Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Silk and Steel

I promised you Scabs, I promised you beatings, and now I humbly deliver (although it’s the Scabs doing the beating I’m afraid!) … 😉 XD Wishing you all a wonderous weekend and thankyou so much for persevering with the long breaks and disjointed nature of this unruly beast! When I started it I was aiming for the cherry flavoured one in a box of black magic chocolates – kitschy-camp and retro-cute with a bitter dark chocolate bite… um… I think it is ended up like a tangle of red liquorice laces XD So if you are still making sense of it all, I salute you and shower you with thanks! x

 

Once outside, Spyro turned straight towards a ragged line of children sat on the curb in front of the shop. Most proprietors would have chased the urchins away but these were a permanent fixture outside Silk and Steel – and for good reason.

“Take this to The Doctor…” Spyro whispered, hunkering down beside the nearest child and pressing one of the ornately carved pebbles into her hand, “…Fey Wulf…”, he told the next one, again slipping a pebble into their palm, “…Xander Dumarrle… Vraxi Bane… And you take these to your mother with my compliments,” he added, handing over the crows with a wink to the last child in the row, as his brothers and sisters skittered off in different directions to find their quarries.

Then he tugged up his sleeves a little and hurried across the street, dodging easily around the Mul’ai-dji hackney cabs and demonrod motor vehicles, heading swiftly for the workers’ tenements in the district known as The Cinders.

By the time he’d reached Primrose Hill, he was flanked on his left by The Doctor and Fey and on his right by Ros, Vraxi and Xander.

“You look like the opening act of a travelling circus,” Xander complained, referring to Vraxi’s bright silk shirt and his leather belt holsters, vambraces and chest harness which boldly sported his entire collection of throwing knives.

The yag grinned broadly, “I look like ‘trouble for somebody’, is what I look like, Xander,” he said with a wink.

“Trouble for us, no doubt,” his companion muttered back.

As they swung onto Dockers’ Row they could see the commotion; a large angry mob of men, women and children shouting, jeering and throwing stones while in the centre of the tumult a small group were viciously kicking at something on the floor.

“Hoi!” Spyro seized two of the nearest onlookers and pulled them aside. “Hoi! Make way, what are you about here?” he forcefully made his way further forwards towards the central huddle, his entourage pushing through beside him.

Faces turned angrily towards them, but their expressions immediately changed to shock and then deference when they saw who it was and the crowd rapidly parted to let the companions through, particularly the Doctor.

Vraxi grinned hugely and tipped his forehead impishly in mock thanks.

“Halt at once and explain yourselves.” Spyro ordered, and the group of six brutish looking sky-dock workers reluctantly moved aside to show the bloodied and crumpled body of Bartczak the barber-surgeon.

Spyro looked at them in disgust. He knelt down beside the battered barber and smoothed his matted hair back from his bloodied face, smiling grimly when Bartczak’s eyelids fluttered at his touch. “Hang in there,” he whispered, “you will be alright, my friend; Tosca is safe and the cavalry has arrived.”

The Doctor knelt beside the injured man and Spyro rose and addressed the largest thug in the group – an enormous dock labourer by the name of Sulimadd. “What are you about?” he asked the man directly. “Has this man not healed your own injuries and those of your friends and family many times over? Why are you abusing him so?”

Sulimadd glared at Spyro and looked to his companions for assistance.One spat on the floor, the other accidentally caught the doctor’s eye and quickly looked at his shoes.

“He’s ‘Sztokrai.” Sulimadd muttered at last. “Th’watch have closed off the docks coz of the riots. Us honest folk cant get t’work.”

“Honest folk.” Spyro said incredulously, scratching his smooth chin. “And this is the way honest folk behave is it? When the person they are angry with is not available, they lash out at the next best thing, no matter how innocent that thing may be – a friend, an old woman, a six year old child…”

“They’re ‘Storkrai.” Sulimadd growled defiantly.

Spyro put his hands on his hips and shook his head. “Yes.” he said at last. “Yes they are. If blood is all you care about. Bartczak’s parents were well-moneyed. He left their household to marry the woman he loved; a docker’s daughter who sadly passed away before the apocalypse began. After her death he cared for her elderly mother and his own child and he has served this community with generosity and kindness for more years than I can easily number. Is your measure of a man his ancestry or his own actions?” He looked sternly around the crowd of faces, catching every eye, making it clear that the question was being put to each of them.

“Who has wronged you here today?” He shouted. “Bartczack? Or the duke?”

The crowd began to chew that over, muttering amongst themselves. The mob-mentality which had spurred them to almost murder one of their own only moments before was dissipating and Spyro knew he had to time his words exactly to catch the tide and re-direct it to his advantage before it fizzled out entirely.

“The duke!” someone cried, at last, and a few more echoed the call.

“Who is preventing you from getting to your jobs?”

“The duke!” more voices, stronger, gaining confidence now in the new rally to arms.

“So who should we take the battle to?”

“The duke!”

“But they’ve put up a barricade,” Sulimadd mumbled sullenly.

“Where?” Spyro asked. “Show me.”

2 responses

  1. Oooh how luscious, you may just have mentioned the single kitschy-camp and retro-cute with a bitter dark chocolate bite I like in a box of black magic…and much as I’d rather chew my own tongue than black liquorice? Red liquorice laces are one of my very favourite sweeties…alongside wine gums. XD So…you may consider me much chuffed and well satisfied with a fat cat pat of my tum.🥰

    This chapter is…magnificent. Spyro was glorious. I loved every single word, from the adorable image of Spyo hunkering down with the urchins to the glorious sight of him in full flow, reducing the rabble t’dust with a tongue as sharp as his wit.

    Spyro put his hands on his hips and shook his head. “Yes.” he said at last. “Yes they are. If blood is all you care about. Bartczak’s parents were well-moneyed. He left their household to marry the woman he loved; a docker’s daughter who sadly passed away before the apocalypse began. After her death he cared for her elderly mother and his own child and he has served this community with generosity and kindness for more years than I can easily number. Is your measure of a man his ancestry or his own actions?” He looked sternly around the crowd of faces, catching every eye, making it clear that the question was being put to each of them.

    Thissss…a thousand times this, whichever world you dwell upon.

    You captured the touch-paper flare of mob metality so wonderfully well, I could feel the tension radiating from their very stance. You described the dissipation of their self righteous rage so palpably when: Faces turned angrily towards them, but their expressions immediately changed to shock and then deference when they saw who it was and the crowd rapidly parted to let the companions through, particularly the Doctor.

    And last but in no way least…

    You look like the opening act of a travelling circus,” Xander complained, referring to Vraxi’s bright silk shirt and his leather belt holsters, vambraces and chest harness which boldly sported his entire collection of throwing knives.

    The yag grinned broadly, “I look like ‘trouble for somebody’, is what I look like, Xander,” he said with a wink.
    😹😁😹
    ❤️Oh this is deeelicious.❤️ A bumper-sized bag of wine gums complete with my favouritest lesser spotted white/clear one, which seems to have been snaffled in these dastardly times more oft than not.

    Thank you as always, my scrumptious. Sending huge hugs & wishing you ‘n’ yours a tentacular weekend too🥰 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    July 4, 2020 at 5:41 am

    • Penny Blake

      Aw thankyou so much my scrumptious pancake-topper! Your gorgeous words always make my day and I can’t thank you enough for not giving up on this twisted liquorice tangle with its spittery sputtery outpouring of inconsistency! XD Yay I’m so glad you loved Spyro’s little bit with the urchins and his public displays of heroism… he’s a walking bag of liquorice allsorts in himself XD But I’m hoping there’s enough moments like this to show how very in control of himself he is and why he’s loved and respected by most people, despite his darker / more sinister moments. I’m hoping that’s what comes across by the end of it all anyway and not just an ugly mess!! XD Tee hee, I’m so so glad you loved Vraxi’s lil moment there as well – and yay those white uns are my favourites toooo! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      July 17, 2020 at 8:25 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s