Thursday, September 13, 2007

Toying with the Enemy

I took some clay from the river this morning. I say ‘I’ but I actually got Felicia to do it since her paws were already filthy from the muddy banks. I put it in the greenhouse to dry. This time of year it’s warmer than the kitchen windowsill and it gives me a chance to sample the late tomatoes.

It was purely on a whim that I fashioned them into three little dolls, and I couldn’t help it if my apprenticeship with Leonardo gave me the skills to model Harold, Gillian and Felicia with photographic accuracy. I even gave Felicia a partial snout as if she was wereing into a wolf and Gillian two tiny fangs. That’s not easy with clay.

I also couldn’t help laughing hysterically when Harold saw them. His face was a picture, especially when he saw that it was anatomically correct. He really is that small.

He calmed down when I told him that they weren’t poppets, though. What I was doing was comparing the colour and texture of the dried clay to that of the one we found to see if it was taken from the same place. It was obvious that mine were far superior, since whoever had made the original one was about as artistically talented as a three year old. Not that it matters with poppets. They’re all about the intent, the magic and the physical connection to the recipient.

Mine were just artistic figurines. Toys, really. Very good ones, true, but ultimately worthless. They wouldn’t last long and the clay was too full of imperfections to be fired.

When I went back later Harold had altered his figure by adding another half an inch of clay.

The vanity of the man!

When dealing with angels you have to ask direct questions, preferably ones with yes or no answers. They don’t like them and will do their best to avoid answering altogether, but you have to persevere.

They’re like animals in that way. Show them that you’re strong and determined and they’re putty in your hands, only without leaving residue unless you’ve that way inclined and they’re one of the four ranks that have the necessaries. Give them the slightest hint of weakness, though, and they’ll eat you alive.

What you have to be careful about is that you don’t press them into a corner. If they drop their mortal form you’re toast and if you’re on their turf you’re not so much history as interior decoration.

Have you seen Sansenoy in the last fifty years?” I asked.

Mr. Duke nodded. “Of course,” he said. “Just because we went our separate ways we don’t avoid one another. We took tea together at the Savoy.”

“What about fifty years ago?” I said. “Did either of you happen to be in Southend?”

Duke shrugged. “Probably,” he said. “It was a popular resort in those days. Who didn’t go there? Lots of people means lots of sinning.”

“What about burning down a house?” I said. “Did you just happen to do that, too?”

“Ah.” Duke looked shifty. “That was purely an accident.”

Until the morrow. X

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