Giest Victorian Setting
Alexander Emmanuele, Prince of Carignan, House of Savoy
Geist: Vlad The Impaler
Best the fear, ere
From the Tapestry of the Worldweaver
Legions under Starfyre
As he gasped his last breath before sinking to a watery grave, Alexander’s thoughts turned to his friend Edward… When Alexander was 3 years old, his father took part in the Italian War of Independence, often fighting in the front line at the battles of Pastrengo, Santa Lucia and Custoza.
As a result, Alexander was sent to live with the family of his mother’s late cousin, the Worthington’s. Mr. Worthington had convinced his mother that Alexander’s life was in danger. Maria fearing for her son’s safety entrusted him to the Worthington family, along with a small fortune for his care.
Living away from his mother at such a young age was very difficult for Alexander. He did however meet Edward, the son of the governess taking care of the Worthington child. Alexander felt at home when Edward was around plus he liked having someone watching over him like an older brother. Alexander would often sneak off to the elegant parties that Mrs Worthington held at the estate and wreak havoc, with Edward in tow. Of course Edward was the one taking the blame for all the mischief Alexander had caused in the hopes of being sent home.
When Alexander received news that the war in Italy had finally ended, he had mixed feelings of returning home. He wanted Edward to go with him but that wasn’t a possibility. The Castle seemed cold and empty, his mother was not there to greet his return either. Everything he remembered about his home was different. His father, King Vittorio explained that his mother passed away after the birth of his brother Amadeo. Vittorio wasn’t a cruel King nor was his a great father but he did rule his kingdom justly which is what he taught to Alexander and Amadeo.
Being of militaristic background, Vittorio would often pit the two boys against each other. Alexander could do no wrong in his father’s eye, he was stronger than Amadeo and showed an early interest in Languages and sports.
At age 17, Amadeo married Donna Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo, Princess della Cisterna. The King opposed the match on the grounds that her family was of insufficient rank, as well as his hopes for his son’s marriage to a German princess. Despite her princely title, donna Maria Vittoria was not of royal birth, belonging rather to the Piedmontese nobility. She was, however, the sole heiress of her father’s vast fortune which Amadeo inherited and thereby obtaining wealth independent of their dynastic appanage. Alexander was sent off to the University of Cambridge shortly after his brother’s wedding ceremonies. That was the last time Alexander saw his brother.Now he was lying at the bottom of a collapsed sea cave, unaware of the rising tide just moments from flowing in. Alexander seemed calm and at peace as he laid there unable to move. The last thing Alexander remembers was…
King Vittorio: What do you mean, you’re not going back to university?
Alexander: I would have thought even you could understand such a simple sentence, father. Shall I repeat it in Latin for you?
Father: You are telling me that I… will have to face my friends knowing my son is a… an idler?
Alexander: Apparently. If you can call those who fawn on you in the hopes that you will lend them money your friends.
Father: I am still your father and your King so you will do as I say. You will be returning to Cambridge tomorrow and I will expect you to return only when you have graduated. The subject is not up for debate. You will do as you are told. Guards! Escort my son back to his chambers and make sure he boards the train tomorrow.
Everything after getting on the train was hazy at best. He doesn’t know how he ended up in this cave and frankly he didn’t care anymore. The voices in his head had been getting louder lately. It started as small whispers that could be mistaken for the wind when he was a child and had been getting louder with age. Recently it had gotten loud almost deafening, making almost impossible for him to concentrate let alone study. But lying in this cold damp cave, the voices were gone. Peaceful and quiet. The tide rose and the waters poured in like a stampede of wild horses, pushing and pulling on the smooth edges of the cave. It wasn’t long before the vast, empty cave was filled to the brim with cold unforgiving sea water. Unable to move, Alexander gasped desperately for air. He couldn’t help but think of the life he had wasted trying to please his father. His brother was the smart one, always had been. This was his end and he knew he wanted more.
He had been sleeping for a very long time, so long that the very act of awakening covered a span of better than two years. First came a flexing of massive nostrils, a single exhalation over many days. Air, musty with age and mildew, seeped from ancient lungs into the great cavern. Next came an indrawn breath, and for a full interval, those long-dormant lungs swelled with fresh air.
The next time his breath escaped more quickly, rushing with an audible hiss, stirring up wisps of cloud from the cave floor, and within a few hours, the old one was again inhaling. By the time he opened both of his great eyes,turned the slitted pupils outward, and focused on the dim light emanating from the cavern walls, his breathing had steadied into regular two-minute cycle, his hart was pumping with steady pressure, and his mind had begun to glimmer with awareness. He saw the boy that lay broken at the bottom of the empty cavern, when he reached out and touched the boy he felt renewed with purpose.
A single breath escaped Alexander’s lips. He was awake. His lungs filled with sharp cool air, stinging him like a thousand bees had just flown through his body. The act of moving, even the slight wiggle of a toe, generated immense pain. Still he struggled against the slippery cave sides and crawled his way out. Overcome with exhaustion, he collapsed on the sandy beach clutched in his hands a dull compass. Alexander awoke with the sun burning his eyes and he squinted to see where he was. The place seemed familiar yet not. It didn’t matter, this was his second chance and he wasn’t going to let it go to waste. Excited with new possibilities, Alexander made his way to the last place he was happy.