All at once the merchant lost his whole fortune, excepting a small country house at a great distance from town, and told his children with tears in his eyes, they must go there and work for their living… Poor Beauty at first was sadly grieved at the loss of her fortune; “but,” said she to herself, “were I to cry ever so much, that would not make things better, I must try to make myself happy without a fortune.”
When they came to their country house, the merchant and his three sons applied themselves to husbandry and tillage; and Beauty rose at four in the morning, and made haste to have the house clean, and dinner ready for the family. In the beginning, she found it very difficult, for she had not been used to work as a servant, but in less than two months, she grew stronger and healthier than ever. After she had done her work, she read, played on the harpsichord, or else sung whilst she spun.
On the contrary, her two sisters did not know how to spend their time; they got up at ten, and did nothing but saunter about the whole day, lamenting the loss of their fine clothes and acquaintance. “Do but see our youngest sister,” said they, one to the other, “what a poor, stupid, mean-spirited creature she is, to be contented with such an unhappy dismal situation.”
“Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont, 1757 English translation.”
Those of you who follow me as chronicler of the House of Beauty must continue the tradition of keeping the truth in these records secret from all but the Huntress of the House. In some cases, it will be best if even the Huntress is kept in the dark about some events.
Mother was a bitter woman when she founded our House. I know how the stories portray her as bright and cheerful, know she resented her life and her sisters most of all. She never expected to marry into royalty at best she figured she’d marry a farmer. Shortly after mother convinced father it was in his best interests to marry her, she lost touch with her youngest brother. No trace of my uncle was ever found, all though rumors have been heard of his marriage to the daughter of a count in a distant land.
The first entry from the First Chronicles of the House of Beauty, translated in the nineteenth century from the original French.
Chapter One: Three Months Before Prologue
The brown station wagon pulled into Bangor, Maine after a week and a half on the road from Little Rock, Arkansas. The trip shouldn’t have taken so long, but the young men driving the car had stopped to see the sights and to work a couple of jobs. Pulling into a gas station, the car came to a stop at the pumps. From the driver’s side emerged a tall young man in his early twenties. He was dressed in blue jeans, a black t-shirt, and sneakers his black hair flowing loosely down his back to the top of his firm ass. Out of the passenger, side-stepped a young man in his mid-twenties, his blonde hair, and beard trimmed short, he too was dressed in jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers. The second young man opened the rear passenger door and a huge black dog leapt from the back seat. A silver collar with a wolf’s head clasp hung around the dog’s neck. The two young men glanced at each other across the roof of the station wagon with a knowing nod the dark-haired youth turned to the pump putting gas in the car. His companion signaled the dog, crossed the parking lot to an open grassy area where the dog could take care of his business. Once the dog was done, they returned to the car and the blonde put the dog back in the car before heading to the gas station’s store for supplies and the restroom.
The blond returned and put the supplies into the car as his companion finished pumping gas. His dark-haired companion crossed the lot to the store for his own turn in the restroom when he returned they continued on their way.
As they left the gas station the blonde wondered how much longer, they would be on the road. Almost as if his mind was being read, his companion spoke.
“We’ve still got about an hour’s drive, Wolf. Granddad’s family built the place on a secluded section of the coast so no one would bother them.”
The idea of meeting his lover’s grandparents was a scary thought running around in the blonde’s mind. Fear of the unknown mage family and their opinions about their grandson’s taste in boyfriends made relaxing difficult knowing they were close to their destination.
“I hope we’ll have time to relax and check out the ocean while we’re here. Billy and I have never seen the ocean.”
Kieran wondered what his boyfriend was really thinking. There was a bit of nervous tension in Cory’s voice. His own mind was on the coming tests he’d have to undergo in order to follow the path fate seemed to have set him on.
“I’m sure we’ll find time to play in the ocean. Granddad’s estate has about two miles of private beach. We can camp out on the beach one night and make love under the stars.”
Unless of course, dad’s chasing me around the estate and I’m dodging the spells he’s hurling in my general direction. I can imagine all the fun of trying to make out with my boyfriend while ducking fireballs and other dangerous spells.
“Camping on the beach sounds like fun. Have you ever done it before?”
“Not since I was a kid, Dad and Uncle Brom took about a dozen guys from school and me out camping on the beach one weekend. It didn’t go very well. Turned out a couple of the guys were allergic to shellfish.”
I wonder when dad will start the test. With my luck, it’s already started. I just hope I can keep Cory and Billy safe until I can go on the offensive.