High Adventure in the Steam Age
Henri Glass (Marie-Aurore-Amelie de Saxe)
The offspring of George Sand and Frederick Chopin
- Exceptional Fisticuffs (Wands)
- Great Athletics (Wands)
- Great Physique (Wands)
- Good Courage (Cups)
- Good Leadership (Cups)
- Good Perception (Pentacles)
- Good Stealth (Wands)
- Poor Tinkering (Pentacles)
- Poor Marksmanship (Wands)
- Poor Performance (Cups)
- Poor Comeliness (Cups)
Improvement Points: 6
Possessions: two nice outfits (one men’s fashion, one women’s fashion), a cane suitable for belaboring the insolent, workaday clothing (male), fast horse, book (Laura, Voyage dans le cristal )
Languages: French (N), Polish
- Climb Peak XV (aka Mount Everest)
- Visit the American West (and no doubt become embroiled in the troubles between the natives and the white settlers)
- Women’s Suffrage in France
The offspring of George Sand and Frederick Chopin, Born in 1839, she was raised for the first ten years of her life by Marie Dorval, though with frequent, affectionate visits by Sand. Her father’s deteriorating health meant visits from him were few and largely before she was old enough to remember.
When Amilee was 10 both Chopin and Dorval died, and she was moved between a series of Sand’s relatives. She spent time in several of the nations of New Europa, as well as in Algiers and Senegal. As might be expected, this resulted in her education being a bit spotty, and her growing up as something of a “wild child”.
Much of her life has been spent in what could best be termed “gallavanting”, travelling from place to place around Europa and beyond, getting into places that she shouldn’t have gotten into, doing things she really oughtn’t have done, and generally raising hell and causing trouble. Like her mother, Henri has great sympathy for the poor, and her adventures have often revolved around righting some wrong or helping some unfortunate – often at the expense of her own enrichment and convenience.
Henri follows her mother’s example in taking a man’s name and frequently dressing in men’s clothing. This is largely a political statement on her part, and because (as her mother before her pointed out) men’s clothing is overall less expensive, better made, more functional, and fits better – and because a male name and male clothing can get her into places that a dress and makeup never could.
Henri’s relationship with her mother is cordial and warm, but her restless nature (and the trouble she often gets into) means that she is both unwilling and unable to stay with Sand for any great length of time.
Correct Forms of Address
High-tier formal events: Mlle de Saxe
Middle- and low-tier formal events: _ Mlle Glass_
Informally (acquaintances, etc – by permission only): Henri
Informally (family, close family friends,closest personal friends – by permission only): Amelie
Informally (mother, and only when angry): Marie-Aurore
[Note that the de Saxe title is entirely ficticious. It was bestowed upon her mother by her initial biographer as a way of enhancing book sales. she carries it gleefully.]
(Note: Henri does not keep a journal – it’s far too dangerous to keep a book full of secrets when you live a lifestyle such as hers, and after having her third journal ruined after a rather precipitous departure from a British merchant vessel in the Channel she just gave up on the whole endeavor.
However, she does write frequent and lengthy letters to her mother. The below information is taken from these )
[Posted from Vienna]
It appears that after considerable effort I have finally left behind the unruly brutes who have been plaguing my footsteps since Senegal. I had hoped to avoid confrontation, seeing no particular advantage to it, but they unwisely brought me to bay aboard a steamer on the Danube, and of course I was obliged to defend myself. Fortunately no lives were lost and I was – admittedly inadvertently – able to pilot the vessel to the shore before it sank. Sadly, the last of the gold is now at the bottom of the river, unlikely to be recovered. I really should have left it with the farmers – gold is simply too heavy to travel well.
In any event, I find myself now in Vienna. I have taken the liberty of drawing modestly upon your credit here to the extent of purchasing a modest wardrobe and some sturdy shoes, a walking cane of good length and heft, and of procuring modest lodgings suitable for both comfort and amicable departure on short notice."
[Posted from Vienna]
Vienna has proven to be much more interesting thus-far than in previous visits, which were somewhat marred by an overabundance of references to papa’s waltz and attendant invitations to dreary dances. On this particular occasion I have fallen in with a number of intriguing individuals, and have become embroiled in actual adventure! Who knew that such a stodgy and overly ornamented city would hold such surprises.
I have made the acquaintance of a Master E.C., a dwarven inventor of some renown. As with most of his kind, I find his direct manner and lack of pretension refreshing, though I confess that as a conversationalist many of his preferred topics go beyond my simple understanding. Fortunately he is fond of coffee, so even the most opaque conversation becomes bearable.
I encountered him in the Cafe Shnitzle, where I was having lunch with some companions I met in the city. You may recall Mlle A.B. and her companion the Brownie P. from their performance which we attended last May in Paris. I once again made apologies for the disruption of that otherwise wonderful entertainment, which of course I still regret (though in truth there are individuals who simply must be thrashed, even in the most inappropriate of circumstances, and I trust that Mssr. du Bellay has not troubled the theater since). Fortunately she proved once again to be as gracious and forgiving as on the occasion itself, and we had a marvelous conversation and became fast friends. P. has apparently continued to work tirelessly for the betterment of the lesser fae and to free them from the tyranny of the ruling classes, a goal with which I cannot help but feel sympathy for, and although frequently within the Mlle’s shadow – by choice I think – I believe his goals and motives to be pure.
With them was a gentleman of Irish persuasion a Dr. C. I know little of him past his medical profession and accent, though Mlle B. vouched for his character. He also seemed little put off by my dress and appearance, which I always take to be a good sign. We were just getting far enough along in the conversation to be past the ordinary pleasantries and into the more interesting details of what had brought him to Vienna (I caught the barest whiff of adventure and possible scandal, but not enough to go into in detail) when Master E.C, entered and caused such a distraction as to forestall further conversation.
The presence of a renowned dwarven inventor would have been sufficient to turn heads in the cafe in itself. But with him was a companion of striking beauty and poise – emphasized all the more by her companion’s dwarven stature and typical lack of care for personal appearance. To say that the lady turned all heads in the cafe would be an understatement – one could positively hear popping noises as heads swiveled to take in her radiant beauty and all conversation simply faded away like fog. In hushed tones, Mlle B. informed me that this was none other than a new local sensation, Mlle. C., who had been seen on the streets of Vienna of late with her dwarven companion. Little was known of her, but her chaperone was quite firm in rebuffing all attempts at introductions and acquaintance.
I was not privy to the events that occurred immediately thereafter, being occupied by the arrival of some nicely crisped schweinschnitzel, but my companions afterwards informed me that Mssr. E.C. excused himself from his companion after being summoned by one of the waiters on some pretense. The first I knew of troubles were shouts, screams, and crashing noises coming from the back of the establishment. Needless to say such sounds were of of great interest to me, as they represented the first real potential for excitement since I had arrived in Vienna, so I donned my hat and retrieved my walking stick and moved to immediately investigate. My companions, to their credit, also leaped immediately into action. In a small side room we discovered that the dwarf had been set upon by ruffians and was being soundly thrashed. Through our intervention, and some timely strikes with the head of my stick wielded with authority, we were able to break up the scuffle and capture two of the villainous thugs. But alas! The attack on Mssr. E.C. was but a piece of misdirection! In the confusion a sinister cloaked figure entered the cafe and made off with Mlle C.!
[Posted from Vienna]
I hope this letter finds you well.
Things here in Vienna have become rather interesting. As you may recall, we had become embroiled in an adventure involving the Lady C. who, when last I wrote, had been taken by parties unknown, and we were in hot pursuit through the streets of Vienna. Things took a somewhat aquatic turn when the miscreants boarded a paddle boat and took the chase onto the Danube! Undaunted, however, I and my companions obtained a boat of our own and continued our pursuit upon the water.
We were on the verge of catching the bounder and Lady C. when yet another boat approached, this one piloted by a mysterious and sinister figure. Seeking to avoid further complication, I attempted to warn the newcomer off, only to have him withdraw from his cloak a small revolver, which he discharged in my direction! The cad, to shoot like that when there was no opportunity to reply! Fortunately the shot went wide, but my best hat – a lovely Stiassny I had acquired only the previous day, was holed and I fear ruined!
You know, mama, that I detest guns – filthy, oily, smoke-belching monstrosities, every one! They may have some limited utility for hunting, and certainly those so inclined towards such things may derive some enjoyment from target shooting, but for interactions with our fellow man (and fae, of course) give me a sturdy walking stick! More personal, less lethal, a teacher of (admittedly harsh) lessons rather than an ender of lives. But I digress.
His shot failed, the blackguard paddled off, and the mysterious figure who had absconded with Lady C. managed to escape by means of magic. The Lady C. was rescued, and proved to be a charming, if somewhat taciturn companion! She also proved to have an interesting secret, which I am of course honor bound not to reveal, but which served to deepen our friendship. I believe that when the time is right, you will no doubt read about it, for it will be the talk of New Europa.
I must go now, mama – it seems that the good doctor has further machinations in which I will play a part. I will post again soon. All my love.
[Posted from Vienna]
I hope this letter finds you well. The weather here in Vienna continues to be tolerable, and my health is excellent.
Our adventure with the Lady C. seems to have come to a dramatic and satisfactory conclusion, though not without some heartache and loss I am afraid.
As you no doubt recall from my previous missive, we had just rescued the Lady C. from the hands of a blackguard who attempted unsuccessfully to kidnap her. From this, and from a note passed on to him, the clever Doctor once again developed a stratagem to draw out the villain threatening the Lady C. You will laugh to hear this mama, but this plan involved putting me into a ball gown! Lady A. was to use her thaumaturgic knowledge of illusion to transform my visage into that of the Lady C. (no easy task I assume, since the Lady C. and I are quite different – quite different). The lady C. and I were both to attend a masked ball, along with my other companions, and be alert for another attempt. The Doctor assured me that the point of the ruse was to search out any ruffians attempting to discern which of us was the true Lady C. prior to the kidnapping attempt, and to thwart their plan before it began.
In the event all went as planned. The ball itself, hosted by the von Todesco family (you may remember the Count as a merciless critic of Le Péché de Monsieur Antoine, but aside from this lapse the Count proved to be a gracious host, and as the matter never came up in conversation, I deemed it best to be gracious in return), proved to be a sumptuous affair with many of Vienna’s social butterflies in attendance. I found myself in the unusual position of having a full dance card as the faux Lady C., a state I last remember from my own coming out when I broke young Lord W.’s foot. Thankfully I have learned a modicum of restraint since then and have mastered the art of not leading, so in this case all went well.
(I still regret Lord. W.’s limp, but you must admit that he was a rather plain fellow before, and at least the cane adds a certain gravitas. But I digress.)
Things went near exactly as Doctor C. had planned – Lady C. and I presented ourselves to the public and danced, the Lady A. and Mlle. P. put on a magic show to the astonishment of the attendees, and Dr. C. scanned the crowd, alert for trouble. He was soon rewarded for his efforts, as the sinister Count N., author of the kidnapping attempt against the Lady C., strode forth to challenge him to a duel!
Dr. C. chose Mlle. P. as his second, and the duel commenced. But his strategem proved to be more clever than I had imagined. At some point the good doctor had been in communication with Count N., and had determined that the man was himself no more than the pawn of another! When I learned of this afterwards, I was of course much relieved that I had not belabored the Count when we encountered him in the paddle boat. In the event, the duel that ensued was, in large part, staged as a misdirection in the hope that Count N. might be rendered_ hors de combat_ and, through the use of Lady A’s magic with some assistance from Mlle P’s timely use of stage props, be convincingly declared dead, that he might escape the influence of those who controlled him!
I had little time to witness the particulars of the event, however, for as the duel commenced and all eyes were upon the combatants, miscreants of the true author of Lady C.‘s woes sprang into action in an attempt to apprehend her! Once again the clever Dr. C.’s foresight proved to be invaluable. Facing not one but two Lady C.s, the ruffians had no choice but to split their efforts between the true Lady C. and myself, and a rousing good exchange of fisticuffs occurred! Odds of three to one proved to be tolerably good fun, though the ball gown I had been loaned as part of my disguise was sadly ruined in the process. It is as you say mama – men’s clothing is eminently more suited for such endeavors, allowing for more freedom of movement and being of sturdier construction.
Having given the ruffians a good thrashing and secured the safety of the Lady C., I observed that my companions stratagem had also worked to perfection, for the Count. N. appeared for all intents and purposes to be dead. We were, of course, able to revive him in secret, and between a frank discussion with him and an even more frank discussion with the apprehended ruffians learned with certainty the identity of the man behind the plot against the Lady C!
There is, of course, more to be told – the night was yet young and there was more adventure to be had before the break of dawn, but I fear that I must lay aside my pen for the moment. My knuckles are somewhat swollen from all the excitement, and I find myself in need of a cold compress for my eye. Rest assured, however, that I will finish my tale in the next letter.
[Posted from Vienna]
How are you? I am well. My knuckles have mostly healed and the swelling has gone down in my eye, though I believe that the bruising will last for a week or so. We have had some rain here in Vienna. Not enough to thoroughly soak the place, but enough to drive some of the coal smoke from the air at least. Vienna seems a nice enough city, but already I can feel the urge to travel coming upon me again. Perhaps a boat trip on the Danube, or a train ride to Russia might help.
In my last missive I promised you the conclusion to my adventure with Lady C. We had, you may recall, faked the death of Count N., and captured some of the minions of his mysterious master. Through clever questioning and appropriate inducements we were able to learn much – the man we sought, the man who was attempting to “procure” the Lady C. was none other than Count C.! By now you have undoubtedly read of our exploits in the paper, so I shall keep my description brief.
You may recall the metal men I encountered during the incident in Switzerland two years ago. Well, if the reports of Count N., as collaborated by the testimony of the thugs, are indeed true, those metal men were none other than the work of Count C., who had stolen designs for metal clockwork men designed as household helpers and had reconfigured the plans into soulless automata designed to fill the role of soldiers and thugs. Count C., unsatisfied even with these depraved contraptions, had determined to kidnap the Lady C. in order to use her abduction to learn the secrets of Master EC (so many "C"s in this adventure!) and his dwarven clockwork designs, in the hope of improving his own inferior creations. To facilitate these plans, Count C. had also kidnapped, and was holding the beloved of Count. N, who would come to harm were the Lady C. not delivered into his hands.
(I will not mention Count N.’s beloved by name, or even initial, for I am given to understand that their relationship is a private one, revealed only under great duress and in strictest confidence. But I digress.)
Time was of the essence! As soon as Count N. learned that his plans had once again been thwarted, he was sure to act on his promises to extract vengeance. We made haste towards the Count’s abode in two groups. The first – myself and Mlle P. were to make contact with a Brownie of her acquaintance, and secure the release of any prisoners held hostage by Count N. The second, consisting of Dr. C. and Lady B., were to proceed by carriage and to confront and distract the Count until such time as any unfortunates held by him were released, at which time we wee to join forces and defeat the Count once and for all!
Our part of the plan worked flawlessly. Mlle P. was able to obtain the information required, and we were able to slip into the Count’s residence via a side entrance and gain access to the basement cellar where the Count was holding prisoners, protected by one of his metal soldiers dressed in the uniform of an Italian infantryman. Remembering the difficulties encountered the last time I had faced such an opponent, I was thoughtful enough to wrap my hands in thick leather procured from the stable, and through luck and a good right arm was able to disable the metal man with a single punch – admittedly one that had the added effect of knocking the contraption down the stairs. We were thus able to free those who were being held, see them to safety, and then rush to the aid of our fellows.
Things did not fare so well for them initially. In addition to the Count, they encountered nothing less than a Faerie Lord! Fortunately for them, he declined to intervene to save Count C., and departed when trouble began. No doubt we shall encounter him in the future. Nevertheless the situation rapidly became dire, with Lady A. attempting to use some form or thaumaturgy against the Count, only to have her magic go awry, rendering her hors de combat and leaving the good Doctor to face the Count alone.
I was not there for him, mama. It was my task, my duty, my responsibility to be there for him, to take on responsibility for the more physical aspects of our adventure, and to shield the others from harm. I am not a thaumaturge, a planner, or a clever thief – I am a fighter, a scrapper, a “hitter” in the parlance of the adventuring professions – and I was not there to hit. Though the Doctor was able to win through in the end, it was not without suffering grave injury in the process. I do so hate the blade and gun.
And so we were victorious. Count C. was slain by the Doctor’s hand, and Count N.‘s beloved was restored to him. Lady C. was preserved from harm. But the Doctor’s wounds proved to be severe, and a long convalescence was required. I believe he intended to take the waters on the Riviera, and to recover his health in the warm Mediterranean sun, but in truth I know him to be a somewhat secretive man, as befits one of his profession and inclination, so I would not be at all surprised to learn that his destination was somewhere else entirely. In any event he has left us, and I confess to feeling a certain melancholy over the decision. He was a fine dancer, the very picture of a gentleman, and his clever stratagems will be missed.
I will be recuperating in Vienna for at least another week, having badly sprained my wrist during the fight with the metal soldier, despite my precautions. You may reach me via the general post.