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Thread: Dangerous Liaisons

  1. #41
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    Of course, "spirits" do not necessarily mean the dead, just not the "us".

    I don't suppose the "spirits" looked like David Tennant and Billie Piper?
    Last edited by Davout; 03-07-2010 at 04:13.
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  2. #42
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    He sees what?

    At least we got a corpse.
    Haha , a little bit of mysteriousness added into it !

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    What a Twist!



    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.
    They were rather mean ! alienation especially after losing one's parents . Not exactly a rosy past for our dear Luc ! And gosh you're incorrigible but I love it XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Davout View Post
    Of course, "spirits" do not necessarily mean the dead, just not the "us".

    I don't suppose the "spirits" looked like David Tennant and Billie Piper?
    Haha now there's a reaching twist to it . You might find the explanation a bit more believable XD
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  3. #43
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    If you were wondering where the next update was i took a bit of a break for the July 4th weekend . I'm rather excited to write the next one though so it should be coming in two days !
    DANGEROUS LIAISONS
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  4. #44
    A bear there was, a bear! Kapt Torbjorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canonized View Post
    If you were wondering where the next update was i took a bit of a break for the July 4th weekend . I'm rather excited to write the next one though so it should be coming in two days !
    No need to rush, quality is always preferable to quantity! Hope you had a good weekend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by canonized View Post
    If you were wondering where the next update was i took a bit of a break for the July 4th weekend . I'm rather excited to write the next one though so it should be coming in two days !
    Indeed, looks like a slow week for everyone.

    Looking forward to the next one, however!
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  6. #46
    Þeoden Woody Man's Avatar
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    Oh it is good to see you back in writing, you did a great job of introducing Luc, building him up and then connecting him to Leon and the continuing story...

    Great stuff XD
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  7. #47
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kapt Torbjorn View Post
    No need to rush, quality is always preferable to quantity! Hope you had a good weekend.
    Thank you ! it was a very good weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    Indeed, looks like a slow week for everyone.

    Looking forward to the next one, however!
    Thanks ! It's actually going to be here in the next 20 hours ! only two pages off . Have some things to do today but I should be able to finish a rather fun chapter to boot !

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Man View Post
    Oh it is good to see you back in writing, you did a great job of introducing Luc, building him up and then connecting him to Leon and the continuing story...

    Great stuff XD
    Thank you really glad you're enjoying it , old man !
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    Chapter IV: Seduction and Consequences


    23 June 1783

    Dear Elly,

    Seduction is about the art of manipulating the mind. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the physical attractiveness of a person that will engender the deepest of sexual arousal. Indeed, good looks are rather secondary. It does help to be as handsome as yours truly, sure, but even the mediocre can excel in the art. Remember my dearest Elly that there will always be someone more beautiful, younger, more chiseled, more smooth, or any of the certain combinations that allow us to select with our eyes and hands. Selection at first glance might be an advantage, but it's the way we affect the mind of the others that give us possession of the other person. It is the stories running through their head as we look into their eyes that make them surrender everything they have.

    There are some people who think that there is a universal method to apply to their targets. These are amateurs. These are the idiots who hit or miss as I was mentioning in the last letter. What you must master is the Mirror. The Mirror shows your target exactly what they want to see. The Mirror means that you must be able to emulate the person they have always wanted: or would never admit to wanting. The Mirror is not just a reflection of the target, but the 'returning' of all of those yearnings and wants that each person holds. It reflects back to them. Thus, you, even your looks, need not supply anything of your own! The target supplies everything for you. Only they know what will entice them the most. By finding this out through clever means, you become the Mirror for those things. In a sense, you allow them to seduce themselves...

    ~~


    The sprinkle of gold dropped onto the upturned palms with first a fleshy thud and then the clink of metal upon metal. Greedy eyes watched each item drop while another pair watched, with slight amusement, the avaricious globes bobbing up and down. “So what have you found out?” the amused one queried as the terminal piece weighed the two hands downward.

    The counting eyes reluctantly pried themselves away from the shiny metal to regard the inquisitive gentleman hovering above. “Alls I know is that Mademoiselle de Volanges fell in love with that Rochambeau fella after a trip around the islands with him on his little ship the... what's it called l'Étoile.”

    “How little of a ship?” the gentleman asked evenly.

    “Does it matter, sir?” the impertinent little man asked with a sharp grin that cut the thick air between them.

    “Of course,” was the benevolently understanding response. “Maybe not to you, but it does to me and if you want any more of what I've given you tonight, you'd best be one of my best sources on this kind of information.”

    “Alright, alright. Just a simple boat, sir. Just one sail. I ain't no expert on these things: I just watch after the properties--”

    “A single sail, hm? So she likes to get her hands dirty.”

    “..Yes, sir.”

    “And about the other matter I set you to find out about?” the gentleman slipped another coin from out of his pocket and flipped it into the air. It was immediately snatched like a fly by a frog's tongue.

    “I found that one out rather easily, sir. The reason she travels south every weekend is because she has a cottage just north of Troyes.”

    “Let me guess. She has a rather nice collection of taxidermed game hanging inside of that cottage?” the gentleman said with a smirk.

    “Probably, though I wouldn't know, sir. I've actually never been in there though the groundsmaster does notice she brings a lot of shot animals for him to work on. She only lets her cousin into the main cottage. The servants are in quarters with the groundsmaster.”

    “Very good. And the letters?”

    “Destroyed as you requested. Each one will be as they arrive... Mademoiselle Cécile will not be hearing from Madame de Rosemond anytime soon.”

    “Very good.” Léon detached himself from the wall and turned his back on the servant. “I'll come by later on in the week to check on any more news you might have.”

    “Very good, sir!” the servant replied.

    ~~


    “So she hunts,” the Marquise leaned back on her sofa and snapped a fan open for herself.

    “She's the daughter of a colonial,” Léon stepped lightly to one of the side tables to pour himself some tea. “She's bound to have an independent spirit. I knew that even before I knew about the cottage.”

    “So what's so important about it?” the Marquise exaggerated a sigh, purposefully heaving her breasts upward against the border of her dress in feigned boredom.

    “It's where I plan on ambushing her.”

    “An ambuscade? I hope you don't plan on riding out there and pretending to be some kind of hunter-gatherer. How uninspiring. She'll see right through that one...”

    “Of course she would,” he replied with a smile as he sipped the beverage. “It's why I'm not doing that. She's already been forewarned—thanks to your meddling—so she requires a touch of vulnerability. She needs to feel so guilty for having been so wary of me that she'll have to overcompensate. Then I'll charm her with the usual adventures that she probably has so desired along those islands in the Caribbean that she'll never want to leave here.”

    “And how do you plan on making yourself... vulnerable?” the Marquise curled a double grin in curiosity.

    Léon shrugged and smiled coyly. “With just a little bit of dirt on the face. Telling you would just be risking my great endeavor.”

    “It sounds like you've put a lot of effort into Mademoiselle de Volanges,” the Marquise chuckled as she slumped back into her sofa even further.

    Léon stepped towards where she was sitting. He quietly leaned down to place his teacup onto the table next to her chair, but instead of pulling back up, he hovered sideways to place his lips next to her ear. “It's only because this will bring me rather close to my promised reward, hm?” he chirped quietly, just allowing the slightest graze of his lips to grace her lobe.

    “Close,” the Marquise started to whisper back, “but not quite there.”

    “But considering how successful I usually am in these enterprises,” Léon had his eyes closed as he talked for effect, “that perhaps a little show of confidence in my abilities might warrant me an... advance?” His right hand moved forward to clasp the back of the sofa while his left hand seemed to move to do the same but instead straggled behind the Marquises's neck. His fingertips traced the curvature of her skin down to her shoulder.

    The woman's head tilted slightly at the touch and her temple grazed the smoothness of his cheek. “When I have my revenge, you'll have your pleasure,” she replied into his ear softly. “For now, you should leave.”

    “And why is that?” Léon brushed his lips near her eye.

    “Because it's time for dinner and I'm hungry.”

    “My appetite is rather strong tonight as well,” Léon cooed, “Don't worry about it taking too long. If we have our meal, I promise to have you in bed by nine.” Léon's face moved slightly to the left and an inch forward, but the Marquise quickly turned to the lonely teacup on her side table.

    “I believe your menu tonight is supposed to be the Comtesse de Beaulieu,” she said sharply.

    “I'm surprised you remember,” Léon smirked as he retreated an inch.

    “I always keep track of your feedings, Vicomte. Otherwise, how else am I supposed to make sure you aren't cheating on your overall score?”

    Léon sighed downward, sneaking a not too covert glance at the rather liberal endowment of the Marquise. “She's already handed over her money without me having to so much as touch her. I think that fulfills the objective of that conquest.”

    “Our deal was that despite objectives, our conquests always required a rather... intimate consummation,” she chided while looking at him from the corner of her eyes.

    “You're really going to hold it against me?” Léon reluctantly arched back upright.

    “Always, my dear Vicomte,” she replied while straightening herself on the sofa. “I believe your carriage is waiting for you outside,” she added with a smile.

    ~~


    ...take the Comtesse de Beaulieu for instance. A woman of great prudence and grace. A reserved woman who nearly entered the convent at a young age, but was convinced by her parents that she should educate herself in high society due to the nobility of her birth. Several times they had attempted to find her a suitor to marry, but each were dirty old men who would have been excellent catches for financial security. It was not that she was virile and an admirer of youth. Not at all. In fact, she rebuffed all romances altogether. She had a distaste for anything sexual and she abhorred the vulgar.

    Usually a woman's background can be easily traced through her servants or those maids that have served in her household whom can easily be seduced, bribed, or blackmailed. This particular information on her was obtained in higher circles.

    When the young Comtesse was eleven, her uncle had 'volunteered' to teach her of the Parisian way of life. In reality, he was a cruel man of rather dubious intentions. She might have remained in this rather distasteful state if it weren't for the freak chance that her uncle was killed in a duel. Ever since then she has shunned any sexual contact and has been afraid of it.

    It would have been easy to pose as the chaste young man trying his hardest in this day and age to remain pure and virtuous, but not only was the Comtesse too intelligent not to know about my reputation, but that would have gone the long way around. It was easier just to be that rather impulsive voice in her head promising her a normal sexual life. It was much easier to be the dashing young man that promised her a cure from her frigid nature.

    It was enough in that regard to have her pay me off. It was just a simple matter of being 'her friend' and someone who 'understood' her and still 'respected' her. From that position I could ask favours from her vast fortune. How satisfying it was to exchange such empty gestures for gold. The Marquise, of course, demanded... consummation. Of course it had to be willing consummation. It would have been easy enough to get the Comtesse to try something, but to convince her to continue or want it was a different matter.

    So perhaps it was because of that that I needed to play dirty. Perhaps I have made it into a kind of instinct that I need not plan my coup de grace in advance. Rather it just comes to me naturally. Pinpointing that weakness of personalities and then exploiting it ruthlessly has become second nature to me. So it was on that first night that I convinced her to reluctantly sleep with me: it was on that first night when she hesitated and cringed at my first movements that I whispered into her ear “just like with your uncle, isn't it?”

    It's rather interesting how often a woman can reach her climax with the proper mental incentive. But it's not just her. Everyone is vulnerable. Everyone has a thumbscrew. It's all a matter of being that Mirror. Find your weakness as well, Elly. If you are aware of it, you will become invincible.

    Sincerely,
    Léon


    ~~


    Léon's eyes drooped slightly as he looked at his cards. Returning his gaze at the others at the table, his fingers twirled silently around the pile of chips. The candles sucked at the air around the table while the other eyes wandered about, watching Léon's face and looking down at his stack of clay counters. Powder was beginning to run from their faces from sweat.

    “Your bet, sir,” someone across from Léon reminded him. Léon did not shift from his meandering look. He pulled his hand up to his face, placing a curved finger against his chin as if to think. He grinned slightly at the lingering smell of the Comtesse de Beaulieu on his fingers.

    Va-tout,” he finally said as he flicked some of his clay chips into the center.

    The faces around him cracked in annoyance. “You're too lucky tonight, Vicomte,” someone to his side said as he slapped his cards away. The rest followed without so much flourish. Léon gave a courteous smile as he gathered all the chips into his corner of the table.

    “Maybe it's that new tune you're humming,” one of the others at the table commented with an annoyed gruff. “A woman give you good luck tonight?”

    “Tune?” Léon thought the man was joking.

    “The one you've been humming all evening: it's been driving me crazy!” the man replied before discourteously singing the tune back to the vicomte in hurried “la”s. Léon's eyebrow quivered as he recognized the music he had in fact been harping all evening.

    “The retourné, gentlemen, is the ace of spades,” the next dealer announced. Léon suddenly realized he had three cards dealt to him. He looked at the others who grumbled at their cards and looked to him.

    “I'm afraid you'll have to deal me out of this one, gentlemen,” Léon quickly said as he tossed his ante into the middle before collecting the rest of his items. The others at the table looked around at each other with a bit of astonishment.

    “It's not like him to not finish a game,” one of the stuffier players commented.

    “Maybe he just didn't like the cards he was getting in his hand from here on,” someone else snorted at the table.

    “Speaking of those hands, I hear he's even gotten the Comtesse de Beaulieu calling on him now. From shrew to slut in a matter of a day.”

    “There's something demonic in a power like that,” someone said as they pushed a raise into the pot.

    “They do say he sold his soul to the devil for that power,” the dealer said in a hushed tone.

    “No no no, gentlemen,” someone sat down where Léon had vacated. Bright blue eyes held the others in check as a sheen of yellow hair parted along the man's face like sheets of gold. The crooked smile on that face held all of them hostage like a pistol ready to shoot at any of them. “Léon de Valmont did not sell his soul to the devil. He sold it to someone worse.” A short laugh as surprising as a bullet burst from those lips.

    ~~


    “So he succeeded with the Comtesse de Beaulieu?” Madame de Rosemond asked.

    “Of course he did. He wouldn't have failed if his wager with me was on the line,” the Marquise chuckled in her chair. She watched the older Madame de Rosemond push another tarot card forward. “He would never want to do anything to lose his chance.”

    “And the Cécile matter?” Rosemond rasped.

    “He apparently has a little plan for her,” the Marquise commented while looking at the card laid down disinterestedly. “He's going to 'ambush' her at her place of residence north of Troyes.”

    “A cottage?” Rosemond stopped moving and looked up.

    “You guessed it,” the Marquise lifted her eyebrows quickly as if impressing the older Rosemond with some tidbit of gossip.

    “Then that means...”

    “She is indeed researching The Plague.”

    “Isn't it dangerous then?” Rosemond was shaking. “If Valmont...”

    “You have to put some faith in him,” the Marquise laughed a little. “Léon is a man of his nature... he cannot deny it. He won't hinder us.” She gave the skeptical Rosemond a more calm expression. “If it makes you feel any better, I've arranged for someone to keep an eye on him.”

    “Called in a favour?” Rosemond relaxed a bit as she dropped her card onto the table.

    “Not exactly. You should know by now that you should never rely on someone's charity: rather always rely on their self-interest.”

    “And what is this person whom you sent to keep watch on Léon interested in enough to help you?”

    The Marquise stifled a laugh. “The best motivation next to lust, of course: revenge.”

    ~~


    François d'Ardoinville skipped along the narrow corridors of the Parisian street. His fingers traced the walled mansions and a sigh erupted out of his lips from between a skewed smile. He stopped at the very edge of the corner, and with eyes reflecting the moonlight like sharpened topazes, looked down the next avenue. A small glance at that figure walking away sparked those lips to widen and nearly crack in two. He pulled back from the corner and slammed his entire body against the wall.

    He sucked in the night air and exhaled almost ecstatically before stifling a sudden laugh. “There he is,” he rolled back his eyes for a second before shaking himself back into some form of consciousness. He quickly swiped at his nose with the back of his hand before shaking in another deep inhale.

    “Where do you think he's going?” a woman's voice entered into his brain like far off lightning.

    “I don't care,” François dismissed the voice from above him as he pushed matted golden hair off of his sweating forehead. “We'll have to follow him all night if we have to.”

    “That son of a whore is usually playing cards all night. You should be careful that he's not leading you to a trap,” the woman's voice was faint, like a whisper. It had a cautious air to it, but it had no ounce of caring. It was more like a taunt.

    “If he's doing something different, then we will soon find out what that is,” the boy smiled as he looked up at the woman's face. He then skipped across the threshold of the intersection and absconded to the shadows on the other side with a hop in his step.

    ~~


    Léon stopped in front of the gates. No carriage was waiting behind him. It would be a long walk back to find transportation home. Nevertheless, he stood there in the faint lamplight of the entrance to the Volanges manor. A porter had come up to him earlier, but he had said that he was only on his way, he would not call upon the Mademoiselle so late at night. It would be... improper.

    He stared into the manor however, as if studying it like an illustration out of an encyclopedia. He inspected the windows in the distance as well as the gardens. He noted the doorways and the height of the various sculptures and hedgerows. Even in the darkness of night, it was as if he could see as plain as in the stark illumination of that night's moon. It was then that a sparkle caught his attention in the distance. Copper. Brass. Lenses. Luc?

    Léon moved forward and pressed his hands against the iron bars and peered inward as best as he could. Somewhere in the distance, a boy was awkwardly assembling a telescope in the middle of the night... Léon couldn't help but watch. His face pressed further against the iron bars and he held his fingers against the metal as if he could pry them apart. That was when he could smell it: that faint scent of intimacy with the Comtesse de Beaulieu still lingering on his digits.

    He pulled back and looked at his hands. He balled those fingers into fists and clenched his teeth. He looked up once again at the little sparkle and for some reason suddenly felt like he shouldn't be seen... He quickly turned, his coat turning up into the wind suddenly and his hands, still compressed together, hid underneath his armpits as he started to walk away.

    “Léon?” came from behind him faintly. He hoped he was just dreaming. “Léon? Is that you?” Léon took another step away from the manor hoping that he was just imagining that the voice calling out to him was getting louder. “Léon,” it was as if he could hear the voice only a few feet behind him. It was strained for breath. “Are you trying to look at the beautiful moon tonight, too?” was the almost pleading tone.

    Léon's head moved upward and his tanned face reflected the pale greyness of the moonlight. His eyes softened seeing that giant globe. The darker spots of the surface felt like the features of a forgotten friend. He eventually turned around to find Luc working the sidegate. “Yes...” he said almost quietly at first. “I was just enjoying the--”

    “Why don't you come inside and come look through the telescope then, it's a beautiful view tonight!” Luc ran up to him with a smile that intensified as he closed the distance between them. Suddenly, Luc's eyebrows swelled comically. “Are you cold or something, Léon?” he asked with a funny smirk.

    Léon suddenly realized that his arms were crossed over his chest. He quickly released them from their prisons as if he was brushing off a spider. The way he held them out, still in their fists was alien to Léon as if he was looking at someone else's hands. “They... just got dirty this evening. I should probably wash them.”

    “You can use the fountain near where I'm setting up my telescope if you'd like.”

    Luc stepped backwards towards the gate. Perhaps he was afraid that turning away might mean that the mysterious Léon de Valmont might disappear while he was not looking. The young man held the gate open for the guest. “If it's not too much trouble...” Léon finally said before following him in.

    Luc kept looking back at Léon as they walked through the garden, at first stealing some glances of the somewhat surprisingly nervous Léon. He wondered if something was bothering him. “I wanted to thank you again for the other night,” Luc attempted to spark a conversation.

    “The other night?” Léon repeated. He was lost in the hedges that he was just memorizing a few minutes ago.

    “At the party... during the commotion. When you and the others were trying to ambush those assassins,” Luc repeated the story he had been told.

    “Ahh... of course,” Léon replied. “You shouldn't be wandering halls like that during parties anyway,” Léon added. He might have seen Luc blush in embarrassment slightly if he wasn't darting his eyes left and right afraid, for some reason, of being seen.

    “I don't tend to do well at large gatherings,” Luc admitted although he tried a smile to mask what he was feeling. “I'm sorry the ambush didn't work,” Luc lamented. “It was a bit horrifying to hear that the Duchess was reached...”

    “She volunteered as bait,” Léon was quick to recall the details he was supposed to say, “it was unfortunate indeed.

    “I just didn't know you were involved in such things...”

    Léon's faced tightened slightly. There was somehow no smile. There was no coy retort. “I... don't plan on doing it forever,” were the words mysterious even to himself that came out of his lips.

    “Oh?” Luc seemed intrigued. “What do you plan on doing instead?”

    “I...” they had reached the telescope. Next to it was also Luc's violin. It seemed well played in that bright moonlight. Léon's eyes scanned the items. Even the sketchbook was half open. For a second, he thought he could see a face with a dark spot on the right cheek... something similar to the birthmark he sported on his face... The sketchbook was suddenly closed. Luc sat down on the bench and waited patiently for the response. “I want to maybe... sail... around the world,” Léon said hesitantly. He was remembering the lines he was supposed to say in order to build his reputation with Luc's cousin.

    Luc gave him a nod. “Ahh... my cousin likes to do that,” Luc said, almost matter-of-factly while looking downward.

    “Well,” Léon suddenly found himself saying as if something was escaping him. “That's only part of it... I want to because then I'd have an excuse to navigate the stars every night... to be able to see them without the Paris lamps...” He could already tell that as he was talking, Luc's face was widening in a smile. It was not just the boy's smile that was a strange sensation for Léon. Was it because he was actually... telling the truth?

    Never give up anything of yourself, Valmont! he was yelling to himself. “It must be beautiful out in the ocean and just looking up at the whole sky taking up your view from horizon to horizon...” Luc began to say as he leaned back on the bench to look up at the dome of stars above.

    Léon watched Luc's expression intently. “I used to do that. Just look up like you are doing just now. When I was younger that's all I would do late at night...”

    Luc descended his view back to Léon. “Could you not sleep either?” was the question from Luc.

    “Even to this day,” Léon replied. Luc was giving him a strange look. “I should... go,” Léon said.

    “But you haven't even--”

    “I really need to be somewhere soon... I'll take up your offer another night--”

    “Tomorrow night then?” was the question as Léon turned away.

    There was a moment where the wind picked up in between the request and Léon's answer. “Tomorrow night then.”

    As Léon hurriedly exited the manor, two shadows watched him slip through the gate. Oceanic eyes dotted forward as if to make his way to the man leaving, but shadowy arms pulled him back into the shade of the tree on the other side of the road. “Patience, darling...” the woman's voice soothed the man's ear.

    “He's right there!” the man wanted to shout as he curled a hand around his saber. Another shadowy appendage held his hand in place.

    “No no no, darling... this would be too easy. Too direct. You'll have your chance soon enough.”

    “But what about now?” François leaned back into the lace-like embrace of the lady.

    “For now... we play with him. After all, all we want is fun, right? No more of this anger now...”

    “But the Marquise said...”

    “Yes... she did say that, but that's why we need to make sure he pays properly...”

    The young man smiled and looked up at the shadowy face looking back down at him. “Alright... starting tomorrow then we'll have a little... fun.”
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  9. #49
    Þeoden Woody Man's Avatar
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    Another excellent update XD Ahh the joy of Paris, the filthiest city in all Christendom!
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    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with a little fun, is there?!?

    Comtesse de Beaulieu's first name wasn't Priscilla, by any chance? Maybe that could explain the tune Leon was humming.
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  11. #51
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    Please, divide the Chapters into smaller 'proper' AAR updates.
    Although I like the text, I just spend over 20 mins reading ONE update.
    Smaller and with a greater frequency, bitte?

    You little devil.

  12. #52
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    The player gets played, because no-one's invincible; second half is a neat little mirror of the first.

    If all you need it a mirror you don't even need the sex.

    It's a really good chapter - it really has a little story of its own and links to prior and presumably consequent ones; feels very complete as an episode.

    Thing is, for all his skill Leon is himself bound by well, what I can only describe as an evil woman. Will the end of this adventure lead him to freedom? I don't know.

    Nitpicking: the word "cooed" - if there's any word that is worse in terms of ONLY occurring in bodice rippers or worse, I'd be really surprised.

    Second: chiseled without context. It's a really odd word for the 18th century, I think, to say that the person is chiseled rather than a particular part of the person - like the nose or the jaw or something. I may be wrong but it really leaps out.
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  13. #53
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    So we've got more than spirits here... a blonde haired drugged out assassin (assuming thats what the euphoria and nose rubbing was), and Leon sold his soul to "something worse than the devil?"

    Himself? His obsessions? Money? The list is long and intriguing...

    BY the way he deals with the Marquise, perhaps its physical pleasure itself, coupled with obsession?
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    I am treated with two updates after my short absence! Yay! Love them both, sir, top drawer as always!
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  15. #55
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Man View Post
    Another excellent update XD Ahh the joy of Paris, the filthiest city in all Christendom!
    haha to be sure . Grand fun to write about though . Thank you again XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Davout View Post
    Nothing wrong with a little fun, is there?!?

    Comtesse de Beaulieu's first name wasn't Priscilla, by any chance? Maybe that could explain the tune Leon was humming.
    Haha a nice little reference there , but I'm afraid not XD . Léon's humming should be explained rather soon , actually .

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Please, divide the Chapters into smaller 'proper' AAR updates.
    Although I like the text, I just spend over 20 mins reading ONE update.
    Smaller and with a greater frequency, bitte?

    You little devil.
    Haha but I needed to tie things up thematically ! It takes quite a few pages to do that ! I'll try smaller and greater frequency but sometimes there's just a lot to complete a set ! XD Sumimasen !

    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    The player gets played, because no-one's invincible; second half is a neat little mirror of the first.

    If all you need it a mirror you don't even need the sex.
    Correct , though sex will be treated in more detail coming up .
    It's a really good chapter - it really has a little story of its own and links to prior and presumably consequent ones; feels very complete as an episode.
    Ahh I'm so glad you can feel that unity and structure . It's why I adore your patronage !
    Thing is, for all his skill Leon is himself bound by well, what I can only describe as an evil woman. Will the end of this adventure lead him to freedom? I don't know.
    Indeed , a very good observation ! His own game is his prison .
    Nitpicking: the word "cooed" - if there's any word that is worse in terms of ONLY occurring in bodice rippers or worse, I'd be really surprised.
    ROFL my vocabulary only goes so far ! Actually I submitted this last chapter to an analysis little facebook thing and it told me that I write closest to Lovecraft . I laughed haha .
    Second: chiseled without context. It's a really odd word for the 18th century, I think, to say that the person is chiseled rather than a particular part of the person - like the nose or the jaw or something. I may be wrong but it really leaps out.
    I'm not sure honestly . Most of the speaking convention will be anachronistic , I suppose . Can't be helped , though this being at the height of neo-classicalism , it might fit in well enough ?

    Quote Originally Posted by General_BT View Post
    So we've got more than spirits here... a blonde haired drugged out assassin (assuming thats what the euphoria and nose rubbing was), and Leon sold his soul to "something worse than the devil?"

    Himself? His obsessions? Money? The list is long and intriguing...

    BY the way he deals with the Marquise, perhaps its physical pleasure itself, coupled with obsession?
    not bad guesses if not right on , though obviously more is heaped into that pile aside from those . We'll see more character development with Léon soon so keep those in mind .

    Quote Originally Posted by demokratickid View Post
    I am treated with two updates after my short absence! Yay! Love them both, sir, top drawer as always!
    Thank you I'm glad you're enjoying it !

    Working on the update as we speak !
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    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Chapter V: Books and Friends

    Author's Note: For that special person with no middle name. I love you. Congratulations on graduating and Happy Birthday. Although I can't give you a real present right now, I hope you enjoy this little token. “This is an adult chapter. We'll do the rest later when you get back.”

    ~~


    24 June 1783

    Dear Elly,

    I mentioned weakness the other day. I know you asked me once about what mine was. I don't know what to say, honestly. In fact, part of me suspects you already know it. But the first rule is that I should never tell you such a thing. The first rule is that I shouldn't trust even you. I know you're probably laughing at me right now, but I don't know what to say... you're too strong for me Elly.

    I mean, how could you do such a thing to me? You're a scandal. You're a scandal because it shakes everything I've ever believed in. You tell me that you love me and somehow I believe you even over the lies I've been so used to telling myself. There's a part of me that hates you because what you're offering me is some kind of chance to be honest. Honesty... That risk. That ultimate risk that you pull out of me with such safety that I have moments when I tremble in private thinking that one day all of these writings will come out and fly into the wind and people will read them and laugh. Laugh at the Léon de Valmont that attempted to trust someone.

    I'm waiting for that day in some ways. I'm waiting for that day when you betray me and I know that trusting you was just yet another masterstroke of that seductive game we all play. I'm waiting for that day when I can learn my lesson and never share a breath with anyone. It's going to be that day when I'll say: “see? Why do I say anything to anyone?” and then close myself off completely.

    Because at the end of the day, I know that I'm nothing. That's why whatever has to be put up about me must be a façade because who wants what I really am? You told me once that someone might; that you do. But you know what? I'm a liar and a cheat. I'm a scoundrel and worse than a whore. Even if what I was when I was purely myself could still be loved, no one is going to reach him past the shadow that I've clouded myself in.

    So if you want to know my weakness, well there it is. In the end I'm just as alone as when I started. Especially after you left. If you really loved me then you should have... no you're right. I shouldn't be bringing that up. I'm sorry. I'll write you again soon.

    Always yours,

    Léon


    Léon sat quietly in the dark. He had only been there ten minutes and for a while Luc de Robespierre seemed to have trouble coupling parts of the tubular telescope pieces together. It did not help that there was only the dim light of a nearby lamp. Léon was unsure if he should help him or not. Not that he knew how Luc's telescope worked. The one that he had as a child wasn't as complex... or as expensive. Luc would flash him innocent, nervous smiles as he snapped the mechanism in place.

    Léon also noticed the violin box on the opposite bench as well as that elusive notebook. There was also something new on the bench. A small box sat next to the notebook with a ribbon. “I'm glad you could make it,” Luc spoke, pulling Léon's attention back to him.

    “I did promise after all,” Léon's hard learned instincts answered for him, though he didn't have the pang of anxiety that usually attached itself to a lie. Rather, he was a bit surprised at how easy that one was.

    Luc's smile waxed into an embarrassed crescent. He quickly dipped his head to test the vision on the other side of the telescope. “Ahh... still excellent visibility tonight,” he said while looking into the aperture. “Come take a look.”

    Léon got up form his seat at the bench and stepped over to the center of the circular stone pavement that covered that area of the garden. Luc stepped back and allowed Léon to circle around. Léon leaned downward and pressed his eye against the already warmed circular metal ring that held the lens. A few moments passed. “It's beautiful tonight,” Léon finally said while his body bent towards the mechanism.

    Luc stepped to the side so that he could observe Léon in profile. He watched the quiet and subtle fascination shimmer across Léon's face. “I would have never guessed you would like these kinds of things, Léon,” Luc said quietly.

    Léon detached himself from the object and stood up straight once again. He had a calm smile on his face as he looked down at the construct with appreciation. “When I was younger, the other boys were always being taught about the ways of this world. How to properly address someone in court; how to ride a horse. Not to say that I didn't learn those things too; in fact I excelled at those things. I just wanted to go beyond. There was a comfort in knowing that there was a silent majesty out there. Everyone else was preoccupied with other things. Most everyone at least. There were one or two people who shared my interest in the stars and planets... I don't know. As everyone grew older, I held onto it. For everyone else, it became more important to deal with matters of gravity.”

    Luc watched him talk. His face felt slack, as if the only thing keeping him standing was air inflating him as he breathed slowly. “Why did you hold onto it?” Luc asked, deflating himself a little with that question.

    Léon flashed him a quick smile. “I don't know,” was the calculated response.

    “Maybe I do,” Luc suddenly smiled as he walked over to his bench. The box that had been sitting there with the ribbon was carefully lifted and the bottom slid off onto the seat. Léon watched Luc as he procured a leather bound tome from within and, walking to the lamp post nearby, opened it under its meager illumination. Luc looked up with eager eyes. “When is your birthday?”

    The other gentleman watched the other with some curiosity. “December 22,” was the answer.

    The book was flipped open with a creak. The old, parched paper let out cracking noises as it was turned. Eventually, Luc landed his finger at the page he was looking for. “December 22...” Luc began to read. “One of the twins of the winter solstice, December 22nd is guarded by Thanatos, the Lord of Death while the day before is guarded by his twin Hypnos, the Lord of Sleep. Both take their toll in the winter months as animals heed the call to hibernate and the earth is set into a cold death-like slumber. The person born on this day carries the stain of death with him, but this is not a question of good or bad. Rather, the one under the guardianship of Thanatos yearns for a new life: the next life. They yearn to be free. This can express itself in constant escapism, adventurous and risky ventures, or a melancholic dissatisfaction with current circumstances. The father of Hypnos and Thanatos is Erebus: the god of Darkness and Shadow. It is this aspect that these two days represent the longest nights and the shortest days. This Shadow inheritance means that the person born on this day is a master of instinct. Like one who is blind acquiring skills with the other senses, those born in shadow are more predisposed to building up instincts of protection, cunning, secrecy, politics, and... sexual pleasure. Just like Thanatos himself, he who is born on this day will most likely be a charming cherubic child, a handsome ephebe, and will grow old to be a vicious old man who pines for the days of his youth.”

    Luc paused and looked up to Léon who was listening almost wide-eyed at the reading. “Where did you get that?” Léon could not help but ask.

    For a moment, Luc was embarrassed as he tenderly closed the tome. “Cécile gave it to me today... for my birthday.”

    “Birthday?” Léon was taken by surprise. “I would have thought that--”

    “There would have been a party? I don't really like parties much,” Luc continued though he looked down at his present. “I always thought everyone would make too much of a fuss... I just wanted something quiet.”

    “I wish you had told me, I would have come to whatever it was you wanted to do.”

    “I kind of did,” Luc admitted while still casting his eyes to downward. “That's why I wanted to see you tonight. I thought it would be nice to celebrate my birthday with someone who appreciated the stars like I do,” he said while the corner of his mouth was being tugged into a half smile as he looked up at the still surprised Léon. “I suppose it makes sense. The vast expanse of the heavens is a place to escape this earth and we can appreciate it the most in the shadow of the earth... the night. You really are Thanatos aren't you, Léon?”

    Léon was speechless for a moment. The two merely exchanged glances for a little while. “Well...” Léon was still trying to find his footing. “Happy Birthday... if I had known I would have gotten you something.”

    “It's alright. You know, we actually don't know when my real birthday is.”

    “Your real birthday?” Léon was a bit confused.

    “When my parents died there was also a fire in my father's office where all of his important documents were,” Luc began to explain, “the paperwork about my birth went up in flames and the local parish only had a registry for my baptism which was sometime in late July. I suspect I was actually born sometime in the middle of next month. We only chose today because it was the day my uncle decided to take care of me and so we kind of celebrate it both as a stand in for my birthday and to celebrate the new life I have with him and Cécile who have been so kind to me... So if you want to get me a present... you can always give me one on... say... the sixteenth of next month...”

    “I will then,” Léon nodded. “So what does that book say about the sixteenth of July anyway?” Léon offered him a warm smile.

    Luc could not help but open the book excitedly again. “Let's find out!” Pages turned quickly in the air and once again, Luc's finger snapped towards an entry in the tome. “Hmm... July Sixteenth. This day is guarded by the the minor god Madara: servant of the sun-goddess Amaterasu who is honoured in the summer months due to the lengthening of days.” Luc had to pause a few times to get the pronunciation correct. “The one born on this day is blessed to be in the company of other summer spirits and regularly demonstrates a fiery and playful attitude. He is also gifted with loyalty though he may disguise it. Madara is often coupled with Bastet, the goddess of cats and both masculine and feminine forms can be expressed by the one born on this day. Just like how Bastet was originally a goddess of lions, this person will also exhibit a fierceness that is hidden by even a small form. Just as the masculine aspect is associated with the sun, the feminine Bastet form is associated with the moon. This conflict means that while on the surface and during the day, this person will work hard and derive energy for projects and goals, he will also have trouble sleeping and be called to the comfort of the night...”

    “Madara and Bastet, hm? I see...” Léon spoke quietly. “So Cécile was the one who gave this to you, huh?”

    Luc kept looking at the page, reading a few lines over as if he didn't believe it himself before looking back up to Léon. “Yeah,” he gave a soft smile. "It's the best birthday present I've ever received...”

    ~~


    Early that morning—though still a few hours before the dawn—Léon placed one foot in front of the other down the road, swaying side to side and sometimes placing an arm against the wall gingerly to maintain his balance. There was once again no carriage: he felt as if a walk would do him some good. He also didn't want anyone to know where he had been: there was always the fear that his drivers were to be bribed. There was a second reason for his ear to ear smile: it was a pleasant evening, after all.

    As he passed small botiques along the empty byways, he looked at their signs barely visible in the pale moonlight. He wondered for a moment what kind of present he should get that young gentleman next month. Funny thoughts traversed his mind. Start with poppies maybe. After all, Thanatos and his brother Hypnos were always depicted offering poppies: those flowers that could bring drowsiness to the eyes—and death to the careless.

    “I wonder if he'd like them,” he asked himself.

    He stared at the closed stands parked neatly next to the buildings for the evening. He took a moment to imagine the flowers. On the thought of presents, though, his mind went back to that strange book. Somehow, although he felt a bit uneasy about it. He turned around. The dark avenue stretched back several miles to where that manor he was just at resided. There was a part of him that wished could return: could talk some more about the guardians of days. What are you doing? there was a voice in his head. He looked to his left at the storefronts again and then to his right where another shaded alleyway cut through some buildings. He decided to take a shortcut.

    ~~


    “I'm afraid Monsieur d'Ardoinville is not at home, sir,” the porter repeated.

    “Armand,” Léon was annoyed, “I know your master is in. If you just tell him who--”

    “I'm sorry, sir, but the master is not in,” was the curt reply.

    Léon's face scrunched into confusion. “I can hear his music from over here, Armand. I'm rather sure that his old fashioned grandmother doesn't listen to any songs this late—not to mention any songs of this kind. If you'll just tell him--”

    “I am very sorry, my lord Vicomte, but the master is not at home,” the porter replied from behind the safety of the gate.

    Léon caught a glimpse of a shadow moving along one of the windows. He was about to say something to the porter again, but decided to turn around and walk away instead.

    ~~


    “Two points to start with,” François d'Ardoinville chuckled to himself as he licked the champagne off the chilled diamond. He dropped the precious gem callously into a nearby glass before licking the rest off his fingers.

    “And remember: you lose five points if you end up answering,” a woman's voice chimed in from behind him. “Double points if you can get him to show some anger with you.”

    François took another diamond from the drink on his left and slipped it into his mouth. He swirled it about with his tongue before fishing it out with his fingers. “I suppose we'll have to thank the Marquise for telling us about Léon. We can have as much fun as we want with him now.”

    “Let's try to get to fifty points then,” the woman said quietly into his ear. “Beautiful touch with the music, by the way.”

    ~~


    “Léon was away again this evening?” Madame de Rosemond sighed while shuffling her deck.

    “So it would seem,” the Marquise replied from the other end of the small table, but here eyes were elsewhere.

    “Did your little spy find out where he was going?” Rosemond raised a quivering brow.

    “He did indeed. Apparently he's been absconding to the Volanges residence at night,” the Marquise allowed herself a small smile.

    Rosemond gave her a suspicious look. “Don't tell me he's already succeeded...”

    “If he has, he'd be gloating about it by now,” the Marquise rolled her eyes. “He's obviously up to something else. The Robespierre boy apparently answered the gate.”

    “I'm guessing Léon is using the boy to get closer to Cécile,” Rosemond speculated as she placed a card down on the table. “It would make sense since I already warned our dear girl about his reputation: he'll need to get in sideways.”

    “Possibly,” the Marquise rested her elbow on the armrest and leaned her cheek against her forefingers. “He has been acting rather strange lately, though.”

    “It would have been easier if he was still embroiled with that spy you sent to keep watch on him... what's his name again...?” Rosemond was waving her hand in the air in a circular motion as if she was weaving the letters from the air into a coherent clump again.

    “François d'Ardoinville,” the Marquise answered. “I needed a favour from Guillaume and he was worried about Léon dabbling with François so I thought I'd make a little exchange.”

    “Guillaume? Isn't he Léon's friend?” Rosemond asked.

    The Marquise couldn't help but laugh. “Let's hope Léon thinks so. It's not like I care if those two fight it out afterward. Guillaume wanted Léon away from François ostensibly because he doesn't want poor François to be taken advantage of.”

    “Was he being taken advantage of?” Rosemond was a bit curious.

    The Marquise shrugged elegantly. “It's enough that Léon has a reputation for such a thing. It doesn't matter what the truth is. Plus, I don't want Léon getting too attached to François anyway: he doesn't need any friends. That would be an inconvenience.”

    “And what did you want from Guillaume?”

    “His credibility. How do you think he can go around with that smiling face and then rat out his 'friends' behind their back? That man's weakness is the same as a professor at an academy: he has the absolute conviction that he's in the right and goes with that principle. It's his reputation, too. So I used him to squeeze a little bit more information out of Cécile since Léon is taking forever. Unfortunately, what I found out was a bit disturbing.”

    “What's that?” Rosemond put the whole deck down and leaned back into her seat. She pulled her hands onto her chest as if shielding herself from something.

    “Apparently, the inheritance that that Volanges woman received also included a catalogue... she has Moloch's List”

    “This is just going from bad to worse!” Rosemond threw up her wrinkly arms into the air. “Then The Lost Number is in danger of being exposed! We can't afford that when we're only less than a year away from bringing him back to Paris! Why don't you just send someone to take care of her right now like you did with the Duchess!”

    “We still have the same problem as before. I know she's made preparations. How she executes them, I don't know, but I won't risk it.”

    “But if she finds out who The Lost Number is then she'll know how to stop The Plague; we won't be able to trigger anything!”

    “True. We'll have to wait until 1788 to bring him back and then a whole year for him to accomplish his goal.”

    “Six years from now?” Rosemond hissed, “that's too long to wait for a Revolution.”
    Last edited by canonized; 17-07-2010 at 02:36.
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  17. #57
    In Hiding dinofs's Avatar
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    A revolution, eh? Great writing, and a great update.
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  18. #58
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    An excellent update and a happy birthday to the lucky fellow
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  19. #59
    saw what you did there Davout's Avatar
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    I loved the opening letter. Very heartfelt. Given the lovely dedication, I suspect it is also quite genuine in its intent. The person with no middle name has received a beautiful gift indeed.

    I am enjoying the wheels within wheels. It may just be me but I also enjoy the flavour you are taking from the original text that these people are being distracted by their facile games with their "points" whilst reality slowly builds along in the background and ultimately overtakes them as their pretend world collapses. Albeit with your usual mystical undertones.

    Bravo and well done, sir.
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  20. #60
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    That's a very panmythological birth-date; and a great present as well.

    The Revolution. Sounds ever so ominous.
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