Elves of Andromeda, Chapter 4 Excerpt

I’m making progress with writing the Elves of Andromeda (Book 5), including most recently this bit from Chapter 4.

Mel Freck is paying Lord Devlin Maycare a visit at his estate, only to find him hard at work training for a competition TV show called Break My Blade!

Break My Blade! is a parody of Forged in Fire, which my wife and I watch religiously. The excerpt also references Chopped (What’s in the Basket?) and the Zinc Saucier which refers to Futurama which in turn was parodying Iron Chef.

Along with the excerpt, I created this fake ad for Break My Blade! just for the hell of it…

Chapter 4 Excerpt:

The butlerbot met Mel at the door of the Maycare estate.

“How’s it goin’, Benson?” Mel asked.

“It goes satisfactorily, Miss Freck,” the robot replied, his blue and silver casing glinting in the mid-afternoon sun.

“I believe Lord Maycare is expecting me,” Mel said.

“Indeed,” Benson said, “although I’m afraid he’s also busy training for his newest event.”

“Really? What’s that?”

The robot gestured for her to follow him inside. “You’ll see.”

Benson led Mel through the winding halls of the estate, taking her past display cases along the way. Mel half expected to spot the Singing Lantern but was disappointed. Most of the artifacts were run-of-the-mill heirlooms and relics, probably each worth millions to the right buyer. In the back of her mind, Mel considered how easily she could slip one of them into her pocket but thought better of it. She had bigger fish to fry.

The butlerbot brought Mel to a back staircase.

“Where are we going exactly?” she asked.

“The basement,” Benson replied.

“I’ve never been down there before,” Mel remarked.

“Very few have.”

“It’s not some kinda sex dungeon, is it?” Mel asked.

“Surprisingly, no,” Benson said without a hint of irony in his voice.

At the bottom of the stairs, the robot opened a heavy door leading into a large chamber with stone walls. A curtain of heat slammed into Mel as she crossed the threshold, along with the sound of a sharp, high-pitched pounding.

At the center of the room, Lord Maycare held a length of red-hot metal with a pair of tongs while striking the metal with a hammer. He was also shirtless, his bare chest dripping with sweat.

“The hell?” Mel said.

Maycare stopped, seeing the two enter.

“Mel!” he shouted. “It’s been a long time!”

“Well, I’ll leave the two of you alone,” Benson said and turned to go.

“Sure you don’t want to stay?” Mel asked pleadingly.

“I’d rather not,” the robot replied and quickly disappeared, closing the door behind him.

Maycare took the metal, its color beginning to dull, and shoved it into a long box, flames coming out either end.

“Why do you have a forge in your basement?” Mel asked.

Setting the tongs down, Maycare picked up a towel and rubbed himself down.

“It’s for a show I’m training for called Break My Blade!,” he said.

“Never heard of it,” Mel admitted.

Maycare was dumbfounded.

“It’s a competition show,” he said, “like What’s in the Basket? or the Zinc Saucier.”

“So, it’s a cooking show?”

“No!” he replied. “Four bladesmiths compete by forging their own blades and then judges test the knives to see if they break.”

“Are you going to wear a shirt?” Mel asked.

“Oh, definitely,” Maycare replied. “That’s a requirement — the contestants tend to be on the husky side…”

“I was expecting to see Jess,” Mel said. “Is she around?”

“Actually, she left a few days ago for Gwlad Ard’un.”

“Did Henry go with her?”

“Who?” Maycare asked.

“Henry!” Mel replied incredulously. “Jessica’s assistant!”

“Right!” Maycare said, his eyes searching around the room. “Can’t say I’ve seen him around lately, so he must have.”

“Well, I’m sorry I haven’t stayed in touch,” Mel said. “Last time I was here, your nephew was in some trouble. How’s he been?”

“Great!”  Maycare said proudly. “They rebuilt his old ship, the Baron Lancaster, and gave him command when the old captain retired.”

Mel nodded and did her best to seem nonchalant.

“Say,” she started, “didn’t you use some kinda artifact to rescue him?”

“Robby? Well of course! We used the Singing Lantern to communicate with him,” Maycare said. “That friend of yours, Ramus, knew a Erudite who could harness the psionics of the thing. We couldn’t have done it without their help.”

“I remember now,” Mel lied, and tried to stay coy. “Mind if I take a look at it again?”

“I’m afraid not,” Maycare said. “Jess took the Lantern with her to Gwlad Ard’un. I gave the Dahl permission to study it for a while.”

Mel’s face fell. “Oh…”

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