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[personal profile] wonder_city
His Faded Idol


"I have heard that Griselda will not allow even a telephone in the great house," murmured Jeanne-Marie St. Michel of Qu├ębec, gazing around at her new intimate friends with wide blue eyes. "And the daughters all built subsidiary houses of their own at the turn of the last century so they could have electricity."

"How does she plan to 'run the empire' as she puts it?" asked Alicia Figueroa of San Francisco, a dark-eyed, sarcastic beauty about Erszebet's age. "By Pony Express?"

"She can't last that much longer," said Catherine Rezanov, a statuesque double-centenarian from Alaska. "Can she?"

"I am certain that the South American Grand Matriarch hopes she will not," Jeanne-Marie said, "after Griselda apparently sent back a gift from her family with a note saying that the North American Family did not need any 'castoffs from the Third World.'"

"She did not," Alicia said, her eyes growing large. "Did she?"

"I saw a scan of the note," Jeanne-Marie said. "One of the granddaughters in the Brazilian great house posted it on one of the Family forums I'm on."

"I heard," Catherine said, shielding her mouth with her fan, "from someone in a Cotyngham Household, that the President called all the major houses to offer condolences on the death of Klotild, and Griselda wouldn't talk to him, and beyond that, would not allow any of her family to speak to him. Something about not wanting to bother with politicians who have no power."

Jeanne-Marie rolled her eyes. "There will be little respect for the Family once Griselda is in charge," she said.

"If there is so much concern," Erszebet said, "why not choose a different Grand Matriarch?"

The other three stared at her as if she had sprouted multiple heads.

"That is not done," said Jeanne-Marie, but then she added, "Is it?"

"My aunt Csilla is a Family historian," Erszebet said. "I have read her books. The last Grand Matriarchs of Russia, eastern Europe, and Turkey were all chosen from the pool of ancients. And so was the last Grand Matriarch of the British Empire. They stopped choosing one for the Empire after World War Two, I think."

"Klotild became Grand Matriarch because she was the eldest," Catherine said. "And I think her predecessor did too."

"Marie, yes, she was of the St. Michels," Jeanne-Marie said. "She ascended in 1857."

"And Klotild took the title in 1917," Alicia said. "What about before Marie?"

"I think she was one of the Bostonians," Catherine said. "And before that, a Virginian. And then we have no history before that."

"So the tradition," Erszebet said slowly, "is born of four Grand Matriarchs in all?"

"Um," Alicia said, "yes, I guess so."

Catherine tapped her chin with her fan. "This whole thing is very expensive, you know. A convention center. All the travel and food and decoration. All the families have to contribute to the ceremonies."

"And what if Griselda passes away in the next decade or two?" Jeanne-Marie said. "I am my grandmother's secretary, and I know how large the check was for our contribution. It will take us fifty years to make that up."

Erszebet glanced over at the enormous buffet spread. "Though I expect a funeral for Griselda would not include so many who were not of the Family," she observed, watching a half dozen people in bright spandex uniforms exploring the food options.

"She hates paras," Alicia said. "I overheard her commenting on them when my mothers went to greet her."

"Just as well she's in Chicago and not Wonder City," Catherine said.

"Chicago is hardly without paras," Jeanne-Marie said.

"But she can stay away from them there," Alicia said. "Paras and Family have very separate lives. Here in Wonder City... I'm just not surprised that Klotild was so involved."

"Even with the vermin," Jeanne-Marie said in a low voice. "There is quite a large group of them here, you know."

Just at that moment, a coltish young blonde woman in a green tailcoat, breeches, and riding boots walked past holding what was clearly a large glass of beer. "Mikhail," she called across the room, and a similarly-aged, dark-haired boy turned to look her way. He tossed his head and gave her the cut direct. She exploded into raucous laughter and winked at the four staring women. "Maybe I didn't dump him quite as nicely as I could've back in the 90s," she said, her British accent a little slurred. She headed off into the crowd of spandex-wearers.

"Is she one?" Erszebet asked.

"Her? Oh, no," Catherine said. "She's Faerie."

"Oohhhhhh," Erszebet said, and they all nodded, knowing exactly how much trouble that sort could be. Worse than vermin, really.


Author's Note:

Vampires spray for faeries regularly, you know.

Still sick as a dog. Yesterday was Urgent Care and antibiotics. Maybe now I'll stop coughing.

Date: 2012-04-24 12:04 am (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
Only a couple of days in the States and Erszebet's encouraging them to pick their own Matriarch! Good for her. Looking forward to seeing what happens next.

(How many posts is this meant to run, again? If you mentioned it, I've forgotten.)

Date: 2012-04-24 12:19 am (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
I, er, don't actually know how many posts this will run. :) I intend to finish this up in May, though, so I can start Volume 3.

Date: 2012-04-24 12:22 am (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
Ah, ok! I'm enjoying it, don't think I'm not. ;) I was just wondering.

Date: 2012-04-24 01:03 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
No prob! I've been wondering the same thing lately. :)

Date: 2012-04-24 01:25 am (UTC)
the_rck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_rck
Four times does make a tradition in the U.S., but it's not much by the standards of places with longer historical memory.

Thanks for writing!

Date: 2012-04-24 01:04 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
It's true! But our E is just a tiny bit of a snob... ;)

Date: 2012-05-10 03:47 pm (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
She's also from Europe (where the history comes from). They know a bit more about tradition there. :P

Date: 2012-04-24 02:47 am (UTC)
contrarywise: Captain Jack Harkness, smiling (Smile!)
From: [personal profile] contrarywise
Oh, Erszebet, you troublemaker! :D

Date: 2012-04-24 01:04 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Isn't she just?

Date: 2012-05-10 03:46 pm (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
I'm really curious about the technical definition of "vermin" now. Does that mean human? Anything non-vampire? Some kind of vampire that is not Family? Some kind of undead that is not vampire? All of the above?

Date: 2012-05-10 04:46 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
It pretty much means "undead vampire who was formerly human". Humans are fine -- it's the undead that are really looked down upon by the Family.

Date: 2012-05-10 05:02 pm (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Oh, okay. Does that mean that the vampires we are currently following are born more conventionally?

Date: 2012-05-11 10:37 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx


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