Part Two of Two
By Ordos Tsceri
Oddly enough, being a feminine slab of stone wasn’t boring. She had heard of such things, of people turned in statues of stone or bronze or gold, and whenever she bothered to spare a thought for the poor souls she always felt that such a fate would be inconceivably dull.
But she wasn’t bored. She hadn’t moved all spring, and now summer was drawing to a close too, and she’d spent the entire time unmoving, staring out across a lovely garden, the westward expanse of the city and its port beyond.
She could only see the city in between an ivy-covered pillar and a scandalous statue of pink-marble, legs spread, back arched, and mouth in a silent, orgasmic howl. The statue was lovely, perched in the center of a balcony, but the background beyond was what caught her attention. If she concentrated, she could just make out some of the sails of the ships in port. More than once she was fairly certain she spot the griffon and serpent of House Nordburg… so maybe her mission was successful after all? Certainly she hadn’t planned on being turned into a statue to secure trade privileges, but if she had to be stone…
Emilie remembered her mantra. Oddly, that was the only thing aspect of her situation that was truly tedious. Forcing her thoughts through that repetitive pattern was exhausting. It was so much easier to let her mind wander, to silently enjoy the caress of wind on her marble curves, to feel lingering excitement in her erect nipples in the open air, to appreciate the shifting lights of the morning, day, dusk, and night. She could spend days appreciating the shifting shadows the garden cast, and indeed she had. Sometimes she let her mind wander, recalling stories of heroes, damsels, and gods, wondering what they would do in her position.
Once every week or so she found herself getting philosophical, wondering about the nature of life and the mind. She had neither right now, but she existed, she felt, and she thought, and her thoughts could lead her to queer places she never entertained as flesh-and-blood. She wondered what a philosopher would think, given some time to ponder silently in stone.
Certainly, she’d have to write some of her musings down. Once Cassilia got around to reversing her condition she have much to share. Maybe she could dabble in poetry while she waited for Bethany to come around.
Of course, Bethany would sunder all her thoughts and musings, washing them away as she lovingly cleaned her marble surfaces. Every touch was a delirious sensation, greater than all the attentions of all her mortal lovers, and by the time the wonderful serving girl was finished with her duties her mind would be floating in day-long afterglow, unable to think of anything save her happy, warm pleasure. It was nice to have her around. Cassia would come to play sporadically, at least once a month but sometimes every night for a week. Bethany’s routine, once every three days, was a wonderful way of keeping grounded. Her cleaning schedule anchored Emilie’s wandering thoughts in reality… albeit a very erotic reality where she was an inanimate nude statue.
When she finally got around to writing down her musings, Emilie knew, they would be profoundly erotic.
Bethany smiled at her, from the corner of her field of vision. She was beatific, pure even nude, a happiness on her marble lips that spoke of deep and true fulfillment.
The sculptors back home could take cues from her, Emilie decided. She particularly liked how the girl’s demure pose bespoke innocence, despite her well developed curves and full breasts. The assistant could easily be installed as a statue of a womanly goddess in a dozen separate temples. She had the innocence to represent Thanya the Daughter, the poise to be Danella the Lady, the allure to stand as Elodia the Lover, and the serenity to be cast as the queen goddess Hestalia in her aspect as wife… and those were just the gods in the Nordland pantheon!
Even as stone the servant girl kindled desire. Emilie remembered her gentle caress, the delicacy of her scrubbing, the warmth of her hand through the cloth, and the furtive kisses on her still form with such clarity that she could almost convince herself the servant was still a woman.
Bethany’s conversion had been gentle. She knew what Cassilia could do, she’d spent half of her life attending the beauties in Cassilia’s garden, she knew each statue by touch and name. Evidently, she seemed to have had an understanding with Cassilia. They approached her petrification with coordination. Cassilia even asked Bethany if she was sure of her choice. Of course she was. She struck a pose, and she’d been smiling in the right corner of Emilie’s vision ever since.
It was strange, thinking that the girl wanted to be a statue. At least at first. She clearly enjoyed administering to the garden, washing and caressing the still beauties. Maybe she understood what it felt like, to be caressed while utterly immobile. Maybe after all those years, she realized how wonderful it felt for her inanimate charges.
She was beautiful. Emilie could spend days on end admiring her. It was a shame she couldn’t ever touch her again, but Cassilia had hired new servants. A gaggle of serving girls, barely women, to clean and speak to her beauties. She’d seen seven of them, but it seemed only five were still about now. Emilie wondered what could account for the discrepancy until she overheard a couple of them whispering. Evidently the one with rough hands, Ophelia, had been lax in her duties. Her session with Lady Sybil had gone very differently than Bethany, and the new statue had been sold to collector Cassilia had become fond of. It would be two weeks before Emilie heard rumor that the other missing servant, Sophia, had been caught diddling herself in the garden. Evidently she had been installed in an up-class brothel since then.
Still, none were Bethany. The blonde one with curly hair, Cassandra, might become her equal in time. She cleaned with passion, blushing as she looked into marble eyes, trying to connect with the person in the stone. Emilie loved that sensation; it made the cleaning even more delicious. Alas, her scrubbing technique could use some improvement, but that would likely come in time.
Until then, she had Bethany, a vision of beauty and contentment to admire. Emilie could think of no better companion for her marble existence.
This was a special day. Every year on this day Cassilia would speak to her, personally.
The garden had grown over the years. Every turn of the season seemed to add a new marble beauty to Lady Cassilia Sybil’s collection. Emilie could only see seven from her pedestal, but she knew more were accumulating. Often, she’d hear their conversion taking place around a corner, or even behind her. Of course she couldn’t turn around to look at her new companions, but she liked to imagine their bodies, their poses. She could guess what their faces looked like, which ones had been surprised by their fate like she was, which ones were eager to join the statuary like Bethany, and a few that seemed to be somewhere in between.
With a growing number of statues, Cassilia’s attentions had grown more inconsistent. She was fortuneate, she knew, because Cassilia was rather fond of her. She’d known some statues to go years without being touched by the mistress’ forked tongue, and some had been removed from the garden entirely. The prone pink maiden by the balcony had been hoisted away a couple years back, and Emilie still had no idea of where she had ended up. But Cassilia definitely had favorites, and both she and Bethany could count themselves in that happy company.
“Happy anniversary,” Cassilia whispered into Emilie’s ear, her forked tongue ever so lightly stroking the hard surface. She loved it when her mistress teased her so. Cassilia could drag this out for hours. It had become one of the highlights of her existence.
Emilie wasn’t certain when she stopped expecting to be animate again. It had been years ago, certainly, but she wasn’t sure if there had been a specific point. It taken a flatly ridiculous amount of time for her accept the fact, but that was of no consequence; time wasn’t issue, and Emilie very much doubted it ever would be again. She found it funny how becoming an inanimate and unchanging stone object had taught her to live in the moment.
Cassilia was wrapping her way around her, circling around Emilie like she had the night so long ago. Every coil brought her closer, made Emilie more aware of her heat, her wetness, her lust. Cassilia loved her statues.
Her attentions were always different. Today, though, she seemed in a teasing mood, her clawed fingers delicately tracing the curves of Emilie’s hips, her waist, her breasts. The nest of serpents that made her hair flicked their tongues, just barely stroking her marble skin. Only after an interminable period of decadent, whispering contact did she finally press burning hot lips against Emilie’s stone neck, the sensation threatening to overwhelm her consciousness.
“This is a special anniversary, you know,” Cassilia whispered into a marble ear as she wound her lower body around Emilie’s legs. Her forked tongue flit through her pursed lips as she began to plant kisses along Emilie’s delicate jaw-line and inviting lips. “Hard to believe, twenty-five years ago, you wandered into my garden…” she whispered between kisses.
Few things had given Emilie pause in the last decade, but those words cut through her mounting erotic haze. Twenty-five years. She had only been twenty-four when she arrived for Cassia’s masked ball. She’d spent more time as a statue than as a living person. She had stood here motionless a full year longer than she had been a real, moving human being. Most of her existence had been as stone.
And, most profoundly of all, that number was only going to grow.
Casilia continued her physical admiration of her beloved work, her hands stroking Emilie’s form, her wet womanhood rubbing against Emilie’s, her tongue and snakes tasting her skin and drinking in her helpless arousal. The sensations overcame her revelation, and Emilie found herself falling into the familiar, rapturous haze of inanimate over-stimulation. She felt a warm wetness on her knee, heard Casillia cry out in pleasure, felt the shuddering of an orgasm throughout the massive snake-woman wound about her, and soon her lady was planting soft kisses along her sculpted ear and neck, wrapping her arms around the marble woman as Emilie struggled to maintain conscious footing in her own mind against the tide of sensation.
A few minutes afterward, Cassilia unwound herself from her statue, whispering a few sweet nothings. As her mistress slithered away Emilie’s mind reeled through the maelstrom of her arousal, lost in a storm of sensation. This session had been particularly wonderful; it would be days before she was cognizant enough for contemplation or rational thought. Maybe then she’d think about her future, but for now all she cared about was the glorious feeling coursing through her essence, locked in beautiful, unyielding stone.
Cassilia had expanded her gardens twice since Emilie joined the décor, but as the city grew her needs had changed. Over the last year, the mistress had been spending more and more time in a castle overlooking the land-approach to Astyria, and had been visiting her palace gardens less frequently. On her last visit (where she wrapped herself around Bethany, but not her, Emilie remembered with a bit of disappointment) she had talked about moving some of her favorites to new garden, built on a high terrace of the new keep.
Today it was finally happening! A handful of favorites, Emilie included, had been measured and fitted with various pallets. A couple of the more petite girls had been moved first, probably as proof that the process would work, and now they were moving some of the older pieces. It was a delightful getting so much attention from so many people, although the sensation of their gaze seemed oddly different. Pleasant, to be sure, but from the way their eyes lingered and the movement of their gazes, it was evident they were more interested in weight and mass distribution than Emilie’s beauty.
They had just fastened a system of ropes, pulleys, and wooden scaffolding when the earthquate hit.
It took an instant for Emilie to process what was happening. Old memories whispered in her mind, of the fire-mountain near her home in Nordland, and how occasionally the earth would rumble and shake when the gods were displeased. She felt the deep movement, the power that forged mountains and moved inanimate earth and stone.
But this one was more intense than any she could recall. She saw the engineers topple over, surprised and off-guard. And then, everything changed. She felt the wind on her stone flanks, could see movement in a way she hadn’t known in years, felt her long, artfully balanced center of weight shift drastically.
She was toppling over. In a couple of seconds she moved more than she had in the last four decades. If she still had a heart, it would have been thundering in her vein, blood pounding the tempo in her ears, her chest too tight to draw breath. But she had none of those now, and instead could only watch in muted awe as she collided with the floor.
“Oh… bugger it,” she heard one of the engineers say, picking herself up after the shaking had stopped. Only then did Emilie realize something felt odd. Wrong.
A half-dozen engineers were all over her, feeling her, readjusting the ropes and hauling her up to inspect for damages. Her thoughts raced… what would happen if she broke? If she crumbled to dust and gravel?
Only then did the strange sensations come into focus. Her arms were moving, but still stone, warm fingers on her cool marble. One was brought within her field of view and everything made sense.
Her arms had broken off. The left arm was shattered, the upper portion completely pulverized, having absorbed the brunt of her falling weight. The forearm was still intact, though. Her right arm had fared little better, mostly in one single stone chunk, albeit with some of the fingers gone.
The workers gathered up all the pieces. Emilie could still feel them, still register the delight of having her immobile body touched and handled, only now mixed with the alien knowledge that these sensations, the pieces she was feeling, weren’t attached to her body anymore.
From their chatter, Emilie understood that the rest of her was untouched. She was still the same, beckoning, alluring statue… only now without the beckoning arms. The forewoman, the one who had sworn, ran a hand over the broken stumps at the end of Emilie’s arms. Emilie wanted to gasp; this was the first truly new sensation she’d experienced in forty years. A touch, still intensely pleasurable and lingeringly erotic, only now it was stroking what was the inside of her arms, a place that didn’t exist until just a few moments ago.
Emilie reeled. She hadn’t moved since she’d become a statue. Her body hadn’t changed at all.
About twenty years ago Lady Cassilia had expanded and renovated the new grounds extensively. This time, however, large stretches of the statue garden had been opened to the public. At first it had been worrisome, with so many unfamiliar eyes darting over her exposed form, heaving so many comments… She’d felt so exposed, vulnerable in a way she hadn’t experienced since the earthquake almost a century earlier, but it proved to be do stimulating, so delightful!
At some point, someone had installed a plaque on her pedestal. She couldn’t see it, but she’d heard enough people whisper and murmur it aloud to know it read ‘Beckoning Repose’.
Just about all the exhibits had their own plaques now. They appeared not long after the gallery was opened to the public, but Beckoning Repose had been in one of her post-coital hazes when it happened. Whether it had been from Lady Cassilia or the movers, she couldn’t be certain. There had been so many hands, so much warm contact… Lady Cassilia would greet her favorites after every move, but things were still mired in that euphoric glow while she applied her affections. It would take about a month or so after every move to regain full cognizance.
At first, being open to the public had been terrifying. For the first time in a century she’d been nervous about her helplessness. So many people, all around her. But, as Lady Cassilia’s collection grew she had been spending less and less time with each of her statues. What were once weekly visits had dwindled to once a fortnight, then once a month. After that, the counting became too vague to really be certain. All the extra attention, the delightful caress of hundreds, then thousands of eyes, had turned her daily existence into a reverie almost on par with her Lady’s caress. Almost.
But, the oddest thing… none of the richly dressed guests ever spoke her name. Her old one.
Why would they? Was there anyone alive who even knew it? She searched her memories… had glorious Lady Cassilia ever called her by name?
Beckoning Repose had been the subject of essays. She was an example of Lady Cassilia’s earlier, more impromptu style. An exemplar of the naturalist movement, common amongst a number of sculptors who had the advantage of transformative magic. Art students would sketch her. There had been dozens of debates about how her arms had been portrayed… some of the students were even kind enough to show her their sketches, not that she could confirm or deny anything.
Beckoning Repose had been a statue for over a century, but it wasn’t until she’d been part of a public gallery that she truly felt like an object. Like art.
It felt… right. Her old name was silly, wasn’t it? It seemed so random thinking about it, and it didn’t describe her at all. It was strange to think she’d ever been anything other than Beckoning Repose. Just like those arms she used to have. They still tickled, from time to time, but her balance was so much better now, her poise so much more correct without those silly things dangling from her shoulders.
Aside from that moment, her move went well.
The Forewoman from the move was positioned across from her. She was only a bust, albeit one that extended far enough to capture her breasts, the smile on her lustrous marble lips both lascivious and confident. Emilie didn’t know if she had been petrified as punishment for her own fall, or as reward for a job well done. She was a little too far away to hear what Lady Cassilia had to say when she favored the stone bust with her attention, but from the tone of it, she guessed that the woman’s addition to the gallery had been a negotiated part of her contract. She was too far away for her to read her plaque.
Indeed, the damage she sustained seemed to have inspired a trend. Lady Cassilia went through a minimalist movement not too long after the earthquake, and occasionally Beckoning Repose saw a bust or a torso, artfully arranged to take advantage of negative space (another tidbit she’d picked up from the art students.)
But, perhaps the most delightful surprise of the last few years, Beckoning Repose seemed to have inspired imitators.
At first she wasn’t certain. But when noble women, richly dressed in flowing silks, their hairs in elaborate woven style, began touring the gallery without arms, she realized it couldn’t have been coincidence. They flaunted their reductions, reduced arms wrapped in silk ribbons that cascaded with their exaggerated movements.
But today was different.
The sun was setting and the gallery was closing. Beckoning Repose was still vaguely dazzled, riding down the lingering euphoria of several hundred eyes lovingly appraising her form and direction, when a young noble girl approached.
She was wearing the bright silk gown and accompanying ribbons that were popular these days, bright pink cloth flowing from a high-woven hairdo. The neckline plunged, showing off her impressive cleavage, and colorful ribbons hung from her hair along delicate arcs, their ends tied around the smooth stumps where her arms ended, one just above the elbow, the other halfway down the upper-arm.
She smiled at Beckoning Repose. “Do you like?” she said, whispering in an almost conspiratorial tone, “I had them modeled after you.”
And then she struck a pose, and Beckoning Repose thought she was staring into a mirror. The girl mimicked her stance perfectly, even the part of her lips and invitation in her eyes. She held that pose for several long minutes, so long that Beckoning Repose wasn’t certain she was still breathing by the time she stumbled back onto her feet, face flush, giggling.
“You are so amazing, Beckoning!” she coed, looking the statue in her eyes, “Half my class has been competing for a spot in Lady Casillia’s gallery. But I studied you. I modeled myself after you. And I she chose me!”
She licked her lips, her eyes glimmering with excitement. “I climb on my pedestal in two days. Then I’m stone forever. And I owe it all to you!”
The young woman leaned forward and placed her lips on the statue’s. Beckoning Repose felt her heat, her lust, her tongue all press together into a boiling ecstasy that began to seep through her. There was such passion and urgency and want in that kiss.
Technically, this wasn’t allowed. Only maintenance could touch the statues. And Lady Cassilia herself, of course. But there could be exceptions for the Lady’s guests. And presumably her future statues, too.
When it was over, the woman smiled into her eyes, longingly, for a tender moment. “You’re amazing,” she finally said, “I hope I turn out as beautiful as you.”
With that she turned around and left. Her path kept her in Beckoning Repose’s field of view for a pleasantly long time. The armless woman really would look exceptional in rose marble.
The Astyria Exhibit smiled her inviting marble grin, pondering how the centuries ran together. Her pose hadn’t changed an inch, but she hadn’t seen the outside in decades. Now she was in a private gallery, a conversation piece for nobles in strange dress to comment on.
It was difficult to piece together history from her vantage point. If she hadn’t exactly lived through history, she’d still been a witness to it. But she’d been a statue for so long, all the years and events sort of blurred together. She’d been a woman, once upon a time, a foolish little thing concerned with family politics and a treaty or some nonsense. But that had been so long ago, sometimes it all felt like a dream.
The gallery was empty tonight, and she wasn’t due to be washed until the end of the week, so she had plenty of time to reflect.
War had come to Astyria. There had been a couple battles, The Astyria Exhibit could remember the glow of camp fires from the very corner of her vision, and eventually one of the invading armies triumphed. Lady Cassilia vanished… oh, how many centuries ago had it been? She had heard soldiers who occupied the palace and sprawling gardens tell contradictory stories as they ogled her and the other statues; some say she died fighting some hero or another, but most seemed to think she had somehow made her way out of the city.
The Exhibit liked that. Even after all these years, the thought that the woman who made her stone may yet still live made her happy.
Things were a blur, shortly after that. A rush of movement that had entirely disagreed with her. She had been moved to a new gallery within Astyria, almost a warehouse, and had heard numerous official looking people with official looking documents walk around and take notes. It sounded like they were trying to match statues to names to names, relatives, or prospective buyers. Eventually, she was placed in a box stuffed with straw and locked in darkness for who knows how long, only to be re-opened somewhere entirely different.
It wasn’t Nordland. She didn’t understand the language for decades. She ended up in a private gallery, along with a dozen other statues, most of which she didn’t recognize (although, supposedly, they could have just been from parts of the garden she hadn’t been able to see).
That exhibit was the first of many. She’d been in seven… no, at least eight different exhibits since that, and most seemed to have been in different cities.
Every now and then she still felt sensations from her long lost arms. They absolutely weren’t whole anymore. Indeed, it felt like her old limbs had been broken and ground down, by humans or by the years she didn’t know. Most of one arm was under water, as either a handful of stones or possibly just sand. If the Exhibit focused very hard, in the quiet of the night, she could feel the ebb and flow of waves, the pressure of water, and the rhythmic motion of tides. Part of her had been underwater for the last three cities… how many decades was that?
The gallery owners after Astyria hadn’t impressed her. She was fairly certain the current one, Doge Gernio or something to that extent, was a banker of some sort. He always seemed more covetous than appreciative, and his attentions left the Astyria Exhibit feeling more like a bauble in a crow’s nest than a true work of art. He had groped her a few times, clumsily, but that had been years ago. The only contact she got anymore was the all too occasional dusting.
She missed being Beckoning Repose. The lovely little plaque was long gone, probably her original pedestal, too. For the last century she’d just been called ‘The Astyria Exhibit’, as though she could encompass all of that amazing land. Did Astria still exist anymore?
The Astyria Exhibit was fading into one of her dormant periods, where the lack of stimulation relaxed into a slumber of sorts. No one had even entered the closed gallery in the last few days. Near as she could tell, the current gallery was a windowless hallway in a little-used wing of some expansive, banker mansion. The decoure (aside from herself, of course) seemed gaudy, with more attention paid to looking expensive than to looking good.
The private gallery was quiet, and the few visitors she did receive tended not to discuss things in her presence, so it had been slow going picking up the language. But… if she understood them correctly, it sounded like things weren’t going too well for the Doge. Expensive habits were catching up with him, and whatever his income came from didn’t seem to be performing as well as he had grown accustomed to. She still couldn’t understand half the words of this language, but she’d seen the story play out in the last two private galleries she’d been a part of.
Soon the money would run thin and sacrifices would be made. Rich-person sacrifices. The under-appreciated, exotic statue gallery would be pretty high on the list. Soon some other rich merchant or influential noble would own a petrified portrait of long lost Astyria. A relic of a lost time, to show off borrowed artistry and bought taste.
If she could still breathe, the Astyria Exhibit would have sighed.
Sure enough, she had been sold. It was a struggle to stay conscious inside her crate; the dark had nothing to stimulate her, no eyes to appreciate her delicate curves, no hands or feather-dusters to feel her. Only brittle straw, packed tight to cushion her, and the telltale movement of cargo in motion.
At first there had been hands. They hadn’t been too gentle, but they’d been confident enough. There was always the fear of being dropped, of breaking into a hundred a pieces, or otherwise just becoming less during these moves. Memories of the earthquake year flashed in her mind, unbidden. And the movement… after years of staring at the same section of wall, having her perspective and field of vision just change was so disorientating.
But that only lasted for a few minutes. She was reclined into a crate, her descent controlled with makeshift pulleys, her landing cushioned with densely packed straw. More of the stuff was dumped on top of her, until it covered her completely, the small, cool strands tingling against her stone skin. They were nowhere near as intense as fingers, as living, breathing human contact, but after not being touched in weeks they still felt amazing. She let this strange, full-body sensation occupy her as she heard the lid close, being nailed shut, and felt herself being lifted.
After that things became harder to sense. Time had become so hard to gauge in her windowless gallery, but now, locked in a straw-filled crate, there was even less to differentiate one moment from the next. The rumble of wooden wheels on cobbled streets. A carriage, most likely. The commotion of a market outside, the ringing of bells and the sounding of horns, the rocking motion of ship at sea… another harbor, another carriage, and another ship after that.
The Astyria Exhibit drifted across her own memories, torn between trying to stay alert on her voyage and the natural passive slumber that accompanied inaction. She found herself thinking of the old days, when she was a work of art, appreciated by her maker and her public alike. She had another name then, too. A better one. One that didn’t just compare her to a city and a culture long since fallen. There had been a few, but one was close to her heart…
The movement stopped, what little stimulation that allowed The Astyria Exhibit to discern one instant from the next faded. She could have spent years in that box and she wouldn’t know it. In a lucid moment, she tried to recall the shape of the coastline and major roads, but her only memories of such things predated her transformation, and were likely laughably out of date. How many centuries did it take for a city to grow? It’s possible her destination hadn’t even existed the last time she’d looked at a map.
Movement shook her from her reverie. Somewhat belatedly, she realized she’d been dreaming. Half-rememered notions of feminine hands over her stony curves, a forked tongue tasting the lust in her soul, almond-shaped eyes awash with radiant magic…
And then she heard the sound of nails straining, felt the force of a crate being pried open. She’d see her new home, her next gallery, in only a few moments, and then this troublesome period of movement admist her long ages of immobile beauty would be over.
Light began to spill from the crate’s edges, and the straw was brushed away bit by bit. An image formed above her. For a second, she thought she was still dreaming.
“Ah… Beckoning Reposssse…” a familiar voice purred. A forked tongue darted out of smiling lips.
In an instant, those lips were on hers, with a passion and a practice she’d only ever known in one woman, one beautiful creature. She felt the tickle of snake tongues, the gentle caress of claw-tipped fingers running over her body.
Beckoning Repose wanted to cry, to sing, to howl in glee and wonder and relief all at once. But, more than anything, she wanted to lie there, still as she had been for centuries, and bask in the love and attention of her favorite admirer. And since that was all she could do, she luxuriated in it.
“Oh… I wasss so afraid I’d lossst you..” Lady Cassilia whispered between impassioned kisses, her ‘s’ sounds drawn out in the lisp that snuck into her speech when she grew too excited. “I sssearched for decadesss!”
Other hands were upon, Beckoning Repose felt leather supports slipped under her, her stony weight hefted up by another pulley operated by muscular women wearing veiled masks that obstructed their eyes. Some magic to keep them animate around Lady Cassilia, perhaps?
It was twilight, the sky blue and violet and streaked with stars. There was a garden overlooking a cliff, the sound of waves breaking on the stone echoing up from far below. Trees and shrubs and statues were artfully arranged between the cliff and the arches of a stone tower or keep. It was so much like Astyria of old, smaller perhaps, but with all the delicate touches she’d come to love and appreciate. She saw a smiling pink marble statue that had once bathed her, and a half dozen other faces and forms she could recall from the old garden.
And there was a pedestal, with a golden plaque, just for her.
“I’ve been tracking down my favoritesss…” Lady Cassilia whispered into Beckoning Repose’s ear. “The new garden just wassssn’t complete without you…”
Beckoning Repose couldn’t imagine a more glorious fate as Lady Cassilia’s lips began to reacquaint themselves with her figure. She was beautiful, eternal, serene, and beloved by the most wonderful creature she had ever known. Beckoning Repose smiled into the distance as the sun began to crest over the horizon, more happy and content than she ever knew was possible.