Eternal_Elenea (eternal_elenea) wrote in wanderingawake,
Eternal_Elenea
eternal_elenea
wanderingawake

these, our bodies, possessed by light.
And with victory / The whole world would be ours / We could make each other. Lucrezia Borgia/Cesare Borgia, R. 1663 words.

General disclaimer here. Title from "Scheherazade" by Richard Siken. Subtitle from "Alabaster" by Foals.
Warnings: References to Incest, Murder, Rape, and Domestic Abuse.

Author's Note: My first time writing Borgias fic, so I hope you enjoy! Concrit is beyond welcome.



Lucrezia is told when she is a little girl that she is the daughter of the sun. God has blessed you, my dear child, her father tells her and she does not yet understand him except for how he coddles her, smooths his soft palms over her golden hair. When she is a little girl, Lucrezia thinks that they are the palms of a saint, the palms of a priest, and she runs away from him, laughing and watching the light reflect off of the windows.

She learns, later, when she has seen more of the world, when she has learned more of light and of palms, that no one’s palms are clean, least of all her father’s; that he is simply better at disguising his sins. This is far from Lucrezia’s first lesson, but it is perhaps the most important.

-

Her first lesson is that Cesare is the son of the moon, just as she is a daughter of the sun, and where she ends, he begins. They are not together always, but he whispers into her ear, fleetingly, dear Sis, when he is twelve and she is seven and he is never far afterwards. Lucrezia and Cesare are two halves of a cracked whole, and, when they are grown, they together sit on thrones that no one else can see; together they charm the whole of the Roman people – Cesare with his daggers and Lucrezia with her words. There is more than one way to win a war, she thinks, fingers flitting over the edges of her golden-bound bible, but not more than two.

-

There is always sunshine in Rome, even in the winters, even when it is cold. The sunlight comes down in panes of white, golden, ice blue, and she watches the way that it curls around the towers, around the flowers, around her wrists. She is a child of the sunshine, and she watches it all day, sitting, folded up, by the window; she watches it until it fades into the darkness. In Rome, Lucrezia learns, there is only light and then darkness, there is only God and the Devil, there is only Lucrezia and Cesare.

-

Lucrezia’s first casualty, her first kill, is clumsier than she means it. She has not yet found her hollow ring and so all she has is her fingers, smudged with green and red and smelling of burnt honey. Her fingers that crush the leaves into the wine, and later, when she is sated, she hands a glass to her lover. No one, Lucrezia thinks, should know this of her; no one should hold this, should hold any power over her. Her hands shake as she stirs the wine, as she hands the glass over, as she reaches to close his eyelids and then leaves them open. Her hands shake as she thinks, I have done this, and as the servants come to drag his body away. Her hands shake, but by the fourth body, they do not anymore.

-

Icarus, she tells her children, one day, is burned by the sun. He was just a man, she tells them, a silly, ignorant man, who knew nothing, least of all about the sun. Light is deadly, she whispers to them, after they’ve fallen asleep, after she’s put them in their beds, pulled the covers up to their chins and run her fingers over their cheeks, Light is deadly and those that dare defy it will pay. You are a Borgia, she tells herself, and they will pay.

-

Her first husband has cruel hands, not soft like her father’s, not callused like Cesare’s. They are harsh and they are browned and they are plebian. For, there is one thing that Lucrezia has already learned, and that is that no one’s palms are clean, but his are dirty. She wrinkles her nose and she turns away and she decides that very first time that she will never respect him.

She bears none of his children, and, for that, she is grateful, for she does not know if she could stand the sight of that child, tainted, as it would be, by non-Borgia blood.

-

If the heathens had been right about anything, it was about this, Lucrezia thinks, as she runs across the countryside, towards Rome. Marriage is not so sacred, she thinks, and she runs across the courtyard, through the gates; she rides towards Rome where she will be a true Borgia once again. She rides until he finds herself among the French and she tells them, “I am Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of the Pope in Rome,” and not, “I am Lucrezia Sforza, Lady of Pesaro.” She whispers into the king’s ear words of gilded wisdom, as if she already understands the heart of him; laughs like a woman, unmarried; watches as all of Rome becomes her father’s once more. She thinks that marriage may not be so sacred, but that family is.

-

Lucrezia is a child of the sun and still she is dark. Perhaps, Lucrezia thinks, that they are not so different after all, just as their God is not so different from the Devil. Lucrezia prays and she learns, she glows and she places belladonna into a mortar and crushes it. Poison is a woman’s tool, they say, but that is only because the men do not understand it, do not understand her. Poison is a woman’s tool and, yet, it is so much more sleek, clean, elegant, than the bodies littering the battlefield, staining the grass red. War is a men’s sport, they say, and yet, and yet, and yet. And yet, Lucrezia’s bodies litter the grounds, too, up and down the streets of Rome.

-

If he touches you, I will gut him, Cesare hisses and Lucrezia is certain that he would, but he doesn’t need to, not anymore. Lucrezia is not as she once was, not anymore. Cesare is hers, and she his, but he cannot see past the light, cannot see past the image of his darling sister, haloed with the innocence of a young girl. Cesare is hers and she is his and soon he will learn, she thinks, as she kisses him, does not scratch a possessive mark into his neck, not yet, because it does not hurt to be subtle; he will learn, she thinks, and when he finally sees her, nothing will ever stop the pair of them.

-

Lucrezia bleeds red, red like the cloaks of cardinals, the roses in her garden, red like the wine that her lord Sforza drinks before he comes to bed her. Lucrezia bleeds as he takes her and she screams; screams as he spits vulgarities, as he pushes bruises into her back, as he says thank God you are not one of them any longer. She screams and even then she is a Borgia, even then she is the daughter of the sun, stuck into darkness, because that is not something one changes.

-

Lucrezia’s laugh, too, does not change, as much as she does, and this is the reason that no one, no one, sees her for who she is. Her laugh is that of a princess, of a maiden who has never seen battle, her laugh is that of sunlight and therein lays the deception. Sunlight, Lucrezia learns, is both her shield and her weapon and behind it she finds her deadliest tools. She laughs, and she smiles, and she glows, and no one will ever doubt her, for she is the daughter of the sun. She is the daughter of the sun and so they forget that she is also a Borgia.

-

Except, that is also a lie, but it slides from her tongue, for Cesare does not count as one of them. Cesare is hers, just as she is his, and so she tells him the tales of who she has become. She bites a bruise into his collarbone and she rides him and he watches her with lidded eyes as she shows him exactly who she is. She is Lucrezia Borgia and she is of the light and so too is he.

He whispers into her ear, as he comes, dear Sis, and they have not changed at all, the two of them; he whispers into her ear, filthy words, declarations of eternal light, and she smiles, tells him that he need not, for it is simply repeating that he loves himself. She tells him, words like molten silver and rosewater, I already know.

-

When the winter light finally fades into night, Giulia Farnese tells Lucrezia stories of daughters, of ladies, of queens. She tells Lucrezia of women with beauty and with wit, of women who ruled men and did not just stand to the side and watch their lives controlled like pawns. Giulia teaches Lucrezia the ways of shaping her world around her and of dancing through the shadows and of fighting without appearing as if she is. These are the ways of womanhood, Giulia tells her, as she braids Lucrezia’s hair; these are the things that you must learn.

-

Lucrezia’s hands are old, and still they are smooth. Lucrezia’s hands are old and they are unmarred of all the things that she has done, of the vengeance she has taken, of the lives that she has felt flutter and fade away under her palms. She is a Borgia and she is the daughter of the sun and she is the one whose laugh remains unchanged. She is the sunlight and the shadows, carries with her, always, both of those things; carries with her, too, the soul of Cesare and his seed. Her hair has streaks of white through it and she is long past feeling any remorse. Her eyes are green and still she stares into the sky and bathes herself in the sun. She is Lucrezia Borgia and she will never be forgotten.

Tags: cesare borgia, lucrezia borgia, lucrezia/cesare, the borgias
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