A tale of artists, intrigue, and the magical renaissance

7.03 – Vulgaris {Plain}

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It was such a grave and somber assembly that Elena thought it would be much better suited to the hallways of the castle in which she had first interacted with the Twisted. That dreamscape had been full of banquet halls and counsel rooms, elegant chandeliers and high-vaulted ceilings, and that sort of pomp seemed much better suited to the planning of the World-Emperor.

Still, Elena didn’t know how Lord Waldren picked the surroundings when he built his dream worlds, or indeed if he was able to pick the surroundings at all. She made her way to the table where the Twisted waited for her, sitting in between Fulvio and Lucrecia. As usual, the inky man’s silence was intimidating, and the plain woman’s mere presence was enough to turn Elena’s stomach…but it was easier to interact with her now, and Elena mustered up a smile for her fellow Twisted.

***

“Hello?” Elena peered into the giant wooden room, so large that it seemed dark even though there were lanterns hung from the walls. It was a strange sight, long lines of bookshelves within a room of what was ostensibly a large ship, but she knew by now that Lord Waldren’s dream worlds operated by the needs of the Twisted. The ship was longer, deeper, and more varied than any true vessel, and it wasn’t the first time that a slight irregularity lay behind the door.

“Hello,” Elena tried again, stepping inside, “the lanterns are on, is there anyone here?”

“I’m here in the back,” Lucrezia called back, “there’s a bit of a lounge area in the middle here.”

If it had been anyone else Elena would’ve been pleased, but she could hardly leave now that Lucrezia had heard her. With only a little reluctance showing in her step, Elena navigated the towering bookshelves, arranged more like a hedge-maze than a library. As promised, in the center of the room sat a little inlet in the ground, with thick-cushioned couches surrounding a small fireplace, neither quite apt for the creaking ship beams beneath them.

Lucrezia was sitting in one of the couches, her legs curled up beneath her and her finger holding her place in the book she read.

“Good evening, Elena,” the plain woman smiled.
To her own surprise, Elena was able to force a smile in return, “you don’t mind if I join you, do you?”

“Not at all! You’ve been so busy teaching the Storm about the world that we see so little of you these days- oh, no,” Lucrezia held up a hand as Elena approached the couch next to her, “the couch across the lounge, if you don’t mind.”

“Sorry,” Elena sat in the indicated spot, feeling slightly foolish. “I can’t find him this evening, so I thought I’d wander around until he found me.”

“Very sage,” Lucrezia said, carefully placing a bookmark into her book and closing it with a sharp snap. Elena folded her hands in her lap, unsure of where to look. After alternating her gaze from the fireplace to her folded hands for the second time, Elena spoke just to break the silence under the woman’s smiling gaze.

“If you don’t mind me asking…is there something wrong with, the couch?” she asked.

“Oh no, it’s for your benefit, not mine,” Lucrezia said, “the stomach-turning effects of my time here are a little more intense.”

“Oh…I didn’t…I mean…” Elena stammered, startled out of her awkwardness.

“You didn’t realize that I knew?” the woman chuckled, a light sound that sent shivers down Elena’s spine, “dear Lucciano, some of the others might be good enough actors to mask their revulsion, but you are not quite that proficient at masking your face.”

“I’m sorry,” Elena blushed, “that was…rude of me.”

“I wouldn’t worry,” Lucrezia said gently, “you’ll get better at it in time.”

“But you’ll still know that I’m acting…” Elena couldn’t quite bring herself to meet the plain woman’s eyes, and instead focused on her fidgeting hands.

“We all have our visage, here in the dream world. Some have different skin, some don’t age. Mine is a bit more intense than others, that’s all.”

“But isn’t that a bit…lonely?” Elena asked.

“A bit,” Lucrezia shrugged, a small motion that barely moved the shoulder of her dress, “but I’m used to that. I’m a member of the Council of Rimi, while waking everyone treats me with such care and adulation, and here…I sometimes wonder if the Dream world simply felt a need to balance everything out. Either way, I don’t think I’ve encountered a genuine reaction to me, just me, in…oh in ever so long.”

Elena was quiet for a few long moments, still staring at her hands.

“Would you like…do you think I could sit with you more often?” she finally asked, “when waiting for the Storm, I mean?”

“Yes,” Lucrezia tilted her head to one side and smiled, a sight enough to make Elena’s stomach churn even when seen in her peripheral vision, “yes, I think I would like that very much.”

***

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***

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7 responses

  1. *Not a delay*

    Hello readers! It’s been a hell of a couple of months, as I’m sure my long-time readers can tell from all the delays and cancellations when I hadn’t ever so much as missed one update before. In an effort to curtail this nasty little practice of delays, there IS a chapter tonight. It’s just short. And possibly nonsensical, given my 102 fever. Fingers crossed!

    Liked by 2 people

    2016-02-28 at 9:15 pm

    • Bad llama :< Kick that illness right in the gut and get better!

      Thanks for the chapter!

      Like

      2016-02-28 at 10:47 pm

      • You’re very welcome! It was quite a tough illness to kick, but I got it eventually. Thanks for your cheerful comments, they always uplift my spirit <3

        Like

        2016-03-07 at 11:04 pm

  2. Bart

    I don’t get it. Did we miss a chapter somehow? What happened to the big meeting?

    Liked by 1 person

    2016-02-28 at 10:18 pm

    • AceOfSpade

      Inky Llama is sick, so rather than writing the event in order she’s giving us a small flashback. Read her comment, she said it might not make much sense because fever. Still, short and possibly nonsensical update is better than no update even if it only give a bit of character devellopment.

      Like

      2016-03-01 at 1:57 pm

      • BlazingShotgun

        Unless I am mistaken the proper pronoun is He.

        Like

        2016-03-16 at 9:35 am

        • Either is perfectly fine! Enough people know and interact with me as “Maddi” that by this time I’m pretty comfortable being referred to with either pronoun

          Like

          2016-03-16 at 10:11 am

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