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Like Father, Like Son
Even Ghosts Can Have Spawn
17th-Jun-2008 08:49 pm - Exploring the Caverns
TW (bw)
Charles knew that if his mother ever so much as thought he visited the old catacombs, she would not only never forgive him, but assuredly never let him out of her sight again. While it was true that he had reached his majority, he never wanted to incur her wrath. But once he had heard the stories that there had been a mysterious Phantom living below the Opera Populaire and the tales of his mother's (and grandmother's) lives at the opera house, Charles quickly deduced that Le Fantôme de l'Opera must, in fact, be his father. Hence, his secretive trips to the catacombs.

There he had discovered an unfailing sense of direction. Even in complete darkness, Charles was able to navigate the passageways easily. A few weeks after climbing through the charred remnants of the once-palatial opera house, he stumbled upon a cavern.

Though scavengers had relived the subterranean rooms of their contents, there was no doubt a composer had lived there. The enormous pipe organ was evidence of that. A desk to one side of the cavern had been smashed to bits and yellowed papers still littered the ground around it. Charles brushed the dust and dirt off one and was startled to find a very accurate rendering of the Comtesse de Chagny in her youth, mouth open in song. It bewildered him to say the least. After all, if there were any pictures to be found, he expected them to be of his mother, not the Comtesse.

A few more weeks of wandering and Charles had discovered a second set of caverns which were obviously used more recently, but not for at least a decade or so. He recalled an old bedtime story his mother used to tell him about a magician's assistant who had saved their mentor from a dungeon, and returned him safely to a palace. He knew from looking around these caverns that just such a tale had befallen his parents. Naturally, that begged the question, where was his father now?
17th-Jun-2008 07:50 pm - Charles' Music
TW (looking down)
He had been eight years old when Charles found the loose floorboard in his rooms, rooms he'd been told, his own father had occupied at one point, long before he was born. The boy had been looking for a suitable spot to hide some of his more precious trinkets when he discovered the loose board. Reaching inside, his small hand discovered a stack of papers, yellowed with age and covered with lines and strange black dots. The handwriting was only marginally better than his own, but Charles knew it for what it was: his father's music. And a dear treasure indeed, one that he didn't want to share with anyone, not even Mama. So, the composition was kept secret for ten long years, until Charles' own studies at the conservatoire reminded him of the unfinished piece.

One afternoon, Charles lingered until most of the other students had either gone home for the evening or had retired to other studies. Only then, could he play in private. He hadn't wanted to upset his mother or grandmother by playing, although they both encouraged his talents. So, having opened a window to air out the stuffy classroom, Charles sat down at the piano and began to play. It wasn't until his compositions tutor cleared his throat that Charles realized he had company.

"Well, now, that's not something I've heard you play before," the teacher remarked. "A minor seventh key? A bit unusual for you, Charles."

"It isn't mine, Monsieur DuMont," Charles replied. "It was something of my father's I found when I was a boy."

"Ahh," the instructor replied. "May I see it?"

Carefully, Charles handed over the yellowed pages of staff paper. He watched silently as the compositions master read through them.

"Hmm..." DuMont muttered. "I don't quite agree with that phrasing... I believe that would be best in a major key... Ahh... unfinished... damned inconvenient." The instructor passed the sheets back to Charles. "Not bad. Certainly a dark and rather gloomy style. And your father was...?"

"All I know is his name, Monsieur," Charles answered. "Erik Destler."
17th-Jun-2008 11:22 am - RP FAQs
Text (ooc)
What is your policy on RP?
I don't really have one per se, seeing as I'm more of a fic-writer than an RPer. To an extent, I can't control who my muses do, and do not, want to talk to. If they don't RP with your muse, it's nothing against the mun personally, I just can't get them to speak up. And I've learned forcing RPs with someone just doesn't work. Also, I won't prevent my muses from talking with another muses simply because I may not agree with the other mun. There has to be some serious wank involved for me not to let bygones be bygones.

What about tags?
I'm usually pretty good about returning tags promptly, depending on the muses' reaction. If I haven't returned a tag in awhile it's either:
A) LJ ate the notifs (and/or my email alerts aren't working)
B) I've read it, but am working on a reply
C) My muse doesn't know how to respond
D) We thought the conversation was over

Do you have a friending policy?
I friend muses because I like they're style, character, etc, and I only remove muses who are inactive. I don't base any decisions on whether or not the muse is written by someone I may have a disagreement with OOC. I friend solely on writing, not popularity. I don't care if a certain muse has 90 friends or 9. If they're well-written and genuinely interesting, I add, but if there are only a few posts, I tend to leave them alone.

Anything else I should know?
Seriously, folks, I'm not looking to win any popularity awards. Yes, the "atta-girls" are great, and I enjoy the fact that people read what I've written. The simple fact is, I enjoy writing. I always have. I'm not doing this to please anyone but myself, and it sure as hell isn't paying any bills. At the end of the day, I'm merely a slavish scribe at the mercy of her muse(s).

Feel free to ask any questions!

Crossposted to: arrogantrogue, broadsword_babe, jurisimmortalis, her_champion, a_ghosts_son & msellemeg.
16th-Jun-2008 01:51 pm - Brooding in the Park
TW (black cranky)
It was a fine Sunday afternoon in mid-June as Charles meandered slowly through the park near the home he shared with his mother and Grandmére. He was nearly eighteen now, a time when he should be looking for his own means of income and suitable independent lodgings, but neither held any fascination for him at the moment. He was simply too engrossed at watching the various families enjoy their outings in the glorious Parisian sunshine.

Some picnicked in the shade of some of the larger trees. Beside the pond, children floated a vast armada of toy sailboats. Charles' green eyes glittered jealously as he watched a father teach his son to fly a kite.

It was such a simple thing really: sticks, paper, ribbon and twine. But somehow, it was greater than the sum of its parts. There was the joy at seeing such a contraption take flight, and the peals of laugher as it cavorted in the sky. There was the father praising the child for a job well done, and the boy reveling in the attention.

To Charles, it was a reminder he was doomed to never know his own father. He had tried many times to find the man his mother still loved with all her heart, but his efforts failed. He had failed. Well he knew the stories of his father's ability to vanish without a trace, but Charles had inherited the stubbornness of both parents and would not give up his quest easily.

As perfect a day as it might have been, Charles continued to brood as he walked the pathways of the park. Nothing seemed to satisfy him. What few things he had penned seemed inept and childish. It was as though his perfectionist's drive hinted at a deeply-rooted flaw hidden somewhere within him, and that only by finding his father could he possibly discover the flaw's true nature.
TW (black cranky)
"What event do you wish you could have been a "fly on the wall" for?"

There have been any number of conversations I would have wanted to be privy. Why Father left Mother is an example. However, there is one conversation I wish I had never overheard.

I was sixteen and attending a soirée given by my godmother, Madame Jacqueline Valmont. She was an influential patron of the arts with neither husband or child, and such a thing was highly irregular, even for Paris. Rather that be offended by society snobbery, she enjoyed her reputation. Auntie, as I often called her, would only laugh and claim that the gossips needed to occupy their time in more meaningful endeavours. The only rumours that truly angered her were the ones that she and Mother were lovers. If, at a party such as this, such rumours surfaced, anyone who spoke of it would be promptly escorted off the premises with little doubt their return would be highly unwelcome. It was another conversation, however, that drew my attention. This one centered not so much on rumour as the nature of society and the ill regard it had for unwed mothers.

I had learned early on how to listen without being observed. I could hold one conversation, but be intent on another. It was a skill Auntie had taught me. She knew that I was rather overprotective of Mother, maybe to an extreme, and she knew that words could cut just as sharply as knives. It was on this occasion that my keen observation proved invaluable.

"Well! He certainly doesn't look like his mother."

"Any idea as to his father?"

"None, but then again, she was involved in theatre!"

"A ballerina I heard."

"I wouldn't be surprised if half the men of Paris shared her bed."

"If it weren't for Madame Valmont and the Countess de Chagny, she and the boy would be destitute."

Only the dangerous glint in my eyes belied my anger. Granted, the phrasing was polite, but the woman who had spoken had almost blatantly called my mother a whore. My white-gloved hand clenched into a fist at my side. How dare they judge someone simply because of a situation that was beyond their control! Excusing myself from my current conversation, I made my way over to the gaggle of gossips.

"Pardon my intrusion, ladies," I said patiently, trying my utmost to keep my temper in check. "I believe you have been misinformed. Mother made some rather shrewd investments before I was born and it is those proceeds that have allowed us to live rather comfortably. As to her taking lovers, it would be prudent to leave such decisions to her."

I bowed formally and took my leave of the besoms before my ire ruled my tongue. A few short months after that, Auntie informed me, rather proudly, that I had begun to gain a reputation of my own. Many were beginning to claim I had supernaturally acute hearing and that it would be best if no one spoke negatively of Mother if I were so much as in the same room lest I unleash my wrath.

Charles Erik Destler
The Phantom of the Opera OC
513 Words
TW (bw)
Based on this picture and events here and here.

March, 1900

It was an early spring day and Paris was gloriously ablaze in sunshine. The new century was full of promise as the cool air was of birdsong. Mother had suggested we take a walk through a forest outside of Paris. I was bemused, of course, but I agreed nonetheless.

Mother was so self-contained. It was almost as though if she dared to laugh, she might begin to cry, and if she began to cry, she would never be able to stop. As always, there was a glint of loneliness and a sad resignation hovering at the corners of her deep brown eyes, but she would always try and hide it with a smile and a pat on my arm.

We walked in silence for long moments; the crunching of our shoes through last autumn’s leaves and the soft burble of the stream were the only sounds. If only there was an instrument that could faithfully capture the sound of running water!

Mother’s footsteps began to slow and I matched my pace with hers, fearing that she was tiring. She finally stopped and nodded slowly to herself before turning to me.

“What is this place, Mother?” I asked.

“This is where I met your father,” she replied softly, her voice rich with emotion. “Oh, I had seen him many times before that, but this is truly where our lives connected.”

I remembered stories she used to tell me as a small child of a lonely prince who had been an outcast because of his appearance, and how a water fairy had taken pity on him and brought her back to her castle where he stayed for a long time. It was only then that the stories revealed their true meaning.

“Father was the lonely prince you used to tell me about,” I marveled. “And you were the water fairy.”

Mother’s eyes filled with tears and she could only nod before reaching in her reticule for a handkerchief. “He was an awful sight. His shirt torn and bloody from wounds he’d received trying to flee the Opera Populaire. His trousers were shredded from the knees down. I don’t recall him wearing boots. And, of course, he had left behind his mask in his caverns where I had found it only a few moments after he fled.”

“Father lived in a cave?” I asked, astonished.

Oui,” Mother replied, sadly.

“But why?”

“I wish I could explain his reasoning,” she sighed. “His disfigurement caused him great torment. He was cast out of society, but I believe that was mostly his own doing, helped along by an uncaring mother and a band of gypsies. The catacombs were the only place where he could live without being judged by others.”

Try as I might, I could not understand how anyone could live in the catacombs. As a lark, a few of my friends and I had gone down there on a ghost hunt. We had heard stories of a ghost that haunted the passageways below the city. My comrades had become lost in only a few moments, but I had an unfailing sense of direction that led us back up to the surface without a moment’s pause. A cold wind ran its fingers over the back of my neck. My father had been that ghost!

“Does he still live in those caverns?”

Mother looked at me sharply, her brown eyes boring into me, as though she could see deep into my very soul.

“I know you, Charles. I know your mind,” she said sternly. “If I even catch a whisper of news that you’ve been exploring the catacombs, you will be returning to school before the end of your holiday. Am I understood?”

“Yes, Mother,” I replied, resigned.

Still, a part of me couldn’t help but wonder where exactly my father lived in those underground passages. Mayhap, the next time I was home from school, I might try and find him…

Charles Erik Destler
Phantom of the Opera OC
655 Words
5th-Jan-2008 08:24 pm - Dance: theatrical_muse #154
TW (tux)
Based on these events.

It was the spring of 1902 and I was sixteen. I had come home to Paris for a week during a break from school. I was having a light lunch in the kitchen when movement in the back garden caught my eye.

I watched as she curtsied to an invisible partner, and held out her arms as though someone were dancing with her. Brilliant sunshine played upon her platinum hair as she waltzed in the grass underneath the cherry tree. She was as beautiful as ever in the warm Parisian springtime.

I stood in the doorway and watched as she gracefully twirled, her long skirts swirling behind her. She threw back her head and laughed, I assumed at something her invisible partner had said. She rarely ever laughed anymore, and it thrilled me to hear such sweet music. Soon, the dance ended and she curtsied once more.

“Mother?” I called from the back doorway. “With whom were you dancing?”

“Your father.”

Charles Erik Destler
Phantom of the Opera OC
161 Words
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