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Thread: Dangerous Liaisons

  1. #21
    Blasted Conniving Roman General_BT's Avatar
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    Magificent as always. I certainly hope though that Leon isn't dueling people with rifles...
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    Absolutely beautiful piece. This one is getting saved somewhere...
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  3. #23
    Cisár všetkých Slovákov demokratickid's Avatar
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    I love the dialog between Cecile and Leon It actually reminds me of a conversation I had recently, though admittedly dueling was not a part of it hahaha
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  4. #24
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    Wonderful writing! The scenery is vivid and the dialogue is fast and easily understood.
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  5. #25
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    Your update. It was delicious.
    And long.

  6. #26
    Only human Najs's Avatar
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    Excellent wordplay.

  7. #27
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    Finally, an AAR update written by canonized that I can finish!
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  8. #28
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dinofs View Post
    Great writing as always, Canonized!
    Thank you very much , sir

    Quote Originally Posted by General_BT View Post
    Magificent as always. I certainly hope though that Leon isn't dueling people with rifles...
    Haha wouldn't that be badass ? har har har

    Quote Originally Posted by Calipah View Post
    Absolutely beautiful piece. This one is getting saved somewhere...
    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by demokratickid View Post
    I love the dialog between Cecile and Leon It actually reminds me of a conversation I had recently, though admittedly dueling was not a part of it hahaha
    Coyness is a beautiful thing to watch every now and then XD

    Quote Originally Posted by JDMS View Post
    Wonderful writing! The scenery is vivid and the dialogue is fast and easily understood.
    Thank you very much !

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Your update. It was delicious.
    And long.
    Psh . Could have been longer haha . Thank you .

    Quote Originally Posted by Najs View Post
    Excellent wordplay.
    Glad you enjoyed it

    Quote Originally Posted by theconfusedone View Post
    Finally, an AAR update written by canonized that I can finish!
    Huzzah welcome ! Glad to have you on board !

    Next update in the works !
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  9. #29
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    Yeah so as usual I miss the debut. Because you disdain modern methods of informing me. Bad bad bad.

    Well, I am loving this. Alright, I'm more like...liking this a lot. You're getting major enormous props for trying the genre here in AARland. I'm unfamiliar with the actual inspiration material but I've read a lot of similar stuff back in the day (that back now stretching ever longer), and the tenor seems just right. Except for pistol or rapier-related deaths, I must note. It will happen in the future, I imagine? 'Cause it's not the same without them. I mean, there already was one, but it wasn't exactly a duel in the same sense.

    Glenn Close on the cover, however, is a massive plus. I approve. Massive drama must follow.

    I'm also totally wanting to see what other tiny French places your "de X" nobility will come from. I do know, however, that Woodhouse is not in France.
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  10. #30
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    Yeah so as usual I miss the debut. Because you disdain modern methods of informing me. Bad bad bad.

    Well, I am loving this. Alright, I'm more like...liking this a lot. You're getting major enormous props for trying the genre here in AARland. I'm unfamiliar with the actual inspiration material but I've read a lot of similar stuff back in the day (that back now stretching ever longer), and the tenor seems just right. Except for pistol or rapier-related deaths, I must note. It will happen in the future, I imagine? 'Cause it's not the same without them. I mean, there already was one, but it wasn't exactly a duel in the same sense.

    Glenn Close on the cover, however, is a massive plus. I approve. Massive drama must follow.

    I'm also totally wanting to see what other tiny French places your "de X" nobility will come from. I do know, however, that Woodhouse is not in France.
    Haha hence why Woodhouse is mentioned in the letter to the dear person tucked away in England XD

    There will definitely be lots of drama galore ! It'll be wonderful ! And of course always happy to have you on board , old man I'm rather excited to see what you think of the following offerings .
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  11. #31
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    Well done, canonized. I must admit I thought I could never love again after Nia but Cecile intrigues me.

    Kudos also for getting the audience emotionally involved in the characters so quickly, especially the well rounded character of Leon. I was ready to dismiss him as the obvious villain but your elaborations on his inner monologues hint at so much more potential. I also love the little nods to Timelines.

    Enough gushing for now. I eagerly await the next installment.
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  12. #32
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Chapter III: Luc de Robespierre

    ~7 Years earlier~


    Dear Cécile,

    I know you're halfway around the world. I know this will probably not reach you for months. But I wanted to talk to someone. I think I saw her again... in the upper room this time by the library. Uncle Gaston doesn't believe me... Gerard and Jean can't see them either. They don't like it when I talk about what I see... None of the manservants or maids would believe me either. They all told me that it must have just been a trick of the imagination. They are patient with me, but I can tell that they're more scared that they think I'm seeing things.

    But you saw it too once, didn't you? I hope you were not lying to me when you said you did. I think what's worse than seeing a spirit is having no one believe you. There are nights when I can hear her crying in the hall and I know that all I have is my pillow to hold onto because no one else will wake up for me. I miss you, Cécile. Come back from the Indies soon.

    Sincerely,
    Luc


    Luc ran as hard as he could. His panting breath heaved through his throat and his arms scraped across the air as if he could pull his way forward faster. Bushes and leaves struck past him pitilessly. The voices behind him felt like they were creeping closer. Those long legs struggled as best they could to propel him forward through the bushes and the trees at the far end of the estate. It was only when the grey enclosure of the stone wall rushed into him that he stopped.

    He twisted his head backwards and looked back at the haunting voices. He looked at the wall. Painfully, he looked back again at the path he had gone through and then back to the stacked stones. Fingers finally found the courage to grab onto the crevices of the partition and with strength he had never known, he pulled himself upward... upward until his hand could feel the even top. He heaved himself over and lay flat, exhausted, at the horizon of the estate.

    His breathing pushed his body up and down on the stone but his eyes collapsed painfully into a short sob. I hate them he could only scream in his brain. For a few minutes he just laid there with the noon sun baking his back. When stability finally returned to his limbs, he pushed himself upward. As soon as his eyes met the distance he had climbed, he dropped flat once again on top of the wall. Too high! He grit his teeth suddenly realizing what he had done. He had escaped his pursuers but now he trapped himself.

    “Are you stuck?” came a voice from the exterior side of the manor. Luc nearly fell off in surprise. His face peeked down to find a boy, seemingly of his age, looking up with a bemused grin at him. That grin was complemented by long auburn hair not done in a ponytail but rather left to hang loosely almost to that boy's shoulders. “Do you need help getting down?” the boy below asked.

    Luc did not know what to say. He wanted to simply disappear again at the top of the wall and wish no one could ever see him. “I'm alright,” he said quietly.

    “Don't be like that,” the boy down below insisted as he moved forward to the very foot of the wall. “Put your legs down and put them on my shoulders. Then you can ease your way off.” Luc wanted to object, but when he looked down, only a grinning face looked up at him squinting at the noon-light. The boy's arms were reaching up to him. “Come on,” the boy down there insisted.

    Luc took a second to deliberate before swinging one foot over the edge and then the other. His arms clenched tightly against the stone surface as he dangled downward slowly. He thought, in a sudden panic, that he expected no surface to reach his shoes and that, rather, he would fall with yet another boy to laugh at him—no. Something gently gripped his ankles and guided his shoes to bony shoulders.

    Slowly, with digits managing the stones, Luc slid downwards. The other boy crouched down until Luc could hop onto the ground itself. Luc immediately turned, hotly embarrassed to face the handsome looking young man. “Thank you...” Luc hopelessly uttered.

    “What's your name?” the boy asked shrugging away the gratitude with a widened grin.

    “Luc... Luc de Robespierre,” Luc responded as if by instinct.

    “Nice to meet you, Luc. I'm Marcel. Marcel Jacques Castenmiller.”

    “Castenmiller?” Luc tried to pronounce the surname lamely.

    “I'm here visiting my relatives. I'm from Canada,” the boy explained.

    Now that Luc listened more carefully, he could easily recognize the twang of the New World French. “You're from New France?” he asked.

    Marcel nodded proudly. “So why were you up there?” Marcel asked. Luc immediately looked down wishing he was mute.

    “No reason...” he lied.

    “No reason? You mean you weren't being chased?” Marcel asked while crossing his arms over his chest.

    Luc's eyes shot wide and he stood up straight as if he was struck by lightning. “You heard them?” Luc asked excitedly.

    “Of course,” Marcel responded almost simplistically.

    “You... you really heard them? It's not just me, then? You... you can hear spirits?” Luc asked with as much pain as if he was reopening a wound.

    “Spirits, hm?” Marcel's expression turned a bit more serious and he lost his grin. He looked with those green-blue eyes up to the top of the wall. “I didn't know there were spirits here in France as well... I only thought they existed in the New World.” Luc was holding back the urge to reach out to the other boy with his arms.

    “Only my cousin Cécile has ever seen any of the spirits... or so she says... sometimes I wonder if she's just humouring me... You see spirits all the time in the New World?”

    “I went on a few spirit journeys with some of the local natives,” Marcel began to explain. “It's especially in the forest that we meet the gods of the earth and sky. Sometimes I hear them... sometimes I see them if I concentrate.” When Marcel looked at how enlivened Luc's face had become, he could only grin some more. “Why don't you come meet my Aunt? I'm sure she won't mind a little trespasser on her property if he's with me. We can talk some more inside.” Luc was hesitant at first, but Marcel gave him a silly grin and said, “Don't worry. It's going to be alright.”

    ~~


    Luc rubbed the charcoal against the page lightly in one spot and then heavily in another. The tiny twitch of his fingers created fine lines along the periphery of the sheet. His eyes seemed to dance as they followed his hand up and down the flat surface: applying a little here, rubbing off a little over there. He found himself smiling. The wind of the cheerful afternoon touched his cheeks and fluttered his hair gently upward before those black strands floated down and rested around his jubilant eyes once again.

    When Gerard and Jean cast their shadow over each of Luc's shoulders, Luc had finally finished. “What is that?” the familiar voice of Gerard asked. Luc shot up from his bench seat and turned around, clasping the sketchbook against his chest and holding the charcoal bit in his fist like a knife.

    How did they find him? he asked himself. “I thought you two were learning to ride today?” was what he asked them, trying so desperately hard not to stutter.

    “We decided to come find our favourite cousin instead,” Gerard cast a devilish grin as he put his calloused hands on his hips. Jean just seemed to dully watch the two converse at Gerard's side. “What did you draw there?” Gerard asked.

    “Nothing... just... just... a drawing,” Luc replied as he took a step backward. The other two seemed to move forward as he withdrew.

    “Come on, Luc, show it to us,” Gerard insisted as he menacingly closed the gap. Even before Gerard reached out, Luc turned his sketchbook around and exposed the picture. His eyes diverted immediately away to some tuft of grass that was growing desperately between two stones.

    The dark image on the page flowed downward like an ebony waterfall. A grinning face was surrounded by wavy locks of hair. It was almost as if the sky was being reflected in the figure's eyes. It was a boy's face with strong features. “Just a drawing--” Luc tried to explain.

    “Who is that?” Gerard examined the image and then looked at Luc. “That's not the boy you met this afternoon was it?” Luc did not want to answer. “My parents say you're crazy: I guess they should also add strange to that.” Gerard crossed his arms across his chest. The sketchbook slackened a little in Luc's grip.

    “Let's leave him alone,” Jean suddenly said tiredly. “This is just going to get boring.”

    “You know,” Gerard stopped and said. Luc looked up, a bit surprised. “he's probably some ghost like you're always saying you see.” Gerard turned around and looked at Luc. “Whatever it is you're seeing is probably going to come into your bed at night and eat you while you're asleep,” the young boy snickered. “You shouldn't be drawing his picture. He's probably not even real!”

    Luc just looked at Gerard and lost his breath. The way Gerard's cracked lips grinned at him put pressure all over his face. He was holding onto his sketchbook loosely now almost ready to let it drop, but he did not say a word. His eyes fell away from Gerard's look. “He's real... You can meet him if you'd like. He promised to call on me next week after he gets back from visiting the Loire...” somehow made it out of his mouth.

    Gerard suddenly stepped forward and reached a hand out. Luc cringed and recoiled but Gerard was not reaching for his face. Rather, dirty fingers gripped at the page and, with a single motion, ripped the paper from the binding. Luc watched as Gerard ripped the page off and began to tear it into halves. A brown heap was left in front of Luc's shoes as Gerard clapped his palms clean. Gerard then turned around and began jaunting away again.

    Luc was just staring at the little pile as the other boys walked out of sight guffawing about something inaudible to him. When he got on his knees, the other boys were already gone. His fingers reached out for the scattered fragments and began to pull them together again. After a while, he cupped them into his arms and pulled them up off the floor. He placed the fragments on the bench carefully and with unsteady hands, placed each torn snippet back into its proper place. By the time he was done, he noticed that something liquid was blotting the charcoal on the paper. He reached for his cheek and the charcoal on his fingers melted against the liquid streaming silently down his face.

    He sat down again and, with the picture next to him, took charcoal to paper once more. He began to recreate what he had lost. It was already evening when he finished again. He was walking back to the manor as soon as the twilight was beginning to take hold. He thought he heard something from the bushes as he navigated the hedges. It was only when a small stone came out of the hedgerow that it was clear someone was there.

    The first one missed him, dropping harmlessly in the grass next to him. The other knicked his cheekbone and sent him spinning onto the ground. He heard faint chuckling receding from him. He was holding his face with his knees curled up to his chest. The notebook was tucked into that little vacuole his body created as it curled into itself. His breaths were sharp and short.

    The bruise and cut on his left cheek was evident. The blood had already crusted over by the time one of the maids had brushed it clean. Luc did not make one whimper when the wound was being dressed. When the maids undressed him for a bath, he held his arms loosely around his frame. The maids helped him into the bath and then washed him. They made quick work of cleaning Luc: they were all familiar with his routine. They were not even phased anymore by the other bruises that were hidden under those clothes.

    When Luc was preparing to walk into his uncle's study, he smiled. It was not that it was a happy occasion. In fact, the dressed wound on his face tickled painfully as he pulled on his face. But that was fine, wasn't it? He was used to smiling at the pain. He needed to smile right now, after all: otherwise his uncle might be angry with him. He stood outside of his uncle's chamber where he was expected nervously. He was practicing that cherubic face when he heard the voices inside.

    “Send him away,” a woman's voice said. “He's scaring our children.”

    “He's scaring your children, Valérie,” the man's voice responded harshly. “They were probably the ones who did this to him!”

    “They're your children too now, Gaston. And why are you trying to blame them? You and I both know that that nephew of yours is strange! He frightens even the maids! Send him away!”

    “To where?!” the man shouted back, “He's the only son of my late brother and I promised him--”

    “Your late brother and his wife were assassinated for a reason. That child is bad luck!”

    “How could you say something like that?” was the incredulous response.

    “He doesn't belong in our family,” was the more calculated explanation, “Look at him! He doesn't even look like your brother! Make him leave!”

    “But--”

    “You know I'm right. He's probably some bastard that whore of your sister-in-law--”

    Luc stepped back until he could not hear the exchange. His smile stuck to his face as if it had been glued on sideways. His eyes were too blurred to see correctly. His back landed on the wall but he was still staring at those gilded handles that led to the master's office. His eyes wanted to wander downward but were forced up once more as the impressive figure of the lady of the manor burst through the gateway. His smile beamed onto her like the glare of the sun and she, in her surprise of seeing him, could only smile back crookedly as if by reaction.

    She rushed away and directly behind her was the troubled visage of Luc's uncle following her escape. His uncle's gaze then focused on the lanky boy drawn against the wall like a charcoal drawing. “Luc...” he said in surprise. He paused for a second to look at that boy's strange smile before making way in the doorway. “Come in.”

    Luc pulled off of the wall and followed his uncle into the study. The bandage on his face which was applied by the maids also wrapped around his chin and head like the outline of a white hood. He held onto that smile desperately as he stood in front of his uncle's desk. Gaston himself sat behind the ivory like table. “I'm alright,” Luc broke protocol and spoke first.

    His uncle watched the boy's lying face with a mix of concern and curiosity. “So you told the maids that you fell?” his uncle asked him skeptically.

    “I'm alright now, really,” Luc replied maintaining his countenance. Luc felt a tickling sensation in his eyes. “Please... don't send me away.” His lips quivered as he spoke.

    Gaston turned to some window on his far right, but gave a quick glance to the incongruous face that both smiled and died at the same time. “I'm sorry, Luc,” Gaston began to speak. “But I think it would be better if you stayed with my brother. You like your cousin Cécile, don't you? I'm sure you'll have a lot more fun with her--”

    “But I want to stay here, please?” he asked almost in a whimper. His smile was now greased with spittle and something hot was driving down his cheeks.

    “I'm sorry, Luc, my decision is final. I'll send you to Paris when M. Devereux goes to visit his mother.”

    “But that's... that's in three days... can't it at least wait a week?” he pleaded.

    “I'm sorry, Luc. I'll have the servants pack your things tomorrow.”

    ~7 years later~


    Another weekend meant another party. Luc hated these, but Cécile requested that he go with her, and he didn't want to refuse her—although he did wonder why Cécile even bothers to bring him. He always seemed like an embarrassment at these events. The faded jackets and worn stockings moved about the room like old gossip. He traversed through the crowd to one of the stairs. He always preferred to wander. These huge manors were promises of spacious enough areas for peace and quiet... maybe the library.

    One of the halls upstairs interested him. He moved slowly with his one arm cupping the other arm against his chest. For a moment he thought he was cold. The hallway itself held old paintings. They were not just portraits of old lords gone by, but landscapes and pastoral scenes. There was even a rather interesting depiction of mills and industry that, although it had a darker tone, felt like it sent a rumbling thunder through Luc's heart.

    That was when the whisper behind him took his attention. He turned quickly. Nothing. His eyes shot left and right. Nothing but the movement of candles flickering in the night. He faced forward.

    Something like a gust of wind pushed him back and he wanted to let out a scream, but it was superseded by what sounded like a howl. Luc panicked. He crawled backwards in the dimness of the floor and ran in the other direction. He stumbled forward as another rush seemed to emanate from behind him. He lunged to the left, grabbing hold of one of the doors and pushed himself into a room. He shut the door behind him and, tumbling over furniture, found himself at a sofa.

    “Help...” he tried to say, but he was breathless. “Cécile...” he called out. “Help me...” he tried to say. The room felt colder and he heard a door to the chamber creak open. “Cécile...” he called out again as he closed his eyes. “Uncle... someone... mom... dad... Marcel...”

    He held his notebook against his chest as he curled up on the couch.

    “Who's Marcel?” the voice asked. Luc opened his eyes. The candelabra's luminescence shocked Luc's eyes for a moment before his vision focused on Léon's bemused smile.

    “Léon!” Luc shouted as he pushed himself up off the sofa. He looked around right and left as if to see if the presence he had felt had gone.

    “Don't tell me you were... dreaming of someone?” Léon teased playfully.

    Luc looked up to the other man and blushed for a moment before getting up. “It's nothing like that,” Luc insisted with a dismissive smile. He started to walk away.

    “I wouldn't go back out there if I were you,” Léon warned playfully.

    Luc's face scrunched and looked back at the other boy. “What do you mean?” he asked.

    Léon's smirk softened a little. “Just trust me. If I explained it to you, you wouldn't understand.”

    The desperation on Luc's face mounted and he found himself taking a step towards the other man. He was gripping his notebook tightly again. “No, please, Léon, could you explain?”

    Léon let out a little laugh. “I wouldn't want you to think I was strange, Luc. Just forget about it. Why don't we talk for a little while since you're here?”

    “Can you see them too?!” Luc finally burst out. “There are spirits out there in the hall aren't there?!”

    Léon's joviality dropped and his face suffered a contraction into its more brooding form. He looked at the painful expression on Luc's face and couldn't help but imitate it. “There are no such things as spirits,” he said almost ruefully.

    Luc pressed the notebook deeper against his chest as if he was blocking a bullet with it. “I see...” he said quietly. “Then there should be nothing out there,” he also said as he turned and stepped quickly to the door. His hand rushed the handle and was about to force the door open when he felt a grip around his other wrist. His whole body turned as Léon pulled him backward and against the wall.

    Confused and surprised eyes looked for answers in Léon's intense expressions. Léon put out the candelabra's lights and tossed the metal object harmlessly on a nearby sofa. While one of his hands pinned Luc to the wall, the other moved to shut a protesting mouth. “I may or may not see spirits, Luc, but there are things far more dangerous than those wandering this hall tonight,” Léon whispered.

    Luc was about to muffle a response behind Léon's mouth when a scream was heard outside of the doorway. More screams joined in at the same time and Luc thought he could hear a “Help! The Duchess has been stabbed!”

    Luc's eyes were afire with fear. It was enough for Léon to pull his hand off of that other's mouth. In the still darkness of that room, Léon whispered once more while donning a bemused grin. “Don't worry. It's going to be alright.”
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  13. #33
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    Deeply intriguing, I must say. The plot thickens.
    Excellent work.

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    That was an unexpected ending! Great update.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davout View Post
    Well done, canonized. I must admit I thought I could never love again after Nia but Cecile intrigues me.

    Kudos also for getting the audience emotionally involved in the characters so quickly, especially the well rounded character of Leon. I was ready to dismiss him as the obvious villain but your elaborations on his inner monologues hint at so much more potential. I also love the little nods to Timelines.

    Enough gushing for now. I eagerly await the next installment.
    Thank you very much ! Always so happy to have your erudition with me , old bean . I'm very pleased that I could create some complexity in the characters for you all !

    Quote Originally Posted by Najs View Post
    Deeply intriguing, I must say. The plot thickens.
    Excellent work.
    Thank you And indeed , a little twist there !

    Quote Originally Posted by dinofs View Post
    That was an unexpected ending! Great update.
    thank you ! I was hoping that would catch most people by surprise !

    Quote Originally Posted by General_BT View Post
    Assassination! Aphrodisiac since...

    Spirits? The plot definitely has thickened...
    A little bit of mystery involved XD

    Quote Originally Posted by JDMS View Post
    Wonderful writing. It feels as if I'm reading a novel.
    High praise ! Thank you very much

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    Dead duchesses are bad when you can see dead people.
    Or is he really seeing dead people ? the ambiguity is part of the theme ! What is the TRUE illusion being pulled over peoples' eyes ? Who is the real illusionist ? Is it that perhaps Luc can see the illusions but can't see them for what they are ?
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  19. #39
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    He sees what?

    At least we got a corpse.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by canonized View Post
    Or is he really seeing dead people ? the ambiguity is part of the theme !
    What a Twist!

    What is the TRUE illusion being pulled over peoples' eyes ? Who is the real illusionist ? Is it that perhaps Luc can see the illusions but can't see them for what they are ?
    Presumably, This Guy

    And now for something completely serious: I can't really guess who the phantom people are just yet, but I'm reasonably sure it will become clearer in time.

    Meanwhile - those kids were mean to poor Luc. I hope they go to bed without desert for all eternity.
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