(There’s a reason for this blog being here and now. You can read about why in Secondary Characters Speak Out at inspirationcauldron.blogspot.com .Christopher sits amidst the mists of the Cauldron, only to have a woman in a purple cloak materialize on his left. She’s holding a red apple. A woman in a midnight gown laced with gold appears on his left. She’s holding a golden apple.)
Iama: (for the woman in midnight and gold is Iama the Terrible from Wind Me Up, One More Time) You are the one known as Christopher, yes?
Christopher: That is the name I was given by one I love. I struggle to hold onto it.
Oriana: Otherwise known as Happily Ever After?
Christopher: That title has been at times mine, although I’m not always worthy of it.
Oriana: Quartz bade us to speak to you. To have you choose between our two enchanted apples.
Iama: The apple we each hold in our hands is our hearts transformed after we threw them away. We would have you judge their merits, as the very center of our beings as enchantresses, deciding which is greater.
Christopher: You seem to value those apples a great deal. Why did you throw them away?
Oriana: Why do you ask us that?
Christopher: You wish me to judge the value of each heart. I can’t do it, not without knowing about their weaknesses along with their strengths. Or would you prefer to keep these secrets to yourself? I cannot make a judgment, though, without them.
Oriana: I see.
Christopher: Are you willing to answer? Why did you throw your hearts away?
Oriana: I…it was causing me pain. I wanted it out of me.
Iama: It was troublesome. It bothered me.
Christopher: You’re asking me to choose between something painful and something troublesome?
Oriana: I wouldn’t put it that way…
Christopher: All right. I’ll put it a different way. (He turned to Oriana.) You changed your heart into this apple after throwing it away. Why?
Oriana: I didn’t. Not at first. When I first ripped my heart out of my chest, it turned into a monster. (She looks away.) I ordered it to hunt down and tear out the heart of the girl who was causing my pain.
Iama: How utterly wicked. (She gives Oriana a glance of surprised admiration.)
Oriana: Thank you. (She blushes.) I really shouldn’t have felt flattered by that.
Christopher: How did the monster become this red apple.
Oriana: My monster wasn’t strong enough to face the girl I loved. Or perhaps I wasn’t strong enough. It dissolved into a puddle of green goo in front of her.
Iama: (Her look of admiration turns into contempt.) Weak.
Oriana: (She glowers at Iama) The puddle became a little green apple, which I changed into this red one.
Oriana: I watched the girl, my Blanche in my magic mirror. Watched her take up with a bunch of scruffy dwarves, cleaning after them just as I’d once made her clean my castle. Only while she cleaned their cottage, she smiled at them.
(Oriana presses the apple to her breast and shuts her eyes.)
Oriana: She’d smile at them with those ruby lips of hers…her smile was supposed to belong to me alone!
Iama: That’s the problem with princesses. They share their smiles with far too many, offering special glances to this servant or this advisor, trying to make all their subjects feel loved. It’s enough to make any woman who actually does love the princess mad with rage.
Christopher: I know someone who smiles like that. Only he wasn’t a princess. Please go on.
Oriana: I’d look at Blanche smiling in the mirror with those red lips. I’d picture them slightly parted, waiting for me. I imagined her lying motionless at my feet. The apple began to change. It turned red, red as Blanche’s lips. I could sense the poison of my heart lying beneath its skin. I decided to give her this apple, infused with my desire. To trick her into taking a bite of it.
Iama: Such twisted passion. (Once more, she sounds admiring.)
Oriana: Yes. (This time, she shows no pride at all. She hangs her head.)
To be continued next Monday…