House: Eglantine, a writer
Weight: 138 lbs
Hair: copper, sometimes golden and sometimes reddish
Eyes: a blue/green that will darken with my mood; my pupils are circled with gold
Complexion: quite fair with a smattering of freckles. I blush easily.
My father, a once-adept of Mandrake house, got me on my mother, the seventeen-year-old Servant of Namaah of Gentian house. He, an outcast lordling from the mountains of Camlach, was outcast yet again when he ignored the safe word of a patron and scarred her nigh unto disfiguration. Full of anger at his fate, he went to Gentian house to find a young girl to sate his lust and explain his unhappy destiny. She, untried in the art of pretense, told him that he was born in anger and in his own foolish rage would die. Full of rath, my father took my mother again, not yielding to her pleas for mercy. He left her bleeding in Eglantine house. While riding home, blinded by fury and cruelty, he pushed his horse and caused her to break her front leg. She fell, and with her my father. His skull cracked on the hard road; he died straight away.
Is it any wonder that my wit is my weapon, bitterness curling through me and turning my tongue to an unloving lash? I am a writer, yes, and I write the plays that reveal man's truth. My humour is biting, my smile never pure. While my mother carried me, the child of something no better than rape, she carried a deep sadness. I am born of that sadness. My mother's Gentian blood gives me the sight to see through humanity's little defenses, and my father's penchant for unkindness urges me to reveal all of the flaws that I see.
I was wanted for Mandrake house, at first. Raised in Gentian, the Dowayne watched as I told unhappy truths to my companions and watched with fascination as they cried. I am not cruel, nor was I then, but sharply curious. The Dowayne, however, saw my actions as the proper behaviour for a child of Mandrake house, and she nearly sent me there.
Fate would not have it so.
On the night before my tenth birthday, Gentian house held a fete. Many were invited - dreamers, mystics, seekers, nobles. Among those guests was a favourite of the Dowanyne of Eglantine house. He had come for inspiration, a key into the mortal soul. I was permitted to serve as I had already shown talent for visions. I carried trays of drink, the strong tea of Gentian house that clears the mind. As soon as I entered the room I was drawn to the dark-haired man who sat with paper and quill, watching all and jotting down observances. I walked to him, offering my heavy tray of dark tea.
"Visions on this night."
He looked at me, startled by my sudden appearance. "Little dreamspinner, I think?"
His name for me made me smile. "Yes, my lord."
His eyes crinkled at the corners. "I am no lord, but a Servant of Namaah and a writer of books. Do you read?"
My pride was stung - I had so much of it then. "Of course I read. I have read, and without speaking the words aloud, since I was four summers old."
"Have I offended you, dreamspinner?"
Realising my error, I blushed and looked away. "Please forgive me, my lord. Visions on this night." I proffered the tray again, hoping to run away from his gentle chiding.
"You've said that. Ah, but I see I have truly upset you now. I will take you tea and forgive your rudeness," Gladly I met his eyes. "But you must sit here with me and tell me what you think of this soiree." He gathered his writing materials and made room for me on his chaise longue.
Sitting, I said, "Yes, my lord."
"You also must not call me lord," I blushed again. "If there is any nobility in me, I hope it is in my verse. I am a child of the Night Court and will be so until I die. I only wish that what I create lives in the minds of others long after I have gone. Now, little child of visions, tell me what you see here tonight."
At first I knew not what he wanted. I began to describe the dress and the status of the guests.
"No, no," he said, patient and smiling, "Tell me what you see with this." And he touched the space between my eyes. Suddenly I felt that spot vibrate with an unknown but somehow entirely familiar force.
"Oh. Oh. Yes, I can do that."
For the remainder of the night I told the dark man with the quill what I really saw. I told him what each guest thought of the food, and of his companion. I described the pride of some and the absolute insecurity of others. Soon I began adding little snatches of dialogue - a minor lord flirting with a woman his clear superior (and making a fool of himself), the chef berating a serving boy for dropping a whole pheasant, the Dowayne fortelling the marraige of a foppish adept to his next patron, leaving out, of course, this next patron's renowned habit of spending little and saving much. All of this I told him; after a few minutes he picked up his quill and began to write. And now that I had begun, that all of these things that I could see were finally being released, I found it hard to close my mouth and staunch the flow of vision.
"Enough, dreamspinner, enough!" I turned to look at him; his parchments were covered in black ink. "We have enough here for a play. For a cycle of plays!" Thinking he was reprimanding me again, I stood to leave. "What house are you for?" I stopped.
"Mandrake. On the morrow."
He glanced at his notes. "I see why. What you speak could flay the skin from many a man." Then he touched the edge of my frilled sleeve. "But is there nothing else you would rather do? Do you truly want to give pleasure through pain?"
This I had thought about at length. "No. But I am good at it. I will earn my marque with little effort. It is what the Dowayne wishes me to do."
He stared at me for a moment, as if judging. "If you had a choice in the matter, how would you earn your marque?"
I smiled my bitter half-smile. "I would tell the truth. I would create a voice for the things that people dare not say. I would write it down, as you do, and then I would give it to the world. But I am a servant, and Namaah chooses my way."
I curtsied, and he remained silent. Picking up the tray, now with glasses full of tepid tea, I walked slowly away.
The next day, the day I was due to leave for Mandrake house, the Dowayne told me that house Eglantine had made a bid for me. And the dark haired man was in the main hall of Gentian House, holding a bundle of parchments. He placed them in my shaking hands.
On the cover was a title and a name.
"Visions of the Night" by Adelaide no Eglantine.