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She has been standing in the Gallery for some time now, standing as far away from the newly formed frame as possible and yet giving it all of her attention. Despite herself. Her back is turned, but she in her mind's eye she can still see the frame: dull ebony, a torch ablaze, and a single jester's bell. Her heart quails at it.

Eddie appears at her elbow, looking first in confusion at the blank frame she stands purposefully afore, then furtively over his shoulder at the real object of her worried contemplation. "Missstressss?"

She turns, slightly, and sighs.
"I'm alright. Just worried." Her eyes grow distant for a moment. "So many miles, so many lifetimes I have traveled to escape it, to escape them, and yet just as easy as that I am back in their midst again."

The girl starts at some thought, blinks, turns. Exits the Gallery, and makes her way to the Vault of Memories, Eddie flickering by her side. There is a certain basket there in the corner, one mouldering and falling slowly apart but containing a thousand scraps of memory like polished stones that roll about her fingers. She selects one, holds it up to the light.

It is a deep blue, the color of new denim, and the light glances off crystal planes within. If you were willing, we would very much like...
She puts it aside. The next is a deep red, but not what she seeks. Neither is the next. The fourth, a dark gray like wet concrete, is. We'd love to stay, if you'll let us... She sets it aside, near the first.
The next is clear as glass, the one after a dull silver, then greens and blues and oranges, pinks and yellows and purples all follow in their turn, some put aside, some rejected onto a growing pile.

Finally, a small mound growing around her feet, she finds the one she has been looking for. It is an awkward shape, smoothed by time but still lopsided as all the rest she's set aside, and of a bright color like flame against darkness. You should come out and play with us some time...

She winces a little at the weight of it in her palm, the memory growing warm as she studies it. Petticoats rustling, she stands finally, stretching cold limbs and sleeping toes to wakefulness. With a thoughtful backward glance, she Calls a small casket for the memories she's set aside. There are not nearly as many as the mouldering basket contained, but enough to fill the box to the very lid. Into it go all of the lopsided offers, awkward and tentative, direct and subtle. But the last one she holds on to, staring. He was not then who he is now, and they are not now what they then were. The offer is, the girl assumes, null and void. So quickly, quickly, she places the last stone upon the heap in the casket, and closes the lid.

"What do I do?" she asks the Mirror-girl, later.
"Twen-"
"No, no he's not. Not by any way I've counted them before."
"Well then, what are you worried about?"
"I've tried to skirt that group and its... connections for so long. And now that an internal one is broken, I don't want to fall into it and tangle things more."
"He is an adult, you know."
"Yes, and yet, no I don't."
"You cannot take responsibility for his actions for him."
"No, but I can blame myself for my part in them-"
"-if, and you're assuming this, IF summat ill comes of them in the first place."
The girl chews her lip thoughtfully. The Mirror-girl coughs.
"You know, your grandmother used to do this too. We had a term for it then as well."
"Oh?"
"Yes. We called it 'borrowing trouble' then. Nowadays we call it 'investing in Bedlam' because it's what you all do with it these days."
The girl's mouth twists wryly. "If only all of my problems had such a simple root. But I still don't know what to do with this."
"Well then, use discretion."
"Discretion?"
"Keep it a secret, dummy."
She bristles at this, then wilts. "But what of my heart? I am afraid that the same thing will happen as last time, and people will see it blazing out my eyes like some damned beacon."
The Mirror-girl looks troubled, and lowers her eyes. "That, I cannot answer you. You know it as well as I, and we both know how impossible it is to bridle."
The girl sighs, rubbing tired eyes. "I sometimes wonder if it would be better to do without."
"Now just a minute here. Last week you were pining for someone, anyone to lay a hand on you..."
"Yes, but I suppose I didn't specify-"
"So just enjoy it," the mirror-girl snaps, "for what it is, and turn off the brain and just don't do anything stupid."
"Like fall in love with him."
"Hmph. Yes, exactly."

Silence

Jul. 12th, 2006 12:34 am
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
She sits quietly against the wall of the Gallery, as she has for some time. Her skirts are rumpled from where she slid down against the wall, and above her hangs an empty frame of rich oak, one corner graced by a treble clef, the other by a now-wilted leaf. There is a hollowness in the Drummer's absence, but not the sense of utter loss that previous departures brought.

The girl's eyes are dry. She had expected his leavetaking, but not so soon. She had known there was trouble, but not that it was dire enough to sunder them.

She wonders to herself what went wrong, really. She wonders what the Drummer says about her now, behind his locks and doors. She wonders if she should have been gentler on him, or less so, or if she had chosen her own carriage how it would have fallen out, or how the changing of one of a million tiny details about that night might have altered her present situation. But she sits, and she thinks, and she wonders, and she does not cry.

Mostly though this day, she sits and ponders why she does not feel more, wondering if the half-guilt about her own serenity could count for something for him. Her twisting thoughts leave her sitting there, against the wall. Did she really love him? Did he love her? What was this "love" he thought he knew? What did it all matter, in the end? Slowly her thoughts congeal, and she begins murmuring to herself as she stands, straightens her skirt, and turns her steps towards the Sanctuary.

"I loved him, but I never let him in. I knew in my soul that he would hurt me should I ever do so, even if my head and heart were deaf to it. I was not a partner to him, I was more parent, and that inequality was enough to end it..." She strides into the Sanctuary, and her steps are resolute.

"I seek a partner, not a charge. Perhaps that is why."

Visitor

Jan. 3rd, 2006 03:14 am
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She is perched on the balcony railing overlooking the foyer of the Palace, one arm wrapped casually around a marble sylph-shaped column when Eddie finds her. Her hands are idly but busily engaged with a knife and apple, and tiny tendrils of apple skin fall into a small pile on her lap. She seems pensive, meditative, as she looks out over the space towards the heavy brazen doors with their sculpted trees and vines. Her mouth twitches, quirks experimentally, then she smiles, shaking her head.

"Nothing turns out the way you expect." The sound startles Eddie, who jumps, twig-like limbs flying.
"Yesss, I mean... No! - no indeed Missstresss," he answers, regaining his composure.

No answer is required, however, and the girl stares dreamily at the door, turning the naked apple in her hand. With an absentminded gesture, she places the knife to the right of her at about chest-height, as if she were setting it on a table and not on thin air over a goodly amount of empty, open space. The knife hovers in space obligingly, and disappears. Eddie sighs inwardly, making a mental note to check the kitchen countertops to see where the thing ended up. The girl stares out at the doors, the true Gateway to her kingdom, for a moment longer. The sculpted leaves seem almost to sigh in a passing wind, the vines flicker and sway as if real and not locked in cold, solid metal. She starts gently, then pivots on her perch on the railing, absently patting the sylph's marble knee as she dismounts onto the balcony.

With a handful of apple peel, she strides through the back parlor and drawing room, out to the patio and down the steps into the formal garden. Her feet crunch on blue-grey gravel as she walks to the center of the space, pausing to let the ripples on the new-Called reflecting pond subside. She sinks to her knees on the pond's smooth granite margin, the jet fringe on her skirts clinking softly against the stone. A snap of her fingers calls two candles to her, one for each side, and they shed a warm steady light across the still, still water. Taking a deep breath, she casts the peels onto the surface of the pond. "Tell!" she gasps.

The peels scatter, then as if guided by many unseen hands, begin to twirl and turn in the water, forming circles and lines and eventually a pattern that she recognizes. It is a bodhran, the image strangely outlined in bits of fruit skin. With a laugh, the girl plunges her hands into the water, sending droplets flying. When she pulls them out there is a drum in them, dry as a bone with a pattern of celtic knotwork worked on the head. She stares at it for a moment, a smile on her face, then stands to go. With an absent thought, she Calls fish into the pond where they eat the apple peels, then just as quickly unthinks them when the surface of the pond is empty. The candles she leaves, two flickering points against the dark, still night.

Back in the Gallery, she strides down the row of frames until she finds the one that suits: a rich dark oak, carved with a treble clef at one corner, and a green, green leaf at the other. The drum nearly leaps from her hands to hang within it, and she laughs again. Following behind her, Eddie marvels at the sound. As she leaves, he notices that the frame of red wood, with the tartan scrap inside, has fallen back from its former position near the heart of the Gallery, and the drum has taken its place. With a shrug he turns to leave. The ordering of Her gallery was not his concern.
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
The unwritten part of the final Book of Duties has dwindled under her fingers and her industrious pen. Now, only seven pages remain unmarked, awaiting her touch so that the volume may be closed. But the girl hesitates, pen in hand, mind brimming with the words to fill it, but also with fear and dread.

What happens when the Duties are complete? Part of her holds on to that terror of the unknown, and she pauses indecisvely, savoring those last few moments when there is a certain direction, a definite focus to her world. Seven pages. She trembles at her desk, fighting with herself, willing her hand to move, the pen to write.

Inside the Gallery, the various sigils begin one by one to glow, sending their support and love in a palpable golden wave that swells through the halls and bleeds under the door of her Study. It is as if a high, clear note had sounded, shattering that indecision. Her pen drops to the page, and with relief and abandon she begins writing the final chapter of her story in the Land of the Sainted Cross.

(Author's Note: Yes folks, I'm graduating. Very. Soon. Now.)
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
The frame in front of her is of a bright red wood, polished to a dull natural gleam. Inside it hangs a small scrap of plaid fabric wrapped into a cylinder by a tiny black leather strap. The girl leans agains the wall opposite, her eyes fixed on the interior of the frame, but obviously seeing further and far more than the simple symbol it contains. The black taffeta rustles softly as she sighs, closing her eyes. The Gallery is filled with a great sense of vacancy as she vanishes.

Elsewhere in the Palace, life and unlife continue as normal. The Shadows go about their business, the City bustles nonspecifically outside the walls. But inside the Parlor there is a stale, heavy gloom. On the hearthstone are scattered a pen, ink and the blank pages of a book, though it is obvious that there are many more missing. Beside the coals of a now-dying fire rests a single page, one corner eaten and blackened where it barely escaped the kiss of the fire. The page itself is filled with line after line of a black scrawl, the same phrases repeated over, and over again.

He is not interested. It would not work. Give it up.
He is not interested. It would not work. Give it up.
He is not interested. It would not work. Give it up...
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
The heavy gilt of the frame is cool in her hands, despite its new Summoning. She didn't remember this one though, and that was unlike her. It was troubling that she had called another link into being without thinking of it, and her brow creases slightly with concern.

The Gallery stretches into eternity, as if mirrors on either end reflected each other ad infinitum. Arrayed along the wall, with museum-like precision and care march an unending line of frames - the sorts that one would put around cherished paintings. Each is different, of course. Some are cool black lacquer polished to an exotic shine. Others are homey wooden affairs, some are carved, and many bear gilt Baroque whorls or Victorian fruit motifs. There is one, slightly dusty, that appears to be made of popsicle sticks and decorated with dessicated fern and redwood twigs. Inside each frame is a single spot of utter vacancy, about the size of a human palm. And inside many of the frames, this spot is filled with an object. In one, a pencil. Another bears a scrap of chain mail. Yet another bears a battered journal, and inside its neighbor, a single red cowboy boot.

An outsider would be struck by the Magritte-like surreality of the scene, were there any outsiders who could breach this place. Each object hovers in place, pinned to the sterile white wall by its frame. And in the center of the narrow hall the girl stands in all her ballgown finery, gilt frame held in front of her and a large, cheery-looking pineapple that hovers gleefully at eye-level just outside her grasp. Finally, with a sigh that is both irritated and resigned, she hangs the empty frame back up, and turns back to the mischievious fruit. She pushes a stray lock of hair from her face with an exasperated gesture. "Fine, then, GO where you've a mind to. This may come as a shock, but not every girl will chase you."

She stands back, leaning against the wall opposite the vacant frame and watches. The pineapple hovers nearer the frame, tilting ever so slightly in an expression of doubt and uncertainty. The girl guffaws lightly, arms folded across her chest.

"I will not chase you unless you first give me proof that you want to be chased. I will not have the sullying of another on my conscience."

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