Aug 3, 2007

Journey to....the Mysterious Island: Eva Plans Her Adventure

Running Bucephalus wildly through the streets and greens of Caledon to get to the sight of what Kate described in her message to me as a bloody large, fire-spitting volcanic island just north of Caledon Cay, my mind was racing. Bucephalus and I had to jump over any number of objects and people in our way as everything and everyone had been dropped when the earth began to quake and the smoke and fire were seen. In fact, I barely made it over my friend, Sir Amplebeak Tinlegs, as he appeared from out of nowhere in our path. Shouting apologies behind me, we kept moving toward the growing haze and heat. What a sight we must have been as I rode hell for leather astride the horse in my silk day gown, ribbons and laces streaming behind me.

We pulled-up fast as we hit the dock area and scanned for Lady Kate and Sir Adso. Finding them at the front of the crowd, I urged Bucephalus on through the throngs staring wide-eyed and mouths agape at the newly created island in the middle of the sea.

Insula magna atque ignea!” Kate shouted, now sounding more like herself. Adso was taking notes like mad in his leather-bound notebook. Kate was standing at the Royal Society’s base camp on the dock monitoring the seismodysgraphic, lavadralic and geometaphysicagorical instruments. She estimated that further quakes would shatter all of Caledon asunder “real soon”. Something must be done. She and I were in obvious agreement with that notion. Sharing with me that she had been developing a plan for the scientific exploration and observation of the island, she huffed that she had needed to spend nearly all of the reserve funds of the Society on bribes to get Hatshepsut out of St. Petersburg.

Just as I was about to offer funds from my private accounts, Lord Bardhaven stepped forward, looking rather dramatic in the glow of the nearby volcano. The shadow and light gave him a vaguely seductive appearance as he approached us with the flash of a smile. I let him speak wondering what he may be planning.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of my cousin, the Duchess of Carntaigh. She appeared well, if rather flushed from the heat and excitement. (Come to think of it, I have seen her look that way several times before.) I nodded to her and she gave me a look that told me she had just heard the same offer come out of the Baron’s mouth as I did.

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.” he intoned, a genial, friendly smile on his face, white teeth reflecting volcanic hellfire. “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.

Kate rapidly took the Baron up on his offer thinking she had no other choice. I smiled knowing that my adventure was at hand. As Lord Bardhaven turned to speak to one of the urchins groping him and trying desperately to entice him to drink the cranberry juice and tea they were selling as Lava Lightning, I spoke rapidly to Kate.

“Grafinya darling, now that the Royal Society is funded for this expedition and research, I want you to ensure that I am among the group.”

Looking as though she thought of denying this “request”, she then seemed to think better of it and nodded her agreement stating that she and Adso would stay in the Cay and monitor the situation from here. She murmured something about a pyschological study of Caledonians related to the stress induced hysteria that has been so evident over the last hours as well.

“Oh and Kate?”

“Yes, Your Grace?”

“Do make sure that Gabrielle is part of the team. I may have to drag her along, but she really needs to join in on this. I think it will do her a world of good to think of something other than parties and social events. That girl is firey and I would have her on my side in any battle…and this looks to be a battle against nature….or some force equally as strong.”

I knew she would readily agree for she has as much respect for Gabrielle’s ability and natural talent as I do.

Settled then.

I whistled for Bucephalus who came trotting through the crowd now surrounding the Baron, who looked most distressed to be touched by so many with so much dirt under their finger nails. Seeing that he could use a rescue - and since it was on my way - I rode through the group and dispersed them long enough for my dear Lord Bardhaven to move to his carriage. Lady Bardhaven would never have forgiven me if I had allowed him to be late for his dinner were it in my power to prevent such a thing. And in this instance it was.

Bucephalus and I found my cousin. She is quite athletic and limber even in her long gowns and petticoats, so I helped her up onto the horse and took her to her cottage where we washed our hands and faces, sat down to tea and began to make our packing lists.
My list:

Pith helmet
Butterfly net
7 pairs of silk stockings
7 corsets – nighttime wear
4 corsets – day wear
dirk with garter
garter belts
Cask of Uisge Beatha
Silk sheets
Guns and amunition
Leather adventure gear

…..and so on…prepared for any eventual need

We know the call will come, we simply don’t know when. But we will be packed and ready to go. Now to call the stable hands to bring our trunks 'round.