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Iron Quill (metamorphosis) Lucille


vinush
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                Quentin stood on the steps, idly fumbling with his pocket watch and running his fingers around the collar of his shirt. It was odd, the shirt didn’t quite fit like it used to, but since his arrival in Malifaux two weeks ago he never seemed to have any money left over to buy new clothes.

 

Things hadn’t gone too well for him lately, not since he’d met her.

 

She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Not that he could actually remember the details of what she looked like, just that she was the most intoxicating person around. He couldn’t really recall much about that night at the Star Theatre in general, but her song, that music; it haunted his every waking moment and helped him drift off to sleep at night when he closed his eyes.

 

Watching the people go about their business on the streets, Quentin couldn’t help but feel sorry for them. Their lives were so empty without her, without her music. His life was so full, between his work and going to the Star every night he barely had time to see his friends or even write home.

 

He resisted the urge to check the time once again, just in case she were to arrive and see him, after all, patience is a virtue according to his old grandmother.

 

“Why, Mr Quentin, I dare say you get handsomer each and every time I see you.” Her soft southern voice called from behind him.

 

Quentin’s heart fluttered as he spun to see her. She was radiantly beautiful! Her face filled his sight, her delicate cheekbones, her cherry red lips parted ever so slightly, inviting him to reach out and grab her so he could press his lips to hers and kiss her passionately. He wasn’t normally like this, he was so refined, so gentlemanly, but there was something powerful about her that called out to his primal instincts.

 

And then there was the song… He could hear it louder in his head when she was close to him, it reverberated through every fibre of his body as her heady perfume filled his nostrils and his blood pounded through his veins with desire and urgency.

 

He realised he’d been staring far longer than was proper so he forced his gaze away before replying. “I thank you Miss Lucille. You’re looking mighty pretty today.” He realised how foolish he sounded, how immature, but he didn’t care, not now that he was with her.

 

She held out an arm for him to take. “Shall we?” She indicated the pavement leading away from the steps.

He led her from the main street out of the crowds of people, with her humming the tune softly as they went, keeping it fresh in his mind and allowing it to wash over him as her perfume wafted around them.

 

Somehow they arrived outside of the Star Theatre with its grand columned frontage and illuminated marquee advertising the acts due on stage. The ticket office was already open and doing a brisk trade for the evenings show, no doubt another sell out.

 

Lucille nodded to the imposing doorman as they passed through the entrance and into the chaotic whirlwind that was the Star during the day. People rushed to and fro making preparations for the evening’s opening, stocking the bar and cleaning the tables while dancers and performers rehearsed on stage in their brightly coloured showgirl costumes all feathered and sequined. Doves cooed off stage in their cages, resting before their flights at the end of the show while magicians whirled and twirled their wands and staves. Colourful handkerchiefs were being folded precisely for later prestidigitations while musicians tuned their instruments. The place was a riot of colour and sound, all of which assaulted the senses and confounded Quentin, serving to keep his mind occupied while Lucille whispered and conspired with her co-workers.

 

The activity swirled around Quentin and before he knew it he was feeling lightheaded and sat at a table as another drink was pressed into his hands and Lucille muttered non-distinct words at him, urging him to have just one more sip.

 

Quentin watched the bubbles in his drink lazily zig-zag to the top of the glass as his head swam and the lights lowered to blackness all the while the music played inside his head…

 

----

 

As he returned to consciousness the world formed into fuzzy shapes and indistinct voices. His throat felt like it was raw and on fire, his mouth was incredibly dry but something was stopping him from licking his lips, some dry cloth balled into his mouth to silence him.

 

A woman’s voice cut through his panic. “Restrain him.”

 

Was that Lucille?

 

Before he could move or attempt any struggle to escape he felt the pressure of large, rough hands seizing his wrists and ankles, pressing them against the smooth, cold metal beneath him. Panic started to rise, crashing over him like waves at the beach and he began to try and fight his captors. Their grip was too tight and he was too weak to escape.

 

Then he heard the song and the serene calmness that came with it and he relaxed, the fight escaping him like air from a deflating balloon. He knew, deep down, that he should try to fight it, to stop whatever bad thing was about to happen to him and yet he couldn’t shake off the song’s effects.

 

The last thing he remembered, the last thing Quentin would ever see, was Lucille looming over him, singing that song, with a wickedly sharp scalpel and a delicate smile on her face. Then there was a sharp, stinging, burning sensation in the middle of his chest as the tears spilled from the corners of his eyes and the blood pooled around the blade.

 

Still singing, Lucille set to work at disembowelling Quentin’s still warm corpse, readying it for the cache of soul stones to be smuggled back Earthside.

 

----

 

Lucille stood behind the curtain as the music began to swell. The curtains slowly rose as the lights were directed to her, glistening off the ruby sequins of her bodice. As the music rose to a crescendo she started to sing, her voice crystal clear and filling the theatre. She moved slowly, seductively, rolling her hips with each step to enhance the natural curve and grace of her figure, making sure that every eye in the audience was on her. She looked around as she walked, her hypnotic song taking its hold as she searched for the right person, just the right balance between young and naïve, malleable to her needs and new to the city, not too many friends but enough that he will feel encouraged to engage with her.

 

Lucille was just about to give up and return to the stage when she saw him, so similar to Quentin. It was a real shame that she’d had to do what she had, but business was business after all. She locked eyes with him, letting the song and her unique abilities to make that connection she needed. She felt his will melt away and she knew he was hers. An imperceptible nod to the barman made sure his next drink was laced with something; just enough to get him hooked and keep him coming back…

 

----

 

Oliver stood on the steps, idly fumbling with his pocket watch and running his fingers around the collar of his shirt. It was odd, the shirt didn’t quite fit like it used to, but since his arrival in Malifaux two weeks ago he never seemed to have any money left over to buy new clothes.

 

Things hadn’t gone too well for him lately, not since he’d met her.

 

She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Not that he could actually remember the details of what she looked like, just that she was the most intoxicating person around. He couldn’t really recall much about that night at the Star Theatre in general, but her song, that music; it haunted his every waking moment and helped him drift off to sleep at night when he closed his eyes…

 

Words: 1364

Themes used: Person – Courtesan, Item – Music Box (Well, there’s music and he becomes a kind of box…)

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I was worried that when you had added something that it would detract from the story, but I really like the addition. The one thing I would say is that I wouldn't quantify what goes in the drink, just say something like 'that extra little something in his next drink' or whatever, because brilliance has connotations you probably don't want. I know how we discussed before how it is reasonable they could get hold of brilliance, but it might suggest an allegiance to Huggy you weren't intending and basically detracts from the story in my opinion.

 

 But as I said before, everything else is golden.

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