Writing Every Day in February: Day 26

Caution: Art.

First: I apologise for the delay in getting this up. I didn’t sleep well last night, and I had some prior commitments in the morning and afternoon. But, here it is.

Now, despite the tone of this scene, I actually really enjoyed taking the couple of Art History classes I had to take back in university. And when I can manage it, I also really like going to the National (Art) Gallery — which, incidentally, my grandfather helped build.

Sidebar: the National Gallery infamously paid $1.8 million dollars to buy a painting that’s a red stripe going down a blue background. It’s actually rather more impressive in person than it sounds, because it’s almost 18 feet tall.

“Come along, Katherine,” Amara declares. “You’re overdue for a little culture. To the Art Gallery!”

“What a wonderful idea, Amara,” Estelle says happily.

“They have art in galleries now?” Kat asks.

“Oh, Katherine,” Amara mutters, dragging her best friend along after her. “Whatever are we going to do with you?”

Boasting pieces from the finest and most famous artists in Realmgard and further afield, the Civic Art Gallery of Porthaven is viewed by many — at least among the cultured and educated — as the jewel of Porthaven.

For her part, Kat would rather be anywhere else. More than anything, the gallery feels to Kat like a very fancy prison. And Amara is proving herself to be a very effective warden.

Kat attempts to leave her body as Amara inflicts art history upon her. Unfortunately, Amara is wise to her techniques and forces Kat back to reality with constant prodding and unsubtly clearing her throat. Even worse, Amara loops her arm through Kat’s to prevent her escape.

Kat glances wistfully at the nearest window, only slightly deterred by the fact that they’re five floors up.

“Now, Katherine,” Amara is saying. “Here, we see van der Muur’s famous series on Quintus Marcellinus Styracosaurus.”

Kat yawns and studies the paintings through heavily-lidded eyes. “He’s the one who killed a cabbage, right?” he asks.

“No, Katherine,” Amara scolds her. “Quintus Marcellinus Styracosaurus killed the Turnip-Thing of Aquae Celeres.”

“Close enough,” Kat yawns.

Amara jabs her in the ribs. “Pay attention, Katherine. I’m trying to expand your horizons, and I will keep poking you until it takes,” she warns.

“Fine, fine. Tell me all about these paintings about this Quentin Martha Lavasaurus,” Kat says.

Amara glowers at her. “Are you doing this on purpose, Katherine?” she asks.

Kat shrugs. “Maybe,” she admits.

At this point, Amara simply elects to ignore her.

“Firstly, we see The Constancy of Styracosaurus,” Amara says. “See the intensity of his gaze as he studies Emperor Albanus’ latest missive, and yet see how it’s juxtaposed with the gentle good humour in his eyes.”

“Are you just making up words, Amara?” Kat asks.

That earns her another jab in the ribs.

“You are such a child,” Amara mutters.

“I’m three weeks older than— Ow!”

Another jab.

“Moving on”, Amara says tersely, directing Kat to the next painting. “we next see The Fidelity of Styracosaurus.”

“They look exactly the same,” Kat notes.

“Oh please, Katherine. Constancy and Fidelity are completely different. Look — his eyebrows are at least three-eighths of an inch higher in Fidelity. Besides, he’s not reading a missive in that one. He’s assessing a grain tariff.”

“Wow. Talk about running the gamut,” Kat mutters.

“Why don’t we move on The War of the Trolls and Amazons?” Amara asks. “I think you’ll like that one. Everyone is hitting everyone else with pointy sticks and big rocks.”

Kat groans. “This is the worst thing since the Opera,” he says.

“Of course!” Amara exclaims. “The Opera! I’ll be sure to arrange for our tickets to The Barber of Valico.”

Wow. Just two days left. Somehow, February felt simultaneously five minutes and eight years long.

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