End of the #Steampunk Line

Monday, April 15, 2019 

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

I hear the conductor shout.

Next stop — end of the line!

My chuckaboos, I’ve had 38 weeks of enthuzimuzzy, rerunning this serial with all of you aboard the steampunk train (and submarine).

However, this Wednesday Hidebound Hump Day will reveal the conclusion of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

Click this link to go to a recap post.

I’ll be looking for you at the steampunk submarine port on Wednesday.

***

 

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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 ©  2019 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.

 

Straightlaced Saturday — The Jewel of Seven Stars

Saturday, April 13, 2019 

victorian novels

Composite altered image by Teagan R. Geneviene

It’s Straightlaced Saturday, my chuckaboos!  It’s been awhile since I shared a Victorian Novels post.  Since my steampunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. will conclude with the next chapter, I wanted to do one more of these features.

A few years ago I read a Project Gutenberg copy of The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker, and I enjoyed it tremendously.  I only knew Stoker for horror, so I was delighted to find the novel was (at least to me) more of a suspense/detective story.  I was in equal parts fascinated by the innocence and chivalry of the barrister hero and uncertain about the lead female character.

Egyptian temple com Goddes statue

Image created by Teagan Geneviene

It was exciting to realize that Stoker brought touches of the rise of feminism to the story.  I’m sure his portrayal of Margaret raised a few eyebrows in the day.  Another beguiling Victorian element of the story is the era’s fascination with Egypt, or Egyptomania. 

If you want to know more about the story-line, Wikipedia has a great summary of The Jewel of Seven Stars.

At Amazon (an annotated version)

The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker

Project Gutenberg Link to The Jewel of Seven Stars

You can go to the main Gutenberg site to get various formats of the novel.  The link above goes directly to a text version.  If you want the book and have trouble accessing it, let me know and I’ll send you a file.

Patty at Campbell’s World wished for an Audible copy. I don’t know if they have one, but there are a couple of free audio book versions at Youtube.

 

 ***

Leave a comment to join of begin a conversation.  I love hearing from you.

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers concludes on Hidebound Hump Day.  My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you at the steampunk submarine port.

***

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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 ©  2019 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.

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 38

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Copper promo USS Razorback Torpedo rm Pixabay

It’s time for Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m grateful to everyone who started this wild ride on the #steampunk train, and then the submarine.  What mode of transportation will we take next? 

Hang on tight.  This is the penultimate episode of the serial!

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 36.  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 air machine ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched.  Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

Chapter 37.   Ced the very large chimpanzee was the one who tracked our heroes, commanded by the unidentified woman.  He 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.

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

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

38 — 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, it didn’t show any wear and tear.  Conversely, the thingamajig on the submarine went through some rough treatment.  A malfunction in the contrivance was at least partly responsible for landing us in this purple place.   (Episode 22) 

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.  Although she didn’t seem to return his romantic interest, something in her manner told me the chimp was a masher.

Itsy 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 Ape Couple

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.  I felt all-overish.

“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.

Violet purple eye

Originally “My Blue Heaven” by Rob Goldstein. (I couldn’t resist making it purple for this story.)

Before 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.  However, I forced myself.  I removed the device from the flowered carpet bag.  The thin rods had darkened to 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.

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.

Flying man w umbrella

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.

“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.

Queen Victoria 1859

Queen Victoria 1859

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

Above us, 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. 

Earlier, that infatuated chimp covertly handed her something, which she quickly hid in her skirt.  When she ran, I got a look at the secret-something.  It was a harmonic tuner!

Cal Hicks had 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)  

Three Wise Monkeys at the Tosho-gu Shrine, Wikipedia

Three Wise Monkeys at the Tosho-gu Shrine, Wikipedia

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 had been 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.  It had been 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!

1900 Maid with tray

The 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, there was no doubt that 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, the simian.  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.

***

silhouette of Victorian woman, flower designs

Pixabay

Victorian Vernacular

Mash.  A sweetheart, or a crush.  To court or ogle a woman.  Courting someone would be mashing them.  To attract sexually.  Possibly from Romany masherava, “allure.”

Masher.  A dandy.  A man who makes unwelcome sexual advances to women.

Quail pipe.  A woman’s tongue.  “We kissed, but there wasn’t any quail-pipe.”

Quatch.  An American term, circa 1925, meaning “to betray secrets.” Similar to quack, a verb meaning “to inform to the police,” and quag, “unsafe, not reliable; not to be trusted.”

Queen’s weather.  A beautiful sunny day.

Real World Notes

Postage stamps.  In 1840 the “penny black was the first postage stamp introduced to the United Kingdom.  Today we find postage stamps in various different sizes, costs and designs being used to send mail in virtually every country in the world.

***

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?  

See you next time, for the conclusion of Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers! 

***

Now some shameless self-promotion.

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 37

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Copper Cover 3-25-2015

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  Our heroes are still in the purple world. Will they return home this time?  The steampunk submarine is coming into port.  Let’s not waste any time.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

Chapter 29   When the loud harmonic noise of the misused tuner dissipated, I realized there were no sounds whatsoever coming from the church.  To my horror, I found it empty.  Everyone inside had vanished along with the purple people eater,” Cal Hicks described the disappearance of the simians from the purple world.

“Cornelis!” Felicity whispered to the alchemist.  “That army of chimpanzees back at the Hixon estate.  What if they weren’t trained,” Felicity said but paused, looking for the right word.  “What if instead, they were actually translocated?”

Chapter 33.  With an awkward pucker, Aubrieta spat out what looked like a purple grape.  She breathed lavender smoke onto the grape.  It grew and grew to the size of a house.  It continued to expand until it finally exploded into a purple mist.  

As the purple fog settled, dozens of big chimpanzees could be seen.  They had the coloring of our home, not the hues of the amethyst world.  A few stood boldly and cheered that they had returned home. 

Purple Stone chapel ruin stairs Pixabay

Pixabay altered image, Teagan

“Are those…?” Felicity began but the power of speech left her.

“Those naughty chimps!” Copper exclaimed.

From last time, Chapter 36.  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.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

37 — Tumble, Revealing, Description

Steampunk woman Noel Nichols Unsplash.png

Noel Nichols, Unsplash

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.

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.

Victorian silver toothpick holder shaped as a gazebo with a bird inside

Wikimedia

“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.

A 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.Vintage Girl GoatThe 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.

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.  

green skunk palm

“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.

“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.

“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.

Terrence Mann as Cornelis 2

Terrence Mann as Cornelis

“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

Alexander Graham Bell’s HD-4 hydrofoil, 1919

 

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.

However, 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.  Pshaw, at least some of the villains who chased us thought we would lead them to Calvin Hixon.

 

***

silhouette of Victorian woman, flower designs

Pixabay

Victorian Vernacular

Shilly shally.  Victorian vernacular is not as well known as the slang of the Roaring Twenties.  However, a few terms pop up now and then.  If someone is shilly shallying, they are acting irresolutely.   In other words, those who shilly shally can’t be pinned down one way or another to an action or a decision leaving others with no idea where that person stands.

Knock into a cocked hat.  To surprise, as in “It knocked me into a cocked hat when I heard he had gotten married.”

Pshaw, or shaw.  A polite exclamation that was used in place of almost any other expletive.

***

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…  

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

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Atonement Video Cover copy

USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 36

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

purple Steampunk woman drawing_Pixabay

Pixabay (image altered by Teagan)

It’s Hidebound Hump Day again, my chuckaboos!  This is a rather noisy episode. I didn’t notice Cornelis Drebbel’s submarine coming into port.  However, I see the harbor master waving, and now I can hear his voice.  Let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

From last time, Chapter 35   They decided to try a combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s still missing daddy.  You know as well as I do, how the Dutchman’s alchemy can go awry.  Let’s see how it’s going.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

36 — Purple, Diary, Kitchen

Purple folio Unsplash altered

Unsplash (image altered by Teagan)

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

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

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

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

Skull Green SIlks

Image by Teagan Geneviene

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

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

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

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

Victorian w purple feather hat

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

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

I felt a moment of comradery with the two fairies.  They seemed to understand everything I said, but I could not interpret their snorts, grunts, and snuffles at all.  However, emboldened by that friendly feeling, I told them my thoughts about the alchemist of the amethyst world and Calvin Hixon being together somewhere.  I opened the portfolio of Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical design drawings, and said that I felt one of the designs might also be involved.

When I added that I thought there might be a clue somewhere in the disarray of the bedroom, the fairies went quickly to work.  They busily looked through every pile and opened every box, cupboard, and drawer.

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

Aerial Screw drawing

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jamie Murray as Felicity

A teeth jarring screech of unused metal was followed by a crash.  The noise came from the kitchen.  The shouting was louder, but not coherent until I heard clearly the voice of Cal Hicks. 

“Lord of Alchemy!” the amethyst ape cried.  “No!  Please wait!”

I broke into a run.

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

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

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

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

Copper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green fairy skunk

Absinthe the Green Fairy, by Teagan R. Geneviene

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

However, Absinthe flew in circles around the aerial screw.  The Green Fairy jerked his head around, as if he heard something.  He screamed again and pointed.  The sound came again, loud enough for me to hear. 

The linen “threads” of the screw ripped loudly.  The aerial screw lurched. 

Cornelis struggled to keep his grip as the machine darted wildly.

***

Real World Notes

***

Now what has Cornelis Drebbel gotten himself into?  Be here next week to catch the… well dash my wig — who knows what mode of transportation we’ll use to get to the Victorian Era next time, but I hope you’ll be there!

I’m finally in my little cottage in the southwest, and have Internet again.  However, I have my hands full with setting up my household, cleaning, and eventually painting.  So please bear with me if I’m slow to answer comments.  Meanwhile, I hope you’ll talk among yourselves in the comments.

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

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Atonement Video Cover copy

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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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 35

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Copper Cover

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m off-line, but didn’t want to leave you hanging from any cliffs with the serial.  Collecting the recap for this episode reminded me of some fabulous animated videos created by Chris Graham. 

Let’s get over to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

From Episode 5.  (And an other animation from Chris Graham the Story Reading Ape)  When I upended the owl-shaped lamp, I found an opening.  Some very old documents were tightly rolled and inserted into the lamp…

From Episode 7 .  “Oh!  What have we here?” Cornelis Drebbel exclaimed excitedly over the ancient papers.  “Don’t tell me this is what was hidden in the lamp!” he cried and Copper and I both nodded, taken aback by his enthusiasm.  “Really?  The audacity!  To hide such treasures that way.  Don’t you know what these are?”…

… “My dear, these are the work of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci!  They are valuable beyond belief,” Cornelis exclaimed.

The Leonardo da Vinci?” I couldn’t help asking.  “Then they must be at the core of whatever is going on here,” I said with certainty.

From last time, Chapter 34   The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose.  “Viola’s son Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

35 — Herbs, Kitchen, Texan

submarine breaching surface

Pixaby, image altered by Teagan

Through an accident of alchemy, the submarine in which we traveled crashed on the shores of the amethyst world. The Green Fairy and Cornelis Drebbel had an animated conversation about the submarine Cornelis invented, and whether it could be repaired quickly enough.  After a moment they rejected using the submarine as a means of departure.  However, if we didn’t leave the peculiar purple place soon, we might be trapped forever.

When the missing “chapel chimps” were returned to the amethyst world, a few of them hung back to talk to us.  Cal Hicks sent those chimpanzees back to submarine to retrieve our belongings.  The two fairies, Absinthe and Aubrieta, fluttered ahead of the apes, leading the way.  Copper watched from the laboratory window as they disappeared from view.

Copper with FlowersThe girl stood at a table in the far corner of the long building, tying string around a small bundle of herbs.  I noticed a number of varieties hanging to dry.  Unexpectedly, Copper seemed to know what she was doing.  When I commented on the fact, she told me that she used to help her governess dry herbs.

“Is Viola coming back?” she asked Cal Hicks, the amethyst ape.

“I’m sure you’ll see her again,” Hicks answered.  “You two became friends very quickly,” he prompted.

Copper nodded as she tied the string into a bow.  “She reminds me of Violet, my governess.  I didn’t want her to go away, but Daddy said she was going back to live with her son Vaughner,” Copper told him with a sad look in her eyes.  “Daddy shouldn’t have let Violet go.  I heard him say her son was a criminal.”

“He did?” I was surprised into saying.  I felt like my brain was pulling threads together that I couldn’t quite grasp.

“Yes.  I heard him tell your boyfriend,” Copper answered with a distasteful twist of her mouth and the glimmer of a dare in her eyes.

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

Basil Gill as Ignatius Belle

“My what?” I exclaimed with a strangled chuckle, but then I remembered her distrust of Ignatius Belle.

There had not been more between Ignatius and me than some light flirting.  In fact, when I saw how focused he had become on Copper, and apparently wanted to lure her away, I felt he had tried to use me.  I had developed my own mistrust of the tall handsome innkeeper, and learning that he was really Copper’s half-brother did nothing to allay my concern.  However, considering that father and son were somewhat estranged, I was surprised to learn Calvin Hixon had confided that information in Ignatius Belle.

“Daddy shouldn’t have made her go live with Vaughner.  I don’t think she wanted to,” the girl said of her governess.  “Anyway, I think Viola looks like her,” Copper added with a sudden grin.  “Or she would if she had been a chimpanzee.”

Another idea clicked into place when Copper spoke.  I looked around for Cornelis Drebbel, but he had popped off somewhere.  Where was the alchemist?  He’d finish my sentences for me and this would go a lot faster.

“He asked me if the laboratory had a kitchen,” Cal answered my question.  “I think the Lord of Alchemy was feeling a bit peckish.”

Cornelis Drebbel

Cornelis Drebbel, Wikimedia

“Trust Cornelis Drebbel to go looking for a snack at a time like this,” I complained.

Without the alchemist to be my sounding board I spoke my thoughts aloud as I sorted them.  

“So… Copper’s father dismissed the governess she loved because he could no longer pay her wages,” I remembered Cornelis figuring out that in the past.  “That woman’s son was a reputed criminal, as Copper told us…” my words trailed away as I continued to assemble jumbled bits and pieces.

“Meanwhile, here in this amethyst world, Voila is the double of that governess.  Viola’s son was a ‘scoundrel’ as you commented,” I added turning to Cal Hicks.  “And the son of the governess a criminal,” I repeated and Copper nodded.

I paced as I untangled the mess. 

“So Viola’s son Von met his doppelgänger in our world… and that doppelgänger was the dead man in Calvin Hixon’s study — and he was Vaughner, the son of the governess!”Reading Ape purple

What a moment of crystal clarity!  If I’d worn suspenders on my trousers I would have given them a snap of satisfaction.  Copper had a wide-eyed expression on her face, but she seemed to have kept up with my summation.  Cal Hicks nodded every step of the way, an intelligent man for certain — or rather ape.

“Vaughner was surely up to some duplicity, since Copper heard her father calling him a criminal.  He stole the signet ring from Von so he could pass himself off as a member of the Hixon family.  He was in the house, sitting at Calvin Hixon’s desk when he died.  So he must have been looking for something.  But did he find whatever it was he wanted?” I questioned.

“I don’t think so.  You’ll see when the chimps get back,” Cornelis Drebbel said as he materialized at my side with a sharp pop.

I jumped, startled.  The Dutchman grinned, as it was his intention to disconcert me.

“Cornelis Drebbel!  Will you please cease doing that,” I insisted for the thousandth time.  “Where have you been?”

1920 Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM cowboy

Choctaw Bill, Mora, NM 1920s

The alchemist, originally from the 1600’s, was attired in knee britches with his favorite doublet, which had broad velvet sleeves, slashed with satin.  The broad brimmed hat that matched his ensemble was exchanged for a Stetson, and he wore tooled leather cowboy boots on his feet — both hat and boots were purple, of course.  Seeing me stare at his apparel Cornelis twisted his pointed blonde beard and wriggled his bushy eyebrows, clearly pleased with himself.

“I found my doppelgänger’s closet,” the Dutchman said with a twirl to show off his borrowed accessories.  “He has the most marvelously eccentric taste, don’t you think?”

I tried not to laugh, but I failed.  “Cornelis, you look like a Texan who fell into a Shakespearean fair,” I said and he pursed his lips, deciding how to react.

“I think they’re rather smart,” Cornelis replied, sticking out his lower lip.  “Copper, don’t you agree?”

Copper answered by giggling and hugging the alchemist.  I decided that was probably the safest response.  Besides, I was rather envious of those cowboy boots, just not with that outfit.

There was a commotion at the front door of the laboratory.  The coverall clad chimpanzees brought in our belongings.

“Ah, good!” Cornelis said.  “You’ll see what I mean.”

He went directly to the large carpet bag Copper had packed with all manner of things.  Cornelis retrieved the owl-shaped lamp.  I gasped.  Inside that lamp, were hidden valuable drawings made by Leonardo da Vinci.

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

da Vinci drawing of aerial screw, Wikimedia

Cornelis upended the owl lamp and removed the priceless da Vinci papers.  He smoothed out one in particular.

“Is that some sort of children’s toy?  A top of some sort?” I speculated as I looked at the drawing.

“Oh no,” Cornelis corrected me.  “It’s an aerial screw.  I think it is the key to finding Copper’s daddy.  It might also be how we get back to our world.”

***

Real World Notes

Aerial screw.  Sometimes it’s called a helicopter — you’re right if you think the first helicopter (as we think of them) wasn’t built until the 1940s.  However, it is thought that Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches from the late fifteenth century were the predecessor to the modern day whirlybird.  The invention was meant to compress air in order to obtain flight.  It had a platform mounted by a helical screw, with a system similar to rubber band-powered model airplanes.

***

Will the combination of da Vinci’s aerial screw and the alchemy of Cornelis lead our trio to Copper’s daddy? Or will it lead to a disastrous accident of alchemy?  To find out, be at the port to catch the steampunk submarine again next time, my chuckaboos!

***

I expect to be away from Internet service for some time.  However, I’ll try to have a few posts scheduled and waiting for you.  I hope you’ll talk among yourselves in the comments, although I probably won’t be able to join the conversation.

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

Amazon UK

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 © 2015 and 2019 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. 

 

Hidebound Hump Day — Cornelis Drebbel 34

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Cover Copper Alchemist Woman n Trousers

Welcome back to Hidebound Hump Day, my chuckaboos!  I’m off-line, but didn’t want to leave you hanging from any cliffs with the serial.

Let’s get straight to the #steampunk submarine.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

A Rewind from Chapter 3  First things first, I told myself as I turned my attention back to the dead body slumped over Calvin Hixon’s desk.  I had expected to see a pool of blood, but the top of the desk was clean.  The dead man’s left hand rested on the desktop.  Something seemed wrong about the position of the hand.  It had been moved.

Hadn’t Cornelis said he wore a signet ring?  Without looking I could feel the cool metal of the ring the alchemist placed on my finger.  “You’ll need this,” he’d said.  My eyes went back to the naked hand of the dead man.

“You moved a ring from the finger of a cadaver and put it on my hand?” I exclaimed, but Cornelis was nowhere to be seen.

“Cornelis Drebble!”

From last time, Chapter 33    We had a measuring device.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder.  It was shaped like a little gazebo with a domed roof supported by columns.  Within was a crystal bird with wings outstretched.  Tiny holes in the rounded roof held toothpicks.  If the toothpicks started to turn lavender, it was a warning that we had been in the amethyst world too long.  If all the toothpicks turned purple we were in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple, it would be too late.

I quickly took the detector out of the Dutchman’s bag so I could examine it.  The toothpicks were lavender.

All aboard!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers

34 — Cornbread, Champagne Glasses, Astrolabe

ape eyes purple

Image by Teagan

The amethyst ape looked to the direction in which his violet complected chimpanzee housekeeper had ridden away on an aubergine coated horse.  Viola went back to his grand house to make sure the doppelgängers of Copper and myself did not come any closer.  Their proximity had made us quite ill, but Cornelis alchemically altered some green Chartreuse, which set us back to rights.  I wondered if the ape versions had also felt ill.

Cal Hicks shook his head regretfully.  “Poor Viola,” the ape murmured, causing me to ask what he meant.

“She showed you the locket containing a bit of her dead son’s hair,” he said as a reminder, so I nodded.  “He was lost in the battle with the one-eyed-one-horned flying-purple-people-eater; the dragon.  Though I cannot reconcile that in my mind with the tiny Purple Fairy, Aubrieta.  Whatever changed her form to the dragon must have also held uncontrollable sway over her personality as well.  We should feel pity for her, not resentment,” Cal added as if to himself, then cleared his throat.Hair brooch

“Forgive me, I digress.  Viola’s son was not in the chapel with the apes that disappeared that day,” Cal said, going back to his point.  “Nor was he among those returned by Aubrieta’s magic.  Viola said she felt his death a short time after the chapel apes disappeared.  I hoped she was wrong, but she must have been correct,” Cal told me.

“More’s the pity,” the amethyst ape commented, again shaking his head.  “Viola’s son was a scoundrel, though I liked to believe he had a good heart.  He never got the chance to correct the path on which he’d put himself.  He never reached his potential,” Cal spoke sadly.

Cornelis Drebbel got that look on his face.  Though his skull was safely ensconced my hatbox, I knew the expression on his face meant the gears in his mind were turning.  Abruptly he held an ancient looking leather portfolio.  That was where he kept his drawings.  He opened the folio and handed two sketches to Cal Hicks.  One drawing was of a chimpanzee and the other of a man.

First I recognized the man in the drawing as the person we found in the study at the Hixon estate.  The man had been dead when we arrived.  The rogue chimpanzees carried away his corpse.  The second thing I noticed was a strong resemblance in the drawings of the dead man and the chimp.

“Is this, by any chance, Viola’s son?” the alchemist asked Cal Hicks of the sketch of the chimpanzee.

Cal gasped. 

“Why yes!  As always, Lord of Alchemy, your talents astound me,” Cal replied.  “Do you have news of him?”

“We found his doppelgänger dead, but that’s as much as I can say,” Cornelis told him.

Empress Little Rock twilight

The Empress of Little Rock, Wikimedia

A few of the returned apes moved uneasily, but they were reluctant to leave.  They stayed nearby, hiding their nakedness as best they could.  Their coloring had fully reverted to various shades of purple, as was natural for them.  Cal Hicks stepped into the laboratory and quickly returned with several pairs of coveralls for them.

Hicks invited them to go to his house for a hot meal.  However they refused, saying they couldn’t take advantage of his hospitality.  They watched Cornelis Drebbel closely, almost as if mesmerized.

“At least have some bread and wine then,” Cal Hicks told them.

The amethyst ape uncovered a basket containing all manner of loaves, muffins, and cornbread.  Hicks insisted that the returned simians at least eat some bread.  He told them that being translocated had surely depleted their reserves.  Since Hicks wouldn’t take no for an answer, they drank and ate a little, but they looked much more interested in Cornelis and the two fairies.Absinthe tail up

Aubrieta and Absinthe cuddled near the laboratory building.  The Purple Fairy and the Green Fairy were both tiny now.  The alchemy that imploded the dome of fire also allowed Aubrieta to remain in her natural winged skunk-looking form.

Absinthe stretched and touched his green nose to the golden unicorn-like horn that was above Aubrieta’s single amber eye.  They both made muttering noises that sounded remarkably like giggles.  The erstwhile purple-people-eater she-dragon and Absinthe entwined their fluffy tails as they muttered and snorted softly to one another.

Cal Hicks looked at them wonderingly. 

“It’s a pity Viola isn’t here to witness that,” he murmured.

Cornelis gave a wicked grin.  He reached into nothingness and produced a tray with etched champagne glasses.  His arm disappeared up to his elbow as he reached into that magic space again and came back with a bottle of champagne.

“I wouldn’t pop the cork on that just yet,” I told him.

To remind them, I held out the measuring device Absinthe had insisted we take with us when we left the submarine.  It looked like a silver toothpick holder fashioned to have a gazebo with a crystal bird inside.  Tiny rods that resembled toothpicks protruded from the roof of the gazebo.  It measured how much we were being influenced by the amethyst world.  If we stayed too long, we might not be able to return home.

The words of the alchemist echoed in my mind.

“Many of the effects can be mitigated,” Cornelis had said, dismissing my concern.  “For instance, a little lavender hue is of no real concern.  But if all the toothpicks turn purple we are in serious danger of being unable to return home.  Should the bird turn purple,” he added pointing to the crystal ornament in the center of the gazebo.  “Well, then it is too late,” he’d finished with a wry twist of his mouth, which suggested that was a real possibility.

Victorian silver toothpick holder shaped as a gazebo with a bird inside

Wikimedia

The metering toothpicks had turned to a saturated lavender, and not a pastel lavender like they were the last time I looked.  Cal Hicks gasped, his face painted with concern.  Absinthe and Aubrieta fluttered over to me and inspected the device closely, muttering the while.  Cornelis puckered his lips in an expression that made me think he was about to sidestep something.

“As I’ve said, the lavender hue is of no real concern.  It could be from your doppelgängers being too near, or even from what we consumed at tea,” the alchemist said in an unconcerned tone, but he cast a sidelong glance at the device.

Several feet away, the small group of coverall clad apes conversed quietly but animatedly among themselves.  I got the feeling that the group had come to a decision.  A very large dark purple chimpanzee came forward.  I thought there was something reluctant in the way he moved.

“Begging your pardon, Mr. Hicks.  We heard the Lord of Alchemy mention doppelgängers.  When we—,” the chimpanzee began haltingly.  “Well, it’s Von, sir — Viola’s son.  When we were in that strange world Von met his double.  They both ended up dead, although none of us saw exactly how it happened,” the chimp said and hung his head.

“You saw nothing at all?” Hicks questioned, pushing for information.

The chimpanzee looked contrite, as if there was something he did not want to disclose. 

“Von had that family ring he stole from your son.  There was a man who seemed to recognize the ring.  He tricked Von into giving it to him and then ran off.  Von slipped off to track him.  We found them at a fine home that looked a lot like yours.  But when we got there they were both dead,” the chimp explained.

Signet ring, blue stone coat of arms

Lethia at Pixabay

“We took both bodies and hid them,” the chimpanzee added.  “We were afraid of what might happen if the residents of that world noticed the two were doubles.”

Cal Hicks made a tut-tut sound and slowly shook his head.  

“Von was a scoundrel and a petty thief,” Hicks commented.  “But he was Viola’s son.  Even after he stole the signet ring from my son Nate, I wouldn’t have wished him dead.”

I still wore the signet ring Cornelis removed from the hand of the cadaver we found in Calvin Hixon’s study.  Cornelis gave it to me so I could pass myself off as Copper’s aunt, and prevent the people from the orphanage taking her away.

The ring was much too big for my finger, but I had taken to wearing it on a ribbon hung around my neck.  I pulled it out from inside my shirt.  Removing the ribbon I handed the ring to Cal Hicks.  “Is this the ring?” I asked.

“Lady Felicity!  Why yes.  That’s the ring I had made for Nate.  How did you come to have it?” Hicks asked.

He tried to give the ring back to me.  I took the amethyst ape’s large hand in both of mine and closed his thick fingers around the ring.

“It clearly belongs to you, or your son.  I only borrowed it as a way of helping Copper.  We don’t need it anymore,” I said.

Excited chirping and snorting came from the two fairies.  Suddenly Aubrieta popped out of sight.  I heard an agitated screech from inside the laboratory.  Absinthe snorted and then disappeared.  An instant later both tiny fairies reappeared.  Between them they supported an intricately designed astrolabe.  Aubrieta chirped excitedly.  They flew over to Cornelis, and the alchemist gingerly took the apparatus from them.

“What is that thing?” Copper wanted to know.

“It’s an astrolabe,” Cornelis told her.  “They’re used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers.  Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and vice versa, surveying, and triangulation,” he explained.

Copper looked blankly at Cornelis and blinked.  Absinthe gave an exasperated snort at the Dutchman, clearly dissatisfied with the appropriateness of his definition.  Absinthe fluttered onto Copper’s shoulder and nuzzled into her hair.

A very old Astrolabe

Astrolabe, Wikimedia

With a longsuffering sigh, the Dutchman revised his explanation.  “They’re used for solving problems relating to time and the position of the Sun and stars in the sky,” the alchemist clarified and Absinthe seemed satisfied that that explanation was suitable for Copper.

The girl looked at the Green Fairy in hopeful astonishment. 

“We can use this to find my Daddy?  Is that what you mean, Absinthe?” she asked the little fairy.

Aubrieta flew to them and hovered near her newly reconciled mate.  Both of the fairies chirped happily to Copper in what seemed to be affirming noises.

“Hopefully the astrolabe can help us get home as well,” I said wryly.

Then I held out the measuring device.  A third of the toothpicks had darkened from a saturated lavender to royal purple.

***

Real World Notes

Astrolabe.  Let’s look at related long-ago-tech.  Astrolabes, inclinometers, and sextants were all used in navigation.

A sextant is a tool for measuring the angular altitude of a star above the horizon.  The astrolabe predates the sextant.

An inclinometer, or clinometer, is an instrument used for measuring angles of slope (or tilt), elevation, or depression of an object with respect to gravity’s direction.

Astrolabes are elaborate, more capable relatives of inclinometers, which were used for navigation and for locating astronomical objects.  Historically, astrolabes were used by astronomers and navigators to measure the altitude above the horizon of a celestial body, day or night.  They were used from ancient times to the Renaissance.

***

So… the dead man in the study had an ape doppelgänger — and both seem to be a tad dishonest. The fairies may have found a device to find Copper’s daddy, but in which world is Calvin Hickson?  The amethyst world or our own — and how much time do they have to find him if he’s in the purple world?  Meanwhile the metering “toothpicks” deepen in purple hues.

What about those awful people from the orphanage?  What about the woman with a chimp — she lead one of the groups chasing our trio? And the ape who gestured “Daddy” in sign language?

There are many questions yet to be answered. So be at the port for the steampunk submarine next time.

Unfortunately, I had to close comments since I can’t be here.  Please don’t give up on me.  I love your comments.  I’ll open comments as soon as I’m able. 

See you next time, my chuckaboos!

***

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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.

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