Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Silk and Steel

Happy Friday folks! πŸ˜€ I’m trying super hard to get back in the saddle with everything and the IVs are going well so all good this end after what seems like quite a long slog so thankyou so much everyone who’s still here and bearing with me through this spate of madness XD I hope you are all safe and well and happy and looking forward to a fabulous weekend πŸ™‚

Here’s the next Silk and Steel instalment and Spyro with his plans for thwarting his nemesis Pan has hauled his arse out of the bath and down to the cross keys to enlist the help of some trusted friends… a-hem…. (if you’ve lost track, Bartczak was the barber-surgeon who was being beaten up by the dock workers earlier)

β€œHow fares our friend Bartczak?” Spyro asked the doctor as he slid into his usual seat at the cross keys later that afternoon.

β€œHe is not dead,” the doctor replied gruffly, β€œbut then that is to be expected. I have made him as comfotable as can be, how much his body decides to heal itself and how quickly is anyone’s guess. And I am not one for guessing games,” he added, fixing the antiques dealer with a hard stare.

β€œNor games of any kind, as is obvious to us all,” Spryo said with that unfathomable smile. β€œBut if I were to put money on him returning to work within a fortnight I would likely lose it, yes?”

β€œIf you lack the wit or the moral fibre to refrain from making such sport of another man’s suffering it is your own affair.” the doctor said dryly.

Spyro laughed to hide his frustration and drained his glass. He reached inside his waistcoat and pulled out a leather pouch, slid it open and checked the contents then handed it to the yag. β€œTake this to Bartczak.” he said, β€œFour weeks rent to tide him over and if he’s not back on his feet by then he’s to say so.”

Vraxi nodded and knocked back his drink, β€œCome on Xan, no rest for the wicked,” he grinned.

β€œJust you.” Spyro said. β€œAnd don’t get distracted.”

Vraxi looked surprised and dissapointed, but he said nothing and left.

β€œNow that he’s out of the way..?” Fey said from the depths of her hood, her feet resting on the opposite bench and her arms folded nonchalantly across her chest.

Spyro hesitated, and then smiled, β€œNothing gets past you does it Fey?” he said.

β€œS’what you pay me for.” she said simply.

β€œVery well, yes, I do need to speak to the three of you about something. It is something unprecedented. Something discreet. Something nobody else can know of.”

β€œYou are putting an enormous amount of trust in us all.” The doctor said, cocking an eye at Xander, who was by far the youngest and least experienced of the three.

Mendicci kept his twinkling black eyes on the dusk djinn, β€œis there any reason I shouldn’t?” he asked, pointedly.

The doctor smiled and said nothing.

Damn you to hell, Spyro thought furiously. He didn’t need this. This was the only plan he had. It had to work. He had no choice but to trust them all and there was a good chance they would all realise how vulnerable he was and how much he was relying on them to keep him alive.

He smiled back and spun his empty shot glass on the table. β€œI’m planning an ambush,” he said carefully, looking at each of them in turn. β€œI won’t know when until minutes before it needs to happen, so when I send you word you will need to come at once.”

β€œDon’t we always?” Fey asked.

β€œYou do. It was not a slight. It was a statement of fact.”

β€œWhere you planning to spring it?”

β€œThe Flags.” Spyro said, referring to the small district east of the cinders where the city laundry houses were located. The narrow streets there formed two blocks of buildings with only one entrance and hundreds of lines of washing were always strung like bunting across each row from the lowest level, right up to the top.

β€œThat’s a tight rat hole.” Fey observed.

β€œThat’s rather the point. And the other is this – you two will need to let your demons handle this one. It’s one target but they have all kinds of tricks up their sleeve.”

β€œProblem, Xander?” the doctor asked.

Xander was looking wide eyed at Mendicci, β€œOur demons?”he asked, his voice shaking a little. β€œYou promised I would never have to… the first day I joined you, you said…” He took a deep steadying breath, he could not afford to lose control and he was aware that he was making a fool of himself, whining like a small child in front of people who were much older and no doubt couldn’t care less, but he felt so betrayed. He shook his head, trying to make them understand, β€œI can’t do this.”

Spyro yawned and stretched his arms above his head. β€œAlright.” he said with a pleasant smile. β€œWe’ll count you out of this one. No hard feelings.”

Xander breathed a sigh of releif, β€œThankyou. It’s not that I don’t want to help, it’s like I said before, I can’t go through that again…”

Spyro held up his hand, β€œYou do not have to explain Xander, I understand.” he flipped his hand palm upwards, β€œKey?”

Xander looked confused.

The Doctor rose and went to the bar.

Fey said nothing.

β€œSurely you don’t expect me to keep providing accommodation for someone who is no longer working for me?”

β€œBut I am.”

β€œAh, but you’re not.” Spyro waited patiently for the penny to drop – between this one and the yag it was obvious who was brains; for all his faults, it hadn’t taken Bane this long to remember which side his bread was buttered.

β€œOur agreement,” he said gently, β€œis based on you doing the jobs I tell you do, when I tell you to do them – not on you picking and choosing and doing what suits you better at the time. Now I am a reasonable man, I am not in the business of forcing anyone to do things they don’t want to do. But I am also a sensible man,and I am not going to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly unless I can rely on you to do what I say.”

β€œBut we pay our rent…”

β€œWith money earned from carrying out the jobs that I assign to you.” He spun his glass on the table again and, seeing that Xander was still looking to argue he added, β€œNo jobs; no money; no room… and then of course there is the small matter of that long list of crimes you have committed over the past few years; murder, theft, arson…” ah, and there it is… he thought, as he saw Xander’s expression change to one of horror and incredulity; finally something has penetrated that thick skull of his.

β€œWe did those jobs for you…”

β€œXander, I pride myself on being a model citizen here,” Spyro interrupted, β€œthe head of the city watch is a close personal friend and I would be betraying that very close, personal friendship if I didn’t inform her of the identity of any wanted felons who do not come under the umbrella of protection afforded to our organisation by said friendship, surely you can see that?”

Xander looked like he was going to be sick, β€œI’ll hang,” he whispered, his voice a hoarse gasp in his dry throat.

Spyro shrugged. β€œIf you’re lucky. I’ve heard the duke is favouring drawing and quartering at present before the final execution with a soul blade… could be quite a show…”

That did it. Xander choked and, unable to prevent his insides from expelling the beer he had just put into them, he clapped a hand over his mouth and made a dash for the back yard of the Inn.

Fey sighed, swung her legs down from the bench and stood up. β€œI’ll go talk to him.”

Spyro nodded his thanks and spun his empty glass again on the table as The Doctor returned from the bar with a fresh round.

2 responses

  1. I’m so so glad that the IV’s went well, my precious oneπŸ₯° I’m so sorry I didn’t write sooner. I thought I had!😳

    Stone the bloomin crows…that was as brilliant as it was gripping. Wow. I don’t know where to start…or stop. Scratch that, I do…😸

    “𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒅𝒐𝒄𝒕𝒐𝒓 π’”π’Žπ’Šπ’π’†π’… 𝒂𝒏𝒅 π’”π’‚π’Šπ’… π’π’π’•π’‰π’Šπ’π’ˆ…”

    You curdled the blood in my veins with six words: π™π™π™š most sinister of all reactions, methinks. (I suspect that Alan Rickman’s could’ve made me pee m’pants 😰). Magnificent.

    “π‘«π’‚π’Žπ’ π’šπ’π’– 𝒕𝒐 𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒍, π‘Ίπ’‘π’šπ’“π’ π’•π’‰π’π’–π’ˆπ’‰π’• π’‡π’–π’“π’Šπ’π’–π’”π’π’š. 𝑯𝒆 π’…π’Šπ’…π’β€™π’• 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅 π’•π’‰π’Šπ’”. π‘»π’‰π’Šπ’” π’˜π’‚π’” 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’π’π’π’š 𝒑𝒍𝒂𝒏 𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒅. 𝑰𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒕𝒐 π’˜π’π’“π’Œ. 𝑯𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒏𝒐 π’„π’‰π’π’Šπ’„π’† 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒓𝒖𝒔𝒕 π’•π’‰π’†π’Ž 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 π’˜π’‚π’” 𝒂 π’ˆπ’π’π’… 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 π’•π’‰π’†π’š π’˜π’π’–π’π’… 𝒂𝒍𝒍 π’“π’†π’‚π’π’Šπ’”π’† π’‰π’π’˜ 𝒗𝒖𝒍𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒉𝒆 π’˜π’‚π’” 𝒂𝒏𝒅 π’‰π’π’˜ π’Žπ’–π’„π’‰ 𝒉𝒆 π’˜π’‚π’” π’“π’†π’π’šπ’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒐𝒏 π’•π’‰π’†π’Ž 𝒕𝒐 π’Œπ’†π’†π’‘ π’‰π’Šπ’Ž π’‚π’π’Šπ’—π’†…”

    How I felt for Spyro in that moment….😟 Before I found myself blindsided. Again. With sublime aplomb, my scrumptious. ❀️

    β€œπ΄π‘™π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘”β„Žπ‘‘.” β„Žπ‘’ π‘ π‘Žπ‘–π‘‘ π‘€π‘–π‘‘β„Ž π‘Ž π‘π‘™π‘’π‘Žπ‘ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘ π‘šπ‘–π‘™π‘’. β€œπ‘Šπ‘’β€™π‘™π‘™ π‘π‘œπ‘’π‘›π‘‘ π‘¦π‘œπ‘’ π‘œπ‘’π‘‘ π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘œπ‘›π‘’. π‘π‘œ β„Žπ‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘‘ 𝑓𝑒𝑒𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠.”

    And another smile t’die for. Literally.😨

    π‘Ίπ’‘π’šπ’“π’ 𝒉𝒆𝒍𝒅 𝒖𝒑 π’‰π’Šπ’” 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅, β€œπ’€π’π’– 𝒅𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒐 π’†π’™π’‘π’π’‚π’Šπ’ 𝑿𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓, 𝑰 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒅.” 𝒉𝒆 π’‡π’π’Šπ’‘π’‘π’†π’… π’‰π’Šπ’” 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅 π’‘π’‚π’π’Ž π’–π’‘π’˜π’‚π’“π’…π’”, β€œπ‘²π’†π’š?”

    And yet, the scoundrel had barely begun 😯The way the scene plays out is as majestically done as Spyro’s machiavellian machinations:

    “…𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 π’Šπ’” 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’”π’Žπ’‚π’π’ π’Žπ’‚π’•π’•π’†π’“ 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 π’π’π’π’ˆ π’π’Šπ’”π’• 𝒐𝒇 π’„π’“π’Šπ’Žπ’†π’” π’šπ’π’– 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 π’„π’π’Žπ’Žπ’Šπ’•π’•π’†π’… 𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒂𝒔𝒕 π’‡π’†π’˜ π’šπ’†π’‚π’“π’”; π’Žπ’–π’“π’…π’†π’“, 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒇𝒕, 𝒂𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏…” 𝒂𝒉, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 π’Šπ’• π’Šπ’”β€¦ 𝒉𝒆 π’•π’‰π’π’–π’ˆπ’‰π’•, 𝒂𝒔 𝒉𝒆 π’”π’‚π’˜ 𝑿𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓’𝒔 π’†π’™π’‘π’“π’†π’”π’”π’Šπ’π’ π’„π’‰π’‚π’π’ˆπ’† 𝒕𝒐 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒓𝒐𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 π’Šπ’π’„π’“π’†π’…π’–π’π’Šπ’•π’š… (and mine😱)

    β€œπ‘Ύπ’† π’…π’Šπ’… 𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒆 𝒋𝒐𝒃𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 π’šπ’π’–β€¦β€

    β€œπ‘Ώπ’‚π’π’…π’†π’“, 𝑰 π’‘π’“π’Šπ’…π’† π’Žπ’šπ’”π’†π’π’‡ 𝒐𝒏 π’ƒπ’†π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒂 π’Žπ’π’…π’†π’ π’„π’Šπ’•π’Šπ’›π’†π’ 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆,” π‘Ίπ’‘π’šπ’“π’ π’Šπ’π’•π’†π’“π’“π’–π’‘π’•π’†π’……

    By the time he ‘unsheathed’ the soul blade, my heart was breaking for poor Xander. I felt a wee bit churny of tum myself😲

    As breathsnatching as you are brilliant, my banoffee pie.🌹 Thank you so much for sharing their scurrillous shenanigans with us, how I adore them. xxxxxxxxxxxx


    September 20, 2020 at 6:28 am

  2. Oh my angel I can’t tell you what all your kind and generous and supportive words mean to me! And to find these extra ones like a hidden jewel has made my day! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this bit – and that you still love them all despite their darker sides… I’m not sure anyone is going to come out of this tale looking squeaky clean but I’m hoping the pressure cooker atmosphere will give reasons, if not excuses, for most of their skulduggerousness… I don’t know at this point though, it might depend on the ‘world view’ of who is reading it XD But I’m so so sorry again that wordpress is being a bag egg and hiding your comments and then making me use a different account to reply to them. 😦 Hugest tentacular hugs and all the love and thankyous in the world for persevering my lovely. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


    September 29, 2020 at 8:30 am

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