HoB: Waiting for #6

January 8, 2015

Nobody’s perfect.

In Book V: The Temple of the Exploding Head, the heroine of the story, Lady Sammidoran of Monama, is transformed into a homicidal Berserkacide bent on killing her love, Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort. The Berserkacide detested everything Sam loved. It hated “Kay” most of all, and he shot her dead in the ruins of the House of Bodice.

Sam waiting in the Grove at the foot of Carahil's statue (Painting by Fantasio)

Sam waiting in the Grove at the foot of Carahil’s statue (Painting by Fantasio)

Without revealing too much, Sam was returned from the dead about a year later, resuming her relationship with Kay, eventually marrying him in a grand ceremony. Certainly a happy ending.

But wait …

Though it’s not covered in the pages of the book, a lot of things happened in the year or so Sam was in her tomb on Dead Hill. Life, reluctantly, went on. Kay, though heartbroken at the loss of Sam, was an eligible young man, a sought-after prize, and many sought to take his hand. One of the prime suitors, hand selected and approved by Kay’s mother, Countess Sygillis of Blanchefort, was an ex-Black Hat and member of the Xandarr 44 Sisterhood named Domeneau of Holly, or #6 as she was designated within the Xandarr 44 sisterhood.

#6 (sketch by Carol Phillips)

#6 (sketch by Carol Phillips)

She had met Kay briefly while he was visiting the King and Queen of Xandarr. She found him handsome and suitably demure in a Vith-like manner. She made it known to Kay her door would be “unlocked” should he choose to pass through it, though he did not take her up on her offer. Several months later, #6 and a group of her adopted sisters, made the trip to Kana to pray at foot of Carahil‘s statue in the Blanchefort Telmus Grove. The Xandarr 44 had an open invitation to visit the Grove whenever they wished, as they considered Carahil, their savior during the Battle of Xandarr, to be a god. During her visit to the grove, #6 encountered Kay, he wandering alone in the tree-lined passes, lost and still grieving over Sam’s death. Before the day was out, Kay would take solace in #6’s arms. They made love, they would make love many times, #6 occupying Kay’s bed frequently. Once, they made love on Sam’s tomb.

It became a foregone conclusion, that #6 would become the next countess of Blanchefort. She even had a great number of her clothes sent to the castle.

But then, there was Sam, laughing, smiling, back from the dead, ready to resume her life with Kay as if nothing had happened. Sam was in, #6 was out, and she wasn’t happy about it.

As Sam discovered what had transpired while she was dead, she became rather put-off. Sam has quite a possessive and jealous streak and, in her private discussions with Kay’s sister, Lady Kilos of Blanchefort, revealed that she would have hoped that Kay would have grieved over her for the rest of his life. She considered #6 a home-wrecker and a rootless usurping slut. She even thought that forgiving Kay for “cheating” on her while she was dead was a great display of character and charity on her part. Sam found the trunk full of #6’s clothes and sent them back to Xandarr in tatters.

Conversely, #6 developed an intense hatred of Sam, the woman to wouldn’t stay dead. She had been warned in Gods Temple that the spirit of Sam was nearby and would attempt to re-enter the realm of the living. Fearing Sam’s “recorporation”, she snared her tomb with StT’s, intending to re-kill her should Sam rise from her grave. Obviously, her efforts failed terribly.

Sam developed an intense desire to confront and kill #6. She wasn’t proud of those feelings and kept them to herself. She took to creeping out to Carahil’s statue in the Grove to wait and see if #6 showed up to pray. Sometimes she would sit out there all night, waiting in the dark with her claws sharpened.

Sam’s strained relationship with #6 is further explored in LoE Book 10: the House of Bloodstein, coming soon from Loconeal publishing.

copyright 2015: Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips and Fantasio

The Xandarr 44 are a sorority of ex-Black Hats first introduced in Book II of the LoE series, The Hazards of the Old Ones.

"King Balor I and the Xandarr 44" by Carol Phillips

Twenty years prior, they were part of a massive contingent of Black Hats sent to Xandarr with the intention of destroying the planet. They were mostly low-level or cast-offs specifically trained and sent there with the probable notion that they would be killed in battle. They were given minimal training as Hammers and stationed under Cloak in Xandarr Keep and awaited the signal to attack.

When Captain Davage, Countess Sygillis and his contingent arrived to investigate Xandarr Keep, the Black Hats sprung their trap and attacked, engaging them is a heated battle in the Great Hall of the Keep. They wore special goggles meant to protect them from the power of Captain Davage’s Sight, the only thing known at the time that could break the Black Abbess’ control over them.

As it turned out, forty-four of the Black Hats, instead of being killed, were carried out of the battle area and freed of the Black Hat’s clutch by Carahil, a Silver tech Nargal entity on his way to becoming a god. Lost and confused, many of them wounded, they huddled in the northern area of the Keep, danger closing in all around them. At the last moment, they were rescued and brought underground by King Balor I of Xandarr, who was hiding in the tunnels beneath the Keep.

In the aftermath of the battle, Balor nurtured and sheltered the forty-four lost Black Hats, helping them assimilate to life beyond the Black Abbess’ reaches. He fell in love with one of their number and made her his queen, Zoladerra I. The rest soon grew to love their adopted home. They were given a large villa in the center of Xandarr Core, and there they took up residence, growing their hair out and wearing the light, veil-like garments usual for Xandarr.

Charm of the Xandarr 44, by Justine Marie Hedman

They formed a Sisterhood, calling themselves the Xandarr 44, and began wearing silver charms about their necks in the shape of a seal in tribute to Carahil, the little god who saved them.

In the days following the attack on Xandarr, the power of the 44 was greatly needed, as many Xaphan factions sought to subjugate Xandarr and enslave it. Baroness Camilla of Sorrander and her on-again, off-again lover Chole of Zoran, were the most frequent and determined antagonists. Xandarr, trying to rebuild, was extremely vulnerable to attack and destabilization, yet, time and time again, the 44 thwarted Camilla’s plans and kept Xandarr safe.

The 44 fully embrace the exotic and rather uninhibited ways of the adopted home, occasionally creating stirs when visiting other worlds. Though a few married off and left Xandarr, most remained loyal to their sisterhood and live in their villa. They often visit Castle Blanchefort on Kana to pay tribute at the birthsite of Carahil, their patron god. Each mamber has a number embossed on their charm. It is not understood outside of the sisterhood how they determined who got which number.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia and Carol Phillips