Saturday, June 30, 2012

In Which Susan Fails to Move the Plot Forward (sort of)

Due to my own personal writing issues, the end of Part III of our Blog-Epic left me with a couple problems: 

1.  My characters were headed straight into a new setting...which meant I would have to DESCRIBE stuff.  My reaction:  AHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOO!

2.  My characters were also in a situation ripe for explanations, and since I'm a plotter and not a panster at all, I was having trouble coming up with anything. 

So what could I do?  Option A was to make Digby inexplicably turn bad and have a fight scene on the stairs.  (No new setting to describe.  No plot to explain.  And I love writing fight scenes!) 

But then I thought of something better.  Let's see if you like it.......

Part III ended thus: 

"Good then." Cayden turned and kicked a slightly larger piece of roof gravel. The stone fell over with a chunk, as if it were a lever of some sort. There was a rush and a rumble as something below them roared to life. Marianne started back and watched in awe as the roof before them slid back into itself with a series of hisses revealing a dim, curling stairway leading down into the house below. The whirring and hissing ceased and Marianne took a step forward.

"Are you a sorcerer?" she asked.

Cayden smiled. "No. This isn't magic. It's science. Mechanics." He walked towards the opening and the horse followed him. "Digby! Where are you? Come and take my horse. We have visitors."

And so Part IV begins: 

A squat man, presumably Digby, hopped out of the darkness and stood by the great horse.  "I'll be down in a moment, sir." 

Cayden nodded and led the way down the stairs. 

When the ceiling closed over them, the spiral staircase was indeed dark.  Cayden took Marianne's hand and led her down the dim steps--he apparently knew them well. 

She hitched up her billowy purple skirts with her free hand and concentrated on making her sandals land firmly on each step.  "Don't you have lights in this place?  Or is that where your 'mechanics' fail?" 

Cayden's voice was patient.  "Just a moment--you're almost there." 

She struggled down another bend in the staircase, and he grabbed her hand and pulled her onto a landing.  Then he threw open a door to reveal a brilliant dining room. 

Marianne blinked in the light.  A dazzling blue-crystal chandelier glittered off matching blue glass chairs.  They surrounded a highly polished, oval brass table. 

Digby entered behind them and took Cayden's heavy black riding cloak.  "We'll get the food right out, sir."  He disappeared with the cape through a brass door that, instead of a doorknob, had a strange device with lots of whirring gears. 

"Please, sit down."  Cayden pulled out one of the brilliant blue chairs for her. 

"Thank you."  Marianne sat, and before she had time to ask Cayden her first question, Digby came bustling out the door.  He was followed by another manservant in an apron and a hideous pink cooking bonnet that obscured much of his face.

They set out a piece of pie and a small dish of something white and fluffy for Marianne and Cayden each.  Then they left.   

Marianne lifted her brass fork and inspected the pie.  "So you're not from Kvoliov.  I know that much about you." 

Cayden sounded annoyed.  "Oh, do you know that?"

"Yes.  The Kvolians are strange--they eat their dessert last." 

"Barbarians!" said Cayden, placing a black napkin on his lap with a flourish.  "But you're right.  I'm not from Kvoliov.  Though that is all you need to know about me for the moment." 

"But you've already told me that you're acquainted with the Order.  And that--"  Marianne placed her napkin on her lap with a flourish of her own.  "Is something I want to know more about."  She looked determinedly into his blue eyes. 

He nodded ceremoniously.  "The Order of the Red Toadstool," he corrected her. 

Marianne frowned.  "Is that their real name?" 

Cayden shrugged.  "It certainly works.  Alternatively, I sometimes just call them 'The Odor'."

"How do you know the Order?" Marianne demanded.

Cayden took a bite of his pie.  His eyes widened as he savored it.  "Have you tried this blackberry pie?  This is really the best pie I've ever had.  Digby!" 

A muffled shout came from behind the brass door.

"Digby, where did you get these blackberries?  They're practically seedless--it's wonderful."

An incoherent mumble was emitted somewhere near the complex doorknob. 

"Petrukia, you say?  And I always made fun of the Petrukians..." 

"Excuse me," said Marianne coldly. 

Cayden nodded thoughtfully and took another bite of pie.  "I will show them greater respect in the future." 

Marianne took a deep breath.  "Excuse me." 

Cayden poked at his slice of pie and raised a blonde eyebrow.  "Would've been fantastic served fresh.  Digby!  Why didn't I get to eat these berries fresh?" 

Some rather loud mumbling came from behind the door.

Cayden's handsome face scrunched up in befuddlement.  "They were a strange color?  Come out here so I can hear you!" 

Marianne's patience was gone.  "Excuse me!" 

He blinked at her, pausing with a forkful of pie halfway to his mouth. 

Marianne drew herself up in the blue glass chair and tried to look commanding.  "I demand answers." 

A shadow crossed Cayden's face.  She had apparently spoiled his fun.  "You'll have them when your brother gets back.  Which should be..."  He cocked his blonde head, listening.  "Ah, that could be him." 


Check back on Tuesday for Part V!  And if you've missed any episodes and care to catch up, you can always find them in the "Blog-Epic" tab at the top of our blog. 


  1. I sometimes have this reaction about pie...

  2. I snickered at the cook's pink bonnet. And you've got me wondering about the strange colore berries...

    1. Interesting. Very interesting... It appears that I actually did pull off my bit of misdirection. It could potentially come to light in Part V, but I have a feeling I didn't make it quite clear enough... We'll see. :)

  3. Blackberry pie is my absolute fave. I would have been distracted for real. I want to know what this 'Order' is also. Great piece, lady.