Previous - this entry written on November 27, 2005 at 10:09 am - Next
...my mind is full of story fragments. None of them are really coming into anything more than a paragraph or two at most, a lot of them not even that, just flashes, a moment out of a stranger's life caught in the cobwebs that fill my head this morning.
I'll start with the bath.
The scene, on this one, is almost painfully clear. A huge sunken tub, hot water sluicing in from a pipe in one wall. I know, although I can't see it, that the pipe leads to a huge fire-heated boiler, one of several, and that there are a couple of soot-covered children in charge of watching the fires and keeping them stoked. The tub itself is almost a pool; tiled, with the tiles so carefully placed and the edges smoothed that there isn't a rough spot anywhere. There is a shallow ledge around three of the tub's edges, one of the long sides and the two shorter ends, and in the center of the long side there are steps leading down into the tub as well. There's room all the way around its edge, a very low rise wide enough for a person to sit on, and beyond that against the far wall a huge set of windows overlook what is likely a courtyard of some sort. It's unclear - the glass is whorled and tinted, not quite opaque but close.
There is steam rising from the water, the floor beyond the raised rim is covered with thick, soft rugs and scattered with low tables, fluffed cushions, and stacks of folded towels waiting to be used. There are shelves along the walls, full of oils and salts and soaps, scrubbing cloths, pumice stones, perfumes and fresh flower petals and citrus juice, even a metal jug of cream cold enough that the steam in the air is condensing on its gleaming sides.
There are three doors - one leads to a smaller room, containing a rather arcane-looking toilet, all intricate brass pipework and strange pottery, clearly designed by one who has the general idea of such plumbing but has never actually seen a toilet before working on this one. Another, near the tub, leads out into a hallway connecting to, among other places, the passage down to the boiler rooms and the living areas for the servants who work in this section of the Keep. The third door leads into the private chambers of the Keep's Mistress, and are intricately carved and bejeweled.
The tub can be drained, of course, and is kept well-scrubbed between uses. Water temperature can be regulated by sluicing in cold water as well as the hot, pouring from a second pipe; both pipes are fitted with sculpted ends, fantastic creatures pouring the water from basins and spouting it from open mouths. Other carvings, on the door, on the shelves, on the low tables, even on some of the tiles, match the theme, leaving the room filled with a zoologist's paradise of beasts.
There are bath attendants, of course. Several folding screens as well as tapestries hung over shallow niches in the walls make sure that the attendants can be out of sight, out of mind, but still present if they are needed. They are well-trained, both in discretion and in what skills such a job might require.
...and the puppy says he's 'just trying to help'. Sorry, change of subject. *sigh* It's freezing cold here and as far as we can tell, the heater is broken - gas doesn't seem to be going when the main valve is on. Whee. Anyway, he's suggested everything from a hot bath to steamy talk to lighting a fire - no, we don't have a fireplace - and can't seem to grasp that maybe I would rather not think about it, or that I'm not in the mood for cheerful suggestions.
He's... cheerful. *twitch*
If I wanted that I'd go stare at kiddy shows on TV. I'm bitchy, depressed, in the mood to seriously hurt someone, so cold my fingers and toes are trying to go numb, I'm frustrated, I'm tired, I'm hungry, I can't sleep and I'm too queasy to eat... in short, I'm really not having all that great a morning. All I want is quiet obedience. That's IT. It's not complicated.
It just requires shutting up, and the day he can manage that without being threatened and bullied or outright shocked into it, hell will get as cold as California is now.
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