« on: April 23, 2010, 12:55:01 am »
Within the head of the walking clockwork citadel fashioned in the duplicate likeness of man, armed with the visage of Richard Nixon, the last remnants of the worlds gentry dressed in finest finery recline in luxury. Sipping cocktails and spirits they recount tales of their conquests before they succeeded in bringing about the end of the world.
The atrocity lurches as it climbs the sheer face of a cliff, hand over hand, shoulders swaying with each movement, as above in blackened clouds so below the charred remains of the sea bed now haunted by lonesome wisps of vapour.
It is Sophia Sapphire's turn to regale her fellowship with a tale before drunken stupor takes grip and one by one beds beckon to all attending.
"Allow me to set the scene if you will, for to break the ice on this story too quickly, oh dear, the very shock to your hearts my darlings would shame the cold water below.
For it is on water that my tale is set, some years ago, sailing somewhere in between nowhere in particular and fondly remembered New York but the details are not important, a limbo in blue would be as adequate for on the open sea without sight of land your only points reference consist of the mood of the sea and the ship itself. Upon this ship of nearly three thousand souls, two closely guarded secrets were hidden, all but lost I am their sole keeper.
The first I share with you now, though I fear that it will shock you to your core. It is that I, Sophia Sapphire who was once amongst the fairest and most beautiful of them all, was more importantly.... a naive and tender young girl. This is a recount of a secret pleasure kept hidden until now, I share with you my sunken treasure; The story of my first and only love."
"Sophia Sapphire: The sleaze of the seven seas" Interjected Rex Mundy followed by a camarilla chorus of laughter.
"Now Rex, it is rude to interrupt a lady such as myself right at the beginning of her story"
"A Love story? Sophia you married half the worlds most powerful men and left them broken, and you had the other half tied around your little finger. Only one love? Your conquests are legendary, my own brother and my father drew blood over you."
"A reminder that you were the one that got away? Its such a shame I never got to be Mrs Mundy, I'd imagine it to be quite a thrill.
No, you've got me all wrong Rex, I did indeed mean Love, in all its fragile complicated glory, not sordid tales of sex or some pretty male bauble to string along. Debauchery can of course have its own charms too Rex, every persons bedroom manner is a snowflake; no two alike, your father had an incredible bedroom manner. No, this was something far more precious then that; I had love once upon a time. The word has weight, not to be tossed around casually.
Perhaps that concept is too much for you to take all at once so I'll stick to a setting you will be more familiar with.
A man walks into a bar, finds the girl of his dreams and says "Can I buy you a drink?", she says "Sure thing sugar".
She takes a drag of her cigarette looks him up and down studying him; dusty black hair, slightly on the gaunt side, she asks "what do you do?"
He gives her a vacant fleeting smile and responds "I'm a magician, I make people disappear, Its a smoke and mirrors deal"
"Oh dear that trite old scene, so are you here for business or pleasure?"
"I've always had trouble distinguishing between the two, it's all just one big game on some level, don't you agree?", she sits silently, inscrutable. He gestures and the barman pours the pair shots in small frosted glasses.
"No, I find that notion appalling, killing for pleasure makes you a crass thug. So what high act of legerdemain am I to expect, a knife in the dark?"
"I have an unfair advantage here Ms Sapphire I must confess I know a great deal about you while you may not have been aware of my existence before tonight, My name is Tiresias Winter, pleased to meet you."
"Let me think for a moment... I know you graduated with top marks from Villia Pierrefeu and from Westminster before that but not without a string controversies attached to your record. Three of your tutors were forced to resign due to undisclosed misconduct, you had quite a taste for the older gents, they should have known better then to dally with a student, or perhaps you pressured them until they relented, putting pressure seems to be something you have a knack for. A further two reported bullying and as physical threats placed upon them by your late fathers retainers in the event that they did not give you a high grade and positive character reference. Both allegations were of course dismissed as slander.
From my own investigations I discovered certain links to at least three separate art thefts that occurred during your three separate summer breaks in France.
A year ago a mutual friend we share who offered you a unique employment opportunity representing their interests. Similarly I represent the vested interests of my client. From what I've found out so far is that you seem to be a woman of incredible strength of will who always gets what she wants so I hope my charge which for the moment is simply to pass on a message is not lost on you; "Walk away, enjoy the remainder of this trip, have some drinks and take in the nightlife, but keep out of matters that don't concern you, or it becomes me unfortunate duty to ensure you go for a cool dip off the side of the ship and don't come back."
The girl, that is to say, yours truly, for a second, just one second was taken aback, as we all know back then it was about playing the subtle game, any implication was always between the lines, I wasn't expecting such a low, vulgar threat here of all places." Sophia dispatched another martini and ran her finger around the rim of the glass. Doktor James Saturday took this repose to reflect:
"Tiresias was always like that, he never had much time for politics or diplomacy, I'd say everyone here has at least one unpleasant experience with him. So what exactly were you doing on this ship Sophia?"
Sophia placed the glass down on the floor beside the chaise longue she was stretched out across. In a most discreet motion a waiter swiftly removed and replaced the glasses contents. Sipping at it Sophia responds
"I will get to that, eventually, at my leisure, perhaps, but that is not the point James, don't forget that this story is a love story"
"You did NOT fall for Winter! The great black widow Sophia Sapphire brought low by a common thug." Rex scoffed, arms crossed, leaning up against mahogany bannister that skirted the edge of the lounge.
"While he wasn't without a certain charm, the dark and smouldering middle eastern looks that can be so perilous for naive girls certainly weren't lost on me, there was something more to him though, he seemed incredibly vulnerable and lost despite his bravado. But did I love him?...."
"It wasn't until a multitude of years later that I ever got the full story on him, one of the bastard sons of Hassan i Sabba, trained from an early age to be ruthless bloodhounds employing the most deadly training and dark arts, once speaking to one they could track your emotional scent from across a city. Tiresias was handpicked for his outstanding accomplishments to execute only the missions of highest importance by his employer"
He had irritated me with such a crass and tacky attempt at describing me, a mistake all men seem to make; Women are not to be analysed, we are to be experienced, our actions can't just be summarised in such a bland means as men seem do for each other all the time.
"That's a very big assumption to make Mr. Winter, Firstly that you have the slightest hope of overpowering me without getting a bullet between the eyes and secondly that my intentions are anything but honourable, is it impossible to see a lady enjoying herself without the company of a man, must she have some ulterior motive for being there? For your information, I never made any of my teachers do anything they didn't want to do, I might have encouraged one or two of their advances but that is perfectly normal for a girl that age, if any pressures were placed upon them it was without my influence, it was simply the machinations of my father interfering where he wasn't wanted."
He gestured towards a diamond Trifari bracelet around my arm.
"I'm glad to see the late Maria Romanov's trinkets seeing glamour and nightlife once again, a much better place for them then a museum.