Louisiana Myths and Folklore, Volume 1
Read by Alleine Dragonfyre
Louisiana Myths and Folklore
Volume 1 – “Meeting with a stranger”
People have come to Novia from so many places it was inevitable that some, at least, would hail from Louisiana. And while they have seen some strange things indeed in their time in this world, perhaps things are not so strange considering the tales they tell of their homeland.
One such traveller, I met one late evening on the streets of Aerie. He was going nowhere in particular, it seemed. It almost felt like he was waiting for me or at least for someone. He watched me walk aways, following at a respectful but unsettling distance.
A light drizzle began to fall, and I quickened my pace. My pursuer matched my strides. Finally, I stopped, turned, and stood beneath a guttering streetlight to face him. The night breeze pushed aside my cloak, revealing me to be harmed.
After sizing me up for a few moments, he laughed and mumbled something I couldn’t understand in a French patois, then gestured at the tavern across the street and offered to buy me a drink.
Since prior to running into the stranger the tavern had been my destination, I saw no harm in this – besides, the rain was picking up, and it would be best to go indoors until it relented.
As we walked through the doorway, his eyes took in the entire room, meeting the gaze of the few assembled therein – a tired barmaid, and a few late revellers in the corner. He seemed to relax, and it wasn’t until I saw this change in his demeanour that I realised how tense he had been before.
Then, as if we not just met by chance in the rainy street, he patted me on the shoulder and called the barmaid over to bring me a drink. Now that the light was better, I could see that he was quite handsome. He was young – not much older than I, certainly – but his eyes seemed ageless and ancient. I did not stare at them long.
It was there as I sipped some wine from some local vineyard, that he said quietly, “Pleased to meet you. My name is Jacque.”
I introduced myself in turn, and it seemed once this verbal barrier had been breached, there was no stopping the flow of words from him. He began with stories of Europe from an earlier time, and stories of Africa from the age of explorers. The level of detail in his recountings was remarkable.
As he spoke, I reflected that he seemed someone more accustomed to be around people. His clothes, cut from an older style, were ornate and clearly belonged to a man of wealth.
Finally, I asked of all the exotic places he had described which of these was his home before coming to this world?
“Ah,” he said, leaning closer to me, his voice dropping to a whisper.
His expression suddenly looks sad, his eyes misty.
He then proceeded to tell me about his home on Royal Street in New Orleans. The dinners, the parties, the food, the women!
He talked and talked and talked until the first glimmers of dawn began to flicker in the windowsill.
Then, quite suddenly, he was on his feet, donning his hat and cloak and bidding me farewell. In a quite antiquated gesture, he bowed and kissed the top of my hand and slipped a shiny bauble in my hand. He said it had been quite a while since there had been someone he could talk to so openly. Then, with a flourish, he was gone, disappeared into the pouring rain.
It wasn’t until after he left that I realised, he had never touched his own drink.
It was some days later that I asked a local jeweller familiar with otherworldly artefacts about the shiny bauble. He wasn’t able to discern much, says it looks by style to have been from the 18th or 19th century France, but he couldn’t tell for sure.
He was able to translate the old text for me; it read simply. “House of Saint Germaine”. Neither of us really understood the significance of this. What a strange fellow he had been! And the stories! Some too outrageous to believe!
I have written down all that I remember here for your delight, so that we may celebrate our journey to Novia while paying homage to our past, our roots, and the legends that have shaped us. By Shimizu in the year 560.