Bloodmaiden: Part 7

Amy shouted back, “I’ve never been to New Amsterdam before. If it’s not in a penny dreadful, I’ve never heard of it.”

Barely understandable between the wind and the gyrocopter’s blades, Nick shouted, “Right! Penny dreadfuls!”

The propeller behind the passenger compartment roared and the gyrocopter flew upward, leaving the area above the street, and reaching an altitude higher than most of the buildings.

Avoiding the factories’ billowing smokestacks, Nick flew the gyrocopter across the city until they reached a wide green area. A lake stood in the middle of it, but the land around it was large enough that the lake didn’t dominate the place. Amy guessed that the land could hold several small towns.

As the rockets at the tips of the gyrocopter’s blades turned on, and the gyrocopter slowly sank toward the ground, Amy realized that she had heard of the place.

It was called, “The Green” and it did appear in penny dreadfuls.

Nick set the gyrocopter down at a small dusty lot where several other flying machines were also parked–at least twenty.

Nick took a few minutes of pulling levers before getting out. Amy had already pulled herself out of the seat by the time he did.

“So,” he asked when he stood up in his seat, and then slid down the side, “do you recognize it?”

Amy laughed. “I’ve heard of the Green. Anybody who’s heard of New Amsterdam has heard of the Green, and not just people who read cheap books.”

Nick nodded. “True, but they exaggerate its significance beyond belief. The way they imagine it, the Green is the tribes’ foothold in the city. If half the serials were true, the Iroquois League would control everything. It’s not true. It’s really just a park and the Iroquois trade here like everyone else.”

Looking from the green grass in front of her toward the other side of the street where shops ran down the street, Amy didn’t feel a huge sense of the difference between the two, There was something, but it felt much the same as the difference between city and countryside back home.

Nick had continued talking. “People make so much out of the fact that the Green was part of the conditions of selling the land. It’s not as complicated as they think, you know? So anywhere you want to go? We could walk to the lake, or even around it, but that would take a while. We’d be here late, and you might be in enough trouble as is.”

Amy thought about it and shrugged. “It’s not as if they’re my parents. Let’s go.”

They followed the trail then, one foot in front of the other, pounding the dirt, growing ever closer to the lake.

After about thirty minutes the lake lay ahead of them. A few boats were on it. People sailed. A few couples rowed. Nick and Amy walked next to each other on the trail.

He caught her eye. “Please don’t take this wrong, but you’re not much like what I imagined someone in your position would be like.”

She gave a half smile. “Are you disappointed that I’m treating you like a person instead of a servant? Should I be hinting that I’m the product of generations of superior breeding?”

Nick grinned. “Well, not that exactly. I don’t know. I guess I didn’t expect that you’d want to take a walk now as opposed to going shopping or something?”

Amy shrugged. “If you think about my family, we don’t sit back and command people to solve the empire’s problems. We’re out there working with everyone else. Besides, if I’m traveling to another world, I’m already carrying along too much stuff.”

Nodding along with her response, Nick said, “I’ve seen your luggage. As for the rest, I hadn’t thought about it in exactly that way, but I can see it.”

He kept on talking, but she didn’t hear anything. Somewhere around here, someone was practicing magic.

She ran a fingernail across the back of her forearm. It barely hurt at all, and it drew blood. She muttered a few words she’d been taught. With this spell, she barely had to think. This spell for making magic visible was one of the first spells she’d been taught.

A hazy reddish glow appeared in the direction of the lake, centered on the crowd of men and women next to the lake. Some were fishing, others watching the boats, and still others were holding hands.

She couldn’t tell who’d cast a spell. Either she didn’t have the power at this distance, or she didn’t have the will.

Voices whispered in her head. They told her she’d have both if she only changed form, but she knew better than that. The light and noise of the transformation would attract too many people’s attention, Plus, there was the minor matter that people would recognize what she was–not only Bloodmaiden, the Bloodlords’ greatest tool, but also one in the old style.

That could result in a literal rather than a figurative declaration of war by the Summerlands’ combined governments, not only the colonists but the tribal nations around them.

Nick’s voice broke through. “I don’t know if you noticed, but those two guys on the far right end of the group? They’re standing such that they can see us out of the corner of their eyes. See how they’re standing slightly diagonal? I don’t know if that means anything, but–”

One of the men drew a gun.

17 thoughts on “Bloodmaiden: Part 7”

  1. Good hook!

    Two potential missing words in
    One potential extra word in {} if you add the second missing word.
    plural mismatch in []

    “I don’t if you noticed, but those two guys on the far right end of that group? They’re standing so {that} can see us out of the corner[s] of their eyes. “

    1. Eh, the comment system ate everything between angle brackets.

      Let’s try this again with underscores.

      Good hook!

      Two potential missing words between _ _
      One potential extra word in {} if you add the second missing word.
      Plural mismatch in []

      “I don’t _know_ if you noticed, but those two guys on the far right end of that group? They’re standing so {that} _they_ can see us out of the corner[s] of their eyes. “

  2. NOW caught up… and on one of the better cliffhangers we have seen in a while… which kind of suits this one since this Rocket has a Tomorrow Land + Maltese Falcon vibe that reminds me of old time noir Radio dramas. “Who knows what Darkness Lurks in the hearts of men?

    1. I wasn’t thinking about the Shadow as I planned this, but I can see it.

      Fun fact: While starting this serial, I read a bunch of pulp detective fiction to see examples of people doing first person perspective well.

      1. No excuse needed to read the pulps, they are good fun!

        Like the Infiniti City, this seems like a great setting. I would read novels set in either setting. Maybe if you get the urge to do something a little grittier or punk…. or… has the Pen and Cape society considered doing any shared world work? Ex: Liavek, Sanctuary, Wild Cards Universe etc? Come to think of it, any of the major Superhero universes technically qualify.

        BTW, just read the interview you did with Lisa Collins – some of it felt eerily familiar, I’ve only visited Holland MI, but I actually had a similar academic background including writing a paper on the same ecumenical group, and ending up in the same line of work, probably for similar reasons ( base materialistic ambitions like eating several times a week and having a roof to cover all the books – not a certainty for one seeking to turn Soc/Religious studies into a career in the same field). The Favorite author list looks pretty identical too, though I somehow avoided Ms. Kress for the last 25 years… and I would add Herbert,
        Stross, Sterling, Bujold, Pratchett, Sanderson and Stevenson. My love of never evolved to writing though. I hope you manage to make it your day job – for selfish as well as altruistic reasons!

        1. I am going to miss writing in this setting. As I’ve been writing this, I’ve realized that in some ways I could happily write a novel or series with alternate Nick and Amy facing dangers that appear in this world.

          I hope to write an Infinity City series. To be honest, it existed as an idea long before Legion of Nothing did.

          As for authors… I’ve yet to read any Sanderson. I’ve heard a lot of people recommend him though. I’ve read and enjoyed a number of the authors you mention though. I didn’t name everybody I like because the question was “who’s your favorite author?” Naturally, I named more than six.

          The Pen and Cape Society hasn’t talked about creating a shared universe as a group, but individuals have talked about it. I have no idea if anything will ever happen. Part of the issue might end up being legal in the sense of “who owns the shared ideas?” It’s not as if PCS is like Marvel or DC with our own legal department or anything…

  3. “It’s really just a park and the Iroquois trade here just everyone else.” I’m guessing that’s supposed to be “like everyone else”?

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