Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Silk and Steel

Happy Friday me loves! I hope you’ve all been getting snippets of warmer weather in between the snow and hailishness! XD Things are snowballing here this morning so I will scoot and leave you all with Vraxi’s philosophical viewpoints on the nature of reality XD xx ….

“Books!” Vraxi cried in delight as Edmund opened the door to his rooms and showed them inside. He skipped over to the many rows of bookshelves crammed floor to ceiling along the wall and stroked the leather spines with a delicate forefinger.

“They are something of necessity in this game,” Edmund smiled, “but I didn’t know you were fond of reading…although I suppose I should have guessed you would be.”

“Oh yes, I read voraciously,” Vraxi said, pulling out a book and thumbing through the pages then returning it to the shelf with a slight frown. “I buy a pocket pamphlet from the market almost every week.”

“What is a pocket pamphlet?” Xander The Demon asked.

“Oh, you know,” Vraxi waved a hand breezily, “tales of adventure and romance, a few intrigues and mysteries, a few misunderstandings and mishaps, but everything always ending up happily in the end…” he returned another book to the shelf, “…you know, stories that are like real life.”

Edmund laughed out loud, “They call it fiction,” he said gently, “beacause it is not like real life.”

The yag frowned, “do you really think so?”

“But of course! In a story like that there is a plot, yes? The reader is only permitted the viewpoint of one, or occasionally two, characters.” He took his pipe from his coat pocked, knocked it out on the mantlepiece and started to refill it with Rocaana powder. “ And as for those characters,” he continued “well, they are archetypal aren’t they? And they tend to have a single ultimate goal and they traverse a series of obstacles until they finally achieve it. But there are no such archetypes in reality and there is no such end-goal in real life… we merely play the hands fate deals us daily, interacting with those around us in a… to some extent organised but generally chaotic and incidental fashion, trying to survive as best we can until, in the end, we die. Or, in our case, perhaps eternally.” He lit the pipe, took a long drag on it and puffed out a stream of tiny heart shaped smoke rings.

“One day, I shall nail that – super power or none.” Vraxi insisted, narrowing his eyes carefully in an attempt to see how Edmund was doing it. “But your views on fiction are, I believe, skewed by your experiences.” He took the little pouch of Roccana Edmund offered him and fished in his pocket for his own pipe. “You describe the way things are now, for us,” he said, filling the pipe and lighting it,“but that is because we are down in the ditch. I myself – and Xander and his demon here – we are right down in the dirty ditch water.” He drew on the pipe and failed miserably at imitating the heart shaped rings. “You may have hoisted yourself out onto the bank, Edmund, but you are still balancing precariously upon the edge. When I say fiction is like real life, I am talking about real life – the life lived by those who can afford to do the thing properly!”

Edmund raised his eyebrows.

“Oh, you know,” Vraxi insisted, passing the pipe to the demon, “people like the Hogarths and the Beuforts and the Duke…for them every day is their happily ever after and the rest of us run around desperately helping to make it so. That is real life, that is what fiction is all about, and that is why I like to read it because even if I cannot have it for myself, I can at least pretend for an hour or two a week that I can.”

Edmund blew a particularly large heart ring then smiled and shook his head, “I disagree with you on enough points to write another thesis about it, but rather than risk boring you to death I will say simply that I think what you have, what we have, is far more precious than happily ever after in The Groves.”

“Well you maintain that ludicrously romantic attitude and you will find you fit right in there when you graduate,” the yag said with a grin,“For my part, there is nothing romantic or precious about listening to the mould and mildew dripping from my ceiling all night, risking my life clambering over roof tops, being chased through the streets by the city watch or handing over three quarters of what I earn to a tight fisted antiques dealer.” He steepled his fingers as he said the last two words and ended with such a hammy impersonation of Spyro’s sinister smile that the half demon exploded into a fit of giggles and then glanced around nervously as if the act would make Mendicci suddenly appear in the room with them.

There was a knock at the door and they all nearly jumped out of their skins, staring wide-eyed towards it before Edmund suddenly breathed a sigh of relief and then burst into giggles again “Dinner!” he explained, his voice full of relief, “Remember? I ordered us dinner!”

2 responses

  1. Ichabod Temperance

    This story was kind of meta.

    Happy Trails!

    Liked by 1 person

    April 16, 2021 at 10:10 am

    • Penny Blake

      Lol, yeah me and my meta fiction hey? I’m like a fly on a sticky tape 😉 XD

      Like

      April 16, 2021 at 12:55 pm

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