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Author Topic: Steamtown USA  (Read 8042 times)
Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« on: September 19, 2014, 11:00:17 pm »

Mr. and Mrs. Gareth Aquos stepped out of the tiny train station and made their way down the main street. "This place should be nice", said Mrs. Aquos, also known as Jessica. She pointed to a small, one-storey yellow-shuttered shop with a 'for rent' sign in the window. "That's where my tea shop is going to be, have you found your jobsite yet dear?"

"The town hall? No, it should be around here somewhere." Mr. Aquos was to serve as deputy mayor. He had not met the current mayor of the little town, but he thought he had a very unusual name... Whiskers. "Well darling, the movers need to know where to go, let's not dawdle."

Their new house was located not far from the main street. It was a lovely three-story red-brick second empire manor, but it's front yard was in desperate need of weeding. The couple opened the door to find a tabby cat dressed in monocle and bowler hat there to greet them. "Ah yes, you must be the new residents! I am Sir Whiskers, mayor of Steamtown and current occupant of the attic of this building."

Mr. and Mrs. Aquos stared at the cat, then at each other. "Well dear, you did say you wanted to get a cat." Gareth said.

"yes, but.... I didn't expect it to talk." Jessica said. The cat then informed the couple that while they were welcome to store their seasonal decorations in the attic, they must not move the cat tree. The couple was still in shock over a talking cat who apparently co-owned the house with them. There came a knock at the door. "Must be the movers." Jessica opened the door.
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2014, 06:53:34 am »

"Hello!" a rather shiny woman blinked bright eyes at the Aquos, "I'm Anna and these are my children Orion, Soelle, Rose and Victoria. We've come to welcome you to Steamtown! My husband Gilbert is just bringing a box of fruit and tea up the walk- here he is! We really haven't been in town all that long ourselves. But we're very glad to meet you! Say hello, children."

With interested smiles, the children each put up a hand and waved.

"There now, don't be shy," chuckled Gilbert, "perhaps the cat's got their tongues?"
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That delicate forest flower,   
With scented breath and look so like a smile,   
Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mould,   
An emanation of the indwelling Life,   
A visible token of the upholding Love,   
That are the soul of this great universe.

~William Cullen Bryant

Trains to Steamtown, this way...
Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2014, 08:00:54 pm »

Still in shock over the talking cat incident, Jessica regained her composure and offered greetings to her new neighbors. "Hello there, My name is Jessica Aquos and this is my Husband, Gareth. We're looking to set up a tea shop in town. The Cake and Kettle, I'll call it. My husband was recently hired as deputy mayor... It looks like he'll be doing most of the work, if this cat is to be believed." She accepted the welcome package.

The monocled tabby spoke up. "That's right! He'll have to act as my secretary since I don't have opposable thumbs. Good to see neighbors out and about!"
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 12:29:33 am »

"Hallo there Sir Whiskers!" Gilbert greeted him, as they were already pals, "And it is a pleasure, on behalf of our entire family, to meet you Gareth and Jessica."

"The Cake and Kettle, you say? It sounds delightful. We'd be happy to sell you some of our herbal tea blends exclusively if you decide you like them. Well anyway, you all seem to have some settling in to do, so I believe we'll be off...!" Anna ushered the children back down the steps.

One of the children slipped Whiskers a crunchy treat of some sort before they collectively skipped, cartwheeled, strolled, and sashayed down the cobblestone street toward the family's arts and crafts shop, in front of which someone or someones seemed to be waiting...
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Prof. Cecily
Snr. Officer
****
Spain Spain



« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2014, 09:04:58 am »

"Good morning, Anne."
The greeting came from an agitated lady standing in the doorway of the shop.
"Good morning, Gilbert, " she said.
"Hello, children. How lovely to see you. Would you be so good as to lend me your parents for a moment?"

The three friends watched the children play, rolling their hoops in the quiet sunny street.

"Anna, Gilbert, I've had some unussual news from Mortimer and Ariadne."
Cornelia twisted the ruby ring she wore on the little finger of her right hand.
"You've met them, as I recall. Since they've taken up residence in the underwater caves on the coast they've become aware of changes in the tide patterns, something neither has seen before. This could mean something, or it could mean nothing. Ariadne is, perhaps, oversensitive to things, especially in her delicate condition and Mortimer is the perfect doting husband, after all."

Smiling nervously at Anna and Gilbert, Cornelia added, "Perhaps it's simply an old lady's imagination, but I have the feeling Sir Whiskers should be informed."

Before receiving an answer, Cornelia started violently.
"Did I take the quince jelly off the hob or did I not? Dear me, this news has me all a-twitter. DO forgive me, I must see to the jelly!"

With that, Cornelia darted off, waving to the children as she went.

As always happens when one's in a hurry, someone hailed Cornelia as she sped along.




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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2014, 06:52:47 pm »

A cacophony of sounds approached from the west end of town; it sounded like a body of horsemen accompanied by a traction engine. Soon, the black speck turned into a many-legged contraption that seemed almost alive due to the almost organic motion of its legs; had it not been for the rather obvious upright-cylinder shape of the oil-fired steam engine that drove the machine, one could almost have believed that it moved of its own volition.

At the side of the engine, however, upon a roofed platform from which sprouted all manner of levers, cranks, pulleys and belt lifters, sat the farmer/inventor Israel Starbridge, all tweed and linen for going to town, waxed handlebar moustache curling outward to the sides, goggles protecting his eyes from road dust, manipulating the tiller that steered his new Walking Cultivator (for such was the contraption in question). Plows of three types hung down behind, along with discs for breaking hardpan, and seeders. in the front resided blades and other apparattus for harvesting. He called out a hearty "Good Day!" to those he met on the way. Many, already familiar with his popular many-legged farming equipment, simply waved back or called out pleasantries of their own. Some who were not so familiar variously watched dumbfounded, or in the case one such, stood slackjawed and openmouthed as the machine chuffed and clippety-clopped past, heading for the cooperative consignment shop where Israel usually displayed and sold his inventions.

"Good Morning to you, Mm. Cornelia," he said, tugging the bill of his flat cap as the lady hurried by. "Got some good raspberries comin' out this year."
« Last Edit: September 29, 2014, 06:55:09 pm by MWBailey » Logged

Walk softly and carry a big banjo...

""quid statis aspicientes in infernum"
Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2014, 10:49:20 pm »

"Changes in the tide patterns... what could it all mean?" Gilbert mused.

"Well if anyone's going to be attuned to the pull of the moon, I suppose she would be well-placed.... Children! Let Mr. Starbridge land."

Little ones clung to various bars and levers (which they didn't weigh enough to shift, luckily), being fond of the farmer and rather in awe of his many-legged contraption. Being a family of acrobats, the movement of the machine did not unnerve them and each was rather strong enough to hold on as it moved.

"Can I ride in the spider!?!" they pleaded, one after the other.
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Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2014, 01:51:21 am »

"What a strange machine" Gareth said to his wife. "Do you suppose the fellow driving it also invented it?"

"I don't know" Answered Jessica. "But I get the feeling we'll like it here very much."
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2014, 11:56:10 pm »

Ladies and Gents, may I present the latest Farmwalker Walking Cultivator, the Mark 6. Oil-fired, so one doesn't have to deal with those nasty cinders. internal pistons, to prevent tall crops becoming entangled with teh piston arms, and no great huge walking beam to throw the balance off on corners." He lined up the double row of hinged legs with a snap as if the legs belonged to a platoon of soldiers dressing their formation. "Now, here, lad," he said to one of the begging would-be riders, "grab that lever there, both 'ands now, and squeeeeze 'ard, while pullin' back." he helped with a hand on the lever in question, and a stair-ladder slowly unfolded from the platform and down to the ground.

Israel cocked his head a bit to one side at the mention of teh machine's origin, and answered, "Why, yes, ma'am, I did invent this here machine, and I intend to sell it, too!" His eyes twinkled with an irreverent but friendly humor, and he smiled engagingly as he bowed from the platform, sweeping off his flat cap flamboyantly to reveal his widower's peak atop his head of dark brown hair, his temples dusted with just a hint of gray.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 12:00:27 am by MWBailey » Logged
Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2014, 02:09:19 am »

Grateful for the bit of adventure, the youngest child gave Mr. Starbridge a little quartz pebble she'd been carrying around as they, having finished the ride around town, slid gingerly down onto the cobblestone street.

"Come along, time to go home," said Anna and the whole family walked back to the lovely Italianate home surrounded by a spike-tipped wrought iron fence. One tabby cat wound itself welcomingly round a post, hoping for a head-scratch, with a tiny black cat echoing the movement around one of the columns on the porch. Before anyone could blink, Orion and Soelle were in the tree to the left of the front gate, and all that could be seen were Soelle's green eyes looking out between the deep green leaves.

Gilbert and Anna settled Victoria and Rose in to sleep. The other two would sleep in their hammocks in a large centuries-old magnolia tree. The adults had a mug of tea and stretched out in a hammock on the porch, tabby curled beside them and a darker brown cat with black markings lay a little further off on the porch.
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Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2014, 03:45:05 am »

The movers finally managed to find the brick manor and the Aquos were forced to desert the spectacle outside to make arraignments of their things. Jessica's gardening supplies were placed in a back shed while Gareth's exercise equipment found their home in the attic. "Remember not to slam the barbells on the floor, dear. We don't want the ceiling to break again!" Jessica called to her husband. Sir Whiskers seemed hesitant to interact with the movers, he was hiding in his beaten-up cat tree, and would arch his back whenever a mover got too close.

"Oh you poor thing. Here, let me get you some cream." Said Jessica to the cat after the movers finally left.

"I'd prefer a nice scotch actually." Replied Sir Whiskers.

"A cat that drinks liquor? This is an interesting town!" said Gareth, after unpacking some of the couple's china from a box.

"Scotch, Brandy, Claret, I even enjoy a nice cool Chardonnay in the summertime." The cat with the monocle replied.

The couple and their cat enjoyed a small glass of sherry before going to bed. The next morning, Jessica set out to the little shop in town which was soon to become the Cake and Kettle. She opened the door to find the place quite dusty, the windows were a bit grimy and there was a rather large stain in the middle of the floor. She did her best to tidy up before the movers brought in the restaurant essentials. Much to her surprise, her husband arrived on his lunch break to talk with her. "Well dear, Sir Whiskers thinks the most pressing matter at the moment is the fall harvest festival. I was wondering if maybe I could get your opinion on a few things..."
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2014, 10:29:18 pm »

The door swung open again with a gust of fresh Autumn air and several leaves. There was a pumpkin where there hadn't been one when Gareth entered the shop, and not a soul visible on the cobblestone street outside.
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Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2014, 11:04:27 pm »

"Oh goody!" Jessica exclaimed. "I can open up the cake and kettle with my famous pumpkin cake!" She picked up the pumpkin and set it in the kitchen. "I'm sorry dear, looks like I'll be busy. Why don't you see if the other residents have any input?"
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2014, 05:25:24 pm »

"Oh goody!" Jessica exclaimed. "I can open up the cake and kettle with my famous pumpkin cake!" She picked up the pumpkin and set it in the kitchen. "I'm sorry dear, looks like I'll be busy. Why don't you see if the other residents have any input?"

"The harvest festival," Gilbert paused in his deliberations before responding to Gareth, "Seems to have passed us by with a slip into a vortex." He took a sip of tea unconcernedly, crossing his legs in his padded chair. Gareth sat in its twin in the casual atmosphere of the Inverness family's art shoppe.

"Uh," Gareth felt the question needed to be asked, "Are you often plagued by-" he felt a sudden sense of deja vu and noticed he was now in a different chair, wearing a different coat, and as he looked up, a bespectacled Gilbert behind a desk and wearing a well appointed suit finished his long-winded explanation of vortices and how they'd plagued the town ever since that rogue air balloon had crashed into the Time Tower.

The scene shifted again and...

-vortices?" Gareth finished, perplexed. He couldn't remember why he'd asked the question in the first place.

"Plagued by vortices? Not that I know of," said Gilbert, brief as he usually was. "Did you like the festival?"

"I did. I did. Jessica's pumpkin cake was a roaring success, and those children of yours fully attired as plump turkeys!! well..."

Gilbert chuckled and a gleam of pride took over his countenance, "Cute, huh."

"They were wonderful. And Mr. Starbridge!"

"Quite the contraption," Gilbert lauded the newest invention as well as, "Cornelia's storytelling is always a hit."

"They were quite fantastic tales. A planet ruled by cats, my goodness! What else will she think of?"

~*~
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Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2014, 09:23:50 pm »

"well then" continued Gareth, "Let us prepare for the winter festival before another vortex strikes! Sir Whiskers just wants me to warn you that we shan't be using that spun glass for decoration. It made his paws hurt."
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2014, 09:16:45 pm »

Back at the workshop annex of Starbridge Farmhouse, Mr. Starbridge climbed out of a cast iron and brass chest that looked rather like a small sea chest. Much too small, in fact, for anyone to have been hiding within, the chest sat far too lightly and yet far too heavily to seem quite real; yet there it sat, wobbling slightly as Starbridge stepped from chest to workshop floor, and then paused and finally closed the arched lid with a thump, locking it with a simple padlock key from his belt. A curious glance inside the chest before the lid closed would have revealed a long cast iron spiral stairway descending into a billowing pea-soup fog of steam and smoke, underlit by the flickering of arclights and furnace fires, punctuated by bursts of electrical static discharges. Every so often the geometry of the space far below would seem to shift, and it would appear as though the entire tableau had changed subtly.

"Tough time of it, Mr Starbridge, sir?" Adelbert, the head of the hired hands, asked As Starbridge sank heavily into a waiting folding chair.

"You don't want to know, Addy lad," Starbridge answered. "Lets just hope nobuddy noticed the slips this time." He laid an odd-looking wrench on the bench beside his chair, and picked up the steaming mug of extra-strong Jamoaca coffee that sat waiting beside the long-leg vise. "I'd hate to have to explain this latest vortex to the Mayor." So far, as far as Starbridge knew, no one was aware (he wasn't sure about the Mayor, that tabby was ten times sharper than any human he knew of) that he had been adjusting the time slips to keep things on an even keel.

At least, he hoped that that was what he'd been doing...
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2014, 03:07:24 am »

Meanwhile, back off-the-ranch, the town gathered as one to plan the festival. The 'technical difficulties' having been resolved for the moment, everyone was able to rest easy.

Sir Whiskers batted a tassel connected to a bell that rang lightly, and the square came to silence. The acrobatic Inverness family ceased their partner-balancing practice and wandered over to a picnic blanket to sit in comfort.

"Here ye, hear ye. We shall now vote upon names for this year's festival. Last years title of 'Fish for Whiskers' shall be disqualified as a candidate, but any previous years titles can be nominated. Shall we pass a stovepipe hat and collect bits of paper with your suggestions?"
Whiskers looked around, and gave a silent signal to a deep grey cat whose fur appeared iridescent in the light of the sun as she rolled a hat through the crowd.

All the names collected, the paper scraps were read aloud.....

"Solstice and Stars Festival",
...
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Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2014, 03:45:36 am »

"I wonder if they'll pick my suggestion of 'Midwinter carnival'?" Jessica said to her husband.

"I don't really see why we're having to name this, There's nothing wrong with 'Yuletide'." Gareth replied.

"Oh darling, having a unique name makes it more fun! Why else would they celebrate international talk-like-a-pirate day?"
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2014, 07:47:05 am »

Moxon, Starbridge's other hired hand (an all-round handyman sort, and a real genius at  carpentry), was in town as representative of the Farm, and had brought slips of paper bearing Starbridge's, Adelbert's, and Wilhelmina's suggestions (Winterthing, Snowfair, and Wingding, respectively) for the festival name, and had dropped them into the hat as it was passed through the crowd.

A slip of paper had been found by Bakersville's water bowl that tread "Howlstice," and though he had brought it, Moxon was in two minds about whether or not it really could have had anything to do with the farmhound; he'd never heard the animal speak a word, much less seen him write one, but then again, there was Whiskers the mayor, so who could really say? t was a quandary to the hand.

He winked at a pretty shopgirl who happened to be standing nearby and grinned a greeting.
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2014, 07:15:56 pm »

Soelle raised an eyebrow and then a foot to wave a greeting back.

Whiskers had placed a paw print next to each name as it was written on the chalkboard, shaking his paw to rid it of chalk afterward (with little success).

Midwinter Carnival
Winterthing
Wingding
Howlstice
Yuletide
Snowfair
Solstice and Stars Festival
Warm and Cozy

"Are there any others?" Whiskers allowed for any stragglers to make up their minds.
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2014, 02:33:35 am »

Whiskers rang the tasseled bell-pull again and unrolled a scroll (by allowing kittens to bat the end across the floor...... "so many minions --err, offspring-- so little time!").

He read from the scroll aloud as a hush fell over the crowd.

"Our winter festival this year shall be called: 'Snowfair!'" A cheer rang up and the citizens dispersed to attend to their separate preparations for the fair.

The Inverness family resumed their acrobatic practice, with some climbing up onto low-flying dance trapezes, and others doing partner balancing.
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Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2014, 02:40:55 am »

The Aquos couple were among the first to return home that evening.

"First thing on the Itinerary is to decorate, I think." Gareth said as soon as his wife locked the front door. "Darling will you check around town to see if we can harvest evergreen branches? It would be a terrible expense to send out for them. I think we'll also need ribbons, lights, and pinecones."
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Rose Inverness
Snr. Officer
****
United States United States


Communing with the Over-soul via you.


WWW
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2014, 07:43:39 pm »

Soelle and Anna returned to the art shop in town with the little ones in tow, laden with evergreen boughs, pinecones, cranberries, and candles and began to "spruce up" the exterior and interior of the shop. "Don't these garlands smell fantastic!" Anna exclaimed.

"Ooh, lovely...!" Soelle admired her mother's handiwork adorning the dark paneled walls near the crown moulding. She herself was arranging candles along the sale counter amidst wreaths of greenery.

The little girls seemed to be pelting one another with tiny little balls covered in glitter and also the occasional jingle bell.

"Hey! Tie those to the doorknob, like we talked about." The little ones heeded their elder sister and began using gold ribbon to make a conglomeration of beads (for beads they were) and bells that faintly resembled a bunch of grapes, surprisingly pretty and dainty in its haphazard glowing array.

"Now we'll know whenever somebody comes in!" Said Victoria, "Because it will jingle!"  She gave the bells an exemplary shake.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 10:46:35 pm by Rose Inverness » Logged
Stormcat
Officer
***
United States United States


Sir Whiskers, Lord High Mouser and Royal lapwarmer


« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2014, 11:45:22 pm »

"I think it's okay if we have poinsettias, After all Whiskers, I trust you're smart enough to not chew on them." Said Jessica to the intelligent tabby. Gareth carried a large box down from the attic.

"the house looks great dear, but your shop is so barren by comparison, I found these extra lights in the attic, you should take them to work." He handed his wife the box before kissing her on the forehead. "Well Whiskers," he noted the bowler-hatted tabby "I think the town tree lighting needs a tree first."

"Yes of course!" Whiskers replied. "It's just not winter without me climbing to the top and placing the nixie-tube star on the tree!"

Jessica piped up. "Don't forget about the metal menorah, the kwanza display, the festivus pole, the Atheist's 'big letter A', The Bronies Altar to Luna, and even the satanists offered a display this year."

"So many holidays this season! No wonder the conservatives are against it all, it would be so much easier to celebrate just the biggest one!" Gareth joked. "Fortunately, your parents are all the way in Edgewater, so they can't be here to complain about it all."

"Well, I'm off to the shop to set up lights. You boys have fun setting up all those displays." Jessica kissed her husband's cheek and offered Sir Whiskers a pat on the head. She returned to her shop and placed the box of lights in the back room. She couldn't put them up just yet, She had a customer.
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MWBailey
Rogue Ætherlord
*
United States United States


"This is the sort of thing no-one ever believes"

rtafStElmo
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2014, 06:19:49 am »

Adelbert looked dubiously at the wheeled contraption that he and Starbridge were hooking up to the original CropWalker prototype. The machine was still in great shape, and had the pulling power of nearly twenty Draft horses, so Starbridge used it around the farm and town to pull heavy loads. A nearly-inordinate amount of brasswork and polished steel and nickel made it appear to be a showpiece (which it actually was at least partly, as it had originally been designed as a proof-of-concept to sell the idea to possible investors), and teh addition of holly-and-ribbon bundles and wreaths in decorative places on both the towed contraption and the walker completed teh festive look of things.

But Adelbert had watched Farmer Starbridge cobble the thing together, and it just seemed unnatural for a machine to do what it did. It included everything Starbridge had ever invente din its design save for teh multileggedness o fteh walkers.He still didn't undertstand how the thing could generate whole long tons of snow from what seemed like nothing, and what felt and sounded for all the world like vagrant eddies of a violent blizzard, felt and heard the way one feels such on the warm side of a drafty cottage door on a wintry night. The eerie green light that issued from the depths of the Gear-filled wagon did nothing to dispell the mystery.

"You sure about this, Mister Starbridge, sir?" he queried as he poised the sledgehammer to drive the hitchpin home. "Only me and Moxon just finished scrapin' that ice sheet off'n the turnip field."

Starbridge stood back, stretching the small of his back as Adelbert drove the pin home with a single mighty clang, his massively muscled back barely flexing as he did so; the lad was stronger than most dray oxen, Starbridge mused. "Don't sweat that, lad," he answered. "I've got the system set right now, and the spreader arms and blowfans'll keep the stuff from cakin' up like that batch did Tuesday last."
------------------
Later, they drove the contraption into town, and as Starbridge clambered down from the walker, he told one  of teh assembled onlookers who asked what teh thing was, "Well, if the local snow melts, seems it'd be good to have more snow on tap, don't it?" and winked at the man's puzzled expression. "Where be Mr. Mayor and company?"
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