Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland
: 390 words. Lord Evil driven to his last bold throw. He's making half of it up as he goes along, and so am I. This can't in any way go wrong, especially if the Young Duke latches onto the thing there was never any chance of him latching onto because, oh, er, whoops. There are a lot of clever people in this room, and at least two epically impetuous ones, and I'm increasingly uncertain as to who's going to win
this bout, and how! The Popinjay
: 450 words. Beauty steals the scene from Bright Young Thing, shuts it down, and embarks upon her own. She wasn't supposed to do that. Well, now I begin to understand her, and why she is the person to deal with the Beast-Thing by and by. There's a subtle perversity in her romantic and ingenuous spirit, considerably more disturbing than Money Spider's asocial calculation or Bright Young Thing's edge of cruelty. It's wickedly familiar, but I'm not sure I have a name for it. Not the usual thing that sets belles up with beasts, certainly - nearer to what Arthur Machen
meant in The White People
, when he discoursed of those great sinners who commit no named sins, and are even rarer and less detectable than great saints. Whether Beauty is heading for great sin or awesome sanctity or just extreme humanity, was always going to be - a matter of interpretation. At any rate, she's already much more formidable than I first took her for.
For my own sins - specifically, trawling YouTube before bed for a half-good version of Cassilda's Song
out of The King in Yellow
- I was repaid with gloomy and ill-remembered adventures in a decadent Venice. I would call this a step up from my Lankhmar City-Break the other night, except that when my alarm woke me, I found myself channelling Azathoth's
internal monologue. As signs go, this is never a good one.