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I Bare My MarqueI Bare My Marque
It has been, perhaps a little more than a year since I have last taken a lover. I'm sure you would think that strange for a D'Angeline, and certainly most would agree. And for a Servant of Naamah to have gone so long of her own free will? Most would declare that unthinkable.
But I have done so. I made my marque those twelve months past, and I had not desired a patron since. That is not to say I have not practiced my craft. I am a servant of Naamah, but I have always been a storyteller first. My mother, an Eglantine adept, says it is her influence, and I daresay I must agree, though her own genius was more for verse than prose.
I do not belong to Eglantine House. That was my father's doing; though he'd found a lover and wife in the Night Court, he had not wished his daughter to live the same life her mother did. If I was drawn to Naamah's service, he could hardly argue, but he did not want me raised to the life before I had the chance to live any other.
Cassiel's Daggers - 5We were wakened some two hours after dawn by a young Cassiline Brother. He waited at the door, dressed in the ashen grey garb of his kind, as we dressed ourselves. My roommates had all the same clothing of simple shirts and breeches in dove grey, wearing soft slippers of the same hue. My clothes, though less fine than I was accustomed, was still of better quality than their own. I followed them out the door and watched as Brother Guy went to two other rooms to collect eight more boys, all either ten or scarce older. Astin, I judged, was the eldest of the lot.
Still bleary with sleep, I let myself fall into the back, away from the curious stares of my peers. We were ushered deeper in the Sanctuary, to a room that was bigger than I could have imagined. The tables and benches were in near-mathematically precise lines. It was empty, but for two initiates at the fore table, which was laden with food.
Cassiel's Daggers - 4Of the journey, I will say little. In truth, there is not much to tell. We rode for two weeks across the breadth of Terre D'Ange, to the county of Siovale where the Sanctuary was situated. I paid no mind to the weather, preoccupied as I was with missing my family. Brother Gautier, for his part, was a silent companion. He spoke little, and when he did, it was to teach me the Eluine Cycle as it is told in the Sanctuary.
As every D'Angeline knows, Blessed Elua was begotten by the Earth, from the blood of Yeshua ben Yosef and the tears of the Magdelene. He traveled hither and yon, until he was imprisoned in Persis. It was there that the servants of the One God chose to lend their aid to him. Naamah was the first, who offered her virtue in exchange for his freedom.
That much, every D'Angeline knows, and much of this tale is known outside the boundaries of our nation. What I learned
Cassiel's Daggers - 3As I had told Lucien, the date of my leaving was set a fortnight from my birthday. Preparations were made for my journey, and a tension developed between me and Emil. One day, after a particularly trying argument that left us both frustrated with the other, I told Etaine of it. She listened to my words without comment, watching her son play in the corner of the garden with a serene expression. This, I had learned it the four years, meant she was thinking.
"I don't know why he's so angry with me," I complained to her. "It's not like I did anything to him."
"You're leaving soon," she reminded me gently, running a hand to smooth my hair. "Your brother is unaccustomed to the thought of you being gone from his life. The two of you have been together since birth." She smiled down at me. "Forgive him for it, Edouard, and be patient with him. He is already missing his brother sorely, a
Cassiel's Daggers - 2I was banned from my lessons, by the Prefect of the Brotherhood I was to be pledged to.
To be sure, I was to continue to learn of the history of Terre D'Ange and what languages my father would allow me. Such lessons were reckoned valuable and encouraged. Our father brought tutors to see to our schooling, and Etaine supervised. For all that she disliked us and for all that was to come later, she had pride, and in her pride she could not allow two boys thrust into her care to remain ignorant. Caerdicci, I learned, and Hellene as well. I learned the mythologies and histories of those lands, with some emphasis on their battles and campaigns. Poetry, also, was a part of our curriculum, though that was at Etaine's behest, rather than normal for Camaeline children.
Emil and I studied together, puzzling out mathematics and histories and languages together. Such things were not to be banned for me. It was th
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