Friday, January 25, 2013

THE CROWS FLY IN~~ The Vampire Revels 1/25/13

No one talks to 'King' Rafe, or addresses him in any way. They sublimate into the castle and are taken to suitable quarters by the night wraiths, the haunting beings spun from ashes and moonbeams. Most imagine them to be etherial extensions of the 'king,' but he doesn't say and they never do, so the whole thing is moot. Best not to look too closely during The Revels. That's not what they're all here for. 

They gave us quarters in the North Tower, the darkest spot. You see, the castle is shaped like a huge diamond, each corner occupying a different compass point. Best part is, no real windows. Just small, narrow slits originally constructed to accommodate archers. Smoked glass seals them now. And the beds...oh, you have to see the beds. Huge medieval fortresses brought over by the Normans. One slept in by The Conqueror, himself. All dark wood. 'Ebonized' I think they call it.  With gargoyles and allegorical allusions carved into the thick, lofty bedposts. Silk, quilted canopies, sent from a Chinese, court vampire seven hundred years ago, span the heights above firm, hand-stuffed, horse hair mattresses.  I can't tell how old they are. Still look pretty good. I know. I peeked under the sheets. No vampire sent them. They came from Williams-Sonoma.

An animated, preserved, headless corpse (female, I think) sat on a small slipper chair in the shadows, dressed in a dark, velvet gown. She was a harp player and regaled us with madrigals and mass songs plucked from the genuine, cat-gut strings of a large, free standing Celtic harp. Tomas remembered her from the old days... the really, really, really, really old days. I think she had her head back then. Fortunately, someone had seen fit to close the wound with coarse, black stitches. And I must say, the needle work was of a very high order. A large, walk-in fireplace held down the northernmost position. Jamb statues, filched from a Gothic cathedral, support a black, granite slab of a mantle, topped by the complete, articulated skeleton of a snarling wolf. Annie thought it beautiful. And I must say, her child-like, awe-struck face did reflect a certain predatory charm when viewed in the orange glow from the hearth.

Naturally, Tomas and Sarah slept there. The rest of us made do with smaller cells one floor below, each like a pie wedge sliced from the whole. The furnishings were similar, though. A bit scaled down, but still impressive. None had a headless musician. That part, I did not miss. 

Edith went around blessing the rooms. Pineys believe in that sort of thing. And if I'm going to be honest, I do too. So we said our good nights (dawn comes late this far north) and settled in for a deep, winter's nap, snug in our dark, and strangely commodious cocoons. There was a warm, glowing coal fire in a small, simple hearth across from the foot of my bed. That part I liked. So I burrowed under the luxurious tester (pulled up around my head) and drifted off. 

Was I frightened? A bit, though no one disturbed me but the ghosts....

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