Title: Crowning Tristan
Rating: PG-13 / T
Summary: We've seen Tristan grow from a boy to a man, but how does that man become a king? A gapfiller between the end of the battle and the coronation. Movieverse, with elements from the book. Canon pairings. Discontinued; final chapters summarised.
Disclaimer: I do not own Stardust in any way. This is just for fun.
Author's Note: There are three appendices here, and I've put them all in one document rather than three separate posts, since the first and last are quite short.
Appendix One: The Future
As we know from the deleted scenes (even though I'm going with the original impression of Tristan never growing old), Yvaine and Tristan eventually have eight children, four sons and four daughters, and I'm certain they would not be named by number. I can see them being named after people – Yvaine's sister Lilith (though I imagine that would be shortened to "Lily"), maybe Tristan's grandparents, but for some reason, I always thought of their eldest son being named Gareth.
Also in that deleted scene, when Tristan says "the next king- (of Stormhold)", Yvaine interrupts with, "Or queen!", so I'm sure she would argue fiercely against the idea that only a son could be their heir. Either they'll use the same quest method to decide who rules, or stick with the 'eldest first' idea, in which case it would probably be a quiet relief (for Una and Tristan, mostly) that the first child turns out to be a son.
Una and Dunstan remain close but are never officially married; I like the idea that they have a comfortable, lifelong partnership and friendship that doesn't need validation.
The children are still human and do not have the same glowing sort of heart as their mother; they cannot shine, but can do magic. Because Yvaine loves them, they will all remain young (adults, not infants) until after she leaves for the sky, which explains why they all still look about twenty or thirty when their parents have been ruling for eighty years.
I have ideas for a few little one-shots set around this time: Yvaine showing off her newborn son to her sisters and mother; one of the daughters, Lily, coming to curl up in her parents' bed after having a nightmare; Tristan whispering with her because Yvaine is pregnant and having trouble sleeping. Little fluff stories that contrast the childhood of Una and her brothers, and maybe some with the eight children as adults.
Eventually Tristan, or his son Gareth (who does become the next king), has the wall sealed – England is becoming too technical and too disdainful, and the new generation of villagers in Wall have less and less respect for the secret. There are several incidents, and eventually they agree that it's no longer safe, for either side, to have an open portal.
I hope to write some of these little stories as independent ficlets someday.
Appendix Two: The History of Stormhold
This is a document I put together halfway through writing act two as a reference for myself while working out the complicated subplots and history lessons that turn up in acts two and three. Much of it has already been said within the prose, but here it is all nicely laid out in chronological sequence, so I thought it worth including.
Please be aware that this is history as I, the Omniscient Author, know it. No single person in Stormhold could narrate this, though the palace scholars could, if they worked with Yvaine and Selena, come fairly close. It's also not a 'full' account of history – obviously, that would take forever. I'm only touching on the main points and sometimes making vague allusions to exactly how something came about, and sometimes say outright that things have been lost or forgotten over time.
Do keep in mind that, though I've taken inspiration from the book, movie, and several other sources, nothing here is in any way canonical. I made it all up.
The history of Stormhold, like that of every other country, begins with the formation of the Earth. Somehow – and it's not really important how – it came to be that some parts of the world were richer in magic than others. This magic soaked into the land and sea, helping to create plants with miraculous properties and equally magical, magnificent animals.
About five thousand years before Tristan Thorn was born, the land was populated only by scattered tribes of people; farmers and hunters who lived off the land, with no social structure beyond small clans and their leaders. Sometimes they fought, for one reason or another, but generally speaking, nothing very interesting happened. Among them were the occasional witches or warlocks of negligible power, who could heal the sick and charm objects, predicting the future with questionable accuracy. Runes came into use from very early on, made out of particularly magical stones or branches, and so it came to be that most clans had a soothsayer or a medicine woman among them, and those traditional roles continued to quietly exist throughout the following millennia, surviving into modern-day Stormhold.
At that time, there was no area of land which one could fence off and call "Stormhold"; it was fluid. Magic was spread throughout the earth and it allowed for extremely flexible geography – neither distances nor landmarks were particularly stable. The magical areas – "fairy lands", so to speak – were essentially superimposed over the top of mundane lands, like a layer of fabric that's full of holes and constantly moving around. An unfortunate man could accidentally wander across one of the ever-moving 'boundaries' and find himself in a different place entirely, possibly doomed to never return home. In this way, people came to live 'in' the magical lands from all across the world, which accounts for the huge variety in cultures that can still be seen in Market Town.
It was also possible, of course, for native creatures born from magical soil to wander into mundane Earth, and thus came the ancient Greek legends of hydras and sphinxes, Chinese dragons, generic ogres, giants, centaurs, nymphs and similar beasts from many, many other cultures. Herbs with healing and other, more sinister magical properties were carried across by people or animals, and took root in the rest of the world, which back then still had enough magic in its soil to support them. Even ordinary people could use these plants for potions or other magical purposes, provided they knew exactly how to do it.
One day, a star fell. This was Selena, Yvaine's older sister, who fell by accident and was trapped, for at the time there was no such thing as a Babylon candle. While her mother, the Moon, worked hard to teach her the magical theory she needed to make her way home, Selena came to appreciate and even love life on Earth, particularly animals such as unicorns, which helped her and were, in thanks, accorded special favours from the Moon. Selena began to enjoy her life on Earth, and when she realised that something was threatening the magical lands and creatures, she put aside her own quest for home in an effort to protect them.
The fairy lands were starting to disappear. As humans became more and more 'civilised' they began establishing cities and exploring the world, mapping it, and their disbelief was what pushed the fairy lands away – poaching them, so to speak – and as a little more magic died every day, so did the creatures that depended on it to survive. Selena was one of them.
To protect herself and her friends, Selena used the magic of the land, with the knowledge her mother had taught her and the help of magical people she had tutored, to erect massive, metaphysical walls; barriers that sealed off the magical world, holding it together in one solid, unchanging shape that would 'float', so to speak, across the surface of Earth, never touching it and beyond its influence. She succeeded, and the fairy lands were sealed off entirely, self-contained and protected from the destructive disbelief of humans in the mundane world.
It is important to note that, by so doing, Selena also robbed the rest of Earth of its magic. What little of it remained in the land and sea was not enough to sustain the lives of those amazing beasts that appear to us now only in myth; that's why they suddenly stopped being a real threat to humans and faded into mere legend. A few plants survived, simple things with minor magical properties, but by and large, Earth lost its wonder entirely.
(It's also interesting to point out that this is why Tristan, and the few others like him, have the ability to know exactly where things are within the fairy lands. The distant ancestor who passed down the talent, by virtue of being a witch or warlock, was closely connected to the natural magic in the earth. That connection, when it springs up in the family, allows Tristan to instinctively find his way around in Stormhold, but not on Earth.)
Once her task was accomplished, Selena became a legend herself, and the story of the beautiful fallen star that protected the people of Stormhold turned into a myth that was passed down as folklore for the next four millennia. Selena herself fell in love with a mortal who eventually broke her heart, and she returned to the sky some time later.
Shortly afterwards, another star, Lilith, deliberately fell. She had no great impact on history herself, but she gave birth to three exceptionally magical daughters: Lamia, Mormo and Empusa, who eventually became known as the Lilim witches. They learned from their mother (who in turn had learned from the Moon and Selena), more magical theory than any other mortal witches and warlocks, and with their innate talent, they were undoubtedly the most powerful witches in the world. They were also remarkably amoral, though Lilith was blind to it. Vain and greedy, and perhaps secretly terrified, these sisters eventually murdered their mother to steal her heart, eating it and gaining immortality. At this point, they believed that one heart would sustain them for eternity; there was no reason to think otherwise, for they were the first immortal beings to also use magic.
Between their power, beauty, magical knowledge and long lives, it was no wonder that the ordinary people of the (as-yet-unnamed) fairy lands saw them as goddesses – an idea which they undoubtedly encouraged with well-publicised charitable acts. They sought power, and got it, but not by force or threat; in fact, they were seen as merciful angels. They offered magical solutions to hard work and dangerous illnesses, saving lives and appearing to care deeply for the plight of those less fortunate. Whether there was any truth in this, one cannot know.
What is known is that the people eventually became dependant on this generosity. Within a few generations, magic was a tool as common as ploughs or hammers, and no one could imagine surviving without it. In addition, from very early on, the sisters invited everyone with magical talents to their home in the palace of Carnadine (which may or may not have once been a city rather than just a manor; no one is sure) for training so they could use the full range of their abilities. This was the origin of the sister- and brother-hoods of witches and warlocks that still exist in modern-day Stormhold. But before they were taught anything, every apprentice was forced to take a magically-binding oath that declared, among other things, that the apprentice would serve the Lilim sisters above all others, that they would never use their skills against the sisters in any way, and that they would never teach anything they learned to another witch or warlock who hadn't already taken the same oath. Thus, the sisters controlled all magical practices. (This oath was also the origin of the ordinances that govern the sister- and brotherhoods in modern-day Stormhold.)
With this control, and their god-like images, the Lilim took a rag-tag collection of farmers and hunters living in the same area and turned it into a real kingdom – or, more correctly, a queendom. For nearly a millennium they reigned as the rightful monarchs, and by and large, those were good years. The sisters were not tyrants, and there were no enemies to threaten the people.
Eventually, however, the magic of Lilith's heart did begin to run out, worn down by their constant use of magic. Confused and horrified by the slow decay of their bodies, the sisters neglected the needs of their people in favour of experimenting with spells and potions; they called all their pupils to Carnadine to help with the research, away from their 'posts' in scattered villages. These witches and warlocks would have been told about how they became immortal in the first place because it was the only thing they knew of that stopped aging, which is how the people of Stormhold came to know so much detail about the value of a star's heart.
The queendom did not suddenly turn into a tyranny; at first, the people only suffered from the loss of their local magicians, which went on long enough to seriously threaten their livelihoods. They sent complaints, then pleas, all of which were ignored. Then the
sisters began to ignore their responsibilities completely, becoming more and more frantic as their bodies aged. They forced their pupils to work day and night, and as the common people became louder in their cries for help, also began using magic as a weapon to control by fear and force. By this time, their image as divinities was falling apart.
Then people began to go missing; they were taken to Carnadine and used in horrible experiments. The few that escaped came home mutilated, and outright rebellion simmered. A handful of people tried to overthrow the Lilim, and all failed, except one: A man named Galdon, the son of small, insignificant clan, organised his countrymen into an effective resistance movement, and with small raiding parties that used cunning, not brute force, they broke into Carnadine and freed the prisoners, as well as the witches and warlocks who had been practically enslaved. Though the magicians were bound by their oaths not to work directly against the Lilim, they could help in other ways, and eventually the queens' rule fell apart entirely.
The sisters, despairing but not yet as cold and bitter as they would become, locked themselves away in what was left of Carnadine, magically sealing off the huge, foreboding canyon that, for a few centuries, was said to be haunted. It was eventually forgotten. The sisters themselves waited centuries for a star to fall, but thanks to the Moon's strict rules, none did until Cirra, in about 1450 CE, and that was an accident. Knowing nothing of her family's history on Earth, she blindly trusted the kind old ladies who helped her. Her heart, like Lilith's, was torn out and eaten, but because she didn't love the sisters at all, its effects didn't last more than a century or two. One can only assume that it was then that the witches finally realised it was their extensive use of magic that counteracted their youth. Why they didn't make an attempt to reclaim their thrones while still young again is a mystery.
Having almost single-handedly overthrown the Lilim, Galdon was considered a hero. The people adored him and gladly offered him lordship over their kingdom. He was crowned Primus, the First King, and is the first known member of the royal bloodline. It's doubtful that he actually had blue blood; that trait would have come later, probably by magical means. Neither was there any tradition of sons murdering each other for the throne; that, too, evolved over the next three thousand years. Galdon named the kingdom Stormhold because it had held against the 'storm' of evil that weathered it, and once his people were once again thriving, began to build a city (that was never named) and palace at the peak of Mount Huon.
With the crowning of Galdon, the First Age ended and the Second Age began.
The First King and his descendants were good for Stormhold. They established more detailed law and justice systems, taking more control of day-to-day life than the sisters, who generally let their people fight out their differences without much care for who was right or wrong. They hunted down dangerous beasts and showed more respect for scattered nomadic clans and sentient non-humans like unicorns, who were generally ignored by the Lilim until they posed some sort of threat. Galdon was not an exceptionally moral man, but he was decent, and saw a chance to gain something by forging good relationships with everyone he could, bringing everyone under one banner.
(To briefly go off on a linguistic tangent, it was somewhere during this golden age of expansion that King Tridecaseptimus began the tradition of naming his sons by number, and that tradition continued unchanged up until the crowning of King Tristan. However, it's interesting to note that over time, the names of royal daughters changed quite a bit. At first, when Stormhold still had some vague memory of mundane Earth's cultures, the kings tried to keep to very Latin names, and so the sons were all given ordinal names and the daughters given cardinal numbers. However, there was a great deal of Greek floating around as well, and since the names of daughters rarely appeared in history, there was a lot less pressure to keep their names strictly the same. In this way, the names Quarta, Quinta, Sexa, Septa, and Nona, among others, were sometimes replaced with Tetra, Penta, Hexa, Hepta, and Ennea. Sometimes the Latin versions would be preferred anyway, but after three thousand years no one remembered that "Latin" was once a language, so between that and normal linguistic shifts, any adherence to the original rules was lost. It was also largely a matter of taste, so after fifty or sixty generations, the kings and queens had some choice as to what they would name their daughters.)
Somewhere in those first thousand years, part of one of Selena's barriers was broken, forging a connection between the worlds again, and the damage manifested as a physical wall with a gap in it. It acted like an anchor, and just happened to appear in what we now call England. At the time, the village of Wall did not exist – not even close, as this was about 1000 BCE – and there was certainly no one trying to keep people from going through. Many didn't even realise they had travelled to another world, at least not until people from Stormhold found that their magical tools wouldn't work. So, while the people of Stormhold came to know about the wall, telling stories of how strange a place it was, wondering how people cold live without magic, there was little interest in actually going through it. The native people on Earth would wander through occasionally, usually adapting to life in Stormhold society and bringing with them culture and traditions from the mundane world that slowly, but steadily, took root in the magical world. This would also explain why, although there are many human races in Stormhold, the dominant culture and styles seem to be English.
Of course, history on Earth continued just as we know it, and eventually the village of Wall was founded somewhere between 1100 and 1400 CE. This would have been when Christianity was already dominant in the area, and it's quite understandable that the blatant and casual use of magic in Stormhold would have frightened English villagers. They declared that it was a Very Bad Thing to travel across the wall and established a guard to ensure that no one did. It is likely that there was no need to keep it a secret back then, and only as time went on, moving towards the more scientific age, did the villagers quietly agree to keep knowledge of the wall to themselves, probably after being ridiculed by outsiders or for fear that someone naive person might try to pass through and end up being killed.
By 1450 CE, when Cirra fell, Stormhold was recognisable to modern-day inhabitants. The blue-blooded royals maintained a fair if somewhat stagnant kingdom, in which magical trade was essential. The brother- and sisterhoods of witches and warlocks existed in a very scattered fashion, with no leaders, held together only by the binding oath that had to be taken before anyone could be taught to use their talents. The palatial city on Mount Huon was grand and elegant, housing the royal family as well as most of the kingdom's various noblemen. By that time, the hierarchy had gathered many additional layers, with governors in charge of certain counties and mayors in every city, the highest ranking of which made up the royal court. None of the noble families were ever descended from princesses and younger brothers as is the case on Earth; they came from knights and retainers who had earned rank by valour and loyalty to the crown. The only family connections to royalty came when a red-blooded daughter was chosen to be the next queen.
On a more widespread scale, Stormhold had long since ceased to be the only kingdom in the fairy lands. It was, to be sure, the oldest and largest, but over time breakaway political factions and colonising efforts went off into the far parts of the magical land and established their own little countries. This did not often happen without a fight, but happened nonetheless and so Stormhold eventually formed diplomatic relations with other human kingdoms. There were some wars here and there, but no long-term feuds, probably because Stormhold remained exceptionally powerful.
These various wars and shifts of power in the fairy lands caused a number of new Ages to be declared, and the Fifth Age began a few hundred years before the birth of Tristan Thorn.
By this time, Yvaine had returned from her wanderings around the far side of the galaxy and had become utterly fascinated by life on Earth. She, like her sisters, knew what had happened to Cirra, but few of them knew what the witches looked like, for their mother and Selena were more concerned with scaring the stars into keeping well away from Earth than teaching them how to stay safe if they ever ended up there. Yvaine heeded the warnings but they couldn't keep her from being enraptured by human life. She watched almost all the time, and was repeatedly scolded for getting too close.
In Wall, the traditional guard was well established and taken very seriously, though the knowledge of exactly what was being guarded against had faded and largely been lost. On the other side, the people of Stormhold remained aware of the portal's existence, but it was remembered mainly as a monument to whatever calamitous event broke the hole in the first place. Those who had travelled into England returned with stories of an unfriendly world with strange gadgets and no magic, keeping interest to a minimum. England became good for little more than children's bedtime stories, and serious people usually paid no attention at all.
And so, life went on quietly on both sides, continuing in its own plodding, steady way until a young man named Dunstan Thorn decided to join the long line of human explorers determined to prove that no magical worlds had ever existed.
And we all know how that turned out.
Appendix Three: Selena and Lilith
This is an expansion on Selena and Lilith's lives, essentially a retelling of what Selena told Yvaine during their second window-chat in chapter nine, but there are some more details that she neglected to include. It builds directly on appendix two.
Selena was always a calm and patient star, grown and mature long before the Earth ever came into being, and until the day she stumbled and fell down onto its grass and soil, she never paid much attention to it. Once there, she came to appreciate the beauty of a more physical world and to love the rich variety of life that was packed into every corner. After a few decades on Earth she stopped using the word "trapped", and when she learned that the magical world was being threatened, Selena set aside her own wishes in order to help protect others.
Once her magical barriers had been constructed and she had accomplished things beyond any native's wildest dreams, Selena still didn't have the means to return to the sky, but at that point, she didn't want to. She had met and fallen in love with a mortal man named Talmor. They married and lived happily for a long time, until he outlived his brothers and sister. His grief turned to bitterness, which turned to resentment – both of his long life, and of the wife responsible for it. He left, breaking her heart, and because their love was no longer shared, neither was the starlight that kept him alive. It was like breaking a circuit. He died, and was grateful for it.
Selena, heartbroken, turned her entire focus to finding a way to leave Earth. Her own bitterness and resentment overrode any love she had for the land or the creatures, and the Moon, with no regard for the difference between one person and his race, quickly came to hate all humans for what 'they' did to her precious daughter. With her mother's knowledge and the aid of her pupils, Selena invented the first Babylon candle and returned to the sky.
The Moon, relieved and determined not to let any of her daughters suffer the same way again, immediately took Selena aside to work out how they were going to ensure that. At first, it seemed logical to simply tell Selena's story to all the stars, scaring them out of taking any chances. Unfortunately, a very young star named Lilith was with her mother at the time, and heard the whole thing.
Lilith was a dreamer, a romantic, and was enraptured by the idea of love that was passionate and romantic, not the slow-paced love shared with her sisters and mother. Lilith was naïve, flighty and rebellious. Casually dismissing the heartache her sister had suffered, she deliberately fell to Earth to experience the wonders of physical life for herself.
Selena and the Moon were horrified, but despite their outraged commands and desperate pleas to return, Lilith just laughed and shrugged it off. Earth was her playground, and she delighted in the feel of real grass beneath her feet, the fresh breeze on her skin, and other such things that don't exist in the sky. She quickly met mortal men, but unlike Selena, she found no love with them – nothing that lasted, anyway. Instead she was left with three daughters, all with different fathers (none of whom stayed with her), and Lilith loved them dearly. They were Lamia, Mormo and Empusa, later known as the Lilim witches.
Being born of a star, an exceptionally magical creature, these girls were far more powerful than any of the 'natural' witches or warlocks in the world. In addition, they learned from their mother, who in turn learned from Selena (who had been trying to teach her how to get home), and therefore they had full use of their talents. Lilith wasn't a particularly good mother; she meant well, but she was still very young, irresponsible, and often careless. She failed to instil any sense of morals in her daughters, vaguely assuming that they would somehow know anyway. The girls grew up spoiled, vain, and remarkably selfish.
They were also mortal. No matter how highly magical she was, Lilith was not her mother, and only the Moon is capable of creating another (self-sustaining) immortal. Of course, because Lilith loved her children, they stayed young and healthy for centuries, and for a while Selena and even the Moon relaxed a little, thinking that everything would be all right anyway.
Then the sisters began to age. Perhaps there was some quarrel between mother and daughters, perhaps they resented needing her, or perhaps their selfish natures simply won out, but the love they shared soured, and their youth started to fade. Lilith turned to the sky for help, terrified that she might lose her children to age, but there was none to be given. The sisters, on the other hand, deduced what neither stars nor Moon had ever considered – that eating the heart of a star, the core of her energy and life source, would give them a source of immortal energy.
And so, one day, they attacked their mother and tore her heart out. That she loved them only enhanced the potency of her heart, and after the first bite, they were immortal. No matter how much of the surrounding, youth-giving energy they wasted with their use of magic (the counteractive effect of which they discovered about a thousand years too late), the actual heart, however torn and mutilated, would keep them from ever actually dying of age.
The Moon and Selena were horrified. Having concealed Lilith's fall from the others already, waiting for her to come home, this was the final straw. They decided to never, ever tell another star the full story, instead telling any sister who asked (and there were few, only those who had known her) that Lilith had fallen accidentally and been brutally murdered by humans. Yvaine knew nothing about this, for she had never met Lilith and at the time was wandering around the far side of the galaxy. None of the sisters were told what would happen if a mortal ate their hearts.
After Yvaine made her decision to stay on Earth, Selena weighed up the risks and changed her mind. She told her sisters everything, asking them to remember Lilith both as a warning and an honour to her memory. It cannot be said whether or not all the remaining stars heeded that warning as they should have, but no star was ever killed on Earth again.
In other words:
They all lived Happily Ever After