Sunday, February 19, 2012


 "Wine?" Maggiormente rubbed his beard.

"We cannot discuss philosophy without wine," Fabien said. His shrugged as if were impossible to debate the point.

"Ah, but there's this motor to consider." Maggiormente said, patting the motor which sat on the table before him.

Eduardo looked up from his plate, a smear of chocolate across his muzzle. "There will be time enough for the motor later. A little contemplation and discussion first will put you in the correct frame of mind to delve into its mysteries."

"And more cake!" Brigitte crowed.

"I do not think we need more cake," the alchemist said frowning at his familiar. Eduardo licked the plate, which no longer contained evidence of the cake that had been served upon it. Plenty of chocolate crumbs and pink icing remained on the lion's face.

"I think we may safely say that the cake has been eaten."

Eduardo looked up. "There's no more cake?"

"There is no more cake for you." Maggiormente wagged a finger at the lion, who growled and shook his mane.

"I am full anyway," Eduardo said, sitting down on his haunches to begin grooming himself. He folded his wings demurely as he started licking his paw.

"Never mind, mes amis," Fabien said, returning with a bottle of red wine already unstoppered. "We have other matters to discuss."

"Oh, Alain, let the poor man get to his work!" Adèle tutted, as she picked up Eduardo's plate.

"Nooo!" Brigitte threw her arms around the lion's neck, starling him once again. "Don't make them leave!"

"Ma petite," her mother scolded, "Monsieur Maggiormente and Eduardo have important work to do. You cannot keep them from their endeavours."

"We're not in that much of a hurry," Eduardo admitted, struggling ever so gently to free himself from Brigitte's grip.

"You cannot go yet" Fabien said, grabbing a few glasses. "I have already opened the wine. We must drink."  He began pouring out the wine and handing glasses out. His wife shook her head at him, but accepted the offered stem.

The alchemist took the wine but hesitated before sitting at the table with his friends. Maggiormente found himself impatient to get to work at the compound that he would test inside the motor, but there was also a doubt niggling at the back of his mind.

There is something I have forgotten.

But what could it be?

"Tell us more, Maggiormente," Fabien said after sipping his wine and nodding approval. "What's this business about airships?"

The alchemist clapped his hands together with delight. "The procedure may be a bit complicated…"

"Give us the highlights," Adèle urged, lifting Brigitte up on to her lap.

"I am the most important part of the process," Eduardo said. Without a chair to sit on, he decided to rest his chin on the edge of the table and pout. "Essential."

Maggiormente laughed. "Indeed, my friend, you are."

"He never does anything but eat," Brigitte said, looking severely at the pouting lion. "He eats everything."

"That's not all I do," Eduardo said with a noisy huff of breath. "I inspire."

"It's true," the alchemist affirmed.

"Does he help with the alchemy?" Fabien's brow furrowed. "Can he carry beakers?"

"No, nothing like that."

"I might be able to carry beakers," Eduardo muttered, returning to grooming his whiskers with one paw, licking the chocolate cake crumbs from it.

Adèle laughed. "I would not want to see him try to carry glassware." Brigitte leaned over from her lap to pat the lion's head. Apart from the ruffling of his wings, he did not seem to mind the continued attention.

"I would not expect it of him. The compounds can be rather powerful smelling and it would hurt his sensitive nose to have to inhale them too closely. So, that is not how he usually helps." Maggiormente paused.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Detained by Wolves in Dundee

Your humble narrator begs your indulgence for forgoing a chapter this week as she has been beset by growling beasts in Scotland. She expects to effect an escape soon and return to the safety of Ireland.

Sunday, February 05, 2012


"Would you like to stop for some cake?" Fabien asked as they walked back toward the house.

"Yes," Eduardo said, provoking excited squeals from Brigitte. The truth of the matter was that the Venetian lion generally always found himself ready to stop for cake, whether any was on offer or not.

Brigitte simply enjoyed anything that involved Eduardo—and she likewise found the idea of cake exciting despite being the child of a baker. One might expect that familiarity might breed contempt, but clearly that had not happened to this girl.

"I don't think we should," Maggiormente said with a frown. With the motor acquired all his thoughts leaped ahead to the use he could make of it. "There is so much to be done."

"But cakes, " Eduardo argued. "We need cakes."

"You ate this morning," the alchemist scolded him. "Don't be greedy."

"Oh come now, it is afternoon already," Fabien said, throwing his weight behind the clear majority. "A little sustenance before you return to your labours cannot be bad, eh?"

The alchemist chafed at the delay. However, he was not without some sympathy for his friend and his familiar. "I suppose a little cake and some coffee would not be a bad thing."

His acquiescence inspired cheers from the other three who immediately dragged him through the door of the bakery. The inviting interior welcomed them. The heat from the oven created a good portion of the warmth, but it wasn't the only source.

"There you are!" Madame Fabien gave her husband a look of mock severity. "I had begun to wonder if you had run off with the boulangereuse."

Fabien leaned across the counter to greet his wife with an enthusiastic kiss. "I thought better of it. I knew I couldn't last five minutes without you."

The alchemist looked away, embarrassed as he always did at these public displays of affection. I will never get used to Paris, he thought, shaking his head.

"Maman, maman!" Brigitte ran around the counter to hug her mother's legs tightly. "I rode on Eduardo's back and we flew all around the city."

"All around the city?" Adèle Fabien raised an eyebrow at her daughter. "I am wondering if that is in fact true at all."

"It is not," Eduardo said, peering at the selection of baked goods with quite focused attention. When it came to cakes, Eduardo exhibited a rather unexpected earnestness.

It is true that cakes are a very serious matter.

"Brigitte, you are exaggerating again." Her mother shook her head and tousled the girl's hair. "You mustn't exaggerate so much."

Brigitte folded her arms and frowned. "I imagined it."

"Exactly, ma cherie."

"If I imagined it, it could be real."

"There is some logic to that," Maggiormente said.

The others stared at him. Fabien laughed. Adèle said, "Is there, monsieur? I must admit I cannot see the logic."

"Can I have that cake?" Eduardo said, pointing at one covered in pink icing.

Adèle moved over with her knife poised. "You want a piece of this one?"

"Piece?" The lion blinked.

The baker laughed and brought the plate out for him.

"The logic," Maggiorment continued, noticing that no one had listened to his comment, "is the same one that animates my work."

"I am an alchemist?" Brigitte looked up with delighted surprise, flakes of her pan au chocolat scattered across her frock.

Maggiormente chuckled. "You are like an alchemist to be."

Brigitte considered this. "I am pleased. How am I so? I do not make things explode."

"One need not explode things," Maggiormente said, accepting a croissant from Adèle. "It is like the master wrote, 'What is now proved was once only imagined.' That is the true alchemy."

"This seems like philosophy," Fabien said frowning.

"Perhaps a little," Maggiormente admitted.

"That calls for wine!" Fabien and Eduardo cheered.