Monday, June 23, 2008


Without looking it up, use the word Intaglio in your Fiction Friday .

Marcus brushed the bolt of velvet down.

“This is filthy” he haughtily complained to the merchant. “did you drag all the way here through the lower kingdom?”

“Humph” Gruffly responded hunched figure. “Take it or leave it – it’s the last full bolt I have. With winter closing in we won’t be traveling until mid spring.” The merchant shrewdly looked up at Marcus, squinting with his good eye. “ I have other clients who’d be glad to take this from my hands.”

With the new fashion influences of slashing from Germany and the Winter Balls looming, Marcus knew he would need as much broadcloth as the shop could store.

With a wave of his hand , Marcus agreed to the merchants exorbitant prices and signaled his clerk to draw up the invoice for payment. He strode through his Gentleman’s Outfitters store past the sewing stools of the busy tailors, their nimble fingers quickly stitching the colourful cloth into beautiful creations. His creations were sought after by the richest in the land and he daily turned customers requests away. Marcus stood in front of one of the sewing mankins, currently half dressed in a fine outer dresscoat. His fingers pulled on the hems and fluttered absentmindedly over the seams.

“Such a waste of good material’ he tutted. “You hardly see most of it. This years Balls will have everyone looking like damned Pirates.” Slashing, the newest fashion creation involved two layers of cloth being placed one over the other. The outer was then slashed to reveal the contrasting inner one. Marcus shook his head at the vulgarity of it. It had begun to be seen in all forms of fashions- not only in men's and women's gowns, but with their shoes, and caps.

“Signor Solis, there is a .. gentleman asking after you.” Quavered one of his clerks. “ He wishes to have one of your new designed dress coats for Marquis DeLumes Ball.”

The small man edged as close as he dared to Marcus and whined fearfully. “He said he’d cut my gizzards out if I didn’t come back with an appointment with one of our tailors.” Marcus snorted. His creations were sought after by the richest in the land and he daily turned customers requests away.

“Tell the … gentleman that he might be better suited to enquire down at the Spanish quarter”

The clerk looked toward the small waiting room where a dark shadow formed beside the doorframe, the shape promising a well built and armed customer who would not take kindly to this advice.

Clearing his throat, the clerk whispered, “ He said you’d say that and er.. herm..” the clerk cleared his constricting throat, “you have lost your monopoly on fashion for this season.”

A long cloak flicked around ,the noise telling Marcus of its exquisite weight and cut. A cold breeze and the shop door slamming announced the visitors departure.

Clicking his wooden heels on the flagstone floors, Marcus walked steadily to the back of the room and pulled the large set of keys from his waist strap, unlocking the door at the end. Here were stored the lifeblood of a tailors business; their’ Intaglio’ – the unique patterns and designs individually manufactured for nobles and royalty. The room had no natural light for security reasons, so Marcus lit the fine beeswax candle lantern, careful to keep the flame low as he entered. His hand automatically went to the middle table with long hanging drawers and pulled it out. Fumbling along the patterns, his hand became frantic as he realized his prized piece was missing. Each tailor jealously guarded their Intaglio, going so far as having contracts with noble folk to ensure discarded garments are brought back to the originating shops, so as not to fall into the hands of other tailors and for cheap imitations to be manufactured.

Bringing the light as close as he dared to the flimsy patterns, he looked down; a bold shape on the floor demanded his attention. Marcus brought the grimy Spanish wine flagon up into the light, the body thick with dust only disturbed by his fingerprints and a lavish parchment attached to the neck. “Compliments Captain Juan”.

This forms part of an ongoing series of Captains Juans adventures - first appearing on Pauls' blogs. However the good captain has travel lust and forged his way to mine then to Jodis' and thus earned his own website:


Jodi Cleghorn said...

It is lovely to see Captain Juan here ... stealing tailor's patterns - tut tut. It's so interesting to see how another writer puts flesh on a character. Is the good Captain Houdini when he was his land legs?

I can see our anthology idea already happening here. I have so mcuh writing to catch up up - SIGH!