I probably should have chosen something a little shorter and, you know, finished, to work on, but I liked this one and Rin seemed excited about doing it, so yay us.
This was originally a Halloween piece based off the legend of Beauty and the Beast. Many people don't realize it but it is a wear wolf story, of a very romantic sense. Many happy endings for these stories involve some kind of magical trickery such as the story of a young baron simply needed human cloths to feel like a man again, or when faced with the beast a traveler called out the name of his friend traveling with him for help, the name brought the wolf back and there he was, his friend all along, or mild violence such as the case where a mortal must prick the skull of the wear-beast, drawing three drops of blood. sometimes you merely had to state to the creatures face "you are a wear-wolf" for the person to be revealed. Silver bullets and traps and snares are the favored method from these old stories, as they often hunted anything that went against the norm, but to reach out to the person within the creature requires a deep love for those around you, and a kindness to those in need. Human compassion has been shown to break any curse, heal any mystical affliction, and cure the blighted soul of even the greatest of sins.
So i ask you, who better to face the creatures of darkness than our own darkling himself? Without further adieu I give you Danny Phantom (and cast) in Bisclavaret.
Ordinarily the tale begins with a fathers betrayal, but, like the Disney movie, we'll blunt the edge of it a tad.
You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stager.
They had been wealthy once.
In a sea battered costal town they lived, in a large house with many servants, a wealthy merchant family with tradings all over the world, as far reaching as India and even the Americas. Yes, they had been wealthy once.
The promises of Louisiana* had tempted even they, who had shrewdly survived the reign of Louise XIV and prospered on the high of the new Bank notes. Yet all that returned on the ships were the same old sailors and cargo from the new world, nothing for them but tales of death and swam and hopelessness. Suddenly their pockets were full of simple colored paper, no backing for the notes, their valuable gold sitting in the Royal treasury while they walked around with nothing, scrambling to salvage what they could to stay out of the debtors prisons, to avoid the offers of indenture, to simply survive.
And Louise was a fond memory of how their family had clawed its was through hell to live in purgatory. What remained of their wealth was invested in shipments of tangible goods, trading, as had always been their business, and off to India they sailed, and were lost. To a storm, to the sea. And they were left with nothing.
Winter was cruel to them, used to the luxury of candles and lanterns they cowered in the lengthening nights in their tiny mountain cabin, rented from some noble land owner they had once done good business with under the promise to watch the roadway for trespassers and the trading caravans. The thick wools and silks and cottons they had once curled beneath were replaced with threadbare blankets of scratchy wool barely keeping the chill from their bodied as the drafts swept through cracks in the wooden walls.
Danny shivered as he tightened the rope ties for his crow-cot and checked his sister's blankets for bugs, tossing the biters in the fire when he found them. His mother ground corn from their stores to make bread while his sister added dried beans to a stew for supper. He should have gone out hunting, he knew this, but his father had forbidden it.
He simply wanted to escape this tiny shack, even if it was into the solitary chill of an unfamiliar forest. Besides, he had often hunted hares with his friends. True it had been with a musket on horseback, with a pack of purebred hounds and on fine Autumn days. He recalled the taste of wine from a flask and the sweetness of a wild apple, how his comrades gloated over their kills. Sometimes they would stop by a stream where a moor family worked the land, and a boy their age would offer them fish.
He wondered if he went to that small farm would the slave boy sit with him on the stream or would he laugh at the plight of the fallen privileged, as his governess had done as she packed her belongings into a carriage, as his once were friends had when he had gone to bid them farewell. As the servant boy he had played with in the manor had done as they had packed what they kept in a cart and headed out of town.
He brushed his cheek in phantom pain as memory of the impact of a rotten fruit thrown by a cottage girl whose affections he had once snubbed struck his mind. Would the moor offer him a fish, in his stained trousers and fraying blouse, his worn boots and his sad retired cavalry horse, saved from the knacker on a whim when he had the chance for whimsy. Perhaps he would ride down to visit tomorrow, and if his welcome was warm maybe the boy would like to hunt, as fishing in a frozen lake did not sound appealing and the fields would not need tending in the winter.
The wooden door creaked open on aged hinges and he turned from his fire gazing to see his father hobble in under the weight of several bundles of wood. Hurrying up he helped with the load.
"Put the kindling in the basket Son, I don't want you carrying anything too heavy yet." His father instructed and Danny felt the sting of the unintended insult. Of course his world weathered father would view his pampered son such a way, but he wished he could prove himself in some way, he was working hard, he truly was, and knew if he was simply given the chance he could do something.
He gripped the twigs and branches tightly as he moved to the woven basket, it was heavily braided with strong bamboo from china and had once been the prize of his mother's embroidery room, now it sat covered in soot and grime, nibbled upon by the rats they shared winter shelter with. He wished for the falcon he had shone so proudly last summer, it would hunt those rats and they would never have to worry about their belonging nor food or their toes and fingers in the night.
Perhaps he could find and raid an owl nest in the spring, if they survived until spring.
"Tomorrow, may I go riding?" he asked, arranging the kindling in the basket in a way he had learned these past months. It was a type of art, he realized, and appreciated the life of his servants for the countless time since they lost their home.
His parents looked at each other across the small space, terrified worry and hopelessness in their faces.
"I don't want you hunting son, we have enough from Vlad to last the winter if we eat conservatively." his father said in answer.
"Not to hunt." maybe not, probably not. "I know a boy, down near the farms, that I would like to visit."
"Oh?" his mother perked at this. "How nice, i thought it strange none of your little friends come to visit." A lie, she knows they shun him, the same as her, and his sister Jasmine, and their father as well.
"Yes, well its far for them." he lies back, "He, though, he lives closer, and often comes up here to a river to fish." a truth, and he feels glad to have it said, their lives were surrounded with these lies now, these pretendings that their friends were simply too busy to reach them, or to visit, or to send a message with the traders as the passed through the mountain. He feels as though truth is rare here, this lie of a life that they don't belong in. He loves these moments of truth, and wants to say them as often as he can. He wonders if his family feels the same.
"Well, if you're careful, and dress warmly, I see no problem." His father smiles through his beard, he didn't used to have one, and the sight of it still unnerves his son, as if it is a mask concealing his face, this man is not his father, this house is not his home, this life is not his life, its all lies, and he wishes that once, just once, the truth would shatter it and let him find the path down this mountain back to what once was. "Wrap the horse as well, we can't afford it to come to harm, you never know when we may get word from the traders."
His family sits in silence again, back to their work, avoiding the lie that keeps them going. The traders would return, all the ships couldn't have been lost, something must have survived. And just one bolt of cloth, one barrel of spices, one crate of goods, and they could survive. In the spring they would invest, in a flock of sheep perhaps. His mother chooses this time to talk of her fine craft and how she'd make such cloths that the farmers would buy all her shirts and jackets.
"Jaz, when we have the thread I'll teach you to sew, I know you hated it in the manor, but with all this time we have now I believe you could learn something, and the things you could make with embroidery, why its just like painting." she sighs wistfully and her foot works the pedals like she was spinning wool instead of grinding away what is left of their trading with America.
Jaz just nods and stirs the beens, she wishes for her folders of paper and bottles of ink, for her expensive books, hand written by all her favorite scholars whose support she gives in the money they once had. The only book that remains in their possession is an old bible, its ink smudged from thumbs tracing lines, searching for comfort .
As his family gives false comfort to each-other with their plans for the future, what they'll have soon, what they'll make for themselves when spring comes, if only they survive the winter, his mother begins a psalm, and he listens quietly, as he does every night. The frustration of Job** bubbles in him as he listens.
"I will tell everyone about your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim your saving power, for I am overwhelmed by how much you have done for me." Her soft voice read it aloud and the bread cooked and the beans softened and his father rested on Danny's and Jaz's cot, he simply stared into the fire, watching the embers and ashes turn shades of red and black and grey, she continued her praises of the Lord and he wished he could throw the damn thing in the hearth. "You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me from the depths of the earth." His sister's face had smoothed and she looked at peace, stirring the pot with the wooden spoon. He focused on the fire and tried to keep his thoughts away from his anger. He didn't need to anger Him on top of everything else.
"You will restore me to even greater Honor," his father interrupted, his words flowed from memory, "and comfort me once again. Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O God." They continued on together, the voices fading to the back as the crackle of the fire and the heat of the flame lulled him to sleep. the last line sticking in his memory as he rested his head on his arms on the dirt floor.
"...For everyone who tried to hurt me has been shamed and humiliated."
Is it not you, O God, you who have rejected us?
*in the early 1700 John Law created bank notes, acquired the Mississipi Company along with it's monopoly of trade with French Louisiana, then removed France's paper currency from the gold standard and placed it into the MC's shared price standard, causing hyper-inflation. The share price, however, was overestimating the wealth in Louisiana and Law attempted a controlled slowdown which triggered a selling frenzy. The paper curantcy (Bank Notes) became worthless.
This should not be confused with the South Seas Bubble, which occurred in the same year (1715 I think).
** The patience of Job is a tongue in cheek saying that is often misinterpreted, as anyone who read the story knows he was anything but patient.
Rin. Don't you just love her? I'm Christian and I didn't even know these Psalms,(because the Bible is boring, and the psalms are kind of hard to understand) and she went through like five different translations to find the wording she wanted. I kind of like the bible when she talks about it, she reads it like its some great epic story, not all droll and boring like the Father as church does. Also, did you know Jesus tamed dragons? seriously, the chick is awesome.
The footnotes were written by Rin, and are ususally for us Editors so we aren't asking all kinds of questions, but I decided to start keeping them for the benifit of the readers who may not know French folk tales, history, and legend.
There will be a line, or two, from a psalm at the beginning and end of every chapter.