Plus ça Change

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The French have a saying – “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which translates as “the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing,” or, as most people would express it, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” In my last diary entry, I quoted Heraclitus saying how everything changes and made reference to how my Gwyneth rebuilds the landscape and our home in the faerie realm, Awenia, as often as she changes her dress or her hair. These words were maybe, accidentally, prophetic, for it seemed but a few hours since I committed those words to paper that I received a text message from my beloved – “We’re Moving. Obviously Yule Decorations Will Come First.”  I have become used to such things with Gwyneth. She is as changeable as the weather and as constant as the sun and the stars, and I love her for that. I could see that some, perhaps living under more normal circumstances, might feel that something as important as moving house deserves a slightly less peremptory notification, but our circumstances have long ceased to be normal. Besides, even before I was able to walk between worlds with the same ease that others walk down the street, I was used to a nomadic existence. For much of the year, my home was my cabin aboard ship – the Carisbrooke Castle, the Raglan Castle and the Odiham Castle and, until the sea took her from me, the Bold Admiral, and so far as your surroundings are concerned, nothing is as changeable as the sea.

“Plus ça change…” The more things change…  The landscape of Awenia may change, the shape, size and location of our home may change, but some things will remain the same. This will still be our official residence. We will still have parts of our home that are not really ours – those that belong to the people we serve. We will still have those parts that are reserved for our more intimate guests and friends, and those that are ours alone. It was thus in the faerie home in the Wylds. It was thus in the castle at Mysthaven. It was thus in the tree-house here in Awenia. And it will be thus in this new home. Such is the way of things for those of us who are called to serve the people as their leaders. This service is far from what either of us, my beloved Gwyn or I, would have chosen, but, it is a service we accept with, I hope, good grace.

Having been so peremptorily notified of our move, I immediately curtailed my activities, which were of no great importance, and made my way to Awenia to see what our new home might be.  I was pleasantly surprised. It is not the cottage by the sea that I have long promised Gwyn, but as an official residence, it will more than suffice. This new castle, unlike our tree-house, it does not require ladders to access the front door, which will be a great improvement for me, even though I mostly flew rather than climbed. It is also, so far as I have been able to determine, not constructed from the bones of an ancient vampire, nor haunted by the ghost of a 2,000 year old queen.  In these respects, it has many advantages compared to previous residences. In general appearance, it seems to be a series of overlapping and interconnected octagonal towers, pleasantly arranged in a way that flows naturally from one to the other. It was on this matter that Gwyn wished to consult with me; seeking my ideas as to the usage, furnishing and décor for the rooms. Normally, I am content to leave such things to her, so it was a pleasant surprise to be asked.

Of course, she had already made a start by the time I got there – moving stuff in crates by means of magic. My remark that this was perhaps not seemly for a queen was not well received. I am more used to men in brown overalls carrying stuff, but perhaps such people are in short supply in faerie. I concentrated on the functional side of things, since my aesthetic is firmly rooted in the Victorian, which might well have suited the style of the building, but may not necessarily be appropriate for the modern day.  I did offer ideas regarding the furnishing, but only so far as they were relevant to the suggested function. The main doors opened into two overlapping octagons, so I ventured that this should be the most public area of the castle, a reception area where we could receive guests, hold meetings, have cocktail parties, balls and such like. A small room off of that would serve well as the office for the purpose of official business, much as my office did in the castle in Mysthaven.

Another octagonal room from the main receiving area would serve well as a dining room, where official visitors and larger groups of personal visitors could be entertained, and a further room beyond that could be a lounge/withdrawing room where we could relax with guests after dinner, a place for port and brandy and cigars. I envisaged that this sequence of rooms would also represent a gradual transition from the public to the more private. The main reception area would be for any guests, whereas the dining room and lounge would be for those guests we have more of a relationship with, be they diplomats and official representatives or personal friends, and those few that are both.

Upstairs, I envisaged as being more the private parts of the residence, though there would be guest quarters for our official visitors and friends. It was here that I was reminded of some of the many reasons I love Gwyn. We have only had the castle for a short while, but Gwyn has her priorities, which I find are much in accord with mine. While the rest of the building is largely given over to crates and miscellaneous furniture brought from the tree-house, upstairs, she had already decorated and furnished the library and our private chambers. Even in this short time, she has already made it a home. There is also a Christmas tree in the library. Apparently, this is now a tradition, though it was a new thing that the Prince Albert introduced in my era. The library is a good place for it, as it is possibly the only room tall enough. I am glad she did so. It will make it a home, and we can celebrate Yule together in it.

There remains much to be done. Decisions on the function of the other rooms, furnishing and decorating them, but we have time. It will be some months before we will be receiving official visitors other than the people of the town. Gwyn has opened discussions with Arcturus Treem, the local representative of the Consilium Arcanum, with regard to opening our faerie realm to humans and other folk. Yes, the Consilium still exists, albeit in a somewhat different form, and some folk, like Arcturus are still here and remember the way things were before the change, or the Cataclysm, as he apparently called it. Her initial discussions with him were productive and he seemed in favour of the idea, but these things take time. That is a good thing, as it gives us time to prepare. And I look forward to it, because this is something where I think I could be of help. While things may be different here in this reality, some things have not changed, and that includes the various manners and protocols involved in dealings between the fae and humankind. Here, at least, I have experience, from drawing up the Accords that we had between Mysthaven and Faerie, and I am sure I could help in these negotiations too.

Talking of Mysthaven, I have neglected it too long, and I miss my friends. I must visit there soon.

Plus ça Change

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