This is was fun scene to write as it provided me a chance to get back at that wretched Orpheus after reading all the mythological shenanigans he did to harm the Sirens and get away with it. Well, only to a certain extent. There was that unfortunate incident with the maenads, but even from that Orpheus managed to bounce -- at least his head did, as it was placed on a pedestal and given the power of speech. Orpheus was to serve a long time as an oracle of sorts. Erminia arrives at the maze with the purpose of trying to convince the head of Orpheus to give the Sirens back their voices, even though she failed to remain silent for ten years. She finds herself escorted by Orpheus' servant Ipnos -- a bratty piece of work with three faces that all seem to talk at once. Ipnos has dragged the poet Lorenzo into the maze, very much against his will to meet with Orpheus. Lorenzo, once a brilliant poet, has turned to the law, rejecting all forms of metaphorical language because of the guilt he feels for having possibly murdered his beloved wife. I laughed through this whole scene. I couldn't help myself. Lorenzo is a stammering wreck trying to deny the existence of his fantastic companions, Orpheus the great poet is crude and rude, and Erminia for once knows how to hold her tongue and strike a bargain.
Ever since Ipnos had pulled him over the wall of the maze, Lorenzo had been trying to choose which face to confront when he spoke to the querulous servant. But it had been impossible. Whenever Lorenzo spoke to one face, it gazed elsewhere while the other two faces regarded him keenly. And when Lorenzo switched his attention to a different face, then that face would ignore him and he would discover that the first face was now taking an interest in the conversation. Ipnos was one man, Lorenzo told himself firmly. All Lorenzo had to do was figure out which face was the real one.
But Ipnos hadn't disturbed Lorenzo's peace of mind half as much as Erminia. She should not have captured his attention at all. After all, she was ugly, a single black brow across her forehead shading her eyes, her hair an unwashed mat of snarls.
But there was something in the scent of her that made Lorenzo light¬headed, something in the glance of her piercing blue eyes that made him feel vulnerable. Every time she spoke, his throat constricted with an unbearable sadness. Her voice tore through the seams of the lawyer's facade, threatening to expose the poet beneath.
No. It was not a facade. It was the truth! He had studied law in Bologna. He was no longer a poet. That conceit had been drummed out of him seven years ago. He had no use for metaphor. Poetry had died with Cecilia and the lie she had made of their marriage. He stole a glance at the heavy-bodied woman beside him. If only he didn't have to hear her voice or travel in the wake of her scent, it would be easier.
"Was she beautiful?" asked Erminia, brushing her tangled hair out of her eyes.
"Who?" Lorenzo asked, staring at the ground beneath his feet as they walked in an effort to ignore the discomfort she caused him.
"Whoever she was that brought you to this state," answered Erminia. "It had to be a woman." Read More >>>