Journey… to the Mysterious Island: Darkling’s Dance with the Teapot

August 4, 2007 at 1:43 am (Caledon, Mysterious Island, original poetry/prose)

The poor little teacup was trying so very hard not to cry, but she was an awful mess. China shards everywhere, hot dark tea splattered across the floor of treeglass, leaves scattered beyond any reasonable hope of divination. She looked up at me and sniffled through her handle.

“Do yeh… do yeh see that too?” I was still staring through the windowalls, my mouth hanging open in shock, my hand still held out as if the teacup hadn’t just slipped from it and shattered on the floor.

She shifted a bit with a subtle sound of china scraping glass, peering through the wall before us.

“Yes, mistress, I see it too.” Sniffle.

“Tha’… that big hot red spewy smokey ting in teh water, where but a few minutes ago t’ere was only ehm, water?”

“Yes, mistress.”

“Tha’ ting off teh coast o’ teh Cay, where no Duchy yet should be?”

“Yes, mistress.”

“Do yeh tink it’s a glitch?”

“Well… it could be a glitch, mistress.” She paused, both of us marshalling our distressed thoughts. “I suppose it’s why you don’t love me anymore.”

Darkling Drops Her Teacup

I looked down at her, finally comprehending her distress. “Oh, of course I still love yeh! My lips were just on yeh, weren’t they?!” She had to admit that they were. “Well, pull yehrself togenther!” I raised my eyes back to the new belching addition to Caledon’s coast as the sound of scraping shards by my feet grew a bit louder. I winced at the little screech, then jumped as a hail of fireballs shot out from the top of the mount. The volcano. “Goodness gracious!”

“Yes, mistress. It looks very hot.” Scrrrrape scrape clink. Sniffle.

I looked back down at the transparent floor at my feet, as the tea returned back to the repaired teacup with a drawn out slllurp. “Waitaminute. Isn’t t’is teh fairst time we’ve talked?”

“Yes, mistress. We have never spoken before today.”

I paused as several suspicious thoughts collided in my mind at once. “What… was I drinkin?”

“Oh, mistress, I do not know. But it is very potent. Have another sip?” she suggested hopefully.

Not after it’s been on teh floor! People dance barefoot here!”

“Well, mistress, you could try asking the teapot. It’s probably still got lots of leaves in the bottom.”

A fine idea! I turned my back quickly on the volcano, peering deeper into the hollowed floating tree that was my home. Turned a little too quickly. Wheee, trails, man!, I thought as I teetered a little unsteadily in my lovely new slippers. I took a careful step, then two and three, back to the table where the teapot stood. Had stood, in the dark pre-dawn, mere minutes before. Now it was gone. I turned (slowly!) back to the teacup on the floor.

“Well, where’s he gone then?” A slosh and a giggle from the direction of the library answered my question before the teacup could.

By the time I’d tired of chasing the tittering teapot ’round the house, the sun was rising over the tip of the volcano. It was a beautiful sight from this high vantage over Tanglewood: fiery and primal and hotter than any party I’d yet been to this season. I might have simply stood there and gazed at it and sung “Fever” a few times, but it was close to Caledon. Dangerously close to my beloved Caledon. As I watched, it spewed forth again, flamingly reminding me of an old lover. I could imagine what havoc it must be playing in the Cay (if the residents there were sober enough to see it yet), or Mayfair (if the residents there were bothering to look up from their breakfast eggs).

“Oiya! Nobody threatens Caledon!” I cried out furiously, shaking a puny fist. “Nobody but the Baron!” I amended.

I would have to do something about this. Although I had not been as quick as the giggling teapot, I had been quicker than the flapping doors of the cabinet in which I stored dried herbs and tinctures, and found quite a few jars half empty. Er. I mean half full. I suspected I had been bored this morning and added said contents to my morning tea. Either that or that dear newbie demon was flying quite high. Or the kitten had jimmied the lock… uh oh.

Somebody was having a strange day, beyond that which could be attributed to the emergence of the new island. If the island was even real. If any of this was real… ahem. Best not to think such thoughts before breakfast.

Well, there was no time to worry on any of that. This island (or hallucination) was clearly a threat, and who else in Caledon could protect us, if it were not I, the BanShee of Tanglewood, the Witch of the Log fulla Art, the Baroness of Amondeu (ret.), She-who-must-not-be-called-Miss?!

Quite a lot of people, actually. Caledonians are remarkably well-educated and adventurous folk. But I had to be one of them! After all… there was nothing to do until the week-end’s parties, so I might as well tag along for a dangerous adventure. I’ve been young for a long, long time, so I am quite sure that I cannot die.

After some thought and consultation with the books and local scientific publications that consented to sit still, I determined that the Royal Society for the Advancement of the Natural Sciences headed by the Honourable Kate Nicholas was the most likely organization to first pull together an expedition. They don’t get out much. Drat! I knew I shouldn’t have left the august Royal Society to join that cute little hat group, but the title had been so very tempting.

I had to be in on this expedition! And while I am rarely above crashing a party, people would be much nicer if they’d invited me themselves. So I had to not only get myself back into the Society, I had to make it look as if I’d never left, and was a bit cleverer than I actually am.

Do not mistake me, magik is tricky work, and I’ve grown wily surviving my long strange life. But scientists are often unimpressed by that which they do not understand, and apt to pass off flashy spellwork as parlour tricks, swamp gas and/or naughty girls spiking the punch. Never mind if all three techniques are vital ingredients in some of my favourite spells.

I grabbed my small beaded bag, kissed the teacup, climbed the twisting wooden staircase to my roof, and whistled for my broom. I could have taken my horse, but I reasoned that many Caledonians were having an odd enough morning as it was, and didn’t need to be startled by a blue screaming pegasus. Besides, I’d had the broom outfitted with a steam engine (to put the magik-denying, steampunk engineers at ease), and my winged mare was probably hung over.

Darkling Lands at the Royal Society

The fine broom got me to the Royal Society manor house after having buzzed two (mostly empty) skyboxes. I landed it as quietly as one can land a chugging, steam-belching broom around back and snuck inside. Hatshepsut smiled up at me from her coffin and I smiled and curtsied back (she was a tough ol’ lady in her day. Got to respect a sista, especially one that smells so good) and I found Miss Kate’s desk. I pulled my file out of the “deserters” drawer, embellished it with a dozen documents from Oolon’s archival file (some people have more brains than is safe for sanity!) and slipped it into the “professors” drawer. Looked at it consideringly for a moment, then dropped a little sparkling kiss on the tab bearing my name so it would catch the soul’s eye.

That should get me in. Next stop: Caledon Cay. I fervently hoped the street vendors had noticed the island and had devised some clever volcanic light meals. I had the munchies something fierce, and was in the mood for something tastier than the usual sausage-inna-bun. Something new and spicy and strange, and potentially lethal. Some snack that seemed crazy and half-baked, wrapped in flaky pastry, and so hot inside it inspired in the consumer gasps and little screams and desperate waving hand motions. Some tasty tidbit that we all knew we shouldn’t eat for breakfast, and yet tempted us beyond reason, dragging us forward as if by a hooked finger inserted into each nostril.

In short, I wanted something that tasted like adventure.



To be continued! here and in the words of my fellow adventurers, whose tales can be found under “Fellow Journeyers” in the column to the right.
I will also post links to their stories here in the order (or chaos) in which they occur.

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4 Comments

  1. Gnarlihotep Abel said,

    Delightful, wonderfully funny post!

  2. Emilly Orr said,

    She-who-must-not-be-called-Miss?

    Ooh err.

    *blinks*

    What would you prefer?

  3. DarklingRose said,

    Dear Miss Emilly, ~yeh~ may call me anyting, as long as it is not late for the avenin meal.

  4. Amber Palowakski said,

    Now I’m hungry! Nothing worse than the drinking munchies when it is bed-time!

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