(Taken from live play. My thanks to Fiametta's player for patience during the past couple of crazy months.)
The revelation of mismatched geometry of the woman before him nearly caused him to falter, though the Hedonist had long grown accustomed to last minute changes and weathered the crosswinds of her look with a slow forming smile. While others would see a simple genetic trait, he understood the sacred symbolism within the opposing colors of her eyes; translated their meaning even before the brushed away strands of mahogany and chestnut settled.
?I would not know.? Voice slick with rapacious desire as he glanced up from the tiers of votive candles set before them both. ?I have never felt the weight of such a cloak nor have I burdened my legs with the chains of regret.? Not exactly a lie, for his original betrayal had been borne from pride and thus been twisted into justification.
She was more than what he sought. Proximity allowed him to sense the dual presence within; the object of ancient desire linked inexorably to another, equally misunderstood, entity. Unexpected though not disappointing, the Hedonist?s smile shone as he worked out the twisting of souls, the twining of fates. What had first been seen as yet another obstacle turned into yet another opportunity for reprisal. Oh the enjoyable irony
of what stood before him, of what would become his.
?Guilt, like its cousin regret, is no more or less a child of choice.? The Hedonist elaborated while continuing to trace the circumference of the crimson glass of the votive holder. ?Souls like that one?? a nod to the praying woman who now fought the stiffness of servitude as she tried to stand, ?are victims of the beliefs and rituals you speak of. But it is their choice and so it can be undone with choice.? Fingers wafted through the heat of the flames, a wan smile forming as he influenced the markers of prayers as easily as he did those who had uttered them.
?She prays for the life of a husband she does not love who is as of this moment, withering away in a hospital bed.? Whispered words violated the sacrosanct privacy without compunction. ?Her heart has long belonged to another,? he continued as chartreuse eyes drifted back towards the woman as she sat upon the first pew. ?She would be happy in his arms, but forbids herself such joys because of her?? a pause as the Scorpion ringed forefinger pointed skyward, ?Vows. I see a husk of a woman, so desperate for a drought ending soak that she is no longer capable of realizing she denies herself that which she so desperately seeks.?
Shadows whispered all around him, his dutiful servants conveying countless truths, lies, sins and salvation. The cacophony of such things a whirling dervish of chaos that would shred the minds of the uninitiated into ribbons; reducing the sane to a catatonic and worthless existence.
He knew the truth of the woman?s crisis. The false prayers for life when death was secretly desired; the illicit love of a lifetime stamped out beneath the jackbooted vows of a marriage gone horribly wrong. Contemptuous glance to the crucified figure on the wall as if to ask if He was truly glorified by such false piety. ?I see kneeling there the bastard child of doubt?s liaison with fear. She prays for fear of embracing that which she truly desires, because the foundation of this house demands debasement of human desires.? Shoulders lifted in a pitying shrug, angling back towards Fia with both hands wrapped round the lupine head of his cane.
He continued as he turned fully to face her once more. ?Such a life of misplaced servitude will only yield unhappiness in the end. You must know this to be true.? Hinting at certain past events, at reproachful conversations held amidst candlelight, an inability to forgive; building blocks for his idle hands. ?Regret is a far heavier garment than guilt ever can be. Guilt diminishes over time while regret grows ever heavier, bends and contorts the spine with its remorseless wonderings of what might have been.?
His chartreuse gaze drifted back towards the woman; watched as she finished her prayer and then struggled to regain her feet from the stiffness such a subservient posture created. ?That is not guilt which weighs her down, it is regret. Regret at misplaced devotion?at honoring Him when she should have honored herself. ?
?But that is her. What of you?? His question dismissing the woman without another thought as words pried past the slim armor of leather to get at that tender vulnerability in order to lay her completely open before him. ?What do you regret hm? What guilt burdens your delicate soul??
He knew many of the answers, though there was much time unaccounted for. He had been close several times before, his queen always spirited away, his advance blocked by a multitude of pawns of the other side. But no longer.
Fia would leave the half-truths and sticky white lies to the tireless spiders which enjoyed spinning webs. Though their patterns were intricate, even beautifully woven, they were ultimately predictable. Tender traps that she?d long since tired of through the ages. She?d just as soon burn through them all. The fire within her craved something bold enough to burn true
. Lying tongues were cloaked in too much residue to produce anything to truly move her.
The choir, which had just concluded the chant, fell silent for a moment before picking up the next selected work. The Scorpion pulled back from his lean upon the votive counter as the choir shifted from one song to another; the first mournful notes of Henryk G?reckI?s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs
wafting through the near empty nave. He tugged at his sleeves, resetting the line of his jacket before lifting eyes to hers once more, watching her carefully.
The mournful voice of the sole soprano that stepped forward to sing the Virgin Mary?s lamentations causing the Hedonist to cock his head and listen. Ever a lover of music, that single voice seemed to fly through the cavernous church on angel?s wings.
?What of me?? Fia echoed his words, her response poised upon her tongue before she heard the first notes of the song. Fia?s head whipped around towards the altar as if yanked by an invisible chain that connected to the very essence of her being. Color drained from her face as she stood frozen, arrested in disbelief as the woman began to sing.
?Is something wrong?? Purred words slick with the unctuous quality of half-expectation. The Hedonist turned to fully capture that mismatched gaze within his covetous eyes; preferring to focus on the fiery and untameable amber side. His
?The song??She began, her voice barely above a whisper, the weight of grief pressing against her chest was almost paralyzing. ?Was the last piece my Mother performed before she died.?
.? Sympathy oozed from every syllable from the Hedonists tongue. As he moved to walk behind her to her other side. ?How old were you??
?Seventeen.? She answered as if on auto-pilot. As the woman sang, she continued, her jaw setting itself hard against what wanted to seep in. ?My Mother wanted me to hear her perform it before she told me the words. You see I struggle with?? A shake of her head as she cut off the thought. ?She told me the words did not matter. We tend to attach our own perceptions around words. She asked me what the song made me feel.?
?And what was that?? He watched the setting of her jaw as it locked into place, committing every nuance of her face to memory. She was working so hard to keep it back. He could see it swimming so close to the surface.
The words caught in Fia's throat, a hard knot she had yet to unravel, to be able to find peace, and yet refused to be swallowed down; not this time.
?Sorrow. The unbearable pain of loss.? It washed over her in waves, so much so that her hand gripped a pew for support.
?Such a lovely piece. I?ve heard it before, though the translation fails me. What are the words?? Another lie, carefully woven into the rests between the transcendent spell the music was weaving. He kept his tone soft, this maestro careful not to let his voice be the dissonant note to disrupt or intrude on the carefully composed moment he sought to exploit.
?My Son, My Beloved?? She began a loose translation of what her Mother had shared with her. ?Share your wounds with your Mother. And because my dearest son, I have you always in my heart, and will always serve you lovingly, speak to me your Mother, and make her happy. Alas, alas, I know you are already being taken away?my dear hope?? Her breath hitched, her gaze finally lifting as if compelled to the crucified figure above the altar.
She dared not utter another sound, for the delicate pane separating her and a soul shattering memory replaying within her subconscious was already starting to crack. Another word and she felt that the barrier would shatter.
,? He murmured, so close to her ear. ?To experience such a deep love and to then have it torn from you. One has to wonder why such an injustice
is necessary.? His hand slithered round to take her hip to turn her as if to embrace her into a dance.
Fia?s hands curled into fists, nails digging into palms hard enough to draw blood. As he stepped forward to take her hip, she was torn from the riptide of memory into the present.
She pivoted in easily out of his reach. Steps that would mark the beginning of a different kind of dance to evaluate the man standing before her. She moved like a muse of Balanchine, an oddly divided swan queen. Danger within grace, Odile in a pas de deaux with Odette.
Though he felt familiar, she could not place where she knew him. The reverberation from his touch was intense, but the root of its remained hidden from her. Words flashed before her that had jumped out from the pages of the book Mouse had tried to get her to read. The book she had reduced to ash. Threat?Secret?Tell?React?Her Test.
Like a photograph not fully developed in her mind?s eye. She felt an intense flash of heat above her brows, a burning sensation in the middle of her forehead. She touched her finger to the spot as if singed, she stepped back, her vision suddenly blurred; a curtain drawn.
She was so close
to knowing him. The Hedonist had felt the heat of that serpentine ignition; watched as it slithered round the mercurial caduceus of her spine and traveled upwards towards the wings of her shoulders. Mouth had gone desert dry as he waited for its release, posture tilted forward with the anticipation of the faithful about to receive the transmutation of flesh and blood. It had been too long since his last communion with her; body vibrating at the prospect of such a sinful reunion.
?It is only partially open. If you would permit me, I can give you extra help to that particular line of sight.? A finger was raised to the center of her forehead to do just as he intended. He felt the barrier even as he crossed it, should have expected it though his own temptation had clouded his judgment. A brow arched as his hand slowed its trek towards her brow, fingers tightening in a resistance that was not his own.
It happened so quickly, she did not know what hit her. The impact and sheer force of the energy so powerful it rocked her backwards after it entered through the crown of her head. A pure, blue light radiated from her as her hand lifted seemingly on its own. The hand felt foreign from her own, as if another had been placed over hers, larger and almost masculine in nature, with a strength that vibrated through ever cell of her body. When he reached to touch the center of her forehead, the pulse sent the shockwave of brilliant blue from her and straight into the sphere of the man before her.
The Hedonist winced and screwed his eyes shut against the sudden intrusion of such undiluted light. Long accustomed to shadows and darkness, such brilliance forced a recoiling step away from Fia. A moment later shadows gathered and roiled forward like a storm surge upon a low lying beach intent on extinguishing such a powerful flare. But now was not the time, such hallowed ground not the place and so the shadows drained back to the corners and recesses of the nave.
?Ah, Michael.? The Hedonist sighed with recognized disappointment and a chartreuse glance skyward. He pulled his hand from her face to look upon the watch wrapped round his wrist. Its many hands ticked and spun at different speeds, tracked many kinds of time while the celestial zodiacs moved round the perimeter of the face. ?Ever the clock watcher and over achiever.? A spark of poisonous resentment staining the timbre of his voice; the Hedonist speaking to no one in particular.
?But it is not yet time. You know the rules as well as I. A bit overprotective aren?t we? Is it fear which forces you to overstep your place? Fear that she will enjoy what I reveal?? The prescient smile which slowly formed upon aristocratic features borne of surety in the face of silence.
Eyes drifted downward to find the mismatched gaze of his absent queen, a whimsical smile upon his face. A long, considering glance given to the lovely little channel that stood before him. Wavering somewhere between admiration and annoyance. ?You must be?very
strong to be able to channel his energy. My old friend was giving me a warning that I am not allowed to open it for you.? A tip of his head. ?The door that which will bridge the gap between us. Or perhaps he?s a tad jealous.?
A smirk was thrown over a shoulder to the winged statue behind him that held his sword aloft, though the warning was heeded?for now
. The Hedonist kept a wary eye on the powerhouse of a woman before him, intrigued that she remained almost unaware of the dormant power warring just beneath the surface. ?You have powerful allies. You have long been a favorite of his. Though they will hinder far more than they help.? Admitted while he produced a cigarette from a silver case. His equilibrium returned, the Hedonist made no move to elaborate on his revelation.
The tip of the cigarette caught in the tiny flame of the prayer candle, the Hedonist paused to exhale a twisting column of calamus scented smoke. ?I look forward to seeing you break such chains.? Harkening back to their previous conversation. His generous mouth split in a wry smile before extinguishing the bantam flame with an exhale from between pursed lips. Eyes remained on the tiny wisp of smoke as both prayer and light were snuffed out with a single breath.
?Perhaps you will show you me your carousel in the meantime.? Spoken as movement returned to latent limbs, a promised meeting in the near future voiced more as an absolute than question. He allowed fingers to navigate the dangerous curves of her hips as he pressed past her. He?d leave her to figure out how he knew of her whereabouts. The touch was fleeting though heavy with a promised insinuation of more
. It was, after all, in his nature.
Her hands were still vibrating, she had not expected what had just transpired between them. The aftershocks of the energy were still coursing through her. The sensation far from unpleasant, though her body took a moment to adjust. His words barely registered in her conscious mind, though a higher consciousness had taken in every word he had spoken.
Fia noticed the pain in her forehead had vanished the moment he stepped from the building. She glanced up to the statue of Michael, his sword held high, a question forming on her tongue when her gaze fell to the smoke from the prayer candle that he had extinguished in his wake.
She glanced around her before her hand lifted to re-light the flame so that it burned anew. Hope was a flame that should never be extinguished. A final glance to the altar before she stepped from the doors of the church, oblivious to the soft sound of wings fluttering in the rafters, or the white dove that followed her home.
(If interested in the song please click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKk-w_0SpSw