Luckily for me [as a writer], Phillip has the WTCB equivalent of a degree in undergraduate Philosophy, which means I’m allowed to wax lyrical about the sensual metaphysics also caressing my life: ie. love. And, because the book’s goal is, ultimately, love, I think I should also have that allowance extended to the characters’ opinions on love. In a society where marriage is made for the sake of blood status, the opinions on this subject are thus diverse. Peter wants equality; Phillip wants love as ruler; Dr. Costello is content to see his sons joined in loveless marriages as long as an heir is produced.
More on this later in the month, hopefully.
In the first draft, I had a lot of speeches. You only have to ask my Betas to find that I had said a lot of irrelevant stuff in my first few chapters. Only in the latest edit of chapter one did I remove all the twiddly worldbuilding.
This speech, however, is one of the pivotal moments in the novel, as Phillip finally understands that – sod it all! – he has to stand up to his father. And I love it. I have changed it, nipped it, done surgery on all its parts, but I could never remove it entirely, for it portrays Phillip’s mindset; though in insano corpore, he is in sana mens – finally, he has seen through his depression to that clearer space where love dwells, victorious.
Besides, what mattered about his own dignity now, when he had taken the belittling beyond his care?
“Peter is the only one who understands, Father,” he announced. It was true, after all. Phillip swallowed, and, before the restraint forced them back, the words he had always wanted to say tumbled from his lips. “He makes more sense of love. For you, love is a different substance. Your love is a marriage working to give a suitable male heir, and, indeed, an heir who will follow in your footsteps exactly, one who will always walk in your shadow, or through the trench you dig for him. Rion will be that boy, but I will not.”
Words cluttered in mind. Far from shutting his eyes and walking away, though, Phillip thrust his chin forward. He may have been blue, but the different hues of their opinions needed retelling.
“The kind of love I feel, such as a butterfly on a flower, is a lasting bond, withstanding rules and disagreements, even enduring through time. It can drive men to the ends of their wits for their woman, empower them to pluck every star from the sky to impress her, and it is the courage to give themselves and their heritage and their property if she asks it.”
He wouldn’t look at his father. The blue evening beyond the window called – but this time with better intentions, one creating a route to Aidelle. He had been stupid enough to ignore his intuition before; now he had to engage the fortune before it fell to dust. Dr. Costello sounded as if he lingered at the edge of his desk again. He moved papers and drew an irritating rasping into the study, but said nothing.
“Love is immutable,” Phillip continued, thinking back to his college days. If ever a well-crafted argument existed, it did so in philosophy. “Metaphysical. Why were we ever saying about ‘ultimate design’? Would you like to know? I believe that every human has the right to love, and if there is any purpose that we fulfil whilst existing, it is in loving, that part of everything. Love is enough for a Final Cause. It must be an unmoved mover; and the world lives on because of love.
“Real love guides the right way; I am afraid that false love shall end badly. Anger and thievery rob the lining of romance’s pockets. You see? Love has ultimate power that human brevity cannot conceive or deny – beyond good and evil. It is wonderful, Father. One cannot survive without the supplier: the pool-heart of a woman. Now, Aidelle—”
A throat cleared in Phillip’s audible periphery. He stopped, her name the best taste on his tongue, and turned to his father. Phillip wasn’t home yet. He had the flock of his brothers and Dr. Costello to elude before he would reach Aidelle’s uncovered shape.
Peter’s face was a blanket of fear. He slumped against a standing shelf, clutching the spines of its medical manuals. Dr. Costello was scowling, and his forehead became a creased battleground, struck through with lines of age. His jaw was set.
“Not her. She was never good for you. Of that, I am sure,” the doctor said. His eyes lit up – the only show of physical fight amongst the verbal punch. That silence was an odd perfection.
Peter wrung his hands; Phillip strode onwards.
“I am sorry if it offends you,” he said, “but I love Aidelle more than anything in this world. I always have, and, as I realise now, I always will. There can be no flight from love’s embrace for me. I need her to count the music that lies deep within my soul. Aidelle means everything – certainly more than selfish greed to tempt those petty-minded like Rion.” Phillip rolled his eyes at his brother’s name. “I know that he has won you over. You think that Rion cares for you the most, but he only has eyes for your fame; confront him and he will not deny it. That is what he does. What does Rion know of love? It is not as if he can play passion as a game. Not as if he can take a flower and sting her for her love of him.” Phillip’s throat dried. Nevertheless, he pressed on. These words had to be said. “He may think that he can stand tall, but he will back down when he knows that you see through his disguise; trust lost, he will no longer try.”