Blood in the Water
Imperatrice Morella du Montaigne
Married to the Sun
Morella is the youngest daughter of Vincenzo Caligari, one of the Vodacce Princes. She is a fading beauty in her late forties with dark hair, green eyes, and impeccable taste in clothing. She married l’Empereur in 1647 and gave him a child a year later. When he heard that she had given birth to a girl, Léon turned and walked away from her. Since then he has always treated her coldly, and their marriage has become a thing of political alliance only. Morella’s relationship with her daughter hasn’t been much better.Dominique finds it hard to understand her mother, who sees things she cannot. As a result, they’ve never been close. They are simply too alien to each other.
Although she was only five years old at the time, Morella’s sister Beatrice foretold three things at the future Imperatrice’s birth. She said that Morella would marry the most powerful man in the world, but that she would displease him. She also predicted that this would lead to the birth of the most powerful sorcerer to ever walk the face of Théah. Lastly, Beatrice prophesied that Morella’s death would mark the beginning of the worst bloodbath that Montaigne had ever seen. The first has come true. Only time will tell for the others.
Recently, a Vodacce sculptor named Pascal Vestanzi arrived to visit the Château. He did a marvelous sculpture of the Empereur, so Morella approached him and asked him to do one of her as well. He seemed entranced by the Imperatrice, and while she modeled for the piece, they spent many pleasant hours together talking about their homeland. The sculpture he made was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, and when she showed it to her husband, she was gushing with enthusiasm and laughing at the sculptor’s jokes.
The cover was pulled off the statue, and the Empereur’s eyes went cold and hard. He turned to her and said, “Never forget that you are mine and mine alone.” With that, he turned and stormed away. That night, the Empereur’s bodyguard arrived at dinner with urgent news of Pascal’s father and ushered him out of the room. Morella’s heart went cold, and she longed to warn the sculptor of his danger, but she knew that there was nothing she could do. When Pascal did not return, she knew that he must be dead.
Since then, Morella has found comfort in painting. She spends much of her day doing portraits of the palace’s inhabitants. Recently, she has used Jean-Marie Rois et Reines as her model. He enjoys her company, and since his men are loath to interrupt the Imperatrice, it gives him a break from his busy schedule.
Her husband sometimes comes to her with a strange gleam in his eye, asking her to curse or bless someone, or otherwise tug the strands of fate. When she tries to look at
his strands, they gleam as brightly as the sun itself — too bright to tug on, or even read. Sometimes she has had to refuse his requests because of this, and Léon simply nods
and says, “Do what you can.” This odd restraint from her normally forceful husband frightens Morella. She fearfully awaits the day when he no longer has any use for her or Vodacce. Imagining a sword hanging by a thread over her head, she believes that when he is done with her, l’Empereur will cut the strand. One snip, and her life will be forfeit.