O Night of blackest blue,
wreathed in slow-swirling mist,
see how You tempt down the moonlight?
Now we might all dance
with mist, moon, and You.
O Morn of fallen frost,
shiverthrill of chill,
see how You beam down the slanting sunlight?
Now all is carpeted in glittering diamond,
and we are all rich.
The sky is dark, the black trees and silvered clouds shivering, dancing in the wild wind. All the houses seen in the distance across the water are dark, their occupants silent and sleeping.
The red clouds over the island suddenly cease their pouring, in deference to the Lady that appears beneath the oldest, tallest tree. The swollen moon shines softly on her garments, lunar white, then crimson red, with deep black shadows. The wind tosses her long dark hair about with the clouds.
She steps out from the shifting shadows of the tree, into the full light of the moon. She raises her arms in reverent greeting and her voice in lilting song…
you ancient watchers
and let me in
Come down, come down
from your waiting houses
Come down, come down
and let me in*
As her words spin out into the soft storm, she grows silent as the houses across the lapping waters. She sinks into a warm steaming pool cradled by the arm of the island. Her eyes flutter closed, her lips curving in pleasure.
Eventually, the crimson clouds can contain themselves no longer, and they burst forth in warm red rain. When you blink, the Lady is gone, leaving only a swirl of steam upon the water, and the memory of her song in your mind.
* Awake! by Sharon Knight
The Lady dances alone in the grove, a sad little waltz with a thick sheaf of papers held out in lieu of a proper partner. Her lips smile gently, but her eyes are sad. A few pages fall, and you can just glimpse that they are public letters, signed “Doctor Darien Mason, in exile”, before they blow away.
She sits down on the grass, the dark skirts of her nightdress billowing around her, produces quill and inkpot from nowhere, and begins to write rather ramblingly on the back of the partner-pages:
The Banshee is dressed in teal silk and strange looks today; she takes slow, thoughtful steps around the grove, as if considering the implications of every misplaced twig and crushed blade of grass. She is very pale, staying to the shadows of the tall trees. Her eyes are bloodshot, but her gaze strangely clear. As you approach, you get the sense off her of one in the fierce calm after great revelation. She looks up at you and smiles… heartbreakingly soft, the lines of her face, the kindness in her eyes.
She makes a gentle curtsey to you in greeting; asking after your health and happiness. As the conversation lulls, your eyes stray to the Tree at the center of the grove: it looks just slightly out of place there, as if it just… appeared. But of course, that is ridiculous; trees do not move… do they?
Like a dreamer, the rest of her words do not make a great deal of sense…
She is curled up on an old faded rug by the fire, sipping a cup of steaming tea. There are no walls to this place, so the chill early morning breeze saunters through, stirring the dark curls framing her pale face, rustling the pages of the book. Once, twice, the wind snatches the feather quill from her hand, which takes to the wind as if remembering the thrill of flight– but each time she need only reach out her hand, and the quill flits obediently back.
She smiles softly as you enter and says not a word… but turns the book to you, so you can see what she has written…
The Banshee sits on a couch of plush purple velvet, studying three colour photographes. She peers closely at each one, like a vacationer searching for a clue to a mystery, or a spy knowing she must’ve missed… something…
At her feet lie a stack of useless photographes… over-exposed, under-exposed, or blurred in strange ways. Only three seem undistorted:
it rooted in the neighbor’s yard
and grew over the fence into ours.
It was so beautiful
so new and questing and vital the vines, so lush
so delicate and trembling the blooms in the sweet summer breeze.
Then they did something to it to kill it
something over there, across the fence.
Was it cut? I cannot see, and don’t know them well enough to ask.
So slowly it died.
Now it hangs there, shrivelled
but I cannot bear to pull it down
because it is still pretty, even in death
and reminds me of when it was beautiful.
Don’t trust another to grow your flowers.
I think I shall plant my own.
… then something falls into place, and this inner alignment just clicks. Love and chemistry, heart and spirit and mind. Click. And so the path is opened…
Looking up into the great old spiderwebbed tree, you can see that the house lights are ablaze. Every gas lamp pulses with flame, and every window shows candles dancing to music you cannot hear, not from down here. The great wooden treehouse might seem in peril of burning, were it not so thoroughly soaked by the rain.
The Lady of the house and of this land has moved from room to room sparking this light. A shift of the wind brings you the purifying scent of burning sage.
Your hand, holding the postcard, twitches in just the right way, and three photographes (surprisingly sharp, and colorized!) fall out from between the…
But wait. a postcard has only one page. How were these inside it?
In any case, they are all captioned on the back, in violet ink…
Here I am about to step off of my 19th(ish)century timeship and into the 23rd century.
The Lady moans miserably, curled up on the velvet couch. She steadies an icepack on her pale brow.
She holds a postcard out to you, and says very softly, her eyes closed,
Come in… come in. Here, I wrote this to you, on my music-raiding trip to the 23rd century…
Now I have Time Lag. lemme go back to sleep.
((thanks to Retropolis for the postcard :))
The Banshee paces, her shoes echoing hollowly across the intricately carved wood floor, her hair and skirts swishing darkly. All around her are walls of twisted wood, with the occasional little waterfall of green leafy vines. The light is strange: very bright, unnatural, shifting. If you hold very still, you can hear, under the electric hum of the console in the other room, the faint, slow creaking sound of the wood, indeed the tree that you are inside, growing.
She seems delighted and disturbed, moving from one wall – laying her hand on it – then moving to an opposite wall, and exclaiming as she looks up at how tall it’s got. You step off the old persian carpet, and your footfall is heard; she stiffens, then turns, with agonizing slowness, to look at you. For a moment, her eyes! but no, it must have been a reflection of the strange light.
She smiles, slow, and you wonder if perhaps you shouldn’t have wandered in here…
She writes her words in darkest purple ink, a little looping script that tends to sharpen into points when you least expect it. Holding her leatherbound journal over the tree stump that usually hides it, you feel more than a bit like a voyeur… but still, you read…
We are on New Gallifrey, gathered around the table in a circle, all of us wearing Arcalian Green. Though the table possesses no head, still all eyes are focused on the Lord Cardinal Oolon, called The Sputnik. He asks for introductions, and one by one, we attempt to condense the centuries we’ve lived and what they’ve done to us into a handful of words. We all speak, and then it comes to be my turn…
A peaceful morning cuppa…
Enjoying the Morning Aethernet o’er Irish Breakfast (with feyrie additives) tea
… is interruped by a shock! A discovery that The Press has found my private journal!
So shocked I nearly swallowed my new cog piercing!!
The Banshee stalks about, storming angrily! Hair and glances flung all round!
Who found the hiding place of my sekrit journal?! Now the press speaks of it! Scandalous.
Yeh! Did ~you~ tell them of the tree stump where I hide my journal?!
Holds up the aethernet to you, rustling the pages:
A terrible beast, like a giant malicious pepperpot, wanders aimlessly around the great marble hall, the sounds of its’ wheels echoing on the high ceiling. It makes no reaction as the tall pillar wheezes and grinds its’ way into existence in the center of the room. The young Lady steps out, looking lighthearted until she lays eyes on the metal beast. Her whole body startles at the sight, and, alarmed, she flings herself back behind the pillar. With comedic slowness, she peeks around the other side of the pillar, one long purple ringlet falling between her eyes.