TheStarsAreRight:Three Women, No Grave, One Fool

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Late Night Memorial, Andrew Scott[edit]

So tired. Bone weary. Must be close on 11pm, after a series of vaguely disturbing meetings with some of my best friends. Obviously they carry their own wounds. Too raw to share with others just yet. It’s not as if we…I…am ready to try and explain our…my… new Unitary Nature. Particularly when we…I.. have no clue what it means, and how I can go forward from here.

One thing I know/and know too well/ …It’s too damn quiet in here for my comfort. And no thanks to Doctor Fell.

And one more thing I must do before the day passes. All the preliminary reports, fragmentary and contradictory, place her last known location to that part of Uptown. I’m glad to have pared down my bodyguards, my Shadows to Prebtha and Cole - despite being born to different mothers on different continents, they are Brothers in a way: both quietly competent, and best of all: disinclined to ask too many questions about why the Boss is off on a fools errand so late. As we dodge the infrequent patrols (mostly National Guard troops from New Jersey), I take time to stop at several vacant flower shops. Likely, the Shadows think me mad. Looking for the correct flowers, in the best condition, and taking care to leave cash under the till at each shop. No looter, me. Despite the fact that someone has already empty the tills in the first two shops. At least no one had reason to actually steal the flowers. And rightly so : only a madman would think of flowers in an apocalypse.

The three of us quietly make our way Uptown. My best guess at the last place the lady in question lived on this Earth. As I scout around, I can see plenty of destruction, but no sign of her body, or even her clothes. The Wild Hunt. Was that her doing, or Usher, or Parkhurst? I have a hunch, but a person can change in the months that passed in the Shallow World, and the years in Seelie.

Looking around, I must again curse my Headblindness. My Powerself is too bruised to Scan- Active or Passive, for signs of Her and her Passage. No Indra’s Net. All I have to rely upon is my un-aided eyes, and sense of what happened here, and what she would do, where she might do it, where she MUST take her action. This corner here looks right: scant but readable evidence of softshod feet and horses in the vacant lot here. In my minds eye I can see her, astride her Mount (despite my knowing better, I can see her astride Brat, him unusually tidy and well behaved).

I glance at Prabtha, and whisper and point at the scant tracks: “Horses?” He nods. “Yes, very large ones. Very spirited. Oddly shod. “ I nod back and walk forward, then kneel on one knee. My Shadows seem to sense that this is a private madness, and simply take up watch while I do what I want to do. Need to do. Almost midnight. How appropriate.

Oh Holy Wisdom, I invite you into my mind, for your instruction and whatever Wisdom you deem proper and right to grant me. On the other hand, I am SoulSick, Headblind & Bruised of Structure and Mind, and you’ve pulled the crutches from a lame man, so while you can soddin’ tag along if you so desire. In my current condition, don’t think I’ll ever know if are standing, watching over my shoulder, or if you will learn even a smidgen from my Mad Foolishness. Certainly I can’t risk a Ritual for you at this moment. For now, a brief interlude between a Gentleman and a Lady who was once a girl, then a Woman, and Finally Queen of Her People.

Three Women, not a grave between them. One very unsuitable man, no matter Medea’s kind and hungry words. Well, I come prepared. To say goodbye to all of you. Before unfolding events steal all my attention.

Taking the White Roses, out my bag, I hold them to my heart. Hannah, my first love. We were so innocent then. What could our love have blossomed into, if Rullinov had not intervened like the cruelest villain in some Shakespearian Tragedy? Would you have loved me, broken and fragmented as I was even then? Could I have stayed in love with you forever? Would we have had Forever together given that your destiny was to be a Queen and mine has always been to be the Fool? A private smile at the memories, a last, tender kiss for the White Roses, goodbye to Hannah and those innocent Lovers. Then I lay them so gently upon the now worthy ground.

Taking the Pink Roses out of my bag, I raise them high into the Air to salute the fine woman Hannah became, in Medea. Why did you choose such a name for yourself, my dear? A woman wronged, oh yes! That you were. First by me…no, again the echo of Imp speaks up: my failure was simply being outmatched. I tried as hard as a callow young ex-soldier and fighter pilot could reasonably be expected to. In fact, I suspect I was more than a little obsessed trying to find you and rescue you. But simply not equipped to defeat Rullinov. But, yes, wronged by Henry Williams, sadly…I have no idea how your marriage to Theo went wrong, but…Fool that I am, I am quite ready to blame Theo for it. But you, my dear, were never a Fillicide. Not in you at all. You cared more for your Children than yourself. I wonder…was that Name what you feared you might do, and gave to yourself as a cautionary reminder? And what am I to read from that?

Between Medea, my dear, and what I had become…I was torn between a desire for you, the lost love you represented, and an addict’s hunger for Communion and Oblivion. Despite waltzing on that knife-edge every time we met, I found greater and greater depths of admiration for your mind and soul. Oh, I wanted you yes, but sadly for the possibility of us, I wanted Paige more. And I would always wonder if being with you said more about my weakness than your strength. Finally, some deep part of me would NOT take that chance, despite your myriad and manifest attractions. Pink Roses, for that odd mixture of hunger, admiration and even friendship. A brief kiss for the Pink Roses and Medea, raise them to the Air, and lay them gently down upon the too cold ground.

The Final Roses. Deep, blood, red. Mortal untrained blood, as some odd echo of the Imp of the Perverse reminds me. As I raise them up I think- not the Red Roses of my passion, but of hers. The Passion of her Christ-like sacrifice. Her final Act as The Queen of Air and Darkness… Not someone you could exactly be Lovers with. Not someone for a Friend, exactly. A Queen. Certainly difficult. In fact, damnably inconvenient up to the last moment of her existence. Leaving us to pick up the pieces and sort out her contradictory desires and dreams for her people. Are the Seelie to take their Rightful Place among the Children of Earth, or to forever Ride above it as the Wild Hunt? I shake my head ruefully. Spoken that way, it sounds like an announcer finishing out the last moments of a Hollywood serial. Return here next week for the thrilling conclusion of our story: Vampires, the musical! My soft laughter sounds a little unnerving even in my ears. My Shadows must think I’m mad. Well and good. They need to get used to that if they will spend any time around me in the future. I loved her, in Her way, and Her people as well. Even now. Bonds of promise and vows. Not because I am worthy, or wise, or even have the best idea of The Proper Way for Her People, but because I said I would. For Her. I will try. I kiss the Red Roses and the Queen. It is inevitable that they scratch my lip and draw a bit of blood, as if in tribute, as I raise them to the Darkness, and lay them on the cold, hard ground as I bow my head to my knee.

Goodbye, Ladies-Three-who-were-One. No grave for you. No proper Lovers. Likely many mourners in this wrecked city, and the devotions of a Fool. And three fine bunches of flowers, bought, paid for, and laid in a private memorial. I wish I had known you all a bit better. In your own ways, I have The Three to thank for where I am. And for that Gift, I find myself oddly thankful. Now it only remains to make my own Gift in return. As I wait for some moments, tears that I never expected have come to my eyes, dropping among the Roses. Then, I rise to my feet, dry my eyes with her handkerchief - Her Favor long kept - collect my private Shadows, and return to a hard bed and sleep. I don’t think I am done thinking about her, but for the moment, this is all the mourning I can afford.

As we depart… some strange correspondence teases my mind. Something about constructing one’s Personea from reflections from others. Was that how it works for some? For Nightsiders? For Fae. For Seelie? For me? Was that what she meant back before The Court? Bears some thinking about, and me stuck without anyone to delegate the task to, inside my empty head. Our soft footsteps brush the ground from time to time as we make our way back, keeping time with my thoughts.