Venician Moon: Introduction

Venetian Moon: Introduction

By: Bunniko

Disclaimer: I own no rights to Sailor Moon by Naoko-san or "Dangerous Beauty" of Regency Enterprises.

Summary: 16th century Venice. The Lunar Court is reincarnated in a Paradise of sorts.

Note: Due to the setting, the English names from the translated manga suit my needs best.

"Venice, 1583 - the richest, most decadent city in Europe. Its women were treated as property – few even knew how to read.

But there were some who enjoyed a different fate . . ." ~ opening of "Dangerous Beauty"

"We danced our youth in a dreamed-of city.

Venice – Paradise, proud and pretty.

We lived for love, and lust, and beauty.

Pleasure then our only duty . . .

Floating then 'twixt heaven and earth

And drunk on Plenty's blessed mirth.

We thought ourselves eternal then,

Our glory sealed by God's own pen.

But Paradise, we found, is always frail.

Against man's fear will always fail."

~ "Dangerous Beauty"

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It was a time of wealth and plenty. The canals flowed cleanly through the city, reflecting light from the many candles illuminating the gaming and pleasure houses filling the city. Late into the night, raucous laughter and music poured out from these houses. In but a year, fate would turn on this hedonist city, but for now, all is light, laughter and lust.

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Delora Petrucho stood on the inner balcony, looking down on her charges, lost in thought. Five girls lived in her house. All were destined to become courtesans. They didn't realize it yet. But Mother Petrucho, as they called her, did not run an orphanage/school out of the kindness of her heart. Oh, that was a part of it. After all, something must be done with Venice's unwanted daughters. But kindness didn't pay the bills. She couldn't afford to run a charity. Besides, what else was she to do with five impoverished girls of marriageable age? The only men who would wed a dowry-less woman would be men who couldn't gain a wife any other way. Mother Petrucho had experienced that first-hand. She thought her girls' chances were better as courtesans. But they were romantics. She knew they would resist this life.

Below her, Raye knelt by the fire, staring into it. Her long, raven-black hair and deep purple eyes would no doubt make her quite popular. She was the daughter of a powerful senator's mistress. The mistress had died, leaving her two-year old daughter here, fatherless, nameless and friendless. She was a quiet young lady, of sixteen years, but her temper was volatile.

Lita sat near the window, watching the passers-by with great interest. She had been the daughter of a traveling couple from Rome. They had been tragically killed in a gondola accident. Lita had nearly drowned. She had been five when she was brought here. She retained a deep fear of gondolas and refused to ride in them alone. Eleven years had not been enough to still her fears, though blessedly, the nightmares had left her a few years ago.

Amy sat at the table, poring over a book on politics. Her mother was a well-respected courtesan of rare intelligence. However, she had fallen in love with a common artisan. Their affair, which would have ruined her had she been discovered, had ended badly. The courtesan had been left carrying his child. Disappearing for a year, claiming that she had to tend to a sick friend in Rome, she had holed up at Signora Petrucho's home. With no one to take the child, Amy's mother had left her there, with the instruction that when the child reached the age of sixteen, she would provide for her own keep. Amy's sixteenth birthday had passed, and her mother's contributions to the household had stopped.

Mina and Serena were twins. Both had just turned sixteen. Mother Petrucho had waited until their birthdays to prepare the girls, hoping that they would support each other through this difficult time. No one called Serena by her birth name, however. Sometime in childhood, she had been nicknamed Bunny and it had stuck. Both girls had long blond hair and blue eyes, though in both cases, Bunny's were lighter than Mina's. Their story was the saddest of them all. Their father was a rich, powerful and arrogant man. His wife had had the audacity to bear him a female child as their firstborn! To make matters worse, she had not brought one useless female into his household, but two! The frightened woman had summoned her childhood friend, Delora and implored her to save the girls. The midwife had managed to find a stillborn female babe. She presented the dead child to the disgusted husband as Delora spirited the girls out of the house. But before she was able to leave in search of a wetnurse for the infants, she heard the cruel man enter her old friend's room and declare, "At least you had the good sense not to deliver a live female."

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Mother Petrucho shook her head to clear it of her thoughts. The past was dead, the present was temporary. Only the future was important. And in Venice, a woman had no real options. A woman could be two things, a wife – a silent, cowering thing only needed to bears sons for the Republic; or a courtesan – some of the best educated women in the world, who earned their livelihood on their backs. Either way, a Venetian woman lived her life in a cage.