Beginnings: Of Perfection

September 8, 2009

A dreadful wailing arose, haunting through the time-etched stone corridors of the castle and forcefully rousting Sir Veritan from his reverie in the common room, and dragging him relentlessly to the kitchens.

Confectionry and flour were everywhere, patches of color and layers of white dust that shrouded the room in a faerie grove haze, making Veritan recall the time he and his squire had fed upon mushrooms whose poison hadn’t struck their bodies, but simply dazed their minds. Navigating this room was a similar trial in seperating visions from reality, but one thing was undeniably clear – there was a young woman collapsed in a heap upon the center of the floor, bawling her eyes out.

“It’s – it’s gone! Oh, woe and wrack and ruin, thieves and robbers have defiled the heart of our sanctuary, profaned our kingdom and, and, and taken away our most precious-”

“Sister!” Veritan called out, trying to stem the flood of words the Lady Verix unleashed in a long, low moan. “Sister, dear sister, you must calm down! Please, just – tell me what is wrong, shall you? What has happened?”

The words cut off, though the sobs still continued chasing their own echos through the castle halls. Slowly, his sister lifted tear-stained eyes up to meet his gaze. “I, I had finished it. Oh, it was finally there, pure and certain and strong, the culmination of all my experiments, all my work – and then it was gone!”

The exasperated knight shook his head (and resisted the urge to shake his sister). “What is gone, Amantha?”

“My cake!” she bawled, wrapping her arms around him and weeping into his clothes. Grabbing a loose baking spoon for a bit of leverage, he pried her away, though she grabbed hold of his shirt and wiped her eyes clean, before finally letting go.

“A cake? This commotion is over a simple cake?”

Her lips turned down, anger quickly replacing sorrow. “It was no simple cake, dear brother. It was the perfect cake.”

“Don’t be absurd, sister. There is no such thing as a perfect cake. It might have been a fine cake, or even a magnificant cake, but perfection is the domain of nature and the heavens, not desserts. ”

“You would say otherwise if you had seen it! Smooth but yielding, scenic but inviting, empowering while fulfilling – it had fully acquired every key feature listed in the Art of the Baker!”

“Look, it doesn’t matter how well it matched your formulas and checklists – perfection is impossible in any impermanent object, especially one that exists at such cross-purposes. Even if visually stunning, the moment you sampled it, that vision would be ruin. And if instead left untouched, it fails at is primary purpose to be eaten!”

Sir Veritan crossed his arms over his chest, staring his sister down with the same scornful look his tutor had always used to keep him in line in years past. She, unkindly, ignored it, and staggered to her feet before pointing one flour-covered hand at the counter beside the oven. “I don’t care what you say, Avery! It was perfect – and now it’s gone!”

He turned to look at where she pointed, and found that she was right – about its absence, if not its perfection. If there was a cake in the center of the counter, it was now gone – along with a solid circle carved out of the counter itself. And, looking up, the ceiling – of this floor, and the one above, and on upwards until he saw the sky. It was as though a cylinder had simply fallen from the heavens and plunged straight through the castle, and then been snatched away along with everything that had been in its pass.

Sir Avery Veritan stood there, staring at the expanse of emptiness, and for the first time ever in all his arguments with his sister, he found himself speechless.

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