An ordinary day, until....

I awoke this morning to the sun streaming through the windows of my cottage in Caledon Cay. I kept my eyes closed for a few blissful moments... I groaned. So much to do and so little time! I roused myself quickly and donned a white lace day dress. The day's tasks were already spooling out in my mind, Radio Riel clients to contact and policies to work on...a visit to Primverness to survey the ballroom under construction...a dressmaker to contact...

I stopped for a moment, looking in the mirror...the sun hat or the Merry Widow? Hmm...decisions, decisions. As I switched from hat to hat, tilting my head, my eyes noted the thick creamy invitation sitting on my dressing table. I picked it up and unfolded it:

Sir JJ Drinkwater, Director of the Caledon Library, and Her Grace, CoyoteAngel Dimsum of the House of Wu cordially invite you to The Bookbinder's Ball!

When: Friday, August 3, 2007 from 5:00pm - 8:00pm SLT
What: A fancy dress ball inaugurating the Caledon Library's new Novels Collection
Location: Caledon Primverness

The theme of this event is "Come as your favorite 19th Century Novel", and the Senseless and the Sensible are welcome, as are all Hardy souls, Eyre-heads, shameless Trollopes, Big & Little Dickens, Millers & Flossers, and Carrollers of every description. Join us for an evening of very literate festivity indeed!

Music provided by Her Grace, Gabrielle Riel, The Duchess of Carntaigh and Radio Riel

I smiled softly, thinking of the character that I have chosen to dress as. Oh, we shall see how many people can guess who I will be on Friday night! :-) Although, hmm, I still need to decide what to wear... oh bother! I do not have time to deal with that right now!

I took the trolley to the train depot in Cay and then took the train on into Caledon Primverness. Her Grace, Miss CoyoteAngel Dimsum has been hard at work indeed! The ballroom is stunning.

The Primverness Ballroom

I surveyed the space...calculating where to place my 30 dance sets... My mind was off and running thinking about the party to be held here on Friday evening. Oh I *do* hope they have decent Champagne!

I left the Ballroom to head to my next appointment - with my dressmaker, Miss Skye Qi. I have engaged Miss Qi to create a custom gown for me for my Court Presentation Ball, which I will be holding at Coughton Court in Caledon Carntaigh on Saturday, August 11 from 7:00pm - 10:00pm SLT. I am inviting all of Caledon to celebrate my court with me, so of course I want a very special dress for such an occasion! I am such of fan of Miss Qi's designs! She is a very talented dressmaker.

I wound my way home as night fell..staring into the sky as the train headed north through Caledon Moors, taking me back to the Cay. Wait a moment... that smoke is not from the engine... that smoke is in the sky above Cay!!!!

I did not even wait for the Trolley when I arrived at the Cay Depot...I broke into a run for my Cottage. Such a crowd had gathered on the North Shore of the Cay! There were what looked like hundreds of people standing in my yard, and that of Major Erasmus Margulis, all looking north...into what USED to be open sea!

I gasped...beyond the crowds...beyond the shore - an island that had not been there when I departed this morning! And not just an island! But one with a massive volcano that was belching fire, black smoke and ash into the air! Oh heavens! Look at my pretty white cottage! Well, it used to be white - it's now a sickly shade of grey due to the falling ash. Lovely. How will I ever get the siding clean??

The crowd was a milling, muttering sea of people as I approached. I could make out Lady Kate Nicholas, Sir Adso Krogstad and other members of The Royal Society for the Advancement of Knowledge in the Natural Sciences huddled together. I'll ask Kate...she is *sure* to know some of what is going on here!

Just as I approached the Royal Society group, I heard someone clear his throat...the group looked, and I turned my head to see Lord Bardhaven standing there.

“I couldn’t help but overhear that you are a bit strapped for operating funds, vis a vis, an expedition to dear Phillip out there.” he intoned, a genial, friendly smile on his face, white teeth reflecting volcanic hellfire. “I think I could see my way clear to underwriting such important work pro bono…of course, quid pro quo, ipso facto, there would be certain…accommodations I would demand, ad nauseaum, habeas corpus, e pluribus unum.”

And so, the adventure begins...