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Black Rose

Story Emits

A crowd has gathered in the Blackrose Theater to witness a woman upon the stage. She is only one woman, upon one very large stage, but even upon that very large stage she has a presence that is larger than the stage -- larger than the Theater. And her voice, when she speaks, though it is just one voice, reaches to every corner of the Auditorium.

"I am Triscali the Black Rose, Breaker of Writs, Extinguisher of the Light of Dragons, Queen of the Compact of Old.

The Compact I inherited, this Compact of Old, was a Compact crippled by infighting and greed, by the lesser evils of powerful men who held other, less powerful men in chains.

I broke those chains.

And I broke the Compact.

For a thing needs to be broken before it can be reforged, and this Compact of Old needed, very much, to be reforged.

By now you have heard the words of Duke Ivan Helianthus. You have heard him toll the bell that sounds the death of your Compact. You have heard him promise comfort in the arms of King Alaric Grayson III, in the arms of the Compact you have known, with all its little tyrannies and terrors. You have been offered the soft kiss of a shadow.

Perhaps Duke Ivan is right, and your Compact has died -- has, like my Compact of Old, been broken. But, if it has truly died, it has died so that it can be /reborn/. Your Compact has been on a journey since the first day of its creation, to become something greater, to arise and ascend. It is up to all of you, now, to reforge it. To decide its shape.

This Compact is not my Compact of Old, and it is not the Compact of King Alaric Grayson III. What will your Compact be?"

The performance is met by applause, as many are taken by how believable the actress is in her portrayal of Queen Triscali the Black Rose from seven hundred years ago. White journals are written about the social commentary of the performance, and how fitting that is from that bygone era mostly lost to legend. A few gripe they couldn't get autographs.

On a day with many, many official proclamations being made, there's another one that goes out. It doesn't use the usual heralds, no, not the usual pomp of a proclamation from the Faith or the Crown. These heralds are commoners from the Lowers. Beggars. Children. Servants. Prodigals. Refugees. The poor, the shunned, and the ignored. And the proclamation itself is ignored, at first, of course, even when they stand on street corners in the Ward of the Compact and shout it. But it doesn't stay that way:

"Queen Triscali Grayson, the Black Rose, is remembered for many reasons, even this long after her reign. Scholars can tell you bits of her story. Mummers can act them out for you. The Theater she built still stands on Lords Lane, and we perform. We remember.

But Queen Triscali Grayson is remembered for other reasons. The Black Rose ended slavery in the Compact. The Black Rose freed countless slaves, countless numbers of people, and their descendants, owe her that debt. But free people own their own freedom. Free people make their own choices. Free people fight their own battles, and free people help to fight those battles that free other people. Noble, King, Queen, Commoner, we are all free people here.

And we are all free to choose what we do with that freedom. You've sold yours, Ivan Helianthus. You will not sell ours."

- The Black Rose Mummers