Victoria, a wonderful name that had served her for more years than she would care to admit. She would, in moments of humor, admit to stealing it from the Queen, she had loved the way it rolled off of her tongue the first time she had said it aloud and decided to simply become Victoria, and she had been doing that ever since. In time another name would take hold of her mind and she would become the person that name required her to be. Victoria lent itself to pomp, circumstance, elegance and wealth. All of those things were pleasant so the transition was an easy and quick one. Buying some properties here, having a fleet of horses there. It had bee decades before she had to use a little glamour to make people come back to the path she wanted them to walk on because it was a simpler time. There was no Internet and Television, hell radio wasn’t even a thing yet. So when she claimed her wealth and showed it, she was respected on that alone. It is when the communication became so blasted easy that she had had to modify a few things.

The knock upon her dressing room door made her shake herself from her cobwebbed mind and she made sure she used her voice to maximum effect as she answered the knock. “But a moment lovelies, I am putting my face back on, can’t let a Goddess be seen without her makeup now can we?” She waited for and smiled at the laughter she had expected and quickly moved her hands over her body and her clothes shifted into what she needed. No longer on stage, the regal bearing had to go, she needed intimate, approachable, so it was simple cloths, muted colors, showing off the marks just so that they would understand what she was and where she came from, to a point.

Standing, she walked to the door and prepared her best smile as she pulled it open. Before her was quite a dapper man, mid-fifties she suspected. His smile as real as any she had seen in some time and she looked over to Lou, who gave her a subtle nod and she opened the door wider and the man walked through the door.

Now is when the reasons these people came to see her would become crystal clear.

The man had sat down, his hands politely in his lap without showing nerves. His eyes followed her but not with the puppy dog-like adoration she sometimes saw in the men, and women, who came back to see her after the show. No, he wasn’t here to try and play Fuck the Fae, there was a deeper purpose to it and seeing as she knew precisely how much Lou charged people to even knock on the door, whatever he was here for was very important to him indeed.

—–

He looked up at the woman as she closed the door without noise and made her way to the very comfortable divan in the corner of the room. She looked at him with eyes that expected absolutely nothing. No rush or worry, nothing except patience he had never seen in anyone before. he had a feeling she could recline on that divan for years without moving a muscle and not be irritated with him at all if she so chooses. Sadly, the man had a limited amount of time to be here, so he took a chance and decided to get right to the point.

“Madame Victoria, I know that you must have a great many people come into your room and ask you for favors ranging from the rudimentary mundane to things laced with that which is phantasmagorical in all of its essences. I am here to ask of you a boon, yes, but I hope that you will hear me out before you decline.” His eyes looked to hers to see what her reaction thus far.

She smiled softly to him and sat up, her fingers steeples in her lap as she spoke. Her voice was not as honeyed as it had been on stage, but, of course, it wouldn’t be now, would it?

“Firstly, I haven’t heard someone utter the word phantasmagorical in over a hundred years. It is a word that has sadly fallen out of favor in the day and age of the text message and the acronyms for virtually everything. Secondly, I give you my word on the Darkness that Consumes that I will listen to your request and give it every bit of my attention before I judge it as a deed I am willing to do.”

He swallowed as he heard Victoria speak the oath on the Darkness. He was not an expert in such things, but he knew it was not words that her kind used lightly, the consequences of being an oathbreaker were dire if the memory served. Even he had heard of the Wild Hunt and their eternal mission to bring oathbreakers to justice who had sworn such an oath.

“For your pledge to even hear my plea I will gladly give you everything in my name.” He straightened his back as he sat as his mother had taught him so very long ago. “My name is Bertran, I was born in the year of our Lord eleven hundred thirty and five in the cathedral at Carlisle in Cumbria. My dear mother was an indigent who felt shame at having a son out of wedlock, her beau having left her after they had consummated their relationship, his promise of marriage a lie, and she was an outcast. her family disowned her and only the church would allow her sanctuary to give birth to me. We lived there until I came of age, helping in the maintenance of the church, my mother taking her vows when I left to seek my own life.” he stopped speaking and noticed that Madame Victoria looked at him with piercing eyes, seeking anything she could from him. She spoke, her voice not hiding the emotion welling up in her throat.

“You speak to truth to me Bertran of Carlisle. You are not of any Fae line, nor are you of the darkness that makes the immortal promise to the weak, tell me now why you have lived nearly nine centuries as a man of flesh and blood and no magic and have not died. Tell me this now and swear upon the Darkness your words will be true or I shall deliver to you the Hunt myself.” Her words sounded bloodied even to her own ears, but she needed to know how this man existed. She felt not afraid of him, to be with someone even a thousandth of her own age made her feel youth she had not felt since the glaciers still shaped the world.

Victoria swallowed hard, her eyes welling with tears as she read the man’s story in the same writing that adorned her body She learned everything he was at that moment. The magic of the writing told her more than simply words. She composed herself, dabbing at her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt.

“Forgive my emotion, I thought all of them had died long before you were born. No, you are of them, you are the descendants of those that gave me the godhead. So, as the Goddess you did not know your whole life, I swear on the Dark Goddess herself, may her wrath upon me be eternal if I break my oath, that I will do anything you ask of me if it is in my power to do.” She stood and quickly made her way to him and kissed him softly on the forehead. As she did the lines, on her and him glowed as the sun as like recognized like.

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