Written in response to Nuitsongeur's "Princess Tutu/ Edgar Allan Poe" challenge on LiveJournal.

Title: Prelude to Isolation

Rating: T, to be safe.

Characters/Pairings: Drosselmeyer, Bookmen, Raven, others

Warnings: Blood. Poe content.

Word Count: 545 (story) 765 (all)

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Once upon a time, there was a man whose stories came to pass....

Outside were doubt and disbelief, and indifference and fear, and those who stopped dangerous stories by the shedding of blood.

In the town with the strong and lofty wall and the five iron- bound gates, the man's fame was unmatched save by the ancient Academy with its entertainments, its ballet dancers, its musicians, its art and its beauty. The town was proud of the man, sought out by the rich and the mighty; and they feared him, the old man with his peculiar tastes and his disregard of the decorum of mere fashion. There were many who thought him mad. His writings were bold and fiery, filled with the beautiful, the wanton, the bizarre, something of the terrible, not a little that excited disgust; a multitude of dreams.

The man knew himself to be vulnerable to the sudden impulses of despair and of frenzy from within and without, for that was the stuff of the tragedy he adored; and so he began his last and greatest work, a sublime tragedy, at the same moment that his greatest invention was completed.

It was clockwork, this masterpiece, that fed the machine of his tragedy. It was hidden silently above the busyness of the town at large, unlike the exceedingly musical tintinnabulation of the Academy clock with its mechanical characters.

The old man with his delirious fancies, such as the madman fashions, wove that clock into his tragedy: the Prince resplendent in violet, an evil Princess shaded in purple, a white swan, a knight. The town he also gave its part, from orange- tiled roofs to the green lawns of the Academy and the blue of the river that ran from the far wall to the near.

And lastly, the villain of the piece, the monstrous black Raven, red eyes (or, seen in another way, a gigantic scarlet maw) glaring as if by firelight behind blood- tinted panes.

The magnificent tragedy had arrived at the point of the battle, the pinnacle of hope, though the Prince had yet to take out his own heart to imprison the evil Raven. A few lines had been inserted as an afterthought (for, if the struggle were to continue, someone must restore the Prince's heart; let it be a tragic heroine, a Princess who must disappear when the task is done, or upon confessing her love for the Prince, as the tale might decide.)

Then had come the men dressed in the habiliments of mystery and terror, in dark robes whose very plainness went beyond the bounds of the old man's indefinite decorum. When they left the old man, he was yet alive; but they did not then realize, as they found that there was no means of egress for themselves through the strong and lofty walls, that the old man was still writing, unable to finish his ultimate work without his hands. In his blood- bedewed study, crude characters in scarlet writhed across unending pages.

And then was acknowledged the presence of the Raven. The life of the clockwork device continued undiscovered, and darkness and despair and the uncompleted Story held illimitable dominion over all.

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Vocabulary lifted, of course, from The Masque of the Red Death and in one instance from The Bells, by Edgar Allan Poe. I owe him my apologies, I think. Upon re- reading, the style owes a bit to Lovecraft but that's okay.

I really and truly regret that there was not enough obvious humor to call this PoeTutu or Poelogue.

Disclaimer: Princess Tutu and all related characters and elements are the property, copyright and trademark of HAL– GANSIS/TUTU and Ikukoh Itoh and no ownership or claim on said property, copyright or trademark is made or implied by their use in the work(s) of fan fiction presented here. This fan fiction constitutes a personal comment on the aforesaid properties pursuant to doctrines of fair use and fair comment. This fan fiction is non-commercial, not for sale or profit, and may not be sold or reproduced for commercial purposes.