Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ The Gremlin in the Tower Clock! ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Clara and Alyssia Travel around the World 1

The gremlin in the tower clock!

Clara Beaufort was taking a stroll in the streets of Evanorra. She
loved this old city with little meandering streets, old bright
ornate houses and gardens on the hills, the slopes, the large calm
winding river with green islands with some buildings, the large
castle on a long hill towering above the city, a large green hill
near it, the wide Old Town Square with a huge wondrous astronomical
clock on a Gothic city hall building, little shops with jewellery,
artisans’ works and pictures, little coffee houses with wonderful
pastries like apple and poppy seed strudel, and wonderful rolls
with sugar and cinnamon, from a soft band of dough wrapped around a
metal round bar and baked on open fire everywhere in the streets,
the tridlo, delicious fried sausages and wonderful beer, especially
dark kind…. Clara smiled to herself and didn’t see that she
suddenly ran into someone. A small wooden box started to fall, but
Clara reacted quickly and caught it in her hands. Then she looked
up. She saw a short slender girl with her red hair in two long
ponytails and a lovable smiling face, in a tight red blouse with
golden sequins in the front, little green frills on the sleeves and
a large gear shaped silver pendant hanging in front, a short green
skirt, lilac stockings and orange soft boots.

‘Hello!’ the girl said looking at Clara smiling. ‘I’m awfully
grateful to you! It would fall on the cobblestones and break if you
hadn’t caught it!

‘It’s nothing,’ Clara answered smiling. ‘I’m Clara Beaufort from
Tillandia, a warrior, and you?’

‘Oh, that’s why you have such wonderful reaction!’ the red haired
girl smiled broadly. ‘I’m Alyssia Orloj, a mechanic, an inventor
and an alchemist! And this is an astrolabe for the Captain Lindor,
and if it broke, I don’t know what I would do!’

Clara smiled, looked attentively at the little wooden box and
offered it to Alyssia.

‘Well, it didn’t break, did it? So everything is all right.’ She
smiled softly.

‘Quite right.’ Alyssia smiled broadly. ‘So let’s go to my place,
I’ll give you beer and strudel and show you my mechanisms, and
you’ll tell me about faraway countries, for I can see you’ve
visited them!'(

‘Why, all right.’ Clara winked. Alyssia smiled broadly.

Alyssia led the way, carrying her box carefully, and Clara followed
her. Alyssia looked at Clara. Clara was a tall slender girl with
short golden hair under a large hat with crimson upturned brim with
tw double dentated golden tape and many peaks with zigzag dark
grreen and red stripes, and in a tight blouse with small green
frilled collar, a bodice peaking to the collar, lined with pearls,
with rose petals on the breasts, dark blue diamond shaped scales
below them and a golden zipper, with transparent sleeves with gold
and turquoise bracelets on them and with large double frilled cuffs
with red and green wedge pattern and golden lining, and below the
blouse trousers with dark blue top with golden dots and two golden
curls going up the conjunction of each leg and upward turquoise
scales with crimson veins between them, and purple high boots, and
with a golden and mother of pearl pistol in her hand.

‘And where were you going with that astrolabe?’ Clara smiled
broadly. ‘Not to Captain Lindor already?’

‘No, I was testing it on the Petrin Hill.’ Alyssia smiled
broadly.

‘Petrin is a lovely place with its green fluffy park,’ Clara
observed smiling dreamily. ‘And it’s a high hill, a good place all
around to test an astrolabe, the sun is well seen from there!’

‘Exactly.’ Alyssia smiled. ‘A very high hill, and no houses on it,
a perfect place!’

‘Orloj means a clock, right, a good name for a mechanic?’ Clara
smiled broadly.

‘Yes, my father’s a watchmaker, and my mother is a jeweller, so
there you have it.’ Alyssia nodded and smiled. ‘And I make and
repair clocks, watches, sundials, clepsydras, astrolabes, quadrants
and other such things for the people of Evanorra and other places,
and also I make potions for them, and meanwhile I’m trying to
perfect my mechamisms and to find the Philosopher’s Stone and the
alkahest!’

‘A very interesting trade.’ Clara nodded smiling broadly. ‘And I
travel the world fighting monsters and tyrants, and good people
reward me for that. My father is a petty knight in Tillandia, and
my mother is a cave explorer, so I always liked fighting, weapons
and travelling.’

Alyssia nodded smiling broadly.

Some time later Alyssia stopped in front of a white house with
floral reliefs and two orioles on the sides and a golden scroll
shaped cartouche with a smiling sun, all black. ‘At the Black Sun’,
was written in fancy letters on the facade. ‘Watchmakers.’ And in
the shop windows below there were beautiful ornate clocks and
watches, sundials and clepsydras, elegant triangles of quadrants
with a bow shaped scale for lower side and with a weight hanging
down from the apex, and golden plates of astrolabes with ornate
rounded net over a web of coordinates, with a limb of hours in
Roman numerals on the brim and a yoke with a round and with a ring
for holding on the upper end.

Clara smiled broadly looking at this. ‘A very remarkable house
sign.’

‘Yeah, no other like it in Evanorra, and it has some interesting
house signs like At the Blue Eagle, At the Golden Snake, At the
Stone Bell, At the Three Violins, At the Peacock or At the Two
Hearts,’ Alyssia agreed smiling broadly.

‘Oh, At the Peacock, it’s an inn, it has a wrought iron peacock on
a rest on its front, and a little further down the street is an
arch leading to a lovely green garden with peacocks walking there
in twos and threes, Vojan’s Gardens!’ Clara recalled smiling
broadly.

‘Oh yeah.’ Alyssia nodded smiling broadly. ‘It’s in the Little
Town, near Kampa.’

Clara nodded smiling broadly.

‘Oh, I like Evanorra so much, especially the tridlos, they’re
something else!’

‘Oh yes.’ Alyssia nodded smiling broadly.

‘And what beautiful mechanisms!’ Clara exclaimed in awe. ‘Did you
make them all yourself!?’

‘Oh yeah,’ Alyssia sighed proudly.

‘~Wonderful!’ Clara exclaimed in admiration.

‘Wait till I show them to you close by.’ Alyssia smiled broadly and
winked.

‘I’m looking forward to this.’ Clara smiled broadly.

Alyssia smiled broadly and nodded. She fished an ornate brass key
out of her sleeve and opened a large dark wooden door to the house.
It opened with a piercing creak. Beyond the door it was dark.
Alyssia stepped in confidently, Clara followed her. They climbed up
dark wooden narrow stairs. Then they stopped on a small stone
landing with dark wooden door. Alyssia opened it confidently and
walked inside, Clara following her. Clara saw that they were in a
narrow corridor with leather wallpaper with golden floral pattern
and some dark wooden doors. Alyssia went to the first door on the
left, opened it and went inside, Clara following her. Inside there
was a rather large room with dark wooden bookshelves full of books
going up to the ceiling along one wall, dark wooden carved tables
piled up with papers, books and clocks, watches, clepsydras,
hourglasses, sundials, armillary spheres, orreries, quadrants and
astrolabes and their parts like gears, rules, pins and retes, and
in the middle on a blue and red Oriental carpet a dark wooden
carved desk piled up with papers, books and mechanisms, and also
holding a bronze ornate inkwell, a gray quill and a green jade
paperweight, by the table was a dark wooden carved chair with
crimson cushion and some more of them around the room.

‘Well, this here is my study,’ Alyssia explained smiling broadly.
‘Please be at home.’

‘Oh, thank you, Alyssia.’ Clara smiled broadly and sat down in one
chair. Alyssia put the box on the table, waved some books and
papers aside to clear some place on the desk and went out. Clara
waited patiently looking at the mechanisms, books and papers
curiously. Some time later Alyssia appeared with a bronze ornate
tray with two porcelain cups with pattern of bright flowers, full
of the brown liquid giving aromatic steam, and some pieces of flaky
strudel full of poppy seed or apple jam filling.

‘Here you are,’ Alyssia said smiling and putting the tray on the
free place on the table. ‘Made the coffee and the strudels myself,
try them!’

‘Of course, thank you, Al, – oh, may I call you Al?’ Clara smiled
broadly.

‘Oh, of course, Clara!’ Alyssia smiled broadly.

Clara moved her chair to the table, and Alyssia sat in the chair at
the desk. They started to sip the coffee and eat the strudels.
Clara took a poppy seed one, Alyssia an apple one. Coffee and
strudels were as delicious as they looked.

‘Oh, you are a good cook, Al.’ Clara smiled broadly.

‘Well, I’m an alchemist.’ Alyssia smiled broadly.

Clara nodded smiling broadly.

‘And you made all these mechanisms yourself too?’ She waved her
hand around the room.

‘Yeah.’ Alyssia grinned.

‘Oh, and have you ever repaired that magnificent astronomical clock
on the City Hall?’ Clara asked eagerly.

‘Yeah, once,’ Alyssia smiled broadly nodding. ‘A wonderful thing,
isn’t it? A huge astrolabe that is turned by a large clock
movement! I admire it each time when I come to the Old Town Square,
I stand in front of it and just look at it! That time it was its
cannon pinion that broke from friction, that little wheel that
turns the minute hand, and without the minute hand the hour hand
can’t advance too!’

Clara nodded.

‘Well, I had to make a new cannon pinion, to saw it out in my
workshop, and then to remove the old one and set the new one on the
shaft!’ Alyssia continued eagerly. ‘And the City Council paid me
good for that, but more important is that this beautiful tower
clock now goes again and shows time to all the citizens of Evanorra
without fail!’

‘Yeah, I go to admire it each time I come to Evanorra too!’ Clara
smiled broadly.

Alyssia nodded smiling broadly.

‘Now I want to show the astrolabe for the Captain Lindor to you,’
Alyssia shared smiling broadly.

‘Of course, Al.’ Clara smiled broadly.

Alyssia took the dark wooden box from the table carefully. She put
it on the papers before Clara and herself and gently opened it. In
the left half was the golden round plate with a ring for holding on
a yoke with two flowers on the plate’s upper end and with an
upraised brim with Roman numerals from one to twelve and from one
to twelve again, and on the bottom of the plate was a web of lines,
two straight lines from top to bottom and from right to left
crossing in the center, and in the upper part around a little
cjrcle of zenith a spider web of concentric circles of altitudes
and arcs of azimuths, and below all this an upward arc of horizon
and an arc of twilight below, an oval of Tropic of Cancer around
the center of the plate and an oval of Tropic of Capricorn around
the rim. Over all this was put a rounded golden web, outer ring
fitting in the rim of the plate, inner oval ring touching the top
of the outer ring and signifying the ecliptic, and between the
inner and the outer ring angular lines bearing wavy pointers
signifying the imporant stars, and over it all was a rule. In the
right half of the box were some thin round plates each with a web
of coordinates like the bottom of the astrolabe but with various
angles.

Clara looked at the astrolabe with admiration and sighed.

‘A wonderful mechanism, Al, worthy of the Captain Lindor that
travels around all the world,’ she said dreamily.

‘Yeah.’ Alyssia smiled broadly.’I hope so. I myself sawed the
mater, the rim, the rete and the plates out of brass, engraved the
web of coordinates and the hours, soldered the rim to the mater,
attached the ring to the throne! Beautiful, isn’t it?’

‘Oh yes!’ Clara grinned. ‘It will help the Captain Lindor in his
travels and will please his eyes!’

‘Oh yeah!’ Alyssia grinned.

‘May I?’ Clara asked tentatively touching the astrolabe.

‘Of course, Clara, you prevented it from breaking!’ Alyssia
grinned.

Clara took the astrolabe out, held it gently by the ring, traced
the engraved web of lines, the numbers and the rete with her finger
and sighed with admiration, then put it gently back into the box.
Alyssia grinned.

She closed the box gently and put it back on the table.

‘And now I want to show something else to you.’ Alyssia
grinned.

Clara grinned too.

Alyssia went to one table, took a sundial and showed it to Clara.
Clara took it gently and looked. It was a small brass circle with a
wedge shaped elegant gnomon, the edge of the circle engraved with
Roman numbers from one to twelve, lines tracing from them to the
gnomon, and curly engraved vines running around the gnomon and on
it. The shadow of the gnomon was falling onto the number six, what
was true, it was on the tower clocks too.

‘Beautiful,’ Clara sighed.

She put the sundial gently onto the floor.

Then Alyssia went to another table and brought a clepsydra and
showed it to Clara. Clara looked. It had a vertical glass tube with
water, a reservoir from which the water flowed into the tube, a
gear train controlling the inflow of water, and a vertical scale
with marks and a small figure of a knight with a spear pointing to
the scale, connected to the tube with water. As the water flowed
into the tube the spear pointed higher and higher.

‘Wonderful,’ Clara breathed. Alyssia grinned. Clara put the
clepsydra onto the table, and Alyssia sat down grinning.

At this point a bell rang.

‘Oh, a customer!’ Alyssia exclaimed. She rose quickly. Clara
followed her. Alyssia nodded and grinned. She ran out into the
corridor, ran down the corridor and down the stairs. Clara followed
her.

They came into the shop that was full of clocks, astrolabes,
clepsydras, hourglasses, orreries, armillary spheres and so on on
the shelves and tables and had a counter along one wall. At the
door was standing a tall thin grey haired man in a black robe and a
black hat lined with brown fur, his face was very worried.

‘Maitress Alyssia?’ he asked tentatively looking at Alyssia.

‘Yes, sir?’ Alyssia smiled broadly. ‘How can I help you?’

‘Oh, I’m Alois, the Warden of the Clock Tower near the Hay Square.
You see, the tower clock stopped suddenly!’ he said very
worried.

‘Oh!’ Alyssia exclaimed greatly concerned.

‘You know, all the people near the Hay Square look on it to know
time, and now it’s stopped!’ Alois exclaimed agitated.

‘Yes, I know, it’s a magnificent tower with a great clock!’ Alyssia
smiled broadly. ‘I look at it too each time I go by the Hay
Square!’

‘Yes, yes, Maitress Alyssia!’ Alois confirmed nodding. ‘So will you
help? They say you’re the best clockmaker in Evanorra!’

‘I’ll endeavour to help!’ Alyssia smiled broadly. ‘And I’m glad I
have such a good fame, I’ll try not to let it down!’

Alois sighed with relief. Alyssia smiled broadly.

‘Oh, please, Maitress Alyssia!’ Alois exclaimed with relief.

Alyssia nodded smiling broadly.

‘Please come with me, Maitress Alyssia!’ Alois exclaimed
agitated.

Alyssia nodded smiling broadly.

Alois led Alyssia out of the shop. Clara followed them. They walked
along little winding streets of Evanorra with little bright houses
with ornate reliefs, with jewelry, paintings, cakes and so on in
the shop windows. Clara smiled dreamily looking around, Alyssia
smiled broadly. Some time later they came to a tall dark brown
tower with a roof like a black conical hat with a broad upturned
brim , large arched double windows near the top and large black
clock faces with golden numbers and hands on four sides above the
windows, small arched windows below the large windows and a large
arched dark wooden door with high steps leading to it on the ground
level. The tower stood next to a large gray house with orioles from
which a passage with an arcade below led to the tower.

‘What a beauty!’ Alyssia grinned broadly.’

‘Yeah,’ Alois sighed.

Alyssia looked at the clock faces, the hands weren’t moving even an
inch. She sighed.

‘Oh well, I’ll try to help this beauty!’ Alyssia smiled
broadly.

Alois nodded and smiled. He led them to the tower, took out a key,
opened the large door that creaked piercing and led them inside,
then up little winding stairs to a large stone vaulted room. In the
room there was a huge clock movement with many large gears linked
by shafts or with their edges, a large oblong dark pendulum on a
long shaft, two weights on long chains, long shafts leading from
the movement to the clock faces outside and a large bell on a
double wheel above it all, linked to the movement with a shaft
too.

And it all was standing still, not moving. Alyssia frowned. Clara
sighed.

‘Well, I’ll examine the clock now,’ Alyssia said resolutely.

‘Of course, Maitress Alyssia,’ Alois said tremulous.

Alyssia went to the movement and started to examine it, each part.
Clara looked at this all curiously.

Then Alyssia stopped and frowned.

‘No defects at all, then why isn’t it moving?’ she asked
frowning.

Clara shrugged and frowned too.

Alyssia looked at the movement closely again.

‘Look, Clara, it’s a gremlin!’ she exclaimed suddenly.

Clara looked, there was a small green man holding one wheel. Clara
reacted instantly and fired her pistol into the air. The gremlin
fainted from fear and fell off the wheel. Alyssia quickly seized
the gremlin and threw it out of the door. Alois watched all this in
awe.

‘Well, now!’ Alyssia grinned broadly. Clara smiled broadly.

Alyssia walked to the movement and pulled at one weight. It slid
down and turned a wheel shaft. Some wheels started to turn and
pushed the pendulum which started to swing. Swinging it pushed an
upside down anchor with two paws, the anchor started to rock and
caught one tooth of a little wheel, pushing the one tooth
forwards.The little wheel pushed another wheel and the large wheel
train started to move. The wheel train set the shafts going to the
clock faces revolving, and on all four faces there was a click, the
minute hand on each face advanced one fraction. Then there was
another click, the hour hand advanced a little too. And the rocking
anchor swung backwards and pushed the pendulum. The pendulum swung
quicker, pushing the anchor, and the anchor pushed another tooth of
the escapement wheel forwards. The large wheel train moved again
and there was another click on the clock faces, and another.

Alyssia grinned broadly looking at the clock, Clara and Alois.

 »It’s all right now!’ she confirmed. ‘It goes again.’

Alois smiled gently.

‘Oh thank you, Maitress Alyssia! Our lovely clock goes again!’

‘Yeah, I’m very happy for it!’ Alyssia smiled broadly.

Clara smiled broadly too.

‘And oh, Maitre Alois, please burn some sandal in here, the
gremlins hate it, so they’ll never return if you burn it here!’
Alyssia advised smiling broadly.

‘Of course, Maitress Alyssia, I’ll do it, thank you very much!’
Alois exclaimed relieved.

‘You’re welcome, Maitre Alois.’ Alysia grinned broadly.

Clara smiled broadly.

‘Maitress Alyssia, here’s thousand crowns,’ Alois said tremulously
reaching into his robe, taking out a crimson pouch with golden
floral lining and offering it to Alyssia.

‘Oh, thank you, Maitre Alois, you’re very kind!’ Alyssia said
grinning broadly.

Clara smiled broadly.

‘You’re welcome, Maitress Alyssia.’ Alois smiled gently.

Alyssia bowed smiling broadly. Clara bowed smiling broadly
too..

‘Oh, and of course thank you too, my lady, oh, I even don’t know
your name!’

‘Lady Clara Beaufort of Tillandia,’ Clara introduced herself
smiling broadly. ‘I’m a friend of Maitress Alyssia. You’re welcome,
Maitre Alois!’

Alois nodded and smiled gently.

‘Well, good evening, Maitre Alois.’ Alyssia smiled broadly.

‘A very good evening to you, Maitress Alyssia and Lady Clara!’
Alois smiled gently.

Clara smiled broadly.

Clara and Alyssia left the tower. They looked at the clock faces on
the four sides of the tower. The golden hands on the faces were
moving, crawling to seven o’clock. Alyssia and Clara grinned
broadly.

‘It’s going all right!’ Alyssia nodded smiling broadly. Clara
nodded and smiled broadly too.

 »Now let’s go back to my place, all right?’ Alyssia asked smiling
broadly. ‘I’ll show more of my mechanisms to you, show my workshop
and my laboratory to you, and you’ll tell me about faraway
lands!’

‘Of course, Al!’ Clara smiled broadly. ‘We are a good team, aren’t
we?’

‘Yeah!’ Alyssia smiled broadly