I walked the length of the rug, taking my time so I could look over the art that adorned the walls. Some of them were portraits, some were scenes of ancient battles. A few were distant and whimsical landscapes. No matter what, all of them were terribly old, probably older than the house itself. I didn’t spend too much time on any one piece, but at least acknowledged each one. I had to get to those doors, after all.
The handle, a silver lever just like the other one, was cold. Not just hasn’t-been-used-in-a-while cold, but ice cold. That didn’t stop me from opening it, though. The hinges were quiet, thankfully, so I’d be able to enter unnoticed. The door was heavy. It opened slowly.
Once I had it opened enough that I could pass through, I slid inside. The room was long and wide, like a ballroom, with pale wooden floors and marble columns. It was almost completely empty. The room’s sole occupant was a person, alone up until the moment I’d arrived.
He was tall. I’m not especially tall myself, so most people are taller than me, but this man… He was easily over six feet tall. Not only that, but he looked like he’d just come out of a different era in time. The white hose and heeled shoes gave it away, but then there were his navy blue trousers (to match his shoes, I noticed), and the crimson vest he had over the pale silk shirt with the ruffly cravat. Its buttonholes were lined in gold brocade, as were the edges of his great-coat. The coat itself was the color of the sky when the last of the daylight had gone and night was upon the land.
Eventually, I realized that he was staring at me just as I was staring at him.
“So you are a night owl as well,” he said. His words were were careful, pronounced just so.
It took me a while to say anything back to him. I’d been caught off guard by the vividness of his eyes, green like a field of grass on a midsummer’s day, such a stark contrast to the colors that he wore.
“You… You’re the one who’s been playing the violin?”
“Oh, no! Certainly not,” he replied, even though I could see him setting down the auburn-colored stringed instrument. I think that was when he realized what I meant. “This, milady, is a viola. It creates a far more… resounding sound.”
He spoke as though he was from some sort of important class. I wondered how offended he would be if he knew that I was not terribly impressed by class.
“Do you play it every night?” Don’t ask me why I started with that instead of, ‘what are you doing in my house?’ I don’t have to be logical if I’m not in danger.
He thought for a minute, scoffing as as he pushed a lock of golden hair back behind his ear as though it was entirely offensive that it was out of place. “I suppose I do,” he finally told me.
“I didn’t hear you last night.” Again, don’t judge me for not asking something else.
“Were you awake when the midnight bells called?” he asked in reply, his tone full of curiosity.
“No,” I admitted. “I was tired from moving. But… I think I would’ve woken up if there had been music in the middle of the night.”
“Ah,” he said, giving me a wry grin, “but that is not how the magic works.”
A viola solo for you to enjoy: