Changelings in Paris
Concept: Mad Musician
Kith: Minstrel / Nightsinger
Intelligence: 4 Wits: 3 Resolve: 1
Strength: 1 Dexterity: 4 Stamina: 1
Presence: 4 Manipulation: 2 Composure: 2
Academics: 1, Computer 1, Investigation 4, Occult 1
Firearms: 3, Stealth (crowds): 1
Empathy (reading a crowd): 2, Expression (violin): 5, Persuasion: 2, Subterfuge (hiding emotions): 1
Dual Kith: 3
Enchanting Performance: 4
Mantle (Dusk): 4
Vainglory: 2, The Moon: 4
Health: 6, Willpower: 3, Glamour: 5, Clarity: 6, Speed: 10, Initiative: 6, Defense: 3
Moon Contract 4th dot (16 xp), Enchanting Performance – 4 dot merit (8 xp), Harvest 1st dot (2 xp), Resources 2 dots (6 xp), Hollow 2 dots (6 xp), Wyrd 2nd dot (16 xp), Composure 2nd dot (10 xp)
exp left: 1
Name? Elena Lyadova
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity? Heterosexual Female
What is your Mask?
I’ve always been tiny. I mean, I used to be tinier, but that was when I was younger. I’ve always been tiny for my age, I guess is what I mean. I’m always getting confused for a teenager. People tend to not look into my eyes for very long. I think they just look weird since they’re so light-colored, grayish. My white hair makes me stand out a bit more than I’d like, but it’s also kind of cool. I like wearing dresses, people comment on that sometimes so I guess it’s somewhat interesting.
What is your Mein?
My eyes get way silvery. People tell me it’s uncomfortable to look at. They say that they can almost hear music, as well. As if it was really really quiet. They can’t make out the tune. I’ve never heard it, but they say it’s definitely me. Maybe they’re just overhearing music from my headphones, but they say it always sounds the same, so I don’t know.
Who were you as a human?
I was young. I started learning the violin when I was 4, and that was basically my whole life. Papa wanted me to play because his friend’s son was very good, and then the teachers all said how good at it I was and so they pushed me to get better and better. My first concert was when I was about… 8, I suppose. My teacher was one of the best in all of Russia, but he was so frustrated, he said I didn’t play with any emotion. He thought I didn’t feel any. I just didn’t like playing the violin. But I kept playing because it made Papa happy, and practiced and practiced. By the time I was 10, my teacher had all but given up on me. I was still fantastic, my skill unmatched, but he said without emotion I could never get any better. Maybe that’s why he let that man take me away.
Who were you close to before you were taken? Lovers? Family?
Papa meant the world to me, but I couldn’t really say we were close. Mama was there, too, but I never really knew her. I mean, they were nice enough, and loving enough, but once the violin lessons started we began to drift apart. I was just so busy all the time, with practice and lessons, and Papa had to work to pay for those lessons. It was difficult for me to express myself, too. I mean, we could never really have a sit-down “talk” or anything. My teacher, Mr. Vengerov, is who I spent most of my time with, but he didn’t allow his students to put down the violin when he was there, so that made communication difficult for me.
Why did you get taken?
Mr. Vengerov gave up on me sometime between my 8th and 10th birthday. He just couldn’t get me past the technical part of playing an instrument. At that, however, I was unmatched. Even the older, college-age students were impressed by my technique. But I couldn’t make my performances “shine”. The strange man visited our school the week before I turned 10. I know now what he was, but at the time, I couldn’t place what was wrong with him. I knew that he was terrifying, however, and when Mr. Vengerov said he’d be my new instructor, I almost cried. Maybe if I had, all this wouldn’t have happened.
How long were you in Arcadia? Human time/Fairy time
About ten years human time. I believe it was about the same in Arcadia, although who can really tell. I had no good way to measure time there, except by the moon, but I lost count several times, and eventually stopped really trying.
What happened in Arcadia?
I was put in a room. The room was dark, though it had a very small, very high window through which I could sometimes get a bit of moonlight. There was no sunlight. There was moonlight or total darkness. The room had nothing but me in it. The walls were somewhat soft, and muffled the sound when I banged on them. After only a day, the silence started to get to me. I banged and clapped as much as I could, but the muffling effect stopped them from sounding like anything. I didn’t feel hungry there, or have to use the bathroom or anything. So maybe it wasn’t that long after all. I did age there, though, so I guess it was just one of those weird Fae things. After almost a month, when the door opened, I thought I was going to be killed.
Instead, a man walked in, picked me up off the ground, guided me outside to a small stage, and handed me a violin. He said nothing, made no noise of his own, and I looked up to see an audience that was likewise completely silent. I put the violin to my chin and half expected it to be silent as well, but the notes rang out clear. Surprised at how much I had missed the sound, I played a few pieces I could remember. The audience did not react the entire time. Confused, I dropped my arms to my side. Immediately, forcefully, the instrument was ripped out of my hands and I was ushered back into the room.
Each month this happened. I played longer and longer each time, just to be out of the room that much longer. I saw the full moon travel across the sky, and set at the horizon over the course of the “night,” but no sun was there to replace it. Instead, just as it was about to be completely dark, I would have the violin taken from me (even in the middle of a piece!) and be put back in the room. I fought at first, of course, but eventually I simply walked back and sat down on my own, and when the next full moon came, I was waiting for the man near the door.
I occupied my mind thinking of new, longer, songs to play for the silent audience. I filled my head with the sound to last me through the silent month. And I began to play not only the notes, but the true music. I played the loneliness I felt, the sense of betrayal, the anger at my captor, and the madness I knew was always lurking in the silent room. How I could improve a craft I started out hating in such conditions I may never know, but I did. I became great.
What broke you?
And then there was a cloudy night. The door should have opened. The strange man should have given me the violin. I should have played the song that was in my head. But it didn’t, he didn’t, I didn’t. The cloud over the moon left the night as dark as the day in this strange place. And I stayed in the room, and cried silent tears. When the next full moon was likewise cloudy I tried desperately to hold the sound of the violin in my head. When the third came, and I still sat in the silence, I wasn’t sure if there was ever a time that I hadn’t been in the room, that I hadn’t been alone. Sometime before the fourth, I gave up hope that I would ever be allowed out again.
How did you escape?
I don’t know how long I sat there. For at least a month I didn’t move at all. And then the door opened. The strange man came over and pulled me up, and I think now that he was kinder than he had been in the past. The violin was placed in my hands, and I remember being confused. What was this? I looked at it like I had never seen one before. Like I hadn’t studied it or grown to love it. The man gestured, as if drawing the bow across and I stupidly mimiced his movement. But as I played the awkward chord and heard the first sound in months, I let the madness fully take me. I’m sure I had been mad before this moment. The months were too long, the room too quiet, the loneliness too intense. But I had used tricks to forget, to detach myself. I dropped all that and simply played. I played chords no human hand could hold, notes no human ear could hear, a song that was nothing less than my own soul, laid out on a staff that couldn’t be drawn in three dimensions.
And no, before you ask, I don’t know how. I can’t remember the song. I barely remember the night at all. But in that moment, I was the song and the song was me and it was powerful and beautiful. And the moon stopped in the sky because she knew that this was not a performance of one night, and that it was something that had to be played through til the end. I played and played and the moon went through her phases and not until she was full again did I finish. And the silent audience sat there, still silent, awed by what a mere mortal had created. And I walked away.
How did you get your contracts?
And as I walked the moon of that place looked down at me with tears in her eyes, and she gave me a sliver of her light to take with me, since the way out was dark, and I gave her a bit of myself in return, since I did not know how long it would be before I came back.
How have you dealt with the horror?
Dealt with? Well, I was completely mad when I first returned. I couldn’t interact with people at all. I spent a lot of time sleeping in subway stations and other crowded (and loud) areas. Eventually I made enough money playing there to start living an actual life, and I learned how to be human again. I’ve gotten a lot better at not letting the madness affect me too much, but the silence still bothers me. A lot. I bought two ipods, since I listen to them 24/7. I’ve amassed a huge collection of awesome music that way.
What have you done since you got back?
Well, once I stopped being crazy all the time I was able to go to college. I graduated about a year ago, with a degree in music performance. With the piano, not the violin. Don’t get me wrong, I still play the violin. At least an hour a day. But it’s… special. Not really for human ears.
What do humans think you do?
I play the piano. I don’t do solo concerts myself, but I play accompaniment for some famous soloists. That and some orchestral work, and some theater stuff.
What is your relationship with your court?
I was always a member of Dusk court, I just didn’t always know it. Once I formally joined, I rose up the ranks very quickly. I’m pretty much their poster child. I keep a lot of the records, and help organize things.
Where do you live?
I have a pretty small apartment right near the train station. It’s nice and loud, and once you get inside it looks pretty good and everything works, so I can’t complain.
Explain any flaws you have.
I am, and always have been, mute. I sometimes have a hard time espressing myself, since I’m pretty guarded with my emotions, that being able to speak would probably help with. A lot of the people I knew before Arcadia thought I was just incapable of emotion. I always carry this little notebook with me, so I can communicate with people who don’t know signs. And I text a lot.
Explain your merits?
I got taken away for my music, but the darkness in that place just kind of seeped in. I think my music got a little creepier along the way. (dual kith)
And better. I definitely improved while I was there. It’s definitely a little unnatural. (enchanting performance)
Uh, I still have the violin. I was pretty reluctant to put it down when I was leaving, and so I just brought it with me. It’s not even the best violin I’ve ever played, though I never have to tune it, and it’s certainly tough. (token)
I mentioned I worked as a pianist, right? (resources)
I picked up a couple things for my apartment along the way, some magic and whatnot. Pretty basic stuff. (hollow)
I said I moved up quickly in the ranks of the Dusk Court. It was just, I’m the perfect example of their kind of thing. (mantle)
What do you know about your fetch?
I assume she’s still in Russia playing the violin. Or maybe she quit. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure she’s not dead since I’m using my own name and no one has told me I’m dead yet. I came out of Arcadia over here in Europe, I forget where exactly, and I haven’t gone back to the Motherland since. I was able to get papers and stuff to enter college, so I never really worried about it.
There’s always, well, yeah, I guess it doesn’t really count. I mean, yes, I am a little obsessed, but you would be too if you spent your entire life doing one thing. It was the majority of my life for six years and then the entirety of it for ten, and I’m still in love with it. But anyway, aside from that, I collect music. I love listening to other people play, especially weird and different stuff. Like that guy who beatboxes while he plays the flute. That stuff is awesome.
1 wish- what would it be?
To remember the songs. There are a lot of things I’ve played that I can’t remember afterwards. That night in Arcadia was just the first. It used to happen all the time in the beginning of being back. I’d start playing in a subway, lose track of time, and suddenly look down to hundreds of dollars in my violin case.
What changelings are you close to?
There are a couple of performers in the Dusk Court I hang out with sometimes. I’ve worked with some of the creepy scarecrow people, sometimes they pay me to stand in a run-down house and just play for a while.
What humans do you contact?
I work with a company that arranges my concerts. Colette is the one who usually contacts me about them, and I like her. She used to be a pianist, but she broke her hand and so she can’t play like she used to. She plays for her church now. I think it makes her a little sad, being around performers all the time, but I like that she does good stuff with her music even despite that.
What are you most proud of?
I am unmatched at my instrument. I constantly strive to be better, but I haven’t met a single other who even compares. Perhaps there is a true Fae somewhere, but I haven’t met it.
What is your worst memory pre-Arcadia?
It was so long ago, I don’t know. I guess this one time my teacher yelled at me. I mean, not just got mad and yelled, but I thought he was going to hit me. I remember just holding my violin, terrified (we weren’t allowed to put it down when he was there, and I didn’t want to get into more trouble), and he kept yelling at me to tell him the answer to some question, who knows what it was, and all I could do was stare at him. Maybe I was a bit emotionless then. I mean, I wanted to cry but I just couldn’t.
What 3 languages do you speak?
Ha. I’m fluent in Russian, French, and ASL
What would your spirit animal be and why?
Uh… spirit animal? Maybe a wolf. I like wolves.
Who has influenced you most in your life?
I guess myself. I mean, there were things that influenced me. Being in the room, playing the violin, etc. But for a long time I had just myself, and I changed and got better and the direction that took was my doing.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Cosmonaut, and I would always play with toy rockets. But then they got taken away because they could hurt my delicate fingers.
If you had a D&D alignment what would it be?
Oooh, I like playing D&D. I always play Lawful Evil, it’s my favorite. What? Oh. You mean me, not what would I play… hmm… probably Neutral, I suppose. I guess Neutral Good maybe? I like helping people be good at things, and enjoy life, so maybe that’s Good.
How do you deal with problems?
That depends on what type of problem. I do have a tendency to avoid some things, so if it’s too long-term I have a hard time even thinking about it. I mean, why waste time thinking about stuff that might not even happen? But otherwise you have to fight stuff head-on. Face it down and show it that it can do whatever it wants to you, but that you’ll be awesome in the meantime.
I like fantasy movies the most, they have the best soundtracks..
NEW QUESTION!!!!!!! Do you go to the changeling Festivals? Is there one kind that you skip, or one that you always go to?
I’m always at the Dusk Court stuff, the contentions and boasts. It’s a great way to inspire others, and I do like seeing what other people can do. There’s no festival I specifically avoid in general, although a lot of them get too rowdy. I just enjoy it while I’m there and then leave when I feel like it, though.
Oh, and by the way, you know I’ll have to burn these papers, right? I mean, I can’t just let this information sit out there somewhere. Speaking of which, there’s this madness I’m pretty familiar with. Causes memory loss. Why don’t you try it for a while?