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Name: Elphie | Gender: female | Age: 24 | Posts: 210 | Roses: 10
Old 04-25-2010 at 01:42 PM
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 Post [11]

Brilliant again wandering. You really can get into the characters head. Can't wait for the next one. Great work

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Name: April | Gender: female | Age: 34 | Posts: 135 | Roses: 10
Old 06-10-2010 at 08:08 AM
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 Post [12]

The knowledge that he had a mother's love, whether the woman who had given birth to him loved him or not, was all that kept Erik going over the next few months. Madeleine no longer threatened him, but he knew Dr. Barye kept pressuring her to have him sent to that terrible place for mad people. Marie's love was also all that kept him from running away. His mother, he was sure, would be glad if he were gone and she were free to marry her doctor. But Marie would not. She'd said she didn't understand how Madeleine could even think of sending Erik away, said she cared about him as if he were her own. It would hurt her to lose him. In spite of the isolation from the rest of the village, she wanted him there. And he didn't want to hurt her by leaving. Still, he was ever observant for the first sign of her wishing he were gone.
Madeleine, meanwhile, had thought very hard about her situation. How could she give up Dr. Barye? How could she abandon her child? If he were truly the monster he looked like, it would have been easy. She'd seen his temper, the mischief he came up with, And yet she'd also seen how he acted with Marie. He'd made up for breaking the lamp and been honestly sorry he'd done it. Seeing how he'd acted after that made her realize she didn't know a thing about her own son. It was like seeing him for the first time. He wasn't the monster she'd thought he was. He was just an extremely gifted and insecure little boy the way Marie had always tried to tell her.
Etinne would never understand that. He would always see Erik as something that should be kept in a cage, a demented demon. There didn't seem to be a time when they were together that the subject of what to do with Erik didn't come up, and he was always trying to convince her of what was right. She was beginning to see that she did not want a man who would always be trying to tell her what to do. Could she love a man who couldn't accept her child? And what kind of woman was she to have treated Erik the way she had? She thought of all the times she'd hurt him. She'd ruined his fifth birthday, and more recently led him to live in terror of being locked away. She'd been ashamed to see how wrong she'd been, how far being shown love went with Erik, and how grief stricken he'd been lately.
For once she had to put Erik first. She knew that the next time she saw Etinne, she'd have to tell him she couldn't accept his proposal. And she had to tell Erik what she was going to do. She might even be ready to start being a mother to him.
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When Madeleine reached the Perraults, she couldn't help noticing the sad look on Mr. Perrault's face when he let her in.
"Is something wrong with Erik?" she asked, surprised at her own concern. "He isn't ill is he?" She'd have been surprised if he was though. erik never fell ill.
"He'll be all right in time," he told her. "He's just going through a sad time. Sasha passed away last night. Erik stayed up all night petting her as she passed and he's still holding her body."
Poor Erik. Sasha had been his best friend, and although Marie had told her as long as Erik believed he'd see Sasha again in Heaven he was able to take the idea of her death relatively well, actually knowing she was dead would be agony for him. Madeleine went up to Erik's room where Marie had an arm around Erik. The thought of erik's face still made madeleine's flesh crawl, but she managed to put a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry Erik. But she had a good life, and you made her last years as comfortable as you could," she told him. Erik didn't seem to hear her and said distantly
"I must bury her and sing her requium."
"Erik!" Madeleine gasped.
"He needs this, Madeleine," Marie told her. "Let him grieve the way he has to."
Madeleine looked at her friend as if she'd gone mad. But this was not the time to argue, and Marie had a way of understanding how Erik thought that she knew she'd never had. Instead of correcting Erik's misunderstanding of the Church's teaching, she went with Erik and the others to where they would bury Sasha. Mr. Perrault offered to help did the hole, but Erik insisted he wanted to do this for his friend himself.
Once Sasha was burried, Erik tearfully sang a requium for her, pouring out his grief. Then he turned to Marie for a hug.
"It will be all right," Marie told him sadly. She had tears in her eyes too. Everyone did. It would have been impossible not to after hearing Erik's requium for Sasha.
"I'm sorry, Erik." Madeleine told him again. He still seemed not to hear her. It was easy to see he needed some good news just then.
"Erik, I came to tell you that I'm not going to marry Doctor Barye," she said slowly. Her son looked at her, astonished.
"But that's what you want. You said I was all that kept you from marrying him, so I might be sent to an asylum if i didn't do as you said."
Madeleine flinched.
"I should never have said those things, Erik. I never mean them. And-" she hesitated. "And- I would like to try to be a mother to you again, if you'll let me."
"You mean leave Marie?" Erik gasped. "Leave Marie and Grandma and Grandpa?"
"They'd still be as much a part of your life as always," Madeleine asured him.
Erik's eyes showed his uncertainty. He'd always wanted his mother to love him. But he'd always felt loved by Marie and her parents. He would always love them in return. And yet even with the way she'd always rejected him, he'd always loved her too. She was still his mother, after all.
"You don't have to do anything right now," Madeleine told him.
Erik nodded, and together the group left Sasha's grave, Erik looking back as if by sheer willpower he could bring his friend back to him.
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The next few years passed in relative happiness for Erik. The cruel remarks and occasional threats from the villagers continued. Sometimes people still threw rocks through the windows. (Luckily this had only happened three times in Erik's memory.) But Marie and her parents continued to give him unconditional love, and Madeleine had come to accept him much more than anyone would have believed possible. Erik was thirteen now, and divided his time almost evenly between his mother's and Marie's.
And yet Erik could never quite feel at ease. He knew the people he cared about were outcast because of him, and he wanted better for them. Also his thirst for knowledge could no longer be quenched by what Professor Guizot and Father Mansart could teach him. Madeleine had given him his father's architectural library and everyone kept him supplied with books, and he continued to experiment with magic and illusion. He sometimes snuck away at night to see the gypsies when they came near Boscherville, close enough for a good view but far enough to safely remain hidden since he remembered his mother telling him that gypsies were known to carry children off. He observed their magic closely and in almost no time could duplicate their tricks and had made many improvements on them. Their music was also magical to him. he loved it's freedom, the feeling put into it. Some of the compositions he wrote around that time were inspired by gypsie music.
There was nothing left to learn here, and he felt the need to fulfil his dream of entering the Grand Prix de Rome stronger than ever. He was only thirteen, and knew that no one that young had ever entered the Grande Prix yet, much less won it. Still, he found himself thinking, hadn't Mozart already been famous throughout all of Europe at an even younger age than he was now? There was no reason, Erik thought, why being so young should hold him back.
For many months, Erik stayed locked in either his room playing his violin or in the parlor playing the piano. He'd refuse to come out even to eat and seemed to never sleep. It wa as though he were posessed. If the house had been burning down around him Erik would hardly have noticed while he was composing. It was rare for even Marie to convince Erik to rest or eat.
The melody would be repeated again and again with minor alterations, perfected until anyone listening to it would find themselves helpless to keep from raising their hands in ecstacy, drifting towards the music. It was posessing, filling their very souls. No music like it had ever been composed before, even by Erik.
There was darkness in the piece, but there was light too. It seemed to float, then fall again and again, filling and intoxicating the senses. It was an outstanding sonata of both despair and hope, so complex and with melodies so rich it seemed impossible for one set of hands to be playing it. The music seemed to be carried on the air and become all that was. No music could be more beautiful, and yet Erik was still not satisfied
"It must be finished soon," he would insist to himself. "Quite finished."
Finally even Erik must have been satisfied. It was an overwhelming relief when Erik could be coaxed into eating and sleeping almost normally again, but even so the music still seemed to float through the air even when it wasn't played.
In the days that followed Erik still played the piece, although rarely. He seemed distracted, his thoughts far away. Then one day he asked Marie if she could please find him a book on how to speak Italian.
"Italian?" Marie asked, surprised.
"Well, since I'm going to Rome soon, if I win the Grande Prix of course, I thought it would be easier if I spoke Italian, even if the academy there is French."
Going to Rome soon. Soon didn't mean a few years from now. That composition he'd agonized over, polished to Heavenly perfection, was his entry for the compitition. He'd win, she knew. There was no way he'd lose with that sonata. And then he'd be away from his home and family for five years. A thirteen, soon to be fourteen, year old boy away from home for the first time was a nervous situation for any parent, but with the hardships Erik was sure to face this was nothing short of a nightmare. But she knew there was no way to stop Erik once he'd made up his mind. Erik picked up on Marie'd mood.
"I have to do this, Marie." And she knew he was right. Slowly, sadly, she nodded.
"I'll speak to your mother and we'll ask Professor Guizot for the entry forms."
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The architecture professor promised to bring the entry forms when he came for Erik's next lesson, and when he did Erik practically pounced on him the boy was so anxious. Soon everything was arranged. Professor Guizot was disapointed at first that Erik would be studying music instead of architecture, but Erik pointed out that he wasn't exactly neglecting the subject. After all he'd studied architecture for years now already, and he planned to continue to learn what he could about it ovr time.
Erik mailed out the sonata and in the mean time there was little to do but wait. Erik continued to study Italian, again taking only the minal time away from it. He rapidly developed a vocabulary extensive enough that he'd be ale to at least let others know what he needed, and it was obvious to everyone that before long he would be fluent in the language.
Then one day a man came to call, speaking French but with a very slight Italian accent. It was Madeleine who answered the knock.
"Hello. I'm looking for Erik-" The man broke off seeing the masked boy looking down from the staircase.
"Is there some type of problem?"
"No, no. I'm Monseour Lestraum-"
Erik knew that name.
"From the Grande Prix." He said, barely holding in his excitement as he came down the stairs.
"You're Erik?"
The masked boy nodded.
"I've won then?"
Monseur Lestraum just stared at him.
"You? You wrote this piece of music?" He held up the sheet music.
Erik suddenly felt ill. What was the problem?
"Yes. Of course I wrote it."
"Good God boy you can't be more than thirteen!"
"I'll be eighteen later this summer."
"Erik!" his mother yelled at the lie.
"Oh, fine then. I'll be turning fourteen. But people of all different ages have won before. I- I have won, haven't I?" He asked nervously.
"Won? Whoever wrote this piece should be teaching rather than learning. But this has to be a joke. No one so young could have written this. The professors themselves could barely play it. What musical training have you had before?"
"My mother taught me what she knew of the piano and violin and Father Mansart gave me the basics of vocal instruction and I taught myself from there."
"Impossible then. I doubt you could even play this piece."
Erik was getting angry now. He didn't much like being called a cheater.
"Are you so sure?"
He took the sheet music.
"Would you prefer I played it on the piano or the violin?"
"It doesn't matter," the other man answered. He grinned as though suspecting Erik would back down at the last minuet. Erik sat at the piano and began to play, letting himself get lost in the music. When it was finished, he looked up to see his mother and Marie, who had watched the whole thing, helping Lestraum to a chair.
"How is such a thing possible? He makes Mozart look like a dull plodder at best!"
"Do you believe I wrote this now then?"
He nodded, then seemed to calm himself back to normal.
'One last question..."
Erik had a safe guess what it would be.
"My face does not affect my music in any way.'
"No, no I daresay it doesn't."
He gave Erik instructions about when he was supposed to leave and where exactly he was supposed to go when the time came to go to Rome, and then left. Marie and Madeleine both looked at Erik, but he was too excited to notice.
"I won the Grand Prix de Rome," he repeated several times, as if reassuring himself it were true. The two women could only hope Erik wouldn't be disapointed in what awaited him out in the world.
AN: I tried to stay as true to character and history as possible in this. I could find no age restrictions on winners of the Grande prix, and found a variety of ages when they won. I know Erik is young here, but Kay described his as being far more gifted than even Mozart, and he was extremely famous well before he was thirteen. I hated including sadness like Sasha dying, but I felt something that important in Erik's life should be included. Also I thought it seemed right to have Madeleine realize she loves Erik, but I didn't want him to run away, so i hope it turned out well.
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Name: Elphie | Gender: female | Age: 24 | Posts: 210 | Roses: 10
Old 06-10-2010 at 11:17 AM
Lady of Music
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 Post [13]

Brilliant! I was wondering how you werer going to do this part, and as ever you delivered fully, again filled with absalute magic! Can't wait till the next piece lol. Keep it up wandering

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Name: Rachel | Gender: Senorita | Posts: 99 | Roses: 10
Old 06-14-2010 at 08:29 AM
Wandering Child
I've decided, decided....

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 Post [14]

That's great, Wandering! Can't wait to see what you'll do from here!

And thus, she stands there. Watching, waiting, and hoping that she will not have to betray her Angel of Music.
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Name: April | Gender: female | Age: 34 | Posts: 135 | Roses: 10
Old 07-24-2010 at 08:40 AM
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 Post [15]

Although it seemed to Erik that the day he'd be leaving for Rome would never come, after weeks of packing and repacking at last his luggage was loaded onto the carraige and it was time to leave. Madeleine, Marie, and her parents all rode along with erik to the train station. Much to Erik's dismay the train was late, but that did give his family more time to say goodbye.
"No matter what anyone says, marie told him. "Just remember you have family here who love you."
Erik nodded, his will to leave wavering slightly as marie held her arms out to him and gave him good bye hyg. Mr. Perrault was the next to say goodbye, shaking hands with him.
"Make sure to hold your temper and focus on your lessons rather than on what others may say or do," he advised. 'And you'll be all right."
Mrs. Perrault gave Erik a squeeze on his shoulder.
"Take care of yourself, Erik."
Madeleine was the last one to say goodbye. By now, the train had arrived and Erik, not expecting her to say anything, was just about ready to get on board when she came over .
"I have something for you," she said and pulled out a stack of envelopes. Erik easily recognized them.
"Grandfather's designs," he said, surprised. Though extremely neat and tidy, his mother was also a notorious hoarder who rarely gave anything away. While he'd often looked through them before, it had been understoof that they were not his to keep.
"I thought you'd like to have them," she said simply.
"There's an extra envelope," he noted.
"I put together your designs and compositions," she told him. "I thought you'd like to look back on your earlier work. I- kept a few pieces out though. They were some of my favorites."
She'd never complimented his work before. Erik thought about embracing her or kissing her cheek. But while Marie seemed to enjoy these signs of affection, he knew his mother would most likely recoil in horror. And yet as he went to board the train his mother called to him one last time.
"Erik-" He turned to look at her as she spoke. "I'm proud of you."
His eyes, the only part of his face visable through the mask, shown brighter, with more warmth. He'd never expected to hear her say that.
"Thank you, Mother." He looked at his family. "I'll write all of you soon." Behind the mask he smiled. "And I promise to try to write legibly."
It was true. He could sketch or paint as well and better than any of the masters, but he'd never found a use for improving his handwriting. No one doubted he could have elegant hand writing if he wanted, but it simply wasn't something he cared about, so his handwriting was about as legible as a child's scribble most of the time.
The train whistle blew a final warning, and Erik waved a last goodbye before finding his seat on the train as it pulled away from the station. A few people looked up from their private conversations or the books or papers they were reading to stare at the strange youth in the mask. Erik tensed and sighed, feeling the enormity of being away from his home and family for the first time.Suddenly the cruel leers from strangers had more power behind them.He made a mental note to be one of the first ones on the train when he switched at the next station so that he could find a seat and bury his face in a book before anyone could notice him.
Luckily he'd brought plenty of books for the long journey.
The journey went smoothly after the next stop, with nobody paying much attention to the boy with his face burried in a book.He finished his collection of Poe within the hour.
"...and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."
Poe was very macabre of course, but Erik loved his writing.
Instead of closing the book, Erik kept his face covered with it as he looked out over the countryside. There were still many miles to go before they reached Rome, of course, but Erik allowed himself to daydream about what the scenery in Italy would be like. Soon the daydreams became real dreams as he fell asleep.
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My dear family,
I arrived in Rome and am settled in. The Villa de medici is so beautiful! I've started several sketches of it which i will send home when I have finished them. My compositions are comming along well, and the classes are very enjoyable. I know you worry about how the other students react to me. I would say there are no problems, I know you would never believe it. Truly though, you have no reason to worry. With so few students and so much to do there is little time for the others to wonder what my mask hides. I will write again soon, and am looking forward to seeing you for Christmas.
Love, Erik.
Erik sighed as he finished writing the letter. If he were completely honest, there were some problems with the other students. There were the expected stares and whispers, and once they heard his music it would have been nearly impossible for them not to be jealous. And yet what Erik had written in the letter was true for the most part. There were only fifty students at the academy, the first and second place winners in each of five catagories in one of five different years of their education. With so few students things weren't as bad as they might have been.
By the time Christmas was near, Erik had impressed the professors to such an extent that he'd been offered a chance to help tutor the students in his year who were struggling more. Being so young and only in his first year besides, this was an unheard of honor, and Erik realized that. And yet he also realized that no student would want help from the strange boy in the mask, and respectfully turned the honor down.
And so time passed with Erik keeping to himself as much as possible. It wasn't difficult. When he wasn't working on classwork, studying the masters and composing music of his own, he would play music simply for enjoyment. If he hadn't had to stop for his classes he could have played for days on end without stop. When the weather was nice, for a change of pace he would often go outside and sketch. Rome was a paradise for anyone who loved architecture. Everywhere there was something beautiful to see, and loving beauty so much, Erik absorbed everything like a sponge. Hee wanted to see absolutely everything roma had to offer. Architecture from ancient and medieval Rome, Renaissance, Baroque, and neoclassical architecture were all there for him to take in. Soon he had nearly a thousand sketches of the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Palazzo del Quirinale, the Palazzo Venezia, the Palazzo Farnese, the Palazzo Barberini, the Palazzo Chigi, the Palazzo Spada, the Palazzo della Cancelleria, and the Villa Farnesina. He climbed the Janiculum and sketched what the finest view of Rome had to show, The view was breathtaking, and Erik had been in awe of it for a long time before he began to sketch. When he was finished it showed many of the buildings he's already sketched, plus the great park of the Villa Borghese , the drum of the castle of St. Angelo, and the flat facade of the Santa Maria d'Aracoeli, all of which he would sketch later.
He often visited the Teatro Valledi, Rome's opera house and theater. The opera house was known for performing the works of local, unknown composers often, and Erik thought this would be a perfect starting place to begin his musical career. The life of a composer, an artist of any kind, was not an easy one. It was hard for a person to stand out and build a reputation. He visited the museum of musical instraments in Rome, and vowed that one day he would have a Stradavarius violin.
Erik always made sure to keep the door to his rooms locked whenever he went out. Once he'd been so involved in composing he'd almost been late for classIn his rush he'd forgotten to lock his door. When he'd come back, he'd come back to find his newest composition torn to pieces and several inventions he'd been toying with destroyed. He'd made sure whoever did it wouldn't do it again. Anything possible that could be used as a trap was. He'd deliberately left the door open for the next few days, waiting out of sight. After several days had passed he'd begun to think all his effort was wasted, but then finally he heard the telltale whistles and saw the cloud of smoke leaking out of his rooms, making it impossible for the intruder to see. Several bangs told him the paint cans he'd riggeed up had come down on the head of the intruder, and he heard a yelp as the intruder grabbed hold of the doorknob to get out, heated to nearly red hot, followed by a whoosh of water comming down from a trap door Erik had rigged overhead. The intruder fled for his life, cursing loudly. Unfortunately, Erik didn't get to see who it was, but he was left in peace after that.
When the term ended, Erik felt it had been a very productive year. The music he'd composed this year was by far the best he'd ever written. The ideas that had started flowing came in a constant stream now, the music in his head never stopping thanks to the inspiration he'd gotten. Every student was required to send a yearly "envois de Rome," a masterpiece inspired by what they'd learned, to Paris to be evaluated. Erik was particularly proud of his newest composition. The other students had more or less gotten used to him wearing a mask by now too, and that plus the story whispered among the students about what had happened the last time someone bothered Erik resulted in him being left mostly to himself.
About a week before it was time to go home for the summer holiday, Erik went to take a last look for the year around Rome, and found himself in a mason's yard. It was early morning, and there was no work going on just yet. On an impulse Erik climbed the scafolding. He couldn't resist touching the beautiful stone work. He was studying the masonry so intently that he never heard the man approaching him, and jumped down with a start when he saw him.
"I wasn't doing any damage!" he said hurridly, not wanting trouble.
"I can see that," the older man said with a smile. "Nobody ever did any damage to a stone strictly by stroking it."
"Oh!" Erik gasped. 'How long have you been watching me?"
"Long enough to know I wasn't watching a thief at work," he answered. "You're interested in stone masonry?"
Erik nodded.
"I love all art, actually. But yes, I do love architecture and stone masonry."
The older man studied him.
'You speak Italian, but you're French, aren't you?"
"Yes, sir. I study music at the French Academy at the Villa de Medici."
"Classes are over for the term, aren't they?"
"Yes sir. I'll be going home to France for the summer holiday soon."
Studying him a moment, the older man asked "Before you leave, would you care to see some plans?"
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Almost immediately, Erik found Giovani to be extremely likable. He was very kind and patient about answering all Erik's questions, and never asked about the mask. Erik was very eager to learn all he could about masonry, and before long everything was arranged. Erik would go home for a visit, but he would be back soon to learn all Giovani could teach. He would take classes at the academy again when the term started of course, but he could not bear to turn down a chance to learn a new skill.
For his part, Giovani felt drawn to Erik. The boy was extremely well mannered and polite, and obviously intelligent. A Prix de Rome winner at his age was beyond extraordinary. And he had a passion for learning that went beyond anything Giovani had ever seen. He hadn't been looking for an apprentice, but after meeting Erik, he found himself wondering what would happen if Erik did devote himself to learning masonry as eagerly as music. Both were looking forward to the time they would spend together.

AN: Had a difficult ime with this chapter, so I hope it turned out well. I'm very sorry it took so long. All the facts about Rome and the Villa are true from the research I did. Some dialouge here was obviously taken from Kay, but the plot line will have different results. Also I know Erik briefly returning to France only to come back to learn from Giovani may seem a stretch, but Italy isn't really all that far from France, not much worse than a trip from America to canada really.
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Name: Elphie | Gender: female | Age: 24 | Posts: 210 | Roses: 10
Old 08-08-2010 at 06:07 PM
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 Post [16]

brilliant as ever wandering, sorry about my late tingy I've been havin laptop troubles lol. I love how you've written this part, as well thought out and layed out as the otehrs. Can't wait for the next bit!

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Name: April | Gender: female | Age: 34 | Posts: 135 | Roses: 10
Old 08-27-2010 at 07:10 AM
wandering child
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 Post [17]

Thank you so much for the kind review. here's the next chapter.
The scene with Erik and Lucianna is different, but i think he might react differently since he was raised differently. Some dialouge from the book and one part based on what marie told madeleine.

The days were rich and happy for Erik. At first he was kept under restrictions, but soon he proved he could be trusted with any task. The foreman was amazed at all the questions Erik asked, and both he and Giovani saw that Erik learned quickly and rarely made mistakes. Those he did make he never made twice. He was even able to mix mortar correctly ight from the start, which Giovani found unbelievable. Giovani and Erik spent many happy hours in the evenings, visiting or with Giovani resting while Erik played his violin for him. The had many wonderful discussions together, and Erik loved every moment of it. The older man never failed to treat erik like his own son.
The only problem was the other workers. Erik's mask and what it hid were were practically all anyone talked about. One day the foreman came up to Giovani, complaining.
"That new boy is a menace. He nearly broke a boy's arm earlier. I would say he's not right in the head."
Giovani was wise enough to ask if Erik had been provoked. At first the other man claimed he no idea about that, but finally admitted Paolo had tried to see under Erik's mask. He claimed it was all in fun and boys would be boys. Giovani told him off for not maintaining better control of things, and except for whispered rumors that seemed to be the end of that. Everyone could see that Erik was respectful, quick to learn, and willing to do all the work that was asked of him without complaining and more. It wasn't at all uncommon for him to stay up all night working by lanternlight. There were still tense times between him and the other workers, but overall things were going well.
The real trouble began when Lucianna arrived. Giovani had mentioned to Erik that he had a daughter away at school and she'd soon be home for the summer, and Erik had acted almost fearful. He was naturally sigh, and the idea of meeting someone new, especially a woman, was not pleasent to him. He was just old enough to start taking an interest in women, but in his fear of being met with hatred he tended to try to avoid them. This infuriated Lucianna, who tried to force Erik to pay attention to her with insults and general rudeness.
"You're very slow, aren't you?" she taunted as he carefully, lovingly crafted an excuisitely detailed bench for her rooftop garden. Erik heard hundreds of such comments from her, and her behavior grew worse and worse. To avoid her Erik pushed himself to the limit, working every moment he could working. He was even more aloof when he had to be around her. It was a downward spiral that neither of them wanted. The tension was bound to reach a breaking point, and it did one day when Lucianna began interfering with his inventions. When Erik told her to leave them alone she told him he must be afraid she'd find out they didn't work.
"Everything in this cellar works!" Erik had shouted at her.
"Well this doesn't work. Not anymore. Or this. Or this."
One crash followed another, and Giovani was honestly afraid for a moment that Erik would strangle the girl. But Erik managed to restrain himself, turning away from her and clenching his fists.
"Don't you dare ignore me!" Lucianna shrieked, throwing yet another of Erik's inventions. "You should be grateful I even notice you. I've heard what people say about why you wear that mask. They say you're ugly, a monster. No woman will ever have you. Ugly! Ugly! Ugly!"
She began pounding his back, and Erik looked almost insane with anger. He shook and clenched his fists so hard he nearly drew blood, his fury burning in his eyes. In half a second he had Lucianna scooped up in his arms, still screaming and pounding him. He paid no attention to her reaction and carried her outside. It had been raining lately, and the rain barrel was nearly filled. Lucianna let out a shriek that must have been heard by the Pope as Erik dropped her in it. For a moment, towering over her, Erik looked like he was going to hold her under, but managed to keep hold his temper enough not to.
"Now that's enough! You spoiled, selfish brat! Your father's spoiled you your whole life. Whatever dear, beautiful Lucianna wants, she gets, right? Well life doesn't work that way. Being beautiful doesn't mean you can stamp your foot and pout and get your way. It doesn't give you an excuse to make life miserable for your father and I. Yes, I'm ugly. But nobody is going to call someone who acts the way you do beautiful, Lucianna. I've had enough of you acting like this. Ordinarily I'd never treat a lady this way, but you're hardly a lady. You have a lot of growing up to do first." He made a move to turn, but in her anger Lucianna grabbed the mash and tore it away.
She didn't scream. Lucianna was too terrified to scream. She moved her hand upward in defence, as if seeing Erik's true face instead of the mask suddenly made him into a monster, as if now he were a mad animal rather than the young man she'd known the past few months. That only infuriated Erik more, and he went to grab her at the same time she tried to back away, forgetting that she was still in the rain barrel. The result was that she toppled over backwards along with the barrel. Luckily the ground had been softened by the recent rain. She got to her feet and fled to her room as fast as she could. Erik headed to his cellar room and began packing.
Giovani didn't know if there was any way to resolve this, but he did know Lucianna would be locked in her room for some tome, and if he didn't do something Erik was going to leave.
"Erik. Erik listen to me."
Erik continued packing as he answered.
'I'm sorry, sir. You understand why i must leave, of course. Lucianna will be in constant horror of me now."
"She'll settle down, Erik. She'll realize you're still the same person.'
"No. She just reacted as if I'm some monster who'd kill her the first chance I get. She'll never see me as anything but a monster again."
Giovani was about to answer when he started coughing. Erik was alarmed to see the specks of blood that covered Giovani's handkerchief afterwards. He helped him to his bed and got him some tea and honey to help the cough.
'You're very ill, aren't you sir?" Erik asked fearfully, Lucianna forgotten for the moment. Giovani smiled weakly.
"I've got a few years left in me. Don't worry, son."
It was the first time he'd ever called him that, and behind the mask, Erik smiled.
"Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?" Like Marie, Giovani's kindness had earned Erik's devotion, and he could have asked Erik to set himself on fire and Erik would have done so gladly.
"Thank you, but no. Wait-" Giovani looked Erik in the eyes so he'd know he spoke the truth.
"Erik, I'm hoping you'll stay. It doesn't do to run or hide away every time someone behaves like Lucianna. Besides, I've enjoyed having you here."
Erik looked confused.
"Even after seeing my face, you don't think differently of me? Even after the way I've acted towards Lucianna?"
Sighing, Giovani answered. "You could have shown me your face any time without fear, Erik. As to Lucianna, well I can't really blame you. She's been provoking you beyond all human endurance for a long time. I'm impressed you held your temper as long as you did."
Erik smiled sadly behind the mask.
"I'll see you in the morning, sir."
Giovani nodded, glad Erik was staying.
"You're a good boy, Erik. i hope you'll never let anyone persuade you otherwise."
Tears came to Erik's eyes from the kindness Giovani still showed him.
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"He's dead! Nobody alive has a face like that! He's a living corpse! He can't be alive!"
Lucianna was screaming in terror when Giovani tried to convince her to apologize to erik the next morning.
"Of course he's alive,' Giovani tried to reason. "he breathes and thinks and feels. He hurts and has feeling the same as any other boy. He's still the same boy who worked so hard and carefully making you that bench and watered your flowers when you tired of caring for them."
Biting her lip, Lucianna continued crying, though the screaming had stopped. She refused to step out of her room that day. She did eventually come out of her room the day after that, but refused to go anywhere near Erik. For his part, Erik continued to spend every possible moment working until the time came for both Lucianna and himself to go back to school. For once, Lucianna gave no argument on the subject.
Erik wasn't sure how he would divide his time between working for Giovani and his studies at the Villa. He couldn't sacrifice his dream, and yet he loved learning masonry. What was more, he loved Giovani like the father he never had. He couldn't just act as though all Giovani had taught and done for him meant nothing.
A compromise was eventually reached. Giovani had noticed Erik's interest turning more and more to engineering problems. It wouldn't be too difficult for Erik to work in time to solve those problems and actually work in the mason's yard on weekends. Also Giovani would spread the word to his clents that he knew a new architect who would design for them. Erik refused to design for any clients who had vulgar tastes, saying he'd rather starve than design or build ugly buildings.
The arangement was highly unusual. Most masters would expect their apprentices to devote themselves entirely to one craft, but there were no written contracts between Erik and Giovani, and the elderly man understood Erik would never be content to limit his gifts to one field.
Over the next few years, buildings Erik designed began sprouting up in Rome, and ideas he came up with added to the efficience of the mason yard. Erik was also inspired musically by his work as a mason, and composed pieces to the rhythm he found in the chizzeling of stone and the mixing of mortar, much as Handel had found music in the work of the blacksmith.
Erik even made a friend in his fifth year. He was setting beside a fountain one day when a young man walked up and looked over his shoulder at the design he was sketching. Though the other man didn't say anything, it was obvious from the look on his face that he thought highly of Erik's talents.
"You studied under Professo Guizot, didn't you?"
Erik turned to him, surprised.
"What makes you think that?"
"I studied under him too," he answered. "He told me of a student of his who wore a mask. He said if I ever met him, I'd have the honor of meeting the greatest architect who ever lived.'
Behind the mask, Erik smiled. He held out his hand, which the other man took.
"I'm Erik."
"Charles Garnier."
The two men discussed architecture for for a long time that day, and they met many times after that. Erik found that he liked the company, and the new friendship made the final year of Erik's time at the Vila de Medici fly by. The difficuly part, as Erik had known for some time, would be chosing path once his studies were over. He knew Giovani would love to have him stay, would gladly sign over the mason buisness to him when the time came.
And yet, though he loved Giovani, he also loved and missed Marie, his grandparents, and his mother. He missed hearing french spoken. True it was spoken at the academy, but when the term ended the Villa de medici's doors would be closed to him as a student at the French academy. He had treasured every moment in Rome, but now pangs of home sickness were beginning to set in. It felt so strange to think at one time he thought no one would ever love him, and now he felt his heart torn in two directions.
"My family in Boscherville wrote me last week," Erik told Giovani softly one day. "My mother spoke to the man who owns the mason yard in Raoun where a member of my family used to work." He didn't say it was his father, although Giovani could guess. Giovani was the only father Erik had ever known. "She was glad to read about all you taught me, and she's askked if I could have a job there."
Giovani sighed sadly.
"You'll be leaving Rome soon then?"
Erik found it hard to find his voice to answer. Giovani was unusually elderly for a mason. Lungs full of dust and grit claimed lives early in that profession. All masons knew once they had the cough Giovani now had that the grave wasn't far away. Erik knew if he said goodbye to Giovani now, he'd never see him again. How could he just walk away as if all Giovani had done for him meant nothing?
"Nothing's decided yet.' he looked at his mentor. "Sir, you've worked so hard all your life. Why not leave the foreman in charge and come to Boscherville with me and meet my family? I'm sure they'd all love to meet you."
Concidering, Giovani said "I've never gone on a holiday before. And Lucianna will be away for her last year of school.' He knew of course that Lucianna was one of the reasons Erik would rather not stay. While she no longer screamed whenever Erik was around her, she kept her distance from him the way she would someone carrying the plague. "I wouldn't want to impose on your family."
"You wouldn't be, sir. They don't get many visitors/" Because everyone in Boscherville thought he was a monster, he thought sadly. "They'd enjoy the company."
Hesitating, Giovani answered. "Perhaps a holiday would do me good."
Erik smiled behind the mask. "I'm sure you'll enjoy France, sir. Not that I haven't loved Rome.
Giovani smiled back.
"Oh, by the way Erik, there's something I've been meaning to give you." he held out a silver compass. 'My wife gave me this in happier times. I'd always hoped to give it to my son."
Erik's eyes widened.
'I can't take such a gift sir."
"I want you to have it,' giovani said, clasping his shoulder. "You are family to me, Erik. And I'm very proud of you. Besides," he added. "It's of no use to me. I can barely hold a lead strait anymore."
Erik stammered his thanks for the gift, and three days later they left for France.
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Old 08-27-2010 at 01:30 PM
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 Post [18]

Very brilliant as ever wandering. I was wondering how you were going to do the whole Lucianna situation, and as ever you changed it in a way that was just great. I loved the bit where he met Charles Garnier. Can't wait till the next one

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Old 09-16-2010 at 08:31 AM
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 Post [19]

As Erik had predicted, his family was glad to meet Giovani and have him stay with them. Giovani's French was limited, but thanks to Erik teaching him over the years he had at least enough working knowledge of the language to communicate. He found Marie and her parents to be extremely likable, and although Madeleine gave the impression of being stiff necked and proud, she was very polite and there were times when she would show that she did truly care about her son that endeared her to Giovani. For her part, Madeleine found that Giovani reminded her very much of what Charles would have been like had he not died in that accident. Both men loved their craft, had longed for a son to follow in their footsteps, and spoiled the people they loved.
Somehow talking with Giovani helped Madeleine realize how much Erik was like Charles as well. Like Charles (and Giovani), Erik loved his craft because he loved beauty and creation. He was very proud and could be stubborn, but would do anything for those he loved. Madeleine remembered well how charles had given in when she wanted the large house in Boscherville even though it was too far from his work in Raoun to be convienient. After Charles had died Madeleine had prayed for a son to remind her of Charles. She'd come to accept Erik before, love him in her own way, but it was only recently that she'd started to see just how much of Charles was alive in Erik.
Life fell into an easy rhythm for everyone. Erik would work in the mason's yard in the morning while his family would visit amongst themselves or go into town. Over the years that Erik had been away from home some of the stigma surrounding his family had faded, and people didn't make as much of them as they once had. In fact Giovani, as a stranger in the region and a foeigner, was the subject of all the gossip now. However, other than his poor French, which only the cruelest people cared to point out, nobody could find anything to dislike about him. Giovani quite liked the mild climate of France, which compaired to the hot humid air of Rome was much easier on his lungs. Although there was no cure for his condition, he seemed much improved, and Erik had hopes that Giovani would live a few years more.
In the evenings Erik would play on the piano or violin, sometimes selecting pieces from his favorite composers and sometimes playing his own compositions. Unfortunately, so far he'd been unable to have any of his compositions published and performed. Most opera houses and concert halls would rather rely on works they knew would sell a decent amount of tickets, even mediocre works, rather than take a chance on something new that might not sell. It made no difference that the composer had won the prix de Rome at fourteen. Erik still held out hope for the Teatro Valle in Rome, but he had yet to hear from them.
The same pattern that had happened in Rome happened in Raoun at first. The other workers gossiped about what Erik's mask hid, but Erik's skill and willingess to work hard resulted in the majority of the men having a grudging respect for him. There were only two workers in the yard who remembered Erik's father, but the foreman had known Charles. He had no intentions of treating Erik differently than anyone else, either becuase of who his father was or the way he looked, but he did make sure Erik was treated fairly even if he never went out of his way to befriend him.
He couldn't help being impressed by Erik's skill though, and commented that he must have been taught well. Erik smiled at that thinking of all Giovani had taught him, and felt proud. However, the next time the foreman complimented him, saying he wished he had ten more men like him, he wished the man had kept quiet.
For some time now a few of the men had been looking for a chance to do something to Erik, who they viewed as only a masked freak. Now jealousy made them all the more determined. They didn't dare do anything obvious, but accidents were far from rare in a masons yard.
A few weeks later, Erik was high up on a piece of scaffolding. With his cat like grace and agility he never minded this part of the job. In fact he prefered it because it meant working mostly alone. His extreme thiness and lightness of foot meant the scafolding normally never seemed to register he was standing on it. On this day, however, he'd no sooner set foot on the scafolding he had to walk out on than it gave way. Erik grabbed at whatever he could, but he was simply falling too fast from a height of about twenty feet up. He managed to catch himself in a way that kept him from getting injured as badly as he might have been, but he could feel a burning in his right arm and a pain in his side. The wind knocked out of him, he could only lay there, but he caught sight of someone with a smirk on their face. It was a man named Jondrette, a lazy worker who was constantly being yelled at for not doing his job anywhere near decently. He'd never bothered Erik before, but Erik had no doubt he was behind his fall.
Everyone at home was extremely concerned. Giovani had seen many accidents over the years, and Marie remembered Madeleine crying when they'd brought Charles home. For Madeleine, it was reliving that dreadful day all over again, and she was startled to realize she didn't know what she'd do if Erik died. This time, however, there was no need to send for a priest. Erik had a broken arm, some cracked ribs, and cuts and brusises that were worse than they'd be in most people because of the thiness of Erik's skin, but there were no injuries he wouldn't recover from. His arm was put in a splint and sling, his ribs were tightly wrapped, and he was left with instructions not to work for two months. His family came to see him once the doctor had left, and found him in a terrible mood.
"It looks like you'll be staying home for awhile," Marie said softly.
'I don't want to stay home! I want to go back to the yard and kill that son of a-"
"They're not going to get away with this. The next accident might just involve Jondrette falling from a scaffold with a rope around his neck.'
"Calm down, son," Giovani told him. "You don't want to descend to their level."
Between them, his family managed to calm him down, but they had a feeling he wasn't going to just let it end that easily.
The following weeks were terrible. Erik wasn't in much pain, but he couldn't stand being an "invalid" and had to be watched almost constantly to be sure he wouldn't try using his arm. Worst of all for him was not being able to play music until his arm healed. Luckily since he was left handed he could still sketch and design, and he did enjoy the extra time talking with his family even if he never was the type to not keep busy.
Time with Giovani was becomming more prescious to him. The elderly gentleman's health was gradually worsening. It had been agreed that Erik would return to Rome with him in time for Lucianna to return from school, and Erik secretly felt that Giovani would not have much time left after that. He would be going home to live out his final days.
When Erik returned to work, he found that he'd gotten some justice after all. Although it couldn't be proven that Jondrette had deliberately caused the accident, he had been careless one too many times and had been dismissed. And shortly after he went back to work there was more good news from Rome. The Teatro Valle had accepted Erik's most recent composition, an opera based on a segment of Dante's Inferno, as well as saying that they'd be willing to have the sonata that had won him the Grande Prix performed if he's expand it to a full symphony. The cast for Gianciotto would be chosen and it would be performed for the first time as a conclusion to the spring season the week before Lucianna came home. Once they learned that, his whole family made arrangements to be there opening night.
Erik was more nervous than he would admit about the success of this opera. It had all the intensity and passion that was typified Erik's work, but if it wasn't to the audience's taste and didn't go over well it would be even harder to get his work performed in the future. Erik had promised himself long ago that he woul write and design and create what was beautiful, and if his audience couldn't appreciate it he would either earn his living a different way or starve. he would never create anything that wasn't beautiful.
There would be no grand opening night gala. There wouldn't have been even if Erik wasn't an unknown composer. Though the only theater in Rome at that time, the Teatro Valle had been declining in popularity lately. Most of the works performed there were either comedic operas or spoken plays. There was talk of a new, more grand opera house being built in Rome eventually. Even so, it was the chance Erik needed, and seeing his opera performed the way he'd only imagined it would be a dream come true for him. But that dream would have to wait until a few days after their arival. In the meantime, Erik and Giovani showed the others around Rome, to every park, garden, fountain and every attraction there was. When they passed a building Erik had designed or helped build, Giovani pointed it out like a proud father.
Erik had arranged for them to have their own box for the performance. In his opinion, the box seats on the grand tier offered the best view. They were back enough so everything could be seen, and close enough for it to be seen well. He bought box five for the evening.
He ended up trying to watch the audience as closely as the performance. He was so nervous about their reaction, and yet he had to be sure it was performed the way he'd hoped it would be. Although there were no famouse names among the cast, they were doing well, putting across all the emotion Erik had written into it. It told the story of Francesca and Paolo related in Dantes Inferno, how to keep the peace between their families Francesca had been forced into an arranged marraige to Paolo's brother Gianciotto, and how she and Paolo had fallen in love. That love had reached an unsupressable level as they read of the forbidden love between Lancelot and Guenivere together, although she and Paolo were both married.
But the main story was told from Gianciotto's viewpoint. Gianciotto was a brave man, but past his prime and lame and scarred. His brother had stood in his place and taken the vows for him in a marraige by proxy because Francesca's father had known she would never marry Gianciotto if she'd seen him. But he had seen her, long adoring her from a distance for her rare beauty. Erik's own initial thoughts and feelings for Lucianna were echoed in the character. Erik had found it all too easy to identify with him. In the end, Gianciotto found his wife and brother in each others arms about to kiss after reading together and killed them both in the well known ending to the story. Erik had gone beyond that ending though, having Gianciotto sing a tearful, grief filled aria at the loss of those he had loved. never before had he been shown as a sympathetic character. It was such an origional, unusual take on the tale and Gianciotto was such a disliked character that Erik had his doubts it would be accepted.
When the performance was over, there was no ovation. No one made a sound. Erik felt his heart race until, as one, the audiece rose to their feet and showed their approval in thunderous applause.
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The papers held only positive reviews for Erik's first opera, and ticket sales were steady. Very soon word of mouth among theater patrons had built a reputation for his opera, and already people were saying they hoped to see more of his work soon. Nobody knew anything about him accept that he was a new composer who'd spent time in Rome, but that was how Erik prefered it. If they ever saw that the composer had to wear a mask their opinion of him would probably not be so high. Erik was surprised at his success as it was, but the people had been wanting something new, and something that was what opera was meant to be, for some time now in Rome.
But on the brink of this first minor triumph, tradgedy struck. Erik didn't have any delusions anymore that Giovani would survive past another year, but it felt lik a hole had been punched through his chest when Giovani woke one morning coughing up blood so badly that his handkerchief was soon nearly soaked with it. There was nothing any doctor could do.
Erik remained by Giovani's bedside, not even eating or closing his eyes unless he asked him to and doing whatever he could to make Giovani more comfortable. Everyone felt the extreme sorrow in the air. Even Lucianna was quiet and on her best behavior. The days continued to pass slowly with Giovani holding on, but it was clear he wasn't recovering.
"Erik," Giovani said softly one evening "I hope you know I love you. You were the child of my imagination, the son God witheld from me."
Tears ran down the eyeholes of Erik's mask as he answered "And I love you like the father I never knew. In my heart you've always been my father."
Even when they'd barely met, their relationship had never been master and apprentice. Giovani had never even seemed to notice the mask, treating Erik like any other young man. No, treating him like one of his own family. At the academy he'd been treated decently, but there were always the looks and whispers even among the professors. They'd accepted him as a student because he'd proven he had talent, but Giovani had given him his trust. How had he known that day they'd met that Erik wasn't some thief or vandal? He'd even come to call him son.
Giovani smiled, then struggled for another breath.
"I've left the buisness to you, son. Everything I have will be yours."
Erik shook his head. "I'd rather have you here, sir."
Sighing, Giovani answered "I wish I could be here for you and Lucianna. All my other children are married and have secure futures. I know a great future is waiting for you. But her- she'll need someone to look after her until she grows up. She can't go to any of her sister's homes. She's wreaked such havok none of them will have her. I need you to be a brother to her now."
Erik froze. Lucianna could easily drive a person to the brink of insanity. But Giovani was right. There was no one else who would take her, and she'd gotten over her fear of him by now. And this was Giovani's last request of him.
"I'll do my best sir."
Giovani let out a sigh of relief at that. Erik could tell the end was near, and each of Giovani's daughters and their husbands came in for a last goodbye, followed by the priest to give the last rights. An hour later the elderly man closed his eyes and fell asleep. Without half an hour of that, he peacefully slipped away.
Erik stayed in the room a while longer, but he felt like a stranger among Giovani's other children. Except for Lucianna they'd all lived in neighboring towns and he'd rarely met them. He withdrew quietly, going to the cellar that had become his room. He sat at the piano Giovani had moved there for him, and let his grief pour out into a requiem he'd composed. The piece seemed like one terrible sob that held all the sadness of the world, and Erik played until he was completely drained. His family would be upstairs, but he felt like grieving alone. So he stayed there for the remaining hours until morning, his thoughts filled with memories of a light in his world that had now gone out.

AN: I had a hard time writing something this sad, but just mentioning later that Giovani had died didn't feel right. And he did live longer than most people with his caugh would have. Oh, and this won't be an Erik/Lucianna phic. He'll just be like a big brother to her.

The information on the Teatro Valle is acurate for the time period and the story Erik's opera is based on was supposedly extremely famouse even before it was used in Dante's Inferno, but faded into relative obscurity in ecent years. Rodin's statue "The Kiss" is based on it, but wasn't made until several years after Erik's time. I didn't want to use Don Jaun Triumphant since Erik had never wanted that performed and I don't think Erik would have composed the same thing if his past were different.

Oh, I was influenced in parts by a certain book/musical. Kudos to whoever can spot it.

Glad the mention of Charles Garnier in the last chapter was liked :) He would have won the Grand Prix and started attending the academy in Erik's thrid year historically if Erik won it at fourteen according to the Kay timeline, so I felt I had to have them meet there.
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Name: Elphie | Gender: female | Age: 24 | Posts: 210 | Roses: 10
Old 09-16-2010 at 07:04 PM
Lady of Music
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 Post [20]

Wonderfully done as always wandering. I was curious to see how you covered Givanni's declinning health, and was releaved that you didnt do the sort of side note that he had died later. It was seeming near the end that it was leaning to an Erik/Lucianna fanfic, so thanks for the note there! can't wait to see what occurs next

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