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[personal profile] wonder_city
His Faded Idol


"So, I will see you when I see you," Zoltan said cheerfully. He was dressed in black trousers, a pale lavender silk shirt, and a black vest with almost-invisible pinstripes in its silk surface.

They stood at a corner all traffic must pass to leave the convention center. Erszebet thought him rather shabbily dressed to meet the Grand Matriarch's caravan, and said so.

He laughed. "I am no longer in employ of or under any obligation to a Grand Matriarch, especially not this one, cousin. I think my own Mater Magna would be upset if I showed too much respect to her sister ruler." He sobered and eyed her more closely. "That is a lesson to take with you, Erszebet: be careful to whom you owe obligations. Make them obliged to you if at all possible, even in small, seemingly insignificant ways. They will not forget, if they are good matriarchs, and these are both good ones."

She shifted her grip on her smallest suitcase and considered. "Did you owe an obligation to Magna Mater Klotild, cousin?"

He sighed and said, "A very great one, cousin. But do not imagine that I will tell you about it."

Erszebet nodded and looked at the pavement for a moment. Then she said, "Cousin, I have a question."

Zoltan emanated amusement. "Speak, cousin."

"I met a fortuneteller," she began.

"Madame Destiny?" he said, and the amusement damped down.

"Yes, I believe that was her name."

"Go on."

Erszebet related as exactly as she could recall the message Madame had given her several days earlier, and finished with, "And I cannot tell if it was a foretelling or a curse. Can you?"

Zoltan frowned into the middle distance. Slowly, he said, "I have only heard the Oracle give a foretelling like this once before."

"You have? Then it is a foretelling?" Erszebet said anxiously. She'd honestly hoped it was a curse. Curses can be removed. Well, most of them.

"Madame does not curse people. But here is your ride," Zoltan said, and Erszebet turned to see the enormous grey and black motorhome glide to a silent halt next to them.

Juana Zalazar opened the door and two strapping young men popped out to collect Erszebet's things. "Good day, cousins!" Juana called over their heads. "I hope it will not be amiss with you, Erszebet, that my mother would like you to ride with her a while."

"Of course not!" Erszebet said promptly. "It is an honor and a pleasure to ride with the Grand Matriarch." She hoped her anxiety was only readable by Zoltan.

"Come along, then," Juana said, disappearing back inside, followed by the strapping young men.

Erszebet turned to Zoltan. He took her hands and kissed her forehead, saying in the Family language, "And here I release you to the care of one greater than I, and charge you to return to me in your own time."

"I take from you greater understanding and hope my company was some small recompense," she replied, squeezing his hands. Then, in English, she said, "Is it a foretelling?"

Zoltan handed her up the step of the recreational vehicle and smiled. "A predecessor of Madame's said it to me." He kissed his fingertips to her and walked away before she could say anything else.

Erszebet settled with the rest of Magna Mater Consuela's abbreviated court in the immensely plush rear of the vehicle. Consuela was occupied speaking with some of the older women, so Erszebet had a chance to look out the back window as they pulled away. The Grand Matriarch's caravan was made up of other similar motorhomes, with limousines and SUVs interspersed and also moving into position as outriders on the four-lane highway they struck almost immediately. At the top of the hill leaving Wonder City, Erszebet could see the long, long line of vehicles spinning out behind them, well into the hundreds. Beyond, she could see the sun striking the top of the Perisphere and Trylon at the center of the city, and someone flying over them.

It might be a while before she returned, but Zoltan had been right: the place grew on you. She would, in fact, be back.


Author's Note:

The end. Of this interlude. But Erszebet and the Family seem to be popular, so I'm thinking that I will likely write more about her. She may get her own spinoff bits of story, which pleases me inordinately.

Posting to you from the last day of WisCon, sitting in the con suite, watching people disassemble it. Thank you to everyone I met at WisCon and who said kind things about both Wonder City and my play, "Fandom, Fandom, Do You Read?", which had its premiere reading Sunday morning.

Date: 2012-05-28 10:36 pm (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
This is a nice wrap up of Erzsebet's story. I hope you will write more about her. I've enjoyed this.

Thanks for writing!

Date: 2012-05-29 02:11 am (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
I am super in favor of more Erzsebet, but this was a very nice ending for her for the moment. <3

Date: 2012-05-29 02:32 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Augh, this was truly wonderful! But being caught up and having to do this waiting thing is truly painful! I'm deeply, deeply in love with Wonder City Stories.

This was a good wrap-up for the interlude; I look forward to hearing for more from the Family!

"Fandom, Fandom, Do You Read?" sounds cool, just based on the title. <3

Date: 2012-05-29 04:22 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
But being caught up and having to do this waiting thing is truly painful!

AHAHAHA, now you can feel my pain - I think I've been reading along pretty much since the beginning! I love the interludes, I think they're a really nice break between the more plot-heavy volumes, plus they often wind up being just as dramatic and revealing.

I'm deeply, deeply in love with Wonder City Stories.

In a just world there would be a giant movie about them, instead of the stupid Avengers.

Date: 2012-06-11 04:09 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Oh my gods, that sounds amazing! I would love to see such a play.

Date: 2012-05-29 04:20 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Would LOVE to read more about Erzsebet, she's great. And Zoltan! <33


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