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13 April 2006 @ 08:02 pm
Because...I Like Playing In Fantasy And Not Living in Reality  
So I'm going to put up what I have so far in my little fantasy world and because this is all backstory and not really plot.

Everyone has a story. It’s something we learn as children listening to fairy tales, but forget as we grow older, caught in the ebb and flow of our petty desires. We forget that there are two sides to every coin, that one nation’s hero is another country’s bane, and that the view changes from where on the divide you stand.

So I had a story once, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Or perhaps my tale was only an anecdote in a greater saga, one that spans many generations, like the Skaldic epics I had studied in my youth in Tiberium, and that the end of life does not entail the end of the narrative. The beginning is forgettable: a simple setting for the later events that would frame the middle and end portions of my story, when the tapestry of my life was threaded with Geneviève nò Eglantine’s.

It begins in the barony of Saint-Laurent, a small province in Eisande that nevertheless encompasses a large port city. It is home to the Baron or Baronne de Saint-Laurent, who at the time of my childhood was my mother, Augustine Champney, a woman of prodigious intellect and modest ambition. She married my father, Chevalier Donatien Morrin, not for gain but for love; after all, it was Blessed Elua himself who commanded Love as thou wilt. She loved as she would and bore three sons, of which I was the third. My childhood was like any other: filled with joy and laughter and retribution as was appropriate. I was close to my brothers, especially Hector, the eldest, whose fascination with the wars of Tiberium led us to many mock battles in the fields just beyond our manse. Later, he would turn his interest to Skaldia and their songs of blood and iron and in whose lands he would lose his life. Clément, the gentler of my brothers, had a fondness for academia and esoteric pursuits, but he too found death at the blunt end of a Skaldic axe when I was sequestered in Tiberium.

It should have been me. Hector and I were our father’s children, eager for adventure. But I was only fifteen when the Skaldi invaded our borders, and bound for the Caerdicca Unitas at my mother’s request to study at the university in Tiberium. Clément never complained nor protested when my father sent him to fight for Terre d’Ange, but he was no soldier and his demise was met when his back was turned. But the three of us were young and foolish, such is the folly of youth, and while my brothers shed blood in the north, I spent hours in a hedonistic fashion in the south.

The Caerdicci have a phrase for the love shared by Achilles and Patroklus: il maledire D’Angeline. The D’Angeline curse. If it was indeed a disease, I was bitten the moment I met Jean-Didier de Granville. He taught me to love not the vast histories of nations so admired by Clément, but poetic verse. His own field of study comprised of Eirean epics and was in fact, planning a voyage once the passages were clear to the isle. I cared naught for the Dalraida or their songs; I only cared about Jean-Didier, his gentle manner, his dry wit, his passion for learning.

We were untouched by the war in Skaldia in the only way students can be, overwhelmed by volumes of knowledge and swamped by hordes of erudite academics. In the midst of the university battlefield, we found fraternal affection common to soldiers and scholars alike. I tasted the sweetness of sin, of the first knowledge condemned by Yeshuites and Sabeans, among the stacks of dusty scrolls and forever the taste of aged paper and ink will recall the passion of shared wisdom.

I hated him. His effortless accumulation of learning, the ease with which the unfamiliar sounds of Caerdicci left his mouth, I dreamed secretly of future days in which he would be found dead in his chambers, the victim of debaucherous recklessness. Amongst the duller minds of foreign tutors, he shone like a fresh-whet blade in sunlight, his acumen keen and sharp and deadly. I hated him, but I loved him too; he was my only link to home, a fellow D’Angeline, though I tried to forget about his beauty, its sting worse nettled by the crude features of my colleagues.

But he came upon me like a thought, or perhaps an epiphany. He loved the music in lilting Eirean poetry but I loved the hammer and anvil of Skaldic epics, Die Volsungsaga, Der Niebelüngenlied, the syllables harsh and unrefined on my tongue which I practiced as the candles burned low. His shadow weighed naught, but his presence bore down upon my chest, I couldn’t breathe, our movements grew long and then taut, I fought him with the helm and the hauberk, he with the harp and the lyre until at last our weapons were spent, and me with defeat on my lips:

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?

He smiled at my clumsy Skaldic translation of the Eirean verse, but within the year, the fresh wind blew him away with the sails of a ship bound for Marsilikos and then Alba to rest at Eire, my heart oed’ und leer das Meer. Il miglior fabbro, my better craftsman. I tucked into his sleeve a scrap of parchment, with the words of a Caerdicci poet in place of a farewell:

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.

He never replied by post.

Six months later, the war in Skaldia cut off all lines of communication between Terre d’Ange and the rest of the known world. I secluded myself in the caverns of learning, made helpless by useless, and crippled by worry. I left the University in Tiberium, distinguished with more honors than it is modest to enumerate, but I attribute this not to inherent genius, but the generative power of anxiety.

There was no one left to laud me.

The leaves had turned and the chill of winter bit on the heels of autumn, although in the mild climates of one of the southern states of Caerdicca Unitas, and at last I received a summons. My hand shook to open the parchment written my own native D’Angeline, anticipating somewhat of my parents, my brothers, or even my own beloved Jean-Didier.

But the missive answered none of these pressing questions and asked instead, in a delicate feminine hand, if I would journey to Camlach as soon as I was able: my presence was required to identify two bodies.

The charming hand (I began to assign different qualities to the unknown writer of the letter in accordance with my own desires and hopes) had signed itself Noémie Mont-Cerise. Noémie, I repeated to myself. Home.

When the baby was born, the Dowayne’s first thought was to sell its marque into Jasmine House straight away. Its skin was too golden have been born out of Camellia and the dark, almond-shaped eyes tilted upwards ever-so-slightly at the edges, like a cat’s, enough to give the older woman some discomfort. She hated cats. But she wasn’t so cruel a woman as to deprive Charisse nò Byrony of her first child the minute it was born. The Dowayne of Camellia prided herself on being different from Edmée nò Dahlia (their biggest rival within the Thirteen Houses of the Night Court); she was not so “upright and unyielding” as to forbid a fosterling of her house to find comfort in the faces she knew best during the traumatic labor of birth. Poor Madeleine.

Poor Charisse too. The Dowayne clucked in pity at the plight the poor girl had found herself in; with child and in disgrace. Of course, Richard nò Bryony would not say so, but she knew. Children gotten by servants of Naamah who were yet to make their marque were unwelcome in Bryony House, not good for business, so they said. The Dowayne snorted indelicately, in brief violation of the canon of her house, before approaching Charisse.

“How are you, my child?” she asked the young mother.

Flushed with the effort of labor and the pride of maternal instincts, Charisse smiled with the babe in her arms. “I’m fine, Emilie, thank you. Would you like to see the baby?”

The Dowayne had already seen the baby, in its first moment, in fact, the moment it slithered from between its mother’s legs covered in blood that could not hide the sun-warmed hue of its skin. But she smiled at Charisse, she must be polite after all, and suppressing a shudder, took the hours-old babe into her own arms.

“Does it have a name?” the Dowayne asked.

“Geneviève,” Charisse said beatifically.

A pretty name, the Dowayne owned. “Have you given thought to her fate, then?”

“Her father asked that she be fostered at Dahlia House until her marque is bought,” Charisse answered.

Optimistic words, the Dowayne thought, but kept the sentiment to herself. “Dahlia House?”

“Yes, Maurice made an arrangement with the Dowayne.”

A flicker of surprise crossed the older woman’s features before she composed herself. “And Edmée agreed to it?”

“Of course,” Charisse answered, as though the question were of no importance.

Emilie did not press the issue. “Have you contracted a wet nurse?”

“No, she will be with me until her milk-teeth grow in. It is for the best; Bryony House is not the kindest place for a child to grow up.”

Emilie acquiesced, glancing at the baby girl’s cat-like eyes before returning her to Charisse. Better Dahlia then Byrony, she privately agreed. Although what Edmée could possibly want with the child, Emilie could not fathom.

So Geneviève passed from one House to another. As she grew older, her resemblance to a feline diminished, but she nevertheless retained a feral grace. Perhaps it was the child’s unconscious grace the Dowayne of Dahlia sought after, for her features (as perfect as the Night Court could produce) seemed better suited to Jasmine House with pale golden skin, mahogany-dark curls, violet-bloom lips, and pouty lips, reminiscent of faraway Ch’in. Indeed as her tenth year approached, Alienor nò Jasmine bid aggressively for her marque, but owing to the girl’s affinity for music, it was Eglantine House which won in the end.

Each flower of the Night Court bloomed differently, but for many, it seemed as though Geneviève would remain forever youthful. Even well into her sixteenth year and second year as an initiate into the rites of Naamah, she appeared years younger than her peers, but was a great favourite with the elder patrons of Mont Nuit, who sought to reclaim some their lost youth with one who seemed far too innocent to be touched by Naamah’s hand. In time the fullness of her beauty opened underneath the stern watch of the Dowayne, but she would forever be considered petite. Her gowns were always designed to capitalize on her innocence, her wide eyes and petulant lips, but cut to hint at the mature charms of a grown woman.

She loved him because he was slightly evil, or so he liked to think. He liked to believe that he had the capacity for intrigue, for subtlety, for cunning, for the ability to rule and raze empires with ruthless disinterest. He fancied himself dangerous, as only one trained by the Cassiline Brotherhood could be, deadly and beautiful at once, like a blade in battle. Sexy even.

In truth, she loved him because he was good, because his inherent compassion for his fellow humans pumped through his veins by his tender heart. She loved him because the animal surety and power his graceful movements could not wholly disguise his gentleness or the reverent wonder with which he stroked the length of her body. Her gentle bear. He enclosed her petite frame with brawny arms and broad shoulders and she felt cherished, precious, he would tear apart all those who would harm his kitten with tooth and claw and steel and sheer strength. She ran her fingers lightly over his muscled arms, fearing and craving the power thrumming beneath the warmth of his skin. He never hurt her, he would never hurt her, sheathing his strength beneath movements tender and clumsy at once, like a bear playing with a kitten.

But he was evil, he thought, he dabbled in manipulation on a small level, he set the pieces in play and watched the events untangle themselves. His appraisal of human nature was keen and accurate; Geneviève trusted his judgment implicitly, but he knew where hills and valleys lay in the landscape of personalities and enjoyed having one friend make a mountain out a desert in another. He watched the ensuing hilarity with lazy-lidded eyes beneath straight black brows that were nevertheless unable hide the glitter of sadistic, mischievous humour in his sharp green irises. He was good, she knew, but only she was sure.

He never said much in new company, making him ill-suited to the life of a courtier that his beloved Geneviève had inherited. He preferred to stay upon the fringes of peer society, observing the proceedings with a slightly wicked eye, the impassive mysteriousness of his dark looks a deterrent against the frivolous conversation of the less comfortable courtiers of la Reine’s court. But no one, not even the less astute members of D’Angeline peerage, would dare describe the chevalier Berènger de Lemièux as dull, the amused omniscient aura that clung to his powerful frame making many of the assembled guests as the fete acutely nervous.

I don’t understand why Geneviève nò Eglantine took him as her consort.

She was favored of le Baron de Saint-Laurent, wasn’t she?

He is anathema amongst the Cassiline Brotherhood, I hear.

Such a flower of the Night court with a minor provincial lordling? He’s only impressed into her service as a chevalier.

But his blood was noble, despite what the whispers claimed. His was a minor House, but one that traced its roots back to Eiseth and Shemhazai, distinguished with the blood of healers and scholars alike. This scion of Elua’s Companions lacked the sophistication and refinement common to the dwellers of Elua’s City, made simpler and homelier by years of country living. But even the rudeness of his features was beautiful; he was D’Angeline after all. His rural beauty complemented the delicacy and elegance of his consort and in the midst of the gentle rainfall of snide remarks, no one could deny the depth of their love for one another, a sort of love that transfigures beauty from mortal-bound bondage to transcendent freedom.

It was disgusting, really. Some people had all the luck. Geneviève nò Eglantine was blessed with looks beyond the gifts of common D’Angelines, and from the relative ignominy of the Night Court she had risen to the title of la Baronne de Saint-Laurent. On top of that, she had love and moreover, she could afford the luxury of being in love, having made her marque and the ability to take lovers at will. That she should choose that rude chevalier as her consort was the only sign of Elua’s grace.

I will put up more descriptions later. Yay!
Current Location: Terre d'Ange that Will Be
Mood: amusedamused
Music: Two Alban troubadours who were so obviously in love
lady hpeterlake on April 14th, 2006 05:09 am (UTC)

I'll put up more stuff later, too.

Alban troubadors=way better than D'Angelo's Eiran Troubadors.
JJthegreatmissjj on April 14th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
Alban troubadors totally sexy. ::nods::