Queens & Shadows
Writing commentary on mobile, on vacation, apologies if some things are more sloppy.
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Etore has mixed experience dealing with high level royalty. What she does have its experience dealing with those she might be prepared to call peers. The Queen obliges her manners more than she gets it right, but over all there is a hard to place semblance of sense to the tone of the interaction.
The Queen has, as she passes over, opted to recognize Etore, and wager she may be a better person to have on the throne than her uncle. This far from conventionaly puts them in any comperable social footing. It’s hard to place what relative social strata they are occupying. A princess, heir apparent denied her throne, implying her intent to take it, and all that implies. The world hasn’t had a potential flash point figure like her in centuries. The Council sealed claims for good reason.
The Queen on the other side is a seasoned veteran of rule, and so reads Etore’s type, and so long as it is a private meeting, meets her on her terms. This manner in public would go over less well, and Etore is not daft, and knows this.
The two are testing each other throughout.
The Queen does become the voice of my own frustration with conventional and chosen poetic license. Shadow has become a very overloaded term. People, places, and powers, and now a thing pulling Selene’s strings. This was indeed one of the “puppets” of recent title, but did not find a place, so Etore becomes the vehicle.
Etore has also started playing the ‘sane woman in a mad world” role rather deftly. “I can work with chaos,’ can you? It’s truthfully a humble brag she’s grown fond of, that she can handle the company she keeps. Particularly since she is not always so sure she can, and tipps her hand a bit to that in the closing.
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I had originally imagined some debate, or other shenanigans around deciding who would confirm Etore’s observations. As thing worked out Kat has the debate with herself, and does it.
I can’t attest exactly when the shadow dragon came to be in my imaginings. Yet I recall setting some precedent for what it might represent. A glimpse back in Mordove of vast intricate structures in aura.
This is by far the most seemingly benign creepy spirit thing we have yet met. Full of riddles, and perhaps implied schemes, it’s almost ‘old master’ manner is I think a bit disarming in spite of appeances. Of course even the assurances of behavior may be thin.
As Etore points out, it’s getting handsy again. I think perhaps questioning the Queen’s judgement in being left alone would have been wise, but that she seemed in control enough to step back, may have given some possibly misguided sense of confidence. As also the general understanding, beyond what Selene has become, there is scarce evidence you can simply control someone. Only manipulate.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about prosaic riddles in “true speach” (I loosely call it.) On a level it’s kind of fun that even such pure utterances of understanding become “questions” in the voice of this creature.
It’s also amusing and disturbing to think of a ‘dragon playing with little dolls’ as it were. When they are people…
Kat’s impertinent question leaps straight to the recurring theme of Rhaea being in love with herself (since who else – if all is her mirror – is there for her to be?) Selene’s answer demonstrates a certain detachment still, a self beyond the forces behind her. It’s behavior is also tempered in a way we haven’t seen. So, almost more frightening, are we sure which is the puppet?
I’m not sure I establish well enough what was the intent behind the but about chess. Clearly it was a move meant to evoke a reaction, but it got a different one than intended, and that might have gone unnoticed. Like mistaking one piece in the game for another.
Some other things on my mind for a while get some mention, but we’ll hear about that more soon.
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There are only a few thing I want to call out presently in Kat and Liora’s little… argument?
One is Kat’s quote about worms and roots that I lost my mind trying to place either as something I’ve written before, or appropriated from some unknown source. I came up blank on both counts. It’s either derived in the moment from my own past writings, or something obscure I couldn’t identify. Might even occur in this world and I just can’t find it.
A bit bothersome, but Kat had already expressed her ambivalence on the origin before mine set in.
The other issue is I’m unsure I’ve well bridged or placed this interaction with the new context about Selene, but I don’t see Kat mentioning this to Liora which would only serve to insight trouble without good cause.
I also think I need to replace a “, and” with a “. Just” to make one line carry some more punch as it did in my head when I first wrote it.
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Kat’s closing scene has proven another interesting use case of the umdetailed love scene, where what is going on in the background of dialogue and emotion is inferred, but the conversation supported still gets what it needs out of circumstances. Without becoming lost or mired in them.
Kat is clearly struggling with a lot in reframing of what she wants, that has never changed, but a certain sense of duty, or wrongness has intruded on old comfortable patterns that she still wants to embrace. Competing rights are emotionally troublesome, and toxic in emotional bare circumstances.
In many ways who Kat is with is ideal for having such struggles. We’ve met so many more Sashas, Elises, and Estaes – the domineering side of this powerful confident female sexuality – it was nice to delve into the nurturing aspect of the Red Women, and their role in society that goes so much more unnoticed, because it keeps things civil and quiet, not noisy. Like good UX goes unnoticed.
As implied this is the path Kat has walked in a round about way. Appearances aside so much of her life has truly been spent beging not what society wanted or needed her to be, but what specific others did. Not without her own wants in the equation but navigating between them.
They all didn’t want to own her, but were either too selfish, or selfless about it. Celia begged her to try to find comfort because she believed this was a higher form of love. Charles wanted a conquest, and got a contest. Mathew felt beneath her, and sought someone ‘more appropriate.’ Maeren was a Red Woman by nature with no title or training. So on and so forth.
Adria was different. She broke Katrisha’s heart in a new way. She made her walk away. Adria would gladly own her, and all at once selflessly (or selfishly?) become her. Which again brings us back to shadows, and mirrors.
Indeed even the Red Women echo or are echoed by other powers in play. Some of what we hear here represent what the Saou were, and how the Assassins began, or are. A social construct in different moral faces, and with drastically more or less social power.