August 25, 2014
Big changes often begin as minor stirrings that grow and grow until there is no stopping it. Such is the case of Countess Sygillis of Blanchefort and the Day of Silent Looms.
The fortune of the House of Blanchefort is pinned on the production of textiles and the designing of men’s and women’s garments. In days past, the Blancheforts produced firearms, however, Lord Sadric abolished the practice and converted his factories to the production of fine fabrics, a craft he took great pride in.
His son, Lord Davage, never took an interest in the business and maintained a staff of well-paid designers to run the factories and create the look of the designs. Whatever the designers wanted to do, Davage signed-off on without much fuss. Occasionally, his sisters, Lady Poe and Countess Pardock, would have some thoughts on certain shades and textures they would like to see implemented, and the designers would accommodate them.
Things changed radically when Countess Sygillis showed up.“Syg” was a vibrant countess, an ex-Black Hat, and she breathed life into the old household. She was in love with her lord and with his castle and all the things that came with it, including the family business. She was given a lavish tour of the factories, the designers proudly showing off their latest creations. In her honor, they created a “red” line of fabrics for the season. Syg, so new to the family, was bewildered by it all.
Time passed. One day, Syg was watching her son, Kay, playing in the Grove with his cousins, and she was inspired. She imagined some clothes she’d like to see her son dressed in. She prepared a few sketches and took them down to the factories. Excited, she showed them to the designers and they promised they would turn the sketches out.
Unfortunately, the designs never came. Undaunted, Syg tried again, and again, always heading down the mountains with her sketches, always the warm welcome and smiling faces at the factories, and always the lack of results. Unlike her husband who took no interest in the factories, Syg was an animal of a completely different color and when she got something in her head there was no stopping her. The “misunderstanding” with the designers was becoming personal fast. The designers began calling Syg “Madame Thimble” behind her back.
She took several self-help courses at the college and taught herself how to sew. She designed swatches and created her own fabrics on a small loom in her study. Getting rebuffed time and time again, Syg had enough. She gathered the designers together and told them in no uncertain terms that she was their boss and she demanded they do as she asked.
The designers politely responded that she was NOT their boss–Lord Davage was, and they would not cheapen the Blanchefort line with her silly designs.Syg was furious. She informed the designers that she not only possessed Lord Davage’s ear, but many other select parts of him as well and that “Hell wasn’t a half-mile off.” That evening, after a furious bout of love-making, Syg gently whispered into Davage’s ear: “Love, may I please sack every one of the designers?”
Nude, glistening with sweat, she showed Davage her designs and insisted she could do a better job. She begged him to let her fire them. “Please let me fire them, Dav! I promise, I’ll take the business to new heights!!”
Too tired to argue, Davage proclaimed Syg could do what she wished in the factories. He had a thought that if Syg fired the staff and failed, then that would give him the excuse to quit textiles and start producing firearms again. So, he had a happy wife and the prospect of restarting the old family business–it was a win/win.
The next morning, armed with her new power, Syg marched down to the factories and fired every designer that crossed her path. The stream of people exiting the factories holding the sack became known as the Day of Silent Looms.
Madame Thimble had struck.
As the various Households watched, Syg took control of the Blanchefort factories, turning our her designs in abundance. Though, not without her missteps, Syg proved to be a capable designer and a shrewd businesswoman. Her designs were bold and daring and, in time, she grew the business, invading fresh new territory, such as Hoban, which had never invested in Blanchefort fabrics.
At long last, Syg was able to see her son in clothes she thought proper.
copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Eve Ventrue and Bea Kimura