Lurid Dreams and Fantasies
She had come to a place filled with goodness, something to which she was hardly accustomed. It was a small, self-contained place, a fiefdom of sorts, so tranquil if only deceptively so. The Count and his predecessors had kept the bad spirits at bay only by never letting down their guard, and now being defensive was to them so natural that the visitor would have to be very observant to even notice.
For Camilla it was an adventurous period that had begun. She knew that Rose was well taken care of, as safe as could be in the monastery, and although she wished she could have been there she was aware that there was nothing more she could do. One of the first things she noticed was the remarkable manner in which women and men could blend, living quite freely among each other, whereas on Camelot the two sexes were kept separate for most of the time. Count and Countess Alexander were often seen together, sometimes walking hand in hand in the grand park, at other times playing with their children outside. Never had Camilla understood that such relationships could be built, it was like a dreamworld far detached from the strange mix between lust and a mechanic reproductive machine she knew at home.
Until the present situation, the only real connection between Camelot and themselves was Mrs. Wilcox, Rose's mother, who had been working here prior to moving to England. In London, she had been a personal maid at Count Percival's flat. Once she got married to Alfred and became pregnant, the Count had arranged to have them both transferred to Camelot, where the husband became assistant property manager. Count and Countess Percival apparently appreciated her skills and enjoyed her company, as she continued working as their personal assistant on a relaxed schedule.
That they confided in her had become known to Countess Alexander through the sporadic letters she received. Although Rose's mother professed to being profoundly fond of her employers, she also expressed strong reservations and concern about Count Percival's atheism and eccentric habits. "He is very quiet about everything," she once wrote. "But I've seen the oddest and most frightening books on his mantelpiece. The Countess cries sometimes and says they haven't shared a bed for over ten years, her husband's lurid fantasies exceed his interest in natural intercourse. What is worse, his sons are not being raised in the Christian traditions, they are growing up to become a Freemason like their father."
If Freemasonry had been all there was to it, Countess Alexander wouldn't be too concerned. But Mrs. Wilcox' complaints had only grown as her daughter grew older. "I found the most peculiar note," she wrote and enclosed a copy of a rhyme.
Camilla is seven, she wants to be a maiden
Camilla eleven, she wants to go to heaven
Camilla thirteen, she wants to be a queen
Camilla fourteen, she cannot stay virgin
"My husband became furious," her letter went on. "He insisted that I cease working and forbade Rose from setting foot at the main house again. He wouldn't even let her outside the house. But Ferret, who is by now a strong and imposing young man, soon came over and demanded that I return to work immediately. 'Don't break our contract!' he said. 'Rose, too, she must come back and play with Camilla!"
Countess Alexander had written a short reply in which she asked whether Mrs. Wilcox had any idea who might have written the poem. There was no response, and so she wrote again - this time at length.
"Men lust for virgins, that's nothing new and that's how it must be. Some grown men do that, big boys certainly do. But who wrote this note you've sent me? If it's a servant I shouldn't worry, a dirty old man's mind is at play. But if the Count himself wrote this note, or if any of his sons did, I should be most concerned if I were you. Did you know that the Satanic Mass and other Satanic rituals oftentimes involve incest, and that no blood is more revered than that of a young virgin? A subject who is a Christian may be perfect - especially from a strongly religious background, as the purpose is to insult God. If the Count or any of his sons toy with such lurid ideas inside of their heads, then I should be most concerned that Rose is foremost on their minds."
Again, there had been no reply, at which time she feared that the privacy of their correspondence could have been broken. She prayed for little Rose and little Camilla, there was nothing else she could do.
- Purified at the Monastery
The scrubbing was rapidly underway at the monastery. Rose appeared inward and perhaps a bit frightened upon arrival, but the monks were experienced and knew better than to take such signs at face value. She...