Perchance to Dream (Theatre Illuminata Trilogy #2)
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Synopsis: Act Two, Scene One
Growing up in the enchanted Thèâtre Illuminata, Beatrice Shakespeare Smith learned everything about every play ever written. She knew the Players and their parts, but she didn't know that she, too, had magic. Now, she is the Mistress of Revels, the Teller of Tales, and is determined to follow her stars. She is ready for the outside world.
Enter BERTIE AND COMPANY
Enter BERTIE AND COMPANY
But the outside world soon proves more topsy-turvy than any stage production. Bertie can make things happen by writing them, but outside the protective walls of the Thèâtre, nothing goes as planned. And her magic cannot help her make a decision between -
NATE: Her suave and swashbuckling pirate, now in mortal peril.
ARIEL: A brooding, yet seductive, air spirit whose true motives remain unclear.
When Nate is kidnapped and taken prisoner by the Sea Goddess, only Bertie can free him. Bertie's dreams are haunted by Nate, whose love for Bertie is keeping him alive, but in the daytime, it's Ariel who is tantalizingly close, and the one she is falling for. Who does Bertie love the most? And will her magic be powerful enough to save her once she enters the Sea Goddess's lair?
“That’s auite th’ bookmark.” Though Nate crouched down, he didn’t move to touch the blade. “Unless ya just summonded a knife from thin air.”
“Oh, happy dagger.” Kneeling, Bertie scooped it up.
“Ye don’t fancy yeself as Juliet, do ye?” Nate caught her by the wrist.
“I’d prefer less death and more results, if that’s all right with you.” She rotated her hand over and unfurled her fingers, the knife’s streamer of silk like a blood trail. “Hold this.” After a long moment, he took it, and she was able to open the journal. “What should we say?”
“Yer th’ one wi’ th’ words.” The muted dance of the fire’s light played over his face, softening his surprised expression. “Why would ye think I’d know?”
Heartened by her success with the map, Bertie still wondered how best to word it. “There should be no misunderstanding that I want you with me.”
Cradling her left hand in his, Nate tracked her life line across her palm with his fingertip. “Forever?”
The question gave her pause, but only for a second. “Of course.”
“Then I have the words.” His voice dropped, as though he feared someone might overhear him. “Blood o’ my blood.”
The rightness of the phrase echoed in her head, and she wrote it without hesitation.
Blood of my blood.
Though she expected the pain, it still startled her when carved a thin line into her palm. She held out her hand for the knife and made a mirror cut on his broad hand. Her palm against his, the knife’s crimson ribbon twisted about to bind them at the wrist, the blade dangling like a man from the gallows. Their gazes met, then their lips’ the firelight flickered and died. As the kiss ended, the grove on trees behind Nate disappeared into the blackout, and dark scrim curtains rushed to encircle them.
A pale blue light came up beyond the thin gauze, and Bertie caught her first glimpse of Sedna’s lair. The Sea Goddess’s spell upon Nate’s inert physical form was a ribbon bow that bound his hands behind his back and wound about his legs. “I can see you.” The Nat standing before her jerked with surprise, and she hastened to add, “Don’t move.”
His hand, already tight in her grasp, clamped down upon hers in panic. “I can smell th’ water.”
“Don’t. Move.” Without taking her gaze off either Nate, Bertie wrote.
Knots unpicked by unseen hands, he was free to leave.
“It isn’t good manners to trespass, nor to steal.” The Sea Goddess stood behind Nate’s body, all ink trails of deepest purple, the flash of scales, and flickering glimpses of creamy yellow bone that matched the medallion hanging around Bertie’s neck. “If you want him, you will have ot take his place. You will have to drown to save him.”
“Not all the rules are yours,” Bertie said.
(The words pull him to her.)
Blood of my blood.
The echo shook the walls of the cavern, shook her, shook both Nates.
“It’s working-” he gasped.
She didn’t need him to tell her; she could feel the difference as the blood they’d shared pulled his physical self through the thinning curtains.
The Sea Goddess screamed her displeasure, wrapped her arms around her prize, and retreated into the gloom with a snarl. “Though it’s but a shell, it’s mine nonetheless.”
Next to Bertie, Nate choked, as though Sedna were drowning him again.
“Blood of my blood!” But Bertie needed something more than blood-magic. “Bone of my bone.” Left hand still clasping his, she shoved the journal into her bodice and caught up the scrimshaw in her right. With the rustle of leaves, of pages, of sheets of tissue paper, the curtains skimmed around them. “Don’t let go!”
Tiny, crystalline bits of white drifted over their skin like a lighting special. Bertie clasped Nate with all the strength she possessed, her grasp on the scrimshaw tightening until the only thing separating the bone medallion from own bones was the thin layer of flesh on her fingers.
“Say ye love me,” Nate choked. “Even if it’s not true, let me keep th’ words.”
“I’m not giving up!”
“Three words, lass. ‘Tisn’t much.”
He’s wrong. The words are everything I should have written these down as well.
“I . . . I love you.” Bertie fell forward, resting her head against his shoulder as his face faded into the blackout. In the place between light and dark, she shifted, taking the words with her. “I love you.” Still she leaned on his shoulder. Still she held his hand, fingers interlaced. “I love you.”
A gentle breeze settled around Bertie’s shoulders like a warm cloak as he pressed his mouth to the top of her head. “I think I’ve waited all my life to hear you say that.”
Bertie opened her eyes, wincing at the brilliant white light that slanted over his shoulders.
Ariel’s shoulders. (Chapter 8, pgs. 137-141)