“That necklace she’s wearing, it’s rather… different.”
The Lord President seems annoyed, agitated suddenly as though something has caught at his shoulder, exactly, the Doctor notes with some dismay, in the direction of the Lady Flaminarixodaparcaftion.
“What necklace? I’m giving her this severed hand I found crawling around the Wastes as a present,” he mutters, “Are you drunk on ginger beer or something? I don’t remember letting these morons serve you any. Do let up on the drinking, would you? Funny thing, that hand… seems to have warmed up to me, but it doesn’t seem to like Flamina very much. Bloody picky thing… still she’s good with that bird of hers, and she loves grotesques as much as I do. Besides, it’s not like I can follow in its owner’s footsteps and cut it off twice if it doesn’t play a proper game of pinochle, eh?”
A hand, you say? Just a hand? Really, Koschei? How could you not know what…
“I wouldn’t. Get her something else less… grabsy.”
A laugh erupts from his throat, covering the hall and causing Flamina, in her gown of watery silk and pearls, to turn in their direction.
By accident, it would seem, the Doctor finds his view through the wineglass raised just enough to see the woman’s neck, now strangely free of the weird ornament.
So he slips the glass up farther, and sees… the edge, the bare, cold edge, of something squirming. Something bloated and wriggling and… full of dust.
Suddenly her eyes are full on him, blinking, boundless chunks of sapphire, glistening, searching, reaching into him, pulling and pulling and pulling and pulling and pulling away his…
Feeling a numbness in his fingers, the Doctor lets the glass slip from his grip and tumble down, shattering into pieces and spilling good striped wine all over the marble tiled floor.