Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Now, on to fun stuff. I have recently "discovered" web comics. I knew they were always out there, I just never bothered before to look at them. I have several favorites already, but one is of a particular interest to us Neo-Victorians. It is relatively new, as there are only 43 pages so far, so it won't take long to get up to speed in the story-line, which already is showing itself to be interesting (it's #1 on both Buzz Comix! and Top Web Comics), so that should be indicative that it has already created an interested public. It's called "The Phoenix Requiem" and is billed as "A Victorian fantasy story about faith, love, and a whole lot of ghosts." I invite my readership (if I even still have one), to visit the site at http://requiem.seraph-inn.com/ . Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
The giant bunny looked down on me, and tilted its head in a funny manner. I heard a rumbling from deep within him....not a rumble of hunger...well, not the hunger of being desirous of food, even though it had fangs easily longer than I was tall....but the hunger of .....most frightenly....lust!
Mewling in fear, I felt my knees give out before me, but not before the beast could snatch me up in it's powerful paws. I shrieked, and shrieked again! I had lost all sense, and in my terror could not even begin to recall the most simplest of spells to defend myself! The beast lifted me up to his face. I was sure I would die! Tears streaming down my face, I cried fiercely, certain my body would soon find itself a giant rabbit pellet of pooh on this God and Goddess forsaken island.
"Damn Bardhaven!" I bemoaned to myself. Now angry, I spewed execrations at the giant bunny, Lord Bardhaven, Phillip in general, and even myself for allowing myself to get into this mess. I knew I was about to have my spirit rejoin the supernatural world. But I wasn't ready to complete the circle of the journey of life!
But instead of eating me, the giant bunny looked down at me....in an almost tender fashion. He rumbled softly, almost seemingly smiling at me. With one long, curved, wicked claw of his index finger of his right paw, he poised it over my chest. "Oh Goddess," I cried, "Receive me with love!" Instead of plunging his talon into me, ending my life, he delicately pulled my bra top down, rumbling with pleasure. I looked into his face again, and could swear I saw him grin! I looked down and saw his giant.....at this point....in greater fear than I was before... I thankfully passed out.
I do not know how long I was out. All I know was that I awoke to much "hronkings" and squawkings! The giant rabbit still held me captive. I felt sore and abused, tore and bruised, ... yet only in my outer body...I knew I had not yet been violated....just brutalized from being held in the palm of this not-so-gentle giant. He was running and hopping fast, being chased by a throng of...could it be!....Gnarli's penguins, with my Pengui in the lead! (I could tell him by his red-rimmed eyes and ruddy nose!) The multitude of the little beasts were driving this monster into the the water! They were diving at him, squawking, pecking, harassing the rabbit continuously. The noise was incredible. Every now and then, the beast was able to punt a pengui into the distant jungle, mangling it against a tree, or an ignaceaous rock. But there were too many of them. The dumb beast tried to hold me close to its chest protectively, smothering me in its cloying smell of wild onions, garlic, and carrots. He wailed and thrashed as he ran deeper into the water, not knowing that the ocean was the perfect clime for a penguin. The further in he went, the more effective their attacks, the less efficient his.
Eventually they harried him to the island's shelf. There were no where near as many penguins as there were when the battle begun. The beach was strewn with them, as well as many floating dead in the water. But the deeper the bunny had fled into the water, the more they were able to wound him in the places that counted. Abruptly, the giant rabbit pulled me up to his face. He moaned, and looked at me....lovingly. Then I knew he was dying. It was at this point I felt compassion for this dumb beast. As I felt his fingers numbly let me go, the fire of life in his eyes dying out, I realized, if the penguins had not attacked him, and had me given the chance, I could have spelled him down to my size, and given him a human form, and would have had a man that a woman dreams of....one that would do anyhing for them, without question, with undying loyalty. I rolled my eyes and shrugged my shoulders as he dropped below the island's shelf, releasing me. Oh well. No woman has ever been so blessed, nor ever will be.
The sun was rising. As I tread water, I could see our camp in the near distance. With an incredibly larger number of people than where there before. I thought i could see a large cast iron pot with smoke arising from under it. I cursed my luck at missing breakfast, and what appeared to be a party going on.
Out of nowhere, I heard a "hronk" and a splash! When I looked in that direction, all I saw was a ripple of water. Then there was another "hronk"! Another splash! Another ripple. I grew suspicious. After the third "hronk", splash and ripple, I started to count the penguins. They were disappearing rapidly! That is when I saw the fins of a hammerhead shark circling us. Suddenly feeling naked and vulnerable, I pulled my bra top back up. The penguins clustered around me protectively.
In the distance, I finally recognized that the Duchesses Gabi and Eva were in a cooking pot, surrounded by men wearing silly bowling shirts, dancing!
Looking at the shark making the waters roil about me and the penguins, I had the most bizarre thought...Not in the cooking pot, but in the broiling waters!
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Though hung-over, I awoke early. I knew I had to be in the Cay before Bardhaven's rented ship set sail. I knew it was called the Arranax...or was it Arrownocks, maybe it was the Adirondacks...goddess, I didn't know, and could really care less what it was called, I just knew to look for the only ship willing to set sail in broiling waters. I decided to dress in something naughty, something that drew attention to my buxom bossom...Goddess knew I had reason to do so (one of the reasons to read my "serious" intermission above). Then I went to the stables to see to it that Sean would get the carriage ready for the trip.
Well, that was a lesson in futility. Apparently Sean and Bernie drank too much the night before, and not only were both lads passed out stone cold from the Uisge Beatha, but somehow managed to break the rear axle of the carriage. Which managed to tilt over and crash upon my cask of Uisge. Sucking what little of the whiskey I could off the straw in the stables, I growled and cursed Sean and Bernie, and gave them each a kick, but they just stopped their loud snorings long enough to roll over and mutter deprecations in their sleep, before snoring louder than before.
Grumbling curses under my breath, I returned to the manor in no less than a foul mood. when I arrived there, there was a post from Dr. Darien Mason....a letter post-marked from the Caledon Regency Hospital....stating his search for Qli's mother Lucien, formerly known as Sumalee, from the Bloodtail Neko Tribe, and his desire that I would seek clues concerning her whereabouts! Apparently he believes there may be a connection between the various volcanoes of the world. He included this dagguerrotype:
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Heady with my victory over Gott, and still clutching the Letters Patent possessively, I stumbled along somewhat drunkenly toward the front door. Seeing my faithful dog Braveheart lying lazily by the door, I whistled him to me. I had need for him for an important task later this evening (ACK! You dirty-minded people...NOT that!). He followed me obediently out of the manor, as I headed toward the stables. When I reached the shade of the ancient oak, I hid myself in its shadows. I fumbled in the leather pouch hidden within the folds of my gown, the pouch in which I held all my important vials of tinctures and bundles of herbs. Each vial had its own distinctive shape, and feeling for the right one, I pulled it out and took a small swallow. I waited a moment till the haze of drunkenes faded away to nothing, and mental clarity filled my mind with sharpness. I smiled inwardly at the spirit of my deceased mother, dead now for half a century, who had taught me how to brew this potent potion. I had very important work to do for now, and needed every bit of my wits about me.
Making sure nobody was looking, I started to head towards my Fortune Telling Parlour instead, now feigning a drunk's walk and muttering to myself, just in case somebody were to see me. Playing the drunken fool, I had found out long ago was a sure way to keep peoples' eyes off of you, and think you no more a threat than a sot. I liked to keep enemies, actual and potential, off guard. Going through the front door, I locked it behind me. I went upstairs and changed into a special black gown, worn only for special ceremonies, then turned on a lamp, and cast a little shadow & thump spell, to make it seem to anybody outside that I was drunkenly ambling about in the upper chambers. If they knocked and I didn't answer, they would assume I was too liquored-up to hear them, or to care. Going back downstairs, I lit a small candle, and did a quick Tarot reading to assure the time was auspicious for what I was about to do. It was. Blowing out the candle, I went out the back door, Braveheart still following. Making sure the gate to the garden courtyard was looked, I cast about the highwalls with my inner senses to feel if there were intruders nearby. There weren't. What I was about to do required the utmost of concentration.
In the center of the courtyard was a circle of white sand, held within a circle of pure gold, and inlaid with a pure gold pentacle. In the midst of the pentacle was an alabaster altar, with all the accoutrements necessary for my ceremonies. Slipping off my shoes, I entered into the sacred area barefoot, feeling the delicate sand between my toes, bring Braveheart in it with me. As usual, my skin goosefleshed and the little hairs on my arm stood upright, as I felt tingle of the otherworldly forces course through me. Closing my eyes and breathing in deep, I curled my toes and clenched my fists at the near ecstatic feeling of being on the cusp of communication with the nether realms. In reverence, I went to each of the quarter candles in turn, lighting them, and saying the appropriate incantation in the ancient Sidhe language my mother taught me, as her mother before her, and so on for the past several thousands years back. Going back to the altar, I lit the two candles, one for Father Yah, and one for Mother Hawah, invoking them. Then with Athame in hand, I walked the circle, cutting it. As I finished the circle, I could feel forces rise up, shielding me from any influences of the world of the living. I was in a realm where time meant nothing. Now unseen to mortal eyes, I could spend hours within the circle, doing that which needed doing, while only mere moments would have passed outside of it.
div>First I lay the Letters Patent on a small pentacle on the altar. I dipped my fingers in the waterbowl to purify them. Then after anointing myself with oil, I offered a hymn of thanksgiving to Yah and Hawah. I drank from the chalice and ate of the bread dipped in honey, after first giving an oblation to the God and Goddess. Finally, I ate a little sorrel, to open my mind to the forces I was about to channel around me. I was ready to invoke great powers.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
That's when I saw you standing there,
I said "Hello" and you said nothing,
That's when you gave me quite a scare,
You vanished off into the thin air,
And then you later told me to go,
I couldn't even be your friend,
We really now have reached the end,
And we have nothing more to say.
You think that you are alone,
That only you can hurt this way,
You think that I betrayed you,
That I wanted it to die this way,
That I didn't love you anymore,
Well that's not even the truth!
My heart's still breaking into two,
And I still think and cry for you,
Even though I can't be with you.
You had promised me a new life,
One filled with all the joys of you,
And I was going to be your wife,
And one become instead of two,
But your lying words to my heart they just won't heal,
And all my soul can only feel,
The emptiness of dark despair,
My dreams have vansihed in the air,
I felt a knife twist in my back,
And you think I shouldn't care!
I took a stroll last evening,
I saw you standing from afar,
My heart yearned to go to you,
But you had made it very clear to me,
That me you no longer wanted to see,
So I just turned and walked away,
I have to take a differnt path,
Though my heart won't let go of the past,
And still I cry tears.
You think think that I never loved you,
Well darling that just isn't true!
My heart is ripping into shreds,
But that isn't something new.
Don't hate me 'cause I can move on,
and say "Goodbye" to what is gone!
I never wanted it this way!
To face each every empty day,
And sweetie I still miss you,
Even though it is the end,
And dearest that's true.
Amber Palowakski, August 6th, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
As I moodily contemplated the future of Caledon, I watched a band of urchins thronging about Lord Bardhaven, their grasping, grimy hands grappling about him while he batted them them away with disdainful disgust. A manged mutt of indiscriminate breeding, with threatening growls attempted to bite the lord in defense of its little master, only to be the recipient of such a glare that suddenly whimpering, it tucked its tail between it legs and tried to escape, but not before Bardhaven's boot caught it solidly in its rump, sending it yelping and tumbling floppy-eared head-over-tail several yards, uncermoniously skidding into a sickening thump against a Phillip plushie toy vendor stall, knocking it over and scattering little toy volcanoes across the market square, which where soon lost in a wash of hands. One of the little buggers managed to snatch a copper from the gentleman of Three Graces(which term I at times thought questionable to apply to the Baron, but always kept such musings to myself), just as lady Eva urged her powerful steed Bucephalus into the crowd, scattering them. The frightened little thief sped toward my direction, cluthing his ill-gotten possesion tightly, and as he passed by me, with Fey speed and strength I grabbed ahold of his scrawny wrist, and applying pressure, forced him to open his palm. Thrashing with wild futility, he stared at me with wide eyes while I calmly plucked his treasure from his grip.
"I'll take this, thank you lad...that is, unless you want the law involved", I growled, while pointing my eyes toward a pair of bobbies striding toward the disbanded mob of cutpurses.
With tears in his bulging eyes, the youngling immediately lost all fight, and relinquishing any claim on the pence, slunkered away in defeat. When I turned my eyes back towards Bardhaven's direction, he was already in his carriage, speeding away to Three Graces, leaving the crowd to find its own means of avoiding his hasty departure. "Oh well, I'll return him his copper later," I thought to myself, and handing it to Sean, directed him to get me another lager.
Sir Alex having taked his own steed on to attend to the business of forming my household cavalry, Sean drove Millie, the babies and I back to my country manor. The ride back to Bauerhoff in the Moors was unevently, filled with the usual inanities and insanities of Millie muttering to herself, going on and on about "that Devil" and "Phillip", occasionally mumbling a Noster Pater or an Ave Maria regarding either problem to herself. Seeing that I was in a foul mood, she averted her eye from mine the entire trip. My second lager long since empty, I directed Sean to stop at the Pavillion. I had hoped to find maybe one more drop of liquor left. To my great aggravation, I discovered Millie was only partly correct in her assessment of my lack of alcohol. Indeed, two of the bottles of Uisge Beatha were empty, but the cask was quite full. Filling up one of the used bottles from the barrel, I stalked back to my carriage fuming, taking several calming sips. I ordered Millie to carry the cask back to the buggy as punishment for her inability to properly foresee what my needs would be. Even though she was scrawny, she had amazing wiry strength. Besides which, her humpback proved a perfect location for porting heavy items such as casks, and crates and what-not, which might be said to be the only advantage of her services to me, which I would soon all-to-well discover. I sent Millie back to the Pavillion to clean up the mess from the previous evening's Lughnassad festivities, while I decided to direct Sean to the manor.
Upon our arrival I regretted leaving Millie behind at the pavillion, as I still had to unload the cask from the hansom. But Sean, bless his bright-eyed heart, had a steady hand, and quite some strength for a strapling young man of 18 summers, and he cheerily offered to unload it. I promised him that after he attended to his normal duties, as well as a special task I had for him that afternoon and evening, that he could later invite his friend Bernie over and share a bottle's worth of the Uisge. He grinned immensely, and being a bright lad, quickly went about his duties. I informed him that first he had to baby sit the children for me, which he didn't mind, as he liked to often play with them, and besides me, he was the only person Elijah would never bite.
Having accomplished said tasks, I attended the tea that late afternoon in Kittiwickshire, then hied myself to the Bookbinder's Ball (which incidently was a magnificent event...it made me proud to be a Caledonian, and greatly honoured that Sir JJ Drinkwater and the librarians had taken residence in Caledon). Lady Eva had cleansed spiritually the Primvernesse Ballroom, and there was nothing other but joy and goodwill the entire evening. Sir JJ recieved the highest honour of the Lapin d'Or, whilst the other librarians the Lapin d'Argent. After the ball, I made a swift journey through the portals left by ancient Elder Ones to Steelhead to attend another event. But I was quite anxious to return home. I was expecting a very important post, which was supposed to arrive by day's end.
When I returned, Sean and Bernie were practically bouncing on their feet awaiting my arrival. Being in a good mood after several relaxing and joyful events, I graciously gave each of the lads each a bottle full and sent them on their way to the stables, warning them to not roam the countryside afterwards. I checked in on my babes, they were sleeping peacefully. I could hear Millie's ramblings echoing up from the cellar, so I proceeded, bottle in hand, to my study, where Sean would have left any posts. After such a bad start to the day, it was ending splendidly, and if I received that for which I long-awaited, all the miseries of the morning would be quickly forgotten!
To my surprise, my study door was partly open, lit within by lamplight. I scowled, thinking about the reprimand I would give Sean in the morning. Opening the door all the way, I stormed in and stopped in shock. There was someone sitting in my chair, at my desk, with their back to me! "What is the meaning of this!" I exclaimed angrily.
Slowly the chair turned. "Tsk, tsk, what a way to greet a kinsman, my dear Amber, after being absent many months," a well-familiar mellow bass rumbled.
I never knew the bottle left my hand, till I heard it smash on the floor, each individual scintillating tinkle of shattering glass acutely heard, as I stared with open-mouthed shock into the face of Colonel Gottfried Eusebio, abdicated 15th Baron of Bauerhoff...my brother! In his hands were two envelopes...one unopened, with the seal of the house of Bardhaven, the other, opened, with the seal of the Chancery's Office...the post which I long-awaited!
"Gott," I whispered, my throat suddenly gone dry, "What are you doing here?!" At this point I deeply regretted dropping the Uisge.
His right leg draped gracefully over the other, he took a long draw from his pipe, blowing aromatic smoke rings in the air...rum-scented, to be exact, which set a craving off within me, while he regarded me steadily, his green werewolf eyes glowing softly. He seemed so much more...sane...than the last time I beheld him. I shuddered involuntarily, foreboding coming over me.
"My, my, sister dear, don't be so overjoyed at seeing me," he purred, "You don't even seem concerned about how I have been this past year. Oh, by the way, I think this is yours."
He casually tossed me the unopened envelope, with the Bardhaven seal, which, my senses returning to me, I deftly caught, but intentionally ignored. My eyes riveted on the very important envelope in his hands, the one addressed to me, the one he opened, I casually sparred back in a flat tone, "How have you been, dear brother," while in a more sharp note stated, "And I believe the other mine is mine as well."
"Ahhh, yes, we'll get to the matter of this presently," he drawled, flourishing the Chancery Office envelope dramatically. "But first, as to where I was..." His eyes grew distant, his voice softer, "I was incensed with madness, dear sister. After having abdicated the Barony to you, and forced to face the ignoble and humiliating experience of giving you my beloved blimp, my mind lost all grasp of reason. Visions and voices filled my head. I was compelled to travel to Lauk, to the land of the Itchysporkchowchow..."
At this point I was getting aggravated at his sense of the melodrama, and interrupted, "Gott, that is silly...you went to the land of the Icky-icky-icky-icky-P'tang, Zzoo-Boing, gdgdbaaoizen?!"
Suddenly coming out of his revery, he said in a decidedly patronizing tone, "Now you are being silly, sister...not the land of the Knights till have recently said 'Ni'... the land of the Itchysporkchowchow! I was in search of something quite valuable there, till the land was destroyed by a massive volcanic eruption. I barely escaped with my life, stowing away on this ship quickening to set sail from Port Lauk 'The Ruffian King'."
Suddenly, he leapt to his feet, the mad glaze back in his eyes, shouting, "If I would have had my bloody blimp, which you finagled off of me, I would not have had to do unspeakable things to mollify the captain of the ship from telling the owner of the ship, some dread Baron Bardhoffen-something-or-the-other, of my presence, and escaped on my own!!!" Spittle flew from his mouth as he ranted, and some foam dribbled down his wolfen furry chin.
I rolled my eyes at him, now definitely assured that he was still crazy. I really needed a drink. Then I recalled that in the drawer of my writing desk there was a bottle of Absinthe, one of those little complimentary types you get at hotels, which I acquired from Sheriff Thaddeus Riel while making a visit to Tombstone in search of my long-lost Laudanum-driven cousin Copal Riel, who went mad pining for her sailor husband who failed to return from his nautical voyagings for 10 years. Opening the drawer I snatched the little treasure out, and finished it in one pull. I then gave Gott the look only a mother can give to a wayward 3 year-old, or a nurse at the Tamrannoch Sanitorium gave its patients. "OK, Gotti," I said soothingly, "It's ok. You are safe now, home, with sissy here to take care of you."
As he was pacing back and forth distraughtly, my presence all forgotten, mumbling constantly "The horror, the horror," I decided to give him time to recover some semblance of normality, and opened up Bardhaven's missive. It began with the usual pompous ramblings of the self-obsessed, "The Lord Bardhaven, Lord Zealot Benmurgui, yada-yada-yada, by the grace of blah-blah-blah, under the Authority of Vicereine Kamillah Hauptmann, King Phillip Linden the First, Guv'nah Desmond Shang, The Duchesses of Carntaigh, Loch Avie, Lionsgate, and Primvernesse, and the Auspices of the Royal Society...etc., etc., etc...(interspersed with all sorts of phrases in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and the Edler Ones' tongue), I do hereby summon you to join this expedition to NEWLY FORMED VOLCANIC ISLAND OF PHILLIP, situated in the Middle Sea of Caledon, and so forth...."
I stood stock-still, staring at the letter. I read it again. I couldn't believe I was being drawn into what I was certain would become a debacle. Yet if the Duchesses were going, I couldn't be left behind. I couldn't refuse. What would people say? I would most definitely lose the respect of my society. Sighing deeply, I knew what I had to do.
Leaving Gott to his ramblings about being in the midst of the heart of darkness, I swiftly made my way to the kitchem and grabbing a bottle of cooking sherry downed it in one swallow. Snatching another bottle, I returned to my study, where Gott was still raving, though in a much more subdued manner. When he saw me, the madness left his eyes once again, and a dangerous cunning shone forth. He waved the missive from the Chancery's Office before my eyes, which said organs followed possesively and hungrily. I couldn't let him have that!
"Well, well, well, my dear sister, you decided to remember there are more important things than your precious bottle! Come back for this, did you?" he rumbled in a threatening tone. "Well, I won't let you have it, except on one condition!"
All my hopes settled on that one piece of paper, that ancient document, that Letters Patent dating back to April 6th, 1560, establishing the Bauerhoff Barony and its crest from Queen Elizabether the First herself. Gott had sent to the Chancery's Office his own abdication of his position as Baron under my insistence a year ago, and now it had been approved by the Crown itself, King Phillip Linden the First, and the original Letters Patent sent to me, to be in my possesion. But if Gott refused now to give me what was rightfully mine....
"What, Gott? What? What do you want?", I said almost pleadingly, tears in my eyes. "What do you wish of me?" I pulled long and hard from the sherry, to give me strength for his demands.
"I want my blimp back!" he asserted boldy, the madness clear in his eyes. "I want it, I want, I want it!!!", he began to rail like a two-year-old robbed of its toy, stomping his foot petulantly and pouting. "It's mine, and I want it back!"
A slow smile crossed my face, as I found a solution to two problems. As always, when Gott became like this, he became putty in my hands. Giving him my kindest smile, I purred, "Sure Gott, you can have your blimp back, on one condition..."
Malleable as ever, now mollified, meekly he murmured, "Really? I can? what's the condition?"
Now for the tour-de-force, because the only thing I could ever trust Gott with were my babes...he doted on them beyond reason, and was fiercely protective of them, his niece and nephew, heirs to the Barony, because he knew under his condition he never could have children. "Gott dear," I manipulatively intoned, "You can take care of my babies for a month, if you give me the Letters Patent. AND you can have your blimp back!" I callously failed to mention I had a better blimp, a zeppelin actually, the LS0001 Graf Luftschiff.
I didn't need his silly old blimp anymore. He suddenly melted like butter in a pan, tears of happiness rolling from his eyes. I smiled my sweetest, and reaching into my reticule pulled out the keys to his blimp, and gesturing with my eyes toward the prize I sought the most, dangled the keys before his eyes. Like a puppy at the teat, he took the keys, absent-mindedly dropping the documents to the floor, and started prancing about like a pixie in a poppy field.
Grinning, I deftly snatched up the documents, and perused them. I proudly read that venerable decree from long ago:
Elizabeth, Dei gratia Angliæ, Franciæ & Hiberniæ Regina, fidei defensor,&c.
Omnibus ad quos præsentes literæ pervenerint, salutem.
Be it hereby recognized by all, that the Crowne hereby granteth this Letters Patent,
which certifyeth that our Loyal Servant, Sir Rufus Eusebio-Palowakski, Baronet of
Bauerhoff, be hereby entered into the rolls of the Peerage, with all said privelages as pertaineth unto a Baron of the Realm, including the rights of said Title, and fiefdomme of the Barony of Bauerhoff de Caledon, and seat in Parliamente, and Coat of Arms, which shall consist of a shield tierced pallwise, on the chief a field Gules shall be a Chalice Or emblazoned with the fluer de lis Vert, on the Dexter a field Or shall be a Crowned Lion Rampant Gules facing Sinister, on the Sinister a field Vert shall be a Pascal Lamb Passant Argent, the crest being a Unicorn Head Caboshed Argent with tongue Gules, facing Sinister, and a Mantle of the colours of the Tartan Caledon. This title and and attendant privelages shall be considered in pertuata, with the especial privelage granteth by the Crowne which permitteth said holder to name his successor, be it sonne or daughter, brother or sister, but if no such heir exists, said title and lands thereby return to the Crowne.
Dat. apud Palacium nostrum de Westmonasterio, sexto die Aprilis. Anno regni nostri secundo.
At long last, my hopes have been attained! No longer just heir-apparent, acting Baroness of the Barony of Bauerhoff de Caledon, but Baroness indeed! Now only one thing remained. Well, two things. First and foremost, joining Lord Bardhaven's expedition to Phillip, to ensure that Caledon (AND, most importantly, my Barony, which was now fully and rightfully mine), were not destroyed, as well as to keep an eye on Bardhaven, which some sources rumoured that he had his eyes on my Barony anyways, as they claimed, (though I was not able to ascertain for sure), that he was distantly related to me on my great-aunt's uncle-in-law's great-grandfater's cousin's niece's husband's mother's father's side), and that he could prove it, though I doubted it. The other thing was to make sure Gott was committed to the Tamrannoch Sanitorium when I returned. Anybody who spouted off nonsense about imaginary lands called Lauk inhabited by equally ridicululously named inhabitants such as Itchysporkchowchow surely needed better care than that to which I could attain. I need to talk to my inside source there, Mr. Icterus Dagger, upon my return from this mysterious journey.
Tomorrow I shall begin packing for this venture. As dear, old, crazy brother Gott scampered off to play with the bairns, I headed to the stables to join Sean and Bernie for a drink or two or three (or 10 or 12). And maybe other fun, if I didn't pass out.
Friday, August 3, 2007
After what seemed like forever, Millie ambled in, her shuffling gait making the floorboards squeak in an odd fashion. Scowling at her, I snatched the martini and took a swallow, immediately spewing the contents out. Thankfully she was in the path of the liquid projectile, sparing my wallpaper and carpet a mess she would have made worse in her pathetic attempts to clean. And as she always seemed filthy anyways, the martini now dripping down her face might actually be the closest she would come to a bath in months.
"Goddess, Millie! This is awful! What did you do to my drink?" I angrily exclaimed.
She immediately began her nervous foot-hopping, hand-wringing routine again, head hanging down as I glared at her. Elijah perched on one hip, my hand on the other, I tapped my foot impatiently, awaiting an answer. In a way, I felt sorry for the half-witted wretch, but this just will not do. My patience was already strained to its limits for the morning. All I wanted a simple martini.
"I...I..I'm sorry, m...m..m'lady," she stammered, "but we are out of gin and vermouth....I...I...improvised."
I arched an eyebrow. "Improvised?"
"Yes, m'lady, I used cooking sherry and pine oil."
I was flabbergasted. The day was already getting worse, if that were possible. "Why didn't you go to the pavillion and get some Uisge Beatha?"
"I did go, m'lady," she replied in a whisper, "Your guests drank it all last night."
I sighed aloud. "No matter. We have something important to do. Gather up Elizabeth, and let's go find Sean, and have him hitch up the carriage." We would have to take the babies with us, as my last nanny, Bessy, upon hearing that gambling was now banned everywhere, went into a state of mental depression so deep she became catatonic and I had to commit the poor lass to the Tamrannoch Sanitorium, and I daren't trust Millie to the babies alone.
As she shuffled to the stables, I made a detour to the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of cooking sherry. By the time I reached the coach, I already had half the bottle empty. Sean gave me a bright salute and cheery smile, as he held the door open for me and assisted Millie and me up into the carriage. I told him to go to the Cay, and set my mind on brooding while I rocked Elijah.
It seems that I was not the only person headed to the Cay. Indeed, it seemed as if all of Caledon, and a good portion of Steelhead, New Babbage, both Tombstones, Neufreistadt, Neualtenburg, and Deadwood/Yankton were crowding in the port village. Sean had a difficult time manuevering around the milling curiosity-seekers. There was quite the festive atmosphere, and apparently some intrepid mainland former casino owners had set up stalls everywhere, selling all sorts of "Phillip" items, and taking side-bets on how long Caledon would last. Admitedly I was quite confused. At last I saw Sir Alex in the crowd, looking for me. I had Sean stop the buggy, and I alit from my seat. I felt like I was in the middle of a carnival. Apparently there was this huge volcanic island poking out of the Middle Sea. Every now and then it would belch forth magma balls, and the crowd would "ooohh" and "aahhh" as if there were a fireworks show in process. Sir Alex came up to me, and humbly bowing, stated he was glad to see me well. Seeing a "Lava-Lager" venodr nearby, I sent Sean to pick me one up, as I had by now finished the sherry. Sir Alex filled me in on some of the details of the recent events as we awaited Sean's return. Now at last I knew who "Phillip" was, a massive inhabited volcanic island in the Middle Sea, about to destroy life as we know it. When Sean brought back my lager, I ordered him to stay with the carriage while I and my small entourage made our way to the docks.
There, Countess Kate Nichols and the entirety of the Royal Society for the Advancement of Knowledge in the Natural Sciences were gathered and seemed to be in quite a state of panic and dismay. The Duchesses Carntaigh and Loch Avi were milling about, agitated as well. From what snatches of conversation I could get, it seemed the end of the world (or Caledon, at any rate), was at hand, and the Society had no funds to send an expedition to stop the event. I began to grow concerned, and fishing in my reticule I found my last seven Lindens, (the rest having been spent on parcel rents, SLRFL, and tipping the DJ's at my ball last night), and offered them to the Society. Lady Kate stared at me blankly for a moment, then sweetly smiled and thanked me but suggested I could better help the Society if I donated my prim hat. Always wanting to help charities, I gladly gave it to her, and told her I had more back at that manor.
At that point, I saw Lord Bardhaven approach. He flashed me a smile, then turned a cool gaze on Millie. She cringed and hissed and made the sign of the cross, spitting out the words "Devil!" His smile turned to ice, and sqealing in terror, Millie hid behind me, and began reciting the Ave Maria in Latin. Lord Bardhaven flashed his smile at me again, and said to me, "I am glad to see things are working out with your help." I just grunted and curtsied, as he flourished a bow, and then he proceeded to address the Royal Society.
“I couldn’t help but overhear that you are a bit strapped for operating funds, vis a vis, an expedition to dear Phillip out there. I think I could see my way clear to underwriting such important work pro bono…of course, quid pro quo, ipso facto, there would be certain…accommodations I would demand, ad nauseaum, habeas corpus, e pluribus unum.”
The Society on their part gladly accepted Lord Bardhaven's offer, though I had a deep suspicion that they were going to get a "Millie" on their hands. In the pit of my stomach I had a deep foreboding. Indeed, the day was getting worse, and my lager was empty.