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Old Jul 6th, 2014, 07:23 PM
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Trespasser Trespasser is offline
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The Daguerreotypist

The Daguerreotypist


She could feel every muscle in her body, every square inch of skin, every hair. She could no longer remember how she had started, did she smile? Was she smiling now? Her fingers that lightly grazed the skin of collarbone started to tremor and shake and she seemed incapable of controlling anything at all. Her pale breasts rose and fell and though she never seemed to breathe so heavily in her life she felt like she was suffocating. The whole room was suffused with blue light and she imagined she was underwater, every muscle nearly convulsing for want of air. Behind it all, the clock.


He didn't even see her. He watched the wall, the corner where beam joined beam in a convergence of angles and lines. Though he finally had her here, posed before that apparatus of his trade, he didn't dare look. He felt one stray glance would shatter her, disturb her stasis. This scene of posed perfection was for that cyclopean machine alone. It would greedily behold her frozen beauty and by the aid of his alchemy, preserve that memory eternal. The clock ticked each tick with an agonizing pull of time, each moment distending before the next. He could almost feel the twisting tensioned spring, straining each and every second in its Sisyphean struggle. And in that brief time, both of their minds were ticking in unison.

When he capped the lens, and freed his angelic caryatid he felt a flickering melancholy, but dismissed it. With her first gasping breath it was like watching a statue come to life, the beauty beggared description.

She felt flush with vivacity and almost confused. She smiled and words tumbled out of her, joking at her awkwardness and inexperience. She had never had her likeness taken before, despite the skylight studio being situated directly above the Gem of the East, but at last she had acquiesced, accepting the daguerreotypist's repeated offers. He was a bit eccentric and solitary, but seemed kind and well-meaning, so she accepted his shekel to pose for him. He had explained that when not doing business in portraiture he captured the exotic and beautiful sights of Eblis for export to his home in Bradel, where elegant city galleries would display such views to the amazement of their aristocratic patrons. And the likeness of a tantalizing Eastern maid such as Farah was sure to bring him a good price.

They sat as the mercury heated, cross-legged and cramped in the tiny dark closet. The taper, unwavering in the still air illuminated his face as he leaned forward to address her in a conspiratorial whisper that yet barely constrained an excited eagerness.

Farah, he whispered, holding up a glinting coin, I know I promised you this payment for your likeness, but might I suggest an even richer but bolder endeavor? Curious, she nodded silently but involuntarily extended her fingers for the coin. He pulled it back to his waistcoat pocket with a slight smile and continued, The public of Bradel want to be enticed by their image of not enticed...tempted. They want a lurid eroticism that cannot even be captured by words, not even by some penny pulp that would make a harlot blush. In the corner of your smiles or the arch of your brow is where I find it for them, but they want more...they want such as would have me jailed for even speaking the idea to any decent woman! Farah pulled back with a startled look, soon replaced by some measure of indignation! He quickly caught his connotations, Ah no, you misunderstand me! They -want- but I cannot deliver...but I have a plan. We have heard tales of the heavenly seraglio of the harem of the Palace Na Afra, and I have sat many evenings by the riverbank, in nothing but imagining the life within those walls, even closing my eyes and dreaming the gurgling of water, chirping of frogs, rustlings of reeds to be the fairy laughter of houris and the shiftings of their rainbowed silks. And often in that reverie I could swear the shimmering dulcimer somehow finds my ear across the sweltering summer stillness. That contained within those sacred walls is all the sensuality and more than could ever be imagined by the people of my cities, and that is what I must capture.

He continued, I must find some way to secret myself within that temple of the senses and set on silver just a glimpse of its pleasures. To that end I have contrived something of a plan...a plan involving you. Though I have never seen them, surely your beauty is equal to that of any of the Caliph's maids, and that should be our key. We could enter on the premise of escorting a newly acquired damsel to her quarters, and I her porter might aid in transporting her voluminous trunks and raiment. By that guile we might pass the guards and secure our images that would surely be worth their weight in gold and more! I beseech you, you possess all the rare charms necessary for such a charade that I might not find elsewhere for a thousand girls. For this you might have half interest in the endeavor. Would you be persuaded?

Last edited by Trespasser; Jul 12th, 2014 at 09:26 PM.
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