JE: The Hermetic Garbage of Jenny Everywhere Act V, part II
mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 1 06:28:25 PST 2022
The Legendary Time Crystal! The same object that Cornelius De Witt, the
Dutch assassin, had attempted not long ago to steal from the Statdholder
Cornelius! The name filled Jenny's heart with an obscure wonder and awe.
In one way or another, that name seemed often to occur in times of
strife and political upheaval.
Cornelius had attempted to arrange the murder of the stadtholder of
Holland and was put to death by a mob for his troubles. Since then, in
the eyes of many, Cornelius had become an icon of republicanism and
rebellion all over Europe. Some said that he was in truth a sort of
alchemist, and his true motive was to take the Crystal for himself. He
sought some obscure secret of creation in the jewel said to be held in
the Stadtholder's coffers, brought there by a privateer seeking spices
and slaves from English ships. Where it had come from first was unknown.
In the rush of violence following Cornelius's death, it had disappeared,
but its name was a refrain that bound together contradictory rumors from
all over Europe. Many had come to believe that it held the key to the
world's salvation, or its destruction--if indeed, in its current state,
there was any difference.
After the meeting, Jenny returned to her own apartment in order to
prepare for the ball that night, where she'd get her first glimpse of
some of the players of this new game. Awaiting her there was her
servant, Manon, alias Camille.
Manon, in those days an whore, had been the first to find her and take
her in after the great storm, part of the first wave of the Chaos
Events, had deposited her in Paris. It was she, upon learning Jenny's
skill with swordplay, who introduced her to D'Artagnan, who had once had
her as client, and got her into the Musketeers. If Jenny was to become a
Musketeer, she needed a servant; it was expected from everyone in that
level of society, and expected all the more from someone who did not
naturally belong to it.
So Manon had decided upon the classic theatrical ruse of disguising
herself as a man, a role she inhabited with considerable relish. She
seemed to be both a man and a woman at the same time, each always
playing the role of the other. This was not surprising, as it was she
who had helped Jenny to refashion herself in secret and to choose her
name when Jenny herself had realized that she was not a man.
Preparations for the Ball
"The king's balls are getting bigger every year," said Manon as she
helped Jenny unlace her underclothes. It was an old, expected joke, but
Jenny laughed nonetheless.
"Have you heard anything interesting about the goings-on at the ball?"
said Jenny. Most of the Musketeers never talked much with their
servants, seeing them as often-unreliable instruments; Jenny was one of
the few who ever talked with servants. This gave her information that
others didn't have; it was also useful to gauge what people outside of
De Tréville's breifing room knew.
"Oh, there's a lot of gossip about the guest who's coming, you know, the
King of England's daughter. She rarely ever comes ot these things.
Laura, that's her name. Though it's hard to imagine that Patriarch ever
writing a love-sonnet to her."
"Petrarch, you mean," said Jenny, "and so I've heard."
Manon felt Jenny's body tense up at that name. "You've heard of her?"
"Yes. I've got a presentiment she may make my life difficult. But we'll
"Oh, and there's someone else coming here as well, I've heard. Someone
who's in the area to steal something-or-other for herself. They're
trying to keep it quiet, so people don't panic, but word has got out.
She's a terrorist of some sort, a Russian Nihilist. Her name is
Octobriana, I believe." She felt Jenny's body tense up again as she
slipped her out of her clothes. "What is it?"
"Oh, it just sounds like I'm going to have a very interesting night of it."
Laura. Octobriana. Both those names resounded with an echo somewhere in
the depths of Jenny's mind. She didn't know why, precisely, they
affected her so beyond the impending dangers she'd face. The only way
she could find out, of course, was to go to the ball herself.
After washing, dressing and taking a much-needed nap she did not, sadly,
have much time left to spend with Manon, so after kissing her goodbye,
and promising her more later, she headed for the ball. These sorts of
occasions were always unpleasant for her, for a number of reasons. She
was always aware of being gawked at. She was also always aware of having
to be cast in the role of a man, which did not suit her, though the role
of a woman would suit her just as poorly. Though she did see herself
definitively as a woman, that didn't always mean the same thing for her
it did for others.
Still, maybe she would get some fun out of this particular ball. Maybe
Octobriana would attack.
The Meeting of Eyes
The ball was a typical, tedious affair. Jenny sat through the usual
chatter about the love affairs and grudges of their enclosed world,
counting down the minutes until the moment the Princess of England would
And then, a hush fell over the room. A lady entered in, wearing a
magnificent dark red and gold dress, and the security guards stationed
outside parted before her.
It could only be her. The daughter of the pirate capitalist bastard
(both in the sense of being an illegitimate child and the colloquial
sense), Francis Drake, who had risen to become the undying King of
England. She could not look more different from the famous portrait of
her blonde and fair-skinned father, but had the same imperious, proud
Laura's dark, almost golden-brown eyes looked over the room like those
of an angel of judgment from above. Jenny knew she was staring at her,
but it didn't' matter because so was everyone else.
Then, for a brief moment which others would never notice, Laura's eyes
met hers. Jenny could not read her expression. A shiver of terror and
excitement ran up and down her spine.
A Diplomatic Overture
The dance began. As Laura went through her obligatory dances with
various noblemen and heads of state, Jenny danced on, going through the
motions in which she was now expertly skilled. She danced with a number
of women of great beauty and fame, some of which had occupied her
thoughts earlier, but now her thoughts were only on Laura.
Eventually, those dances came to an end. Laura moved beyond the center
of the crowd and took Jenny by the hand, whirling her into the dance.
The rest of the room dropped away from her sight.
"So," said Laura. "The Chevalier Gaynor d'Aeon, is it?"
"Yes," said Jenny. Somehow, she desperately wished Laura would use the
other name, even though she had no way of knowing it.
"You're the Fifth Musketeer I've heard so much about."
"Don't believe everything you've heard." Jenny flashed a smile.
"I certainly won't. I thought there was supposed to be only three of
you," said Laura. "I look forward to seeing you again." With that, she
spun off into the crowd, leaving Jenny behind.
Jenny's heart sank. Was that it? Then, she realized she was holding
something that Laura had slipped into her hand. It was a piece of paper.
After the Ball
"Amazing!" said D'Artagnan. "She didn't even look at any of us; she went
directly to you. You're not doing so badly for yourself!"
"I guess," said Jenny, smiling thinly. She didn't particularly want the
others to be aware of whatever it was she'd shared with Laura.
"Take care," said Athos. "Love is always more trouble than it's worth."
Jenny knew that Athos had a particular bee or two in his bonnet on that
"More trouble than anything," said Jenny, "except loneliness."
"But you're not lonely," said Porthos, "as long as you have us. All for
one and one for all, isn't it?"
"Very true," said Jenny, "but every person has many facets, like a
diamond, and there are few single individuals or groups that can
comprehend them all. I have some that others haven't seen, perhaps."
"Perhaps," said Aramis, "but it is best not to put one's trust in the
changeable and fickle things of this world."
"Ah, so you're having one of your religious moods again, eh, Aramis?"
"How can one not, these days?" said Aramis. "The end of the world is
surely upon us! The signs are everywhere Look!" He pointed up to the
storm clouds that had gathered above. "There's one coming. I can feel it!"
"Don't be silly, Aramis, that's just ordinary rain," said Porthos.
And then the frogs began to fall from the sky.
The rains of frogs had begun some ten years ago, when the Chaos Storms
had started. At that time, they seemed to be just isolated phenomena
which had no effect on Paris and so could be ignored. Rains of frogs had
not been unheard of in the past, so when they first started happening,
the people of France were more amused than alarmed.
As the chaos storms grew in size and strength, the rains of frogs
increased. Once, it would have been an unusual event if it happened more
than once in a lifetime. In time, it started happening once a year, then
once every few months, then once a month.
Usually, the frogs were dead when they landed, but not always. Sometimes
they were the usual green and sometimes they were a strange, iridescent
blue. Sometimes they even glowed. Sometimes their bodies would stay and
rot, but sometimes they would disappear like the manna of the desert.
Mostly they croaked but there had been one rain two years ago of frogs
that sang with the voices of girls. Once a whole village had even died
of an unknown poison borne by the frogs.
Thankfully, the rain of frogs was fairly light. They each felt a frog or
two smack into their bodies, but none of them were hit all that hard.
When Jenny had made it back to her place and was absolutely sure she was
alone, she took out the piece of paper she'd had in her pocket all this
time and, tremblingly, unfolded it. There was writing in a clean,
meticulous hand she--somehow--immediately recognized as Laura's. It read:
Tomorrow, midnight--Les Larmes du Temps
Jenny's heart skipped. If Laura had chosen that place for their meeting,
she might have known more about what Jenny was doing than she'd let on.
(But Jenny almost wanted her to know.) She folded the piece of paper
securely away and went to an uneasy sleep.
END ACT V
Jeanne "The Dark Space Princess Knight" Morningstar
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