My name is Lea. At some point in my life, I stumbled across the fact that Lea means "weary." I don't think that is accurate, at least not in my case. I have no time in my life to be weary. I work past any strain or discomfort simply because I cannot afford it. If you stop walking for a moment in this world, you'll get trampled by the crowd. That's not me. Not ever.

I was born in 1623, in the middle of a harsh winter. That was four years before the start of another Anglo-French war. The Protestant huguenots along with their English allies had risen up against our Catholic King. I don't remember it much because I was so young, but the faint memories I have of that time are tainted by fear. Our people were dying over the foolishness of religion.

I myself have never seen much use for the ceremonial nonsense most churches present. I doubt that God cares much for such things. If He can see into our hearts, why must we prove our faith to Him at every turn, and devote our loyalties to priests who care more for the shine of gold than the purity of their souls? I have worked hard all my life, and have avoided sin as best as I can. If He takes offense simply because I skipped mass or spoke my mind to a greedy priest, then I have no wish for His favor.

My father fought for the King in that war. I don't remember him very well, but there is one memory that is very clear, even to this day. It was the day my father left to join the army. I was only four at the time. He kneeled down in front of me and made me look him straight in the eyes. He had dark eyes like me, I remember, and a deep, confident voice. "Now listen here little Lea," He told me, "You're a good little Catholic girl. You and your mother are gonna go to mass while I'm away, and one day you're gonna find yourself a good husband. I need you to always remember to be a good little girl. Don't buy into any of that Protestant nonsense. And... remember your old father. He might not be coming back."

He tousled my hair affectionately, then left our home to become of the King's soldiers. It was to be the last time I ever saw him, for he died in that war. Lucky for him, or else he would have had to live with a head-strong daughter who didn't go to church if she could help it. But I don't blame him for his snobbery. He was my father after all, and dead before I could really know him. Let the dead have their peace.

My mother wasn't so lucky. As I grew older, I became more obstinate and opposed to the snobbery of the upper classes. My mother, on the other hand, embraced the morals of the rich and powerful with frightening ease. Her love of wealth allowed her to turn a blind eye to suffering. I spent many an hour locked away in my room for my impertinence. Over the years, I met many people whom I would argue with, some even who would wish me dead.

But all that will come in time. Listen now to my story. The story of Lea.

This is the story of Lea, mother of Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. I love this character, she's so different from her dreamy daughter, but they're both so strong. More will come.

In regards to the timeline, I'll try to keep it fairly accurate to the timeline of the real world, but of course the anachronisms in Beauty and the Beast require a few changes ton that timeline. For example, this isn't the real king of France at the time, but rather the Beast's father.

Beauty and the Beast (c) Disney

Lea (c) Me