Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers: Episode 33

Indies Agree…

Glenda Ozz

Billie Berk 1939

I love that “Indie” has endlessly different subjects, genres, and formats.  I’m happy that every indie author and blogger is unique.  Despite all that diversity, it seems that all indie authors agree on the importance of reviews – whether posted in a blog, magazine, or on a bookseller’s site.

Oh, I admit to my jaw-dropping awe when an author cheers that they’ve reached the milestone of 100 reviews… I have less than a dozen, so I’m quite impressed, as well as proud of their achievement.  So when one of my earliest author-blogger-supporters wished he had more reviews for his books, I wanted to do something… but I’m not a reviewer. I wished I could wave a magic wand for both of us… but neither am I Glenda the Good Witch.

Jump back a step, because the steam locomotive is roaring back toward the platform at top speed!

Since there was no new episode last weekend, here’s a link to the previous chapter. If you need extra catching-up, look to the top of your screen for this serial’s homepage button.

Yikes! The locomotive is moving so fast, I’m not sure it can stop — but the breaks are screeching and the the whistle blows as it stops on a dime, right at the platform.

The conductor gives you a mischievous wink.   All aboard!!!

33.  Toddlers, Queen, Superior

Billie Berk circa 1900

Billie Berk circa 1900

Cornelis Drebbel levitated above a much bigger version of Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw.  It was attached to a large gondola that contained all manner of fantastical contraptions.  Brightly polished brass and crystals glittered in the sunlight that streamed through tall windows from the cloudless lavender sky.

One device looked just like the multi-armed thingamajig from the submarine.  I mean that term literally.  The device was the original thingamajig and such was its proper name.  This one looked newer.  The thingamajig on the submarine went through some rough treatment.  The one in the gondola didn’t show any wear and tear.  (Episode 22)  A malfunction in the contrivance was at least partly responsible for landing us in this purple place.

Cornelis waved down to a pair of mauveine complected chimpanzee twin toddlers who observed him in amazement.  A young female ape watched them from the corner of her eye as she delivered a basket of food to Cal Hicks.  She seemed remarkably unaffected by the floating alchemist.

“Why thank you Itsy,” Hicks told the woman as he took the heavy basket.  “This is enough for everyone.  Thank you so much, my dear.”

She quickly took each toddler by a hand and moved to meet one of the coverall clad chimps.  He seemed smitten by her.  She glanced surreptitiously over her shoulder as the chimpanzee handed her something that disappeared into the folds of her skirts.  Some token of his affections, I supposed.  It was hard to tell with the purple coloring but I thought both might be blushing.Victorian Magazine 1891

“Tsk, tsk,” Cal said with a shake of his head.  “That boy will never win Itsy’s heart.”

“Itsy?” I had to ask.

“Why yes,” Cal began. “She’s taken on the extra work of looking after the twins during the day. Both parents were injured in a carriage accident, and aren’t able to chase toddlers terrible well. Itsy was maid to my son Nate’s grandparents. When they passed on, she came to work for me,” Cal said and then cast an astute glance at me. “I take it Itsy has a counterpart in your colorful world.”

“I believe so,” I said, nodding.  “Bitsy is a maid in the inn that belongs to Ignatius Belle.  Their voices are rather similar.  And Itsy is just as unimpressed as Bitsy,” I added with a chuckle.  (Episode 2)

My own words bothered me in some indefinable way.  I suddenly felt uneasy.  It seemed like there was something I should remember.  However, I was distracted by Cal Hicks.  He was looking at me in a most curious way.  It made me think something was amiss.

“What is it?” I asked worriedly.

His eyes quickly scanned the worktable.  The amethyst ape picked up a mirror and handed it to me.  There was a smudge of soot on my cheek, and for a moment I thought that was what the straight-laced ape meant.  However, with one of his thick fingers he pointed to my hair.  A broad ultraviolet streak ran from the crown of my head down the length of my otherwise dark brown locks.  The irises of my eyes had taken on a violet hue.

Police NewsBefore I could stop my surprised reaction, I inhaled sharply.  I glanced at Copper.  I didn’t want the girl to notice my concern.  Fortunately she ran over to Cornelis, and tossed some tool up toward him.  The alchemist caught it with a glowing yellow-green thread of magic.

I was afraid to look at the measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It already showed warning shades of violet.  But I forced myself.  I removed the device from the flowered carpet bag.  The thin rods were various shades of violet and purple.  Only one was still lavender.  None at all were colorless.  At least the crystal bird at the center was still clear.  Cornelis said it might be too late for us to leave the amethyst world if the bird turned purple.

Cal Hicks cleared his throat nervously and broke eye contact with me.  He called everyone to the basket of food, but hardly ate anything himself.  He turned back to work fervently on the improved aerial screw.  Though he couldn’t levitate like the alchemist he seemed to work almost as quickly.

Coverall clad chimpanzees ran back and forth, fetching all manner of things that Cal requested.  Copper returned to stand at his elbow, handing him various small tools.  I suspected that sometimes Cal pretended to need something, just to let the girl think she was helping.Punch mag

Earlier Cornelis was utterly intense as he poured over an assortment of papers he’d gotten from Cal.  There were maps, magazines, playbills, and newspapers.  I couldn’t figure out what he could be looking for in such an assortment.

However, the alchemist saw links from one thing to another that I would never see without it being pointed out to me.  He seemed to make some alchemical sense of the stack of papers and abruptly levitated up above the flying machine.  Suffused by that yellowish green aura he began making enhancements to the aerial screw.

As I looked at magazines bearing images of well-dressed simians, all in assorted shades of purple, I was struck anew by how much like our own world this place populated by apes really was.  I couldn’t help smiling when I saw a magazine cover bearing the image of an elegant female ape wearing an intricate lace gown, jewelry including a tiara, and holding a scepter.

“Is this your queen?” I asked Cal Hicks in delighted surprise.

Queen Victoria 1859

Queen Victoria 1859

“Why of course,” Cal replied, as if I had questioned the obvious.  “That is Queen Triumphia,” he said, immediately recovering his perfect manners.  “Haven’t you a similar monarch in your world?”

I grinned at the name Triumphia.  “Yes, although it isn’t exactly my queen, the English queen is called Victoria,” I told the amethyst ape.

Cal grinned back at me as he compared the name Victoria to his queen’s name.

Cornelis gave a whoop of success.  “This is far superior to the first model!” he cried.

With a sharp pop he disappeared from his spot in the air above us.  An instant later he popped into the gondola of the aerial screw.

Itsy wandered closer.  She didn’t look excited or surprised like everyone else.  Rather, the maid looked worried.  “There’s no more time,” Itsy murmured.

She darted to the gondola and grabbed the multi-armed thingamajig.  Then I got a look at the secret-something that the chimp handed her earlier.  She had hidden it in the folds of her skirt, but it turned out to be the harmonic tuner.  Cal Hicks showed it to me previously.  Instead of the mystic monkeys tuner that belonged to Copper, this one had people in the poses of see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.  (Episode 24)  the Strand Magazine

Itsy’s actions were so sudden and so unexpected that everyone was too surprised to try and stop her.  She ran from the laboratory and out to the area that was scorched and depressed by the confrontation-reunion between Absinthe and Aubrieta.  (Episode 28)  Itsy held out the thingamajig and clanged the harmonic tuner against the contrivance.

The air in a large area before Itsy shimmered to a glowing hot pink aura.  The center of the aura took on a wavy mirror like appearance.  Then a wall of water rushed from the aura and poured into the burned out depression.  Itsy was swept away by the water but managed to grab hold of a fence post.

With a whoosh sound a hydrofoil sped through the opening created by the magical devices.  The moment I saw the craft I knew what had bothered me when I told Cal that Itsy and Bitsy had similar voices.

We had never gotten a good look at the woman leading the group on the hydrofoil.  I said her voice was familiar, but I just couldn’t place it, no matter how hard I tried.  The tone of the woman leader was commanding and harsh.  So it had been just different enough that I couldn’t connect it to the gentle tones I previously heard from that same voice.  At that moment I knew the voice belonged to Bitsy, the maid at the Belle Inn!

Harper's Bazaar 1899The hydrofoil rushed, out of control, down the length of the water that spilled from our world.  It crashed into a stand of tall bushes.  When the woman stood up, I was certain she was Bisy.  She bent over and vomited.  The nearness of her doppelgänger already affected her.

“Get her away from me!” Bitsy shouted to the men who accompanied her.

The men waded out to Itsy.  She seemed to think they were helping her and let them take her arms from the post to which she held.  However, when they helped her to dry ground one held a knife to her throat.  They spoke threateningly to her and she ran away as fast as she could, disappearing into the woods.

The hydrofoil held more passengers than I had realized.  There must have been ten heavily armed men, along with Bitsy.  They all moved toward us.

Cal Hicks had my arm.  “Quickly,” he hissed into my ear.  “Get into the gondola.”

When I turned I saw that Copper was already climbing into the aerial screw.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered around her, touching various apparatus with their tiny paws.  I looked back at the interlopers from my own world.  They were looking right at me.

***

What will happen to Felicity, the “Woman in Trousers” of the serial title?  Her hair is already streaked with purple, suggesting she has stayed too long in the amethyst world.  One group of foes has caught up with our trio.  Will they grab Felicity before she can reach the gondola?  And will the aerial screw fly off without her?

Don’t leave yet!  Here’s a recipe.  Many times I’ve seen bloggers mention “curry chips.”  Now, I’m just not familiar with that dish. So I scoured the WordPress countryside and found a lovely recipe at “Lea & Jay.”  

Recipe:  Curry Chips

Photo and recipe credit:  Lea & Jay 

Curry Chips

https://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/curry-chips/

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 32

Word of the Day

Orient Express Dining Table

Orient Express

Often I think I should have a word of the day.  Once I bought a desk calendar of them, but it turned out to be words that none of us would sensibly use under any circumstance, professional, playfully, or otherwise.

I haven’t come up with a viable way to give myself a word of the day, but now and then one pops up, just like Cornelis Drebbel pops up next to Felicity. It happened this morning when I read a re-blog posted by Sarah at First Night Design with the term shilly shally! While I meant for my word of the day to be for my personal use, forgive me if I can’t resist using shilly shally at least once in this episode.

Sometimes the three things to fuel our steam locomotive to the Victorian Era come along in a similar way. During the two years in which I’ve been writing these “interactive” serial stories, there were several times when someone left a comment in which three things stood out to me. (And you thought you couldn’t think of three random things…)

A comment on Episode-31 from Dan Antion at No Facilities gave me the things for this chapter. Dan’s blog will take you on different types of adventures from looking at interesting doors, to random streams of consciousness, to marvelous hikes and other outings with his daughter. He’ll make sure you feel you’re along for the trip with lots of great photos.

Now that the locomotive is well fueled, I see it at the platform.

All aboard!

From last time…

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.

32.  Tumble, Revealing, Description

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel, Nashville, TN

Cornelis Drebbel dangled from the dangerously darting aerial screw.  It looked like he would take a tumble at any moment.

Cal Hicks stood talking to the chimpanzees who stayed at the laboratory after their comrades ran in fright from Aubrieta when she was in her erstwhile form of the one-eyed-one-horned-purple-people-eater.  I thought this group was surely the brightest and bravest of the returned chapel apes.  (See Episode 24 and Episode 28.)

The coverall clad chimps jumped up and down in frightened agitation as they watched the Dutchman’s predicament above.  In their frantic state they overturned the large basket of bread Cal Hicks brought out earlier, just after Aubrieta’s magic brought the chimpanzees home.  The remains of a loaf of purple bread fell out of the basket, but the lavender alpine goat made short work of the bread.

Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape, looked from the excited chimpanzees to the sky and gave a horrified gasp.  Copper screamed and a tear ran down her face.  The lavender goat made a behh sound as she gazed upward with a funny puzzled expression on her face.Flying man w umbrella

All tuned to me in astonishment when I put my fists on my hips and yelled up to the alchemist.  “Cornelis Drebbel!  Don’t shilly shally!  We have too much work to do!”

“What?” I asked in impatient response to the gallery of aghast faces.

Apparently everyone thought I was being callous.  However, they had not seen the little measuring device that looked like a toothpick holder.  It was made in the shape of a gazebo, enclosing a crystal bird.  If we stayed too long in the strange world where everything was one shade or another of purple, we might be trapped there forever.  The device measured how close we were to that state.

When first I saw the device, the toothpicks, or rather the tiny measuring rods, were colorless.  If they started to turn purple, it was a warning.  The last time I checked the device, all the toothpicks had become pale lavender — not a comforting sign.  Now many of them had darkened to violet.  That meant the amount of time we had was quickly growing shorter.  Should the crystal bird turn purple, it would be too late.

“Oh for heaven’s sake…  He’s an alchemist!” I turned to the group that had gathered outside the laboratory and defended myself.  “All he has to do is pop to safety,” I said with a snap of my fingers.

Vintage Girl GoatA yellowish green aura surrounded the aerial screw.  I watched in fascination as the rip in the linen “threads” of the screw magically wove back together.  The flying screw straightened its course and then gently lowered to the ground.

“See!  He was never in danger,” I exclaimed to the gathered simians, and Copper.

Everyone looked at me in a disdainful way.  The lavender goat made a long drawn out beeehhhh!  I sighed and threw up my hands.

Cornelis was abruptly in the middle of a concerned crowd of simian devotees.  The alchemist loved attention, so there was no point in me chastising him.  I stalked away.

The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, chirped to one another quietly as they sat atop the model based on Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the aerial screw.  I looked skeptically at the device that caused all the commotion.  However, when I looked up at the two fairies, their chirps and grunts had a serious tone.

“I wish I understood you two,” I murmured.

“They think the flying machine can be fixed to work right,” Copper said, suddenly at my elbow.Aerial Screw Model

I jumped.  “Copper, you’re getting as bad as Cornelis Drebbel — appearing out of nowhere,” I said and laughed.  “Promise me you won’t take on any of his other habits,” I added, causing her to giggle.

The Green Fairy fluttered down to alight on Copper’s shoulder.  He really was fond of the girl.  Absinthe made a series of chirps, bobbing his head as if in encouragement.  Then he flew back to his mate and continued their incomprehensible conversation.

Copper turned puzzled blue eyes up to me.  “Absinthe says the flying thing can let us see something important,” she said.  “But I didn’t really understand what the meant.  He kept something to himself,” she added with a sulky glance at her tiny green friend.

“Show us?” I echoed her words.  “Do you mean from a great height we could see something important?”

The girl shook her head negatively.  “I don’t think so,” Copper replied.

I heard a sharp pop followed by sounds of awe from the apes.  An instant later Cornelis appeared beside Copper.  He tousled her new penny colored curls.

green skunk palm“Copper, I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but I see that the Green Fairy has been less than discrete,” Cornelis told her.  “In all probability the flying machine, the aerial screw, will be revealing something very important, once it’s working properly.”

Copper and I wore twin expressions as our mouths shaped the question “How?”

“No, no.  No questions just yet.  There is much work to be done, and quickly,” he said in a serious tone.  “I’ve seen the measuring device too,” Cornelis added, looking at me.

As we turned to go back inside the laboratory, I heard the voice of Cal Hicks clearly, as he spoke to the group of coverall clad chimps.  Hicks directed his astonishment toward one powerfully built chimpanzee.

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel

“Dear boy!  That is an extraordinary tale!” Cal exclaimed as we reached the group.  “We should tell the Lord of Alchemy,” Hicks told him, but the strong looking chimp drew back, apparently intimidated by the prospect of talking to the Lord of Alchemy.

“I really wish they’d stop calling Cornelis Drebbel that,” I muttered.  “If his head gets any bigger, his skull won’t fit in my hatbox.”

Cornelis naturally wanted to know what had so intrigued Cal Hicks.  The broad-shouldered chimp whispered something to Cal Hicks and shook his head nervously.”

“Oh nonsense, son,” Cal told the chimp who was apparently young, though I could not guess their ages.  “Lord of Alchemy, Ced here has given the most astonishing description of a levitating boat!” Hicks told Cornelis.

“You don’t mean a hydrofoil?” Cornelis asked.

“Yes, tha— that’s what they called it,” Ced replied haltingly, clearly trying to overcome his awe of Cornelis.  “They held me prisoner, and forced me to track you and Lady Felicity and the young miss.  I didn’t mean to betray you Lord of Alchemy!” Ced cried sadly.

Recognition clicked in my head.  Although his coloring had reverted to the purple that was natural for his world, I recognized the chimp.  Ced was indeed the very large chimpanzee who had come so very close to the place where we hid at the river when the group of villains using the hydrofoil caught up with us.  (Episode 12.)  Thankfully Ignatius Belle led them away before we were discovered.Forlanini hydrofoil

Cornelis made a tut-tut sound and patted the chimp’s shoulder.  The Dutchman encouraged Ced to continue.

“On the river in that strange world, I heard your voices before the shield of alchemy was used,” Ced continued.  “So I knew where you must have been hiding.  But I pretended not to know,” he said but paused as anger suffused his face.  “I was determined to thwart the evil woman!  Can you forgive me for tracking you, Lord of Alchemy?”

Cornelis and Cal Hicks spoke to Ced for a while, assuring the big chimpanzee that everything was fine, and his actions were understandable, and were in no wise held against him.  Finally Ced sniffled and nodded.  Cal set him some task, probably to get his mind off things, and Ced hurried off to take care of the work.

Ced turned back with a new expression of worry on his face.  “You should know…  When your submarine disappeared from our sight, for a moment we saw the purple haze of this world.  That woman and her partners plan to take you the moment you return to your own world.  They are certain you either possess something they want, or you will lead them to it,” Ced told us.

I cast a covert look at Copper, hoping that she wouldn’t put that together.  So, at least some of the villains who chased us thought we would lead them to Calvin Hixon.

train tracks spooky place

***

Perhaps our friends would be better off simply staying in the amethyst world.  If they get home, remember that three groups of foes chased them, presumably intent on taking Copper.  Yet if they stay in the safety of the purple place, Copper will never be reunited with her father.  Although, we never understood why Calvin Hixon would abandon his daughter in the first place.  Oh, so much remains to be told…  So be at the train station next time!

Don’t go away yet.  You haven’t seen this chapter’s recipe.  None of the three things were food related this time.  So I chose to use the purple bread mentioned at the beginning of the episode.  Can you believe that I actually found a purple bread recipe?  I’m happy because that meant I also found another delightful cooking blog — This Girl’s Gotta Eat!  So now I bid you, bon appétit!

Recipe:  Purple Wheat Raisin Bread French Toast

purple-wheat-raisin-bread-french-toast-with-yogurt-caramelized-bananas-and-nuts

Photo and recipe credit:  Victoria Orban at This Girl’s Gotta Eat!

http://thisgirlsgottaeat.com/2014/01/11/purple-wheat-raisin-bread-french-toast-with-yogurt-caramelized-bananas-and-nuts/

***

 

 

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 11

Location Revealed!

When my friend Olga at Just Olga offered “things” for an episode of this “interactive” serial, I knew they would be rich in detail. What I didn’t expect was for those things to reveal the location of the story… well, sort of.  It’s not an exact location, but a general one.

The Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman

You see, that’s how my Three Things serials work.  The “things” (or sometimes “ingredients”) you readers send inspire everything about the stories — even important things like the characters and the setting. Although we’ve already reached Episode-11, I was still waiting for the things to reveal the location. And when author Olga Núñez Miret sent her three things, one of them did just that.

Which of “Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, and Vine Leaves” do you think gave me the location? Read on and find out.

Olga has published such an impressive and varied collections of books — whether mysterious, suspenseful, or romantic.  She publishes in both English and Spanish, and some works are in audio books too.  I’m in awe of people who can write (or for that matter even read) so fast.  Today I’ll share three of Olga’s books with you, since there are three things. Click on the image for purchase information.

3 books OlgaNM

Our steam locomotive is right on schedule.  It just arrived at the station.  All aboard!

From last time…

Ignatius Belle seems a little too intent on getting Copper to visit his paddle steamer, anchored at the riverside near the abandoned church compound where our trio took refuge.  Or is it just that he believes the girl is the niece of the woman in trousers, and he wants to get closer to her?

However, Cornelis invented “old family friends” who are on the way to transport the trio to a fabricated holiday. So the handsome innkeeper will surely have to part company with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers.  Or will the “things” create more complications? Read on and find out.

***

11.  Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, Vine Leaves

There was a ragged hole in the roof of the old church.  Sunlight poured through the opening, engulfing Ignatius Belle.  He had taken off his coat and his white shirt caught the light so that it almost glowed.  The effect made him look tall, safe, and… angelic.

Angel Statue male mossI stared at him without realizing it.  Apparently I gawked for so long that it made him uncomfortable, because he chuckled and looked askance at me.  I stuttered, trying to explain without embarrassing myself by telling the man that he looked like an angel.

“It’s just that— Your shirt is dazzlingly bright in the sun’s light,” I stammered, then I reached up and wiped a drop of the shepherd’s pie from his collar, pretending that was the only thing on my mind.

“You’re right,” he agreed. “This is a fascinating ruin, but it is much too fine of a day to be indoors,” Ignatius said and surprised me by taking my hand.

He led me toward the front doors of the abandoned church.  “Oh wait.  What’s this?” I asked, stepping into an aisle where something was left behind on a pew.

At first I thought it was an old hymnal, but it was too large.  I carefully opened the book and turned thin, fragile pages.  Dates were recorded for births, deaths, and marriages.

Ruins St Dunstan

St Dunstan-in-the-East

“Look, it’s an old family Bible,” I commented in fascination.

I turned another page and my eyes were drawn to a name.  “Agustus Belle wed Antigone Stewart—”

“Please, let me see that,” Ignatius said, gently but eagerly taking the antiquated book from my hands.

He squinted and moved back to the place where the sun shone through the damaged roof.  “Those were my grandparents,” he marveled.  “They eloped.  No one was ever sure where they went to get married.  I wonder who this Bible belonged to,” he murmured, delicately turning the pages.

“It doesn’t appear to belong to anyone now.  The congregation, and apparently whatever village was nearby, they’ve all left long ago,” I began, as I looked up into serious brown eyes.  “I think whoever owned this book would want you to have it.  A tie to your grandparents,” I affirmed with a nod.

Ignatius took my hand again, smiled, and led me outside.  He held the old Bible under one arm, and pulled me close to him with the other.  I looked up, with sun-dazzled eyes as he lowered his head toward mine.

Copper

Copper

“Aunt Miiiina!” Copper cried my alias on a sustained note as she ran toward us.

I gave my head a sharp shake to bring myself out of the drowsy, mauve-colored moment.  Of all the bad timing.  But it was probably just as well, I thought.

“Look what I found!” Copper declared excitedly.

There was dirt under her fingernails as if she had been digging in the ground.  Tiny bits of rich soil littered the front of her dress.  The yellow petals of a black-eyed Susan stood out against hair the color of a new-penny.  She had tucked the blossom behind her ear.  I imagined her accidentally pulling up the flower by its roots, and spraying herself with dirt in the process.

Ignatius bowed playfully to Copper.  “Miss, that is a lovely flower, but it beauty pales next to your own,” he told the girl in a whimsical tone.

Copper tilted her head to one side and looked at the innkeeper as if she didn’t understand.  “He’s paying you a compliment,” I told her and tried not to laugh.  “Say thank you.”1860 Carved Whale Tooth

She made a quick movement that might have passed for a curtsey and mumbled her thanks.  Then Copper held her cupped hands toward me.  I hesitated, wondering if she dug up a mole and made a pet of it.

“Look!  Cornelis said it might be magic!” Copper said in a whisper that could have been heard at the riverbank.

In her hands was an ivory figurine inlayed with abalone shell, and not quite four inches long.  It depicted a man reclining on two humpback whales.  The style of the piece reminded me of Aztec artwork.

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill (1877-1955) as Ignatius Belle

“I found it in the ground when I picked my flower.  Cornelis said it was an amulet,” Copper explained, testing the sound of what must have been an unfamiliar word.

“May I see it,” Ignatius asked.

Copper drew back slightly.  My warning look encouraged her to give the figure to Ignatius.  “It might well be magic of a sort,” he agreed in the tone sometimes used by adults encouraging children to believe in the supernatural.

The girl’s eyebrows went up expectantly and she moved a step closer to the handsome innkeeper.  “You realize we’re not far from the Pacific coast,” Ignatius said turning to me before continuing his examination of the ivory.

“This looks like the work of a coastal tribe to the north of here.  You see the little man?” he asked Copper who nodded interestedly.  “He is a shaman, and he is resting on the backs of his spirit animals — these two humpback whales, placed end-to-end.  Their eyes are made of abalone shell.  Oh, and look here,” he added in childlike excitement.  “You see where the shaman rests his head against the whale’s head?  That connects them and his mouth is the blowhole for the whale!  So this is meant to be the shaman traveling to the spirit world upon his whales,” Ignatius said to Copper’s amazement.Boulet Spirit Animal Totems

“So then,” I began.  “Is the ivory actually a carved whale’s tooth?” I asked and Ignatius affirmed with a smile.  “Copper, I’ll have to find a ribbon for you so you can wear this amulet around your neck.  After all, that’s how magic amulets are supposed to be worn,” I promised to her delight.

A shrill whistle interrupted our examination of the little carving.  At first I couldn’t tell from where the sound came, but I wasn’t looking up far enough.  The sun glinted off polished brass, high in a tree near the river.

“Cornelis Derbbel, of all things!” I declared when I spotted the alchemist in the upper branches of the tree.

The Dutchman whistled again and motioned for us to come to him.  By the time we reached the place, he had climbed down.  Or at least he pretended to have climbed for the innkeeper’s sake.  The alchemist probably descended via a less mundane means.  His face expressed a combination of excitement and worry that only Corenlis could achieve.

“You won’t believe this,” he told me.  “It would be wonderful if it wasn’t so horribly wrong.  But we have to hurry.  They’re only ten minutes or so away!” the Dutchman babbled.Drebbel stamp

“Cornelis, what are you talking about?” I demanded.

He calmed down minutely and held up his brass spyglass.  “I saw them headed this way on the river.  And they’re using a hydrofoil!” he added almost dancing in his enthusiasm.  “I can’t tell who it is though,” he added before I could ask.

I watched the attractive face of Ignatius blanch at the alchemist’s words.  “No.  It can’t be,” he groaned and paced a few steps as if torn.  “I should get you to safety.  But the hydrofoil can outrun my paddle steamer,” Ignatius fretted as he paced.

He seemed genuinely worried for our welfare.  I shot Cornelis a challenging look for his distrust of the dashing innkeeper.Burrell Road Locomotive

“We actually do have transportation,” I confessed.  “It’s just that we felt it had to be kept secret.  It’s one of Hixon— I mean my half-brother’s inventions, and I don’t think he was ready to show it to the world,” I told Ignatius a partial truth.

His eyes widened.  “Don’t tell me!  Do you mean to say that he finished the road locomotive?  That he actually got the steam engine working?” Ignatius cried.

I wondered how it was that the innkeeper knew so much about Calvin Hixon’s inventions.  “Well, mostly.  Cornelis put on the finishing touch, correcting a small problem with the design,” I said looking askance at the Dutchman who nodded with a wide grin.

“Then go!  Go quickly.  No, wait!” Ignatius faltered.  “The road locomotive makes a tremendous noise, does it not?” he asked and we all nodded emphatically.  “I’ll lead them away.  Hide and wait until they are well past.  I’ll make sure they see me.  If they think I have gotten the girl, they are sure to follow,” he said, and then inspiration lit his brown eyes.  “I can even make two bundles.  I’ll put hats on them or something so they can be you and Copper,” Ignatius said turning to me.Stripped Bustle Gown

“You can have my stripped gown,” I said catching his enthusiasm for the idea.  “It’s ruined anyway,” I justified my donation to the scheme.  When Ignatius looked like he would ask how it got ruined I added of my dive into the river to retrieve the skull of Cornelis Drebbel, “That’s a long story.  But there’s all manner of things in that large building,” I said pointing to the half ruined building where we hid the steam engine.  “I’m sure we can bundle up some things that will look like Copper and me, at least from a distance.”

“I’d love a look at the locomotive,” Ignatius said wistfully a moment later when we got to the building.

“Ah, but you realize there’s no time,” Cornelis reminded him with a sidelong look that made it clear to me that he still did not trust Ignatius Belle.

“I found this earlier,” Cornelis began in a sad tone.  “I meant to give it to Copper as the next thing to a playmate,” he told us as he presented a doll, about three feet tall, with hair the color of a new penny.  “But it’s better put to use to protect her,” the Dutchman sighed.Victorian Doll

“Oh what a shame,” I said.  Copper was a good deal taller than the doll, but from a distance it should be quite convincing. “She would love it,” I commented as I looked around for the girl.

I spotted her running back toward us, dragging my stripped frock behind her.  I reminded myself that it was already ruined.  She had also grabbed two ladies hats from that opened crate of accessories.  The hats didn’t match my gown or the doll’s dress, but that was of no importance.

Suddenly Ignatius pulled out a knife.  I gasped in shock and jumped back.  Cornelis had a green aura as he gathered his powers.  However, Ignatius didn’t see it because he was already running for the gaping hole in the wall of the abandoned storage building.  He shouted over his shoulder.  “I saw some vines growing just outside,” he called and he was gone.

Quickly he ran back inside, haloed in green vine leaves.  Ignatius used the vines to tie the bundles and they made passable human-like figures.

***

There was a cluster of bushes just far away enough from the riverbank.  Cornelis used one of his little tricks to make sure we wouldn’t be seen as we watched the paddle steamer pull away.  Just before it rounded a bend in the river, Ignatius gave a blast on the boat’s whistle.  He was making sure whomever piloted the hydrofoil didn’t lose him.

Forlanini hydrofoil

The HD-4

Ignatius claimed that he didn’t know who those people were.  He said the hydrofoil had changed hands a few times since all the chaos began.  I didn’t get to ask him about his involvement in the disappearance of Calvin Hixon, or any of the strange events surrounding it.  Neither could I ask him about his relationship with the man, Copper’s father.  But apparently there had been some level of interaction between the two men.  That might explain the girl’s distrust of the innkeeper.  However, there was no time for me to ask any questions.

Too soon a boat on feet-like skis that lifted it up out of the river neared our hiding place.  For the first time I wondered if Ignatius Belle was a hero or a traitor.  Perhaps he risked his life to lure villains away from Copper and myself.  Then again, he might be meeting them farther down the river, comrades in arms.

Cornelis Derbbel gave a soft surprised grunt.  He used one of his tricks to look farther than the human eye could see.  I raised the spyglass to see what startled the alchemist.  As the hydrofoil drew even with our vantage point, I saw a figure moving wildly on the vessel.  A very chimpanzee cavorted and gesticulated wildly.

***

Is Ignatius Belle now in jeopardy? The question remains as to whether the innkeeper is angel or aggressor.  And once again, who controls the chimpanzees?  Come back next time to learn where the “things” take our trio.

Next time our “things” are from delightful Christy Birmingham at Poetic Parfait. Stay tuned for her: one lone dandelion, free verse poem, and candle wax.

And now for this episode’s recipe.  My search of the WordPress countryside too, me to a lovely blog.  Though you are not likely in Cypress, you are sure to be intrigued – and it has a recipe page, Chef’s Choice Cypriot Recipes.  Bon appétit!

Recipe:  Stuffed Vine Leaves

Stuffed Vine Leaves

Photo and recipe credit: Cypriot Recipes at The Foreign Residents in the TRNC

 

https://tfrnorthcyprus.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/chefs-choice-cypriot-recipes-stuffed-vine-leaves-koupepiadolmades/

 

 

 

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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A Shout-out – Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers

I’d like to thank the Academy…

Copper Cover 3-25-2015

By the “Academy” I mean the group of wonderful people, writers, chefs, photographers, readers, and bloggers who come here to Teagan’s Books each week.

You see, when I introduced the previous episode, I got a little off track. Ever since, I have felt that I did not do justice to the amazing chef and blogger who provided that set of “three things” — Suzanne Debrango at “A Pug in the Kitchen.”

I know Suzanne never thought of it that way, but I can’t deal with feeling like I didn’t do my best for someone who has been so very supportive of me and my writing.  Then I thought that it would be nice to do a shout out to everyone who has sent “things” so far!

So I’d like to thank the Academy!

Episode-1:  John W. Howell John W HowellJohn gave us the kickoff episode, the first set of three things, Stilton Cheese, Mare’s Milk, Calamari.  The Cheese and calamari helped put an image of a setting into my mind. Somehow that Stilton cheese keeps coming back around in later episodes. 

Episode-2:  Kathryn aka KR Big Fish

Kathryn KR BIgfish

Along with writing the second chapter of this serial, I had to come up with a name for it. Since the “things” had not had time to develop a story-line, I took the easy way out and titled it with the names of my trio of protagonists, Copper, the Alchemist, & the Woman in Trousers. I know it’s long, but I kind-of like it. For the second episode Kathryn gave us a delicious recipe and Soup Pot, Kitchen Sink, Mail-order Wine Club.

Episode-4:  Andrea Stephenson

Andrea Stephenson

When Andrea offered “things” for the fourth chapter, I knew I was in for a treat, because she writes so beautifully. With Artist’s Palette, Pease Pudding, Owl-Shaped Lamp, the lamp deepened the mystery.

Episode-5:  Sally Cronin

Sally Cronin

Incredibly generous in promoting other bloggers, Sally gave us things and a recipe for the fifth episode. Corset, Irish Soda Bread, Steam Engine led to a favorite inanimate “character,” the road locomotive!

Episode-6:  Mary J McCoy-Dressel

Mary J McCoy-Dressel

I knew “things” from my favorite Romance writer would lead to something interesting. With Soup Bone, Destiny, Ceramic Statue, Copper grew up a bit, and… well, I don’t want to give any spoilers about the statue.

Episode-7:  R.C. of New Mexico

I’m not showing a photo here, because RC is not a blogger, and I didn’t know if it would be okay…  But no one can rival the creative “things” that come to the mind of my friend RC, like Muff Pistol, Sourdough Pancakes, Airtights. Plus they were so perfect for the setting of the story.

Episode-8:  Elini Herrera

Elini

Fascinating Elini took time from her Culinary Journey to provide “things” for the eighth episode — Short Ribs, Eggplant, Red Pepper.  Her recipe was a big hit too.

Episode-9:  Suzanne Debrango

Suzanne Debrango

As I mentioned, the multi-talented Suzanne provided the delicious recipe and things for the ninth chapter, Pâté, Profiteroles, Olives. As you might expect, those profiteroles had many a mouth watering — and so did her blog when everyone went to visit her gorgeous dishes!

Episode-10:  Christine Robinson

Christine Robinson

Christine has the most marvelous enthusiasm. It comes through in her writing and in her delightful blog. I couldn’t wait to use her “things.” She went out of her way to make sure her things were appropriate to the Victorian Era. So stay tuned for Bicycle, Mauveine, Shepherd’s Pie. They’ll make the next episode.

Episode-11: Olga Núñez Miret

Olga Núñez Miret

The schedule at the train station has the eleventh set of things in queue, thanks to Olga.  I don’t know how she does it… Olga has so many things on her plate, blogging, writing, translating, reviewing books… She’s phenomenal.  Stay tuned for  Old Family Bible, Carved Whale’s Tooth, Vine Leaves.

After that, there is no fuel for the steam locomotive!  So keep the train on track, and leave a comment with Three Things, which can be random things or food-related things — or both. (Just remember the story is set in the Victorian Era, so try to avoid things like television sets.)  Recipes are also welcome.

Thanks for dropping by for a mid-week post.  Hugs to everyone!  See you this weekend when the steam locomotive is at the station.