The teapot, tea set, and tea service have all been set up in the private sitting room of Her Grace, the Duchess of Haverford. All is ready for the mysterious guest. Steampunk? Eleanor wonders what steampunk might be. Steam, she understands, but isn’t punk something to do with tinder?
A light cough alerted the Duchess to Barlow’s entrance.
“Your Grace,” he said. “Lord Keazund is here.”
Lord Keazund entered, dressed all in drab black, tweaking at his cuff. He didn’t look like a lord. He couldn’t have been very old. Sixteen or so, with sun-bleached blond hair and intelligent eyes that harbored a strange sadness in their blue waters.
Her Grace hid her surprise at her visitor’s youth, while wondering whether he had a taste for tea or whether she should send for something else. “Lord Keazund, you are very welcome. Please, come and take a seat.”
“Thank you, your grace,” Parsifal said, sitting down on the divan opposite the Duchess.
“I can offer several varieties of tea, or I can send for a chocolate, if you wish. Indeed, Haverford House can provide most beverages, so do not hesitate to state a preference.”
“Tea will be perfect, thank you,” Parsifal replied with a smile. “I do love a good cup of tea and I’m sure yours will be excellent. I thank you again for the invite, it was most kind, although a bit surprising, as I haven’t been back in England long.”
“I should warn you, perhaps, that your England might not be precisely the same as my England,” Her Grace said, calmly. “The invitations to my Mondays at Home go, rather mysteriously, to what my author calls ‘the fictionsphere’. Do you take milk, my lord? Sugar? Lemon?”
“Milk and sugar, if you please,” said Parsifal. “Yes, I suppose that’s true. Not wildly different, I trust. I believe it may be said that certain technologies and political boundaries are rather different, or at least differently advanced, in my ‘my’ England. I’m not altogether unfamiliar with the concept of…how to put it…other-worlds? I have just returned to ‘my’ England from one, after all.”
She passed him a tea made to his specifications. “You have been travelling, then? How I would love to travel. Where have you been, Lord Keazund?”
“Yes…” Parsifal replied. He paused as he sipped his tea and then continued, somewhat hesitantly. “I’ve just returned from an extensive expedition. My uncle—the late Lord Keazund—set out to find a forgotten city in the wastes of Siberia. Tragically, he was lost under the ice. I came back by way of the Siberian Skyrail. That’s the official story, anyway.”
Eleanor Haverford frowned. “The Skyrail? I don’t understand. My condolences on your loss,” she added.
“Thank you, your grace,” Parsifal said. “I’ve had to explain the Skyrail so many times. There was a newspaper story a while back about the Russian airship that crashed in the North Sea…sort of a long balloon that could be steered. The Skyrail is like a cross between an airship and a train…but the trains from ‘my’ England might be a bit different than yours?”
“Trains.” Eleanor considered for a minute, her mind full of long lines of donkeys or carters. Then her face cleared. “Ah, yes. My son Aldridge has mentioned the term. A row of carts pulled by a steam engine. It runs on rails, and they use them in the mines. Is that what you mean?”
“Yes,” Parsifal said, frowning a little. “Yes…you’ve never ridden one? Never mind. This is excellent tea, your grace!”
“But—you say the official story. Tell me if my curiosity is unwelcome, my lord, but if you can share the unofficial story with an inquisitive lady from another world entirely, I would love to know more.”
“Well, yes, I suppose it couldn’t hurt,” Parsifal said. “No one in ‘my’ England would believe the truth, and it could cause problems with the Prime Minister…but in reality, the expedition found a…a doorway into another world, I guess. One connected with my own, a place that myth calls the Sea. People and ships sometimes slip through from our normal waters into this other, land-less place. They are lost at Sea. Anyway…it’s a very long story, but I went into that Sea and I came back in a storm…a Weather Caster made it, they can send the weather wherever they like, on the Sea or Land. It’s quite outlandish, I know. I would never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.”
Eleanor closed her mouth, which had dropped open in a most unladylike manner. “I have never heard of such a thing,” she said. “How fascinating. And how fortunate that you were able to find your way home.”
“Not really,” said Parsifal. He looked out the window and bit his lip. “I left a friend there.”
Meet Parsifal Keazund, from the Weather Casters’ Saga
Parsifal Keazund, recently having inherited the title of lord, has already been through the adventures of books one and two in the Weather Casters’ Saga, and stands on the brink of book three, A Hole in the Air, coming in late February.
A Hole in the Ice (Weather Casters Saga, book One):
A Hole in The Ice is an epic historical fantasy sweeping across time, myth and nineteenth-century Europe. A decadent cast of characters embark on a mysterious journey in pursuit of a mythical lost land said to be inhabited by beautiful but deadly mermaids. As the reader sweeps across the story under the glimmer of chandeliers and falling snow flakes, they are taken on a beautiful adventure to the very limits of the imagination. Each character in this extraordinary tale has their own personal treasure they are hunting and each one will pay a price higher than they ever anticipated.
Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2v2oS1I
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2vgjkkP
A Hole in the Sea (Weather Casters Saga, book Two):
As the chase continues into the extraordinary seascape of a mysterious ocean, where sea monsters reign, deadly mermaids hunt, and pirates skulk, Parsifal learns that staying alive on the high seas is no easy task; especially when being hunted down by the vengeful and determined Lady Vasille. As beautiful, deadly, and driven as ever, Lady Vasille will stop at nothing to retrieve the compass and the power it contains. In this fantastically wrought, nautical fantasy adventure, McCallum J. Morgan transports the reader into a truly magical realm.
Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2uHR4o3
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2tLjbS1
Meet McCallum J. Morgan
McCallum J. Morgan is a twenty-two year old author who also dabbles in the dark arts of painting and costuming. His books include the steampunk fantasy, The Weather Casters Saga, and the horror-comedy, Ambulatory Cadavers. He lives and writes in North Idaho, where nature and music inspire madness while he dreams of times long past.
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2vRR1pG