A short cliffhanger chapter about a nightly meeting
Please, do come in.
I see you hesitate. Are you afraid? You should not be, my dear guest. I have no desire to harm you in any way.
This way, if you please; my servant has lit the fireplace in the library and I believe that you are cold and wet. Dreadful, this weather; one can barely remember what the stars look like. Just leave your coat there, someone will take care of it.
I see that you are interested in the paintings? No, I regret to say that they are not ancestors; my origins are much humbler than that. They are old friends and foe, people I have met – and I use the term 'people' loosely.
Forgive me, I did not mean to upset you. It has been a long time since I spoke to one of your kind and I sometimes forget myself. We were all people at one time, although some of us have evolved since. Yes, evolved; I see that you find that remark amusing. I am glad that I can still evoke such feelings.
Please, sit down by the fire. I will close the door so we can speak without being disturbed.
Would you like some mulled wine? Here, let me pour you some. I have been told it brings back heat into the body although I cannot say that I have experienced it myself.
Yes, it is wine; nothing more, nothing less.
Pardon? Ah, the statue in the corner? She was a courtier at the royal court; no one who met her forgot her delicate face or her sweet voice... Oh, forgive me; I am speaking of the court under Charlemagne. I sometimes get lost in my own memories and presume that everyone knows of whom or what I am speaking. Yes, she is truly beautiful. I could not bear parting with her so I had the greatest sculptor of the time make that for me. No, it is not marble, it is some sort of plaster; do not ask me what kind, I have no knowledge of such things. All I know is that it preserved her face and body. Well, at least I believe it did. I do not know what the body inside looks like now, so many years later...
Oh my dear, did you choke on your wine? Here, let me pour you some more, to clear your throat.
Now, should we 'get down to business' as you Americans say? Yes, I try to keep up with the language of today, although I must say that I find it rather gauche.
Where should I start? Well, why not in the beginning...