It’s an Interlude, Not a Vacation

Posted: May 18, 2014 by writingsprint in Dubrillion Burning, Science fiction
Tags: , , , , ,

Captain Lord Mansion, Champion room

Captain Lord Mansion, Champion room

Post #26 of the Dubrillion Burning series

Risha smiled and greeted the rest of the staff as she entered the white marble foyer of the house. She counted three women and three men, including a chef, a gardener, and a stablemaster. A crystal chandelier glittered in the afternoon sun. Denive had to stop one of the other staff from asking to take her gear. Risha started to feel self-conscious. Everything else in the house looked elegant.

They started up the grand staircase. Risha was happy to see contemporary sculpture and paintings on the walls. Merritt noticed her smiling. “Are you familiar with Valhoun, or Tafo?” he asked.

“Yes to both. I have a holo book of their work back on the ship. You never showed me your art in the holos you sent?”

“I was afraid you wouldn’t like it. And I wanted you to see the house. We can always change the decorations.”

“Did you pick them?”

“Most of them. My parents’ style was more classical. When they retired to Coruscant, they donated much of their art to museums.”

Risha remembered something. “You sent images of the music room. Is the piano tuned?”

Denive said, “Not since last year. The war, I’m afraid.”

“I’d still like to play it later. I haven’t touched real piano keys in… years.” It had been a dive bar with an old upright piano in the corner, after a successful gig with Raffa and the gang. Risha had played Mantellian drinking songs while the bar got wasted with them.

They turned down a hall to the east wing. Guest rooms lined the hall on either side. Through open doors, she saw through to balconies that overlooked the garden behind the house. A maid and steward stopped cleaning in one room to bow to them. Risha smiled at them like old friends. Her mouth was getting tired, and she really felt more ready to sleep, but she knew she was making first impressions.

They reached the end of the hall. Merritt turned to her. He looked sad.

“What is it?”

“Although we are engaged to each other, traditions must be observed,” he said. He gestured to the door. “This is your room. Mine is the suite on the other side of the house.”

Risha wanted to say What kind of idiot tradition is that? but she caught herself in time. “I’d rather be closer to you. At least then we wouldn’t need to walk across the house to see each other.”

“I’m such a fool. Of course.”

Denive said, “If I may make a suggestion, lady Risha, this room has already been prepared for a bath, and a massage treatment by the house nurse, after your long journey. I believe you’d find them quite refreshing. You could retire to your other room afterwards.”

Another hoop to jump through, but the massage treatment sounded lovely. “All right, then.”

Denive held open the door for her. Looking into the room alone took her breath away. Walking into it felt like stepping into a dream.

The suite was almost the size of all the living and work spaces in the Whiskey Comet, combined. Her durasteel-lined boots sank into a carpet so plush that her feet seemed to float. There was no opposite wall. It opened onto a balcony that overlooked a valley of sun-kissed clouds and woods that stretched for miles. Risha noticed force field projectors that would keep out the weather.

Denive gestured to her left. “Your bathroom is this way,” he said. She could hear running water. Her armor felt sweaty and gritty on her as she walked in. Her tub was the size of a wading pool. A light touch of steam floated up from it. To her left, water ran down a sculpture made to look like a painting of a beautiful woman drying her hair after bathing in a stream. Denive opened the door to another room across from the bath. She heard him talking about a sauna. She barely heard him. At that moment, Risha wanted nothing more than to dive into the bath and forget the world. Right after that, she thought about her friends who could be bleeding at that very same time.

As they stepped out, Risha said, “Denive, would you give us a moment?”

“Of course, lady Risha.”

As he closed the doors to the suite, Merritt said, “It’s no trouble at all to move your things—”

“It’s not that. All I can think about is the battlefield we just left behind.” She held out her hands. “This is a dream come true, but there are people dying for us who can’t take three days to relax in a marble tub!”

“We’re here to end the war…”

“I know that. And we’re going to.” She held his hands in hers. Tightly. Risha looked at him with the same look she would have given her friends on the Comet before they went to fight. “No politicking. No… bullshit. We’re going to lay out the end game.”

So at this point I have to ask myself, would this scene really happen? Would Risha leave the battlefield to sit down with the nobles to wrap this thing up? It’s hard to imagine it happening when they’re in the thick of things, but Risha isn’t just a commander in the field, either. I’m thinking that more than likely, it would not happen. That doesn’t mean that I can’t get to know Risha and Merritt in the meantime.

Photo credit: Captain Lord Mansion bed and breakfast; Kennebunkport, ME; Champion room. Notice the painting of the woman by the door? That’s the inspiration for the sculpture I described 🙂 .

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Comments
  1. A.D. Everard says:

    I would think if Risha had any say and any influence at all, she would indeed be there. If the nobles are going to “wrap things up” then, as royalty, she would be part of that. If she’s their leader, she should be orchestrating it, but even just as a contender, what happens at such meetings would be of great importance to her. There’s only so much one can do on the battlefield – it’s the decisions that are made that are important, and most of those happen at headquarters, not on the frontline.

    Like

    • When I first conceived the scene, I was thinking that, in World War II soldiers would be allowed to go to Paris or some town away from the battle area as a reprieve from the war. Then I thought that the only thing that could possibly drag Risha away would be a meeting at the high command level.

      I haven’t worked out the specifics, but I see her as leading from the front lines, maybe like Che Guevara, with Merritt acting as her connection to the nobles. At first the nobles see her as a figurehead, but once she establishes herself, she’s so good at it that they want to follow her. This meeting would be something like the Yalta conference, where she simply has to be there.

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