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What to do next?

(Realm of Elysia)

Traveler sat on a grey stone watching the magenta sun set over Elysia. The orb sank lower as it’s reflection rose to meet it; a warm life giving light. It was one of his favorite places in Elysia, one which he frequented when considering what to do next. The Sea of Glass, uncharacteristically, was not mirror calm today, for he noticed little ripples in the water below. A bird landed a few feet from his neatly pressed trouser, aware of, but completely unconcerned, by his presence.

Checking his timepiece, he put it back in his pocket as Dove appeared to his right.

“Hello,” Dove said, as she walked over, sitting down, folding her gossamer wings precisely.

“Hello, dear,” Joshua said as he gazed past the Tree of Life over the lake. “I can see that you restored everything.”

“Yes, I did, did I displease you?” Dove asked, puzzled.

“No, of course not, I’d have done the same. Elysia need not suffer from Eden’s sin.”

“Then what is it? Why are you troubled?”

He stood, extending his hand to the Blue Winged Seraph, strolling with her to the edge of the hill, saying, “I just don’t like that James won’t train her, it is not convenient at all. Why do people always insist on taking the long way?”

Dove, wings fluttering slowly in the slight breeze replied, “I know what you mean, it does cause problems.”

Traveler, leaned up against the tree as he looked at Dove steadily. Blue eyes, deep and serene, Dove gazed back.

She’s not ready yet

“You don’t think she is ready either, do you” Joshua observed.

“No, Love, I don’t, but not for the reasons James told you. I believe she’s capable of great things, but I am concerned at what cost to her. We’ve never dealt with someone like Brenzel before, she’s gifted but fragile at the same time. She’s young, Joshua. She might be willing or even able to do what we’re asking, but it may damage her if she’s pushed into it too soon.”

With a look of acceptance on his face, Traveler said, “Then it’s the long way.”

“I’m afraid so, Love.” Dove replied sympathetically. “I know you’re eager for it to be finished.”

“I do think one thing about her is very plain, though…” Traveler observed.

“Yes,” Dove said as she took his hand, looking out over the lake, “it’s time for her to leave Elysia.”


(Vatican City, 1690)

A successful wedding behind them, the members and guests of both great houses relaxed and celebrated. In a large hall, a reception was held for the newlyweds, featuring music, plays, and the finest food possible. Matteo and his wife greeted a few of the dignitaries, but soon, Misses Imperiali excused herself and left the festivities with her attendants.

Augustus Imperiali leaned over to Fiammetta’s father, saying, “No doubt, the blushing bride is eager for her wedding night!” To which both men chuckled in knowing admiration and toasted the newlyweds with their goblets full of wine.

Fiammetta, entering her chambers, slammed the door behind her, spitting and wiping her lips, commanding the maids to bring water. Face a mess, makeup streaked with tears, she didn’t care that she’d left her family and other well wishers standing. “That little monster!” the Italian beauty raged.

Such liberties!

Maria, who stood by her, said nothing, looking upon her mistress with sadness and empathy. Her head maid ordering the other women out, Fiammetta continued to rage, muttering to herself, “No one takes such liberties with me! That coxcomb! I will make him suffer for this humiliation! All he had to do was play the part – nothing else!” Fia said, as she paced back and forth.

Maria tried to approach, but realized getting next to an active volcano would be easier. Finally quieting, Fia sat next to a window and looked out on the courtyard where guests talked and generally milled about. As if coming to some definite realization she turned and stared at Maria declaring, “I’m going to kill that little bugger.”

Maria, after a moment, replied, “As you wish, M’lady.”

Not what he’d hoped for

Tim threw open the door to his study and ordered his assistant out. Letting out low growl he overturned a table full of parchments, sending them all scuttling across the floor. “That bastard!” Tim said, pacing about, realizing the magnitude of what just happened, his mind traveling down every avenue of thought. Was it a unfortunate coincidence? Could it possibly be a mere happen-chance? Did Imperiali have to kiss Fia to keep the charade intact? The possibilities were too numerous to decipher just yet. One fact was clear, though, Matteo was not the docile cuckold he’d hoped for. The favored son of house Imperiali was not a pushover after all. Sitting down dejectedly behind his desk underneath Christ’s mural, Tim realized one fundamental truth, Matteo must die.


Matteo strode proudly into his quarters, throwing his hat on the nearest divan saying to his servant, “Did you see that?” With giddy jubilation, Matteo boasted, “Did you see how I kissed her in front of everyone? What a coup, what a triumph!” the newly minted husband gloated before his man-servant.

“Matteo, I don’t understand,” Pietro said as he slowly undressed his master layer by layer, first jewelry then outer garments. “Why is kissing your bride a triumph?”

Matteo, looking at his manservant, said, “Right…, you don’t understand, how could you? But never mind, today is a small victory and, I tell you, hopefully the first of many!”

Keeping him in the dark

“So you won’t enlighten me?”

“I can’t, my friend,” Matteo said, adding, “trust me, this is for your own good, too.”

“I can hardly see what that would be, sire. You married her, isn’t that enough? What need is there of affection? To all present and to me, it rather seemed you enjoyed it.”

“You’re joking,” Matteo said with surprise, as Pietro continued folding and arranging his garments and jewelry. Coming up from behind, the newly married Matteo put his arms around his servant saying, “You know she means nothing to me. Soon we will be back at my estate and all will be forgotten.”

Pietro said simply, “Yes, of course sire.”