Surfacing

Apr. 13th, 2008 11:16 pm
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
The feeling is... strange. Like walking underwater, at double speed. There is a revelation in every movement, in every twanging muscle, in every darting glance, and then...

Tangled in her bedclothes, the girl sits up in the dark with a jerk and a gasp. There is something strange here too, she notes. The soft cotton that should have been under her palms is gone, and the faint starlight through her curtains falls into and is absorbed by something of a deep, dark color. It takes a moment for the slippery rustling beneath her fingers to make any sense, but yes, here it is - she lights the nearby candelabra with a thought - silk. Her bedclothes are silk. She swears softly to herself, rubbing her eyes. Eddie appears a moment later, an anonymous stoppered bottle held gently in one hand.

"No, no. No need" she waves him away, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. "Some things I need to see about. Has there been any word from the Watcher?"
He pauses a moment, looking thoughtful. "No missstressss. No breachesssss reported on any front. Issss sssssomething wrong?"
"Wrong?" it is her turn to look thoughtful. "I don't know. Wrong is perhaps a little strong a word. Something is... different."

Candle in one hand, and the tail of her kimono trailing behind her, she prowls the halls restlessly, searching high and low for the disturbance that rings in her mind like the echo of churchbells. Her steps draw her ever inward, deeper and deeper into the depths of the Palace, until she stands again before the curved door of the Chasm and the Heartstone, the hum of air across the lintel a constant and soothing sound. She opens the door, trembling. The room is bathed in the same pale sourceless light as always, but there is something amiss, something different and unseen here. Taking one step past the wrought-iron railings and out onto the void, she pauses, thoughtfully, and looks back.

She almost falls, almost drops her single candle into that depthless chasm, almost forgets who and where she is in her startlement and falls, herself.

Above the door of the Chasm stands a nook. In that nook, until now, stood a statue of Psyche, blindfolded. Now the statue stands, bare-eyed, with rivulets of golden honey pouring down her cheeks, sword in one hand and lamp in the other. The girl squeezes her eyes shut, taking deep breaths to quell the pressure rising through her.

Later, she sits in the Palace garden, head on palm on knee, staring out into the warm spring darkness and thinking. The wind shifts imperceptibly, bearing on it the faint sounds of the City outside the walls, but also something... She sits up, sniffing the air with surprise, then gets to her feet and strides to the far wall, hands outstretched. The bare, blasted alabaster stones are gone, completely obscured by trellised oranges in bloom, wound with sweet night-flowering jasmine and honeysuckle. Crickets sing in the foliage, and fireflies blink and hover gaily. She sits, for she does not know what else to do, taking deep breaths which explode like a waterfall from her in laughter.

"Am I? Oh goddess, healed? Now? Only when all hope is fled?"
She flings her arms wide into the night, her heart full to bursting. "Then let them come!"
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
"I am tired of being alone here." It is a pronouncement, slow and tired, delivered to nobody in particular, though Eddie stands silently behind her on spindly limbs.

Our girl is standing on the front balcony in the chill of winter, watching the carriages pass in the street that borders the long front grounds of the Palace. The sounds of horses' hooves are indistinct, perhaps a little hollow, as if created by some budget Hollywood foley studio during a late night mental breakdown. There is also a faint sound of a dog yapping coming from the front gate that encloses the circular gravel drive, but she pays it no heed as it foams and growls, its color flickering in the gaslight from bright yellow to an eye-searing teal to an ugly paisley. Obviously, somewhere, someone's dream is short-circuiting.

Eddie blinks slowly at the dog, but says nothing, allowing that if his mistress will not acknowledge it, he must not either. "Missstressss," he begins instead, "did you not notice the greetingssss sssssent to you by the Ssssunbeam?"

The girl starts out of her reverie, glancing away from the quietly teeming street in front of her. "I did not. The message must have come while I was writing the last of... Yes. That must be it."

She strides through the back rooms of the Palace, Eddie flickering obediently at her heels, to the ornate dish that sits upon a stand draped in sky blue velvet. The dish is of fine porcelain, too thin to be tableware, but perfectly suited to its current use. It glows softly from within, faintly outlining in silver the edges of the few calling cards it contains. One stands out, glowing a soft golden brown, like rich wild honey. The script on the card is reminiscent of driftwood, the texture of the cardstock is that of fine beach sand, warm to the touch, and as she picks it up, the girl can smell salt air, rich potters clay, and new leather. She sets the card in the divot in the center of the dish, and the air above it shimmers, congeals. Suddenly, she is staring into the tanned face of a man she knows, his eyes fixed on her with a startling intensity tempered by unwavering good humor and an abiding calm. Her knees turn inexplicably to jelly.

"We must write to him. I would like very much for him to visit while I am... unengaged as I presently find myself."

There is a slight quaver of hope in her voice as she turns dreamily to stare back down the foyer towards her apartments. "Perhaps this time..."

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