Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Where All Shadows Gather--Part 70

Eurydice le Fidèle walked determinedly down the halls of Castle Terribel, Echidnae Bluebell on her heels. “So--we’re not going to die?” asked Echidnae nervously.

“Not today,” replied Eurydice wearily. It occurred to her that she was really going to have to invest in a better class of best friend. Arete Oakleaves had always struck her as a proper sort of chambermaid. No doubt a few days turning out rooms together, and everything would fall into place.

“Well, that’s good,” said Echidnae. “Not dying is really--really nice.”

“I suppose it’s generally better than the alternative,” said Eurydice. There was an awkward silence. That was strange. Echidnae Bluebell generally never lacked for an ability to produce pointless generalizations and idiotic statements to “make conversation”. Glancing at her friend, Eurydice saw that Echidnae was staring ahead nervously. Turning ahead, she saw Palamedes and Quiet escorting a bound and blindfolded Antigone Gorice. Palamedes glanced at Eurydice for a moment, then turned to the Ghoul.

“Can you take Miss Gorice the rest of the way by yourself?” he asked. Quiet nodded, and headed off with the disgraced chambermaid. When they were out of sight, Palamedes turned to Eurydice. “I wouldn’t worry too much about her. She’s not going to be killed. She’ll simply be leaving with the Maganzas. Officially, she’s being sent to serve on Lady Falerina’s staff.” Palamedes frowned. “Strangely appropriate, somehow.”

Eurydice looked away. “Did I even ask you about her?”

“Not out loud,” said Palamedes quietly. He took a deep breath. “I know you liked her, Eurydice…”

“You know wrong,” said Eurydice forcibly. “I’m a Fidèle. She’s a traitor, spawned from traitors. If I liked someone, it wasn’t her. It was the person she pretended to be.”

Palamedes bit his lip, and looked away. “I… I never blamed you for how things turned out between us, Eurydice.”

“Of course you didn’t,” said Eurydice. “It was all your fault.”

Palamedes chose to ignore that comment. “You’re a good person, Eurydice, and you deserve all the best. Which most likely does not include me as a husband. I just think you should know that.” He bowed. “Well, I should get going. Sacripant’s come into a bit of money, and he’s taking me and the boys out for a drink.”

Eurydice watched Palamedes walk away. It occurred to her that perhaps for the first time in his life, there was an air of--confidence in the way he moved. Or possibly the second--he’d been very happy with himself when he won the Castle pie eating contest eight years ago. Until he’d gotten sick.

Echidnae leaned forward. “You know it’s such a shame things didn’t work out between you two…”

Eurydice glanced at her. “Echidnae--go dust out the Great Hall.”

“But--!” began Echidnae, only to receive the most baleful glance that Eurydice was capable of. “I’ll be extra thorough,” said the young chambermaid quietly, following which she darted off.

Eurydice shut her eyes and took a deep breath. Good. Now she was alone. Very good. Yes. “Oh, Eurydice!” She turned and saw Justinian Sigma standing there. “Is something wrong?” the Milesian asked. Eurydice bit her lip, and then rushed forward. She wrapped her arms around the Sacristan, and began to cry on his shoulder. As she felt Justinian’s hand nervously begin to stroke her hair, it occurred to her that he had no idea what she was crying about. And somehow that didn’t matter.

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