As the Imaginarium story picks up some pace, Gary Nicholls – the photographer responsible for this complex story of woe, suffering, steampunk and ultimately, salvation – has sent me the synopsis to his Imaginarium story. He’s also been kind enough to disclose two photographs.
There’s still space for any steampunks that wish to take part in the project. If you’re interested, contact Gary via his Facebook page. Some of the photography will take place in British locations as well as abroad. The sample images in this article were taken at Papplewick Pumping Station.The Imaginarium synopsis
Eva Elizabeth Lovelace was born into a life of poverty and misfortune in a workhouse in a North England unnamed town. Orphaned from her first breath by her mother’s death in childbirth, Eva is meagrely provided for under the terms of the Poor Law and spends the first 12 years of her life at an orphanage in the ‘care’ of a self titled, cruel woman, named Lady Bella-Donna Evangeline Abernathy and her sadistic husband, Captain Mordecai Tobias Abernathy. At this point, Eva’s father remains a mystery, and she is led to believe that she has no family.
Eva is brought up with little food and few comforts, having to spend her days in the workhouse, earning her keep. Around the time of Eva’s 12th birthday, Captain Mordecai, on the promise of regular percentage money, removes Eva from the orphanage and puts her to work in a local bordello, owned by Regina Von Black, a spiteful domineering bordello madam. Regina has a dark secret, and all is not as it seems.
Captain and Lady Abernathy’s son, Warren Donnell Abernathy, has been jealous of Eva and is glad to see her go. He now follows in his father’s footsteps, into a life of crime and debauchery, abusing the love of local girl, Hettie Feasepetrel Thornburgh, who is besotted with him. Meanwhile, Eva, now a working girl, is put under the complete control of Lord Montague Belvoir, the Madam’s right hand man, known as “The Enforcer”.
The Enforcer administers the bordello, indulging himself for as long and as often, as he sees fit, but he has a special liking for Eva.. After a number of years as a working girl, Eva is seen by The Madam as a threat. She is a popular girl with the punters and some of the other working girls. Many of them, even see her as, one day, taking the Madam’s place. Realising the potential threat to her domination, the Madam locks Eva in her room, sends her a steady stream of men and loses few opportunities to underfeed and mistreat her. With the help of The Enforcer and his Harlots, a bullying bunch of fellow prostitutes, she is determined to ruin Eva. She suffers no end of torment by these five wicked women, who tell her that her mother was a whore, her father, one of a hundred different men. Eva takes to the bottle and her life spirals downwards at an alarming rate, descending into a world of drink and depression.
Dr William Percival Stockdale is a highly educated engineer, made wealthy by his inventions. He is treated with awe by those who think they know him. His mystical insights have steered him towards legendary status with his peers, the stories becoming more exaggerated with the passing of time. He has a secret side, he is at one with nature. A direct conflict with the Madam’s belief that architecture and machinery rule the world. His other role is one of silent benefactor, walking the streets at night, attempting to help the poor and downtrodden. It is during one of these walks that he comes across Eva, hanging out of the bordello window, bottle of spirit in one hand, bottle of Quinine in the other, weeping for the mother she did not know, while vowing to try and end her life. Dr William enters the bordello and pays for time with Eva, ignoring the hostility shown to him by The Enforcer. He sits on the bed and insists on listening to her story.
Over the coming days, Dr William sets about putting the wheels in motion to save Eva from the bordello and save her from ruination. As an inventor, he spends the next few weeks, designing and making a mystical object, that will change the path of Eva’s life, it is called The Necessitti, an object of pure beauty and mysticism. He spends his days in a secret world he has created, the world of the Imaginarium, a place of wonder and mystery, governed by the laws of nature.
When the Necessitti is finally complete, Eva is visited by Samandiriel, a Steampunk Angel, sent by Dr William to bring her to him. Eva stays with Dr William, recovers and blossoms from the unaccustomed kindness, shown to her. Her blissful state, however, is interrupted when The Enforcer, fearing The Madam’s wrath, decides that Eva must be brought back to work. Using The Harlots he sends them out to bring her back.
Meanwhile The Captain and Lady Abernathy see a sudden loss of income, due to Eva’s escape. The fee the madam was paying them for Eva’s work had stopped overnight. They could no longer afford to drink and cavort in the way they had, and hatched a plan to find Eva. The Captain overhears that The Enforcer has gone after Eva behind The Nemesis back, and decides to win favour, by telling her what is going on.
The Madam flies in a rage and calls upon her mother, a local alchemist to hatch a plan. She uses the power of an electrical storm to transform her, into an all powerful, Nemesis. Suddenly, men will be charmed by her, women will fear her. She is hell bent on bringing ruination to all the poor and downtrodden women, Eva and Dr William will be destroyed, the world will be slowly urbanised. She has mystical powers, enhanced by her mother. With her mother’s guidance, through looking into the waters of a decaying fountain, sees the Necessitti, Eva and Dr William. The battle between Dr William and The Nemesis, the battle between nature and Urbanisation and for Eva’s life, starts. In the midst of corruption and degradation, the essentially passive Eva remains pure-hearted; she steers away from wickedness when those around her give in to it and in proper Dickens style story, she eventually will receive her reward – salvation and love.
Back in the city, a mysterious man, Rigny Wood had found The Enforcer and is plotting with him, to destroy Eva, before The Nemesis can. Rigny Wood has a mysterious reason to want Eva destroyed and the two of them agree on a plan to make sure that Eva does not find out the truth about her past. Rigny Wood is apparently related to Eva in some manner, although it will not be mentioned until later, in the story.
Back in Eva’s hometown, Captain Abernathy finds himself in an unhappy marriage constantly arguing with his domineering wife. After one such argument, he lets a secret slip, he is the brother of Dr William. Lady Abernathy is stunned and The Captain leaves and walks over to a local pub, where he meets Rigny, who ends up questioning him about Eva. The Captain, says that he knows someone who can give Rigny more information for a price, and later The Captain, Rigny and Lady Abernathy are seen talking about Eva. Lady Abernathy produces a small inlaid box, and on seeing the contents is persuaded by Rigny to dispose of it. The box once belonged to Eva’s mother. They toss the box into a local sewer. This plan is over heard by another Angel – Tabbris and he relates this to Samandiriel who, in turn, tells Dr William. The box lodges in the sewer, to be found later on in the story.
From Samandiriel, via Tabbiss, Dr William now knows that Rigny and The Captain, are plotting to get their hands on Eva, but he is too late. Eva has been kidnapped and taken to The Pumping Station. Samadiriel is despatched to rescue her, and after a battle with the Enforcer’s women, she does just that.
Reunited, Dr William and Eva set off on a journey to do battle with the Nemesis and rid the world of her once and for all, the journey taking them through places never before encountered.
Meanwhile, back in the city, late one night, Lady Abernathy tries to slip out behind The Captain’s back, but he is wise to it and follows her. When it becomes obvious where she is heading, he realises she is up to something and resolves to find out what her secret meeting will be.
Eva is becoming more and more under Dr Williams spell, and she hides her feelings by donning a mask, hoping her eyes will not give her feelings away. He takes her to a Secret Still, where he makes an elixir, to make her stronger and more powerful.
The Nemesis now has a small empire, devoted to machines and urbanisation, She despises nature and the countryside. The plumes of smoke, churned out from her power plant, adding to the smog, choking the city to ruin all who dwell in it.
Meanwhile, Warren has fallen out with his parents and stolen what money they had and fled. Hettie has accompanied him — they are now in a full relationship. Using the name Frobisher Thimble, he joins The Enforcer for protection and becomes a full time thief, while he convinces Hettie to become a prostitute for The Nemesis. Hating his mother, he sends Adella Daw, another theif, to spy on her and find out what she has been up to. He learns of her meetings with Tabbris and realises she is passing on information to help Dr William.
Frobisher is wild with anger, and using Adella he passes the information on to The Captain, twisting the story just enough to make it sound as if his domineering wife had informed on him. Believing her to be a traitor, The Captain poisons her in a drunken stupor and flees the city. Once away, riddled with guilt, he plots the downfall of Dr William and Eva, blaming them for what he has done, to his wife.
We follow the journey of Dr William and Eva as they amass a steampunk army to take on the nemesis.
The Battle follows, and Eva is taken prisoner in the clock tower.
Rigny is captured and forced by Dr William to divulge his secrets: his real name is Albert Lovelace, and he is Eva’s illegitimate paternal half-brother.
Eva’s mother, Mabel, was their father’s true love. Their father was a wealthy Airship Commander and had left his estate to his daughter Eva. Albert has spent many years searching for his father’s child—not to befriend her, but to ruin and kill her, for the inheritance.
Lady Abernathy, turns out to be the long-lost sister of Mabel; she was therefore Eva’s aunt.
Captain Abernathy is sent to the Colonies, on a prison airship, for the murder of his wife.
The Nemesis is defeated and disappears, as all good Nemesis’ should!
The Enforcer and his Harlots are imprisoned awaiting trial.
Frobisher’s world implodes, and he is found begging in the streets.
In saving Eva, Dr William has given himself to the power of The Nemesis and has turned into part human, part machine. Eva finally reveals her love for Dr William, and it is her turn to look after him.
You can visit Gary Nicholls’ website here: Gary Nicholls Photography