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Runic Blade

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Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« on: August 25, 2014, 11:58:31 pm »
June 2014
Normandy, France


The stone buildings of the idyllic French countryside were centuries old, perhaps even a thousand or more years old – Antonio didn't know.  They seemed to be as old as the rocks from which they had been made.  Rather than being solely human structures, they had become part of nature.  Climbing plants had made them their home, as much so as the hills and cliffs surrounding them.

Gray storm clouds loomed in the distance.  The clouds floated across the sky like frothy waves headed for shore.  The darkened sky flickered with lightening.  Antonio knew that if he didn't get under a roof soon, he'd be soaked.  He ran to a prominent building and entered, hoping that it was the art gallery he'd been looking for.

“Is this the art gallery?” he asked.

“Yes, of course...” answered a gray-haired woman seated at a desk near the entrance.  She didn't look up from the weather map on the laptop computer in front of her.

“I'm a student - an American art student.  I'm here to study the paintings of this region.”

“Well, you've come to the right place”, she said in an annoyed tone.  She kept her focus on the computer, ignoring him.

Antonio spun around, taking a quick look at the numerous paintings hung from the walls and placed on display easels.  By the abstract, symbolic, and splattered canvases, he guessed that this gallery must specialize in modern art.  What he'd actually been asked to research was the historic art of Normandy.

“I was looking for something more representational...  It's for a class assignment.”

“There is some of that old stuff in the attic.   Up the stairs over there.”  She pointed at a narrow staircase and waved dismissively.  “Watch out for spider webs.”

Antonio climbed the creaking stairs and entered the attic.  The attic was hot and dusty.  The gallery might have been an old barn or something like that at some point – it had a long gambrel roof made of heavy timbers, which were visible through the ceiling of the attic.  He wasn't sure whether the woman had been joking about the spider webs, but he wouldn't have been surprised to find one either.  This didn't seem to be a room that many people visited.

Like below, the paintings were on display.  However, the lights in the attic were dim whereas the ones below had been bright.  It was necessary for Antonio to stand in front of each painting, one at a time, in order to see it clearly.  Antonio's professor hadn't given him a specific painting to study – he was just to choose one which appealed to him and study the painter's techniques.  According to the professor, there were some techniques which the “old masters” knew that had been forgotten by contemporary painters.

Antonio meandered from one painting to another.  There were the usual seascapes and landscapes.  One of the paintings even had a resemblance to the village he was in.  Antonio sighed.  While such paintings were technically impressive, he was hoping for something more interesting.  How many times did people from the past have to portray scenes from the Bible, he wondered, after viewing the third painting portraying angels.  That, and Greek mythology, apparently were the most popular themes of the past.

He was about to give up his search when he reached the end of the attic.  The last painting on display was quite different from the others.  There was something about it... he wasn't sure what it was exactly.  It took his breath away.  He was overcome with a feeling of serenity.  He blinked and turned to walk away.  Surely this painting was no different than the others.  He guessed that he must have been tired and imagining things.

However, he only made it a few steps before he felt called back to the painting.  There really was something different about it.  He moved closer, so that his nose was only a foot away from the canvas.  It seemed an ordinary painting, but when he backed up to get the full view of the scene he felt the same tranquility as before.

The painting portrayed a beautiful young woman gazing into a reflective pond.  She was dressed in violet with shawl draped over her shoulders.  Behind her, and surrounding the pond, were aspen trees which gave way to hills in the distance.  It was autumn and golden leaves lined the grassy path upon which she walked.

Antonio, quite unexpectedly, felt love for the woman.

Beginning to doubt his own sanity, Antonio tried to remember if he knew anyone similar to this woman.  Perhaps she looked like an old girlfriend of his?  Maybe someone from high school or some other time in his childhood?  As much as he thought about it, no one from his life came to mind.  The woman was a redhead, and he'd only been attracted to a couple of those in his life.  The woman in the painting didn't look like any of those.

There was a creak and Antonio glanced in the direction it came from.  He saw the gallery owner emerge from the staircase.  Despite her age, she didn't seem to have any trouble climbing the stairs.

“Need help?” she asked.

“Could you tell me about this painting?”

The women reached for her glasses and made her way towards him.  After putting on her glasses she nodded in recognition.

“Ah, yes, that is by some obscure artist... Kowalsky, I think, was his name.”

“Polish artist?  Russian?”

She shrugged.  “I don't know, but he lived here in France.  We've had this painting on display for quite a while.  The owner is asking 100,000 Euro for it.”

“Oh, I wasn't asking to buy it.  I don't have that kind of money – I'm just a student.  I just want to examine it.”

She raised a brow, her forehead wrinkling.

“Are you sure?  There are many others here which are better – such as this one, titled 'The Descent of the Angels.'”  The woman motioned to another painting nearby.  It depicted winged men flying out of a cloud.

“No, this is one is the one I want to study,” Antonio said.  “I'm certain.”

The woman in the painting seemed to smile momentarily.


July 2014
Paris, France


Antonio took turns between studying the painting and learning painting techniques.  Although, as an art student, Antonio had painted before, his skills were lacking.  His paintings were not nearly as good as those of the artist who had created the painting.  The gallery owner told him the painting had didn't have a name, so he'd made one up: “Autumn by the Lake.”  He continued to analyze it, noting every detail on a sketchpad he took with him to the gallery.

He had looked at the painting so many times that he'd begun to have dreams about it.  Dreams in which he spoke to and met the woman in the painting.  It seemed absurd, but he felt like he was becoming closer to her.  He contemplated that perhaps, somehow, he could travel back in time to meet her.  The question of course was how one travels through time.

Believing that the Physics department of his University might have answers, he called some of the faculty there and explained his problem.  They told him many things which just left him feeling more confused.  They spoke of quantum mechanics, the speed of light, wave-particle duality, and many other topics which baffled him.  There was a reason why he was studying art and not math.  The physics professor couldn't help Antonio if he couldn't grasp the math formulas.

It was suggested to him that he perhaps he needed something more than science could offer – something mystical or paranormal.  Besides, time travel wasn't considered a serious possibility by science.  If he wanted to continue believing that he could travel back in time to meet the woman depicted in the painting, he wasn't going to find his answers in the Physics department.

Runic Blade

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 09:58:52 pm »
August 2014
Rouen, France


The New Age colony was housed in an abandoned two-story brick building and had spread to the neighboring empty lot, where the inhabitants had planted a garden.  The building had once been an office, but was now run down and derelict.  Graffiti art was sprayed on the walls and some of the windows were broken.  The broken windows had been covered with plywood.  It was in this humble location that the 'Children of Light' lived.

The Children of Light were a group of hippies and spiritual seekers of all ages and races.  They followed a leader who called himself Brother Jean.  Brother Jean (pronounced 'John') and his followers were Pacifists who lived on a strict vegan diet and were dedicated to helping the community.  Despite the fact that they were squatters in the building, the city had made no efforts to evict them from the building.  Perhaps it was because they were peaceful, rather than the drug dealers or gang members who usually inhabited abandoned buildings.

It was here that Antonio ended up after spending weeks researching paranormal groups who dealt with time travel.  It was said that Brother Jean himself was the descendant of an Egyptian Prince and had traveled thousands of years into the future to set up a new religion dedicated to the old religions which had been forgotten.  Antonio had a hard time believing that story, but he was ready to try anything to meet the woman in the painting.

Antonio met Brother Jean and sat listening as the man expounded his spiritual beliefs.  Jean was a dark-skinned man who had dreadlocks in the style of a “rasta.”  He took puffs on a pipe between sentences.  The substance he smoked definitely wasn't tobacco.  Antonio didn't know what it was, but it made him feel more at ease when he inhaled the second-hand fumes.

After enduring an extensive lecture about the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Antonio decided to find out what he was really there for.

“What you've told me is fascinating.  But what I really want to know is how to time travel.  I found a painting of a woman – the most beautiful woman I have ever seen – you know – and I want to go back to her time to be with her.”

Jean nodded and smiled.  “Ah, the allure of a femme fatale.  I know it well.”

Antonio replied, “Well, she's more like a muse.  But, yeah, you get the idea.  I am not sure if I will ever be able to love another woman after seeing this one.  The problem is that she lived during the Renaissance.  She's dead now and I must find a way to go back to her time.”

Jean's eyes glazed over and he seemed to be communing with a distant spirit.  Or perhaps he was merely lost in a daydream.  After a few minutes he took several deep breaths and focused back on Antonio.

“The ancient shamans told time by the phases of the moon.  It is said that one who wishes to travel in time must become the time.  In other words, you must act and dress like the people of the time you wish to be part of – under the full moon.  Only then will you be guided by the fates to the realm of your desire.”

Antonio said, “Well, I already am a painter.  So, basically what you are saying is that I should dress and act like a painter from the Renaissance.  And that if I do this under a full moon, I will be able to visit the woman of my inspiration?”

“Yes, exactly,” said Jean.  “It will also help if you decorate the room in the furniture of the past and paint the same picture that you are so infatuated with.  You should have no object near you that could remind you of modern times.”

“And this is what you did to travel through time, Brother Jean?”

“The process for traveling from the past to the future is different, but yes, more or less.”

Antonio thanked the man for his wisdom and left.



Antonio was highly skeptical of Brother Jean's instructions, but he didn't have anything else to go on.  It was this or nothing, and he was determined to meet the woman from the painting. 

It was easy to find old furniture in France.  Antonio rented or borrowed everything he needed to convert his hotel room into a Renaissance painter's studio.  He donned a painter's smock of the style a Renaissance painter and even limited his palette to the pigments that would have been available at the time the painting was created.  With the most intense focus he could muster,  he set about making a copy of the painting under the light of the full moon...

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014, 03:02:01 am »
September 1, 1592

Duchess Gabrielle Habsburg of Burgundy found herself being painted not at night, but under a too-warm autumn sun. It was not how she wished to spend her day at all, but here she was, pressed into a too-tight bodice in a too-heavy dress. Adding to that was the white shawl which only increased the temperature. If she didn’t have so much practice in these terrible things, she would have certainly fainted by now.

‘At least the pond helps.’
Or so she imagined whenever the breeze came, and seemed to blow specks of water onto her face. She managed a content smile as she looked into that pond, rather than at the painter who was painting her.

Her father had paid for this. He had found a good suitor for her, but the man was in Spain—too far to meet without any guarantees (or so her father claimed—she didn’t think it all that far). So, a painting was to be made, so that the Spaniard could judge her on her looks.
‘Because that is what matters.’

Gabrielle was an educated woman. Her status as a Duchess lent to it. She was expected to take over the household of the man she married, and that required a certain cleverness that too many women were lacking. Not to mention with all the servants about, she didn’t have much work of her own to do, and so she pursued hobbies.

The Spaniard wouldn’t care about her hobbies. He cared about her looks, and the benefits of marrying into this family. They were wealthy, after all, and had quite a bit of land in France. The Spaniard could promise them much so far as connections to trade networks, and political influence in Spain. The man was not as rich, but he was of an old, and devout Catholic family, that had strong ties to the Spanish monarchy.

A sigh escaped her as she briefly considered that. Her brother was off to war because of their faith, and while she believed in what he was doing, she worried for him. The Huguenots had risen up and were trying to corrupt the world to their wrong beliefs. Unfortunately, that also set them at odds with the King, another reason her father wanted her to be married off to a Spaniard. If they needed to, they could flee France.

Such thoughts caused the smile to vanish, and when she recognized this, she quickly put one back on her face and turned her violet eyes towards the painter. It had been one of her sisters who told her to wear the violet to make her eyes show more, though she had wanted to wear one of her cream dresses. She lifted her hand to brush a bit of blonde hair back behind her ear once again. The wind had blown it out of place,
“Will you soon be done?” She tried not to sound impatient as she asked him, but couldn’t help it.

It had been hours.

Runic Blade

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2014, 10:33:28 pm »
The sensation of being in a free fall was how time travel manifested itself to Antonio.  He only realized this after the fact, of course (or before the fact, depending on your point of view).

His paintbrush made the final finishing touches on his copy of the painting of the woman.  He stepped back and smiled at his workmanship.  Suddenly, it seemed as though he had broken loose through the floor and was falling.  In a panic, he did the only thing he knew to do, which was to close his eyes and wish for the best.  When he reopened his eyes he found himself in another world.

He was now under sunlight instead of the moonlight, and he was still facing an easel, but this time the work was less complete than the one he had just been looking at in his hotel room.  He was still holding an palette, but the paint colors on it were in a different order than what he normally used.  Peering around the edge of the canvas, he noticed a woman who was roughly similar to the one in his painting, but somewhat less pretty.

Immediately noticeable was that her hair color had changed and her violet eyes seemed to sparkle with an intelligence that he hadn't noticed in the painting he'd fallen in love with.  This woman was looking directly at him.  The woman in the painting had been looking into the water, not at him.  She also seemed to have a less statuesque figure, more plain in appearance.  However, she was at least still wearing the same clothes.  Unlike the Greek goddess image he'd fallen in love with, he didn't feel attracted to the real woman posing in front of him.  Quite honestly, she was just some ordinary woman.

“Will you soon be done?” she asked.

Antonio looked to the right and left of him.  He then realized that she must have been talking to him.  What was the painter's name in this time, anyway?  Oh, yes, it was Leopold.

“Uhhhh... yes,” he said through the mouth of Leopold.  “almost done.”  It was a weird sensation -- the man's lips were thicker than his.

Taking a quick glance at the painting in front of him, he noticed that it was more of a rough outline than a completed work.  It needed many more details and layers.  Paintings like this took days or weeks to create, not hours.  “On second thought, we still have a long way to go...” he managed to say, in his modern French.

This was a problem he hadn't expected.  He had never considered the possibility that the real life woman might not be quite as attractive as the one in the painting.  Of course, painters often “improved” their paintings of their subjects, even in 2014, but the thought hadn't crossed his mind that a painter from the past would have changed the model's appearance.

A horse neighed and stomped its foot.  Behind him was the carriage which must have brought him and the woman to this place.  Of course, as he recalled, there were no cars or trains in this time.  Unfortunately, he didn't have the slightest clue of how to “drive” a horse.

He also wondered: Did people of this time have showers?  Bathtubs?  Hot water?  What about pizza, his favorite food?  What did people eat here?  Wild game?  Also, they surely didn't have TV, radio, or internet...  These thoughts flashed through his head and he began to feel dizzy and nauseous.

“Oh my God, I'm so fucked!” he shouted as he threw the paintbrush on the ground.  He sat on a nearby rock and held his head in his hands.  The sun beat down on him and sweat trickled down his chest.  His armpits were already damp.  His shirt was uncomfortable and thick – made out of wool or something.

“I'm sorry,” he said, looking up at the woman.  “I've just done a terrible thing.”

How could he explain to this woman what he'd done?  He didn't even know where to start or what her name was.  Well, his mother had told him once that honesty was the best policy – whatever that meant.

What had seemed like a great idea – traveling through time to meet a beautiful woman – had turned out to be a nightmare now that he'd realized the consequences.  Especially the woman – now there was the biggest disappointment!  On top of all those problems, he wasn't sure if he could still go back to his own time.

He took a deep breath and spoke as calmly as he could.

“I have something to confess: I traveled here from the future!”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2014, 12:23:47 am »
At first, it was nearly done, and then seconds later it was going to take a while. She let out a huff, but resigned herself to it. Her father had said it might take days, though she hadn’t believed it could take this long. Of course, she did not personally practice that art. ‘You are speaking strangely.’ Not just different. She would not have been able to recognize different, for she had not known the painter very long, but there was something off about his French. The accent was all wrong, and the words—she understood them, but they were not typical. “Very well,” she answered coolly and let her gaze return to the water.

It would be so much more fun to be doing anything else. The absolute nothingness was draining her. How did anyone put up with this? Who thought this a good way to spend a day?

As those thoughts were playing through her head, the man threw down his paintbrush and made such a strange exclamation.
‘Did my father hire a poor painter?’ He’d be ‘fucked’ indeed if he did not do his job.

The woman lifted her skirts and walked towards him, making sure her route took her around the painting itself so she could see if that was, indeed, the issue. A glance at it told her that there was a while ago, but it did not appear bad.
‘Not that there is any detail to it.’ She was quite certain it was already embellished, and mentally she sighed. Her future husband certainly knew how these things worked, but she couldn’t help but wonder. Men certainly knew the lengths women went to in order to appear beautiful anyway—the bloody corsets, for one, and all the make-up as well.

He was sitting on a rock, and he apologized to her once she stood before him.
“What have you done?” She inquired after a moment, truly taking in his accent. It was so strange. The ‘r’s did not sound right at all.

He confessed it, and it caused her to cant her head, and then to chuckle,
“Forgive me,” she immediately tried to silence her own laughter, but the smile remained, unwilling to remove itself and cease mocking the mad man before her. “Your story is…well, farfetched, Leopold. You have been here years, certainly.” He had to have some sort of reputation to be hired, after all. “Why now does this bother you?” What was he playing at? Gabrielle did not understand the reason for the outburst now, or even where it came from, but imagined she would get more answers by inquiring, then with simple disbelief.

Not that the disbelief was absent. It showed quite clearly in the quirk of her lips.


Runic Blade

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2014, 11:47:58 pm »
Antonio-in-the-body-of-Leopold said, “Yes, I suppose this body has been here for quite some time.”  He thumped his chest with his fist.  “But I've just arrived.  I – meaning - the person inside the body of Leopold.  My real name is Antonio.  What's your name?”

He was certain that this explanation wouldn't sound believable.  He tried to come up with something that might seem more realistic, but his mind failed to form another explanation.  Also, he didn't like being dishonest, even with strangers.

He laughed - a short, curt laugh.  “Well, really it is your fault that I'm here!”

“In my time, in the year 2014, I found the painting of you hidden away in storage.  I was spellbound by the portrayal of your apparent beauty.  I… uh... fell in love with your portrait and... uhm, wanted to come back in time to meet you.  I mean, in 2014 it seemed like I couldn't live without you and that I'd never love another woman.”

Antonio waved his hand in dismissal at the half-completed painting.  He frowned.  Had he really felt such a romantic attraction just a few minutes ago – before the time travel?  Was he so superficial that he only judged women by their looks?  Well, so it seemed.  Maybe it had been more like “lust” than “love.”  He'd really gone out of his depth this time though.

“I don't mean to be rude, but, … well, I guess I thought you'd look a bit different.  That's not to say that there is anything wrong with how you look, but I'm just a little confused about what I'm feeling right now.

“So, I guess I'm stuck here, in your time, until I find out how to get back home.  That is my situation.”

He looked at her and then at the unfinished painting near her.

“I actually am a painter though – so I might as well finish the painting if you want me to.  Or, if you want to take me back to your castle or wherever you live, that's okay too.  I'm totally lost here.”

He hoped that it was the castle he'd be living in, and not the dungeon.

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2014, 02:14:14 am »
Leopold had lost his mind. It was certainly the only answer to this, “I am Gabrielle Habsburg, Duchess of Burgundy,” she introduced herself, figuring he needed all of it to remember who she was. ‘Leopold, what happened to you?’

He then blamed her for being here, and her cheeks went scarlet as he explained himself. Apparently her portrait did herself quite a disservice, as he noted that at first he fell in love, but his continued ramblings suggested she was not all that her painting showed her to be. How disappointed would her husband-to-be end up being then?


‘Remember, he can’t know this. He can’t be this Antonio. He’s…mad.’


“You are a…very passionate man, Antonio,”
she was speaking carefully. How deep his madness went was uncertain. He might become violent if he wasn’t believed. She’d never heard of a case so severe as this, but she had heard of what crazy people did when no one listened to them. “But you should be blaming yourself,” she motioned to the painting, “If what you say is true, you will see that painting is not done. You fool yourself into coming here.”

She did consider that thought as reality only briefly. How strange it would be if it were true, and he painted the portrait that way in order to bring himself to this time.
‘It can’t be real!’ But it was so very fascinating to consider, all the same.

 “But you can finish that painting later. We have been out here hours—or at least I have, and it will be dusk soon.”
Again, her hands went to the skirts and she lifted them to walk, giving a whistle.

Returning there, and letting Leopold rest, might help his sanity. Perhaps he was just sick.

Leopold hadn’t driven them here, of course. He was a painter, not a carriage driver. The driver was not far off, fortunately, and returned to them shortly to return them to the home the Duchess resided in. It would not be a castle, but it may as well have been considering it acted as a fort in times of war, and there was quite a society just outside the walls.


Runic Blade

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2014, 10:40:18 pm »
Antonio was resting on a bed in a guest room in the Duchess's home.  The walls were made of stone and broad oak beams supported a sturdy ceiling overhead.  It might have not been a castle, but it was well built.  Tapestries hung on the walls and a torch flickered with orange flame, providing dim light.  A slight breeze brought in the cooler air of evening via an open window.  The sheets were clean, the room was tidy, and the floor was covered with fresh straw.  He felt privileged in this room after seeing the living conditions of some of the peasants he had passed on the way to the Duchess's home.

Duchess Habsburg was certainly kinder than he expected.  He would have thought that someone with a title like “Duchess” would be haughty.  It didn't seem like a Duchess should speak to a lowly painter like himself.  It surprised Antonio that she rode in the same carriage as him.

There was not much to do in the bedroom.  Without his phone, television, or computer to distract him, Antonio felt lost and bored.  People in the 21st century had many more distractions, he realized.  There weren't even books in this room.  Had the printing press been invented yet?  He didn't know.

I must find something to do with myself, he thought.  Antonio sat up in bed.  He was hungry.  Perhaps he should invite the Duchess to dinner.  Where, though, that one went to eat dinner in this mansion he wasn't sure.

Stepping out into the corridor, he looked about.  There were servants passing by on their errands.  Since the place was lit with torches and lanterns, it was rather dark in most rooms.  Antonio asked the first servant who walked past him, “Where is the kitchen?”

The man looked him up and down.  He squinted suspiciously.  “Who are you?  I don't recognize you.”

“I'm Leopold, the painter.”

“A painter, wandering around the Duchess's home?!”  He frowned in disapproval.  “Go back to your chamber!  Guests cannot explore the Duchess's home without her permission.”

Antonio shrugged and went back into his room.  He waited.  When the man's footsteps ceased echoing in the hallway, he left his bedchamber again.  The servant he'd just spoken to was no longer in sight.

Antonio strolled down the corridor again, peeping into rooms as he passed them, trying to find one that might have some food in it.  This time, however, he just kept walking and didn't look into the eyes of any of the servants as they passed him.  He figured that if he acted like he belonged there, they wouldn't question him.

Eventually, he found the kitchen.  Right next to the kitchen entrance was wooden table with a stack of french bread and a plate of fish on it.  There was a pang of hunger in Antonio's stomach, but he kept walking until he was just past the entrance.  Slipping into the shadows, he waited until the cook left the kitchen.

It didn't take long.  As soon the cook moved from the kitchen into an adjoining room, Antonio grabbed one of the long, unsliced loaves of french bread and the plate of fish.  He stuffed the loaf under his arm and held the plate in front of him.  He jogged through the corridor, back towards his room, careful not to spill his dinner.

Unfortunately, the servant whom he'd ask earlier for directions was coming back in the opposite direction.  When he saw Antonio, he shouted, “Guards!   Thief!!  Come quick!”

Antonio swore and brushed past the servant.  However, he hadn't escaped.  He could hear the heavy thud of doors opening and closing as the Duchess's guards searched for him.  Then he heard the ring of swords being drawn.  As he rounded a corner of the passage, he almost collided with a guard.  The man pushed him back against the wall, knocking the plate of fish on the floor.  The guard stuck the tip of his sword against Antonio's chin, pinning him in place.

“A serf stealing from the kitchen I see...” the guard hissed.  “The duchess will certainly hear of this!”

Antonio spoke, although the tip of the guard's sword poked him as he moved his jaw.  “It's just a misunderstanding.  I'm a guest – a painter – here to paint the duchess's portrait.  I just got lost in this house and was hungry, that's all!”

The guard laughed.  “Let's hear what the Duchess has to say to your ridiculous story, you ignorant fool!”

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 01:53:36 am »
“What do you mean, he’s gone hunting?”

The distraction of this caused Gabrielle to pay little attention to her guest, other than to be sure he was shown to a room.

It was the notice that Gabrielle was left with upon arriving back at the manor. Her father and some of the local lords had left on a hunting trip. Considering her mother had passed a year ago, and her brother was off at war, this left Gabrielle in charge of things. While she already had control of the household (it had been her mother’s job) she was still not used to the ‘weight’ of being in charge of everything for a few days. She had the surrounding area to answer to, and so she was briefed quickly on the situation. It was the harvest season, and so there were various complaints about where the food was going, how much was being taken out as ‘taxes’, and other such things.

She was flustered by the time all of it was gone through, knowing she’d actually have to deal with it tomorrow. 

She took notes, though, to be sure she could prepare for tomorrow. She would deal with the complaints in her father's stead, and any other business of the area. Something about a harvest festival was brought out, which her father usually allowed to occur each year. There would be the issue of managing the traders that came in, though.

There would be no large dinner made, and so Gabrielle asked for it to be brought up to her room later that evening. The guest was all but forgotten when someone knocked rather loudly at her door. She had dressed down from the layers and so she answered the door in little more than her long chemise and shawl.
“Yes?” She inquired of the guard who had looked politely away from her.

“Duchess, there was a thief in the kitchens who claims to be a guest in the house. I was told of no guests.”


‘Father….’ Rather than scold the guard outright for the brutish behavior, she said, “Let me get dressed. We do have a guest in the household, but it may indeed be a thief trying to play that card.” With that, she shut the door and threw on one of her one-piece dresses. She had a few of these, though they were going out of style. The embroidery was immaculate on the black fabric, though. It paired well with golden jewelry, which was one of the reasons she didn’t just discard them.

That, and the ease of wear, of course.

She pinned her hair back quickly, and then stepped out. The guard offered his arm and led her towards the ‘throne’ room, as her father liked to call it. It was where he conducted business with the various people he ruled over, and though no king, he liked to pretend. He certainly had a decorative chair, and a few nearby for his son and the local lords, and even her.

As Gabrielle expected, the man who had been brought there was the painter, Leopold.
‘Antonio.’ Which name ought she to use in public? Certainly the name her father knew him by. This was going to get complicated.

“This serf was stealing from the kitchens, Lady Habsburg.”


“That serf is the painter Leopold,”
Gabrielle corrected the assumption, not bothering to walk to the chair but instead walked the stone floor to come closer to the guard and the ‘prisoner’. It wouldn’t have been advisable if the man were dangerous, but Gabrielle hoped he wouldn’t do anything foolish. It seemed they didn’t have him in chains yet, they kept him threatened with swords drawn. “My father hired him to paint a portrait to send to the Duke of Escalona. He was negligent in informing you, it seems.” And negligent of his own duties.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2014, 10:07:56 pm »
Antonio was taken by the guards to a meeting room with a red carpet and what he guessed was a throne.  It was just like a scene out of a fantasy movie like Lord of the Rings.  He breathed a sigh of relief when Lady Habsburg arrived.  If she had been out, then he probably would have been in more trouble since no one besides she and her father seemed to know who he was.  He noticed that she had changed clothes – it certainly implied her family was wealthy based on the style of her clothes compared to those of other people.

“I'm sorry for the interruption, milady.  I was just hungry... and bored.”

He thought to complain about missing his phone and laptop computer, but reconsidered.  It seemed unwise to let the guards or anyone else besides Gabrielle know about his time traveling.  In a way, it was to his advantage that no one here knew Leopold.  If Leopold the painter had associates then they might have realized that 'he' was someone else.

“Would you mind having dinner with me?” he asked.  “I'd enjoy having some intelligent conversation and I'm quite hungry.”

Before she could answer, he raised his index finger as though he suddenly had a thought.  What was it these people did for fun?  A game of darts or archery maybe?  Dancing?

“Or perhaps there is a festival or dance in town.  I would enjoy some entertainment as well!  Hopefully I am not asking too much, milady.”

Antonio bowed as the last words left his mouth.  He didn't know if bowing was the correct custom, but he guessed it would be appropriate for the time.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2014, 12:01:08 am »
Hungry and bored. Perhaps those were expected complaints. If no one knew he was here, he wouldn’t be fed. It would explain the stealing from the kitchen. ‘There are better ways to go about this.’ She almost chewed on her bottom lip, but caught herself just as the tooth grazed it. Bad habit of hers, when she drifted off to thought.

The painter proposed having dinner, and Gabrielle watched the guard at her side rile. Had he been a cat, his ears would have been laid back. It did not matter that he was a guest, this was a common man asking a noble woman to have dinner. When he spoke of entertainment, the guard declared,
“Going out on the town is not—”

“—a bad idea,”
Gabrielle interrupted. “There is to be a harvest festival in a little while, not this evening but in the near future. Does my father not say it is good to know the people who serve you?” Gabrielle asked the guard.

“They serve your father, Duchess, and though by extension that means you I would not wish you to go unaccompanied into the town.”
He didn’t like the rabble, as he called them.

“Then come along, Michael. It has been a while since you have been out, I fear you no longer know the sound of music.”


He scowled. He didn’t like what passed for ‘music’ outside of the manor.
“Very well.” He would come. It was his duty to protect the household and its residents, and at the moment she was the most important resident. Her father would, quite literally, have his head if anything happened to Gabrielle. “Let me prepare myself. We are not staying out late.” He barked the last bit, harsher than he intended, and strode out of the room.

Gabrielle gave Antonio-Leopold a once over, then looked to another guard,
“Would you please escort him back to his room, and then here? He needs to change as well for the outing, and he does not know his way around yet.” It would explain the need for an escort, in case Antonio was concerned about the request. “I will wait here.” 

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2014, 02:42:51 am »
Antonio went back to his room with the guard.  He was still wearing a full-length artist's smock from earlier in the day.  It was basically a white overcoat.  Leopold must have used the same one for years, because it had paint stains all over it.  It was truly inappropriate for a dinner with a noble lady.  He removed the paint-splattered coat and tossed it on the floor.  He stripped down to his underclothes, which were made of white linen, and changed out of those to a clean set which he found in the dresser.

Meanwhile, the guard had left the room to find something for Antonio to wear.  He was dismayed with what the man returned with.  It was a black velvet robe with a high collar, hose, and shoes with pointed toes.  To top it off was a hat with a feather in it.

“Those clothes are ridiculous!  Could't you find something that is a little more... sedate?” he asked the guard.

The man wrinkled his brow and scoffed, “A painter should be dressed in rags.  Consider yourself fortunate to wear this!  These clothes were made by our most skilled tailor, Giles.  The Lady Habsburg should not be seen outside with a man who is poorly attired.”

Antonio sighed and put on the clothes.  He felt like he was an actor in a Shakespeare performance.  If my friends from 2014 could see this, they'd never believe it was me, he thought.  In 2014, his usual clothes were a t-shirt and jeans.  However, besides the hose causing the hairs on his legs to itch, the clothing wasn't uncomfortable.  It seemed to fit.

He returned to the throne room with the guard tagging along behind him.  Gabrielle was there waiting, and next to her was the obnoxious guard Michael.  The man sneered at Antonio.  “Leopold, it took you so long to return that we thought you'd gotten lost!”

“Sorry,” Antonio said, “I just wanted to be sure to be appropriately dressed for the event.”

Antonio had actually wanted the dinner to be in private.  He wanted to spend time with Gabrielle – alone.  Having the house guard chaperoning them was going to be tedious.  There must be some way to lose the guard, or to get him drunk, or something like that.

He turned to face Gabrielle.  “Did you have any particular place in mind for us to visit?  Perhaps Michael could tend to the horses while we eat.”

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2014, 12:38:48 am »
Michael refused to be cordial. Gabrielle was used to this behavior, but it never lessened how bothersome it was. She had learned to bite her tongue. Michael was not hired for his wits, her father often said, but for his intelligence and his skill with a sword. That could not be argued. Though he lacked in the realm of social skills, he did not lack in intelligence, and Gabrielle had witnessed her brother spar against him and get thrown to his butt on many occasions.

So, she would bear it, though it seemed Michael and Leopold.
‘Antonio.’ Might come to blows by the end of the night, particularly if the liquor flowed.

“One place in particular,” Gabrielle noted, “There’s little need of horses,” though perhaps Antonio would think otherwise. She was accustomed to walking. Saddling a horse for riding in a dress, and then doing it, was always frustrating. She could only wear pants when out riding in her father’s yard. To do so in town would be inappropriate. Having a carriage prepared would just be a waste of time, as well. “It is just within the town outside the walls, an inn known as the Duke’s Spoon.” All inns had a lobby where food was often served to those staying. They provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though always at a cost.

Michael groaned at the name of the place. Gabrielle consoled,
“You need not eat with us, you may stay at the counter. You only need to ensure that no trouble comes our way. You may speak and eat with whomever you like there.” He would find it boring otherwise. Despite how antagonistic he could be, Gabrielle doubted he enjoyed it.

Freed up, he might even get involved in a game of skittles. Perhaps even Antonio would find it to his liking. She knew skittles was often played at the Duke’s Spoon, partially because her father so loved it.

Michael made no comment as to how he would lean that evening, and Gabrielle offered her arm to Antonio. He wouldn’t know the way, and might wander off at the slightest distraction, considering how ‘new’ everything was to him in his current state. 


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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2014, 10:33:30 pm »
Antonio allowed himself to be led to the inn by Gabrielle but he had to stop a few times to just look at things going on around him.  The village around Gabrielle's home was alive with activity, even at this late hour of the day.  Men repairing a bridge, a butcher slaughtering a hog, and a leather-worker making a saddle were some of the things he saw.  He kept stopping to stare at the sights.  Gabrielle tugged his arm to keep him moving, but he couldn't help himself.  It was like a living history museum.

They arrived at the Duke's Spoon.  Michael stood guard at the counter while Antonio and Gabrielle found a table.  Each table had a lantern in the center.  The table surface was a rough, knotty wood, notched with the blade of knives.  Someone had carved a tic-tac-toe board on Antonio's side of the table.

The patrons of the inn were in a jovial mood.  One man plucked at a harp while three others would occasionally sing along with it.  The music wasn't anything Antonio recognized, but the men were tipsy so they might have just been making up the lyrics as they sung.  Another group of men and women were gathered around a table upon where they were playing a game which apparently involved knocking over some small bowling pins.  Antonio wasn't familiar with the game but the people were certainly enjoying themselves.

“A mug of ale for you, sir”, said the waiter as he approached the table.  He slammed a wooden ale mug on the table in front of Antonio.  Some of the liquid sloshed out over the rim.  “And a glass of our finest wine for you, milady.”  He carefully placed a delicate crystal wine glass in front of the Duchess.

“I'll come back for your orders.  The dinner for tonight is pork roast and beans – for you, sir.  For the lady, well...!  It is not often we have such a distinguished guest.  She can order whatever she wants and we'll make it.”  The waiter bowed to Gabrielle and returned to the counter.  The place smelled of roast pork and baked beans, which apparently was the meal for the day.  There was a kitchen in the back of the room where the waiter picked up the orders.

Antonio smirked.  There seemed to be some discrimination in favor of the nobility.  He raised his mug and managed to gulp down some of the ale.  It was watery and foul tasting.  He placed the mug back on the table, pushing it off to the side so he would remember not to drink any more until he got some food in his stomach.

This place was so different from his own time.  It seemed like he was stuck on the set of a movie, but he was the only actor there.  Everyone else was actually living it.  He'd expected to dislike the village, but it had its own charm which he could not really place his finger on.  Everybody here seemed to trust each other.  Maybe everyone in this village had grown up together.  Antonio felt himself relaxing, although that may have been the alcohol taking effect.

Antonio gazed into the Duchess's eyes.  In the light of the inn, she was attractive.

“This is a strange experience,” he said.  “You'd never imagine how different this time is from my own.”  His eyes glazed over and his look became somber.  “The future is not a nice place, I'm sorry to say.”

He then smiled.  “I think I will stay in your time, not that I know how to return to my own time anyway.”

“But I will need something to do.  I can't just live off of your kindness forever.  I must complete your painting.  But then what?  I don't know of anything in your time.  I don't know how to function in this world.  But perhaps I can be of some assistance to your father's household.  Tell me more about the painting I'm making and what it is for.  Perhaps then I can help your family in some way beyond just painting a portrait.”

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2014, 10:09:51 pm »
Antonio played up his part as someone from the future well, convincingly, almost. He stopped to gawk at things, and Gabrielle had to continue to pressure him to come along. He was more surprised than even a child, more curious, at the things that were going on around him. It was strange. ‘Could he have had a very vivid dream?’ She wondered. She had not seen him hit his head. He had not partook of any drink that she saw, nor any substances that would alter his ability to think.

Could he be telling the truth?

They entered the Duke’s Spoon, made obvious not by words but by the depiction of the golden spoon on the sign. Not everyone was literate, after all.

There was music and game going on about them. Gabrielle expected it would be overwhelming for Antonio, so she made her way towards a quieter corner so he could take it all in at his own pace. Michael left them then, to the counter where he could keep his eyes and ears on everything, and also enjoy company that was more in tune with his mood.

Shortly after they sat down, they were greeted. The woman’s eyes narrowed on the pint of ale for the way it was slammed down. Anger boiled within. This was an insult to her, this play at power, this demeaning of her guest, or such was how she took it. Never had she seen her father and his men treated so poorly. Words caught in her throat at first, too shocked to speak to the man while he was there and giving off a listing of what was available.
‘I did not even order this wine.’

The bow did not make her smile.

She inhaled, and folded her hands calmly in her lap, not yet sipping at the wine, not wanting her mood to leave her.

The man sitting before her caught her eye, and she returned his gaze, finding it strange how he could sit there and just look her right in the eye without saying anything for several moments. He spoke eventually, of his future.
“No, I doubt I could imagine it,” imagining the past was difficult enough, back when pyramids were erected and language looked like pictures. She’d heard of the hieroglyphs, though never before seen them. She hadn’t seen pyramids either. The years of superstition evaded true understanding.

 What would the future be like? Not good, apparently.
“Well, Leopold is a painter,” she told him, “You, Antonio, could simply pick up where he left off and be a painter as well. They can make a good living if they are good enough. If you do this painting justice, my father will sing your praises so that you get plenty of work,” it would take him from her, but he had expressed his disappointment earlier, and it was not to be.

She had a fiancé.
“This painting is for a man in Spain that I am to be betrothed to,” she informed him of that. She did not think it necessary to mention the politics of it all, for that was just how marriage was—political. “We have not met before, and likely will not meet before we are to be wed. My father wants to ensure the betrothal goes through, so he wishes to send an image along with my dowry.”

Simple, really. Understandable. It would at least prove that the man was not marrying an ugly woman—average, but a Catholic woman of noble descent. It would help, certainly.

The waiter returned, and Gabrielle straightened her back, former ire not forgotten. Before the man could speak, she addressed him, “Sir,” though she wanted to use ‘sirrah’,
“I would like to know under what circumstances it is appropriate to insult the guest of a distinguished,” she threw his words back at him, “patron, before I decide to order anything.” There was the implication that if his answer displeased her, she would go elsewhere and report the incident to the Duke, who would certainly reconsider how favorably he looked upon this place.

Michael perked up. Even from where he was, he could hear the edge in His Lady's voice.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2014, 09:56:03 pm »
“I am not sure I am as good as Leopold was,” Antonio said in response to Gabrielle's suggestion that he become a painter.

He knew that Renaissance painters were a lot better trained than the artists of 2014.  They were trained as apprentices under a master painter for years before they became masters themselves.  Beginner apprentices would be assigned tasks like mixing pigments and preparing the canvas.  More advanced apprentices would assist the master on by filling in backgrounds and other less detailed areas of the master's paintings.  Only after several years of hard work would they be permitted to create paintings of their own.  By contrast, Antonio had just taken a few classes in painting at his university.  He hadn't received his diploma yet.  However, he was lucky to have gone to a school that emphasized realistic art rather than modernism.  At least he had some training in oil painting.

“Nonetheless, I will do my best by continuing your painting.  For this Spaniard you are to wed, I think it should be quite beautiful to have the right effect on the man.  Extraordinarily beautiful.  Perhaps I will start tomorrow morning.”

Antonio smiled politely, but felt a bit nervous.  Could he really paint as well as Leopold?  He often had trouble judging the quality of his own work.  Well, the painting he had made in 2014 was good enough to send him back in time to meet Gabrielle, so perhaps actually could match Leopold's skills.

He continued, “I can't believe you agreed to marry a man you've never met.  That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.  What will you do if he is a pig, or abusive, or ugly, or something like that?

“If you ask me, the only reason to marry is for love.  Anything else is foolish.”

The waiter returned.  Antonio wasn't actually offended by receiving lower quality food and drink than Lady Habsburg.  He was surprised by Gabrielle's words to the man.  Antonio was used to his own time, where everyone was treated with equal respect (or disrespect) no matter what their social class.

The waiter, who was a Huguenot, replied to Gabrielle, “I do apologize for any misunderstanding, for I am not used to serving such distinguished Catholics in this establishment.”  Although he had not intended it so, the word “Catholics” came out of his mouth with a slight sarcastic tone.

Michael overheard this.  He left his place at the counter and marched to a position behind the waiter.  He clamped his thick palm on the man's shoulder.  The man twisted and his face paled.

“Trouble here, milady?”

“I'm truly sorry,” the waiter blurted.  He bowed several times.  “I will of course serve your guest to the high standards of your position.”

Antonio was mystified by the whole exchange.  What was the problem with being Catholic?  It didn't seem like something important enough to get worked up about.

Antonio said, “I'll have the wine... whatever variety you gave the Duchess.”  Unless it is poisoned, he thought to himself.  No, surely not – the waiter would not be that reckless, especially with Michael on guard.

“See, Michael, no problems here!” Antonio said.  He handed his half-empty mug of ale back to the waiter.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2014, 11:24:05 pm »
Antonio seemed so surprised about her choice, that she almost laughed at it. Love? One did not marry for love. Love was something that had to be cultivated, and could be found in many arranged marriages after a time, but no one ever married for it. Gabrielle couldn’t even imagine it.

As it was, there had been no time to laugh or comment before the waiter returned and she spoke her piece to him.

The answer was quite unsatisfactory.
‘They have gotten to you?’ She was surprised at the venom that left the waiter’s lips when he spoke the term ‘Catholic’. Try as she might not to hate the Huguenots, she was a flawed human, and too many Huguenots were trying to harm her brother. Michael was quick to come into the situation, and Gabrielle bit her bottom lip to avoid giving an immediate answer.

It would not be a good answer. It would not be fair.

There was trouble, that much obvious. The waiter realized the trouble he was in already and began to bow and apologize, to stutter. Antonio requested wine in the confusion, and Michael let the waiter go to collect the cup and leave them. His eyes followed the waiter, before falling on Gabrielle.
“Do you wish to leave?” Michael clearly wanted to.

Gabrielle shook her head,
“No,” it was curt, too quick a response. She did, but, “I will not leave simply because of him.” The man should be more tactful. He was fortunate her father had not already run him out of this province, and in fact, let him own a business. The mercy of the catholics compared to the wretched Huguenots should be apparent enough.

Even so, when she glanced at the wine glass, she did hesitate to drink.
‘If it is poisoned, he will lose his head.’ She wondered if the man might weigh those options, before she did hesitantly take a drink of the liquid. It did not taste off. “You may relax, Michael,” she told him as she set the glass back down on the table.

Michael did not relax, but he returned to his post at the counter.

Gabrielle turned her mind from hateful thoughts to address the questions earlier posed,
“When you are from, is it common for people to marry for love?” She inquired of Antonio. She laced her fingers together in her lap, “Here, that would be abnormal. Marriages are political and business endeavors, meant to further family lines and family advancement,” when one married, one was not merely marrying one individual. There were families to consider, legacies, businesses, and so much more. It was a truly holistic endeavor. “If, as you say, my betrothed turns out to be abusive or a pig, then I shall simply endure it and pray.”

Always pray. Women had changed the hearts of men before, like the good Esther who had been a queen and saved her people.

She did not think her father would choose to marry her to someone like that. She imagined he had done some research on the man, and besides, he was a Catholic. He would be none of those things, if she did not give him reason.
"How can one marry for love? Certainly there is no time to fall in love before marriage?" How could there be? She couldn't fathom a society of prolonged social interaction between men and women that would allow people to fall in love even before engagement.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2014, 01:39:00 am »
Antonio chuckled.  “In my society it is common for people to marry for love and then divorce afterwards if they no longer care for each other.  It is normal to have a relationship with someone before marrying them.  Marriage isn't really seen the same way as it is in your time.  It's not really a lifelong pledge, although in theory it is supposed to be.”

He knew that in the earlier times Catholics were forbidden to divorce, or get an annulment, or whatever they wanted to call it.  His mother had told him that about Catholics, since she was one.  Antonio wasn't particularly religious, though, but he figured that in Gabrielle's time it must seem very important.

“I suppose you have a lot of responsibilities, but still, surely it wouldn't be wrong to think of yourself and not just of your people and your family's wealth.”

He concluded, “I am not really an expert on love.  I never found lasting love in my time, although I dated many women.”

Antonio shrugged nonchalantly.  As the waiter returned with the wine for him, he took a drink.  It tasted great and must have been expensive.  It was a big improvement over the ale.

“There are different kinds of love in 2014.  For instance, you may love your family, you may love the person you are married to, and I guess you might even love your pet dog... and the dog may be more loyal to you than your wife.  That is just what it is like where I come from!”  He smiled.

“It is something that is easy to be confused about.  For instance, when I saw the painting of you in my time, I really fell in love with you.  Or, at least I felt I did.  But now that I have had more time to think about it, what I felt for the painting was something else... it was not love for a person, but love for a thing...

I was attracted to the beauty of the painting, I suppose.  I was in love with the beauty of it, not a person.  I suppose beauty is something that can be loved, and people can fall in love with things rather than other people.  Didn't I just say I could love a dog?  I suppose I could love anything, if the situation was right.”

Antonio paused to think about what he'd just said.  Did that make any sense?  Maybe not, and the wine was getting to his head and could be making him drunk.

“Well, maybe that is enough about love.  However, it has given me an idea.  You said this man you are pledged to is a proper Catholic.  If that is the case then he shouldn't care what you look like!  He should only care about your faith and loyalty.  If so, then I will paint your portrait exactly as you are, a normal looking woman, and not as some imaginary figure.  Or... if you really want to be daring, I can paint the picture uglier than you are.  That will really test him!”

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2014, 11:39:59 pm »
Divorce. The mere thought caused Gabrielle to wrinkle her nose. No, she would not even humor the idea. Divorce was not right. If there were issues with a marriage, then it should be worked on, not just thrown out. As he continued, she continued to think of how flawed his society must be if the norm was divorce. The future had to be a terrible place. ‘If people are so aware of these options, of course they are having relationships beforehand and running rampant!’

When he spoke of not thinking of others, she shook her head,
“That seems to be the problem with your time,” was she actually believing him? What he said though could not come from an overactive imagination. Such horrors had to be witnessed. “No one is thinking holistically in whom or what they pursue, but are choosing to live selfishly,” she looked down, “they do not see that through shared happiness, one finds true happiness. I daresay many in your time find true or lasting love, from how you’ve made it out to be. You must not be alone.”

Though when he spoke of other loves, she nearly laughed. She did chuckle.
“I do have a brother, and a father, Antonio. I know what love is in its many forms,” a wink, “I even have friends, and a cherished horse,” did he think people without these things in her time? “My brother has a beloved hunting dog.”

Yes, she knew love. She knew all its forms, beginning with God’s love, and hoped to cultivate love of another form with this Spaniard. He paused to shake his head as he considered how he could love anything.
“I am not certain I have ever loved an object, though,” she considered the painting he mentioned, “Nor an abstract,” God was no abstract to her, though. “I enjoy beauty, but….” Well, she had never been moved to love beauty for beauty’s sake. “Perhaps there are things we humans learn, but not well, in your time,” to love ideas! Now, that was a fascinating prospect.

He dismissed the topic then, and she smiled gently,
“Let us not have lies begin my relationship with the other man, nor any tests.” Such things were not for humans to meddle with. God could test as He liked, but humans ought not to test each other through deceit. “It is a bad way to begin what should be a union of trust. Just paint it as me and that will be sufficient,” it would be more honest than what Leopold must have done.

Though, she wondered at the paradox of it. Could Antonio really paint something that did not exist in his time? Could he alter the future or would it inevitably turn out to be the picture that he had seen?


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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2014, 10:05:13 pm »
Antonio ordered another glass of wine and sipped it while listening to Gabrielle speak.

"I agree with you that the problem of my time is that people live selfishly.  On the other hand, I think it is also possible to find true happiness while living alone.  It isn't necessary to share happiness to find true happiness.

"I can't say that I have found true happiness myself often," Antonio said.  "But I do believe that if you cannot find true happiness in yourself, then you certainly won't find it in another person."

He placed his wine glass back on the table and put his hand to his chin, thinking.

"I spent most all of my life trying to find some woman to 'complete me' - as they say in our time.  But through experience, I found that no other person was interested in carrying my weight.  I mean, who doesn't have enough problems of their own without having someone else piling more problems on top of those?

"Then I started to believe that I had to 'complete myself' rather than to go out looking for someone else to 'save' me from myself or 'complete me'."

He chuckled.  Antonio had never really thought this through before but he was forcing himself to by talking about it.

"I don't really know what I am doing with my life yet, and this time travel thing certainly hasn't made it any easier.  But, I guess, what I am aiming for is that if I improve myself as a person then I won't need to spend time chasing girls, because I will just become more attractive automatically by working on becoming a better person.  Then, the girls will come to me instead of me going after them."

He shrugged, "Or maybe I was just meant to be single.  I don't know."

"You are wise to not want to start your relationship with the Spaniard by being dishonest.  I will paint you exactly as you are."  He reached across the table and lightly grabbed her hand.  "You are rather beautiful as yourself, in your own right.  I will paint you just as you are and any sane man will be very pleased to see it.  Of that I am certain.

I am in far more doubt of my painting skills than of your beauty!"

Antonio didn't really care what effect his painting would have on the future.  The painting had become his problem to solve.  He wanted to help this woman, who could have just sent him to the dungeon, but instead she took him out to dinner.  The painting would be his way to repay her for her kindness.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2014, 09:58:10 pm »
Despite what Antonio suggested, it seemed he had not found true happiness even though he believed it possible to find alone. He also was still chasing girls, considering where he ended up. A playful smile came to her lips, but she made no commentary on this. She merely nodded that she understood his words, even though she was not so certain she believed them. There was not even experiential, personal evidence.

Gabrielle found it easier to share problems. No one ought to carry the weight of life alone. That was why God put people in families, and so blessed the unions that created families. Then there were the friends that people made, and one’s church. People were meant to pile their problems on each other, for no one individual could ever do all that was necessary alone. Even Jesus had his disciples to spread the Good News, and monks and nuns lived in covenants and worked together. His idea of doing things for oneself, and by oneself, was so foreign, and it didn’t seem to be working.

Life was to be shared. Happiness was found with others—not through them, perhaps, but with them.

He had been so unhappy with where he was, that he left on the whim of a woman completing him.
‘Poor dear.’ Romantic in its own way, though it seemed she disappointed. She would have had to disappoint him anyway if he did fall for her, though, considering this arrangement.

“With how fervently you are hoping to find another to share your life with, I doubt that you are meant to be single, Antonio,” Gabrielle comforted, “You shall find the one that you feel comfortable sharing your burdens with, one day. Your cause to become better is a noble one, and I am sure some woman will take note of it.” Though if he remained here, it might be difficult for him, if only because the norms of courtship were different. How would he go about speaking with a father? That thought amused her almost too much.

She had to sip the wine to keep from chuckling at the mental picture. He spoke more and his words distracted. They were back to the subject of the portrait. She set the wine down, but before she could pull her hand back from the table, he laid his own upon it.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw ever-vigilant Michael tense, but she made no gesture to suggest the painter was doing anything untoward.
“Perhaps you should acquire more canvases and paints to practice, then? I am certain such things could be procured,” she curled her fingers under his hand, “that way you do not disappoint your employer,” which was not her, but her father.

She wondered what instructions Leopold had actually been given as he slid her hand across the wooden table and back to her side.
“I am glad you are so certain that my appearance will still be pleasing to the Spaniard, even if it was not to you,” she couldn’t help but chuckle there, poking fun at herself easily and the way the compliments seemed to spill out of Antonio’s lips.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2014, 12:03:45 am »
The waiter approached their table again.  "Can I take your orders please?"

Antonio said, "The pork roast is fine with me, sir.  I am a simple painter with simple tastes.  What is good enough for your other customers is good enough for me."

Although the ale had been bad, Antonio had higher expectations for the pork.  He had seen the butcher slaughtering a hog on their journey to the inn, so he assumed the meat was fresher than the ale he'd been served earlier.

Responding to Gabrielle's inquiry about practicing, he said, "They do have some they call 'life drawing'.  The purpose of it is to improve the artist's skills at drawing or painting the human figure.  However, to draw the human figure, the artist has to actually be able to see the body.  In other words, the model removes her clothes--the subject of the life drawing has to be nude.

"By doing these life drawings the artist learns how the bones and muscles of the body are structured and it improves his work.  It doesn't matter whether I am painting, drawing, or creating a sculpture.  I will use my knowledge of the human body to make the picture.  And--if you want maximum realism, it's what we should do."

Antonio was curious if Gabrielle would volunteer for such a task.  She seemed too conservative to pose in the nude for a drawing.  Nevertheless, Antonio knew that such a request wouldn't be out of place--even in Gabrielle's time.  In fact, Michelangelo's David would have been a relatively recent creation in Gabrielle's time, so it shouldn't be too surprising to her.

The waiter returned with their food.  Antonio shoved a cloth napkin in his collar and sliced the meat with his knife.  It certainly smelled good, especially after being hungry for so long.  He swallowed some of the pork and then drank some more of the wine.  He felt sort of warm and fuzzy-minded, and realized he must be drunk.

"Uh, I'll take a glass of water too," he told the waiter.

"Anyway, as I was saying, I think a nude drawing of you would be the best way to go.  But, if you are too busy to pose, then perhaps I could practice by making some drawings or paintings of other subjects in this village."  He smirked.  "Perhaps the waiter's wife would like to pose naked for me instead.  Or, maybe Michael has a daughter or wife who would volunteer."

He stuck a fork in another piece of meat.

"We can start the naked sketching session after dinner if you are ready.  It should be fun.  It will be a requirement for a truly accurate portrayal of yourself for the Spaniard."

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2014, 09:11:53 pm »
The waiter returns, and Gabrielle debates if she even ought to order anything from the place, reminded immediately of her dislike for it when he returns. Still, he is being more polite. She ought not to punish someone who takes her words to heart. Even so, she finds herself mistrusting of anything that would have to be specially made. Certainly, he wouldn’t ruin the meal made for everyone else. “I will have the same, thank you kindly,” Gabrielle answers the waiter.

It seemed good enough for Michael, who was eating it at the counter. Besides, if she did not like it, there was food back at the manor.

When the waiter left, the topic returned to the paintings. Gabrielle did not expect it to take the turn that it did, though. Her face tinted red immediately as she realized what he was suggesting, and she almost sputtered out the gut-response that such a practice was terribly lewd. Yes, she knew of artists who did those things, but Leopold had not mentioned it, and she didn’t think any truly respectable individual would subject themselves to being drawn nude.

She bit her tongue and let him continue, though the distaste was clear on her face.
‘Of course, Adam and Eve were….’ Yes, but her mind stopped there. The human body had been tainted and made sinful by those two. It inspired sinful thoughts in others.

Before she could respond to the suggestion, the food was brought, both at the same time. Of course, they had just ordered the pork roast which was already made.
“Thank you,” Gabrielle said to him, managing to get the word out through her flustered thoughts.

Water was requested, but Gabrielle desired none and even gave Antonio a look for asking for water. Water was not drunk except by the very poor—it was not sanitary. Certainly he knew that, though, right? Had things changed in his time?

She held her tongue on the matter. Antonio returned to the subject she had said nothing on. His smirk suggested malevolent, or unkind, intentions when he mentioned Michael and their waiter. She scowled in disapproval, looked down and started cutting her meat to consider.


“I…,” a frown, a frustration with her inability to find words. She sighed, shook her head to clear it. She was not drunk, for wine had become her normal drink, and she had built up quite the tolerance. “What you are asking is not…is not…what would be decent for a woman in my position. It is not decent for a woman in any position to be exposed to others besides her husband or certain members of the household.” Family, and the female servants who helped set baths or assist in dressing when the attire involved complicated clothing that two hands just couldn’t put together properly.

The fork picked up a bit of meat and she ate it, added,
“I am unconvinced on its ability to be more realistic, as well.” She was not a painter, and perhaps it was just that, “My form is hidden under clothes as it is. How does knowing the form assist when the clothes alter the appearance?” She would at least try to understand this, a little.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2014, 10:35:32 pm »
Duchess Gabrielle was the perfect Catholic noblewoman, Antonio thought.  She acted just the way she was supposed to act.  Was there more to this person than just her surface appearance as a serious, God-fearing woman?  What would it take to inspire passion in such a woman?  Her Spanish husband would be in for a shock if he were expecting Gabrielle to act like one of the seductresses of Spain.

On the other hand, it was also possible that the Spaniard was just as frigid and duty-bound as Gabrielle.  In that case, they’d make the perfect couple.

Smiling slyly, Antonio leaned over the table and whispered in Gabrielle’s ear, “Such lascivious sins as stripping in front of a stranger are only indecent if they catch you doing it.”

In case their chaperone Michael had noticed him whispering, Antonio said out loud, "...and that is why it is so important to study the artistic merits of nude portraiture in private."

"I could explain it to you in detail but it is something you really have to experience in person to understand."  He grabbed Gabrielle's hand again, brought it to his lips, and kissed it.  Perhaps she would get the hint of what he actually intended to do during this so-called 'life drawing'.

Antonio felt groggy as they finished their meal.  The wine made him sleepy, but he was also exhausted from the whole crazy day he'd just gone through.  They made their way back to Gabrielle's stone fortress and Antonio soon found himself asleep in the guest bedroom.  Unfortunately--without Gabrielle at his side.

---

The morning sun appeared over the horizon.  Cattle in the fields mooed and the soft ringing of a church bell could be heard somewhere in the distance.  Soon the sun had risen enough so that the sunlight peeped through the narrow opening of the guest room window.  Antonio was awoken by the light falling on his face.

Blinking, he couldn't remember where he was.  He blocked the sunlight with his hand and gazed at the stone wall while his mind frantically searched for memories of the previous night.  His head was softly aching and he tried to remember why.  Finally, his memories all came back in a flash.  He recalled the time travel journey and then his evening dinner with Gabrielle.

He remembered he'd told her something--under the influence of the wine--but he couldn't remember exactly what it was he said.  Although the words eluded him, Antonio was sure it was more than he should have said.  That was what always happened when he got drunk: 'in vino veritas' as the saying went, and he usually ended up confessing his love to some woman he'd just met.

Antonio sat up in bed, looked about, and saw that fresh clothes had been laid out for him over the end of the bed.  There was also an easel set up with some charcoal sticks for drawing and a big pad of paper.

"Oh, yes, I remember I'm supposed to paint Gabrielle's picture, and I suppose this easel is someone's subtle hint that I should practice."

Antonio put on the clean clothes and stood at the easel.  He held the charcoal stick in hand to sketch... something.  For practice, he started making a simple drawing of his bed with the sheets falling over the side.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2014, 11:42:08 pm »
The night left Gabrielle with more thoughts than she cared to have. She and Antonio had a mostly pleasant evening at the tavern, but there were moments that left her confused. Conflicted, even. The man spoke of a strange time, which could certainly explain his strange opinions.

‘Only indecent if…!’ It repeated and she shook her head as she sat up in bed, brushing out her hair. Of course she did not believe such was right, for God watched all, but there was a part of her that wondered if there would really be anything bad that would come of it. He was an artist. He had a job. She certainly knew of nude artwork, and she’d never heard anything scandalous about it except what thoughts the images inspired.

If it were only for his practice, those images could be destroyed before anyone else ever saw them.
‘Oh! It need not really be that good. This picture is only a formality.’ She set the brush aside. ‘It is all but set in stone.’ Women and men of the nobility often did not meet before marriage. Did not see each other. What would it matter, in the end? Both families were for this arrangement.

She laid down, and brought the hand that had been kissed close to her own lips as she curled up under the covers. Her eyes shut.
‘Crazy.’ Towards Antonio, and towards herself for even humoring it. What was there to gain, truly? It seemed there was only so much to lose by it.

She fell asleep, quite oblivious to Antonio’s other intentions, having taken his words of her being a disappointment to heart despite all of his flatteries.

She awoke early, before the sun ever rose. It was a habit, for she had to go about organizing the servants for the day’s work. With the servants organized, Michael found her and brought her to her father’s meeting room. Farmers were often up just as early as she, if not earlier, and so already there were people for her to see. She had informed Michael she would prefer to do it early.

Her father typically preferred the noontime, leaving people outside the doors, waiting.

There was little she could do with the complaints voiced, except inform those who came that her father would be alerted when he returned. It was easier to answer questions, for she knew all the answers to those that came her way.

A couple of hours passed dealing with this before she excused herself to have breakfast. She asked the kitchen staff,
“Has Anto—Leopold been around? Has food been taken to him?”

She was met with negative responses to both, so with a sigh she quickly ensured the kitchen staff made him a meal. Bread, fruits, and a tea were soon handed off to her as she decided to take it up to him herself so that it would be done, suspecting the kitchen staff was upset with him for ‘stealing’ yesterday.

She knew where his room was, and wrapped on his door once she arrived there with the meal held aloft on a tray. 


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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2014, 07:14:06 pm »
Antonio's sketching was not difficult.  He just picked out a few different objects--the bed, a dresser, and a chair and drew them on the paper.  The paper was about 24 inches high by 18 inches wide, which was a good choice for a portrait type of drawing.  This just a warm-up exercise so he could get ready for Gabrielle's picture.  The time flew by as it always did when he started drawing.

He was lost in his work when he heard a knock on the door.  It was Gabrielle.

"Hello, you look good today.  Ah, I see you brought breakfast."

Despite his earlier complaints about her average looks he found that the more he liked someone the more attractive they became to him.  Additionally, beauty was hard to pin down--a painting of the most mundane of subjects, like a bowl of fruit, could be quite beautiful if well done.  A painting of an old man could be a work of great beauty.

Antonio thanked Gabrielle for the meal and sat down on his bed with the tray on his lap and the cup of tea on the nightstand.

"I may have been a bit drunk last night, but I did finally remember that I wanted to do a nude drawing of your figure."

He stopped talking to eat a few more bites and then continued, "Of course the drawing wouldn't be for public viewing, but just so I can get the appearance of the clothing correct on your anatomy.  Everyone's body is different and I am afraid I would make a mistake if I just tried to paint the clothed figure.

"By seeing, for example, how large your breasts are, I would know how the light should reflect off your clothing and how the folds in the fabric should appear in the final painting."  He smiled at that example.  He couldn't keep a straight face.  While what he was saying was true, artistically speaking, he also had his own ulterior motives.

He finished his breakfast and put the tray aside.

"It's simple.  You take off your clothes, sit on my bed facing the easel, and I will do the drawing.  It shouldn't take more than an hour."

He noticed that the door didn't have a lock.  "I'll wedge the back of the chair under the doorknob, so no one will be able to accidentally enter while we are, uh, working."

"And... I don't know how women's undergarments are in this time period, but if you need help removing your clothing, I'll be happy to assist."

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2014, 11:51:42 pm »
“I did. I hope there are foods here that are to your liking,” Gabrielle could see the image he had been sketching as he took the meal away. She stepped in, intending to join him as she had her own food on the tray, as well. She walked in and retrieved her own meal from the tray, set it on a nearby table and sat down.

He had complained of boredom the other day. She didn’t think he would mind the company much, though if she was disturbing his practice she intended to leave.

Antonio took to sitting on the bed, and recalled last night. She took up her own warm cup and sipped at it to prevent herself from interrupting him, to change the topic. It seemed he hadn’t changed his mind any about this, and didn’t seem to recall her reluctance at all. Or else, he spoke as if it were a sure thing. He spoke of her breasts and a smile turned his lips.

It didn’t take a genius to understand. Sheltered as she had been, she was certainly taught of the vices of men.

He ate quickly. He was done before she was half-way finished.
‘His time moves faster.’

She set her cup of tea down as he stumbled over saying what they would be doing—working, that is.
“Considering your unfamiliarity with the garments of the time, perhaps it would be better if I were not to expose myself completely, but rather give you a sense of what is under the dress, so you can get an idea of how these garments, also, influence the whole.”

‘Why are you compromising?’


Her thoughts locked on again to the fact he wanted to keep others out. One leg crossed over the other,
“Though, you do make me doubt this process with your need to lock others out.” Her words raced ahead of her thoughts, though they followed easier that morning. Her suspicions might have been heightened, though, just from all the business in the morning. She did have to question the reasoning of any individual who came to address issues in the realm. Their sincerity could be false if they wanted something. “I’d prefer you did not.” If she had need of Michael, she would want him to be able to get in. Leopold had not asked for all of this, after all. “Others will knock before entering.” Or they should, anyway.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2014, 03:48:56 am »
Antonio stood and picked up one of the two chairs from the table where Gabrielle was sitting.  However, since she had rejected the idea of him blocking the door with it, he found himself sliding the chair back to the table.  Instead of securing the door with the chair, he sat on it, next to her.  He smiled at Gabrielle and his eyes followed the outline of her dress.

He realized that staring at her might be considered rude, so he then looked at her breakfast tray instead.  For the first time he noticed that she was still eating.  Antonio had been so eager to get started with the nude drawing that he had wolfed down his food as fast as he could.

“I am grateful for you bringing breakfast to me.  It seems like I should be the one bringing breakfast to you instead, milady, but perhaps it is better this way.  I don’t think they are too fond of me in the kitchen after yesterday’s events.”

Antonio stood and walked to the window.  It was open and he breathed in the fresh morning air.  He loosened the laces holding his doublet closed.  Beneath it he wore a white cotton shirt with billowed sleeves and an open neck.

“I don’t want to give you the wrong impression,” Antonio said.  “I only intended that no harm to come to your reputation.  That was my reason for wanting to secure the door.”  He was silent for a moment, just standing at the window, leaning out and looking around outside.  Then, pulling himself back inside, Antonio turned to face Gabrielle.

He said, “Do you know that in my time there is a saying: ‘truth is beauty, beauty is truth’?  A lot of people think that the quote is about physical attractiveness. They don’t like it because they think beauty is superficial.  Of course, I don’t know what the original author really meant, but I think the quote points to a deeper meaning than what most people think.

“When I became an artist I learned to look at things in a different way.  It changed how I understood the world.  I began to find that there is beauty to everything when I gazed upon its form with an unjudging eye and an open mind.

“I found that there is infinite depth and infinite complexity in even the most mundane objects.  Even something like the single flower in the garden outside this window is something to be admired. When meditating upon such an object, you recognize the fragility of life and miracle of our mere existence.  And in that fundamental truth, you find beauty.  You realize that despite all the unhappiness that life seems to give us, there is still an underlying beauty to everything.”
 
Antonio returned to the table and sat next to Gabrielle again, noticing that she had finished her breakfast.  He put his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his hands.

“When I look at you, I don’t see the same person I saw when I first noticed Leopold’s painting.  Furthermore, I don’t see the same person as when I arrived in this time period, back when we were out by that pond near the forest where you were posing.

“Later, when you took me to dinner last night and arrived here this morning to keep me company, it showed me the type of person you are.  You are kind, caring about your guests.  Also, when you speak, even now, you sound as though you are one who has intelligence and wisdom of life.

“When I first met you, I knew none of these things.  Although I saw your face, your skin, and your clothes, I didn’t know the deeper truth of who you really are.  Indeed, even now, I still hardly know you at all.  But I wish to know more.  The more I learn about you the more attracted to you I become.”

Antonio put his hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder.  Her violet eyes seemed to be searching his face, he thought.  Perhaps she was trying to find out if he was being sincere.

“This is different than when I first saw you in the portrait so long ago, in 2014.  But even then I think there must have been something more than mere looks which drew me to you.  It was not like I had never seen a pretty girl before.

“To me, It seems as though we were meant to meet for some reason that I cannot explain.  Who could have ever imagined that time travel could actually work?  Forces beyond my comprehension have drawn us to each other, violating even the laws of time and space so that we can be near one another.  I cannot explain it—not with science anyway.”

He leaned back and looked her over.  “I will take Duchess Gabrielle Habsburg in whatever form I can have her: clothed, nude, partially clothed, or whatever.”  Antonio smiled.

“I will do my best on this drawing and hopefully the practice today will help improve my artistic skills.  Then we can be assured that your painted portrait will be good enough your Spaniard suitor.”  Antonio went back to the easel.  He flipped the pages on his drawing pad to a new blank sheet and positioned the easel so he had a good view of the bed.

“I really do think you’d be most comfortable on the bed.  And the sunlight there will help me get a good view of your figure.”

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2014, 01:09:42 am »
Gabrielle did not offer a comment on the kitchen staff, though Antonio was right. They were none too fond of him right then. Gabrielle wasn’t sure if they’d ever warm to him at this point. They seemed to hold a grudge against her brother for years. Antonio didn’t dwell on it, but went about the room, to the window.

Gabrielle could have certainly guessed at his ‘pure’ reasons for wanting to close off the room, but somehow, that also made it seem wrong. If Gabrielle were going to do this, it would not be with such an oppressively heavy air of wrongness in herself. She would let the door remain unblocked. If Michael or another happened to see, they would at least be able to see it was only a drawing, and Gabrielle could try to convince them from there…
‘You are humoring this again.’ Her thoughts snapped away from it.

He was asking a question, too. Of course she knew nothing about sayings in his time, so she shook her head. ‘Well of course the truth is beautiful.’ It seemed such an obvious thing. That people in his time only took it to mean physical beauty caused her some confusion, though of course, she knew nothing about how his time dealt with physical appearances and how obsessed it was.

Her breakfast finished, she rested her hands in her lap as he spoke of his new perspective. He came near and took such a casual position. She didn’t lean away, though. His compliments came again, but this time, Antonio was sober. It was curious. Strange. Gabrielle heard plenty of compliments from her father’s guests, and others, but this was not dictated through the medium of aristocratic politeness. He spoke of attraction, and she might have leaned back then and reminded him of her pending engagement, but he touched her shoulder. That seemed to freeze her, hindering movement away a second long enough for her to be engaged in what he was saying.


‘You are not Leopold.’ Queer thought, but she truly saw it then as she looked into his eyes. It was not the painter that looked back.

Queer forces were indeed at work. Gabrielle associated it with God, but was not certain why the Lord would send this man to her, now, of all times, and in such a role. It was peculiar.

His hand left as he leaned away, and he informed her that he would work with whatever he was given—or such was how she decided to take it, anyway. She rose, walked first to where his sketch was and considered.
‘I suppose it would be easier to know how the fabric of the undergarments work if he knew what they were over.’ He did seem to actually be an artist. At least he wasn’t just lying about that.

They were high enough up that worries of someone coming by the window were zero. The door was the only concern, and Gabrielle was still certain that a knock would come first.
‘It will still take forever to get dressed.’ Plenty of business could be handled with just conversation, though. Doors need not be opened. “You are strange,” she noted, “but not unlikable,” she clarified, for the term had such negative connotations. She did not mean it that way, just that he was difficult to understand. “It does not seem that a man interested in a woman, would be inclined to help her with a suitor.”

Her hands reached back to start undoing the lacing on her dress. It was not so hard to get out of her clothing as it was to get in, so she did not ask for his help.
“But you make many valid points on your art, and I can see that you do not lie. You do have talent.” More than she, anyway, and his sketch of the area did seem realistic.

Off slipped the dress, and Gabrielle set it aside gently. She glanced at the bed, and then, with hesitating fingers, began to undo the corset. This was the impossible thing to put on alone, insanely tight as it was always done. She was not a large woman, but corsets could make even the thinnest of women self-conscious. She was ‘soft’, and so it kept that softness flattened.

The corset was laid over the dress, and then the linen chemise followed. Gabrielle stood bare, a touch self-conscious, but not near as much as some women. She was pleased she’d thought to remove her hair a couple of days ago—this was usually a weekly habit, for she detested making the arsenic paste that she had to put on herself to remove the hairs, but she always felt that she needed to, despite how no one ever saw her. Habits of beauty had to be maintained, so that they remained habits.

It was what men expected, even if Gabrielle had questions about all of that and how too much body hair was a sign of humoral imbalance. Every woman she’d talked to of such matters confessed to the difficulties of such maintenance, so much so it seemed natural.

Her skin was fair all around, for little of it was ever seen. She was not as curved as the corset made her appear, and her breasts not as perky without the support of the corset. Her hips were always more slender than she wanted them to be, that were it not for her top half she wondered if she'd have curves at all, not to mention it worried her a bit in thinking of the future. People always spoke of 'child bearing' hips, and she did not have those. She was more top-heavy than anything.

She moved to the bed, but wasn’t exactly sure how to ‘pose’ for this, so she canted her head,
“How is it you, um, need me to be?” Gabrielle inquired of Antonio, arms crossing over her chest and legs folding one over the other, as she waited to hear how it was she ought to be.

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Re: Somewhere in Time [Closed]
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2014, 08:18:29 pm »
“I help you with your suitor because it is my job to do so.  Leopold was hired to do it, and although I am a different person who just happens to inhabit Leopold’s body, it seems that it would be wrong for me to neglect ‘my’ duties.  Plus, I–as Antonio–am also an artist and have the skills to complete the portrait, so why not?

“As you told me earlier, in this time period your marriages are political arrangements and not about love.

“Whatever feelings I have towards you are sincere and certainly not to gain wealth or power in these lands.  I cannot make you feel one way or another towards me, but I can express how I do feel and perhaps something will come out of it in my favor.”

Antonio was impressed with himself for coming up with that complicated explanation of his actions, but in reality he was not quite so noble.  His pulse quickened as Gabrielle took off her dress.  It had been…some time…since a woman had undressed herself in front of him.

He decided that it would help his concentration if he had something else beside Gabrielle’s state of undress to focus on.  He began drawing some of the furniture in the scene, starting with the bed upon which she was going to sit.  He only had completed a rough outline of the furniture when Gabrielle asked him where to sit.

“The idea is to have the light from the window coming on you at an angle, highlighting your features.  I’ll show you.”

Antonio wiped the dust off his hands with a rag and moved near Gabrielle.  An excited tingling sensation passed through his body as he sat on the bed to show her where to sit.  She stood naked next to him, a mere foot away.  It took all his self-control to fight off the urge to pull her onto the bed after him.

“Sit like this, and hold your head like this,” he explained.  “Wrap the bed sheet around yourself for modesty, if you wish.”  He angled his head in a  three-quarter view, with some of his features in shade and others in the light.  His dark hair and angular face didn’t look anything like Gabrielle’s, but she’d get the idea from his example.

He stood up and motioned for her to sit, then hurried back to the drawing easel.  From the stirring in his pants he wasn’t sure how long this drawing session could last.  There was something decidedly sensual about Gabrielle posing on the bed he’d just slept on and using his still-warm bed sheet as a prop in the scene.

I’ve got to get myself under control.
  Antonio had done nude figure studies at the university and it had never been this intense before.  The raspy sound of the charcoal marking the paper seemed to help him regain his focus.  He sketched the bed frame and the window.  It looked okay but not great.  His earlier drawings of the room had been done with a steadier hand.  He next worked on the figure of Gabrielle herself.  She had the pale, rosy complexion and refined elegance that only one of noble breeding could have.  Any other ordinary woman of the time would have had a tanned neck, arms, and calloused hands, and probably muscular limbs from working all day.  Gabrielle was different, more like a 21st century woman in appearance than one of the 16th century.

Antonio drew the picture just as she was.  She seemed to have a natural talent for posing, perhaps because she was used to having people look at her all of time due to her position as Duchess.  His lines were rough though.  Thoughts kept entering his mind because as he drew her he just found himself wanting her more and more.  The lines went askew when he thought about what it would be like to have her as his woman.

He wrinkled his brow and stepped back from the drawing.  “I don’t think this is coming out right.  I’m feeling distracted,” Antonio said.  “Perhaps the lines aren’t clear because I’m standing too far away.”

Antonio walked to the opposite corner of the room.  Yes, she is just as pretty from this side too.  What are you doing?  Get back to the drawing.  His mind wouldn’t shut up.  “I don’t think it is the angle, surely it must be the distance,” he said.

He approached Gabrielle until he was standing right in front of her.  “Yes, surely I was standing too far away,” he mumbled.  His cock was like a block of wood in his pants.  This was probably apparent to her.  Antonio’s eyes followed her chest rise and fall as she breathed.  Unable to contain his lust any longer, he sat on the bed next to Gabrielle, pressing against her.

“You are too perfect for me to merely observe from a distance,” he whispered to her.  He ran his fingers through her blonde hair and moved his lips to her mouth, kissing her and pushing her back onto the bed.