Of Darkness, Magicians, and Madness
By Auburn Red
Disclaimer: I do not own Jonathan Strange, Mr. Norrell, or any of the characters or situations from this book. They are created by the incomparable Susanna Clarke.
As far as I know this is the first Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell fanfic (why is that:D) This is just a couple of monologues with Strange and Norrell thinking about their lives and their punishment and relationship with each other. This is NOT a slash fic (though you may interpret it as such if you want :D) This contains Spoilers for the ending of the book
Chapter One: Gilbert Norrell
He stirs in his sleep, the young fool! We are together in this darkened prison, cut off from the outside world and only known to each other. Because of him, because of his deranged desire to meet with the Raven King, because of his obssession with rescuing his wife, because of what he had read and what I had taught him we are here together!
I do not mind really so much. I live off of solitude. My largest regret is that I cannot do my part to the aid the English government and lead the Glorious Revival of English Magic, they way I planned. I could have continued revealing my views of magic to the world but I can't.
Strange's shudders in his sleep. His red hair is tousled and his face pale. His teeth are chattering and he is mumbling in his sleep. His speech was so loud that I came from my room to be near him. I am furious with what he led us to. I grab a pillow hoping to suffocate his breath, but put it down by his side. I want to strike him with my magic or my fists, so I can end his life and maybe this prison! I clench my hands into a fist, but then release it. I don't know why I do not show my anger at him.
Yes I do. Because of Strange. For one who has never felt close to most people his whole life, except maybe Childermass and a few others in my younger years, I am concerned for another human being. I haven't cared for one since- no never mind. Sometimes Strange is lucid and we bicker back and forth like we used to. He puts up with my eccentricities and I live through his histrionics. We banter and aid each other through our studies. Those are the good days.
On bad days, it is much worse. Sometimes he flies into mania and hysteria. He flies into rages, pours through books writing on whatever he can find, paper, walls, chairs, tabletops. He screams
and fights with visions that only he can see and hear. He mumbles incoherently about things that only he understands (and then I don't think he does). Such as the other day when he interrrupted my reading time to talk about snuff. Other days he is still, lying on the ground in a fetal position not moving. Those days I have to drag him out of his bed. He claims to be free of the Raven King's influence, but his mind is still ill. Like many magicians before him, he has fallen.
The other reason, I am not angrier than I should be is myself. Strange only did what I would have done if I were his age, what I had once tried to do. I look at him and am in some ways remind of myself though I was a lot more introverted and intelligent. I had thrown away my whole life in pursuit of my studies, trying all of the strongest magics, trying to be as daring as I could. If there was a book that would have said: KEEP OUT! I would have no doubt opened it. I would vie with rivals who were just as devoted as I was, but had given over to the darkness that we are in. I know Strange sees me as someone who is old and tedious with no passion who never knew how to love. Well he is wrong, I once had passion and I did once know how to love.
Elizabeth Hadden. I did not go as far as Strange did and married her the way he did his Arabella, though we were affianced. I don't know whether I would have married her in the end, but I did love her of course I was young, foolish, and twnety-six. I still remember her chestnut hair tied up in those curls and her white gowns, she loved to wear white. She was very intelligent and about as bookish as I was though she liked more company than I did. Elizabeth was a pleasent quiet woman who was devoted to me, but worried about my use of magic. She warned me, but I would never hear of it. Magic was my obssession.
Like Strange, I was obssessed with unearthing the deepest magics including yes, finding the Raven King.Ten years I spent on that obssession and when I think about what it cost me. Elizabeth was afraid for me and I think afraid of me. I remember our last night together. She knocked on my study door as I poured over my books and asked me to leave this place and go with her to visit some friend of hers, whose name I can no longer recall, to get away. I wouldn't leave. She tried to push me away, but I held firm. She begged but I screamed at her taking a sadistic delight at her tears. She nearly walked out the door and I shoved her inside knocking her to the ground. I told her to behold my awesome power and summoned a few words.
Suddenly the room went dark. All the candles blew out and everything was still. She begged me to come with her, but I refused. I even told her that I wished I would never see her again. The window then burst open and I heard the cry and saw the sillhouette of a raven. By the time, I found a lantern to light one candle, my beloved Elizabeth lay on the floor her throat slit open. That's when I vowed to have no more to do with the Raven King. I then studied and tried to control the use of magic, so no one could make the same mistakes that I did. Obviously, those mistakes will be made no matter what I do.
Strange stirs in his sleep, his mumbles growing louder. I place my hand on top of his hair until he falls back into his somewhat peaceful slumber. I feel like I hate him, but I also feel like I should care for him. Perhaps I could do for him what I could do for no other soul and bring him back. Maybe that Fairy Gentleman was right after all.
He really is my dearest friend.