Ivy & The Rook Chap. 1: An Alarming Letter

October 21, 2012

By Kip Konner

On a beautiful, sunny Fabday in Widdershins, Miss Ivy Hibbledy-Pibbledy decided to go shopping.

Although still very young, she was already an ardent collector of rarities. Her parents, Lord and Lady Hibbledy-Pibbledy, furnished her with ample pocket money and encouraged her collecting as being an appropriate hobby for a young lady of her birth and station.

She left her home in Imagination (she had previously lived with her parents in a sumptuous, ultra-modern affair in Alakol) and decided to wander in search of towers selling her favorite rarities, Series Two Cubimals. The wind lifted her tightly curled Blue Rinse ringlets and swept her pink muslin walking dress (thank goodness bustles had been retired last season) behind her as she strolled from street to street, peeking briefly into the tower shops of each.

After a sedate hour spent browsing the various private collections, she came upon the tower shop of Camellia, where she found a goodly supply of cubimals on one floor, with a variety of other utterly mundane articles on other floors. Ignoring the various food and drink options on offer, Ivy paced slowly back and forth before the display cabinets, perusing the selection of cubimals and calculating which she might be able to afford with the remains of this month’s pocket money.

As she contemplated this mathematical conundrum, a gentleman entered the shop, ignoring her completely. How very rude! He went straight to the foods level and began buying the lot. He was the palest blue (most likely Moonstone, she thought), much paler than Ivy’s own Sky-ish Blue, and he had a simple haircut in Cold Steel. His clothes, a simple t-shirt in a medium blue and (Gasp!) denim trousers, appeared to be calculated to elicit the notice of no one.

Ivy ignores the furtive young gentleman.

The man made multitudinous purchases, many copies of several different food items. “Who could possibly need all that food,” she asked herself. Continuing to shop, she kept her eye on the young man. His behavior indicated that he was under a degree of strain and trying not to be noticed by other shoppers. Intrigued, she pretended to shop while watching him from the corner of her eye.

He was quite good-looking in a furtive, even bashful, way. Who was he hiding from? And why be so circumspect about food purchases? It wasn’t as if he were openly buying No-No Powder or Essence of Purple! How very strange!

Ivy, realizing that he was about to finish his purchases, quickly made her own (the reasonably-priced Trisor cubimal the only rarity she could afford after all), stuffed it hastily into her reticule, and exited the shop moments after the strange man. By the time she reached the street, however, he was gone. How mysterious!

*     *     *

Ivy Hibbledy-Pibbledy at home with her maid Mimsy (and the Rock hiding from the photographer behind a book.

Ivy had her own cottage on a lovely street, patterned after Uralia. It had a maximum of butterflies, a firefly hive, and a dearth of piggies (There would be no plops on her street!). She maintained the cottage as an escape from the doldrums of living with the rather staid Lord and Lady Hibbledy-Pibbledy. Mums and Daddums had let her purchase the cottage shortly after her most recent birthday, feeling that a little independence and responsibility would do her good. Her lovely little home was supported entirely by her own efforts (and Daddums’s purse, of course). She had taken up the genteel arts associated with herbs and tinctures as being useful skills for a lady of her age and antecedents and avoided the coarser farming and mining pursuits as being below her station. She had her own herb gardens and a workroom in her home dedicated to transmuting the herbs into useful tinctures. Mums and Daddums flatly forbid growing purple flower or working with it, but all the other herbs and tinctures were available to her. Some of them, she had discovered, were quite lucrative when sold!

After her shopping excursion (and its attendant mystery), Ivy was quite thoroughly exhausted and returned to her little home for a much needed luncheon. Her maid, Mimsy, met her at the door. “Letter for you, Miss,” Mimsy said and held out the letter on a silver salver. Ivy, removing her gloves and placing them on a side table, took the letter and retired to her lounge to add her most recent purchase to her collection. Satisfied with Trisor’s placement amongst the others there, she sat in her favorite armchair, ordered Bubble Tea and Simple Slaw from Mimsy, and opened the letter.

Twoday, 2nd Widdershins, Year 23

The Outside

Dear Miss Hibbledy-Pibbledy,

It is with regret that we inform you that you have been chosen for a campaign of senseless harassment that will likely culminate in your demise. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience as we track you down across all of Ur, make your existence unbearable, and, ultimately, kill you without prejudice or recourse.

Run, little Glitch, run!

Yours sincerely,

The Rook

As the letter fell from her benumbed fingers, her eyes widened in shock and her face grew deathly pale. What could it mean? What should she do? Who could she call on for succor?

In all crises, Lady Hibbledy-Pibbledy had taught her, a lady’s comportment under stress is the truest indicator of her grace and propriety. She sat calmly, therefore, and finished the tea and slaw that Mimsy had brought. And, while she sipped her beverage, she contemplated her options.

She mustn’t take this to Mums and Daddums. They must be protected. If she drew her antagonists away, her parents might be safe. Their home must therefore be avoided at all costs.

Clearly, there was no authority to turn to for aid: the DeImaginators and BureauCrocs were generally believed to be in league with the Rook already. Admittedly, this rumor might only be the result of too many deadeningly dull visits to the Halls of Administration. Still, she daren’t risk approaching them.

She must simply vanish! She must leave her home and look for aid among strangers in Ur! Her greatest safety might lay in surrounding herself with others: perhaps the Rook wouldn’t attack her with other Glitchen about.

Having reached this decision, she asked Mimsy for some paper and her quill. She quietly composed a letter to Mums and Daddums, explaining that she was inspired to explore Ur for a while and didn’t know for certain when she would be in touch again. Could Daddums deposit her next month’s allowance a little early? Finishing the letter with her usual flourish, she dispatched Mimsy to her parents’ home, letter in hand.

With Mimsy out of the way, she quickly made preparations for departure. Her reticule would have to suffice for luggage, as carrying anything more might slow her down and mark her out as a fugitive. Luckily, it was much bigger inside than it appeared and she had room for all the essentials: her other outfit; her rare cubimals; a selection of useful essences, potions, and powders; a few herb seeds; a small amount of food and drink; her Orb and Conch; all the ready money she had on hand; and her trusted Emotional Bear.

Preparations made, she took one last look around at her cozy little cottage. When would she see it again? Would she ever see it again?

Before Mimsy could return from her delivery errand and stop her, Ivy stepped out her front door, locking it behind her, and teleported for Gregarious Grange.

*   *   *

Someplace dark. It seemed he had evaded them again. No one appeared to have seen him slip into this burrow. That shopping trip had been an enormous risk but he couldn’t just harvest openly on streets: They might find him. The only Glitch to even notice him had been that little blue girl in the pink dress. His behavior had been a little shifty, perhaps, and that must be what had drawn her attention. Hopefully, he wouldn’t run into her again, although she hardly looked the type to be an agent of the Rook. He would have to be more careful in future, practice looking nonchalant. Even shopping the towers could get him spotted by Them.


What will happen to Ivy next? Will she be able to avoid the Rook? And who is that furtive young gentleman shopper?

Come back next issue for the continuing tale!

3 Responses to Ivy & The Rook Chap. 1: An Alarming Letter

  1. Sororia Rose on October 21, 2012 at 19:21


  2. [...] you haven't already, please see Chap. 1.] Upon returning from her letter-delivery errand, Mimsy found her mistress’ home strangely [...]

  3. [...] column. His most recent effort included the start of a Victorian romance/thriller set in Ur, called Ivy & the Rook. ["But Ivy is just getting started," he wailed when he heard the news of Glitch's [...]

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