Mistress Ching arrives

 

A portrait of Mistress Ching after her marriage

A portrait of Mistress Ching after her marriage

As she walks through the mist to the gang plank, no one could know her misgivings.  Her dark glasses conceal any change in her almond-shaped eyes and her face betrays no change in emotion.  From afar, Mistress Ching is a striking figure disappearing and reappearing in the early morning mist, her red silk robes bright as blood, her black hair, at first seeming to be a cloak, but then on closer inspection (but not too close–she is followed by several rough men, top knots, dressed in traditional Chinese labourer garb, but much too strong to be true labourers) a shining wave falling to her feet down her back with two thick braids in the front.

 

She holds an umbrella, decorated in gilt and red dragons that devour men, women & children alike.  Such an unusual use of the dragon, which is most often a symbol of knowledge & wisdom.  Mistress Ching looks sharply behind to ensure that her servant Ting Ting, seemingly ancient beyond years, is shuffling along behind her.  The Chinese men who stay close are carrying her trunks and bags.  She looks beyond them but can see little in the mist, but her men have assured her that she has not been followed.  

She looks affectionately at her servant Ting Ting who who moves so slowly–Mistress has adapted her steps to her servant’s.  Ting Ting has disguised her appearance with a hood so as not to draw undue attention, but the horn that adorns her forehead pleases Mistress Ching for it marks Ting Ting as unusual and magickal, something that she is herself so they are linked.

 

Ting Ting without her hood

Ting Ting without her hood

Mistress Ching does not completely trust all of the men, but she knows that Pon is trustworthy, if only because she has already rewarded him with gold and has promised more if he takes all the men to the train to work on the farm for at least a week.  They may be able to describe the ship, but they do not know English and cannot name the ship and do not know its path, although her father’s reach is vast and she knows his involvement with the pirates.  If he believes he can retrieve her using them, he will.

As she glides up the gang plank in her small black silk slippers (they will be ruined in the mist, but there are more in the trunks), she quickly views the passengers that have arrived before her.  A small woman in a neat black suit and hat with ostrich feathers is just ahead of her, but Mistress Ching cannot see her face.  There is time to meet her or at least identify her later.  Ah, the fortune teller has just disappeared beyond her view.  The Lady Morgaine was not on board–this has been obvious–she would have felt The Lady’s presence, whatever Her shape.  There is another, a true fairy, strong in light and spirit.  She had the passenger list thoroughly searched through means that others, with less money, could not have achieved.  Were the captain to know that her security had been breached so easily…well, she would hope that would not come to pass.  

A strange woman with black eyes stands on the top deck staring out at the sea.  How odd.   This one she does not know.  She would have to look into this woman, who intrigues her.  Suddenly,  with great noise, an automobile pulls up to the end of the gangplank with a horn blaring and a distasteful smell.  Mistress Ching does not turn around, but her men pull in a little closer in apprehension.  Four young things, dressed in the latest style jump out, chattering madly about the ship and the voyage and run, hand in hand up the plank.  One of the young ladies, if you could call her a lady, jostles Mistress Ching and Pon reaches out a hand to block her.  Mistress Ching speaks a sharp word and he drops his hand.

“Oh,” gushes the young woman. “I am so sorry, I was moving so fast…” and she trails off when she sees that she is talking to a foreign woman, very strange and wealthy.

“Think nothing of it,” says Mistress Ching in perfect , unaccented English.  “I am perfectly fine.  Please continue.”

The four stare, then look at each other and dissolve into laughter and run ahead, followed by porters.

Mistress Ching turns slightly to Pon and murmurs, ” Please find my cabin.  This is unbearable.”  Pon responded with speed and determination.

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16 Responses to “Mistress Ching arrives”

  1. Jill Says:

    Oh I am totally loving Mistress Ching already, how could I not when she is a seer too. I am very much looking forward to more of her story.

  2. dg Says:

    Love the many vivid word pictures. I can see the scene and feel the dampness of the mist…

    Beautiful.

  3. animar Says:

    Sen this is WONDERFUL, why? I love Mistress Ching- and I have a feeling the two of you are going to do some great work together and I’ll be there to enjoy every word!

  4. Lori Says:

    Mistress Ching rocks!

  5. rosylee Says:

    This is a great start. I’m looking forward to watching your story and characters unfold.

  6. gailkav Says:

    Love Mistress Chging, love your approach, and I will be hanging on every word.

  7. gailkav Says:

    sorry about the typo – we just turned the lights off to watch the Sydney fireworks.

  8. Thalia Says:

    what a delight this will be.

  9. Alexis Says:

    Welcome aboard, Mistress Ching. I believe that was me you saw on deck, taking in the view and cold air, I love the cold air you know. 🙂

    And don’t worry about pirates, we’re experienced in dealing with pirates here, as I’m sure some of our fellow passengers can tell you! 🙂

  10. Heather Blakey Says:

    The visuals have totally engaged me Senua. I can literally see Mistress Ching. I will be following this woman with much interest.

  11. shelbloom Says:

    I like the feeling of mystery that lurks within the story, a hint of things past and things to come. I look forward to reading more.

  12. traveller Says:

    hmmmm, I can see Mistress Ching is going to be quite a character

  13. FairyRainbow Says:

    I am sure that I know Mistress Ching…have we met before? In the realm of magic it seems that time and space do not exist, and one place is like another, one face melts into the other…

  14. woodnymph Says:

    Delightful. Mistress Ching is going to be an amazing shipmate for this voyage.

  15. sistergemma Says:

    Mistress Ching was a great pleasure making your acquaintance last evening and learning about your travels and adventures. Wonderful!

  16. Sue Says:

    I’m a late starter, but enjoying it very much 🙂

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