A Letter

[Redacted],

XXXX, XX XXXXXX, 201X

Victoria,

How are you? I pray that this letter finds you well; if not, don’t worry: I’ve a plan to hopefully help you and others with that. And today, I think we might be making some progress.

I guess I’d best start from the beginning on this one. I learned that I had a…”special” parent only after others learned first, and targeted and suborned a friend of mine (with a different parent.) But for a colossal mistake on his part, and my father’s timely intervention, I would’ve met the same fate.I wasn’t safe at home anymore after that, which is just as well as my (“normal”) mother had been turned herself, and all but threw me out when she realized that I wouldn’t be going with the “nice people from the church.” Needless to say, I was pissed, and between that and everything that’s happened since, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t really given her much thought…until now.

I’ve since realized that no matter how betrayed I felt — and still feel, to be honest — my chosen mission being what it is, I cannot leave family behind to be influenced by those responsible without at least trying to free her from it to make her own choice. If it turns out that she made this choice of her own volition, then I will accept it, and her rejection of me, as final. But if she made the choice under duress or brainwashing, I intend to free her — or if necessary, avenge her.

As you might have realized, having worked on the TPB*, I have been working on a more covert scale to subvert the Order for some time, but I’ve always wanted to up the ante, so to speak. I’m aware of the huge risks this’ll involve, and even though I’ve spent years pleading for the opportunity, I’m still surprised that Mamou Renard finally consented (albeit reluctantly), my hands are shaking even as I write this. Hopefully, it’ll be the last place they’d expect me, let alone our entire class, to suddenly appear, and the element of surprise will buy us time.

And with this, as I prepare my kit for one of the days I’ve spent years waiting for, I pray: that my mother will be the first of many to be prised from beneath the Order’s thumb; that we might continue to repay you and your friends of your inadvertent sacrifice; that we may, now and always, do justice to those who have and will fall before this fight is done; and that, when that day comes and passes, that we may all find quiet and comfort, in this World and the next.

Until we meet again,

Anne


Anne quietly folds the letter and stuffs it in an envelope, as she crosses the room to her closet. She pushes aside the neatly-hung clothing –,mostly redundant nowadays — to reveal a metal lockbox on a shelf within. She opened the box, adding the envelope to a small but growing stack of similar ones.

And may I, someday, know where to send these tho that they can actually reach you, she thought, as she turned back towards the small pile of gear and Relics on her bed.

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Anne’s Reponse

We don’t often get to choose what we’re faced with.

It’s a theme of this comic, and a fact of life. For all his determination to fulfill his duties as Suzerain, I’m certain Prince Cameron would gratefully trade his land, wealth and some assorted body parts if it would make the myriad threats to his realm disappear. I think it safe to say that we would all like the World back to a state where things, well, made sense. Some of us are becoming more and more desperate to make it happen, it seems.

For my part, I miss my home, from which I was separated years ago, and to which I long to return. But for all of that longing, I’ve only found myself further and further away – – not just in space or in time, but in ways that, a few years ago, I could never have imagined. And the furthest from home I’ve ever felt, has to be the moment I learned that fifteen innocent people, whom I’ve neither met nor even spoken to, were murdered….because someone didn’t like someone else’s work, at least as best I can tell at present.

We don’t get to choose what we face, only how we respond. And it is with overwhelming pride that I see Paris has given those responsible for this outrage a stalwart, defiant, decidedly Parisian response. Well done, my friends, my compatriots, my extended family.

And now, it’s my turn.

  • Suzerain will be on a brief hiatus. Not out of fear or conciliation, but out of respect for the fallen, and to take measures to ensure this does not happen again. There will be no charges in content or plot.
  • We will offer any and all support we can to the authorities in bringing those responsible to justice.
  • As regular readers know, unfortunately circumstances have prevented me from interacting as much with our audience as I’d like (or at all, really.) I will do everything that I reasonably can to correct this.

As for those responsible for this: Quit while you’re behind. Your actions only further undermine what you would uphold. To paraphrase what I told a friend of mine, by the name of Gabriel, once: “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” Remember that.

To everyone else: Bonsoir,  and I’ll see you soon.

 

A Peek Beneath the Veil (Pt. 2)

(Author’s Note: Again, the events of the following (both Parts I and II) take place between the PA “Unquestioned Answers” and Issue #063.)

“So there you are.” Marie Catherine set her teacup and saucer to one side, and pointed to the image hovering above the large earthenware bowl around which the four of them gathered, clearly enjoying the mortified expression said image drew from Anne. “You and your friends are still safe within Takamagahara. It is through the power of your subconscious that we’ve been able to meet like this.” She grinned, her curly blonde hair — now freed of the wimple — reflecting the sun. “After all, ‘what dreams may come’ after the two of you–”

“–Please turn that off.” Gods or not, Anne was on the verge of blowing her stack. All present could see the image of the two of them on Chris’ tatami,  with himself burying his face in Anne’s bare chest, mumbling something that sounded like “evil fucking daystar”.

“…Wait, have you pervs been watching us all the time?!”

“Oh, do get over yourself, child.” Marie Walburge clicked her tongue in disgust. “Spent the last month trying to set this up, and this the first time you’ve slept anywhere that I could get a lock on you. Don’t like it, wear some clothes to bed next time. Actually: wear more clothes in general. Having to see this thing” — she indicated Marie Catherine with a disdainful toss of her head — “flounce around half-naked is bad enough.”

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A Peek Beneath The Veil (Pt. 1)

(Author’s Note: The events of the following (both Parts I and II) take place between the PA “Unquestioned Answers” and Issue #063.)

Anne Montelepre woke to nothingness.

There was no other way to describe it.

Never had she conceived of a darkness so suffocating, so total, not just the absence of light but the absence of anything to see. Worse, a deafening silence reigned here — wherever “here” was — even when she tried to scream at the top of her lungs, and she could feel no clothing on her body, wind on her skin or even any ground beneath her feet. Feeling vulnerable, she tried to fold her arms over her chest and curl her legs beneath her, but couldn’t tell if her limbs responded…or indeed, if she even had arms to fold anymore , or a chest to fold them over.

…Am I dead?…

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Part III: Touching Base

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres
Chartres, France
About five months prior to Part I

(AN: Unless otherwise noted, all dialogue is translated from French.)

“This is BULLSHIT!–”

Anne stopped mid-sentence, remembering too late where she was and who she was with, wincing as her profanity — in English, no less! — echoed off the vaulted ceiling and throughout the seven hundred and fifty-year old church.

“No, this is a labyrinth.” The tall, gray-haired woman next to her enunciated each syllable as if Anne were a bit dim — and in English, which meant the girl was in trouble again. She looked vaguely grandmotherly, but age had done little to dull the bite of her sweet, slightly husky voice. “To help you learn the difference: a week spreading cow manure, starting tomorrow.”

“What?! But–” — Shit! English again!

“…Two weeks.” A smile tugging at the corners of her lips as she noted Anne’s dismay, she finally switched back to French.

“Now do it again — correctly, this time.”
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“…Can’t I Just Go Kill Something Instead? Please??”

Anne kept her voice low as she put her hands on Wraxian’s shoulders and leaned in, praying the girl was still listening to her.
 
“If I push, pull, or call out a direction to move in….do it.”
 
Even as her mind raced for the smartest way to do something abysmally stupid, she watched their adversary warily. Something about its face: first that of a giant rat, all snout and whiskers and yellow, stinking teeth; then melting into a haughty mien, with close-cropped hair that could have been chiseled rather than cut; then a dark amorphous blob; then–
 
Suddenly the action froze, as Anne pointedly blinked, and blinked again, and again, until that face disappeared and didn’t return. His was the last that she wanted to see on a foe. Not on top of everything else. Only then did the World started moving again.