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Unread 4th of March, 2011, 07:01
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Dread Lord on High [Epic GM]

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Arcanic crystals hung in bright circles of curved and polished brass from the painted cupola ceiling. There were four of them in all, their support cables dangling from the carved faces of bearded men set in scalloped recesses. Along the walls were alcoves of polished granite containing the gilded statues of the gods and above them busts of stern and long dead men. But the history and grandeur of the room was lost on its sole occupant. A naked Bacchus, cup raised, brought a smirk to the young woman’s face as she imagined how the proper ladies would hide their blushing faces behind their lace fans.

The chandeliers held the girl’s interest for a few moments. As with anything made for the royal family, the brass-work was exquisite although she was more impressed on how they wove steel around the copper arcanic power cable and still managed to make it look like the original rope. But what really caught her eye was the large, musical clock sitting on a raised dais in the center of the room. She had spent the better part of the last hour peering at its gears and springs, marveling at how it simply ran on stored mechanical energy. No electricity, no arcanic power, no bound elemental - just the precision of the human mind that drug it from the perfect world of idea into the entropic mire of the real where it has been happily ticking for the last one hundred and sixty six years.

“I thought I would find you here,” Trevor Fynne said, his sentence is punctuated by the click of the door closing behind him.

She turns to regard him, her lips parting slightly to show the even edges of her pearly teeth in what could only be called a polite sneer. Framed against the great round of the brass clock face, she looks unintentionally striking - hair like a flaming sunset, eyes like liquid emerald embers. Deirdre takes as deep a breath as her boned corset will allow, smiling prettily around her exquisitely clipped accent and enunciating each word carefully as she responds, recalling her promise to behave herself. Being sent back here had hurt, despite the fact that she knew she deserved it. Father had kept his temper, but nevertheless she could feel that he’d never been so furious or so disappointed with her in all the years she could recall. His internalized emotion had hit her much harder than any tirade ever had. When she’d made her vow she meant it, and she intended to make him proud - proud enough to see that she was a woman now, a woman who could take care of herself, a woman who was her own person - and yes, a woman whom he could be proud to work with.

“I did not realize you numbered deduction one of your talents. But yes, you have it: Here I am.”

“Catty as always, my dear.” By all accounts Trevor was a desirable man. Tall for his eighteen years, he stood a full head taller than Cat, with hair the color of oiled coal and eyes like wet slate. At Eton he was captain of the rugby team, and the years of competitive sport had rendered his frame a rival to that of the chiseled gods around her. The son of steelworks mogul Sir George Fynne, his family controlled well over twenty percent of all British steel production. Considering he made the grist that fueled an Empire stretching from the Americas to India, a girl could do worse.

But he wasn’t Pintu.

Standing across from her, he pretends to examine the clock’s clicking gears, a confident grin playing across his features.

“And how does this contraption work?”

“I wouldn’t want to bore you with details - Newton’s Law's et patati et patata, oui?”

“I find nothing about you boring, m’lady.” His French was as perfect as his smile.

She had instinctively moved around the clock as he had approached it, all the while under the guise of studying it from a different angle, yet nevertheless putting a formidable barrier between them. Now she takes a step back and turns toward him more fully, considering. He had ignored her rebuke, and she decided that this sort of half-hearted defense only made him try harder. Natural instinct tightened her jaw with the urge to let him know exactly how she felt, yet something rash could damage her credibility and earn her a real enemy besides. She takes another stifling breath, wills herself to smile again, trying desperately to come up with some other tack.

“How charming. But really, you don’t know me. If I don’t have my nose in a book I’m trying to sort out matters at the estate."

“Ahhh...bookworm...accountant...hardly sounds like the girl who climbed the main steeple at St. Mary’s on a dare.”

“Is that what you heard?” She glances at the ground, shaking her head, lips curling into the slightest smile, “Things are so boring there that they embellish the smallest deviation beyond recognition. It was merely a case of being spotted while studying the bell tower mechanism - I can assure you, I came and went via the staircase."

“And the “frog incident”?”

She looks up suddenly, frowning, “I didn’t realize you had started an investigation into my affairs.”

Trevor laughs easily. “I have a cousin there now. She says your escapes are the stuff of legend. The gold standard of mischief as it were.”

“And you are looking for some mischief of your own? I do believe Margaret Payne was inquiring after you quite earnestly during cocktails.”

The young man’s eyes fix her with their intensity. Suddenly he is next to her, his hand lightly touching hers, and in the soft glow of the arcanic crystals, his dark hair and slate colored eyes shimmering, he begins to whisper;

“ ‘If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.

Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.’ ”

To her own surprise, she doesn’t pull her hand away immediately, flooded suddenly with memories of another time and place, when she stood almost just so with another man. Trevor was very different from Mohinder in many ways but his poetry here echoed her former lover, in inflection and style, and also in the sentiment held therein. The ache in her heart grew immense and she wanted nothing more than to relax into him and be held, but this wasn’t the man she wanted, was it? She hadn’t seen him in years and no letter had ever come for her, at least, not from Pintu. She'd been sure father had seen to that, so sure. But now, after years, she wondered if he really loved her the way she remembered. Perhaps the images she cherished from those days were simply the naive mental paintings of a lonely little girl. She found herself leaning forward and with a start she took a hasty step backward, her eyes snapping open and all of her doubt visible momentarily therein.

“Trevor, I’m sorry -”

Gral & J
  #2  
Unread 16th of March, 2011, 04:30
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Gralhruk
Ghost of ORP Past [Epic Admin]

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“Trevor Fynne, you are a very difficult man to track down.” A sweet voice chimes from a sweet face near the door. “Your father is looking for you.”

Margaret Payne.

A wreath of Baby’s Breath and Chinese Forget-me-Nots support a mass of gorgeous dark ringlet curls; the pale blue of the Forget-me-Nots mirroring the pale blue of her eyes and matching dress. Perfect, pouting lips curl into a playful smile as she steps into the room.

“Here I am,” he says with a smile, his hand lingering on hers for moment before straightening his waistcoat. “Well thank you m’lady for the lesson,” he says with a formal bow. “I musn’t keep my father waiting.”

“No, of course not. Fathers are not given to waiting on their children, no matter the reason,” Dierdre answers, not bothering to look over at Margaret. Let him have whatever romp he wished with that tramp - like bred to like, after all. Yet even so, she couldn’t help but feel that she’d seen a little into his soul in this brief encounter, and discovered there something real beneath the layers pomp he assumed each day. It bothered her to think he had a depth she hadn’t guessed at previously, that perhaps she’d been wrong about his character and his motives. As he leaves, Margaret flashes her a triumphant sneer and then the door snicks shut behind her, leaving Cat staring at the blank door and feeling - unexpectedly - lonely.

The little gears of the clock come to life in a whirl cast brass precision and delicate bars of Handle begin to fill the room.

Gardenias.

Suddenly Cat is sitting on a long polished ebony bench, her tiny feet dangling in the air as her mother played next to her. She remembered the fleeting movements of her long fingers as she played. A dull ache fills her heart as Cat can clearly remember the white dress her mother was wearing, the sparkle of her wedding ring on her finger, and the long locks of her coppery hair. She could even remember the smell of her mother’s perfume. It was the one luxury her mother had allowed herself, her small crystal vials from France that smelt of gardenias.

All this she could remember, but not her face.

“You, my dear, are out of your depth.” Cat can’t tell if it is the closeness of Margaret’s voice that startles her, or the malice that it carries. The woman’s pale blue eyes bore unflinchingly into Cat as she crosses the room. The sweet guise of the doting courtier had fallen, revealing a core of polished ice beneath.

Cat smiles sweetly, “Yes, it is too shallow a place for me.”

“Quaint. Trevor Fyne is a great man, destined for great things. He can ill afford the clumsy overtures of a churlish hussy like you.”

She draws back slightly, indeed feeling out of her element here, aware that her mind was not in the place it needed to be to fight this battle. How long had it been since she’d thought of her mother? It had not been easy, growing up without her, and it had marked her life thus far in a hundred different ways. For a long while she hadn’t realized what it meant, had believed that mother would come back, but that belief had changed in time, changed as surely as she herself did.

“He’s all yours - I have no designs on him or any other man here. I did my time like a good little girl but it’s nearly over. I’ll be gone soon and we’ll both be happier for it.”

Margaret’s eyes narrow.

“Good then,” she says at length, the courtier face sweet and smiling. With a swirl of pale blue silk she exits the copula, once again leaving Cat alone with the whirling of her mechanical clock and her memories.

Gral & J
 

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