There is the sound of a double-knock on Ariana's door, about half
an hour after the boys' lesson has started.
The door is answered by Arabeth, the servant assigned to Ariana.
Ishmael doesn't seem to have expected to encounter a servant.
"Uhhh... Ummm. I need to talk to Ariana, like right now."
"Yes, Your Highness. Please come in." Arabeth motions to a seat.
"I'll tell Her Grace that you are here."
Arabeth relays to Ariana that Prince Ishmael is waiting for her in
the outer room.
OK. Ariana would rise and follow Arabeth to the outer room. She
still seems pale, but a bit more "there" than she was at breakfast.
"Hello, Ariana." Ishmael steps inside the door and closes it
behind him. "I need to talk to you...you know, alone?" He gestures with
his head toward the servant.
Ariana nods to Arabeth. "Thank you, you can go now."
She turns back to Ishmael and motions him to a seat, then sits
herself. "All right, what's wrong?" She has the look of someone bracing
herself for more bad news.
"Geez man...there you go again, assumin' the worst!" He sits
down. "Anyway..." He looks uneasy. "Okay. You see... Umm. Well,
okay. The boys have their art lesson right now, right? Of course, you
already know that."
He has a piece of paper that he's sort of been wagging around
while he talks. "Well, Vincent said that his piece was missing. I sort
of suspect that you have it, though, because I think I know what it
was..." He holds up the sketch. "Did it look a little like this?" It's
Ariana gets noticeably paler, and grips the arms of her chair
tightly as she nods. "Yes. It did. I didn't know he had made more than
He leans forward in his chair, towards Ariana. "See. Now there's
where things just get fucking weird." He hands the sketch to her. It
already feels cool. "He just did this."
She does not take the sketch from him, pulling her hand back as
though she fears it will bite her. "No! I know. I mean, the other one
did as well. I found it..." Her voice trails off for a moment as she
shivers, then makes an effort to get a grip on herself. "I found it last
"Huh. You do know that just taking it from him isn't going to
help, right?" He shrugs and withdraws the sketch. "Anyway, when I asked
him why her, he said that she's just there, in his head."
He pauses. "I sidetracked him, but not for long. I asked him to
do a Jalana Trump. I expect it's finished by now. The boy's a goddamned
prodigy. He works with both hands..."
Ariana bites her lip. "I didn't take it from him intentionally.
I found it after he woke up with a nightmare. He's been having them for a
week, apparently. He doesn't remember anything about them, but... Sand
was an expert at using Trump to send people dreams. I'm afraid that
she's..." She shakes her head. "This is impossible. How can she be
doing this? She's dead! I was there when it happened."
"Yadda yadda yadda." Ishmael waves his hand in front of Ariana.
"Hello? Amber to Ariana! It doesn't matter what you SAW, this Trump is
damn near operational. I don't know much about Sand, other than that she
was a sick, crazy bitch with a real thing for kids." His tone has started
to get a bit louder. "What I want to know is, what the hell is she's
doing 'in' Vincent's head?!"
"I don't know!" Ariana yells back. "How in the name of the gods
am I supposed to know how she's doing this? I! Don't! Know!" Her voice
has risen throughout this, and she practically screams the last bit.
"Damn it!" Ishmael slumps back into his chair. "I don't
understand this shit."
Ariana buries her head in her hands. "How can I keep him safe
when I don't even know what I'm keeping him safe from?"
"Oh man..." Ishmael's face is sort of squished up in that sort of
'oh please, oh please, don't cry' sort of way. "Maybe Fi would know
something?" Ishmael takes Fiona's Trump card out...
Ariana nods, still hiding her face in her hands.
Ishmael clears his throat and stands up. He walks over to a
corner of the room where he can sort of be away from Ariana. He mutters
to himself, "Oh yeah. After last night, Fi's gonna love this..." He
sighs, then tries to Trump Fiona.
Her Trump animates. "And how do you wish to bother me this
"Oh man, Fi. I'm sorry, but can we forget for a few minutes that
I acted like an unbelievable ass last night?" He takes a deep breath. "I
think that Sand might be coming to Vincent in his dreams. Ariana says
that he's been having nightmares, but doesn't remember them." He seems to
be talking really fast, just in case Fiona decides to cut him off.
"Anyway, the kid is a freakin' prodigy. He just whipped out this
near-workable Trump in the first quarter of our lesson this morning."
He pauses for a moment to draw another breath...
Fiona holds her hand out to him.
Ariana has lifted her head from her hands by this point, having
managed to compose herself somewhat.
Ishmael exhales, then takes Fiona's hand and brings her through.
"See?" He hands her the Trump. "He was working on another one
that Ariana found under his pillow last night."
Fiona studies the sketch, then seems to look somewhat surprised.
Ariana says quietly, "I believe he began working on the drawing I
found at about the same time that he says he began having nightmares."
"I swear I don't mean to offend you with this statement Fi, but
even after all those years of watching you work, this kid was fucking
incredible! He was drawing with both hands. Man. Never saw anything
like that." Ishmael shoots a quick glance to Fiona. "I mean, we all do a
little stuff with both hands...but he was balls-out drawing with both at
the same time." He sort of makes a noncommittal motion with his
shoulders. "I recognized that it was Sand, so I sidetracked him. He is,
or at least WAS, working on a Trump of Jalana while I bopped up
"Well, I can allay Ariana's fears. Sand continues to be dead. I
believe I shall tutor Vincent and his brother Shannon in Trump from now
Ishmael gets a rather grumpy look on his face.
Ariana looks unconvinced. "If Sand is dead, then what is the
source of the nightmares Vincent is having? And why is he drawing Sand?
He doesn't even know it's her that he's drawing."
Ishmael butts in, "Well, the little bit of Trump stuff has been in
addition to the normal art studies. I don't suppose you mind that I keep
them with the group for that, do you? I mean, come on. He's still a kid.
Let's not make him feel like a big freak or something."
Fiona raises an eyebrow at Ariana. "Doubt if you wish, but I am
telling you the truth."
Ishmael shoots a look to Ariana that conveys the following
thought: *Don't do it.*
Ariana looks back at Fiona. "I don't doubt that you are telling
the truth. It just doesn't explain why this is happening. If Sand isn't
the source, then who is?"
Fiona folds her arms across her chest and levels her gaze on
Ariana. "Her son."
She hands the drawing back to Ishmael. "Where are the boys now?"
"In my studio. I should probably get back down there so they
don't get weirded out."
"I'll go with you," Fiona says.
Ishmael opens the door for Fiona. He doesn't say anything
Ariana's eyes widen slightly, as the possible implications of
Fiona's statement sink in. "Another son? Who?"
Fiona had been heading to the door with Ishmael, but pauses long
enough to say, "Vincent," impatiently. She also says it with a wave of
her hand, dismissing Ariana.
Ariana follows them. "He's giving himself nightmares? Why?"
Ishmael steps behind Fiona and in front of Ariana. "I think Fiona
is done talking to you about this for now." He whispers under his breath,
"I promise, I'll tell you whatever happens, okay? Just go. Don't make
"I'm still going with the two of you. They're my children. I
want to understand what's happening here."
Ishmael looks to Fiona for a sign...
Fiona turns and holds a hand up to Ariana. "You may only follow
if you believe you can handle it. I will not have you walking in looking
like death warmed over and scaring the boy." Fiona delivers this in a
very stern tone.
"If I understood what's going on, maybe I wouldn't look scared!"
Ariana is starting to look more frustrated than frightened, actually.
Ishmael looks to Ariana. "Well? Can you keep your shit together
long enough to find out what's going on?"
Fiona waits for Ariana's response.
Ariana looks at Fiona. "Will you explain to me what you think is
happening here, once you've determined it?" She is working at masking her
emotions while she is speaking.
From Fiona? You're funny. Just how bad off is she right now?
And Fiona isn't hiding the fact that she's scrutinizing her, either.
Ariana meets Fiona's gaze. Basically, she's frightened, mostly
because she doesn't understand what's happening here. She's afraid that
Vincent is going to be hurt. The whole reason that she's trying to get
Fiona to explain what's going on is because if she understands it, she can
deal with it. She's not about to break out into hysterics, or anything
like that. She isn't masking her emotions to hide them from Fiona, but so
she can hide them from Vincent.
Ishmael faces Ariana and mouths, "It will be fine. Go. Rest."
Ariana and Fiona seem to be staring at each other.
Ishmael concentrates very hard on becoming one with the wall. He
isn't looking at anyone.
"Stay here, Ariana. Vincent is not in any danger. I will explain
his situation to you when I fully understand it. I would like to speak to
him without a parent present. He will be able to speak more freely to me,
Ishmael slips from between the two of them. "Yeah, well...ummm.
I'm going to head to the studio, so that it doesn't freak them out for the
two of us to appear at once. You are a little intimidating in your own
right, Fi..." Ishmael gets a 'D'oh! I shouldn't have said that!' look on
his face, then heads back to his studio.
Ariana glances at Ishmael as he leaves, then nods reluctantly.
It's obvious that she'd rather go with them, but she can see Fiona's
point. "All right. What should I do with Vincent's drawing of Sand that
I found? Is it normal for it to be cool, even when the person is
"May I have it? It isn't normal for a normal Trump, no, but
Vincent has not created a normal Trump."
Ariana nods and excuses herself for a moment. Lucien would see her
pass through heading towards the bedroom, then returning with the sketch
in her hand. If he looks questioningly at her, she explains that she's
giving it to Fiona.
That's fine. He doesn't hold her up in any way.
Did he look surprised at the mention of Fiona's name? Or has he been
listening in? :)
He did not look surprised.
Ariana rejoins Fiona a few minutes later with the sketch, which
she hands to Fiona. "What kind of Trump is it, if it isn't normal? I
know it's good. When I first saw it, I thought it was one of Dworkin's."
"Vincent has inherited his mother's skill," Fiona says as she
examines the Trump. "It's a form of Trump trap, actually. You believe
you are Trumping the individual pictured on the card, when in reality you
are Trumping someone else entirely."
"I see. I suspected they might take after her, but I wasn't
expecting it to manifest like this. Can you tell who this Trump connects
Ariana looks startled. "He's been Trumping himself with it at night?
I suppose that would explain the nightmares. But I don't understand why
he's doing this to himself."
"That's what I'm going to see if I can determine."
Ariana nods gratefully. "Thank you for your help. I was going
out of my mind thinking that Sand might somehow be back."
"Things aren't always what they seem to be," Fiona says as she turns
"So I'm learning." Ariana sees her to the door. "If there's
anything I can do to help, please let me know."
"I will. The best thing right now to do is not worry, until you
have to." She heads out.
Ariana's Page |
All text on this page is © 1998 by Kris Fazzari, Lisamarie Babik and Wendi Strang-Frost.
Last modified on October 27, 1998 by Kris Fazzari.