In Prayer

Sep. 18th, 2006 10:27 pm
arsenicwaltz: (Default)
It is cold in the Temple. Leaves skitter around her ankles in a dance of reds and yellows, burnished coppers and rich browns. The doric columns of the outdoor structure rise up in their circle, like the staves of an unfinished basket reaching towards the dark sky and twinkling stars. The burble of water can be heard softly from within the innermost circle of the Temple's railings, though she knows that soon, as winter settles its blanket over the City, that subtle sound will cease.

The gusting wind pushes against her, throwing her skirts into the bars of the balustrade as if hoping to push her over it and into the chilly springwater flowing below. Her hair, uncoiled for the first time in many months, flies loose about her face. There is a far off look in her eyes, and her fingers are clenched on the railing so that her knuckles are white with the strain.

A short, lumpy figure appears behind her, dark tattered hair and pale tattered skin and a glint of cruel silver at her finger belying the power held in that unpleasant shape. Naturally, her taller, svelte sibling stands nearby, in attendance.

"He does not love you." It is Despair who speaks first.
"I know." Her gaze is calm, somewhere between resigned and uncaring.
"And he never will, not the way he loves her still."
The girl simply gazes on at Despair, silent.

Desire chimes in, a rich velvet to the Despair's scratching burlap.
"You could take her place, you know. Give him something to think about besides her. Fill his head and his heart and make him forget."
"I don't think so."
"But it's what you want. It's what you've wanted since you met him, all those years ago."
She ponders this for a second, head cocked to one side.
"Yes." She pauses again, gathering her words. "Yes, but I have always known that he is a creature of another realm entirely. I have never even aspired to have him as anything more than a simple visitor, a guest in my realm."
Desire is, for once, silent. Despair looks up into her sibling's eyes and they exchange shrugs. The odd pair turn away from the Temple, and fade back into the night.

"That was well done."
The voice at her elbow makes her turn away from the spring again. Moonlight glints on the silver ankh and sends strands of more silver to play in the tousled dark curls that frolic in the wind. Death leans across the railing beside her, hands clasped.
"I have rarely seen someone shrug off Desire before, much less Desire and Despair."

The girl frowns, eyes closed, and pinches the bridge of her nose as if fighting a headache.
"For there to be Despair, there must first be hope. I have no hope of the Sunbeam ever being more than a casual visitor. And as for Desire, well, though he may but visit, and I would wish him back more frequently, our... meetings... are sufficiently torrid to quench any urgency Desire might foist upon us."

"You are concerned about something else."
"Yes."

There is a long pause, in which the girl sighs, and swallows hard.
"I have... I have become the Scared Whore that I once disdained. I feel no different, but I cannot but imagine how those who are now, how I once was must mock at me and scorn me behind my back."

Death raises one eyebrow. "Surely it's not so bad as all that. I know the one you speak of, and you are not alone in your... lack of regard for her." She takes her ankh in hand, musing "The Moving Phoenix has taken her life in her own hands more times than anyone deems sane, and indeed her exploits may well lead her into my realm someday."

"But you are not like her. Remember that. That is not to say that you aren't allowed to enjoy your... ah... worship." Death grins impishly.

The girl sighs again, fiddling with the braid on the edge of her bodice. "I do enjoy it. Very much. But I want a piece of each of them, some small piece to keep. Even the Temple whores are given their tribute - I simply feel used and cast aside. In... many things. Not just this. I am still without a Companion."
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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