Lady Violetta Chesterfield travels to the Kingdom of Dragomir on a mission. For her fiancé, Nicholas Blackstone, Captain of the airship Renegade, has been captured and sentenced to death as a pirate and spy.
Violetta is determined to save her beloved from the gallows. Therefore, she arranges a meeting with Count Ostrowsky, prime minister of Dragomir, to beg for her fiancé’s life. The Count agrees to meet with Violetta, even though he has no intention of letting Blackstone walk free. However, he has no idea to what lengths Violetta is willing to go to save the man she loves…
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Some background information:
- Tea and Treachery is a story of 4650 words or approx. 16 print pages. This story is a digital premiere and has never been published elsewhere.
- Tea and Treachery is one of the stories I wrote during the 2017 July short story challenge. The idea was to write a short story per in July 2017.
- Tea and Treachery was inspired by one of Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenges, namely a challenge to write a story based on a six word title. One of the six word titles offered was “A Time for Tea and Treachery”. I liked it, so I lobbed off the first three words and used the rest.
- Something about the title Tea and Treachery sounded very Victorian to me. And since I’ve always been fond of Steampunk, even though I haven’t written a whole lot of it, I immediately thought, “I’m going to write a Steampunk adventure.”
- The Kingdom of Dragomir is your basic fictional Ruritanian kingdom. But then, I’ve always felt that there is a certain affinity between Steampunk and Ruritanian romance and am actually surprised that not more authors exploit it.
- Lady Violetta Chesterfield and her fiancé Captain Nicholas Blackstone were initially intended to be one-off characters, but by now I’m so fond of them that I may well revisit them in future adventures. Besides, I really want to see the airship Renegade and her crew in action. Because who doesn’t love some airship pirates?
- Count Danilo Danilovich Ostrowsky was named for the male lead in Franz Lehar’s operetta The Merry Widow (which is in itself a sort of Ruritanian romance). Wurm, the Count’s secretary, was named for the slimy and scheming secretary in Friedrich Schiller’s play Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love), which coincidentally ends with a double suicide/suicide and murder via poisoned lemonade.
- The plot of Tea and Treachery has certain similarities to Countdown to Death, the first Silencer story, even though Constance has to go to greater physical lengths to save her beloved than Violetta. Coincidentally, I didn’t notice the similarities, while I was writing the story, but they became very clear when I was editing the story.
- The cover is stock art by Atelier Sommerland. As soon as I saw it, I had to use it, because the illustration is pretty much perfect for how I envision Violetta.