It is New Year’s Eve, 1875. In this humorously told Steampunk tale, adventure-prone Ichabod Temperance and his lovely sweetheart, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, once again find themselves swept up into a whirlwind of misadventure and international catastrophe. The entire world totters on the brink of war, as various nations develop arsenals of dreadful power. It seems as though every nation on Earth lusts for Empire. A sinister plot boils to change the course of human history. Along with a remarkable cast of characters, including sapient animals and clockwork men, our heroes find themselves plunged into unimaginable peril!
“I say, we can build a protective wall with our baggage to protect against the blustery gales, eh hem?”
“Good, Persephone, now we can improvise a tent from these blankets.”
“My parasol will be the tent pole, oui!”
“Good, DeeDee. I will slide the carriage bolt out of this rifle and we’ll use the barrel for ventilation. I will allow one candle to be lit.”
“I say, good show! These are absolutely delightful diggs for the night, wouldn’t you agree, Mademoiselle Gauzot, eh hem?”
“Oh, oui my Persephone, our accommodations are most charming, to be sure! The Mademoiselle GoldenBear is the saviour of our little party. Hurrah and bravo Miss Abigail!”
I feel myself blushing!
“Thank you, DeeDee. Everyone brings their own unique strengths to the table; I am happy to share mine.”
“Oh, you bring many skills, Abigail, oui! You have the uncanny navigational prowess, that guides us unerring to our objectives! You are one with the woods and share a sacred bond with the animals that populate them. You command fantastique magical powers to defeat our enemies that rise from Nature Herself! Not to mention the strong punch, too, I think! The formidable, Mademoiselle Abigail GoldenBear! Vous êtes magnifique!”
“Oh, and let’s not forget the ever dependable and competent Mademoiselle Persephone, too! What are these mysterious blasts of red energies! Sacre bleu! This is an extraordinary power you display, Mademoiselle, oui!”
“I say, let me not keep my fellow adventure-mates in suspense another moment. I inherited a power through my family bloodline, a power that lay dormant until I intruded upon a laboratory experiment my father was conducting. I was bathed in a strange beam, which not only brought this dormant power to life, but increased its intensity greatly. I do not know its exact nature, but it feels similar to the scarlet glow of power that Miss Goldenbear wields. Through recent, Eastern Martial training, I have learned to harness this power and use it as my own. I also suspect a small amount of influence from the passing of the Revelatory Comet on my intellectual capacities. That is all the explanation I can offer. Quite frankly, I am most eager to learn the nature of your extraordinary abilities, Mademoiselle Gauzot. You display superhuman acrobatic and climbing skills as displayed on the icy cliff, and then moved at a pace almost faster than the eye could follow as you dispatched many Saurian Soldiers in the valley of Bar’Bazaul. Despite your slim stature, you are far stronger than you appear. I confess I’m most perplexed. Would you be so kind as to enlighten us, Mademoiselle, eh hem?”
“Oh, you are too generous I am sure. You ladies are far more interesting than Mademoiselle DeeDee I think, oui!”
“No, Deedee, I’m with Persephone on this. You have been more than just a little obtuse with the goods on your background. I insist upon a proper explanation.”
“C’est la vie? If Mademoiselle Abigail says I must, then I must, I think.”
Gauzot busies herself with the placement of her skirts, and the primping of her hair. After a quick moment to quickly gather her thoughts, DeeDee continues.
“Oh, I am happy to confess that I am the product of the finest finishing schools on two continents, oui!”
Gauzot excitedly warms into her obvious fabrication.
“Zee training in zee etiquettes, zee culinary and zee musical arts were but a start! Oh, oui! Riding zee horse and zee athletics of zee badminton. Oh, my, this has honed your DeeDee into quite zee athlete I think, oui!”
“Finishing school, eh? I think there’s something fishy in Kuetinpeenk Bay.”
“I say, thank you, ever so much Mademoiselle. My cares are assuaged. Your reassurances wash away any doubts I may have harboured, dear, dear, Mademoiselle Gauzot.”
~batt, batt, batt~
“I say, there is just one more item that I would be, oh, so, grateful for another candid reply, if I may, though?”
“But of course, my child, I am zee open book, n’est ce pas?”
“Quite so. Your unfortunate allergy to sunlight. Have you suffered from this malady for some length of time?”
“Oh, Oui. I am afraid that the condition came upon me as a young woman, and I have languished in its grip ever since.”
“I see, yes, quite. Thank you ever so much, Mademoiselle.”
“Oh, but of course, my sweet Persephone.”
“Oh, I say, forgive me, but there is just one other little point I should like to clear up if possible?”
“Of course, Persephone, I am your most obedient servant. Please, my lovely girl, ask me anything that could be causing the concern in your pretty little head?”
“Why did you slay Colonel Ketchouppe, by exsanguination, on the Winniedepuh Express?”
My two companions of this extremely tiny shelter never blink. Nose to nose, they both look calmly into each other’s eyes. Each femme calmly measures her opponent’s pupils and the depths within.
“Please calm yourself, Mademoiselle GoldenBear.”
Gauzot speaks to me without breaking the eyelock on Plumtartt.
“Persephone forgets that we had the delightful little Belgian detective clear up our little mystery, no?”
“No, Mademoiselle. He merely proclaimed the despicable Colonel as being unworthy of continued existence, an opinion agreed upon by all at the time. The murderer, though, was never discovered.”
“Oh! Zee mystery! To think back on it now seems so thrilling, no? But I tell you, somehow, I never let it bother me much, too!”
“This tiny tent is too confined for any physical outburst in this little stare-down, test of wills. You two shut it down or I will.”
“Your DeeDee is at ease, Mademoiselle Abigail.”
“I say, I’m as cool as an arctic eve.”
“To tell the truth, Persephone, I think DeeDee saved Colonel Ketchouppe’s life. I was about to break his neck right there in the club car when DeeDee suggested we all retire for the evening.”
“Just speaking the truth, Persephone. That man represented so much of what is hateful in this world. In fact, I recall being a little disappointed that someone else got to murder the disagreeable gentleman before I got the chance.”
“Miss GoldenBear! My word!”
“Well, maybe I did allow myself to grow over-fond of the dog. When he called him an ugly mutt, that was the last straw, for me. If I had a lead pipe handy, I would have done him right then and there, in the club car.”
“There, I have been truthful and forthcoming. As a show of respect, I would appreciate everyone present not withholding from one’s team-mates.”
“Okay, okay, I may have had some small part in the extinguishing of that smoldering lump of sulfur, but that was then and this is now. Do we have any biscuits?”
“Yeah, DeeDee, we’ve got biscuits, but not until we clear this business to its entirety.”
“Very well, ~sigh~ I killed him.”
“I was hungry.”
Standing over five feet, seven inches and weighing in at better than one hundred and thirty pounds, Ichabod Temperance is ‘The Alfalfa Male.’ After lengthy music, karate, and pro-wrestling careers, Ichabod’s involvement with movie stuntwork has led him to write these whimsical, steam-driven adventures. Mr. Temperance and his lovely muse, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, live in Irondale, Alabama, USA, along with their furry pack family.