“Anything more specific you want to admit there about your incarcerations?” I ask, tapping the pen end against the paper.
“Several times I let myself get caught and thrown somewhere for love,” he says evenly, looking down at the steaming coffee “More often than not, because I was hired to do something and getting caught was part of the job. Once it was to save a life. Three times it was so that someone who couldn’t take the pounding would go free, and this hide has more scars than a map has folds. Few more weren’t going to make that much of a difference.” I watch a smile twitch at the corner of his mouth. Whatever other thing he was going to tell me, he’s decided not to, he’s keeping that secret.
I refill my own mug and chew on a twist, looking down at the next question. Maybe I’d better split some of Emily’s up and go onto Hannah for a bit and then come back. For as light as Emily’s are, so are Hannah’s dark. Mirriam’s fall happily in between. And Angel’s question made me giggle. I don’t think it’s going to make Rea but we’ll see.
“Right, next question. Only we’re going to go over to Hannah and Mirriam for a bit.”
“Suns in their places,” he says, and blinks “Do we have to?”
“Yes,” I say sipping my coffee “You agreed.” He rolls his eyes and folds on arm, then the other over his chest.
“That Hannah, she’s dangerous. She calls herself daughter of Moffat, when in truth the lady is daughter of William.”
“William?” I look up from my notes.
“Bill, then if William’s too formal.”
“Who?” I stare at him, having absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.
“The Bard of Avon.”
I choke on my coffee and he merely watches as I mop my face and the table in front of me with napkins. “Are you saying that Hannah is more to be called Daughter of Shakespeare than Daughter of Moffat?” He rolls his shoulders.
“Moffat and William both crib off other authors” Rea says as if telling me something new “But where William gave his audience something to chew on with his retellings and clusters of whit, all Moffat does is regurgitate pre-chewed whit for his audience to consume.”
“Thank you for that disgusting word picture.” I wipe my tunic and reach for the coffee. “I think she got the nick-name Daughter of Moffat because of what she puts her characters through.”
He grunts “William did more to his characters with a flourish of quill than Moffat’s done to his with an entire season of a show. There’s always a reset somewhere. A way of undoing the terrible things that have happened. William did not know what a reset was, nor did he want one. Moffat will be gone in ten years. William endures.”
“You know that flattering Hannah will get you nothing” I remind him and take a sip of coffee.
“Daughter of William is not a compliment.”
“What is it then?” I ask, fighting down the mad jealousy that is gnawing at my innards.
“Warning label?” I repeat
“For the other characters.” He stretches a wing and then “Want to take the rest of these outside?”
“Um, sure why not” I say and then “I don’t understand why you say Daughter of William is a warning, it’s got to be the best compliment a female writer can get!” I draw in a deep breath as he arches an eyebrow at me. “William Shakespeare is one of the, if not THE greatest writer that ever lived. He was a genius, a master of words and stories, there is no one better. To be called the Daughter of Shakespeare is the highest” It’s all I can do to not whine the words, and I can’t finish. To have a character, my character, in fact, tell me that someone else is to have the coveted title of Daughter of Shakespeare, is to have him speak poniards, and every word stabs.*
“That’s the reader’s point of view, right there” Rea snaps and I jump, nearly losing my cinnatwists.
“Let’s go.” He moves off.
We walk out the ‘handicapped’ entrance on the side of the building up a small flight of stairs and out into the dazzling sunshine. “Shakespeare is like Rasputin to us characters.” Rea says as he turns to the right and we begin walking downhill.
“But Rasputin is dead” I say as I juggle notebook, coffee, and confections.
“But what he did, that lives on doesn’t it? Don’t you cringe at his image, shiver at his history, and feel sympathy for those lives he meddled in?” Rea turns on the walkway and leans down to whisper “In some deep dark part of your imagination, don’t you dread that he is not really dead but merely in hiding, waiting for the right moment to return and resume his reign of manipulation and terror?”
“Ah. . .thanks for that vivid thought.” I hug my notebook as I walk beside him, letting him take cinnatwists as I finish my coffee.
In a weird way, I can see what he means about Shakespeare being like Rasputin. His influence over writing and characters is far-reaching and William wasn’t exactly kind to his paper tigers.
Scents of salt and icthus and sand and sweat waft over me in undulating waves. “The harbor?” I ask, but he doesn’t reply, he’s too busy eating.
The air dances over the white stones of the quay making everything shimmer as if the walk , sea wall, sea avies and the Daithians winging along it are all parts of some magicians illusion. Sweat pricks behind my ears, and under my arms. Beyond the high retaining wall, Daitha’s sea flashes and rolls in blues as vivid as Earth’s Caribbean. I look towards where the sea and sky meet.
I can’t see any of the islands in the Vos’ Backbone, it’s all a muddy blue haze on the horizon. I grimace as I join Rea at the sea wall. The air is heavy with humidity. I squint upward. Large white clouds are mountaining up towards the heavens. Among the puffy rolls I can barely make out the flick and glide of forms. Probably messengers on waterdrakes, carrying important High House official documents from one island to the next in the Royal Circlet.
“Rea” I murmur “If you were trapped on a desert island, with no food, water, or way to prepare or gather any and only Lucien, Jude, Valentine, Angel and Leo for company, what would happen?”
“Daughter of Shakespeare asked that one didn’t she?” he says, throwing a piece of twist to an avie and not looking at me. Though he moves a wing so the sun isn’t quite so much in my eyes. Everything is shaded green.
“Simple. We would kill Angel and then use his body as a raft, taking turns paddling as Jabber-Jaws called for help. Sadly, Jude and Leo would turn on one another and fall off the floating bloated corpse of the vampire, and be lost at sea. Valentine would fall in love with a selkei and be carried off to the nearest selkei village and have nine hundred children with her none of whom would every shut up.
I would perish within sight of land due to the overwhelming level of smug that Lucian carries around with him, and only the silent knight would make it back to civilization. He would then give Angel a proper burial which would resurrect the Vampire, and the two would ride off into the sunset to have a bro-venture together which would teach Angel that he does have a soul, and teach Lucien that after all the abuse he has suffered, he can still play the hero.”
“That’s really your answer?” I ask, pen pausing over the paper.
“Yup.” Rea says looking out to sea.
“All righty then.” I make a note of it. “Speaking of Angel” I begin.
“We weren’t” Rea’s shoulders tighten.
“Well, there’s no good way to segue into this question of his except by using Hannah’s question to introduce his.”
“I’m not answering his question” Rea growls, leaning against the wall and scowling at me.
“Um, he just wants to know if you have ever” I giggle “Considered” I can’t help the bubbling laughter “Um, Mercy Suicide.”
“I will help him committee suicide, gladly.”
“That’s not what he means” I protest.
“I will be happy to assist him in committing suicide.”
I sigh, and close my notebook.
“It’s rather lovely here.”
“It’s home” he says softly. “It’s my home.” His eyes shut, and I watch a fine nerve twitching at his temple. He hasn’t been home in a long time. I know. And my stomach begins to ache. I can’t let him come home. Not in his story. I just can’t. The plot won’t let him. I won’t let him.
“I’m sorry” I whisper.
“Not sorry enough,” he mutters and then moves away from the wall, winging towards the bell tower set in the curve of land. The wind picks up and I look to the horizon again. It’s black as night.
“A squall” I hiss as a blast of wind comes winging up over the seawall full of cool and wet. I clutch my notebook and run down along the harbor, watching a bright green pair of wings flicking towards the great tolling bell.
It’s the selkei bell. And any time it rings, someone’s in trouble.
*Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing Act 2 Scene 1 ~Shakespeare