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Content by Kismet Rose
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Juliette Snow

Concept
Hopeful romantic
Virtue
Hope Vice Gluttony
Court
Dawn
Seeming
Wizened Kith Author
D.O.B./Age
March 20, 1982 (28)
Appears
early/mid 20s Hair Brown
Eyes
Blue
Height
5'6" Weight 120 lbs.
Attributes
Power
Intelligence
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Strength
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Presence
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Finesse
Wits
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Dexterity
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Manipulation
●●○○○
Resistance
Resolve
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Stamina
●●○○○
Composure
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Mental Physical Social
(-3 unskilled) (-1 unskilled) (-2 unskilled*)
Academics
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Drive
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Empathy
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Computer
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Firearms (Pistol)
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Expression (Writing)
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Crafts (Paper)
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Stealth (Dark)
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Persuasion
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Investigation
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Subterfuge
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Occult
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Contracts Merits Derived Traits
Hearth ●○○○○ Arcadian Metabolism ●●●○○ Size 5
Omen ●●○○○ Brownie's Boon ●○○○○ Defense 2
Potential ●●○○○ Inspiring** ●●●●○ Initiative Mod 5
    Mantle (Dawn) ●●○○○ Speed 9
    New Identity ●○○○○    
    Resources ●●○○○    
Other Traits
* -2 to unskilled Social rolls due to Seeming
Health ●●●●●●● ** Inspiring via Dawn Mantle
Willpower ●●●●●  
Wyrd ●●        
Glamour (2/rnd)

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●●●● (max)

 
Clarity ●●●●●●        
Experience
15 pre-game Spent on: increasing Wyrd to 2, and buying 1 dot each in New Identity and Brownie's Boon.
     

Some people had a real life before they were Taken, but I had a dream that was rich, sweet, and boring.

Once upon a time, my parents were the good king and queen of my world, and I, Jennifer Nicholson, was the little princess of theirs, and together we lived in the kingdom of Hyde Park. They were a bit older than my friends' parents – in their late 30s – but that only made them wiser and kinder, and better to me. With them came grandparents, including my very own fairy grandmother. She was the one who taught me that the world was full of stories: those that people told and those that people lived, and some that people told about how they lived. She said that everyone was the center of their own story, even if they were a sidekick in someone else's life. People had favorite roles and pinned roles on others. Fairy tales were eternal, she said, because there would always be Wicked Stepmothers and Handsome Princes in real life.

I believed so completely in my parents and their world that I was unprepared for the home invasion robbery we suffered when I was nine. I knew there were bad people in the world but they didn't come into my house on an evening like any other. They didn't make my dad put his hands up in the air and step back. They didn't make my dad tell us to close our eyes right away. My mom thought he was crazy but I had never really gone against that voice before, so I obeyed without blinking twice. He told them to take the house if they wanted it, but to leave us alone. We were very lucky; they stole all the valuables they could grab, but they just locked us in a closet. A neighbor saw our door open a while later and they let us out. After that, we fled to the kingdom of Evanston and increased neighborhood security.

My parents didn't mean for me to grow up one second sooner than I had to. They believed that childhood was a time for good things, if adults wouldn't get in the way. So they weren't happy when I started writing stories about being adopted. I wrote about a pretty girl taking a bundle to a big church and crying when she left. Something was very bad for her but it would be okay for the baby because she would be adopted by wonderful people. They loved all my other stories, even the ones about my ugliest doll, but the ones I started to write when I was twelve made them frown. I showed my mom, and she showed my dad, and they asked me where I had heard those things. They thought maybe Grandma had said something but she hadn't. I just knew one day that that was how I was born. They asked if I wanted to find out more, and maybe I should have wanted to hear the whole story - but I didn't.

I went to private schools and extracurricular classes my whole life. My dad was proud that I went out with different boys and didn't seem to take them too seriously, but the truth was, they always fell so far short of what I imagined that I got bored. One of the first boys who didn't fall short was my high school sweetheart, and he left right after senior year. Sorry, but I gotta try this, babe. Hollywood calls. I wrote some of the first stories I ever published after that, imagining that I went on a great road adventure to win him back. (Along the way I ended up making quirky friends and meeting The One, who I almost spurned once I got to Hollywood. Not to worry, though. I got to verbally whip my ex before riding off into the sunset with Mr. Right.) Some readers really loved those stories, but I decided on a summer abroad and college instead of trying the road trip for real. The princess doesn't chase the prince. He chases her.

Northwestern University was wonderful and wonderfully expensive, but discouraging. I knew how to study but what I really wanted to write, they didn't really want to read. Romance novels? Even historical ones were anathema. They weren't “real” literature. But what was “real” literature, if not stories that people made up hundreds of years ago, often involving the greatest lovers of all time? No one wanted to hear that even history was fantasy, and that fantasy mattered more than reality at times. No one except millions of women investing in romance books. But what did Northwestern care about the market? My professors didn't care when I got published, or even when I got a contract for my Great Women series. The men I dated didn't care, either.

It turned out that a local politician cared a lot. My third book came from dreams and doodlings in my notebooks about yet another Bold Woman who struggled, gained power, and yet couldn't remain with her husband alone. I had no idea it was based on anything but too much coffee, but it ended up tracking the politician's life, including the abortion and lovers she had never told anyone about. She sent some guys to rough me up and I thought I'd fallen into a bad CSI episode. The idea that I could end up like the victims on that show seemed very likely. Cease and desist, or they would be back for me, and no lawyer would ever be involved. That was the final straw. I dropped out of school and went back home, and when my overachieving boyfriend found out, he dropped me.

That was fine. Because I was going to write someone so much better than him. I was going to quit beating around the bush and create the man I'd been too afraid to write all along: the Handsome Stranger I kept for myself and my own hidden dreams. I knew that all women had their own image, their own concept of the Man deep down, and a lot of them secretly wanted the same thing I had in mind. But most of them couldn't imagine Him as fully as I could. For the housewives of America, He was a brief fantasy between chores, but He haunted every relationship they had. He'd haunted me long enough. I was going to bring Him out, and use myself as the protagonist for the first time since I first started publishing.

I thought I would be safest if I wrote about the distant past for my next novel, so I started digging through the city's history. There was so much of it that was I was busy for weeks, just taking notes. When I went back to my notes, though, I kept noticing little things that I didn't remember writing. Comments about old crimes or buildings or people. Sometimes, there were random words or numbers that seemed to suggest things, but never connected. For some reason, it was worse than usual, but it was also more interesting than it had ever been. I'd found the strange writing before, but I always felt like it was getting in the way, or that there was something wrong with me and I had to hide it. But this time, it almost started to tell a story.

I don't remember when I stopped answering phone calls or going out with friends, but it must have been over several months. I know my parents were worried, but I was so excited that they couldn't bear to stop me. I really wish they had. I wish they'd insisted I get up, get a job, and get out. I wish they'd never let me live in that dream world where people weren't meant to be full-time. Maybe then I wouldn't have been so wrapped up in myself. Maybe then I wouldn't have bent everything I had into making him real. Maybe then the last night I spent on my book wouldn't have happened.

I want to blame them...but I can't. I know it was me. I called him forth so the most excellent and dangerous man I could imagine could become the center of my universe. By the time I finished the last page of the last chapter, it was dark and the story was so real that I could almost feel his breath on me. I don't think I had eaten in a few days so I must have been delirious. I almost heard His voice tell me to turn out the light, and instead of becoming very afraid that I was crazy – instead of asking myself why I was sweating, instead of splashing water in my face or getting some coffee - I just obeyed. I laid down as still as Sleeping Beauty, waiting and knowing that the night was preparing itself for His arrival. The shadows moved. I could feel my hair curling itself on my pillow. I was sure I was dreaming, except that some part of me knew that I was awake.

I know that I was afraid when my bedroom door opened and a tall figure in archaic clothes filled its frame. I had never felt any presence so powerful or seen any movement so predatorily graceful. When He leaned down on a knee and showed me his face, I was too frozen to scream. He was beautiful, monstrously perfect, all gleaming eyes and cruel lips, not one blemish, not one pore. His smile was a horror. My Handsome Prince wasn't human.

“Ahh, my Dear,” he said with a voice I recognized from my dreams, “I've come to take you away.”

I know I cried then. I think I begged. I didn't want to go. I wiped my nose with the back of my hand like a little girl, and I felt so tired that I was sure my mind would break, but He didn't appear to notice. He was gathering things in my room – romance paperbacks, scrawled city notes, old drafts of chapters – and setting them on the other side of the bed, where I could hardly move.

“You needn't be afraid, my Dear,” He intoned. “You have worked so long for this that I wouldn't dream of leaving you behind. Another will stay in your place and make your excuses. You will never have to deal with the petty concerns of this world again.”

He gathered the tears on my face in his hands and smoothed them down the pile in the shape everyone associates with women, flowing, hourglass-like, flaring at the hips, until a body started to form. And then with one hand He touched me, and with the other He shaped the pile into something that looked more and more like me. It was agony and ecstasy at once, something I had only read about, but it wasn't supposed to be so extreme. I was supposed to be able to breathe. It was as though she took my breath, that other me on the coverlet who lay sleeping. She breathed.

I remember He swept me up in arms like vises, like every love story you've ever read or seen, like a husband with a new bride, but I was reaching for her. If she woke up, I would wake up, and it would just have been a bad nightmare.

It took me several years before I would understand that I had been looking at my fetch, and I remember some of my time away. I remember Him smothering and ignoring me at wild turns. I remember formal dances with mad rules and torturous dances, where missteps drew blood. I remember a charwoman at his castle (because of course he had a castle) begging to go back to her children. She hadn't really wanted to get away from them; she'd just wanted a little time to read her stories. And I remember being responsible for stories in his kingdom, a Storyweaver. But something was wrong about that. I hear that word now, and I get chills. I believe he had me tell some stories that used other changelings as characters, but I try not to think about it. There was some danger to that role and I know it had something to do with my escape, but just what, I'm not sure.

All I know is that I ended up flagging down a horse drawn carriage near the lakefront on a romantic summer night. I was incoherent and inconsolable, and at first they thought I'd been drugged and raped. (When the Spring courtier who found me told me that, I laughed. Few times in the world where being drugged and raped is preferable to something else.) I was lucky that a Spring courtier had decided to take a conquest out for an evening's seduction (and he lied when he described it later, but I read that scene like an open book, in that special way I do). I'd hate to think what would have happened to me if the wrong people had been around. I was seeing the worst things people had ever experienced, or how much they loved or hated the people they were with; I wasn't just insane, I was prying at the stories of everyone I saw to keep myself anchored to the real world. Maybe it even worked.

I've only been back a year, but a lot can happen during that time. My fetch is still Jennifer Nicholson, writing under my old pen names. And she's still publishing, but I've noticed that she doesn't experiment. I think she is still using outlines and plans I left around, and filling them in with different names and places. I think I might know why. And I've been thinking about my old notes, which I made just before I was taken. I think she might have them, too. But I'm not sure I want to step anywhere near her life. There's no way for me to pretend to be her or to explain to my parents where I've been. I can't even be who I was; I'm just not the same person.

So instead I'm Juliette Snow and I have new pen names I write under (all backed by a new identity I fenagled through the freehold). I am doing pretty well for a completely new name in publishing, and I know I have Arcadia to thank for it. I've been to the land of all stories and some of it has come back with me. As scary as that sounds, it's also a gift. And I need all the gifts and friends I can get, because I'm not a Summer courtier. I wasn't forced to labor and fight, and I know those skills are lacking. I don't just need to make myself useful to this world again – I need protection. Because I know how the story goes and someday, He will come back. The princess might not chase the prince, but he will hunt her to the ends of the earth to reclaim what's his.

I hope, when the time comes, to have a story that will really surprise him.