Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Terrible Secret of Castle Terribel--Part 17

Elaine sat on the wall, trying to read the Huon’s poems.

“Accursed days, you steal it from me,
Like a robber waiting by the lane,
The chance my beloved’s darling face to see.
Oh, why must I feel this sharp, stabbing pain?”


Elaine sighed. Somehow, ‘The Sonnet of Despair at Parting’ wasn’t doing it for her right now. She glanced at Morgaine, still engrossed in her reading. “Good book?”

Morgaine nodded. “Yep. The courtesans just… persuaded Lady Bountiful not to go through with her wedding.”

Elaine frowned. “Gee. Wonder how.” She shook her head. “Do you have anything there that isn’t filthy?”

Morgaine placed a hand under her chin. “Hmmmm.” She pulled out a slim volume. “I have The Nunnery of Vice. That’s only a little filthy.” Elaine stared at her. “I’m serious. The sex scenes are there to spice up the philosophical discussions. Abbe Pinador was largely interested in pushing his theory that a lot of women would be happier if men weren’t around.” She smiled. “He’s my hero.” Morgaine glanced at her niece. “Why the interest in my reading material?”

Elaine shook her head. “I think I need a break from Huon Sans Espoir. I love his work, but--after three hours--the poems are starting to blend into each other.”

Morgaine nodded. “Yeah--I know what you mean. Huon wrote about one thing, and he did it well--which means he’s best in small doses.”

“You like Huon Sans Espoir?” asked Elaine. Morgaine frowned at her. “I--urr--that wasn’t meant as an insult, it’s just--I wouldn’t imagine he was your--thing…”

“Right,” Morgaine sighed. “Because what personal significance could poems of deep unrequited love, and rejected suits have for me?” She shook her head. “I’m really drawing a complete blank there. No idea. None at all.”

“Sorry…” squeaked Elaine. She coughed. “Ummm--what was it like?”

Morgaine stared at her. “What was what like?”

Elaine glanced away. “Finding out you were a… you know.”

Morgaine’s face took on a rather grim expression. “Can I assume you mean--‘finding out I was a tribade‘?” She looked down at her book. “I didn’t ‘find out’. I always knew what I was.”

“Oh.” Elaine gulped. “S…”

“If you say ‘sorry’ again, I will shove this book down your throat,” said Morgaine. She turned and looked Elaine in the eye. “I’m used to personal… nay, downright rude queries on the subject of my sexual preferences from those who discover them. Frankly, the questions themselves have ceased to offend me. What does offend me is the so-often timid and falsely-apologetic tone in which they are asked. As if the asker somehow thinks that this sanctimonious air will render the extremely personal questions being asked--less personal.” She smiled. “It does not. If you’re going to sin, sin boldly, that‘s my motto.”

Elaine frowned, and leaned forward. “You know--you don’t have to get on your high horse for every single thing I say. I was interested in what it was like growing up so--different, when so much was expected of you, and you just--bit my head off. Like a person can’t be interested on a personal level. Like I only want to gawk at the freak. And that’s not true, Morgaine. ”

Morgaine blinked. “Damn.” She shook her head. “You keep mouthing off to me like that we might start actually getting along.”

“There you two are,” came a familiar voice. The pair looked up to see Viviane smiling down at them, Malina hanging on her hand. “We’ve been looking for you.” The young Dev looked at the pair beseechingly.

“Come on! You have to see it!” she declared. “It’s AMAZING! Uncle Nissy, and Mister Siggy, and Miss Jeanie are there already!”

Elaine looked at her stepsister. “What is… it?”

Malina’s face grew very serious. “That’s a secret.”

Elaine and Morgaine looked at Viviane. “Don’t ask me,” she said with a shrug. “That’s all she’ll tell me.”

Malina began to tug on her stepmother’s arm. “Come on! Come on! Let’s go!”

“Let’s give Elaine and Auntie Morgaine time to join us,” said Viviane with an affectionate laugh.

“Yeah,” said Morgaine, gradually righting herself. “I have to admit--you’ve got my interest piqued.”

Elaine rubbed her legs. “I hate it when they go asleep on you.”

Morgaine stretched her arms. “Oh, yeah. That is so annoying.” She frowned at Viviane. “What are you grinning about?”

“It’s--nothing,” she replied, with a dismissive wave of the hand. “I’m just--happy to see you two getting along.” She lowered her eyes. “It’s--cute.”

Morgaine scowled. “Yeah. We’re adorable. Got it.” She pointed at her sister-in-law. “Do not force me to unleash a horde of reanimated slugs on you. Just on the principle.”

Viviane eyes widened. “Okay. I take it back. You’re the antithesis of cute. You, Morgaine, are where cute goes to die.”

“Damn straight,” said Morgaine. “Now, bring on the--mystery--thing.”

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