Christopher sits facing a young woman with long golden hair wearing a green gown, which gathers below her bosom, only to flare out into flowing skirts. She gazes back at him with direct blue eyes.
Christopher: Thank you for visiting me here at the Cauldron, Your Highness.
Rose: Please, Christopher. Call me Rose. Here who and what we are shifts and changes with the rising steam, does it not? Here we are simply two willing dreamers brought together from different worlds.
Christopher: Is that what we are?
Rose: We follow our dreams, do we not? No matter what the peril, we pursue that vision of seductive eyes even if we may be shattered, cursed…or drowned.
Christopher: (wincing) You know about that?
Rose: I’ve been swimming in the surface of our scribbler’s thoughts as she rewrites Fairest. In those thoughts drifts a tale of you seeking visions in a pond, mingled with one of Paula Wyant’s prompts involving a shadow, a wheel, and a wild party. You ended up falling in.
Christopher: (flushing) That particular story won’t be appearing here until months from now.
Rose: (turning and smiling at the reader) Look for it when it does.
Christopher: (blushes some more) I’m not sure if you’re promoting me or I’m promoting you.
Rose: We promote each other, do we not? (turning her smile on him)
Christopher: Yes, we do. (looking away) Regardless time lags behind in the Cauldron compared to what’s currently happening in the scribbler’s world.
Rose: Not by much, not for your conversations. They’re not that far behind her.
Christopher: The Wednesday blogs; the stories and poems which were once at the Formerly Forbidden Cauldron do. They lag months behind, including the tale you mentioned.
Christopher: Speaking of tales, how is yours going? How is Fairest?
Rose: Wonderful. It’s been published twice before so it isn’t undergoing the major changes At Her Service is. There are only a few parts the scribbler intends to expand.
Christopher: Which parts?
Rose: Some of my development as a princess and a leader. The scribbler wanted to show more than summarize this in the recent edition along with my interactions with Marian and Lord Gerard. She needs to take care, though. Overall Fairest is about Briar and myself. It’s our love story. The scribbler is staying focused upon that and leaving all of that intact, I’m very happy to say.
Christopher: As opposed to Cinders and Ariella whom have an angry mother or mother-in-law, a drafty chateaux, a spendthrift father who fancies himself ill all the time, and Claude when once it was just glass slippers and a ball.
Rose: Exactly. Our story undergoes very little change.
Christopher: What has changed so far?
Rose: Just a little at the beginning. My parents have a bit more of a reaction to my curse. There’s also more about what I find in the tower, but not too much. Like I said, our scribbler is trying not to take the focus away from Briar and myself.
Christopher: I’ll admit I’m jealous. My stories need a lot more work, but I’m not as focused a character as you.
Rose: We’re more alike than you think, Christopher. You may blush at my smile, but you’re as smitten with Damian’s rose-purple eyes as I am with my Briar’s dark ones.
Christopher: (flushing again) Perhaps I am. I’m not sure if you ever let anything distract you from your fascination with Briar. Many things, many people distract me and draw me away from Damian. Some of them Damian himself introduced, intending to distract me from him along with his plans.
Rose: It sounds like we have one more thing in common, you and I. Our beloved is also our adversary.
Christopher: Damian is not my adversary! He created me, gave me my current existence. I owe everything I am to him.
Rose: I wouldn’t be who I am without my mysterious witch. She brought wonder and magic into my life, but she also cursed me. Many think I’m quite mad to be so fascinated with the one who cursed me. Are you equally mad when it comes to Damian, Christopher?
Christopher: (blushes more than ever, looks down at his hands) I can’t stop thinking about him even when I should. He disappeared from my life, leaving a hole I can’t ever fill.
Rose: I know what you mean.
Christopher: (looking up to meet her blue eyes, his own swirling with different colors) Yes, you do, don’t you? Our scribbler seems to like writing about such obsessive passion.
Rose: She’s prone to it herself often.
Christopher: Yes, she is. Here’s hoping we don’t drown in our own passion even if keeps luring us to the edge of ponds or off forest paths where dangerous creatures hunger for up.
Rose: Or up into tower rooms where a cursed destiny awaits us.
Christopher: Or that, yes.