The Watery Tart


delia2_icon.gif nicole_icon.gif

Scene Title The Watery Tart
Synopsis Every night she sings for the love of a man who never hears, this time she's found by the most unlikely young woman.
Date November 27, 2010

The Nymph's Glade

The full moon lies high in the sky, dusting the world with a soft white light. From the top of the soft rise of ground, a young redhead appears. The twinkling of the pond's waves invite her closer though the artfully placed statues surrounding the water fill her with a sense of dread. Each one of a man, all in different poses depicting terror. She's heard nothing about this enchanted place, but even the nightingales don't sing here.

Underfoot, the soft woolly thyme pads her footsteps to silence, her approach to the glade missed by any wildlife that might lurk nearby. The air is alight with a different sort of song, the sweet notes of the water nymph that beckons weary travelers to her bosom echoes across the land. Though she is but a young woman, Delia approaches, wanting to see more of the temptress that tugs at the hearts of man.

Night blooming jasmine grows alongside spiky clumps of ornamental fescue, providing a beautiful yet dangerous setting, much like the owner of the pond herself. As the young woman rounds a scented lilac bush, she spies the woman in the water. Sitting on a long flat stone, the brunette's elfin features are pointed up at the sky as she calls out to whomever might hear in song. Her beautiful voice drawing the redhead ever closer, she's never been able to carry a tune herself and has always marveled at those who are able. This instance, no matter how dangerous it might be, is no different. The woman of the water waits for those who would come near; a duplicitous creature who is alternately sweet as the nectar of gods and vile as the most bitter of spoiled wines.

"What's this?" The elfin creature cants her head slowly, lids lifting so she can settle her gaze on Delia's approach. "I do not get many women here." The nymph smiles and shifts upon her stone, a dress - either the same shiver-inducing watery blue-green of her skin, or else soaked through to be invisible against the pallor of her body - tangles around her legs as she slides them to one side. Nicole sits up to get a better look at her visitor.

Rather than the forbidden colour of blue, Nicole's eyes are a deep green, like peridot, as are the streaks through the waist length chocolate brown hair that cascades over her form, perfectly straight. "Have you come to keep my company? I am ever so lonely."

As if on cue, a beam of moonlight cuts across the frozen face of a man that could have been made of smooth, alabaster marble, than the rough grey stone his horrified features seem to be chiseled from. Moss grows around his feet, and up his calves nearly to his knees. That particular statue has been there for some time. "Did you enjoy my song? I sing it for the one I love, hoping it will lead him to me," Nicole explains from her perch. "Come, my dear. Sit with me." She pats a space on the smooth rock's surface, smiling as invitingly as she can manage.

Delia moves her hand quickly from the arm of the statue as it's suddenly illuminated. After giving it a terrified look, she turns to offer a wane smile to the woman on the rock and steps out from the soft bed of thyme toward the water. Her dress is made of pure white cotton that billows in the soft breeze, hugging her figure in some places while expanding her shape in others. On its own, it's a pretty thing, were it not worn and stained from overuse.

When she sets foot onto the water, she is surprised to find that she doesn't sink in. Rather, it is as if someone had laid a foundation of clear glass under her feet as she walks across the surface. Tiny ripples form in her wake, the prints glittering like diamonds in the moonlight dissipate quickly until the glassy surface is once again free of any marring save the ripples caused by the wind.

Climbing up onto the rock, the young redhead lowers herself down, resting on one thigh with her long legs tucked underneath her. "You're a really good singer," she says quietly, her words not as well chosen or as flowery as the nymph beside her. Almost as an afterthought, she twists to pull the roll of fur off her back, setting it down beside her. As it is laid down heavily, a few of its contents jingle and clank against something fairly weighty and metallic within the fur's confines.

Nicole's smile widens, almost too much to be wholly natural. Too much for comfort. Rows of perfect, pearly white teeth seem to glint themselves in the moonlight like the reflection of that perfect pale sky orb in the water surrounding them. One hand reaches out first to brush fingers over the fur Delia has laid out, and then to rake though her fiery curls fondly.

"Beautiful girl," she murmurs. "It has been so very, very long since one like you has sat at my side. And have been so alone. So very, very alone." Her smile is kinder now, more human, despite Nicole's inhuman appearance.

"Thank you, my dear, for your kind words." Green gaze sweeps out to the starless sky, but watching a fixture in the distance glittering nonetheless. "Every night, I sing the very same song, and I hope that he will come and find me, as so many others have before, but he never leaves his home to join me." Nicole looks as though she may cry when her gaze settles back on Delia. "I am so glad for your company. You will stay with me for a while, won't you?"

The kind words elicit a pale pink blush from the young woman, her shoulders hunching a little self consciously from the compliments. Without thought, Delia's hand moves protectively over the fur pack, gripping it lightly at its open and and causing a lump that reveals a gleaming hilt encrusted with gemstones. "No, I'm not pretty," she utters shyly. Compared to the temptress on the rock, she is but a pale shadow of a woman.

Following the nymph's eyes, the young woman tilts her head at the glittering monument in the distance, instantly recognizing it. Her eyes, a bright hue of forbidden blue peer at the gorgeous woman for a while before she bites her lower lip softly. Almost as though she's uncertain of what to say. "I'll stay for as long as I can…" An honest answer.

"Oh, what have we here?" The nymph's hands close around the hilt of the sword, but she makes no move to remove it from the pack just yet. "May I see it? I have never seen work so exquisite before. I should like to inspect it closer." Nicole's dark green eyes are alight with curiosity, they almost sparkle like the myriad of gemstones set into the hilt of the sword she wishes to view.

"I assure you," she muses, "I have no need for such a weapon myself. You will have it back." Her free hand comes up and Nicole brushes the backs of her fingers across Delia's moon pale cheek. Her breath catches in her throat. "Your skin is so beautiful. You almost shimmer beneath our moon. And your hair glows as an ember. Such an exotic beauty. And your eyes. I have not seen eyes that colour since…" Her head swivels quickly, looking away as she's mentioned something forbidden as the colour itself.

"The sword," Nicole entreats again. "May I please see it?"

Slipping her hand into the pack, she carefully moves the other woman's hand back a bit on the hilt by gripping just underneath it. Drawing out the weapon, the young redhead cradles it possessively with one hand at its base and the other balancing the blade with the flats of her fingers. The sword seems to take on a shine of its very own underneath the moonlight and casts a light against the redhead's pale skin.

"It was a gift," she utters quietly, as though her impertinence in refusing the nymph's desire to hold it is outweighed by the explanation given. "For protection, because the roads are dangerous to travelers."

The gasp that escapes the kelp green lips of the nymph is nothing short of astonished. "Exquisite!" she declares, reaching out to trace one finger over the flat of the blade, while the other hand dances over the stones set in the hilt, as if counting them. "Why," Nicole realises breathlessly, "that's the King of All's sword!" Her eyes seem to flash, seem to transition momentarily from that deep shade of the peridot to something more like the moonlit effulgence of polished jade.

"He gave this to you?" Nicole asks, her voice having pitched up some. "You must be a very lucky girl." Her fascination with the sword almost wanes entirely until she finds the one precious stone she did not expect to find on a sword she seems to know so well. "What is this?" Her query almost imperious this time, pale fingers caressing the large pearl set in the handle like a fortune teller with a crystal ball.

Looking down at the sword, the young redhead smiles a little as her eyes pour over its finest details. "Yeah, he.. He gave it to me when I brought him that. It's the eye of the Harbinger." Pulling the sword back a little, she glances to her pack and raises her eyebrows in question. "I'm going to put it back now? I don't want to lose it…" Too many people have been asking to touch and feel and hold the sword, some even to possess it. Delia's nerves when it comes to the valuable weapon have worn a little thin.

She doesn't pull it completely away just yet, awaiting the permission of the nymph before tucking it back into its confines. "He… he gave me the sword to help me find my body." She emits gently, "I got lost and this is to protect myself."

The nymph's hands withdraw, coming up in a palms-outward motion to show she has little intent of taking the weapon for herself. "The eye of the Harbinger," she repeats. "You must be very wily to have secured that prize, my dear." Nicole's gaze sweeps Delia up and down again, reassessing her. "Perhaps I initially misjudged you. I thought you were just something pretty, but you really are something quite extraordinary, aren't you?"

Once the sword has been replaced, Nicole reaches out to instead take one of Delia's fiery curls between her long fingers, feeling its texture and softness. "You really are a very lucky girl to have attracted the King's attention so. Very, very lucky. Though I suppose it should be little wonder." Again, her eyes seem to flash a mite brighter.

"But you must be so weary from your journey, you pretty little thing." The lock of hair is released and Nicole smiles kindly. "You should stay. And rest." She shifts in her recline so she can play her fingers over the surface of the water, creating ripples that make a moving tapestry of reflection and moonlight. "Tell me more of your quest, sweetling."

"I have to find the shadow monster, to tell him lies…I think. I don't know anymore, everything is so confusing now." The offer of rest has the young woman nodding and laying down on the rock beside the nymph, curling her body around the fur pack protectively. Even though dark circles ring underneath her eyes, they don't close, unable to stay down save short blinks. "I need to find my body…" she murmurs softly, before I lose myself.

Her head tilts up to look at the gorgeous woman and her eyebrows furrow together in a worried expression. "Why doesn't he come for you?" The gentle question is toned with innocence, as though she couldn't imagine the King refusing the siren call of the maiden in the glade. "I don't understand, you're so perfect. Nothing like me."

Nicole smile becomes something frostier. "You are so young. Of course, you do not understand." Can this creature, this woman, be so much older than her visitor? While she still holds the beauty of youth, even Delia, young as she is, can see that the nymph is much older than her physical appearance suggests. "You see, I love the King of All. Very much. And I sing to him every night, and send him tokens of my affection. But love…" The smile fades.

"Love belongs to desire. And desire is always cruel." Blazing green eyes narrow on the reflection of the glittering structure on the horizon. An impossible angle to capture, and yet there it is. "The King does not love. He appreciates his trinkets, his surroundings, his finery. But he does not love." Though when she says it, each time it sounds as though there should be a silent me to round out the statement.

He does not love me.

"Many others have come for me, of course." Nicole's gaze comes up to the statues in her garden. "Each one promising love and affection. Some even wealth. But they all end up the same. The men, with their hearts like stone." The beautiful nymph turns her eyes and her smile back to the water, but this time she seems to be looking at something beneath the surface. "The women like fish."

"I—.. I think he does love." The redhead argues halfheartedly, she's too weary to put up too much of a fight. The siren only making her more tired with the brushes to her hair and the musical words as though singing a lullaby. Pushing herself up from her prone position, the young woman crawls to the edge of the rock and peers into the water.

Beneath the glittering water, when Delia stares hard past the reflection of moonlight, countless young women are perfectly preserved beneath the surface. They look peaceful, tangles of hair of all shades gently flowing this way and that with the movement of the water. They look posed like dolls, with the arms hanging at their sides, but their wrists turned so their palms are parallel with the bed of the lake. Their eyes are closed, as though they were only sleeping. Perhaps they are.

"My lovelies," the nymph purrs. "They promised me they would never leave me." And they never will.

Suddenly, one young woman's eyes open widely, the same incorrect shade of green as the King's, her hair a mess of blonde curls. She reaches her hand up toward Delia, still a good few feet to deep below the surface to reach her without the young girl submerging herself as well. Her mouth opens in a soundless scream of terror.

"You wouldn't care to join the girls, would you?" Perhaps it is fitting that Nicole would echo her love's own query. But before Delia can panic, or stammer a negative response, the nymph is guiding her into a sitting position, away from the water. "No, of course not. You have a much, much brighter future ahead of you. You will do great things. The King has much faith in you to give you that token of his favour." As much as a magnificent sword is a mere token.

Perhaps it is, where the King of All is concerned.

"I believe I can help you," Nicole murmurs sweetly. The glow of her eyes is constant now, and fixed upon the forbidden colour of Delia's. "There is a tower, not so terribly far from here. Into the west." She points in a direction that Delia is sure cannot be west, but the nymph seems so sure of herself. "There slumbers a maiden with hair like a wildfire, and skin like Artemis herself."

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