouth in a derisive expression.  “Never mind,” he commented though he hadn’t said anything else to me.  “Your hands won’t be steady.  Cal, could you get Copper sitting up and help me get two spoonsful of this into her?” he asked, meaning the alchemically treated Chartreuse.

“I’ll do it,” Voila insisted, following Cal Hicks to the girl.  “Sometimes a small medicinal dose of spirits can benefit a child.”

The alchemist’s eyes were still on the green liquid when he replied to Viola.  “It is liquor no longer.  The vibrations from the harmonic tuner have transformed the green Chartreuse,” Cornelis informed us.Green Depression Optic Shot Glasses

In a moment Copper was resting unconscious in Viola’s lap as Cal held her mouth open.  Faster than humanly possible, Cornelis had two spoons of the green liquid in her mouth.  Viola pushed the girl’s mouth close, and gently stroked Copper’s throat, easing the liquid down and into her system.

“Felicity, drink the rest of it,” Cornelis instructed, handing me the shot glass of special Chartreuse.

I’ve described the effect of my doppelgänger being too near as a combination of lightheadedness and an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My hands really were shaking, that hadn’t just been Cornelis taking a jab at me.  I tried not to spill the green liquid down my chest — I had only packed one other shirt.

Jaime Murray n Double

I downed the contents of the crystal shot glass.  At first I felt nothing from it.  I looked at Copper.  She was still unmoving in Viola’s care.  After a moment I saw the girl’s hand move.  However, I looked away when something suddenly surged up inside me.  The hollow feeling at my heart seemed to stretch, becoming bigger and longer until it was pulled outside of me.  I staggered and found myself prostrate on the floor.

Yet within seconds my head felt clear.  The hollowness was gone and I felt solid, complete inside.  I turned to see Copper.  The girl was sitting up petting the lavender goat.

Vintage Girl Goat“Copper, thank goodness,” I murmured.  “How are you feeling?” I asked.

She looked at me as if she was about to say something that surprised her.  “I know it hasn’t been long since we had that very nice tea, but I’m hungry,” she said emphatically.

My stomach growled as if in answer and I realized that I was famished too.  Cornelis smirked and raised one bushy blonde eyebrow at the sound from my tummy.  “It’s a side effect of that particular alchemy.  Everything you’ve eaten today was consumed by the spell,” he informed.

Viola smiled broadly.  She may have been helpless to cure our condition a moment before, but she knew how to remedy an empty stomach.

“I have a lovely salmon koulibiac waiting.  We can have dinner early,” the violet chimpanzee said, sounding very pleased with herself.

Everyone smiled and laughed.  However, the moment of relief was cut short.

A thundering roar split the air.  The sound was so loud that the laboratory building shook.  Dust motes rained down from the high dome.  Whatever made that sound had to be tremendous.

Michael Whelan Dragon purple

Michael Whelan

“Absinthe…” Copper whispered worriedly.

A broad gout of flames shot past the long row of windows, scorching the ground in front of the laboratory.  I knew it wasn’t safe, but I couldn’t stop myself from running to the windows.  Where the sky had previously been dotted with pastel lavender clouds, now the beast that made that resounding roar took up my field of vision.

For just an instant I thought I saw a sun, but the sun had a black slit in the center.  A purple cover blinked down and I gasped.  It was a golden eye; a single eye.  Its proximity to the window was so close that when the great beast snorted the window shook.  It gave another contemptuous snort as it backed up enough for me to see the face of the cyclops-looking creature.  On its forehead, above that eye was a fat curved onyx horn.

Flapping broad wings, the creature rose heavenward.  The entire sky seemed to be occupied by an immense one eyed one horned purple dragon.

“A dragon?” I gasped.

“It’s the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater,” Viola said with a shudder.

A tiny green blur shot up thirty feet from the ground.  Absinthe.  The Green Fairy looked too small to even be a snack for the titanic purple dragon.

baby skunk 2Although I couldn’t explain what it was about Absinthe that made me believe it was so, he still seemed to be resigned to his fate.  The tiny fairy was fatalistically unafraid.

I couldn’t imagine what good it would do for little Absinthe to confront the giant purple fairy.  I knew he was able, along with Cornelis, to power the submarine.  I had seen him do small magic, like levitating things and making a shield around Copper when the submarine spun out of control.  However, I couldn’t imagine how he could hope to fight a huge dragon.

Absinthe must have used some kind of magic to boost his volume, because the little sounds he typically made were easily audible to us inside the laboratory.  He shrieked at the dragon in a forceful tone.  The beast roared, and its breath blew the Green Fairy back quite a distance.

In a green streak, Absinthe zipped back closer than before to the purple dragon.  The chirping from Absinthe took on a consolatory tone.  For a moment I thought he was negotiating.  A contained rumble came from inside the dragon and I feared it was about to produce another gout of flame.  Then I realized it was more of a low growl of anger.

Something in the tones of the two fairies made me believe they knew one another quite well, despite one being tiny and green and the other being huge and purple.  And that there was some sort of bad blood between the two.  That was even worse.  The Green Fairy facing the gigantic purple people eater was horrible, but for the tiny skunk-looking fae to contend with a tremendous creature that was angry with him — that was much worse.

“They know each other!” I exclaimed.Egyptian Amethis Pin

Cornelis nodded his head. I was aghast to see that the Dutchman was once again holding back his laughter.  “Oh yes,” Cornelis said, drawing out the words.  “He knows her alright.”

To my consternation, the alchemist even snorted.  “Cornelis Drebbel!” I yelled despite myself.  “How can you be so callous?  Absinthe has been your friend for centuries!” I cried, but my volume dwindled when I realized there was more to what Cornelis said.

“Wait, wait,” I said, backtracking.  “You said she?  She!  Do you mean to say that is a… a she-purple people eater?” I demanded astounded.

Cornelis twisted his mouth to one side and raised both of his bushy eyebrows.  “Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turn’d.  Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorn’d,” he quoted Shakespeare.

The purple people eater flapped her broad wings and arched her back, fiercely roaring heavenward.  Then she belched an enormous ball of fire that spread out above her and Absinthe like a lethal flaming dome.  Suddenly, both Absinthe and the purple fairy dropped from the sky, the burning dome hurtling downward, ever closer to them.Fireball

The fire was so bright that it dazzled my eyes.  I could only see glowing spots.  As I stood there blinking I felt someone rush past me.

“Lord of Alchemy!” Call Hicks yelled as Cornelis used one of his tricks to run right through the door without opening it.

“Cornelis, no!” I screamed.  “You’ll be burned to a crisp!”

***

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q_olybarxU

Video:  Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls Of Fire.AVI

***

Will Cornelis perish along with tiny Absinthe and the one eyed purple dragon?  Be at the train station next time to find out!

Don’t leave yet.  One of Sarah’s three things was a sophisticated dish.  You’ll remember Viola, the chimpanzee housekeeper, told Copper that’s what they would be having for dinner.  When I searched the WordPress countryside for a Salmon Koulibiac recipe, I was pleased to find the very elegant blog of Jim and Deb Cianciolo.  As I wrote this episode, their most recent post was a recipe using Chartreuse!  So it seemed destined that I found their blog and beautifully prepared foods.

Recipe:  Salmon Koulibiac with Lobster Sauce

Salmon Koulibiac

Recipe and photo credit:  Jim and Deb Cianciolo 

 

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.

Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 26

3 Things, 3 Tags, & 777

An Author Spotlight

The steam locomotive to the Victorian Era is on the way, but it has to make an extra stop.  It’s too difficult for me to post more than once a week, so please forgive me for doing a combination today. Before the engine reaches our Steampunk platform it’s going through the 777 Switching Station.

Locomotive at Switching Station

The train is at the switching station because I was triple-tagged for the 777 Writer’s Challenge.  I was tagged by three delightful blogger-authors.  I hope you’ll enjoy their blogs.

The Rules:  Go to page 7 of your work‑in‑progress, scroll down to line 7, and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. (Rather than tag anyone, I’m opening the challenge to all.  Anyone who wants to take up the challenge is welcome to do so.)

Guitar Mancer Cover 11-28-2014A few times recently I’ve promoted my novel (Atonement, Tennessee), and the sequel that’s in the works. So for this challenge I’ll share a snippet of another work in progress (WIP) that I put aside in favor of finishing Atonement in Bloom(It doesn’t really matter, since I haven’t had time to work on any novel…)  Admittedly, I tried to manipulate the rules, but I still didn’t come up with a snippet that I was satisfied with sharing… Such as it is, here is my “777” from “The Guitar Mancer.”

Set-up:  The Guitar Mancer is a quirky urban fantasy. It opens on New Year’s Eve, 1969 in Nashville, Tennessee.  My 777 comes from the prologue, which centers on the villain, an evil supernatural being who is able to access power through music… (And put Chuck Berry in the back of your mind. I said it’s quirky.)

“I am still weak from countless years underground — obtaining an instrument that is well bonded to a mancer would restore me completely,” the man who called himself Yamata Orochi murmured.

Stepping outside his cell, Orochi bent to touch the incapacitated guard’s face.  “What was the instrument?” he demanded roughly, and the injured guard arched his back in agony as the answer was dredged from his mind.

“A strange concept for an instrument,” Orochi murmured.  “An electrical guitar?  Yet this electrified guitar invoked the power quite well in the music that renewed me.  Now, where do I find this place, Deep-Down Louisiana close to New-Or-Leans… among the evergreens?” quoting from the song, he compelled the poor guard to answer.

Okay… with that bit of blog-keeping out of the way, on to the serial!  The three things that fueled the steam locomotive for this episode are from an author who is a great supporter of this blog — the outstanding Olga Núñez Miret.  She has a newly released Young Adult series called Angelic Business.  For a limited time, book-1 is free!

Angelic Business trilogy

Now, without further ado… All aboard!

From last time…

“Hurry!  Get inside,” Cornelis ordered pointing toward the building that was the laboratory of the version of him that inhabited this world. “Quickly,” he added with a sharp pat to the goat’s rump.  “Hang on tight, Copper!” he called.

The lavender goat bolted toward the laboratory, carrying Copper on her back.

“What was that?” I exclaimed.

Cal Hicks came to himself as we all ran behind the goat.  “I was so sure it was dead,” the amethyst ape said.  “That was the hunting call of the one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!

Lovers Eye Brooch

26.  Glass Eye, Silver Vinaigrette, Sextant

“I feel funny,” Copper said and indeed she looked pale.

The one eyed one horned flying purple people eater roared a terrible screech a moment before, though the creature was not within our sight.  I thought all the excitement must be too much for the girl.  Copper, Corneils, Cal Hicks, and I hurriedly hid from the beast in the huge laboratory that belonged to the amethyst world’s duplicate of Cornelis Drebbel.Copper pensive

Copper got down from the lavender alpine goat that had playfully carried her into the building.  She really did seem unsteady.  Absinthe had been concerned about us consuming the water of this strange place.  I wondered if something she ate or drank at tea disagreed with her.

Frantic cries from outside caused Cal Hicks to dash to the door.  When he opened the door, the violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper rushed inside.  She was in a terrible state, having heard the roar of the flying beast.  She sank to a stool that was nearby.

“Viola!  Whatever brings you out here?  Were you hurt?  Did you see the beast?” Cal Hicks asked in a single breath.

Reading Ape purpleThe housekeeper shook violently.  I stooped down to see if she was hurt or unwell.  That was when I first noticed that she had a glass eye.  (Of course the eye was purple.)  It was also the first time I realized that she must be elderly.  There were broad strands of pale lavender in her reddish purple hair.  It was not until that moment that it occurred to me that those pastel streaks would be the same as gray hair in our world.

Cal Hicks turned to us and described how the purple people eater had attacked the village where Viola grew up.  She had been among the casualties.  He discretely indicated that her eye had been one of her wounds.  It was no wonder just hearing the creature frightened her to such an extent.

The amethyst ape seemed to know his way around the laboratory quite well.  I thought he must have worked closely with the purple version of Cornelis Drebbel.  He went directly to a table that held many intriguing devices.  Cal opened a drawer and removed an intricately designed silver vinaigrette.  An invigorating scent drifted over to me when he took the vinaigrette to Viola.  The aroma seemed to revive her.silver vinaigrette

Smelling salts?” I inquired.

“No, not precisely.  Rather than ammonium, it’s a restorative herb,” Cal explained.

Assured that Viola was only over-excited and not injured, I stood up again.  As I moved I felt suddenly lightheaded.  There was also an odd hollow feeling at my heart.  My ears were ringing.  I closed my eyes, placed my hand to my solar plexus and took deep breaths.  When I looked up I noticed Copper sitting on the floor, the lavender goat nuzzling at her hair affectionately.

I tottered a little as I stood.  Viola handed me the vinaigrette and patted my arm in a grandmotherly way, but I wasn’t experiencing the vapors  as she had.  Whatever I was experiencing it was not from the emotional response that upset the housekeeper.  She nodded, encouraging me to inhale the scent.  I found that it actually did help.  I took it over to Copper, suspecting that whatever had overcome me was also the cause of her discomfort.

“Viola, you must have run to catch up with us,” Cal said.  “Whatever was so important?”

Victorian Ape Couple“It’s the family.  They’ve returned.  I wanted to make sure they got to meet your extraordinary guests, but I wanted it to be a surprise for them.  So I hurried here, only telling them that I was going to fetch you,” Viola explained.  “Then I heard that horrid beast.  I’ll never forget that awful day!” she cried, tears leaking from her good eye.  “So I ran the rest of the way, fearing for your safety — for all of you.”

When Viola uttered the word “family” Cornelis paled.  He looked from me to Copper.  “You’re not feeling well,” he said and it was a statement not a question.  “They are too close,” he muttered worriedly.

“Who do you mean?” I asked unsteadily.  The dizziness was making it hard for me to think.

“Your doppelgängers!  They are too close.  That’s why you feel ill.  A hollow feeling?  Dizzy, ears ringing?  Am I right?” Cornelis demanded and I nodded apprehensively.  “You must not get any closer to your doubles from this world!” he said, including both Copper and me.

At the excitable tones from Cornelis, Absinthe poked his head up from the alchemist’s jacket pocket.  The tiny fairy stretched his wings and then fluttered to a long worktable that was covered with charts, maps, and scientific looking implements.  The Green Fairy inspected the maps and drawings carefully.  He was just as thorough when he began to examine the contrivances scattered across the table. Sextant

He was also remarkably silent.  Though I’d never heard him utter an actual word, the tiny skunk-looking fae usually muttered, chirped, or grunted most of the time — especially if he was intrigued by something.  However, Absinthe seemed quite serious as he investigated the strange implements on the long table.

He stopped abruptly when he came to a gleaming brass sextant.  It was beautifully decorated with amethyst cabochons.  The navigation instrument was supported by two exquisitely formed gold mermen.  The apparatus sat on a wooden base of purple streaked mahogany.

Absinthe checked the sextant closely, finally muttering very quietly.  However, he still didn’t seem to be himself.  For a moment I wondered if he had a doppelgänger nearby as well.  Then the Green Fairy sighed resignedly.  He looked up at Cornelis and chirped something that the alchemist seem to understand.  They exchanged a sad look.

The Dutchman moved to examine the sextant.  He muttered in much the same manner as Absinthe.  Finally he nodded.  “Yes.  This should do the trick,” Cornelis said with a decisive nod.

He turned gravely to Absinthe.  “Can you take care of the err… the Purple Fairy?” Cornelis asked the tiny Green Fairy, and Absinthe nodded, again with that sad resigned attitude.

green skunk palmThen with a sharp pop Absinthe disappeared.

“What Purple Fairy?” I wanted to know.

The amethyst ape seemed to grasp the fact that was eluding my dizzy noggin.  I struggled to catch up to their thinking, but I felt so woozy.  I vaguely remembered the amethyst ape calling the purple people eater a fae — a fairy.

“Oh you don’t mean?” Cal Hicks gasped with a horrified expression.

Viola echoed Cal’s sudden inhalation, putting a hand to her mouth.  “No.  You can’t mean that very small green creature is going out to confront the giant one eyed one horned flying purple people eater!” the violet chimpanzee housekeeper exclaimed.  “Why the poor little thing won’t last a minute.  Please! Can’t you call him back?”

***

Will the doppelgängers of Felicity and Copper come any closer?  What will befall our heroines if they do?  

Absinthe and Cornelis seemed so sad. Could it mean that the tiny Green Fairy means to sacrifice himself?  What will become of Absinthe if he confronts the purple people eater?  And what about that sextant — what might it do?  Or perhaps I should ask, what kind of trouble can it cause?  Be sure to be at the train station next time!

***

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.