Everto de Ivalice Redux
Chapter 1 Cynthia Darcy
Body guard of Alistair Metaxes
From a minor noble family. Her family fell on hard times when her father and elder brothers developed a gambling and drinking problem. They were good gamblers while they were sober but once they started drinking it all went to hell. Her father, in moments of soberness, started to teach her gambling and card tricks, then bringing her along to his games, he would use her innocence to swindle money off people. Her mother tried to put a stop to it but was shouted down by her father. In the end her father and brother had lost so much money and damaged the family name so much that her mother sent her off to be a page to one of the great noble households with instructions to try and raise their family name and fortune again.
All of the other pages were young lordlings like herself but from much more important families. Cynthia soon found herself the butt of their pranks and jokes as her clothing and other possessions were of much lower quality or even hand-me-downs. It soon escalated into a full-out fistfight several weeks later between her and another girl, Julianna, as Cynthia tried to defend her honour. She was thrown into a dungeon for the night and told to cool her head. Julianna wasn’t punished for her part of starting the fight. Bruised and bloody, she spent the first part of the night crying before she was calm enough to think. She realised direct confrontation would never help her and she vowed to give up fighting unless it was the only way. Instead she turned her thoughts to the tricks and sleight of hand feats her father had taught her. Half way through the night, one of the other pages, Colin, snuck into the dungeon and brought her some bread so she wouldn’t go hungry.
When she was released the next morning, she bowed her head quietly and said that she was sorry for the way she had behaved and that it would never happen again. She was forgiven and told to get on with her chores. That night she started her first game of cards with the other pages. They just played, there was no gambling or tricks on her part. Then as the other pages came to trust her more, even as they continued to call her names and belittle her, she introduced the idea of gambling, each page started off by writing chores on a piece of paper. That night, Cynthia had gambled half of her chores away. This continued for another month until it was ‘someone else’s’ idea to start using their possessions.
Always careful to make sure she never won too much or too often, Cynthia soon replaced her whole wardrobe. Either keeping the items for herself, selling them back to their original owner or selling them in the market and buying new items with the money. She and Colin became best friends, and often she rigged the game in his favour, as a thank you for bringing her food that night in the dungeon, though he never realised most of his gains were through cheating. Everything went well for about six months until Julianna gambled away a new jewelled dagger. Cynthia won the game without even having to cheat. However Julianna demanded that she give the dagger back as it wasn’t something that she should have gambled away. Cynthia said she could only have it back if she paid, as their normal rules. Julianna refused and stalked off. Cynthia thought that was the end of the matter, but Julianna went straight to their master and told all, that Cynthia was running a gambling ring and stealing off the other pages.
Cynthia was summoned to the master’s office, to be smirked at by Julianna before she was led away. What happened next wasn’t what either she or Julianna had thought. She was taken in secret to a lieutenant of the Bart Company, the most powerful criminal organization in Ivalice. She was given many interviews and tests and stayed there for a week before being told that she was going to be their newest member and was sworn to secrecy. As she was still so young, but with such potential, she was sent back to continue her training as a page, as there was only another six months left. When she returned, she pretended humbleness and humility and that she had spent a week in the dungeons. Then each night after everyone had gone to bed, she snuck off to a secret room in the house to be trained by one of the Bart company members. The card games unfortunately finished.
She kept the dagger, and even to this day, wears it concealed in her garter. She never forgave Julianna for telling on her, even though nothing bad happened from it. It became the principal of the matter and Cynthia vowed never to tell on those she was close to or served. She took to practicing her stealth and spying skills by shadowing Julianna around the keep, scaring her and then blending into the shadows as Julianna ran away.
When they were ready to become squires, they were all grouped and moved to different castles. Happily Colin was with her, though Julianna was the third member of their group. As both girls proved deft at sword fighting, their rivalry increased. Cynthia started up her card games again when she could, though she was careful to play only in circles that Julianna didn’t frequent, which often meant that she was in the company of older soldiers. She soon learnt that her young, innocent looks helped her swindle the soldiers out of their money. The secret night time classes continued and she learned more about espionage and spying.
During one of her night-time sneaks around the castle, she happened upon Colin and one of the older squires making out. She blended back into the shadows and they never noticed her. She kept their romance to herself though a few months later it became obvious that Julianna had feelings for Colin, when she confronted Cynthia and accused her of having an affair with Colin. Cynthia played innocent though afterwards ran to Colin and told him everything and then promised to help him keep his affair with David secret.
Cynthia and Colin continued this dance with Julianna until they joined the army. As nobles, they started at the bottom of the officers, but higher than the regular peasants. Cynthia started to receive her own separate orders from the Bart Company and her secret training turned into half training, half mission. Their battalion moved around the country frequently and Cynthia was kept on her toes, making sure no one noticed her secret missions away from camp and keeping Colin’s secret. The three of them rose quickly, Julianna more due to her family, Cynthia for her abilities (and maybe a little influence from the Bart Company). When they were knighted, Julianna and Colin’s family announced that those two were to be betrothed and married to each other. Julianna running to her family when her attempts to seduce Colin failed.
Colin came to Cynthia for help and she devised the plan to get him out of the marriage. She would marry him in secret, though it was be a sham wedding, with both parties free to sleep with whoever they wanted. It would just be for outward social appearances that they would be married. The day after the wedding she met Alistair as she was assigned to help him in a mission. She got feelings for him and after Alistair’s project was finished, she became his ‘body guard’ and started sleeping with him. Colin and Alistair became friends however Colin doesn’t know that they are part of the Bart Company, he believes in the outward guise of their relationship. Cynthia never telling him, intending to keep him safe – if he doesn’t know secrets how can they be used against him? Though he suspects Cynthia is a part of something he doesn’t want to pry into something he thinks is probably dangerous.
Colin’s family was angry at them, and reduced his allowance to next to nothing, forcing him and Cynthia to have to use most of their income from their knighthood. They scrape by, Cynthia supplementing items from gambling when she has to. And even though Cynthia has raised her family a little bit from the pit her father and brother buried themselves in, she hasn’t raised them enough to give her much or any of an allowance.
Julianna never forgave Cynthia and the two descended to new levels of rivalry, with Cynthia generally coming out on top, giving her the nick name ‘Julianna’s Thorn’.
This dance has been going on for several years now, though there are a few gossips starting up as Cynthia and Colin have no children but were a love marriage… Cynthia is currently undecided about having children, due to the fact that she would want Alistair to be openly acknowledged as the father but that it would ruin her and Colin’s sham marriage and perhaps force Colin to marry Julianna, and she sees that as a betrayal of trust and friendship.
Meh, she’ll figure it out one day. At the moment she is happy with the way everything is going.