My Daemon Persaon

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Journey to…the Mysterious Island - Amber's Part The Fourth : Chapter One

HOOOO! Finally finished the text! (I had to banish myself from SL temproarrily to do so!)

Rather disappointed in spilling my Uisge Beatha upon our unceremonius crash landing on Phillip. I shot a glare toward Gnarli's penguin, about to berate it. Observing it more closely, however, I quickly noticed its bloodshot eyes and ruddy beak. It was the penguin Gnarli gave me! I had been teaching it to drink during our trip, partly to amuse myself, and partly to keep it too drunk to make any amorous advances on me. I had learned early on that these penguins had more than a little curiosity of the female form, and so to keep it from creeping into my bed whilst I slept, I made sure it remained in an inebriated state. Inexplicably, it had escaped my room. While everybody started making a commotion about Kiralette being discovered on board, and had their attention elsewhere, I kicked another penguin in the direction of mine, successfully knocking mine off the ship and into the water, and leaving the other standing in the spot of the guilty. I wasn't about to get connected indirectly to the shipwreck. I was certain at least Darkling knew I was training the flightless fowl bad habits, and perhaps there were others as well.
Seeing that the decision had been made for as to where and when to come to shore, and as it was unlikely the ship would be leaving anytime soon (from my angle of view, I was positive that I saw a rather large piece of pumice embedded in the hull, though I could be wrong), I set about trying to locate Millie. I would need her to port all my belongings to the beach, as the penguin at this point was useless to the task. I could already see him stumbling down the beach, with a dazed demeanor, looking for only Goddess knows what. I located Millie in our cabin, muttering her usual Noster Paters and Avie Maria's, glaring fearfully at Braveheart/Persaon. He in turn was stretched out on the bed, totally unconcered at our fate, grinning and winking at Millie teasingly.
"I tell you, m'lady, that dog gives me the shivers! He's possesed by a Demon!" she rasped forcefully.
"A daemon, Millie", I corrected, knowing that the distinction was uselessly given, seeing the dull glaze of unfazed incomprehension in her semi-good eye as she stared back at me vacuously. I would have better success at teacheing the lecherous sailors on board the art of celibacy than trying to explain the concept of familiars to Millie.
"Never mind Braveheart, Millie," I mumbled while dismissively waving my hand, "we have more important things to which we must attend. Start packing our belongings and bring them to shore, and try to set up a decent camp."
"Aye, m'lady," she muttered, while giving Braveheart one last wary look. "I don't like this place," she continued, grumbling, "I had nightmares last night, of giant demon-rabbits."
Rolling my eyes at her, and curtly telling her to at least try to do the task correctly, I gathered up a parasol, hoping it might keep the ever-present ash out of my hair, and went seeking another bottle of liquor. As I could still hear Captain Jaques Sparrow cursing at his crew and arguing with Lord Bardhaven in the most flambouyant of manners above-decks, I ambled to the Captain's cabin, and with a light touch of magic, opened the primitive lock to his gaudy room, and acquired another bottle of his Port.
I disembarked the ship to a scene of chaos. Sailors and servants where everywhere, scurrying about setting up various tents and cabins. Lady Darkling was doing something, Goddess alone knows what, to some unfortunate (or maybe fortunate), sailor, lying on the sand. She looked rather preoccupied, so I thought it best to leave her be. The Duchesses were complaining about the sand in their shoes, but it was little bother to me. As partly Fey, I actually preferred to go barefoot. There is a special, magical connection to the earth going in such a manner. Finding a nice, shady coconut tree, I sat on the ground and leaned back, watching the goings-on. Bardhaven was setting him up a lawn chair with an big umbrella over it, observing everything keenly. Though he wore his sunglasses, and appeared to be snoozing, by the self-satisfied, barely noticiable smirk on his face, I knew his beady litle eyes were taking it all in. Captain Jaques Sparrow pranced about like some marionette controlled by Bacchus. The Duchesses were more concerned with setting up the grammaphone than their tent. Gnarli went wandering off in the jungle while Kiralette was "playing" with the fishies. For awhile quite a commotion was made when Dr. Oolon shooed away Lady Darkling from the sailor, and his fellows, giving Darkling frightened yet hateful glares, carried off the man, apparently passed out from strenuous "activities" with the Lady. Dr. Oolon exclaimed "Lepus Giganticus!", which created quite the buzz, and he, Miss Terry, and Lady Eva busied themselves with taking measurements of this depression in the beach. Whilst I am fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, and several other lesser known tongues, and knew that Lepus Giganticus meant giant rabbit, looking about and seeing none around, I went back to surreptitiously sipping the bottle of Port. Usually Dr. Oolon's usage of the ancient languages was always correctly used contextually, unlike Lord Bardhaven. I thought perhaps too much sun and ash made Dr. Oolon a little daft this particualr afternoon.
As the day wore on, I noticed Millie got the camp set up to a semblence of civility. I walked over, and drew a circle in the sand around the tent. Muttering a few Sidhe words and passing my hand over the circle, I was satisfied the shield would keep both ash and mosquitoes out of my temporary dwelling. I could hear music from the Duchesses' gramaphone coming from their tent, accompanied with their gigglings.
Dr. Oolon and Miss Terry were seting up strange devices around the camp. Goddess only knew what they were up to. Dr. Oolon at one point during the journey made a great to-do of being a Time Lord, what ever that was. Time was cruel enough a Mistress, without needing a Lord, too. He had any number of queer gadgets, which once he decided he though he should to explain to me. I tried feigning a glassy-eyed look at the time, to subtly hint that perhaps he should expound his toys to one more interested and youthfully guillible. He didn't get the point, and rambled on. I discovered that he seemed to take an almost sadistic pleasure in appearing intellectually superior to others. And while I was fully within the realm of conversing with said gentleman on any number of topics, I had more important projects on my mind at the time....strip solitaire with my Tarot deck (I am an unabashed narcissist), and a bottle of Uisge Beatha. So I was forced to cast a spell to strengthen the pull of his eyes to my bosom, which got him to sputtering and blushing, and then looking sheepishly at Miss Terry, he finally wandered off with her, thankfully. Actually, I think Miss Terry pretty much made him leave. I like the good Doctor, bless his heart, but one can only take so much discussion on Daleks. As far as I was concerned, Daleks were most interestting when they made an appearance at a Duchess Rave, during the "Rocking the Tardis" song set.
Lord Bardhaven continued to purview his little domain. Indeed, his self-styled moniker fit him well, the Ruffian King. Because all the ruffian sailors and servants kow-towed to him like some sort of demigod, eagerly seeking the scraps he threw to them. The better-bred ones treated him with at best uneasy mistrust, at worst, respectful disdain.
My little penguin finally returned to my tent, pushing with his feet a wrinkled looking cocount, and "hronking" at me plaintively. Bending over, I picked up the coconut, and immediately smelt why pengui was upset. The coconut milk within had fermented, and he couldn't open it. Cutting open the nut, I gave him half, while I drank from the other, the pilfered port being long finished. Within the tent, I could hear Millie praying for deliverance from evil in her patience-sapping rasp, while Braveheart/Persaon snored louldy in the corner.
All the while, I could feel within the ground this throbbing...this music. Not the music wafting from the Duschesses' hut. But from the island itself. It filled me with a need. I got up and looked around. Seeing that we had foolishly set up camp on the leeward side of the island, which caused the pervasive presence of ash everywhere, I decided I needed to find a place of solace. I started to walk in a clockwise direction following the beach. Everybody being involved in their own little activities, I wandered off with no one knowing the better. Little pengui followed me, hoping for more to drink. I grinned to myself, knowing I have well-trained this one to forget about feminine charms. As I passed by Captain Sparrow's tent, I saw him passed out on his hammock, a half-filled bottle of rum precariaoulsy gripped in his left hand. As his senses completely left him and his fingers uncurled around the bottle, I deftly caught it before it had smashed and wasted precious alcohol, and moved on. As pengui and I marched onwards, I gave him a sip for every five of mine. He would gurgle and "hronk" happily, his eyes solidly fixed on the bottle in hand, and not my swaying hips. Well-tained indeed.
Eventually, as the sun was close to setting, I reached the windward side of the beach. No ash here! Happily, I discarded my clothing, and plunged into the ocean to wash off the grime. I could feel the rhythm of the island's music pull me. Donning just my lingerie, and leaving outer apparel behind, I walked forward along the beach, to where I felt a special tug at my soul.

I had found that for which my spirit yearned. In a little grove was a faerie mushroom ring! A place for me to match movement with my body to the incessant, hammering, pounding of the island's music. A place to dance to the God and Goddess!!!

In joy, opened up my inner being to the spirit world and danced!

And danced!

And danced!

I felt that inner connection make contact as I danced, uninhibited, and un observed. I felt free.

Pengui watched, and started to sway to. I had suspected it was from the drink.

Well, I soon found myself swaying too, besides my gyrations of worship. The ground itself was shaking, which was not unusal, because since we had landed, Phillip, being in a constant unpleasant mood, often belched and rumbled. "Damnable volcanic island," I grumbled inwardly, as I assumed the shaking a result of volcanic and tectonic activity.

Suddenly pengui "hronked" loudly! "Hush Pengui!", I admonished, "I'm out of liquor. We must await till we return to camp." At that point I heard a loud crash as a eucalyptus tree crashed beside me. A drop bear, which had apparently been watching me hungrily, awaiting his opportunity to strike, leapt out of the branches, and squealing in loud fear, ran off in terror up the mountainside. I saw something furry on my left side....easily as big as my country manor in the Moors. I saw a matching furry thing on my right side. They looked like giant....rabbit's feet...with incredibly long, wicked talons. Pengui squealed and moaned in fear, and spinning in circles drunklingly, fled to hide behind a particularly large mushroom. A low wail of panic arose in my throat as I looked up...and up....and up....into the eyes beady giant eyes of the most humongous hare I had ever beheld.....easily thirty meters tall! "Lepus Giganticus!" I screamed at the top of my longs....obviously to no avail, as I was several miles away from camp, and on the other side of the volcanoe!

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 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 this 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 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

The Cockatiel

I sense more than see the light. In the enveloping darkness, I open one eye, and look around. Still pretty dark. No matter. Outside I can hear the free birds starting to chirp their greetings to their family and friends. My neighbors, the lovebirds, and their children, also begin to rouse. I stretch one wing, and then another. Today would be a good to fly. To soar above the trees I see outside the window. I can feel a cool breeze against me, mildly tickling my feathers. But it's not the wind. It's almost continuous, and I have felt this breeze almost four cycles of the moon. I suppose another cycle or two, and the warm breezes will start. But I cannot fly. Not from lack of ability, but because of this cage. I curl and uncurl my toes around my perch. Not much else to do yet. I look in my food dish. Same thing I always have, put their by the big thing that from time to time intrudes into my little world. It gives me water, it gives me food. Sometimes it gives me something new and shiny to play with. Alot of times, the big thing is gone, for most of the day. That is when the little furry thing likes to sit on top of my cage, or the lovebird's cage, purring, and eyeing us hungrily. I have looked out the window, and have seen other little furry things kill the free birds. That which imprisons me also protects me. Thankfully, the big thing seldom lets the little furry thing in the house when it's gone. The big thing also has a big furry thing. Or had. I haven't seen the big furry thing for six cycles of the sun. I liked big furry thing. It left us alone, and once every cycle of the moon, these sirens outside would wail, and big furry thing would sing with the sirens, and I would join it in song. While the big thing sees to it that all my needs are met, I don't trust the big thing
My neighbors, the lovebirds, are a strange lot. But because they outnumber me four to one, I suppose I am The Stranger. I once saw the big thing playing around the box with the funny lights, and heard this music come from the box...."People are strange, when you're a stranger...." I often feel like that. I talk to the lovebirds. Sometimes they will talk to me, but mostly keep to their own kind. I'll sing to them, and often receive sharp rebukes from them. I like it when the big thing is home. Because it will sing with me sometimes.
Sometimes I feel despondent. I sit there. Big thing usually has a mirror in my cage. But I am smarter than to think it is another of my kind. Same food every day. Same water. I watch the love birds cuddle up to each other, both pairs. They look at me like I am different. I look different to them, I talk funny to them. They have someone, I don't. They don't always like or understand what I have to say.
Such is my life. I want to stretch my wings and be free. I want to feel that sense of belonging, that sense of community, the lovebirds have. But I am not like all the other birds, and they and I both know it. I want something different, new, exciting in my life. The same boring food, the same boring water. What is the purpose of all of this? I sigh and look around, as the dawn's light begins to stream through the window. This is how I feel, every day, to quote that song that big thing plays alot from the light box, "...nothing's fine I'm torn, I'm all out of faith, this is how I feel, cold and all alone, lying naked on the floor..."
Outside, the free birds begin their song. The lovebirds begin theirs. I look around. Big thing is still asleep. I make the decision. The same decision I make everyday. It doesn't matter my surroundings. It doesn't matter my condition. My body is trapped in this cage I can never escape. I am different from all those around me. But you know, it doesn't matter. My spirit can never be caged. Inside, I am free, and will always be so till the day I day. I might not be able to fly, but I am able to sing, according to another song big thing likes. Proudly I puff my chest, and burst forth into song. It's my own song, different from all the other birds. They can sing along, if they wish. They can listen contentedly, if that is their desire. They can try to whistle me down, drown my song. I will only sing louder. I can't control what happens by the hands of others around me, but I can control my reaction. I'll sing my own song till the day I die, proud to be me, different from all the others, yet with the same intrinsic value as big thing, big furry thing, little furry thing, the lovebirds, and free birds. And even though my heart may break, and tears stream down my feathered cheeks, I am still alive, I still survive, and wouldn't change who I am inside for the world. Pain will always be a part of life, but nevertheless I'll sing nonetheless. Bursting forth into brilliant song, I sing my heart out till big thing notices, awakes from its slumber, smiles at me in pleasure, and joins in!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Journey to…the Mysterious Island - Amber's Part The Third

[At Darkling's suggestion, I split the original post into three parts]
The tedious voyage continued for a couple days. Boring of Bardhaven after the first meal with the nobles (NOT that I bored of Duchess Riel or Duchess Loch Avie, but one can only handle so much of Bardhaven's self-aggrandizement), I decided to eat my further meals with the more "common people" below decks. One day, after I watched the poor wretches eating meal-worm infested hardtack while I munched slowly upon my Cantal, sipping rum I pilfered from the captain's cabin, I was more than amused by Mr. Gnarli's regaling of amourous dolphins. While asking him questions, as his and Dr. Oolon's gaze continuously settled on my bossom, I would swipe their full glasses of drink for my empty ones. Captain Sparrow had a notorious policy of charging by the drink. And by God and Goddess, being forced to endure this nit and flea infested vessel, manned by the most hideous of seamen, I refused to pay his charge for the bottle. When we returned Gnarli would be more than repaid with all the honours attendent to knighthoood. As for Dr. Oolon, everytime I pilfered one of his drinks, I would push to Terry a copy of a useful spell. My Lindens were short, but spells I had in plenty.

One day, I was standing on deck with the Duchesses, and Baroness Darkling, when heard from the crow's nest, "Land Ho!" "What a bloody fool," I thought. We could see Phillip from the Cay. I was surprised it took us this bleeding long to get there, considering I could ride and sail from Loch Avie to Regency in less than an hour. I suspected Captain Cousteuea Robin....ermmmm, Palance Bluejay, no, that's not it....Sprat, no, no....Jaques Sparrow, yes, that's the chap's name....that villeinous captain was going to get more than his money's worth, and sailed around the forking volcanic island nine or ten times before deciding to land. I took a sip of Duchess Eva's Uisge Beatha, which she so kindly offered me just moments before, when suddenly something unusually silly happened involving one of Gnarli's surviving penguins and the helm. I'm not sure exactly what, as I had been pretty inebriated the past several days, but suddenly we were grounded! Oh dear! I just spilled my Uisge Beatha!

The Journey to…the Mysterious Island - Amber's Part The Second

[At Darkling Elytis' suggestion, I divided my original post into three parts. Also there is a correctional edit in this post (sorry Qli, I fixed it now)].

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:

Hot ash was floating everywhere, and there was crazy old Gott out in the pavillion yard with his hydrogen blimp, getting ready to make flight. Well, that in and of itself wouldn't bother me, because if the blimp exploded with him on it, that would be one less problem with which I had to deal. But the fact was, the fool wanted to take my babies for a ride. After a brief argument, I got the idiot to see that he could actually kill them. At which point he began to cry, and begged my forgiveness, and abandoned his plan.

Sighing deeply, I entered the manor, and there was poor old Millie, still hopping about like yesterday. Goddess, why is good help so hard to find? "Millie!" I exclaimed. As she did not know I was standing behind her, she veritably leaped in the air as if Bardhaven himself where there (and not a bad leap for an arthritic, hunchbacked, club-footed woman).

Trembling, she turned to look at me. "Oh m'lady, m'lady, m'lady...I had a horrible dream that Phillip would try to eat you!"

Again I groaned inwardly, "Goddess, why is good help so hard to find?"

"Millie," I said as patiently as I could, which was very little, actually, "Go to my room and pack my clothes. And my weapons. And while you are at it, scour every inch of my properties for any ounce of alcohol!"

"What clothes would m'lady desire?", she murmured.

I pondered a moment. I hadn't thought about that. But my musings were for just a breif flash in time. "Why all of them, of course, " I exclaimed, as if explaining to a child why it had to urinate IN the chamber pot, and not all around it, "I never will know what social circumstances will arise, and I rather have the appropriate wear and not need it, rather than not have the right outfit and need it."

She looked at me puzzled-like, not understanding my explanation. "Just pack the bloody clothing, will you Millie?! ALL of it!!" I exclaimed, "And ALL my weapons!....and, and....alcohol, every drop you can find!"

As I figured there were alot of "responsible" adults going with us, they would bring an abundant supply of all the other necessities, and I could always "glom" or buy it off of them. No sense in my bringing something someone else was going to bring anyways. Besides, it helped cultivate the idea that I was a sot that had no clue to the realities about me. But then I suddenly recalled that their food tastes might not be mine. "Oh yes, Millie! Don't forget to pack the Asiago, Romano, Parmesan, and Cantal cheeses! For that matter, all the cheeses!" One never knew if one of the Duchesses decided to have a cheese and wine tasting event along the way.

"Oh! And pack alot of bones as well!" I suddenly exclaimed (just another reason for my gentle readers to peruse the boring and "serious" backstory I wrote above).

Millie looked at me puzzledly, and asked, "Is Braveheart going as well?"

"Yes, ermm, I mean no, I mean....bloody hell, woman, it's not your job to question my orders! Just do it!"

Sensing that I was in a foul mood, which I have been in of late, she shuffled off in her odd, twisting gait to follow my demands. Meanwhile, I went to the kitchen, and acquired another bottle of sherry. I then proceeded to scourge all the furniture in the house, looking between and under the cushions for any lost Lindens or Caledonian pounds. Having found $53.28 L, I secured them in my reticule, then went to the stables to wake up the "boys". As they were still sleeping, I took a bucket, and scooping water out of the trough, rudely splashed them awake.

"Oh boys," I sing-sang unto them. Sputtering and cussing at first, when they suddenly saw it was me, they silenced their tongues. "Boys," I purred, in a sweetly menacing tone, "you have one of two choices." I took a swig of the cooking sherry.

"Yes, m'lady," they both stammered.

"You can either tell me why you disobeyed my orders last night, wrecked my carriage, and ruined my cask of Uisge can follow through with the task which I am about to give you," I offered demurly, smiling as sickenly sweet as rotted melon.

They glanced at each other, then the carriage, then the ruined cask of Uisge. Finally, they stammered almost in unison, "What do you wish, m'lady?"

As I had already determined from the train station, that travel by train was imposssible because the high ash level in the atmosphere negatively affected the operation of Caledon's premier public transportation system, and as my buggy was defunct, and as all my horses except Iontaofa were completely spooked by Phillip's constant rumbling and gaseous expellations, I needed a porter system. So saddling Iontafa, I rode back to the manor with Sean and Bernie in glum tow behind me.

Millie had finished packing by then, so I then got Millie and the two lads to cart the items for me. Millie's hunched back and wiry strength proved her to be a better porter than Sean and Bernie combined, even if she did shuffle along at a slower, if yet steady gait. Kissing my babies "good-bye", and threatening Gott with DIRE consequences to his blimp if my bairns even had a scratch on them when I returned, I again leapt into Iontaofa.

Once again I headed to the Cay. After a side-stop at Aldo Stern's Falling Anvil Pub to stock up on the Guinesss, a tedious journey ensued of listening Bernie and Sean accuse each other of wrecking "m'lady's carriage", and Millie muttering "Mea Culpa's", "Noster Pater's", and "Avie Maria's", we finally reached the Cay docks. I directed my underlings to load my goods on the good ship Lolly Pop, Adirondack, Arranox, whatever it bloody well was called, and by this time was too drunk to care. I got into an argument with a vendor who claimed I was too drunk for him to sell me Lava Lager...turning my back to him, I took a swallow of my "antidote" (yet ONE more reason to read my backstory intermission), and after a minute proved I could handle my liquor. He sold me the lager I desired. My Sidhe senses picked up Lord Bardhaven's idle comment about me being the "bearded lady". After looking in my pocket mirror, and seeing no facial hair, but indeed a dab (just a small smidgeon), of lager froth on my chin, I assumed the Baron was less educated than he purported, and meant, in childish English, to say "beered" I know that is not even close to recognizable to proper usage of Queen's English, but then again, I suspect his education is not as well-schooled as he pretends. His inability to appropriately to apply the correct Latin phrases for a given situation already proved that.

Sending Sean and Bernie away home with Iontaofa, I started down the dock toward the ship (at this point I was way too drunk to care what it was called, and even more drunk than to care about its crude sailors, and garish captain, who apparently thought of himself as some Wolf Larson-Blackbeard inbred offspring, sporting an eyepatch (which from time to time he lifted up surreptitiosly and peered at any woman he thought beauteous), with a plushie-toy parrot attached to his shoulder, which he would squeeze when a Lady passed by him, and it would say to them, "Awwrackkk ... your a pretty girl!". He called himself Capt. Jacques Sparrow. He wore a hat that was a hundred years out of fashion, under which dreadlocks poked out, and had a meat-hook duck-taped around his left hand. He claimed he lost his hand to a shark, but I could clearly see several finger tips poking out from under the tape. Even though his beard was black, I could see his blonde and grey roots. It seemed he and all his sailors were all preoccupied with my bossom, and even though I had a tinkling in the back of my mind why they should, I couldn't put my finger on it (YET another reason to read my boring and "serious" intermission backstory.

Shortly afterword, halfway up the dock, I ran into Lord Bad-behavin' himself (OOOPS! Did I say that outloud?), ermm, I mean Lord Bardhaven himself. He said some comments to Millie, which sent her into a frothing tizzy. Looking her firmly in the eye, I said, "Fertig Jetz!" and smacked her hard in the face. She fell to the ground, shuddered, said a Noster Pater, and looking at me with new awe in her good eye (bad one being sewed up), and rasped respectfully, "Thank you M'Lady!"

When I boarded, I heard Duchess Gabrielle ask the best question I heard all day. "Dom Perignon, anybody?"

Hastily raising my hand, and putting away my silver flask of cooking sherry, I took that which she offered. I tottered over to Gnarlihotep Abel. He was seated on an apple barrle. I knew that, as the barrel was clearly marked "Apples", even though I saw a tail swishing out of one of it more than numerous holes, more than is necessary in an apple barrel. Besides, I could smell apples wafting from it. I had determined I wanted one of his penguins. Not as a meal, mind you, as Bardhaven so clearly wanted, but as a porter. They seemed so much more deft at the task than Millie. After a prolonged wrangling bartering session, and in which he kept glancing at my bossom (in my drunken state I still couldn't figure out why), I finally convicned the young Gnarli to surrender me one of his penguins with the promise of not only a commission as a Major in my Bauerhoff Cavalry Homeguard, but the titling of knighthood, which would surely assure him of a future union with Kiralete, Bardhaven's ward. At the mention of knighthood for Gnarli, I could have sworn I heard a pleasant "mew" from the barrel.

The deal sealed, he ambled off. At this point I was hungry, and eyed the apple barrel. Looking around to ensure no one was looking, I opened the lid to pilfer an apple. As I reached in, I saw a red-headed Neko. Not Kirawell red, but Kiralette Red. The red only a good but mischievous kitty would have. She smiled sheepishishly and mewed. I smiled conspiratorily and winked back. At that point, I heard an "ahem", and quickly thrusting the lid home, turned to see Lord Bardhaven! Blessedly, I had grabbed an apple from the barrel already, and turned and smiling at him, in my most pretend drunken way (AGAIN, another reason to read the backstory!!!!!!), giggled rather inappropriately as he started at my chest continuoulsy (and laughing inside myself as I finally remmebered WHY he and everybody else was!), said most coyly, "Ahhhh, Baron Bardhaven!" He smiled brazenly, until I said in a mysterious tone, "or should I say "Dread Baron?"

He suddenly looked agitated, enough so that he didn't notice Kiralette's tail switching nervously from the apple barrel. But I did, and backed up enough to allow my voluminous gown to cover Kiralette's tail. I smiled in my most demure manner, and taking a bite from the apple, offered him a bite. He declined. I expected as much. We both often let on that we underestimate each other, but I suspected he suspected more of me than he let on, and vice versa. Finally summoning the strength to look away from my bossom (it was then I knew he had enough power to be drawn to my locket, yet had not enough power to discern why), he looked down at my trailing skirts.

"Lady Amber," he enquired as graciously as he could, "is that a tip of a tail I see peeking beneath your frock?"

Remembering the Neko blood that faintly ran through my mother's veins, I allowed my feline ears to grow just so, and pushing my luxurious raven locks out of the way, revealed them to Bardhaven. "Ahhhhhh, yes, m'lord! Did you not know I have a smidgeon of neko blood in me?"

Taken aback, the dark baron replied, "Why no, I mean yes...of course, Lady Amber...enjoy your a matter of fact, have another....", he offered, as he poured me a drink from his flagon and wandered away, more than a little confused, it appeared to me.

I whispered to Kiralette-in-a-barrel, "Your secret is mine!", as I ambled below-decks to find my cabin. On the way down, I ran across Dr. Oolon Sputnik. He seemed pleasanlty surprised to see me, and as he made small-talk finding our cabins, his gaze kept wandering to my bossom. Well, at least I know the spell works!

And at last! Just as the ship was about to set sail, Persaon jumped aboard and joined my side. He mentally gave me the report I needed to know. (AGAIN...that BORING, serious backstory needed). I glared briefly at Bardhaven conversing unsuccesfully with Captain Jaques "Cousteu" Sparrow. "The Ruffian King indeed!", I harumphed mentally!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Journey to…the Mysterious Island - Amber's Back-Story Intermission

[To my Gentle Readers: The first part of this post is really a back-story intermission which I weave in with the Mysterious Island blog is not necessary to read, and is of a much more serious note than the typical humour to be expected of the Mysterious Island series....SOOOO.... if you want to skip it to go to the funny stuff, go right ahead....though do so with this warning ... you might miss out on some insight to my behaviour later in the series *grins*]



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.
First came the easy task. Book of Shadows in hand, I consecrated the Letters Patent with the Athame. "Maximus est Minimus!", I invoked. I watched as the document shrink to the size of a postage stamp. "Aquae est Vitae!", I chanted, imbuing the document with the power of water. A little cloud of mist hovered over the document. The document was now water-proof. The next incantation I ultimately intended, one which would fire-proof it as well, would the destroy the document now protected by the water elemental, unless I first summoned the spell of paradoxes. "Black be white, white be black, fire taketh away, and water giveth back!" The air hummed with power as I quickly made the final link before the paradox would fall apart without the necessary confusion of the final spell..."Pyrus est Vitae!" Now a little flame suddenly vortexed over the tiny document as well. The mist and flame danced and twisted, while the hum deepened into a bass rumble. There was pop, and the air about was both filled with light and darkness at the same time, and then all seemed normal, as the mist and fire harmoniously sunk into the Letters Patent. Smiling, I picked up the document, and enclosing it in a locket, I hung it around my neck, chanting "Videre Non!" While technically not truly invisible, this particular spell was useful in that whenever a viewer locked upon the object, his or her mind was immediately distracted by the view of my breasts, inciting just enough lust and/or envy so as to cause them to immediately forget they saw the locket (yet not enough so to cause them to do anything untoward). As I have been known to drunkenly dance topless at the Duchess raves, and also did several stints as an exotic dancer on the mainland (Gott spend the entire fortune on bad business deals, what else is a girl going to do to keep the money incoming?), it bothered me not in the least if people enjoyed the view.

Now came the hardest and most dangerous part. I began to chant in the ancient language of the daemon familiars, a language known to few Sidhe, and even fewer humans. Focusing my eyes on the little pentacle on the altar, I entered into a trance, reciting by memory a powerful spell so steeped in antiquity, that some claim it almost went back to the days of the Elder Ones. How long I stood there I know not, hours or days could have passed by in a relative sense, though still only seconds ticked away outside of the circle. Soon I became aware of a presence, a smokey, shadowy figure hovered over the little pentacle.

In my mind I spoke to him, "Bontaya, melo-Persaon, blessings of Yah Hawah be upon you!"

I heard his mellow baritone respond in my mind, "Bontaya, melo-Ambera, blessings returned! It has been many years since you last summoned me...50 or 70 of your years, I think."

"Yes, dear friend, I have missed you greatly. But you know the power it takes to resummon you when your host form dies. It requires much time for me to recover the strength necessary to perform the spell. Besides, there was that little problem of my Vampyrism with which I was infected some years back. Thankfully, Dr. Mason was able to cure me of that, but I yet fear the consequences of that remedy. And finally the need must be great. I have great need of you once more."

"I have sensed disturbances between the realms, dear little melo-Ambera. I shall be glad to once more assist you, chylde."

I smiled at my childhood companion, the one who accompanied me for 40 from when I was indeed a babe of 14 years of age. The one whom my mother taught to summon. At that time, I summoned him into the body of a Raven, a pet my mother had given me. We had had many joyful experiences together, as well as weathering heartache and tears together, especially after my mother's life had been brutally ended centuries before she was supposed to die. Sadly, as the Raven was already 200 years old when I first had him, he died of old age. Persaon had left me.

He continued, "Yet we can save the small talk after till the bond is complete, and we must act quickly. Dr. Mason's invoking the most dangerous of the Elder Ones to save you has made your presence in this realm more than noticeable to That One, now that you have opened a Portal! Do what must be done quickly, and close the Gateway!"

Nodding in agreement, I called Braveheart to me. He came over to me, wagging his tail, expecting a treat, totally oblivious to the forces around him. I indeed gave him a treat, feeding him a little ceremonial bread dipped in honey, along with a handful of wine from the chalice, and some sorrel. Suddenly his awareness grew to embrace the supernatural worlds, and he whined now nervously, knowing something was different, yet just what his canine intelligence was unable to comprehend. Casting a spell to numb his pain, I pulled out a small knife and pricked his left ear, till some blood oozed forth. Then I pricked my right thumb, and my left forefinger, allowing the blood to flow in each. Pressing my right thumb against Braveheart's wounded ear, I pressed my left forefinger to the small pentacle. I gasped as I felt the power of Persaon's spirit sudenly start to sweep through me, and enter into Braveheart. Shuddering in ecstasy and pain, I began to feel the bond again, one I had not enjoyed in more than sixty years. I could feel Braveheart's animal spirit agitate, not sure what was going on, yet no match for my spirit's control, and even less a match for Persaon's, as the daemon slowly intertwined itself with Braveheart's, passing through mine to again share that essence. I kept a corner of my mind's awareness focused toward the direction of the slumbering Elder One, to safe-guard against His sensing my presence, and awaking, and using this opportunity of the Portals between realms being opened to claim me for recompense of Dr. Mason using Him to free me. I shuddered inwardly when I saw Him start to rouse from His slumber!

"Hurry, melo-Persaon! He's awakening!" I mentally hissed.

Just as I felt the last of Persaon's spirit pass through me into Braveheart, I saw Cthulu's eyes start to open. Swiftly pulling my finger away from the small pentacle and my thum from Braveheart's ears, I shouted, "Incantatus Finis!" There was a silent impact within the circle, that knocked both Braveheart-Persaon and I to the ground. Trembling severely, I rose to my feet as quickly as I was able to. Though the imminent danger of Cthulu coming through the portal was ended, there was still peril. I had to end the circle's stay in the realm bewteen worlds, because not only could Cthulu still come for me (REAL bad for me), even if a little harder for Him, but He could come and swallow the entire Mortal realm (REALLY, REALLY for all of us...this would make Phillip seem like a weiner and marshmellow roast on the beach!). Tottering a little from the impact of the spells woven, I still made all the necessary steps and succesfully closed the circle's connection to the other realms, blowing out each of the quarter candles, and finally the God and Goddess candles. Suddenly my senses where overwhelmed once again by sights and sounds familiar to me...crickets chirping, cicada's buzzing, owls hooting, wolves howling. In the distance, I could hear Sean and and Bernie singing a rawdy bar room song over at the stables. The warm humid August night air enveloped me, and I began to sweat profusely after being so long in the cool nether realms. I looked down at Persaon, my old childhood friend, now inhabiting Braveheart, and smiled at them. Persaon smiled back, and Braveheart wagged his tale.

"Welcome back, Master Persaon," I said.

"Thank you, Mistress Amber," he replied.

Many people don't understand, but summoner and summoned are both served and serve the other. Persaon serves me by performing the tasks I give him, while I serve him by giving him a corporal life for a time. His presence in Braveheart could extend the dog's life for 40 or 50 years, while unlocking a new comprehension in Braveheart's mind as well...thus in many ways serving Braveheart as well as Braveheart serving Persaon by being a host.

Weary from the exertions, I sat down on the grass outside the circle, my legs crossed under me. Rubbing my feet sore from standing for hours on end within the circle, I explained to Persaon his task. I told him how I needed him to be my eyes and ears for me in places where I could not be. Because of the bond, at will, I could see what he saw, hear what he heard, feel what he felt, smell what he smelled. We could communicate with each other mentally whenever we needed to, no matter how far apart. His first task was to go to a certain dwelling at the southwest corner of Mayfair, and get a sense of what the presence of the master of that Manor felt like. Then he was to scour the entire coastline of Caledon, looking for a specific ship. I wanted him to see if the owner of this ship was the same owner of this particular household. Something Gott had said aroused my cautionary instinct, and even though Gott might be insane, there was a niggling feeling inside of me that there was a germ of Truth to hs ramblings. I told Persaon to then come to me, I would probably be at the Cay docks on the morrow's afternoon.

After Persaon nuzzled me, he started trotting off. Rubbing my eyes wearily, I arose. I felt I needed a drink bad, and was sorely tempted to drink the antidote to the anti-drinking antidote, to restore my drunken state, and then join Sean and Bernie. But I had one more important thing to which to attend. Sneaking back to the manor, I slipped in through the servant's entry. I could still hear Millie muttering downstairs. The sounds of Gott playing with a gleeful Raivyn Elizabeth drifted to me from the upstairs. I could hear my butler Edgar snoring away in his room. Still barefoot, I tiptoed upstairs to my room, and donned my Dragoon's uniform.

Carrying my boots in hand, I slipped back down and out the manor house, where I donned my boots. I hied myself to the stables. Sean and Bernie were bragging to each other about the women they had , and casting a shimmer spell on the far wall, it caught their attention, whilst I worked my way to Iontaofa's stall and silently led her out.

Going a small distance, I mounted her, then trotting her at first, galloped to Tanglewood. There I met up with my fellow Dragoons, and went to honour Dame Lapin Paris, now freshly knighted! Once I got there, I drank the anti-anti-drinking antidote. We hooed alot, I got a little drunk again, and danced a bit with Major Erasmus, before I returned to my Manor in the Moors.

Slipping out of my clothes, I tumbled into bed, and passed out in complete exhaustion.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Two Very Important Events, and a Lighthouse Update

I desire to take an intermission from the Mysterious Island account, and briefly bring to my gentle readers' attention two extremely important events that took place these past several days...the awarding of the Lapin D'Or to Caledon's beloved Librarian, Mr. JJ Drinkwater and the awarding of the Lapin d'Argent to the rest of the Library staff, and the Bookbinder's Ball. Those awards were preseneted by Her Grace the Duchess of Primvernesse, Lady CoyoteAngel Dimsum. The other important event was the knighting of Dame Lapin Paris, to Caledon's highest Order, by Her Majesty Vicereine Kamillah Hauotmann, Duchess of Lionsgate. Her Grace the Duchess of Carntaigh Lady Gabrielle Riel provided the music for both events. Pictures of both events shall sohrtly follow. One final thing I desire to mention before I get to the pictures, and that is I have added Miss Zoe Connoly's Lighthouse in Caledon's newest sim, Regency, to my gallery of Caledon Lighthouses here... . If you enjoyed that post do take time to see the latest addition!

Monday, August 6, 2007

What Is True

I went to a party,
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

The Journey to…the Mysterious Island - Amber's Part The First

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 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 brother! In his hands were two 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 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

The Journey to…the Mysterious Island - Amber's Prologue - Installment Two

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.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Journey to…the Mysterious Island - Amber's Prologue - Installment One

I groaned in a decidedly unpleasant manner, and threw the blankets over my head, disturbed at the unpleasant feeling of sudden unexpected rays of sunlight stabbing at my sleeping eyes, and the god-awful sound of Millie singing to herself in a raspy, grating voice that only is perfected with the practice of nurturing untrainable vocal chords for 70-plus years. Head still pounding from last night's adventures with the bottle, and something else I still coudn't put my mental fingers on, I rolled over in my bed in disgust.

"Good morning to you, m'lady!" Millie sing-songed, her voice causing my ears to itch as if a dozen fleas decided to take up residence there.

Why I keep the woman I don't know. She can't clean worth a lick, and is a horrid cook. Oh yes, that's right. Some years back, at the Hotel in Steelhead, I had gotten into an Absinthe drinking contest with Lord Bardhaven. Half-way through, we had settled on this bet with a ridiculously high monetary value, to see who can out-drink the other. I was totally stunned that I had actually lost to the man. His constitution far exceeded that which I expected of him, as pale as he always looked. In any event, dear ole brother Gott had just sunk the entire family fortune in a business venture involving the production of gun-powder propelled Hydrogen-balloon airships on the island nation of Zwabalabbaland. One of the local drunken native workers decided to smoke a cigar while sitting on a powder keg and fell asleep. Needless to say, the factory as well the entire island no longer exist and there went $50,000,000 Lindens up in smoke. As poppy was the major cash crop of the island, the plume that arose from that island was soon drifted over another island, getting all the locals there so high as they went on a rampage, and then ran lemming-like over the cliff. In short, I had no money, and Lord Bradhaven insisted that he would be genteel enough as to let me take the hag off of his hands, "as she is quite expensive to room and board," and I would be saving him more money than he would have gained if I actually could pay my debt. So now I was stuck with this pathetic excuse for a maid. I soon found out she was hardly an expense, seeming content to sleep in the cellar and eat the resident vermin there, but her brutish personality and clumsy skills often caused me such consternation as to think Lord Bardhaven isn't as noble as he pretended to be. Sadly, the burden of noblesse oblige settled heavily upon my shoulders, and as I can't bear the thought of sending even the most villainous of souls out in the streets homeless, I was stuck with the cretinous servant till such a time availed of itself whereas I could pawn her upon some unwitting person. Hmmmmmm. Colonel O'Toole is in need of a new servant. Maybe I can challenge him to an Absinthe duel...

It was senseless trying to sleep any longer. Millie was hovering over my bed, prattling some nonesense about "Phillip." I opened my eyes, and there she was, her one good bulbous eye nigh unto popping out of its socket, all pale and glazed over, peering at me. Her other eye was missing, the skin over its former home sewn tightly shut. How she lost I don't know, and didn't want to ask. I always suspected though that one of her meals was still alive while she tried to eat it, and bit back. She grinned at me, well if you could call the peculiar way she contorted her mouth a grin. She had less teeth than a viper, and the one she did have was jagged and stained an odd greyish blue colour. Her hunched body was literally hopping up and down from foot to club foot in manic glee, her wisps of hair whipping about like Medusan adders, wringing her gnarled fingers together nervously.

"Wake up, m'lady, wake up!" she croaked, her fetid breath washing over my face as she leaned in close to me, "It's Phillip! Phillip is here!"

My internals heaving nauseously, I decided to close my eyes again, and threw the covers over my head for good measure. Goddess, I drank too much last night, and this wasn't helping me any.

"What nonsense are you talking about Millie?", my muffled grumbles enquired of her, "Is King Phillip Linden coming to Caledon for a visit? If it is to him you are referring, you will use the proper address of royals!"

"Noooooo, m'lady, Phillip...", she ended her statement with a shriek of fear. The cause of her terror-laden wail was the same cause that had me suddenly jolt upright in bed, the blankets and sheets sliding off my naked body. Because at that very moment the whole house shook violently. Even though it was a clear day, it suddenly got darker as a black roiling cloud passed over the face of the sun. Goosebumps covered my flesh, and my skin tightened in the most inconvenient of places, considering the circumstances. Feeling Millie's leering gaze upon my body like rancid oil sliding over me, I quickly pulled my blankets back up over my body.

"what in blazes was that!?" I tremblingly asked.

"Phillip, m'lady! Phillip!" she rasped, going back to her hopping about.

Surely the woman was mad. At that moment, the ground shook again, waking up poor Elijah Bastillion. Raivyn Elizabeth slept on, oblivious to the commotion. Elijah on the other hand was now caterwauling, so I directed Millie to bring him to me. Even though Dr. Mason cured both my children of their vampyrism, Raivyn liked to sleep the days away, and Elijah never lost his fangs, and still liked to bite. He especially liked to bite Millie. Which he promptly did when she picked him up. She grimaced but brought him to me nonetheless, knowing I could have quite a temper in the mornings. For some reason Elijah now seemed content, and was smiling and cooing by the time he reached my arms.

I could hear a banging on the door downstairs, so I sent Millie out to see who was so insistently knocking. As soon as she left the room, I arose from bed and put the now content Elijah in his crib, while I got dressed. Looking out the window, I could see that there was alot of smoke in the direction of the Cay. I wondered if maybe the aliens were attacking again. By the time I was dressed, Millie returned, holding an envelope. I proceeded to take it from her, and ordered her to get me a martini. Shaken, not stirred. Extra dry. She would probably mess it up, but I needed a stiff drink. I opened the envelope. It was a telegraph from my Steward, Sir Alex Chadbourne. He urgently insisted I come to the Cay, post haste, as it was an issue of national emergency. The ground shook again, which set Elijah to wailing once more. Sighing deeply, I picked up my bairn and rocked him till he was soothed, awaiting my drink, and pondering what was happening. Earthquakes, black belching smoke, national emergency in the Cay, crying babies, banging headache, and an incompetent maid who was taking way too long to get me my martini. This was going to be one of those days.