Art for Art’s Sake*

I am losing patience with Rachel. No matter what you tell her, she finds something to whine about, and she just can’t seem to help herself when it comes to telling me how to live my life, or unlife, as she would probably prefer to call it.

I was wandering in search of my friends when I came across Rachel by the bridge. She was talking to a rather attractive young woman who I was introduced to as Gabrielle Claybrook.  She had clearly heard of me, because she referred to me as the Toreador-like Brujah.  I don’t know if she got that from Rachel, but I suppose, given what I know of the Toreador and their love of art, I guess it is not an unapt description.

I shook her hand and then kissed it in my usual manner. “A pleasure, Miss Claybrook. It’s good to hear yet another accent from my homeland. As to Toreador, well, if there is any of that in me, my sire did not say. But, it is true I have a great appreciation of the arts, poetical, musical, and literary… ok, most forms of art. But I was that before I was changed. In truth, I have little to do with clan business these days.  I’m just me.” She seemed to think that with interests like that; I was definitely sired by the wrong clan. She asked what I meant by the reference to clan business. I explained that my embrace had been unplanned, so the matter of being the wrong clan was moot. I told her that there were not enough vampires here to have any sects, Camarilla, Sabbat, whatever.  I added that I was quite happy with this situation, having no interest in politics. She said she found the lack of politics refreshing. I told her about the vampires I knew of and she seemed to be aware of most of them, saying she had hoped to meet another Brujah here. She did not say who.

Rachel started to say something about the mute-fairy, as she called her, but subsided into silence, looking upset. Gwyn appeared, having escaped her faerie lessons for now and hugged me from behind, asking how everybody was. I told her that Rachel was telling us about our frosty friend, or rather, not telling us.  Gabrielle chipped in; explaining that it was the restriction on Rachel to always speak mildly that was keeping her quiet.  The frost fairy, she told us, had melted, and was no more.

Rachel complained that she couldn’t express her feelings, but was anything but calm, being badly affected by the fairy’s apparent death, saying she had danced right up until the end. I felt I knoew what had really happened, but kept my own counsel. It was up to Valene what she revealed about the fairy, assuming I was correct, and it was her. Gwyn reacted as one might have expected one to react to sad news, even though I had told her my suspicions.

“Oh, you mean the frost dancer?” She said. “She was amazing, wasn’t she? And she melted? That’s really sad. I guess I didn’t think I’d see her again, really. She seemed like some magical being delivering little messages of love and hope. When did that happen?” She also explained why she had ordered Rachel to speak calmly. I tried to give Rachel some comfort without revealing what I thought I knew.

“Do not be so sad, Rachel. Winter gives way to spring, which gives way to summer, which in turn gives way to autumn and back to winter again. Perhaps that which you saw is part of a cycle like that, so do not grieve so. We each have a part of her, in the gifts she gave, and maybe, some day… Think instead of what she inspired in you, what art you could make from that inspiration, and then she will never be truly gone.  Trust me on this.” My speech seemed to impress Gabrielle, saying I really did have the wrong blood in me and claiming I would have enjoyed life more had I the right sire.  Rachel seemed confused. It had only been two days since the fairy appeared, so how could it be a cycle? I tried again, mentioning day and night as a cycle, the circulation of the blood. I tried illustrating my point by talking about how flowers die to make the seed that begins new life. I told her to use that, to make something beautiful from it, adding that I intended to do the same with the book our frosty friend had given me.  Gabrielle offered butterflies as an example of a short-lived beauty and then took her leave of us, passing Sophia as she left. Sophia looked briefly at her before saying hello and commenting that we were out in the wilds again.  She looked tired and not a little bored. Rachel started complaining that she was confused, having once been an artist and a Toreador, and now being a demon and not knowing what she was any more. I greeted Sophia and apologised for being somewhat busy recently and not being around to see her. I turned my attention back to Rachel, trying to tell her to concentrate on the art. I opined that it was not the Toreador that made her an artist, but that the fact that she was an artist would have been the reason they chose her, and that she could concentrate on being an artist and not be defined by her current shape.

Sophia was interested to hear about the Toreador, which I could understand, since that is what her mother had been, albeit of the Sabbat variety. However, she seemed down. She agreed with Rachel’s point about not knowing who she was any more, because she had once been a two-bit whore walking the streets, but now she did not know, there not being much whoring to do here.  That somewhat disturbed me, because I thought, from conversations we had had in Jasper Cove, that she was past that, and moving on to what she was now.  I briefly explained that Rachel had once been Toreador, and that the lady who had left us was likely also a Toreador. Returning to the subject at hand, I tried to convince Rachel that she was missing the point. I had been a poet, an adventurer etc before I was embraced, and being a vampire did not change that.

Gwyn tried to explain what I meant, but Rachel was being obstinate.  She just couldn’t see what we were getting at, that she could be an artist, whatever shape she was. I am afraid I lost patience and snapped at her, telling her to go be a demon artist, or an artist demon, or whatever, I didn’t care any more.  I turned my attention to Sophia, telling her that I much preferred the person she was now, but she was still down in the dumps, wishing that she was back in Virginia being humped by some sweaty docker, because at least then she’d know where and what she was.  With that, she shuffled back in the direction of the village. I would have gone after her, but I did not know what to say to that mood. I must make a point of visiting her in the village soon.

I think Gwyn had had enough of Rachel too, for she changed the subject onto the matter of things the two of us needed to discuss before she had to get back to the sithen. I agreed that there were things we needed to plan before the forthcoming congress. She got the joke, but I don’t think Rachel did.  We left her to her complaints and headed for the privacy of Valene’s den.

 

* 0.35 fluid ounces…

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