Leonardo rubbed distractedly at his eyes, blinking in the harsh light. He’d gone to his borrowed room after dinner, and the collective decision to try and leave Rain had been made.
His mind felt crowed by too much, the past few days catching up with him.
One moment Leonardo had been dying in France and the next he was alive in North America. It felt to him like he was only half-awake, a disquieting feeling, as Leonardo had always prided himself on his ability to see things as they really were. However now he was reliant on Rain’s interpretation, locked inside of her home and blocked at odd junctures from outside information.
Leonardo found the animated laughing mask that blocked him from certain ‘websites’ infuriating.
He sighed and went back to staring at the tablet screen: he’d been reading his companions histories.
Richard, it turned out had a whole scandal behind his rule. Having lived in Milan for a good portion of his adult life, Leonardo found it hard to be scandalized by the theory that Richard may have had his nephews killed to clear his way to the throne. Abhorrent, but nothing that Leonardo had not heard from Nicco or seen Caesar Borgia before. He was mildly surprised to find that Richard had died younger than he or Robespierre, however. There was something so…ancient in the ex-king’s bearing, that it made Leonardo assume he’d been an old man when he’d died. He presumed that it had something to do with the man’s spine. The official biography said it was ‘scoliosis, a twisting of the spine that occurred in adolescent. It would account for the pained grimace the man seemed to carry constantly.
Meanwhile, he also found himself stunned and entranced by the times Maximilien Robespierre came from.
Leonardo could scarcely wrap his head around the philosophe of the period, phrases from ‘The Rights of Man’ swimming before his eyes, let alone the frantic action that followed. An entire populace rising against their sovereign. Leonardo thought he’d seen the height of madness during the French Occupation of Lombardy, he could only imagine the horrors of what all of France would be like in a riot.
He found himself drawn to the guillotine, drawing it over a dozen times in his notes, from different angles and sizes. Once he’d included a headless corpse, simply to amuse and frighten himself. It was such a perfect method of death, from the height of blade to the materials used. Leonardo already wanted to see if there was a way to improve it.
Robespierre, shockingly, seemed to be at the very epicenter of much of the Revolution. His name was repeated from 1789 to 1794, and even cited by the men who followed after him. For such a withdrawn and diminutive figure, Robespierre must have been an amazing orator when he put his mind to it, Leonardo concluded.
He rubbed his eyes again and smother his yawn. He spun the pen in his hand, and followed the spinning movement. Slowly, his eyes shut.
Falling asleep is something your brain does automatically. You close your eyes for one moment and your brain shuts down higher functions.
Leonardo was still sketching, firelight playing over his paper while his red chalk chased the flickering shadows. It seemed like hours later when a knock on the wooden door disturbed him. Without getting up he was at the door and opening it.
It was the Officers of the Night, but Leonardo could not identify their faces. They took him, and suddenly Leonardo was standing in front of the moral guardians of Florence. Except they wore tri colored slashes and had feathers in their hats. This didn’t strike Leonardo as odd.
“Leonardo ser Piedro da Vinci you stand accused of indecency and sodomy. Evidence has been brought before the court,” Salai, dressed as Bacchus, stepped forward and smiled at Leonardo, “and you have been sentenced to death.”
Leonardo blinked again and he was walking up to the scaffold. Except it wasn’t. The shape of the guillotine was back by the stars in the inky sky, were kites flew, calling out to one another before landing and pecking at the eyes of dead and skeletal bodies. Leonardo looked over at the executioner and found a crooked-backed Lorenzo de Medici holding the rope. He grimaced as he was tied down to the plank.
As it ever was, his own patrons were the most destructive aspect of his life.
He had the perfect angle to survey the crowd before the blade came down. He felt no fear, only a curious sensation of inevitability. He heard the blade fall, but felt no pain. His head fell and met the wood of the scaffold.
Leonardo sighed as he woke up. He groaned when he realized he’d drooled all over his sketches and the desk. The clock only read a half hour later. The dream had left nothing but a vague feeling of illness, a sudden queasiness that left an ache in his temples and a greasy feeling at the back of his throat.
He rubbed his eyes again, and surrendered to the inevitable: clearly it was time for bed.