Journey… to the Mysterious Island: Darkling Bellydances with Phillip

August 4, 2007 at 2:58 pm (Caledon, Mysterious Island, original poetry/prose, the Muse sings)

Caledon Cay was a carnival by the time I arrived. They had named the island Phillip, which seemed awfully naughty, even if our Avatar Overlord was often spectacularly wrong. The shores were swarming with gawkers and land speculators, ashen gray had become the new black, and I did indeed find an adventurous meal of a thick, meaty Phillip-burger and a pint of Lava-lager. After a few bites, however, I had to return to the burger-seller and threaten him with my wand.”Yeh said there was no Tiny in this!”

“There isn’t! ‘Tis Tiny-free, my lady! Medium-sized woodland creatures graciously provided their meat for it!” The sweat standing out on his brow was not due entirely to volcanic heat.

“Did these woodland creatures perhaps wear clothing? Or speak?”

The greasy half-wit stammered unintelligibly and tried to back away, so I had to tie him in my golden lasso. He wore the attached shackles with terrified style. Ah, Caledon! e’en your dregs look elegant in leather! After more questioning, he did admit that while he saw none of the creatures in clothing, someone else might have stripped them first.

“But they didn’t speak!” he wailed. “… English!”

I had too much to do to figure out how to slay the cutthroat without anyone noticing. So I simply imperiused him to wheel his little cart out to Loch Avie and give the remainders of the Phillip-burgers and Volcanowursts a proper burial. And to sing to them all the best and nicest songs from his childhood.

Turning back to the island, and ignoring the angry stares of hungry revelers, I decided to climb the lighthouse where I had landed for a better look. Major Margulis may not consider it a proper landing, what with the handle of my broom having embedded itself deeply into the wood of the roof, but if he didn’t want it crashed into, he shouldn’t’ve built it so damn tall. This IS Caledon, after all, and few airships are so dull as to always go at the rate or heading requested by the pilot. Gentlemen and their phallic symbols, boys and their toys! I made a note to schedule a good giggle with Miss Beaumont over her cousin’s high tower.

Darkling Watches from Lighthouse Tip

The island. Now I could see it properly; it was great and huge, huger than Major Margulis’s tower, far bigger than Davaar and the House of Three Graces smashed together, and laggier, even from this distance, than Caledon Castle. Over the sound of the opportunists hawking their Phillip-wares, I could hear … the island singing…

I was distracted by movement down on the docks, specifically, a parting of space to give room to the Baron BardHaven as he made his way to the collection of excited, squealing scientists. Ah, yes, the locals know well the danger of annoying Lord Zealot, or of even being noticed by him without sufficient armour and distance. I smiled, hoping he would catch scent of the Tiny piggy being roasted in one of the food stalls he passed and lash the seller with his tongue or whip or both. Alas, he was intent upon speaking with the scientists, his darkly cloaked figure sweeping between the parted waves of Caledonians like a shark through clear water.

It occurred to me, then, that this king-sized volcano might have been his idea, his doing. It bore some marks of his style: it was black and red and wicked deadly, hotter than hell, viciously scathing and conveniently located to his and his Baroness’s home in Mayfair. Perhaps the Baroness wanted to REALLY redesign the House of Three Graces. With lava. I decided then to speak with him if I could catch him and ask if he was behind it, and if so, how I could get in on the mischief. Not just for the fun! but to protect any innocents that might stumble too close.

While the Baron spoke to the scientists (aha I was right! Miss Kate Nicholas was there leading them), I looked back to the magma-spewing island. It was… beautiful and terrible, the lava floes slithering into the sea with a great steaming hissing, the power of the molten rock hot and red like the furious monthlies of Gaia. It rumbled violently a few times, the Earth turning and twisting fitfully and forcing all of us to grab at anything to stabilize our quake-destabilized footing. Somehow I managed to not slide off the roof of the lighthouse. Another great selling point of my lovely new slippers.

I strained my ears, seeking over the hissing of the island and the exclamations of the crowd, seeking to recapture that music… the island singing, I knew I’d heard it…

And there it was. Strains of organ music, hot steamy air howling through metal pipes, a minor key… mmmh I am a sucker for a minor key… I found the beat, let it slide up and down my spine, let my hips shimmy slow, twisting, revelling in the sensual celebration of change and death and destruction and remaking … raising my arms like adoring snakes towards the sky, fingers weaving the air like little beckoning prayers for mercy…

I was lost for a time in it, the stunningly gorgeous music threaded through and through with the passion of a heart overflowing with grand misery and unsolvable sorrow. I felt a deep sympathy with the person or persons or creature or creatures or god or beastie or whatever playing the tune. Oy, you can take the woman out of the heart of darkness, but you cannot take the darkness out of the woman’s heart.

The music reached deep inside me, unhooking my heart from its’ tethers, exquisitely painful. And then there were visions (or hallucinations, eh, it’s anyone’s guess)… molten rock bubbling like potion in a cauldron one should never drink… dark dirty naked shrieking men wearing airships on their backs… carved stone, stones, steps, sculptures… fire and screaming revelry and a damn good dance beat… a high-pitched, maniacal laughter…

When the voices from Phillip crowned the song in climax, their ululating cries rising up, I joined my voice with them, my tongue quick as an adder, my spirit singing free!

lava bubbles enticingly

Then another earthquake hit. I was slipping, sliding down the sloping roof of the lighthouse, plummeting to the ground and crowds below…

I woke up on the ground, as I often do, to a circle of concerned faces and hurried assertions that they had only been loosening my corset to help me to breathe. I stood up, brushed myself off, made sure I had my little beaded bag, then looked out over the water again. By the height of the sun, I had lost several hours in my communion with the island.

I stared back at Phillip thoughtfully, running my fingers idly through my hair, which changed at the touch from deep purple to a lovely new shade of dark violet indigo. No, not blue! That sort of colour that the deepest parts of the night sky are, between the stars, that dark colour that people who only glance at it think is black, but is actually like the blood of night and violets and haemophiliac nobility all squished up and mixed together, well, not quite that dark, but add a few drops the colour of stormclouds and you’ve got it. That colour of indigo. It went beautifully with the colours of my frock.

While I was shaking off the shock of my enchantment, and fall, and morning tea, and that awful Phillip-inspired cuisine, I spied Miss Kiralette in the crowd, trying to blend in. Which is to say, she was looking around, bright red hair flying like a red flag, looking suspiciously like she was up to something.

When Kiralette is up to something, one can be assured there is great trouble and hilarious fun close by. She’s the best one to have along on a shopping trip, at a party, or at a garter-sock raid on the gentlemen’s barracks. Not only because she’s easy to blame it all on (sucker for punishment, that one), but because she comes up with the wickedest ideas so as to squeeze the most peril out of any already-inadvisable-venture. I adore her, and would follow her into even the most foolish of situations, and not just because I want to make sure she gets out of them safely.

I flounced up to her with a wicked grin, sensing giggling adventure.

She looked at me in a mixture of delight and relief, and I could see the naughty wheels in her brain turning in mischievous calculation.

“WHAT are you wearing?!” she asked, voice muffled in my snuggling hug.

“Wha….. dis? It’s, ehm… my cocktail dress o’ doom. Yeh don’t tink it’s appropriate?”

She looked up at me scoldingly, kitty ears flicking. “Darkling, everyone can see the tops of your stockings.” She leaned over a bit to peek under the flouncy skirts. “And they can probably see your… cushy attributes when you walk.” She looked around hopefully. “Is there a rave going on?” she asked, already considering what she might get away with wearing that was even naughtier.

“Oh. Nay, no rave. Yet.” I looked down at myself, realizing I’d never changed from last night’s party dress. Perhaps that explains a few of the leering stares and lewd suggestions from the crowds. “Well… tha’s not important now! What’s important is… how do we wring the most fun and danger out of Phillip?”

She grinned at me, and we found a semi-private space between two stacks of crates in which to plot and giggle and compare frock styles. As I suspected, she was indeed up to something, having been forbidden by the Baron to join the expedition to plumb the steaming belching bowels of Phillip. I could understand his concern; we both adore the teenaged kittygirl and would rather eat candied glass than see her suffer in a manner she did not enjoy. And I am no fool, I was hesitant to act directly against the Baron, at least not in a way in which I might get caught.

“That’s the ship they’re taking.” She pointed to the docks, to a great tall ship being loaded with crates and barrels of supplies. I couldn’t see the name of the ship, but I was sure it was something clever. I looked from the barrels to Kiralette’s small form and back again, and got an incredibly unoriginal idea.

“Come on.” I grabbed her by the hand and had a quick word with the planet beneath our feet, convincing it to keep turning while we stayed in place for a second. We emerged several meters away, in the water near the docks. I’d intended to shift us to the docks, but, well, for some reason I’d miscalculated. Good thing I hadn’t landed us inside the dock wood.

As we dragged ourselves splashingly onto dry land, she regarded me like a… well, like a cat that’s just been dropped into the water. I was expecting claws at any moment and hoped her respect for fashion would confine her fury to my flesh and leave the cute little cocktail dress alone. She spluttered and tried to ring out her skirt, then peered deep into my eyes. “Your pupils look all big and black. What party were you at last night?”

“Ehm, I … I don’t remember. Oiya, it’s dark here! Now let’s get yeh on tat ship…” I slipped my wand out of my small beaded bag and pointed it at a nearby apple barrel. It went pop! pop! pop! as several knots in the wood were persuaded to spring free, making good airholes. Then I turned to Kiralette, hugging her squelchingly, both of us still dripping with ash-infused oceanwater. “Now. Are yeh sure yeh want to defy the Baron, go into sairtain danger, and possibly ruin that adorable pinafore?”

“Do a pair of Caledonian Duchesses make a sandwich faster and hotter than any chef on the mainland?” She smirked impatiently.

I laughed with her. “Alright! Here yeh go… Exchangus Applekittygirl!”

Where the lovely (and surely more innocent than I have depicted here) redheaded neko lass had stood, there was now a little tumble of apples. I pressed my eye anxiously up to an airhole. “Are yeh ok? … Kiralette, lass, are yeh alright?”

“You left some apples in the barrel, Darkling.” With relief, I heard her shifting around inside the barrel and not screaming that her foot had been fused with the wood.

“Tha’s ta keep yeh from starvin. No tellin how long til we can get yeh out.”


“O’ course, lass. Yeh don’t tink I’d let yeh go have such a wild and stupid adventure wit’out me, do yeh? Somebody’s gotta protect yeh from kitty-sacrificing natives and great balls of fire!”

“Yay!” we cried together, and gigglingly plotted how we would Save the Day, and Look Cute Doing It.

To be continued! here and within the tales of my Fellow Journeyers. Stay tuned, or get caught unawares in a lava flow!



  1. Amber Palowakski said,

    Well, a much more ingenius way of getting Kiraleete into the ship than a number of us drinking my cask of Uisge Beatha dry and having poor Millie carry her into the the ship in an empty cask, I must say…glad I looked here first (at Gnarli’s suggestion!)

  2. Amber Palowakski said,

    Incidently, my actual part one is up now (maybe first installment of part one, depending on others’ posts *grins*)

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