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PostSubject: Les Origines du Baudelaire   Les Origines du Baudelaire Icon_minitimeMon Feb 04, 2008 7:50 pm

Early Childhood

Josephine Baudelaire was born to a small township in the lush fields of Champagne. It was a time of wonder and change. The capitol had long since been moved from Paris to Versailles, and the reign of King Loius XIV was in full swing. Josephine's parents, minor nobles with little to their name outside their modest fields of grapes, had been overjoyed at the gift of a daughter to their family. Josephine joined her older brother Marcel in playing in the fields and smashing grapes with her bare feet while she grew to maturity.

These days were some of the most blessed and tranquil her life was to see. While outside their small township the world changed, time seemed to standstill for a moment in the lazy valleys of Champagne, almost as if its peacefullness was to be spared the trials of the nation surrounding it.

Alas, Josephine's life was not to remain so. On the eve of her eleventh birthday she was informed by her father, Seigneur Gautier Baudelaire, that she was to leave on the morrow and move to Paris to further her education. She pleaded with him to change his mind, as she was happy and content within their modest accomodations, for she had known no other life. He stalwartly refused, insisting that it was of utmost importance she further her station in life, and for that she would need a more worldly education. She fell asleep weeping, and did not stop until far after the carriage left with her on it the next day.

In Paris

At first Josephine did not adjust well to life in the once Capital of France. Her private tutor, the honorable Joseph Laurent, did not take to her "Country Bumbkin" ways, and made his preference for his other student's no secret from her. The first year was the hardest, and she wrote long letters back to her brother, whom she dearly missed.

After her initial despair ran its course, she found something that would change her life, poetry. The poets of Paris enchanted her with their verse, their love for life, and their antics. She would often sneak out of her ward's Chateau at all hours of the night to hear one of them speak, or give a play. This got her in no end of trouble, and by her thirteenth birthday she was kept under lock and key during the hours of nightfall.

The next several years were turbulent for her. She found new emotions welling up within her, and she desperately needed someone to talk to, but alas her beloved poets lay beyond the walls of her bedchamber and schoolroom. She had blossomed into an attractive young woman by the age of fifteen, and had not escaped the notice of her peers, and teachers. In her letters to her brother, whom she had faithfully written to every week since she had arrived four years hence, she said...

Beloved brother, it has come to a shock to me, but I believe my instructor Monsieur Laurent has illicit thoughts about my very person. He keeps me long after lessons and insists on correcting the smallest mistake in my penmanship and letters, often taking my hand in his whilst he leans over me from behind, guiding my hand with his. I can not stand the man, in fact I have grown to detest him, yet I know not what to do. Oh, how cruel the Fates, when all I want is to be back in my beloved Champagne...

Your Beloved Sister,

Two weeks after the letter was inked, Monsieur Laurent came into Josephine's chamber at night. None will know of his possible intent, although it would not be hard to guess, for he was found dead the next morning, a letter opener embedded deep in the side of his head, his trousers around his ankles, collapsed on the young girls bed. Josie was nowhere to be found. The entire affair was hurriedly covered up, but it still took the greater part of two weeks to track down the errant girl.

To this day Madam Baudelaire can't quite recall the events of that night or the following weeks, but it is known that when she was found she was highly intoxicated, and in the company of several men of questionable nature, a band of poets and playwrights hearkening from Scotland, taking refuge in France after having been chased out of London. They were the Malcontents of Melrose, and had made a small name for themselves for their bawdy songs about the current nobility of England.

For several weeks Josephine stayed in her room and did not leave, writing volumes in her personal diary. One day, there was a knock on her door, and when she opened it her life was changed. Standign before her was her new tutor, a middle-aged woman of common heritage, a slightly shabby attire, uncommonly bad looks, and a wide grin on her face. Marie Pépin and Josephine got along like a house on fire. From the first they fast became friends. No tutor of standing wanted to take on Josephine, as the taint of the previous events clouded their perceptions, whether it was her fault or not. At last, the school was desperate, and hired Mademoiselle Pépin.

Coming into her Own...

Josephine's life could not be more different than her previous one at the Chateau. Where before her life had been hard drills, grueling lessons, and a life of solitude, locked away by the schools administrators, she now took her lessons in quaint cafes in the heart of Paris, and received her dance lessons from Mademoiselle Pépin endless parade of friends and acquaintences.

It would appear that Mademoiselle Pépin had lead an extraordinary life. She had sailed the seas and seen distant lands. She could wield a sword as good as any man, better in many cases, and had a strong thirst for wine and spirits. She could tell a bawdy joke with the best of them, and much to Josephine's delight, she was taught them as well. The pair of course had to keep up appearences for Chateau, and made their regular appearences and lessons as needed within its confines, but they took this to be a game, an eleborate deception put on, much like the masquarades that were so popular in court at the time.

The years passed rapidly, Josephine growing into a young, strong spirited woman with a demure exterior, hiding a core of molten steel. The next three years in Paris would be her favorite, rivalling even those of her youth, but alas they were soon to come to a close...

(to be continued...)

Last edited by on Tue Feb 05, 2008 3:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Les Origines du Baudelaire   Les Origines du Baudelaire Icon_minitimeTue Feb 05, 2008 2:34 pm

Adventures in Paris

For the greater part of three years Josie, as she had come to call herself to her friends, reveled in her newfound freedom. Under the constant tutalage of Mademoiselle Pépin she grew fast in the ways of the world, losing the last vestiages of her more naive country ways. She attended formal balls at least once a week, practicing her dancing and ettiquette, but in truth she did this to keep up appearences and to appease her schoolmasters and society at large. Her true passion was for the theatre and art, and this passion often took her to dockside taverns, makeshift stages, and all night poerty sessions.

Her companions during this time were many, and she found herself more and more in the company of foreigners, Scotsmen to be precise. They found her halting English amusing, and would erupt in laughter whenever she would butcher one of the bawdy jokes they had taught her. She felt at home amongst these men, these travellers far from home, far more than she felt at ease amongst her so-called peers at the balls and parties of the gentile class of Society. If her parent's had ever learned the truth of her adventurous lifestyle in Paris they would have been agast with horror and worry for her, but in truth she had little to fear. Mademoiselle Pépin had made it quite clear to all that Josie was to be kept safe and made to feel at home in all circumstances. Such was their respect for Mademoiselle Pépin that they began to look after Josie as one of their own.

Love Will Tear Us Apart Again...

It was shortly after her seventeenth birthday that things got complicated once more. Despite Josie considering herself "one of the boys", she had matured into an attractive, vibrant young woman, and it had not escaped the notice of those around her. A young poet by the name of Logan McBane, one of the infamous Malcontents of Melrose, became quite enamoured with Josie. He wrote ridiculous love poems and sonnets for her, and sang to her at night from the street below as she giggled and listened from her room's windowsil in the Chateau. She found him foolish, but could not resist his persistant, roguish charm, and soon found herself smitten with him.

Alas for poor Josephine, her burgeoning love was not to take flight, as she had another admirer as well, one of much higher station and Society. His Dukeship, the Lord Alfred Briel was almost twice Josephine's age, having survived his two previous wives, both having died prematurely under odd circumstances. Lord Briel's fascination with young beauty was quite well known, and he was instantly taken with the seemingly demure guise Josephine wore during her Courtly persona and while attending Balls. He begun having her followed by some of his agents, and quickly grew incensed at the antics of "this young rabble of a boy who dares bother a Lady of Standing, far above his station". Worse yet, he wasn't even French!

Under the light of the full moon Josephine watched as the young McBane strummed on his lute and began singing her his newest song he had written. Her smile fell from her face as a half dozen uniformed men descended on him, clubbing him most foul about the head and shoulders even as he fell to the cobblestones below his feet. He was dragged away in chains even as she screamed from above, pounding her fists against the tear streaked glass.

In the storybooks, true love would perservere beyond such petty evil, but lo it is not the way of the world at large, and certainly not in Paris at the time. Logan McBane was executed as a foreign spy working for the British, a lie as insulting as it was untrue, before the week was out. He was hung by the neck until dead, his "crimes" having been read to the milling crowd.

Josephine fell into a depression so dark, so foul, that Mademoiselle Pépin feared the young woman might take her own life. She began staying with her, often sleeping in the same room to ensure she would do nothing foolish. The once vibrant Josie now was devoid of emotion, only her eyes betraying what she felt, their far-away stare full of mourning and despair. She took to wearing black, hues of midnight over darkest velvet, and her writing took a far darker turn.

It was then that the 'symphathetic' Lord Briel began offering his support and aid to the aggrieved young Baudelaire. He would often offer to walk them home after the Ball, send flowers expressing his concern for her well being, and then finally he began sending her gifts. All of them remained unopened. After several months of this, Lord Briel leaked the rumor that the two of them were to be engaged through several of his agents. Within a week it was the talk of the Court, the noble Lord Briel would compassionately wed a lesser noblewoman, aiding her in her time of need and elevating her in Society. The fact that he hadn't bothered to ask her never seemed to bother anyone, as most never stopped to find out. The rumor had a life of its own, and spread like a cancer.

For Josie's part, she seemed very disinterested in the drama unfolding around her, as if she could no longer be bothered with the meaningless trivia of life. Then something happened to shock her back to life.

She received news of her parent's death.

(...to be continued in Part Three...)
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PostSubject: Re: Les Origines du Baudelaire   Les Origines du Baudelaire Icon_minitimeTue Feb 05, 2008 5:58 pm

Escape from Paris

The news of her parent's death, whom she loved dearly, came as a shock to Josephine's life. The pair had been travelling when it had happened, journeying to the New World to examine some property they had laid claim to that was said to be as fertile as those of Champagne. They were ambushed on the high seas by an English Privateer and killed during the fighting. Their bodies had not been recovered. It was like a splash of ice cold water being thrown in her face, awakening her to the stark reality life had forced upon her. Mademoiselle Pépin feared the young woman would crack, being under such extreme pressure and duress. Instead she watched as Josie picked herself up and began fighting back against the forces that assailed her.

Duke Briel stepped up his courtship of Josephine, but even he had to respect her week of grieving she insisted upon to honor her parents. It was on the eve of her fifth day in mourning that she went to a small church in one of the outlying districts of Paris to pray for her parents. She claimed the quaint little church reminded her of the small chapel they had back in Champagne. When she arrived she quietly went into the church, full of reverent humility and piety. She was never seen to leave.

Instead a small band of friars was seen lazily making their way out of town, resting on a large bed of straw in the back of a slow moving wagon drawn by two old oxen. A common enough sight, but if one looked closely, you would notice some odd things about the travelling group. For one, you rarely met a Parisian Friar with a name like "McDougal", and at least one Friar kept themselves covered at all times, head down in prayer. Thus it was so that Josephine Baudelaire, Mademoiselle Pépin, and the majority of the Malcontents of Melrose fled from Paris dressed as priests.

Returning Home, Setting Out Again

It took close to two weeks to get to Josephine's family estates. When she arrived there she was exhausted from being on the road, travelling not by fast carriage as she had grown accustomed to, but rough, like a peasant. She was exhausted, and desperate to see the place of her childhood, even if it no longer contained her beloved parents. She also looked forward to seeing her brother again as well. For many years Josie had wished for nothing more than to return home, but she did not envision her return to be anything like this.

As she passed the front gates to her parent's land she instantly knew something was wrong. A heavy smoke hung in the air, and raven's flew overhead in great circles. As they rounded the last turn her eyes widened, and she stifled a most un-friar like high-pitched scream.

Her parent's house lay in ruins, large sections of it burning or burnt. A half dozen armed riders were gathered in front of the place, a man in chains at their feet, several of the estates slaves and workers cowering behind them. As the wagon creaked to a halt, Josephine recognized the man in chains at almost the same instant she recognized his captor. Beaten, bloodied, and in chains, it was none other than her only brother, Marcel, looking defiantly up into the leering face of his Dukeship, Lord Alfred Briel.

Everything that had lead up to this point suddenly snapped into place in her mind. A deep, burning rage welled up from within her, the face of the Duke blending with that of her first tutor, the Honorable Joseph Laurent, his face a twisting leer that would haunt her dreams. With a savage scream, she leapt from the cart and dashed towards the armed men. Turning at the noise, one of the men lowered his musket to take aim, but the Duke pushed his aim high as he saw who approached, the round flying high.

"So, the little bird has flown Home to roost after all..." the Duke replied, his voice a patronising drawl. Turning back to look at Marcel, who was still in chains, the Duke said, "It would appear you were telling the truth after all, young Marcel."

As Josie ran forward she stopped in front of the Duke, slapping him hard across the face, her hands trembling from rage. Two of the Duke's men grabber her from behind, pinning her arms against her back despite her struggles to get free. The Duke slowly pulled his handkerchief from his breast pocket and dabbed the slight trickle of blood from the corner of his lip. After he had finished doing so, he leaned towards her and said in a low tone, full of mock sympathy, "Now now mon petit oiseau, that is no way to treat your future Lord and Husband, is it now?"

"I will never marry you, you, you animal!" she replied, struggling against the chains.

"Take her away, she is clearly hysterical. And see if..." began the Duke as he was suddenly interrupted.

Marcel stood up behind him, screaming, "NOOOOO!" as he moved towards the Duke. Sighing in annoyance, the Duke reached to his waist and drew his pistol, firing at point blank range into Marcel's chest, hurtling the young man backwards in a bloody mess.

Josie's vision tinted over in red. She would never be able to quite piece together the series of events that happened after that, nor may she want to. A furious battle ensued, the previously cowed slaves and workers of the Baudelaire estate incensed into rage at the needless slaughter of Marcel, and the treatment their fair Josephine had received. Joining the fray were the unlikely figures of the friars Josephine had arrived with, throwing back their robes to present daggers and swords. At the end of the battle three of the estates workers lay dead, another two who would not live through the night. In exchange four of the Duke's men had been overpowered, crushed to the ground by the weight of bodies upon them, and then brutally murdered. The Duke himself was last seen fleeing the scene, wild-eyed, one arm hanging limp and bloody at his side, his two remaining men racing behind trying to keep up.

A New Begining...

Marcel was buried the next day alongside his parents empty tomb in the small masoleum attached to the still intact chapel behind the smoldering Chateau. Throughout the short, simple, touching ceremony Josie kept her head high, a dangerous light glinting in her eyes when any dared look at her. She was a woman transformed, transformed by the crucible events in her life, tempered into a dangerous weapon full of purpose and direction.

Even as the masoleum was being sealed up, the estate was being dismantled. Madam Baudelaire, as she had begun calling herself after the death of her brother and parents, had learned that her parent's owned a second ship that they had intended to follow them should their trip prove successful. She intended to make for the ship with all haste, taking any and all who would follow her into the New World. The Olde World had nothing left for her anymore.

The great wine presses were disassembled, packed carefully onto the remaining wagons alongside all of her families remaining worldly possessions. A great many of the estates slaves and workers signed on with her, and those that did not she paid out of the family coffers and released them from service forevermore. She was surprised and delighted to discover that every single member of the Malcontents of Melrose intended to accompany her. In truth, they had little choice. To return to Paris would be suicide. In deciding to help Josie, they had signed their own death warrant in France. Besides, they said they knew people in the New World who could help, a Confederation of like minded peoples made up of freemen, hailing from Scotland to Wales to France itself.

Even at the frantic pace they were working, it took days before they actually struck out towards the distant port town of Boulogne. They drove their horses to exhaustion, pushing the animals past their point of breaking. Several died on the journey, and two full carts had to be left along the roadside as a result. Yet luck, as fickle as it is, favored Madam Baudelaire in this venture, and she arrived well ahead of the Duke's forces, but even so it was a narrow thing.

Convincing the port authorities that the stunningly beautiful young woman standing in front of them dressed all in travel-worn black was the honest and truthful owner of the merchant vessel belonging to the Baudelaire's was difficult indeed. In the end, he saw the light of reason at the end of a large weighted sack of coins, and set them on their course none too soon.

Even as the Vin d'or, the Golden Wine, set sail the first outriders of the Duke rode into town. Madam Baudelaire tipped her hat to them from where she stood on the stern of her new ship even as they shook their fists from the docks. It proved useful indeed that she had treated the harbor master so generously, as he proved most unhelpful to the furious Duke Briel. When the Duke threatened him with violence, the benign harbor master reminded the Duke that he had just ridden into his town with a company of armed men unannounced and with suspect intent, and that of course he had alerted the guard upon their first arrival. Looking out of the small dockside office he saw that indeed a great host of men-at-arms dressed in the livery of the town of Boulogne had assembled. Red faced, humiliated, and sworn to revenge for the slights done to his honor, the Duke was forced to make good his retreat from the town.

With the wind in her face, a crew of experienced sailors in the rigs, and all of her families remaining worldly possessions packed tight on board, Madam Baudelaire made for the New World full of intent. She would not look back upon her past, but only forward from now on. Clutching the deed to the large plantations of land her parents had acquired outside of a place called "Tampa", she set forth to make her name amongst the deadly beauty of the Caribbean. She had re-christened the ship the "Fleur de Mal", in reaction to her tragic parting with her homeland. During the long voyage she spent endless hours in conversation with her close friends Malcolm Lane and Leith Nelthrope, learning everything she could of the Confederacy hearkening from the Highlands...
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PostSubject: Re: Les Origines du Baudelaire   Les Origines du Baudelaire Icon_minitimeTue Feb 05, 2008 10:01 pm

Nicely done!

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