As much as I love the city, for it is home, and all that it offers in the way of experiences, never again was I to be content with my containment within its borders. After that first experience of mine, where I truly saw the stars in all their glory, I knew I needed more than what the city could offer me. I grew up with my mother's stories of the Welsh countryside. Many a night, I flew on swift wings, accompanying my mum on her treck across fields of Heather and Gorse as she made her way out across the Scottish Highlands. It's one of my favourite stories.
She passed away, my mum, whilst I was still quite young. I don't remember much of her; certainly not the colour of her eyes or anything so trivial. What I do recall is the rolling cadence of her voice as she told me tale after tale on cold winters nights. For me, gazing up at the stars is, alongside the telling of my own tales, my way to remember her. I long, one day, to have such a relationship with a daughter of my own.
With the city constantly ablaze, I grew up unable to see much of the stars. I was nought but a wee thing the first time my mum took me out of the city; we'd driven for hours, she and I, to what I'd thought then to be the edge of the world.
We'd picnicked in a field, bundled up for warmth, and she began to tell me the most fascinating of tales. She told me of Solis, the all-powerful sun, who began his pursuit of Luna, the sweet moon. As the skies ran from blue to pink to red, colours melding together, she told me that Solis, as he has done for centuries now, writes his love in colour for the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
Now, before my very eyes, my mothers' story has come to life! I looked towards the skies with awe. The stars, countless pearls and gems, peek out scattered across the skies; glittering gifts to the beautiful, the kind, Luna. She pointed then, my mother, to the brightest of stars in the sky; Canicula. She told me the tale of Icaria and his most loyal dog, Sirius, who was changed into a star.
At my loneliest hour, she'd said, I should look towards Sirius, and that this loyal companion, a friend to me, would lead me towards all that is good, and just, and light. I would be led from the darkness and all that is war. [War; wahr- Scot. and North England. Worse.]
It is my firm belief that the Thesaurus is the greatest book ever writ.
I have an addiction to words that have gone out of fashion alongside gas lamps and Edwardian skirts. There is just something so beautiful about the English language as it was in days of old.
Such beautiful words, don’t you think?
I’m rather the fan of circumlocutive speech and have a reputation for near extreme verbosity. I am given to pleonasmic tautologies, and often utilise periphrasis in order to extol the polysyllabic, nearly extinct, adjectives that I so adore.
Challenge 3 EXCERPT
Here is a small excerpt to my newest project. Perhaps comments will help get my creative juices flowing again. Please help.
At the foot of the Nyrie Vale lies a prosperous, quintessential village by the name of Greenflower, aptly named, passers-by would say, for the village, come spring, was found to be abundant in resplendent flora and greenery. They live in peace and harmony here, the people of Greenflower, enjoying the flowing river, the forest, and the simplicity that a calm environment brings to their lifestyle. Things were not always this wondrous; however, as the surrounding lands that makes up the Kingdom of Aynor, ruled by King Loren Matheus, and Elora, his Queen, were plagued by Zelya, an evil an enchantress and her beasts most foul.
If there is one name that every man, woman, and child across the Kingdom of Aynor, knows, it is that of Theophilius Zin, the Kings favoured knight. For many, he is on par with the heroes of yore, a knight standing against evil and injustice. Alongside his brother Cyrillus Zin, Theophilius was the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, having fought valiantly against all manner of Zelya's vile foes.
It was summer when the brothers Zin, leaving the salubrious village of Greenflower, set out across the vale, following alongside the River Keld, their destination lying through and to the east of the Forest of Elek. They travelled on swift feet through the greenwood, golden sunlight warming the air as it filtered lazily through the forest in leaf, casting dappled shadows upon the earthen ground.
Over a small hill, lying just beyond the final copse of trees, nestled in the valley, lay the neighbouring village, Bluefield, sister village to Greenflower. Theophilius and Cyrillus had visited Bluefield many a time, partaking in boyish excursions of a day or a week, chasing skirts and making merry. As the weak moonlight filtered through the trees, the ever darkening sky chasing the grass into shadow at the coming of the dusk, the two brother's were stopped in their tracks at the sight that greeted them now.
I haven't been active much. A month gone by since my last post. I have been working near every day, and have written very little. I have worked sporadically on my next project, only now hitting 2k words, after working on this for a month. Mostly I sit and stare at a blank screen willing the words to come to me.
Today I write, words flowing from myfingers so easily. I hope I can keep this rhythm up and finish soon.
So I met this bloke yesterday whilst coming into work. I still look cute, as I haven’t put on my uniform yet, and thank goodness for that!
We’re standing outside, this bloke and I, having a good old-fashioned chin wag about how the weather’s been toying with us all day. Sun one moment, rain the next, ya know?
We’re waffling on, enjoying that last bit of sunlight that has come out, not really paying attention to much around us, when this bird comes up to us in a rage.
I’ve got my hand on his arm, standing fairly close as I’m peering at his phone to make certain he’s keyed in my number correctly, he had.
She pushes me over, this woman, and thank heavens I didn’t fall onto the pavement and break something, as that lovely bloke had gone and caught me.
He shoots her a nasty glare, while she’s off blathering on about something I am not inclined to listen to.
He says to her, “Oh go on and quit your whingeing, you deluded bint! I am not your bleedin’ boyfriend.” He goes on with a glower to say, “I’d never date a bloody airheaded Barbie like you!”
He turns to me and apologises for her erratic behaviour. She’s his mate’s kid sister. Say’s he’d understand if I didn’t want to talk to him after this display, though he’d quite like it if I’d go to dinner with him.
I said yes, naturally.
Today I tried on a dab of MAC. The foundation she chose matched my skin well, I thought, though because it was only a small patch that I had to work with, it was difficult for me to discern much about their product. The lady helping me flat out refused to do my full face unless I purchased something. Assinine.
Estee Lauder was fabulous. The woman who has helped me today has helped me in the past. She gave me a weeks worth of foundation to try on. It is called Cool Bone. I quite liked it. It covered well and felt light weight, though wasa touch heavier than the one at Chanel.
I went to Bobbi Brown next for a match that worked well enough to match my skin tone, though the lady who applied it missed my nose entirely. Quite unfortunate, really. My issue with what she chose for me is that I have dry skin and she went with a powder foundation which usually ends up irritating my skin. I'll probably avoid Bobbi Brown for a while yet. The shade she chose was Porcelain 155.
After that I ended up going to Lancôme, where we took off all the foundation from Bobbi Brown and I got a full face makeover in their Renergie Lift 140 Porcelain 20C. This foundation is on par with the beautiful Beige Rose from Chanel, I thought. It's a light liquid foundation and the coverage is just perfect. She also used this marvelous hydrating toner-serum and their absolute oil to further moisturise my skin. She completed the look with their blusher called Miel Glace and a highlighter.
Overall, I find myself impressed with the service and product quality at Lancôme and Estee Lauder. They along with Chanel make up my top three contenders.
The lippie I am wearing today is Backtalk by Urban Decay, and my eyes are done with theTwinkle Pop Cream eyeshadow Stick in On the Verge by Marc Jacobs.
On the Hunt
I am on the hunt for a new foundation.
Yesterday I went to the Chanel counter and wore their No. 12 Beige Rose for the day. It looked completely flawless and felt ultra light weight. Ihad honestly forgotten that I had it on. I quite liked it. According to the bloke at the counter, I would be able to wear their No. 10 Beige as well, for a porcelain doll look.
Today I will be trying out Marc Jacobs. I have fallen in love with their cream shadow stick from their Twinkle Pop range. My favourite is On The Verge, which is described on their website as being an "Ice Grape Shimmer." To me it looks like a paler, subtler rose gold colour, which I abdolutely adore. It has fantastic all day wear to boot! I hope the foundation performs just as well.
I will be trying out Dior the day after that. Anyone who knows me, is aware that I am a collector of perfumes. Poison Girl by Dior is one of my favourites. I have recently branched out into their makeup line, and have tried out their cream eyeshadow pots. I have to say, I really am impressed. I much prefer creams to powders, as they last so much longer and I don't have to work about any powder falling into my eyes. The staying power for these cream shadows is truly top notch, lasting throughout the day without the need for a touch up.
My favourites in the Dior line include:
COLOUR: 661 Météore - A lovely coppery bronze.
COLOUR: 621 Mirror - A gorgeous shimmering gold.
COLOUR: 821 Chimére - A charming rose gold.
COLOUR: 271 Reveuse - A beautifully daring blue.
I shall be making my way down the line to MAC, Lancôme, NARS, and Este Lauder.
Did I miss any?
Based on what I have seen so far, It truly looks as if I will have my work cut out for me when it comes time to choose. If you have any recommendatins, do let me know.
Prompt: You live in a world where each lie creates a scar on the liar’s body. The bigger the lie, the deeper and larger the mark. One day, you meet someone that only has one scar; it is the biggest one you have ever seen.
One fine June morning, England wakes up to a rapture-blue sky. It is high and bright, a continuum of delight that salves both spirit and soul. With such pleasant weather, the people of London find themselves heading out-of-doors in droves, greedily basking in the suns warm rays.
Summer can be slow to arrive in London, but once it gets here, the city, as do many of its restaurants, bursts into bloom, as doors to their gardens, orangeries and plant-filled rooftop terraces are thrown open. It was in the Coppa Club, a botanical eatery situated on the lower Thames, that Theodore Nott found himself enjoying the delightful views of the city skyline and river, framed by overhanging wisteria and roses, as he took his lunch: kiln smoked salmon on sourdough paired with a side of salted Marcona almonds and a Camomile teapot for one.
He glances at the thermometer by the door that connects the terrace with the restaurant proper, and finds it to read 23°C, perfect for summertime London. It is as he is checking the weather, that he took notice of the young beauty that had entered the botanical solarium, lead by one of the restaurants many faceless wait-staff. He had kept a sly eye on her as he sipped his tea. The waiter left, only to return with a crystal carafe, boasting an etched floral pattern, of pink lemonade and a glass for one.
So she was taking lunch alone.
Her lips touched the edge of a glass of pink lemonade, leaving behind an imprint of the rose coloured lippy she wore, and as he watched her, she threw her head back in a display of contented bliss. His eyes trailed over the lace sundress she wore, the brilliant white contrasting with her tanned skin. She had freckles all down the sun-kissed skin of her arms, akin, he thought, to the myriad of stars in the sky. With her blonde hair pulled back in a perfectly planned display of disarray, and her blue eyes shining with innocuous joie de vivre, she was, in this moment incredibly beautiful.
He sat observing her through to the end of his lunch hour. He returned the next day, and the day after that to take lunch at the Coppa Club in hopes of seeing her. He was to spend all his tenner’s it seemed, until he saw her again.
The day he saw her next, he lunched on tomato Bruschetta with olive oil and prosciutto, paired with a Ceylon teapot for one. He ate this time in the restaurant proper, as the impending shower left even the climate controlled solarium feeling unpleasantly warm and oppressively humid.
An amethyst-purple tint invades the late summer skies, and the solarium with its wisteria and rose canopy, is darkened to a deep violaceous colour that seeps through the windows, basking the restaurant an amaranthine glow. A tinkling sound reaches his ears as the first pearls of rain drop onto the pavement. The sound reminds him of the glassy clinking of a champagne flute, lilting and clear. The mesmeric beauty of its beat is heart-swelling.
He pauses mid bite, as a flash of yellow, so vivid and thoroughly out of place in the gloom-grey of the London shower, catches his eye. Through the sheer curtain of rain he sees the woman he had been waiting for. Lunch abandoned, he throws a tenner and a fiver down on the table, far more than the meal is worth, and runs out into the rainfall.
Sheltered for a moment by the Coppa Club’s awning, he watches as the rain descends in little gleam-drops of silver. The drops, as sparkly and effervescent as champagne bubbles, hit her skin. Silver trickles of water seep into her dress, allowing the fabric to cling to her curves in an indecent way. Shaking his head of the sight, he darts across the street, narrowly avoiding collision with a red Mini Cooper that screams its displeasure in the form of a blaring horn and cursing driver. He is soaked through when he reaches the woman, his waistcoat clinging uncomfortably.
He calls out to her, entreating her to stop, if only for a moment. She does, gazing at him curiously all the while. A heavy sheet of rain passes over them at that moment, and the sound intensifies. It wasn’t the soft, swollen drops of rain, reminiscent of the earlier spring showers, they were hearing; it was as if ball-bearings were hitting the ground with all their force.
She takes hold of his hand, and without word, he finds himself pulled further along the grey street. For a brief moment, he thought they might be doomed adventurers, destined to get swept away in a mighty flood. He needn’t have worried. The curtain of rain passed over by the time they’d stopped under a nearby awning. An explosion of birdsong erupted from the dripping trees and it was as if the rain had never been.
He stands, soaked to the bone, shivering like a lamb in the weak sunlight that peeks through the grey, thinking that he will surely drown in the resplendence of her apatite eyes, were it not for her hand that kept him anchored to land. He stares at the spot where their hands are joined. Her skin, upon closer inspection, is covered in a multitude of tiny silver scars. He takes note of a larger white scar near the crook of her elbow, along with one near her collarbone, which was rosy pink in colour, contrasting with her summer-tanned skin.
She offers up an apologetic smile as she lets go of his hand. He is brought back to earth as she speaks, voice soft and melodious. Names are exchanged. Fleur Westaway. Theodore Nott. Pleasure. Likewise.
Finally she asks, “Why were you chasing after me?”
He fumbles over his words, his heart beating an intricate tattoo in his chest, as nerves overtook him. Theodore had never thought himself the nervous sort, having been brought up with impeccable manners as befitting a man of his station. Nevertheless, when faced with such a beautiful woman, nerves overtook him, and he couldn’t remember much about the conversation when it was finally over, except that she had somehow miraculously agreed to accompany him to dinner later in the week.
Did she fancy Indian food? Yes? Brilliant. He’d meet her at the Masala Zone in Covent Garden on Friday. Would seven-thirty do?
Her answering smile was all the affirmation he needed.
Friday found him seated at the bar nursing a drink. The restaurant, already decently busy at half past seven, quieted down to a dull roar when he took note of the beauty standing by the entrance wearing a black and white colour block cape dress that he recalled his sister saying belonged to Givenchy. He wondered, briefly, what she carried in her clutch, as he rose to meet her, feeling distinctly impressed.
Air kisses exchanged, they made their way to their reserved table.
They dined on traditional Thali dishes and delicious curries. Conversation flowed freely. He found her to be splendid. She was attractive and impressive through being richly colourful and extravagantly gorgeous. On top of that, she was impeccably well mannered. They finished off the evening with seductive desserts, before Fleur asked if he’d fancy a riverside stroll.
They walked at a leisurely pace, enjoying the balmy air.
He asked her many questions about herself. She had graduated top of her class, and he’d learnt that she absolutely despised broccoli, whereas with an equal passion, she adored the violoncello. When he asked about the multitude of tiny white scars that littered the backs of her hands, curiosity getting the best of him, she grew silent for a moment before speaking.
All the little white lies she had told her mummy as a child, but didn’t remember now, she told him.
Fleur certainly had a lot of scars, but then, so did every one else he’d ever met. Scars and the lies they represented were quite common in the society they lived in. Fleur had good number of scars. She had probably twice as many as Marianne and Emma, she’d said, though she didn’t elaborate on who they were, and she’d gone on to tell him that she’d met people who had more scars than her own. Big ones, terrifyingly deep. There was one man, the janitor at her high school, Judd Eberhard, who well and truly terrified her. Every inch of his face was covered in scar tissue. She was loath to know his lies.
She took his hand in her own, marveling at the way their skin contrasted in tone, and at his distinct lack of scars. That was why, she confided in him as they made their way to her flat, as she was braving the downpour of rain, she had stood transfixed, staring at him - a man with smooth unblemished skin. It was impossible, she thought. Secretly, she found herself wanting to inspect every inch of his skin for scars. She told him that without a tremble to her voice.
Would he like to come up for a drink? He would? Splendid.
As Fleur jammed her key and rattled it in the lock, Theodore heard a dog barking, which, immediately upon entering set upon the legs of his trousers. Looking down, he saw that he was being pawed at by an overtly eager long haired dachshund of the shaded English cream variety. He bent down to pet the dog, smiling easily as it licked his hand. The dogs collar read Piglet.
Fleur disappeared into her bedroom to carefully put away her dress and mules; she came out dressed in an oversized cobalt jumper and jeans, carrying a tray with a large Ona pitcher filled with pink lemonade, her favourite, slices of sugared lemon floating alongside the ice.
They sipped at their lemonade and conversed well into the night, touching on all manner of subjects, Fleur’s dachshund quietly nestled betwixt them.
Conversation turned full circle as the subject of her scars came up once more.
She pointed to a larger one, near the crook of her elbow, which, she said, she had gotten when she had lied to her best friend, Marianne Lee Ryan, after nicking her favourite cashmere jumper and ruining it. It was a lovely jumper, really, so she did feel badly about that lie.
She had one even bigger than that climbing up her hip in a jagged line, she told him. She had gotten that scar back in her tenth year, when she had lied to Emma Jean Talbot about seeing her boyfriend snogging Emilia May Carter. She had thought that scar worth it, as she had wanted to spare the girl heartache; not that it had worked. All she’d gotten to show for her effort was a jagged line and a lost friendship.
Then she asked about his scars, unable as she was, to see anything but clear unblemished skin. He smiles wistfully at her query; did he truly have none? If only.
Instead of answering, he turned his face to hers. The freckles that were stars across her arms were galaxies across her cheeks. She tasted of lemonade, when he kissed her, tart and sweet. The kiss was hesitant, careful, for she was more than he’d ever had the right to hope for.
As she kissed him back, she pushed his suit jacket off his shoulders, and pulled his shirt free and ran her hands up his back, along skin with too many scars. He had a map of war along his spine and across his shoulder blades. They were all trophies now. He turned around so she could see the full extent of the damage.
At her strangled gasp he closed his eyes. Across the wide expanse of his back was not many scars as she had first thought but one jagged score gouged across his back, starting with a finer, thinner line at the base of his spine. The higher up it went the broader it became, until it resembled a sickening parody of a rose in full bloom. It was long and wide, and it brought a torrent of tears to her eyes.
As he wiped away her tears with care, he began to tell her a story so unthinkable that she could hardly believe it.
“Many of us are given to bragging, and telling fantastical lies in a deliberate attempt to garner sympathy or attention. White lies, big lies and simple exaggerations are common to the human experience. Sometimes, however, lying can become excessive, with lies becoming so intricate, so extreme and interwoven, that they almost blur the line between one’s concept of reality and fantasy. Individuals who engage in extensive lying are known as pathological liars.”
He takes a deep, shuddering breath before continuing. “My father was one of these individuals. He had the same smattering of little scars across his hands as you do, Fleur. I believe most people have those scars. Beneath those scars; however, a different story was told.”
He took a sip of lemonade before continuing.
“The silver gave way to a more sinister tone. The dark decaying lines, like twisted roots, drove deep into his soul. He had become addicted, my father; the lies became more elaborate as he alienated everyone he met. We sent my father to therapy in a bid to stem the tide and for a brief while, we all thought he had found peace.”
Fleur sat, listening quietly, hardly daring to breathe. Theodore spoke on.
“My fathers constant barrage of lies hurt my mother deeply. That in turn pained me. I vowed, after seeing the way my father ruined himself, and the way he ruined my mother, that I would never tell a lie. I would only tell the truth, no matter how much it may hurt. I mostly succeeded.” He gulped down the last of his lemonade, setting the glass aside, having denied a refill.
“On it went, my mother wasting away, as my father lied his head off, until she finally passed away. After this, I felt I could do nothing more than run away, so I faked my death to escape my father and his poisonous lies. I lied to save myself. It was a big one, completely terrifying, as I was so young when it was told. I’ve never lied again. I never shall.”
Theodore looked up as Fleur took his hands in hers. She looked him square in the eye, not an ounce of pity to be seen. With a voice strong in her conviction, she told him, “I’ll never lie to you.”
Not a single scar appeared on her body at those words.