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February 2006

February Issue: Romance

Gallery

Columns

  • EMG News:
    February 2006
  • Wombat Droppings:
    On Romance
  • Healthy Green Artists:
    Let There Be Light!
  • Behind the Art:
    Basics of Composition
  • Cosplay101:
    First Thoughts when choosing a Costume
  • Myths and Symbols:
    The Sun, Part 1

    Features

  • Living with an Artist
  • My Wife the Artist
  • Romancing an Art Director
  • Online Marketing Part II: Your Site

    Fiction

  • PA Spotlight: Leonie Character from Elizabeth Weimer
  • Poem: The Limmer Bardís Wife
  • Fiction: Time for Valour: Treasure
  • Fiction: Do I Make You Happy?

    Reviews

  • Movie: 3rd Generation
  • Movie: Brokeback Mountain
  • Movie: The Promise


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  • Time for Valour: Treasure
    by Elizabeth Weimer

    Receding from the newly founded sisters of mischief, Valour clothes himself in the shadow threads of the ancient oak's moonlit silhouette--sliding down the rough bark into the prime seating before it was claimed. Leonie emits a soft huff as she looks to Valour.

    "You devil! That is my tree!"

    "You may reclaim it at your leisure, your Majesty."

    A competitive fire lights like a blaze in the backdrop of his eyes.

    "Rather, you may try."

    Amused he was, tilting his head from side to side as he listens to the provocative exchanges 'tween the ladies' lips--hands folded on his lap as he reclined. Velvety eyes sparkle as she hears his sally.

    "OH?"

    She laces her fingers behind her back, dark lashes lowering to hide those sparkling eyes. Hhmph! Steal her tree would he?

    Rather resigned to sitting beneath his tree, mahogany hues cast their way to Leonie. Valour raises a palm upward, his finger gesturing her closer. The warm night breeze lifts those copper tresses, velvety eyes watching his gesture from beneath the shadow of those lashes. A soft curving of red lips, she moves forward toward him. The pale pink material of her gown seems to whisper as the hem brushes the emerald carpet beneath her feet.

    Watching her, his tongue ventures a moistening of pursed lips to ward the parching. A finger rests against those lips, conspiratorially--as if to pass some secret whisper. Again that gesture for her to lean down and lend an ear.

    A soft chuckle escapes her, eyes dancing as she approaches him. Suddenly, that frail form folds downward gracefully...to land squarely on his lap.

    "Oui?" Another soft laugh. "You are sitting in MY spot."

    He leans invasively close, the silvered layer clothing of his chin pricking against her face. Surmounting some small bit of apprehension, the corner of his lips brush of her cheek. It is a subtle, lingering kiss--brief and accompanied by a soft whisper.

    "Thank you...."

    Receding from her ear, he ushered aside his overcoat--where the white of a neatly folded paper kisses the rim of his burgundy breast pocket.

    "...for this."

    Her eyes lose the impish gleam...a soft smile lighting them.

    "You are welcome."

    A simple nod, ebony orbs soft with warmth--he knows her to understand what it was, for him to bear it thus.

    Leonie continues to look up at him.

    "I will keep that promise."

    "Thank you... very much, Leonie..."

    A soft smile mirrors hers.

    She offers him her hand.

    "You have my word."

    Valour takes her hand warmly.

    "Your word means everything. And you have mine... to always come home."

    "I will remind you."

    "I will listen."

    Another soft smile. "Vraiment? That will be a first."

    "First for everything. This deserves to be a first."

    "Yes...it does." She smiles to him. "We have a deal then, Valour? One that you find equitable? After all...I do not offer just anyone their own hammock."

    "Only if you dance with me."

    He tilts his head, the notes of a soft smile playing to the keys of his lips.

    A low soft chuckle shakes her.

    "I thought that was already decided. You promised to put me on your dance card."

    "Tonight...."

    A quieted whisper escapes the confines of his tongue. A soft flush stains her cheeks, but she loves to dance...and does not get the opportunity very often. Rising with effortless ease, she sinks down before him into a curtsey.

    "You drive a hard bargain...." That soft twinkle lights her eyes. "Mais... I accept."

    He rises from the ancient oak, that domain of hers that he had conquered. An arm spans the breadth of his waist, bending him to a bow. He takes her hand 'tween them, maintaining it raised as he escorts her to a rootless clearing of grass. Leonie rises to the gentle pull of his hand. Moving beside him, she is a pale shadow to his larger form. Squared shoulders frame his arm, and thus her own. A hand falls to her waist.

    "This is your night... your favoring of music..." He tilts his head with a soft smile. "I am King. I will lead."

    Leonie looks up at him, a soft hand at one shoulder...the other in his large one. Red lips quiver with a chuckle.

    "Then lead...mon Roi..."

    And thus, as the haunting notes of Nocturne echo through the corridors of his mind, he leads her in the dance by twilight - a warmth spreading as water on dry sand, across his face. A slight tilt of her curly head, she moves in tandem with his gentle guiding, the music catching the breeze. Dark lashes lower... shadowing her eyes. Listening to the music, she is a slight figure in the circle of his arm. Every breath of air that surrounds him comes alive with the musicians' artistry, and though his feet fall in cadence with the music--it feels more like the flowing of a brook, or a promenade at the sea's bottom. Around and around, they twirl. The scent of the roses a soft fragrance in the air, as the color about them revolves like a kaleidoscope of dreams. Such is nature's ballroom.

    Her gossamer gown catches the moonlight, the whisper of it echoing like the song in the air. Against the deep burgundy of his vest, the quiet crinkle of neatly folded letter. It only makes him feel all the more secure, and removed from the world and its befouling vices--that, and the presence of her arms, twirling 'round on the lush green grass. For that brief moment, he leads her in dance--spinning against the tide of the moving earth. That it should move one way, and they another makes life itself seem to stand very still. And it did. In this domain of music, Father Time has no sway for him. He shares with her, this fleeting eternity. Under the moon, velvety eyes lift to his....watching his face. His arm is firm at her back. The hand that guides her is sure.

    For this moment...she is not a Queen...nor he a King. They are just two people lost in the magic of a stolen moment. A soft smile is offered up to him. She cannot change who she is....or he, his chosen path....yet as they twirl under the ancient oaks...in the presence of the roses....there is nothing but contentment.

    A bite makes hostage of his lower lip, to temper the smile that beams against the canvas of violet-blue. He is indeed lost with her there, in that moment. And were it in his will and way, he'd never allow himself to be found.

    "You will remember me, Valour?"

    Her eyes sparkle in the reflection of the moonlight as she watches his smile. Valour gazes down at her. The soft scents of her copper curls mingle with the fragrance of summer bloom. To her query, he shakes his head, leaning close as he did before, whispering in tones as soft as the dwindling music notes.

    "That which haunts...and lives and breathes in me here..."

    The music dies a slow, contented death, as he guides her fingertip to brush his breast...

    "...can never be forgotten..."

    and then, to glance her hand against his temple. "Here."

    Her fingertips brush lightly against his face.

    "That is your promise?"

    "That is my promise...eternal as you are eternal."

    "I will hold you to it."

    "I will never let go of it."

    Her eyes gleam like exotic jewels there in the uncertain light. Her fingertips remain resting lightly against his cheek as she whispers softly.

    "My precious friend...."

    The corner of his lips kiss softly of those fingertips, loaning of its warmth. Leaden curtains draw over the ebony stage of his eyes as her words touch his ears.

    "My eternal companion..."

    Velvet pansy eyes glisten with unshed tears, but the smile she gives him is radiant.

    "Yes. By some trick of fate...we are bound to one another. Not in the usual way...but nonetheless tied securely."

    His words are birthed a murmur, standing in the still of night. The world dogged at his heels, and he knows that as they were lost--soon they would be found again. A warm sweep of his thumb across her cheek, he lays a soft kiss to her forehead.

    "I would be adrift at sea, the waves to claim me... if not for it. And yes, very securely."

    That small hand is drawn down, fingertips pressing now against his chest. Her slight form swaying forward... a curly head rests for a moment against his heart. Her low voice, a soft muffled murmur, drifts to his ears.

    "Some things... are hard for me to say."

    A gentle hand to the small of her back, he cradles that figure that rests against him. Fingertips frame her errant locks behind her ear--stroking through the bed of copper curls. He shakes his head, these eyes that seemed of late so familiar with the salted sting of tears, well with those selfsame beads. They do not fall, but his face falters with them.

    "You don't have to..."

    Her voice drops even lower.

    "Please remember your way home. I need to see your face, Valour."

    "By light of violet stars to sail, love...I will always know my way home."

    Soft curls brush against his chest as she can only nod in answer. Then suddenly, her arms go about his waist...embracing him tightly. She is like a child in its impetuosity... yet no words can express what she is feeling.

    "You said... there might come a time when I needed comfort... and that you would comfort me as a whole man. Will... will... you come... if I need you?"

    One arm falls to the small of her back, his other to cradle her head against his breast. His lips pensively purse, he nods to her.

    "I will... whenever you may need me..."

    He whispers from the palpating creature in his chest. He coos to her softly, a soothing cadence of strokes through her copper curls, holding her in the sheltering cage of his arms.

    "Call my name... and I will be there."

    Her small face turns inward... her nose buried in his coat. He can feel her nodding, that frail form trembling. Her arms hold tightly for a moment. Allowing her defenses to fall briefly, she seeks the luxury of another's strength.

    "Merci... I can be content now."

    He shares what fortitude he might have to spare, given the buckling needs of his own failing citadels of defense. A soft kiss falls to the bed of hair, as he mounts his cheek against the crest of her forehead.

    "Rappelez-vous moi. Attendez-moi. Je retournerai a la maison. Toujours."

    "I will remember... always."

    A soft little indrawn breath, her arms loosen as she lifts her face to his... a tender smile curving those red lips.

    "Fate is strange, non?"

    Receding his face from her own, those wetted ebony pearls indulge in the sweet sight of a curving smile. He matches it with the crescenting of his own.

    "How is it strange, dear? "

    "Who would have thought when you first came through my gate... we would be standing here today?"

    "That is the beauty of life. And the promise that carries us from today, into tomorrow. I have never once regretted... that first time... that I stepped through the iron gate."

    The evening is late, and the moon has slipped from their fingertips into the natal hours of the morn. He keeps a comforting arm 'round her shoulder, as he ushers her toward the manor path--all the while they spoke. It is simply for convenience's sake... and to assure the ever fretful William that her majesty was not long to bed. Stopping, Leonie turns and tiptoes. Soft lips press a warm kiss against his.

    "Nor have I. Thank you for the dance...and for holding me." She takes his hand as she lowers back. "I shall always be here for you."

    He stands there, a fingertip falling to his lips--that birth a subtle smile. The warmth of her kiss lingers, and he purses to a slight venture of his tongue, that indulges in the fleeting taste. He tucks her arm into the crook of his own, escorting her along... but at a pace at peace with the world: slow and long drawn, as if he wanted to stretch a day into a lifetime.

    "I will not wander far. And my heart, will not wander at all."

    The delicate planes of her face tinted a soft rose, she moves quietly at his side, her hand tucked into his arm.

    "You still must dance with me at the ball..."

    A smile at his words accompanies her soft tease. She turns to face him at the base of the stairway leading to her apartments.

    "I did not think to excuse myself for the ball, with tonight."

    He tilts his face of tendering expressions.

    "I wanted to dance... a night that belonged to you alone."

    She is undone. Unbidden... for it is certain she did not mean for them to fall... the tears well in her eyes. And she cannot stop them. His words fall so unutterably sweet... and disarm her.

    "Thank you..."

    Impatiently, she brushes them away with the backs of her fingers.

    "It was a moment...and a dance...I shall never forget. Il n'y a aucun mot... There are no words to tell you. I shall treasure it."

    A deft and gentle hand engages those falling beads of tears on her cheek, smearing them against her soft skin. He leans in, the other hand tucked to the small of his back, and brushes his lips against her cheek.

    "And so will I..."

    There are so many things she would like to say... but cannot. Her heart beating apace, a whirlwind of emotions swirls about inside of her. She touches his cheek once more lightly with her fingertips.

    "Sleep well, Valour."

    Soft eyes falter from her face a moment, and trail the winding rail of the stairway at whose base they stand, toward the darkness above soon to claim her. He looks then again to her.

    "Reves doux, m'amie."

    Red lips curve into a soft smile...her eyes meeting his.

    "Bonne nuit... mon ame..."

    She then turns and runs lightly up the stairway... disappearing into the darkness of her chambers...

    Elizabeth Weimer
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