So I changed my mind about what the Fiction Friday short-short would be called. I do that from time to time. The stealth pun is the same, more or less, as is the world in which this story is set, but the subject matter is different. Instead of frustrated love and music, we get fulfilled love and poetry. I think you can deal with that, O readers.
This story is for everyone who's been longing for more writing in the universe of the Chronicles of Glenscar, and has solidified a certain thought process in me. The quoting of Shakespeare's sonnets, and the fracturing of said quotations, is going to be a throughline in Playing with Fire. (This one happens to be Sonnet 130, btw.)
So, happy Fiction Friday, and here is your story, a moment which will be expanded in my next novel, historical fantasy Playing with Fire, Volume 2 of the Chronicles of Glenscar! Please leave a comment if you feel so inclined, and enjoy this lovely (rainy, at least where I am, but still lovely) Friday and the upcoming weekend!
Count Aidan Yastruba looked across the tent at his newly-wedded wife, who had gone to one knee to unlace her dancing shoes, aided by the light of the fireball she'd summoned above her. He smiled, recalling another such moment, half a year earlier, and his first inkling that this gray-eyed village maiden might be more than she appeared, besides the obvious oddity: that she, like he, had a power some would have called magic.
"My lady's eyes," he murmured softly, "are nothing like the sun."
"Misquoting the English bard again?" Grainne, Countess Yastruba, looked up at her husband with an answering smile. "I thought you would have learned your lesson about that, after what I did to you near the Midnight Well."
"The English bard for my little Englishwoman, Grace Marlowe that was," Aidan returned readily. "And would you have me call you 'mistress' still, when six hours past Father Mark made an honest woman of you?"
Grainne tossed her golden hair over one shoulder with a sniff. "Honest? Married to you? I hardly think so. But please, go on. Or rather, begin again, since I so rudely interrupted you the first time."
"As ever, your wish is my command." Aidan swept her a bow in the flourishing Continental style, then crossed the tent to her side, lifting Grainne to her feet.
"My lady's eyes," he repeated, holding them with his own blue ones, "are nothing like the sun." Gently, he traced a finger across her mouth, and gloried in the little catch he heard in her breath. "Coral is far more red than her lips' red." Now his other hand rose to rest, feather-light, against a soft curve of flesh. "If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun..." Both hands slipped around her, to bury themselves in a cascade of flame-warmed sunlight. "If hair be wires, gold wires grow on her head."
"The black wires being yours." Grainne ran a hand of her own through Aidan's perpetually untidy crop. "Have you seen roses damask'd, red and white?"
"I have, but no such roses see I in these cheeks." Aidan laid a fingertip against the two features so named. "And in some perfumes is there a great deal more delight than in the breath that from my lady reeks—and never did word change its meaning quite so aptly from that time to this," he added with a grin, and caught the blow aimed for his ear on his palm. "I love to hear her speak, yet well I know that music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; my lady, when she walks, treads on the ground..."
He paused, looking down into the laughing gray eyes lifted to his. "And yet, by heaven," he said, quietly, but with full emphasis, "I think my love as rare as any she belied with false compare."
The fire flowed down to surround them, as the two shadows against the tent's side became one.