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30 January 2006 @ 01:00 am
Would anyone like a parody?  
Alas, I am not cleolinda and never will be, but I am aware of this sad fact; until she gives Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY the affectionate parody tribute it deserves, you'll have to make do with mine ;)

NECESSARY WARNINGS: DO NOT READ IF UNFAMILIAR WITH THE PLOT: CONTAINS SPOILERS!! Also contains slash, which means there are unsubtle hints that a couple of the characters might be gay. If you hate slash, please don't read! If you like or don't mind slash, please proceed.

A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY (A Quick Guide for the Busy Reader)
By threeoranges

Bombay, India, 21 June 1895

GEMMA: Great. My sixteenth birthday, and I'm spending it in the midst of flies, cobras and heat so oppressive it feels like I'm being roasted alive. Thanks a whole bunch, Mom.

(Mysterious Indian Men. Circe. Amulet. Sulk. Dreadful Visions. Equally Dreadful Reality.)

GEMMA: Happy birthday to me. Not.

London, two months later

POMPOUS OLDER BROTHER: Ahh, Victoria Station! Careful not to get too close to the disgusting proles, Gemma dear. Oh, and do lower the carriage blinds as we pass through the East End slums.

GEMMA: I've seen slums before in India, I'm into poverty tourism... (peers out)

VISION OF A CREEPY LITTLE GIRL: I've got a dolly. Want to see my dolly? She's called HORRIBLE DEVOURING DARKNESS AND DEATH.

GEMMA: OK, after that I'm hiding under the seat for the rest of the journey. Tell me when we get there.

MRS NIGHTWING: Welcome to Spence Academy, Miss Doyle! Since you're nice and tall, we'll be putting you in the room with the low ceiling. We've also added in a spare scholarship student, so that in case of extreme cold you may roll her against the door and use her as a draught-excluder.

ANN: Hello. I'm ugly and poor and everyone despises me. I despise myself too. Go on and kick me, everyone else does.

FELICITY & PIPPA: We're the Bitchy Popular Set - we're rich, catty, beautiful, and most girls would kill to be even a fraction as glamorous as us. We also wreck the poorer students' lives on a whim.

GEMMA: I can't believe you two! If I hadn't saved Ann, her employment prospects would have been ruined forever!

F&P: Teeheeheehee!

GEMMA: I would rather eat glass than hang around with bitches like you.

F&P: OK, what would you say if we gave you a chance to be in with us?

GEMMA: I'd say, HELL YES! Let me be part of your uber-coolness!

FELICITY: OK, all you need to do is steal the communion wine from the Chapel at the dead of night.

The Chapel, at Dead of Night

GIRLS: (locking GEMMA in the Chapel) Teeheeheehee!

GEMMA: I can't believe I fell for that.

KARTIK: Neither can I.

GEMMA: AAAAH!! Who the hell are you?

KARTIK: I'm from Bombay, and I've been sent by my top-secret organization to watch over you.

GEMMA: But how did you know I'd be in the Chapel tonight? You couldn't have followed me in!

KARTIK: Oh, the Reverend and I regularly meet up here after dark for... a "friendly chat". Yes. Ahem. Anyway, he'll be here soon, so you can slip out behind him.

THE REVD. WAITE: Oh, Kartik? Yoohoo? Where are you, my little studmuffin?

GEMMA: "Studmuffin"?

KARTIK: I think you'd better go, and I'll... distract him. Yes. "Distract" him. Ahem.


GEMMA: I must be mad to do this... (follows LITTLE GIRL, finds MARY DOWD's Diary)

MARY DOWD'S DIARY: "I wants ter make yer flesh creep!"

GEMMA: I'm going to bed.


FELICITY & THE BITCH SET: Good morning, Gemma! Sleep well, did we?

GEMMA: *frzzrbrzzrgrmbls*

MISS MOORE: Good morning class! Today's lesson shall be about a revolting Male Chauvinist Porker who wrote a poem which gave women the choice of Imprisonment or Death. He was wrong! Thank you.

MARY DOWD'S DIARY: "Today my bestest friend Sarah Rees-Toome and I entered the Fourth World, through the portal of the Clouds..."

GEMMA: Oh no you don't, Diary! I've seen Heavenly Creatures! What did you do next, bash in Sarah's mother's head with a brick in a stocking?

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Something like that *sigh*

GEMMA: Mom?... Oh my goodness, Felicity, what are you doing?

FELICITY: I'm "doing" a hot young Gypsy stud, you moron!

MRS NIGHTWING: Oh giiiirls? Where are yooou?

FELICITY: Help! Help! My honour! My dress! My reputation! Gemma, help me! Help!

KARTIK: (appears from behind a caravan) Hey, Ithal! Come back to the caravan, will you? I need some of your... "personal attentions". Yes. Ahem.

ITHAL: Anything you say, studmuffin! (leaves)

FELICITY & GEMMA: "Studmuffin"?

GEMMA: I need to do this in order to save you! (pushes FELICITY in the lake)

FELICITY: Liar, you did it because you hate my guts.

GEMMA: Teeheeheehee!

Another Art Lesson

MISS MOORE: Good morning class! Today's lesson will be held in a bunch of caves beside a perilous chasm, in which I will be teaching about legends, myths and purely hypothetical ancient all-female societies who lived life on their own terms. Thank you!

FELICITY: I think we ought to have our own society! We'll escape from our posh boarding-school, meet in the caves at night, and be wildly unconventional!

GEMMA: You realize that if we do we'll have the lawyers from Dead Poets Society all over our collective ass?

MISS MOORE: I forgot to tell you girls - Carpe Diem! Seize The Day!

GEMMA: *sigh*

The Caves, at Dead of Night

FELICITY: OK, so we lost Cecily and Elizabeth in order to incorporate this little scholarship loser. This had better be worth it, Doyle.

WHISKEY BOTTLE: After a few gulps of me, anything's worth it.

MARY DOWD'S DIARY: "In the Realms we can do anything, be anything, control time, assume invisibility..."

WHISKEY BOTTLE: Nope, even I can't make that stuff sound plausible.

OBSCENE DRAWING: Out of the way, amateurs! Nothing like me to have a profound effect on the developing female libido!

FELICITY: (slurps Ann's cheek) When I grow up, I'm going to be such a slut.

ANN: "Going to be"?

FELICITY: Shut it, Scholarship.

The Caves, The Next Night

PIPPA: Argh! An ugly middle-aged man with a silly Dickensian name wants to marry me! Nightmare!

FELICITY: You could always pretend to be a Sapphist? They're the sort of women who prefer women to men.

PIPPA: Ewwww!

GEMMA: Ewwww!

ANN: (goes very very quiet and doesn't look anyone in the eye)

MARY DOWD'S DIARY: "Sarah says we can bind a dark and powerful creature from the Realms and make it do our will! I think this is a marvellous idea, and that we have an excellent chance of success."

PIPPA: Let's all have a SEANCE! Join hands, people! Join hands!

ALL THE GIRLS: Whoa. That whisky is certainly powerful stuff.

FELICITY: Let's go skinny-dipping in the lake to finish off!

PIPPA: Let's get naked!

ANN: I'll just sit here and watch you all - I mean, I'll just sit here and keep a watch. Yes. Ahem.

The Next Morning

(Catfight. Epileptic Fit. Gemma Has Guilt.)

GEMMA: Hey, wait... Where's the Class Portrait for 1871?

MRS NIGHTWING: It's not important.

GEMMA: No, sorry, I've seen The Wicker Man. Missing photos in a sequence are always important.

MRS NIGHTWING: OK, it was when Sarah Rees-Toome and Mary Dowd died in the fire which destroyed the East Wing. Really, dear, if you wanted to know you just had to ask.

GARRULOUS IRISH MAID: Ooh, such dreadful evil girls they was too, Miss! Goin' on about murder, an' kissin' each other on the lips, and the like!

ANN: What was that about "kissing each other"?

GEMMA: You're not in this scene, Ann, kindly butt out.

Much Later

(Mad Gypsy Woman. Visions. Inadvertent Visit to the Realms, care of a fake seance)

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Beware of Circe!

GEMMA: Who's Circe?

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: You don't need to know yet, my dear. All in good time.

GEMMA: Mom, don't get all Dumbledore on me. How exactly is being ignorant going to "protect" me?

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: La-de-la-laa, I can't hear you... Anyway, meet me back here later. Toodles!

Later That Night

PIPPA: You're sure your mother won't mind the three of us gatecrashing your Touching Reunion?

GEMMA: Look, I'm sure she'll realize that when you're my age, you'll do anything to be popular. Besides, I have that picture of the woman and the swan as inspiration!

PIPPA: The woman having sexual relations with the swan?

GEMMA: Yes, that one. Hold on, girls, here we go!


VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Hello, my dear! Have an infodump about The Order, the Realms and the inadvisability of eating the fruit. Though, of course, I shall carefully omit any helpful information about Mary Dowd and Sarah Rees-Toome. Bye now!

Next Day

MISS MOORE: Good morning, girls! Today's class will be an opportunity for me to look mysterious and hint at dark choices. Thank you!

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Meanwhile, back at the Realms, we're going to go all Mirror of Erised on you! Just wish for your heart's desire...

(Enter a KNIGHT in shining armour)

PIPPA: Well, hello there! (winks lewdly) I'm just heading off with my new friend - see you later, girls!

(Enter a HUNTRESS in her birthday suit)

ANN: Well, hello there! (winks lewdly) I'm just off for a walk with my new friend, ta-ta for now!

FELICITY: Sorry Ann, she's part of MY wish for strength. You wished for beauty, remember?

ANN: So I did. Hmph.

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Oh and whatever you do, don't even touch the Runes. The Runes are extremely powerful and NOT to be messed with, EVER.

GEMMA: So, if we wanted to mess with them, what would we have to do?

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Oh, just put your hands on them and you can bring the Magic back into the Real World. Just imagine what you could do with all that power! Except you mustn't, of course.

GIRLS: Oh no, of course not. Noooo. Would we do a thing like that? etc.

Assembly Day

POMPOUS OLDER BROTHER: Appearances, Gemma! Ignore Father, he's not ill at all, and forget all about Mother's death even though it was a bare five months ago. Appearances, appearances, appearances!

ANN: Is that young man your brother? Oh, isn't he nice!

GEMMA: Ann, please don't try to make my brother into your beard! We all know which way you swing.

BARTLEBY BUMBLE: Dear Miss Pippa, permit me to caress your knuckles with my moistened lips and full growth of Manly Victorian Moustache.

PIPPA: Permit me to void my stomach into the rose-bushes.

CECILY: (spoils Ann's pathetic hope of "passing" as a rich girl)

FELICITY: (does her crying in the rain)

GEMMA: OK, girls, today officially sucked. I think it's time to play with the fabric of space and time, and potentially rupture the barrier that holds Evil back from global dominance, in order to procure some cheap feel-good thrills for ourselves. Who's with me?

GIRLS: Bring it on!

The next day

GIRLS: Wow! We have UNLIMITED POWER!! What will we do with our UNLIMITED POWER?!?

FELICITY: I'm going to... put BOOBS on a male figurine!

GEMMA: I'm going to... speak perfect French!

FELICITY: I'm going to... silence someone I don't like!

(READER: I suppose it could be worse; just imagine what they'd have been using their power for if they'd been teenage boys.)

ANN: I'm going to... see what Cecily and Elizabeth look like naked!

(READER: OK, now I don't need to imagine. Thanks so much, Ann.)

MISS MOORE: What's all this, ladies? Ah, What's that book you have there? "The Diary of Mary Dowd"?

MARY DOWD'S DIARY: "Dear Diary, Today I killed a young girl, caused the death of the Headmistress and burned down half the school. The End."

MISS MOORE: Most interesting.

GEMMA: Is that it? All you can say is "Most interesting", when we've just shown you a document that explains the entire mystery about the burnt East Wing and the vanished Headmistress?

MISS MOORE: (enigmatic smile)

The Next Visit to The Realms

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Hello, my dear!

GEMMA: Hello, child murderer.


GEMMA: Yes, a few handy clues lobbed my way like badminton shuttlecocks revealed that Circe was Sarah Rees-Toome, and you were Mary Dowd.

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Look, Gemma, no parent is perfect...

GEMMA: "Perfect" I didn't expect, but I thought "Not a child killer" wasn't too much to ask. Buzz off Mom, and if I never see you again, bye, it's been scary.

Back at Spence

MISS NIGHTWING: Who is responsible for this disgusting "Diary" found amongst your things?

GIRLS (except GEMMA): Miss Moore! It was all Miss Moore's fault!

GEMMA: I don't believe it - we really have turned into "Dead Poets Society" (sees MISS MOORE leaving in disgrace) Oh Captain! My Captain!

MISS MOORE: Get down off your desk, Gemma, it's not going to help matters. But thank you for the sentiment, and let's stay in touch.

GEMMA: Of course! (pause) But hang on, Miss Moore, you haven't given me an address in London. How will I find you?

MISS MOORE: Maybe I'll find you (enigmatic smile)

That night

FELICITY: Not taking us back to the Realms then, Doyle?

GEMMA: Sorry, no. Never again. Hey, I brought the magic out of the Realms so we could use it here, what more do you want?


GEMMA: Excuse me?

FELICITY: All the three of us have to do is get naked, kill something and the power of the Realms will be ours!

(One dead deer and three naked, blood-splattered girls later)

GEMMA: Look at you lot. "Grace, charm and beauty", my ass.

FELICITY: OK, deer is obviously not a suitable sacrifice... AHA! What say we move onto that cute Indian guy hiding in the undergrowth? Prepare to DIE!


GEMMA: Felicity, stop trying to kill my cute stalker! I'll take you all, just don't say I didn't warn you...

The Realms

HUNTRESS: Come to me, my pretty ones! Come to me! GRRRAAAAGGGHHH!!!

GEMMA: I told you...

PIPPA: Help! Help! Don't leave me here! (falls into the water)

Back at Spence

FELICITY: Gemma! Why didn't you save Pippa before bringing us back home? (crying) You left her there! You did it!

GEMMA: I love these accusations of heartlessness, they're great coming from someone who tried to kebab Kartik with a pointed stick not an hour ago.

ANN: But you must save her, Gemma! You must!

GEMMA: Yes, I know I must. Would either of you care to accompany me back there on the rescue mission?

FELICITY & ANN: Are you kidding?!?

GEMMA: Thanks girls, I knew I could count on you.

The Realms, Again

VISION OF MRS DOYLE: Hello, my dear! If you want to save Pippa, all you have to do is touch the Runes, then hold my hand... (VISION changes into that of a SATANIC TEMPTER MONSTER) Hahahahaha! YOU SUCKER!!

GEMMA: I can't believe I fell for that one, either.

TEMPTER: (Biblical Satan-in-the-Wilderness spiel) All of this can be yours!!

GEMMA: Suppose I just smash the Runes instead?


GEMMA: Phew, Pippa, you're safe! We're heading home, right now.

PIPPA: No thanks, despite having just seen horrific monsters and nearly drowning, I'd rather stay here (eats berries)

GEMMA: Ohhh, right, I just got it... "Pippa" is short for Persephone, right?

PIPPA: Bingo. Give my regards to the girls, and tell them that I'll be beautiful and live in paradise for ever and ever.

GEMMA: I won't, actually - if I did, they'd just hate your guts.

PIPPA: That's the point! Teeheeheehee!

Back at Spence

GEMMA: You know, I know Pippa died, and I'm still not sure whether what I saw was ever my mother or not, and I think I may have unleashed forces of death and destruction on the world by smashing those Runes... But, overall, I feel better. And I think I learned things.

READER: What sorts of things?

GEMMA: Well... That women shouldn't try to move out of their preordained places in the universe, otherwise bad things happen.... and that women shouldn't be ambitious and try to get power and independence for themselves, because that's just evil... Oh wait. Hang on a minute. Haven't I just spent 383 pages learning that the Know-Your-Place oppressiveness of the Victorian era was a Good Thing after all?

sarahxcankerblossomx on January 30th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC)
"We've also added in a spare scholarship student, so that in case of extreme cold you may roll her against the door and use her as a draught-excluder."

Best. Line. Ever.
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! ;)
redhippydippymama on January 30th, 2006 02:06 am (UTC)
BWAH! Oh, that was good!
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for reading it - much appreciated!
Caroline: colorful fairy typeunikeness on January 30th, 2006 03:26 am (UTC)
Very. Awesome. XD This made my day.
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
This comment made mine ;) Thanks!
green_rain99green_rain99 on January 31st, 2006 12:16 am (UTC)
Woah! Mess up and so funny! :-P LOL!!!!!
Joanna: Elphabathialeana on January 31st, 2006 03:02 am (UTC)
Hey that was awsome!
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! :D
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
*Definitely* messed-up, yes ;) Thanks for reading something this messed-up, it's much appreciated!
rabid_tree on February 3rd, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
Haha. Utter brilliance
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
*blush* You're too kind, thank you!
fauxkarenfauxkaren on February 5th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC)
Ha! You totally need to do one for Rebel Angels! This was awesome.
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
*blush* Thank you very much! I'm engaged on a re-read of RA now for that very purpose ;)
Heatherorpheus345 on February 5th, 2006 01:18 pm (UTC)
That was fantastic! Very entertaining.
threeoranges on February 5th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! :D