hth: recent b&w photo of Gillian Anderson (Default)
Ever been stuck for ages on a particular scene, only to realize that the reason you can't make yourself go back to it is that, deep down, you know nothing is actually going to happen in this scene? D'oh!

Anyway, clearly I have to do Something Else here, but rather than just delete it, I thought, what the hell, DVD extra. Dunno that it'll make much sense, but there were some pretty lines that deserve a decent burial.

Lorenzo’s current paramour was a redheaded dancer named Rita – for Rita Hayworth, he liked to imagine, although it could just as easily be Rita, Rita, the cosmic meter maid, or Rita Moreno, or no one at all.

In Semele’s day, Lorenzo never brought humans to court. Now, as he gently adjusted the white fur collar of Rita’s gown around her throat and watched her wide, dark eyes taking in the whole scene from above, he spared a moment to think of past loves – those names he recalled, the ones who had deserved this gift. Jennifer, the shy debutante who retained her childlike love of beautiful things until the end. Frances, always the fighter, who would have been too stubborn to admit that even high court could impress her. Catherine, whose voluminous diaries he possessed to this day, yellow and brittle with age. She would not have missed a single detail, not forgotten a thing.

But for now it was Rita, and she was not the worst of the lot. She rested her hands on the balcony railing, golden rings against silverwork, but she did not cling, and her face showed caution but no true fear as she surveyed the gathered court below. Lorenzo narrowed his eyes to mere slits and focused only on the sound of them. Neighbor voices ran the gamut from bell-like beauty to the sound of rocks scraping together, and sixty of them shouting at once was a din of operatic proportions. The sound of home, he thought wryly, feeling the smile curl his mouth.

He opened his eyes when he sensed movement behind him, light steps in heavy boots coming up the narrow ladder to this upper walk. The windows here at the height of the throne room’s majestic vault were narrow stained glass cut in the shape of a chain of roses, and they threw the morning light over Molly Rossalyn’s pale skin and dark clothing, illuminating her in a dire wash of gore. It suited her.

At his other side, he felt Rita stiffen, and he glanced down to soothe her fears, only to find nothing fearful in her face at all. She was tense, yes, but it was all threat display and no urge to fly at all. Lorenzo could have laughed, but chose the kinder route and held her closer with an arm around her waist. Rita was by no means the best or truest of Lorenzo’s loves, but there was certainly no cause for her to envy Molly, whom Lorenzo found jaded and cruel, as he did nearly all the women of the Folk.

He admired this about Molly, of course. But he admired it from a distance, not being an utter fool.

“Shall Her Grace be joining us for this fine morning’s mob?” Molly said.

“In Her Grace’s own time, I am sure,” Lorenzo answered, with only the lightest point of sarcasm at the tip. “Even the riots don’t begin in Faeryland without the Queen’s blessing.”

“No riots today,” Molly predicted. The predictions of a banshee were nothing to be dismissed lightly, although of course Lorenzo knew as much already, merely from his knowledge of the Folk. “Today even old enemies have a new enemy to bring them together,” Molly said, echoing Lorenzo’s very own logic. “Or they will soon enough.”

“In the arsenal of statesmanship, it is a blunt instrument,” Lorenzo admitted. “And speaking of enemies....”

Molly’s eyes grew hard and dark for a moment, seeking out the empty throne at the other end of the chamber and two stories below. “Aye,” she said grudgingly, “you’re the damn devil for luck, yet again. The Bruce has gone to ground, in the company of humans and Changers. Including your high-flyer. You’ll be the very Gallant Tailor himself, won’t you? Seven at one blow.”

“Two suits my modest ambitions,” Lorenzo said, and for the life of him he couldn’t have suppressed his smile, even if he had wished. He pulled Rita closer and kissed her soundly. “Do you know the story, love?” he asked. “‘Seven At One Blow,’ the tailor weaves into his belt, and he gains a name as a giant-killer, though the seven he killed were only houseflies. An early treatise on the power of advertising, from those geniuses of public relations, the Brothers Grimm.” Rita leaned into him, one hand light on his chest for balance, her head nestled against his shoulder. Lorenzo sighed and petted her arm.

“Remember our bargain, Giant-Killer,” Molly said, her amusement only a token veil across her wariness and mistrust. Molly Rossalyn was of Semele’s generation or even older and she had suffered from little enough dread of the old Queen; Lorenzo had hardly expected her to go in fear of the likes of him. No, Molly was no Cavalier to vie for his favor and dread his displeasure. This was another kind of alliance altogether, and a refreshing change, at that.

“Only a literary allusion,” Lorenzo assured her. “The murder of him won’t be on my hands.”

Molly gave him a long look, and Lorenzo knew it for disapproval without being able to identify anything so simple on her face. He met and held her eyes, until at last she shook her head and said, “You’re a cold one, aren’t you just. I thought your mother was a hard old bitch herself, but she’d have spared a moment’s regret for a good man ruined.”

“You’re the one who asked for his life in payment for services rendered,” Lorenzo said. He would not be stung, not so easily. If he let himself feel anger every time someone said or implied that he was a poor shadow to his mother, he’d feel nothing else. Life, even for a Prince of the Gentry, was too short for that.

“Never think I can’t mourn what I destroy,” Molly said quietly. “It's what I do best.”

The music preceded Her Grace's arrival, as always – the sweet, wordless piping of an invisible choir, old enchantments that lived in the very struts and pipes of the building leaping to life at the nearness of a Queen of the Gentry in her full regalia. Semele's song had been low, thrumming with ancient mysteries and the glory and weariness of her many centuries trapped within this Land of Age. Georgiana's was innocent, but sharp and cold as whitewater. Nothing to do with the black river that ran to the sea just outside these doors. Nothing to do with the New World, this land that was all Lorenzo had ever known or ever hoped to know. My kingdom, he told himself fiercely. My kingdom, and let the law burn. My kingdom, or else let it all burn.

Date: 2009-05-29 02:57 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] dine
dine: (Default)
even without context, this is lovely (and makes me eager for more)

Date: 2009-06-02 02:19 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] ceitie
ceitie: (Default)
Very intricate feel to this, and I like all the hints of plot we get without quite knowing what's going on. Also, I want to know more about Rita.


hth: recent b&w photo of Gillian Anderson (Default)

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