Conversation: "Toasting the Moon"





Cecily hears the scrape of a dragging foot on the battlements behind her. It's pretty easy to tell it's Matthias.

She'll finish the song she's playing, letting the sound fade out. "Evening, Matthias," she'll say when she's done.

"Good evening, Cecily." He comes closer and leans out to look at the slowly fading Tir.

She lays the fiddle across her lap. "What is it?" Gesturing up at the unearthly city.

"Tir na Nog'th, Amber's reflection in the sky. Only the Castle, really, not all of Amber, but there's a full Pattern up there as well, at least, when the moon shines full."

"It's very... ethereal."

"But quite solid, as long as you can see it. It always seemed beautiful to me when I was a child." He turns his back on it and faces Cecily. "It's less entrancing to me now."

"Why?"

"It's representative of things I can never do. Anyway. Why are you drinking alone?"

"Habit," she smiles wryly. "Unfortunately, I didn't bring another glass..."

"Here, let me see that," he says, holding a hand out for the bottle.

She hands it over to him.

He holds her eyes for a long moment, drawing the bottle closer to his head-- and then pitches it over the side of the battlements. "Problem solved."

She just watches, caught off guard by the wholly unexpected action. "Ummm..."

He shrugs. "Well, it's not an issue now, is it?"

"It hadn't exactly been an issue before..." She grumbled, giving him a sour look.

"Hm. Perhaps I over-reacted, but drinking alone is not a good sign." He sighs heavily. "Trust me."

"Is there a better way to speak?" he asks with a wry grin.

Cecily laughs. "Well, will it make you feel better to know I hadn't even had a drink from that bottle?"

"Well, sure, it makes me feel a little better, about you anyway, but now I just feel foolish." He looks over the edge to see if the bottle really broke-- which it did. "*Quite* foolish."

"Don't." Cecily smiles. "It's the thought that counts. So, what brings you up here?"

"Me? I came for the music."

"Well, then..." She tucked the fiddle back under her chin. "Any requests?"

He looks vaguely wistful for a moment. "I don't suppose you know the Ballad of the Watercrossers?"

"I know a 'Ballad of the *Wave* Crossers...'" Closing her eyes, she begins to play.

After she finishes, he smiles and says, "The best version I've heard in many years."

"Thanks," Cecily looks pleased.

He nods slightly, and then slowly stands up. "I should let you get some sleep."

"I think I'm just going to sit up here for a while, actually." She sighs. "Sleep's going to be a long time in coming, tonight. Just been one of those kinds of days."

He looks sorrowfully out at the Tir. "Yes. Well, if you don't mind the company, I'll watch a bit with you."

"I don't mind at all." She'll go back to playing for an hour or so, and then, "Well, I have to beat Gerda and Fletcher into shape at dawn, so I think I'll head back in now."

He nods, and stays where he is. "Good night, then."

"Good night, Matthias. And thanks for the company." She smiles, and leaves.


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