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Old 05-27-2011, 10:18 AM   #282
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The 1590s
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Aerwen stood close to Aldarion as he mumbled his views in the gloom. It was more musty than cold, but if he had watching her, she would have appeared to be shivering a little. In fact, she was in large measure suppressing a peal of gentle laughter.

"So I take it, then, that you still prefer Lord Imraz˘r," she whispered back with an unusually mischievous expression. "Indeed, I am not certain whether you are right, either in the reason that makes you hesitate, or the one that attracts you..."

For a moment Aldarion might wonder disconcertingly about the strange, scholarly maiden's words, context and meaning; she clarified herself only after a pause.

"For this playwright can master plain-speaking too; and, what seems to me his noblest form, unrhymed but stately verse. Forgive me if I take the book back..." Aldarion handed it over with a frown. "Something like this," the Lady of Burlach continued as she opened at another section,

"It is the gull that sings so out of tune,
Straining harsh discords, luring off the elves.
Some say the gull makes navigation sweet;
This doth not so, for she divideth us:
Some say the gull and mermaids swap their song,
O, now I would they had changed faces too!
Since craft from craft that voice bids us now moor,
Hunting thee hence with hunt's-up to the shore,
O, now be gone; more land and land it grows

"...but no doubt I am boring you, Master Aldarion. I fear, too, that you are wrong about the writer's historical intentions; this play seems to me to exist in a pure void, a world of art, with no reference to any goings on of the legends or the records. As for the name ═rildŰ, well, what's in a name?

"I thought it best though to show you this, as I suspect you will be hearing more about this poet's work this evening. My dear brother seems to have, er, taken an interest in his work; perhaps their apparent common affliction moves him. Anyway, it has become quite common for him to read and act out scenes from these plays of Master Lameleg's, with picked guests, and I would be very surprised indeed if he did not ask you, and our well beloved Gloredhel, to join in tonight..."

Somewhere the distance was a sound of running water, and a chiming of a sort of gong. It seemed to alarm Aerwen sufficiently to break her meditation, and she replaced the book quite suddenly.

"Old Lindir's water clock! We really must be getting on; I do apologise, I had quite lost track of things. Master Lameleg remarks somewhere else that There is no clock i' the forest, an adage that accurately reflects my sense of time whenever I am near books..."

She gave Aldarion a mock-woeful grimace, and led him out in a fitful rush. Her instructions to the coachman were fierce and urgent, and he whirled them up the Fifth and Sixth Highways with extraordinary - indeed nauseous - zeal. Lady and player alike would look and feel quite dizzy as they alighted in front of the manor belonging to Ecsichil of Burlach, their destination fulfilled at last; the coachman, who was used to his trade and barely groggy at all, pre-empted them to step up and give a firm knock on the tall town-house door, with the ceremonial cane kept for just such contingencies.

There was a sound of activity beyond, and soon a number of people opened up, enough to make any less magnificent entrance look quite cramped; the host, Lord Ecsichil, wearing a rich jerkin of tawny orange and his favourite scarlet sash, his handsome but rather brutish face flushed from wine or perhaps waiting; his brother, the evening's master of ceremonies just as their father was the City's, hanging back with his usual confident smile, and...

"Aldarion, at last" the demurely dressed, darkly beautiful woman between them said first, uttering her first substantial words of the evening, "you have been too long, and too much missed among the players of the Swan..."
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