Chapter One: Lynoria

     Lynoria.  The name is a rhyme, her life a riddle.  For it was many years ago that Lynoria d’Ravnosil lived and breathed among the elements (or did she?) . . .  My reflection, bespeckled with blood red lips; eyes, almost black, pond-like, that turn from such a seemingly glowing green; my hair, long and dark; all hers.  I have a stain of ages marked upon me, you can often see it in my eyes . . .  they change lights as I said, when the passions are aroused.  The bloody hue of my mouth is that often used in old paintings, like the passions of Saturn, always gloating in hunger, this blood-red shade.  And yet, that was not I.
     I have been struck by the various similarities between her portrait and myself, from the dark and gloomy gaze to the hidden fires of her curved smile; in addition, a peculiarly winsome yet sharp look of pain, or sorrow, one can see it in the depths of Lynoria’s eyes.  Who is she? Who was this Lynoria?  Even now I wonder, I marvel, that such a likeness is real.
     But it rains, and candles flicker.  Best to put ink and quill to rest.  Night seeps into consciousness like a poison nectar.  Like music in a deep dark cave, music of the soul and of the night . . . Dream time.
     When I was young there was much music in this house.  The leaves danced to the trills and arpeggios, and the slow oceanic pulse of the sea moved to the rollicking and roiling tempos; such beauty permeated the rooms like a perfume or bouquet of Heliotrope.  It was then that I remember, that I once was happy. Once . . .
      Amidst the rooms hung with oil paintings of ancestors and other pretty faces (young girls in forlorn repose; a broken pitcher; eyes turned up to heaven); amber candlelights and gaslights; a palace of art; a reverie of sights and sounds and then . . . his black coat sharply cutting into the incense of gauzy baroque shades — a black coat with a high, white collar.  Stephane Grevayne. He looked at me and said nothing, only smiled.  Mesmeric eyes, obliging me to be reminded of the sea, the sky, only gazed at me.
     Where was I going? I lost myself in that long hall of portraits; felt a strange sensation, a numbness of spirit; something light, like laughter. The scent of the Heliotrope . . . a bouquet of laughter.
     “Miss d’Ravnosil . . .” a nod and a smile, again.  I ran in my long dress of crinoline, down, down the hall.  I looked back towards the voice’s procurer, a glittering halo of stars in the sky, surrounding him in a backdrop of balustrade.
     I was young, but I understood.
     Many years passed like this.  Always polite, always proper, the quiet pianist.  Year after year, at least every December, he stood in the hallway, always like that.
     One summer’s evening I never saw him again.  How many summers ago?  I do not know.  But the last time I did, he returned a smile, then said nothing more.
      Some say that he married a young pianist named Rosamundis, and that she left him for a wild, mad sailor.  Others say that he became enamoured of a faerie instead, her name, La Fee Verte, with wings of death.  His brother Leon (the poet), was an infamous drunk and carouser, and often spied in places of shady repute.
     Sometimes the sea air reaches me and I can hear sonorous bells and wild birds and wind; sometimes there is the scent of exotic amber and ocean . . . and he comes back to me on a wave, as that slowly hovering passage of a piece he once wrote, he comes back like a temple of magic and beauty to me and hovers round me, covers me.  A temple of love, mystic fire, built on the shores of the sea over a land of dead souls — over the graves of the dead.  Stephane, why did you leave.  And I did not know what would become of all of this, for we both also seemed dead, to ourselves, to that clamouring world.

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