Elevenses: #inktober tea painting
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen! I hope you are all feeling extremely eleven o’clockish because the time is, of course, eleven o’clock and we are up to our elbows in tea! (Tea is an ink? Yes?) Yes that’s right, here is our weekly offering for inktober…
Miss. Scarlet Skarry Chibi painted using tea and coffee (apologies the photo is a little shaky).
She was built up with layers of rooibos and then rooibos blended with blackcurrant (darker brown tones) and rooibos blended with turmeric and ginger (lighter brown/gold tones) The pinky red , blue and green tones are blueberry and apple and the very darkest tones are strong brewed coffee. A huge amount of learning took place during this one!
If you don’t know who Scarlet Skarry is, well, here is an excerpt from the ‘possibly some day to be published’ novel in which she features… (with some much better accompanying artwork from Robin Eisenberg!)
Mercurio laughed and knelt down beside the thief. Gently, he lifted the white fingers from the floor and coaxed the spider-like thing out from under them. Gingerly, he turned it over and examined it, ever careful to keep his fingers clear of the needle-sharp fangs.
“Amazing,” he mused. “This is an incredible piece of machinery! It appears our young thief here, is a master of devices.” Curious, he lifted the enormous cowl, which hid the boy’s face from view, and pulled it back. At once, a cascade of crow- black hair spilled out over the floor, framing the delicate, pale features of a young woman. The area around her right eye was covered by an intricately engraved metal plate, studded in glorious designs with tiny jewels of every description. The plate fit perfectly around her eye socket, following the smooth curve of her high cheekbone, but the socket itself was empty.
“Mistress of devices,” he corrected, his voice the thoughtful glide of the barn owl above its moonlit hunting ground.
“Scarlet!” Skarry exclaimed.
The woman stirred and, as if this were some telepathic signal, the mechanical spider suddenly sprang to life once more, wrenched itself from the wizard’s hand and scuttled back to its owner. Mercurio gazed in rapt fascination as the creature clambered carefully onto the woman’s face and nestled down into the eye socket, its legs forming delicate rows of golden lashes above and below. The woman groaned softly and uttered something unprintable which caused Mercurio to grin and Skarry to roll his eyes.
“Scarlet!” Skarry hissed again. “What are you doing here?”
“John?” The abdomen of the eye-spider suddenly flew open to reveal a stunning mechanical replica of a human eye, complete in perfect mimicry of the original. The only perceptible difference was in the colour of the iris, which was a deep claret red, and the pupil – composed of a spiral of overlapping golden plates that, even now, were dilating in a curious, almost hypnotic motion as the woman leapt to her feet, glaring defiantly from one wizard to the other.
“John!” She spat furiously. “What’re you doing ‘ere? You’ll ruin everythin’! Why aren’t you in Lichfield?”
“Why aren’t you in London?”
Mercurio raised his eyebrows expectantly, “Introduction?”
Skarry gritted his teeth. “Scarlet, this is Mercurio Smith, a fellow student of magic, from Lichfield.” He turned to his friend. “This is Scarlet Skarry, my sister.”
“London?” Mercurio mused thoughtfully. “The pirate city…oh, I see!” He peered curiously into Scarlet’s face, trying to get a better look at her mechanical eye. “So it’s true then. The Pirate King, Billy Blythe, really has created a host of ‘tons to crew his Land Ships.”
“Scarlet is NOT an automaton,” Skarry growled. “Every pirate who wishes to join Blythe’s fleet is required to… sacrifice… a part of themselves. In return, the Pirate King has his Tinkers make them a new body part to replace it.”
“I see, a part which not only replaces the lost member but enhances its function through the wonders of Tinker Technology,” Mercurio mused. He chuckled, “And you gave your right eye, Miss Skarry? How very clichéd!”
“You needn’t tarlk t’me about clichés, yer mincing fool!” Scarlet spat. “What in the name o’ Wiz are yer clowning around at? Y’gonna get us all killed!”
“Dear, dear me!” Mercurio shook his head, his eyes dancing with amusement. “Which of you two was the cuckoo’s child, I wonder?”
“We don’t ‘ave time for this, John!” Scarlet hissed, her voice an urgent growl between gritted teeth. “We…”
The door suddenly opened and the Last Witch of Pendle swayed unsteadily into the room, clutching a half-empty decanter of brandy in one hand and steadying her toupee with the other.
“Oh! Oh dear, you’re all awake. Well…”
Whatever The Witch had been about to say was smothered by a sudden sound. The ominous sigh, scrape and grind of metal bulk against metal sinew, followed by the heart-stopping thud of impacting weight upon a militia of snail’s shells, which splintered and shrieked beneath it.
The old timber-framed town house shuddered to its bones in fright and released a pent-up century’s worth of stagnant dust into the air like a scream.
“What was that?” The Witch whispered, clutching the bottle like a comforter.
Scarlet rolled her eyes, “It’s the Agro,” she groaned, her fists balled in frustration. “It’s Jack. Oh the numb-skull I knew he’d never wait.” She rounded on her brother, malevolence pulsing through her aura. “Now look what y’ve done!” she shrieked. “If you witless wizards hadn’t minced in here with yer clown costumes and yer wretched Cat O’ Nine Lives, I’d have got the Wyrd Web an’ been back on the Agro in a wink. Now, look! My Jackie said he’d wait thirty minutes and if I didn’t return he’d come n get me. Blasted fool, he’s waited less than ten!”
The Witch’s eyes were wild with terror. “Th- the Chronic Agro? Pirates? Coming here? Oh no! No, no, no! A Land Ship cannot fit down this street, it will tear us to pieces!”
Now from the opposite end of the street, even as the Agro continued to make its laboured progress felt against the cobbles and the mortar, another sound struck up. This time, the whirr and fizz of high-speed motors and wind straining through a bellow of brass pipes. There was a sudden lash of air, followed by a crack and the rumble of mortar slumping into the street below. Scarlet threw up her hands in resignation. “And that’ll be The Plunder Bus!” she sighed. “They’ve been threatening trouble all night. Take down yer shield here, Lady, we’ve a fight comin’ fast upon us and we best be aboard the Agro before it kicks off.”
“But what about the crew?” The Witch exclaimed. “Won’t they… well, you know, capture us or slaughter us or something?”
“Aye, they might. But, as you’ve rightly guessed, my Jackie won’t rest ‘till he tears this place apart lookin’ for me and unless you want t’be torn apart with it, we’d best get aboard the landship quick sharp.”
“But couldn’t we just run? Run away somewhere and hide?”
“Oh sure! Y’d be caught in the cross-fire between the Agro and the Plunder Bus, and the Brothers Crim don’t take no prisoners, Lady.”
“But aren’t you all on the same side?” The Witch protested.
Scarlet snorted in disgust.
“I believe what Miss Skarry is trying to convey, is that there is ‘no honour amongst thieves,’ “ Mercurio said smoothly.
“Do you mind sparing us all these clichéd little proverbs?” Skarry growled. “They mean absolutely nothing and do even less to help the situation.”
Mercurio narrowed his eyes venomously, and muttered something under his breath.
An almighty blast shook the house once again and the exposed lintels above them began to warp and splinter in protestation.
“Guard down, Lady!” Scarlet bellowed.
“Oh!” The Witch screamed, as the floor began to tilt beneath their feet. Skarry’s boots tried for purchase on the smooth wooden floorboards and failed and he skidded into Mercurio, who clutched at him in a frantic manner which neither of them ever felt it appropriate to recall in the years that followed.
There was another crack, a flash of blue light as The Witch released the containment spell, a gleam of silver as Scarlet pulled something from her belt.
And then everything went black.