Description and Background
Viola was a high elf by every definition of the word. Her features were often the talk of those at court in her earlier years, and still turned heads even today. Long platinum layers of hair, often bound in loose braids atop her head and still falling far down her back. She had a refined and practiced grace that was envious even among her own people. Her courtiers were many and she was often found on the ballroom floor of all the formal occasions of the local aristocracy, and this past showed in her poise and speech. Her demeanor was calm, and cool, adding to the impression that her flesh was indeed made of the alabaster she so closely resembled.more...
Viola Belle was born to a noble family of high respect. Schooled and raised inside the middle ranks of the royal courts, she was on her way to the measured life of a respectable aristocrat. Her Debutante days were filled with gossip and social gatherings. She spent her time seeking amusement in books and information gathering. As was tradition, she was taught basic swordsmanship and archery for sport. She also found joy in gymnastics and long ventures into the local bazaars (with plenty of escorts, of course) where she would indulge her other amusements such as locks and keys and other 'oddities' she collected. Viola's life, however was destined for tragedy...
20 Aprilis Year 701
I went to the Spring Ball this evening. The music was dull and made for poor dancing, but I heard a good bit of intrigue about the Manetou Family. It seems that young Master Manetou is in a bit of scandal. His fiance seems to have found out that he is a great lover, and it was not first hand. Also, Daddy seems nervous tonight. He should learn to relax more at these functions, it is a party after all.
29 Aprilis Year 701
Daddy has been insufferable of late. He has been snapping at everyone, not just the help this time. He shouted at mommy this morning and then me. He has never shouted at either of us in the past. He has been on edge ever since the Ball. Liannae and I are off to the markets today. She wants to get a new dress for court and I am going to look for another vial of perfume. I could use the distraction.
30 Aprilis Year 701
Yesterday could have went better. I ran into young Master Manetou while I was out with Liannae at the markets. I was looking at a most curious lock with four pendulums when he accosted us. His company was most unwelcome as he and his party were quite well into their drink already. He had the audacity to say Daddy was in some kind of financial trouble and was beholden to the Elder Manetou. I know better. Daddy would never deal with them. They are too wrapped up in intrigue. I will speak to Daddy tonight at dinner, and let him know what vile things Master Manetou is spreading about our family.
1 Maius Year 701
I went to Daddy last night as planned. He denied everything at first, but I pressed him for information. That, in hindsight, may have been a mistake. He exploded and threw his goblet into the fireplace. I've never seen this side of my father. He confessed that he had been involved in a deal with one of the Manetou's connections for the past year. At some point the Manetou family themselves took over the business and changed the terms of Daddy's original agreement. Now through some other shady dealings they have backed Daddy into a corner so to speak and he is at risk of loosing everything. How could this happen? My Daddy has always been a fair dealer. He has never been anything but honest. How could they all conspire so against him?
21 Maius Year 701
Things are getting bad. Daddy has taken to locking himself in his study and drinking. We rarely see him anymore, but we do hear him shouting at the servants and his business partners. They are pleading with him daily to agree to some additional deal with the Manetou family in order to settle dealings with them. All I know is that he refuses. He has sold off our carriage and most of the horses this week. Mother and I noticed there are other items beginging to come up missing around our home as well. A set of china here, a peice of art there. The house is slowly seeming more empty. I've stopped going on my outings with Liannae and my other friends. It's just as well. They are turning less about cordial ventures into the city and more about inquiries into our family's business.
26 Maius Year 701
Daddy has ordered us all inside the house. The gate is locked and all the staff has been dismissed except for a handful of bodyguards, one of which is outside my door now as I write this. Apparently there was a threat on Daddy's life.
27 Maius Year 701
A group of thugs broke into the house last night, smashing through the gate and killing one of out guards. Luckily they were cut down in one of the stairwells leading to our quarters. Daddy is still locked away in his study. I will plead with him in the morning to make whatever deal he can with the Manetou's. Things certainly couldn't get any worse. I found myself unable to sleep last night. I spent the night in the shadow of my balcony with my bow and arrow. My days are dull locked away in the house. I suppose sleeping is as good a way to spend away those hours as anything else.
28 Maius Year 701
The Manetou's have frozen the last of our dwindling assets. We cannot even get our gate fixed! I am afraid that Daddy has gone quite mad at this point. Mommy is worried sick, and my dear brother is pacing so much I fear he will wear his way straight through the floor of his room. Some of our bodyguards have left, fearing they will not be paid for their services. I have secretly taken a turn as night watch since I have not been able to sleep since the break in the other night until well into the daylight hours when I can feel somewhat safe. With the guards leaving, I hate to think of what could happen.
30 Maius Year 701
There was another intruder last night. A lone assassin snuck past our guard at the still broken down gate by climbing the wall just across from my room. When I saw them I shouted a warning and was greeted with a bolt which struck the window frame near my head. I was so shocked that I did not react at first. Luckily I came to my senses and fired back. Just in time it would seem. When our guards went to the body they reported that the crossbow he had been carried was reloaded. I doubt his aim would have been as forgiving the next time.
1 Iunius Year 701
My brother has been taken from us. His impacience with Daddy and the Manetous reached a boiling point yesterday. This morning, against Daddy's wishes, he went to the Manetou Manor and demanded an audience with the Elder Manetou. I am unsure of the details, but his body was delivered to the gate shortly before lunch. Mommy is beside herself and Daddy has gone quite mad. I don't know what to do.
4 Iunius Year 701
We laid my dear brother to rest today. May the gods take his soul and grant him respite. Mommy and Daddy do not seem as though they can last much longer. I am afraid that unless something changes soon they will be soon to follow my dear brother. The strain in this house is so tight, I feel as though we could snap at any moment.
5 Iunius Year 701
The manor is on fire.
(Here there are several pages torn out)
10 Quintilis Year 701
These days at Crownbarge Manor under the guardianship and hospitality of Leanae's family. This is truly the last house that has been willing to openly associate with me since all this started. The growing power and fear surrounding the House Manetou seems to have driven most away and the rest to licking their boots. Unfortunately, even this cannot last. This morning at breakfast, Master Manetou, acting as Liason for the Elder as is tradition, came to Crownbarge Manor asking audience at breakfast. He explained that my late father had amassed several debts, which they had purchased in recent months. Since they owned all these debts, they were the soul authority to my family. I, as the last scion of the Belle House, was now responsible for these debts. Master Manetou then reminded Liannae's father that he could not claim guardianship nor hospitality to me as by right it was his to claim since I was also his debtor. He said I would be able to earn my debt off within the House Manetou... as a scullery maid.
I will tell them today at dinner that I will be leaving in the morning for Manetou Manor. The house of those that have destroyed my family, name and all. What I will not tell them is that I will be leaving tonight after everyone is asleep. It should be a simple matter of scaling the ledge outside my window and then it is a short jump down to the wall and out the other side. I will miss Liannae and the Crownbarge Household. They have always been good friends. I will leave a note absolving them from responsibilities in this, but I will not bow to a Manetou as long as I live. I will see them all dead first for what they did to me and my family!
23 Quintilis Year 701
That's it. I have just spent the last of my money on rations that will barely last me a week. I hope I can find some kind of work soon.
26 Quintilis Year 701
I found a little work at an inn in a small town. The Usher's Whisper. Strange name. Anyway, I am waiting tables and making a little money here, plus I have a good place to stay for the time being. I want to keep moving soon though. I am not far enough away from home yet to be safe for long. On a happier note, there is a festival starting in a couple of days that should bring in more business and wages. Maybe I can steal away some time from handing out ales to these savages and find some distraction.
30 Quintilis Year 701
It's the second day of the festival. There was plenty of work, but when my shift was finally over I went to see what the festival could offer. There was a small archer contest that had a money prize, and I am happy to say that I won. I now have enough money that I can afford to get moving again. One of the performers mentioned they will be continuing north, which is where I am headng anyway. I might see if I can come along.
2 Sextilis Year 701
So I am now a part of the Flaming Circles Circus. The troop I mentioned earlier. I asked around for who was in charge and found it was the man I had spoken to a few night's back and his wife. They had noticed me at the archery contest and said they would take me on as an act. When asking if I had any other talents I mentioned some of my tumbling I did in my youth, and it was enough for them to assign me to train with their acrobats. If it pays and puts miles between me and home in the process without having to get felt up by drunks in a tavern, I'd clean the stables if they asked, but I'll never tell them that.
4 Sextilis Year 702
I don't know why I have not recorded another day in here for so long. Life has been... well... good. I guess I was too busy. It has been about a year since I joined the Flaming Circles and have earned myself a reputation, Lady Belle of the Bow, they call me. I shoot bow and walk tightropes for a living now. My marksmanship demonstrations and gymnastics are enough to draw a crowing in any small town, but now I find myself back in the town where it all started. I dare say, I was happy this past year. I hope it stays that way.
6 Sextilis Year 702
Disaster! I was walking the grounds today before show doing my chores and who do I see? Master Manetou was shaking down Eneth and Izrah for a cut of their profits for the festival. I stood there dumbfounded. I saw the ghost of all my family rising up before me when I saw him. It would have been so easy. I already had my bow. All I needed to do was nock an arrow and let it fly... Why didn't I do it? Then he turned and saw me. It took him a moment, but before I could leave, he recognized me. He said he would make sure to see the show, then we would talk. Why? Why after so long is this happening to me? Why did it have to be him?
7 Sextilis Year 702
It's all over now. Last night at the show, he was there. He was in the third row, in a well lit area, surrounded by his lackeys and body guards. His smug smile focused on me from the moment the acts were being introduced, and each time I was performing. He had arranged to meet me before the show. He said he was happy to have finally caught up with me. And that I had the choice of coming with him after the show was over to join his house as his personal servant... and judging from how his eyes and hands lingered over me, I knew what he meant; or I could continue to defy him and he would tear this circus apart the same way he tore apart my House. Towards the end of the show, after my final act was over. I had snuck back out to the tent. It was dark for the most part except where the large bulls-eye lanterns were showing the acts. It was so easy. I snuck up the ladder to the tightrope mount. My bow was in hand. I was able to see him so clearly. I took my time and eased into my aim. I chose the moment with leisure and just as the crowd was applauding, as they always did, I let the arrow fly. I remember how easy it seemed. I watched the arrow fly for what seemed like an eternity until it struck him in the neck. As everyone stood to clap, he grasp his throat, a look of disbelief on his face. He seemed to turn in my direction just before he slumped forward, dead. No one noticed at first and I was able to swing down the stage-line to the ground, into the stage tent and out before I heard the first scream. By the time they thought to look around for me, I was already gone on one of the horses outside. I left a letter for Eneth and Izrah, thanking them for their help this past year. I will miss them dearly.
14 Martius Year 703
Seems I am carving out a new reputation now. Work is getting steadier and steadier. It turns out that when you manage to off one of the most powerful noble family's heirs, people take notice. Belle of the Bow they called me. Well, I guess society cannot bring themselves to call me a lady anymore. Long as the pay is good, who gives a damn anymore? We all get our throat slit in the end. One way or another.more...