I dreamed a dream of games, of gatherings and a labyrinth. I dreamed of sport and game and speeches from the Summer King. He was old, handsome, tired, his power waning. The Winter King was still just a boy but the hunger in him, the desire shining in his eyes, tinged with a hint of cruelty, said, far more bluntly than did his words, what his reign would be like.
We the courtesans making side deals and falling in and out of love and other mischief had goals of our own. Sometimes they were grand machinations, like stealing the heart (or the garters and corset laces) of the Queen; sometimes they were more mundane, like finding, then swindling one’s way into the hot spring.
Would the players break character to join the actors at meals? Would the children be part of the story or mere set pieces to incorporate but largely to work around? I woke with, of all things, the beginnings of a story – a gift greater than most yet terrifying.