This is the second character to be introduced into our “League of Heroes” fighting at the latter end of the 19th Century. “La Reine Vert” or the Green Queen as she will become known. She was a small child who grew up in a small brothel in the slums of Paris until one night when she was just 12 years old she was forced to grow up quickly. She has fought for hers and the rights of her mostly female crew from that night and has made it a personal mission to assist any person who can’t do it themselves. She is not one for shackles and prefers to spend her time on the high seas with her crew and her ship, The Artemis, sailing from one adventure to the next. She stumbles upon our hero, Kenkito in the floating City in French Polynesia as he and the Anne’s continue to flee from the forces dogging the disgraced Samurai.
Without further ado, here is the origin of the Green Queen…
The rain pattered down on the City as a whole. Normally the sprawling expanse of stone and wood buildings was big enough that if you wanted to run you could escape the rain by hiding on the other side of the City. Not this time. This storm covered not just the City itself, but the docks, the palace and most of the surrounding farmland. It was a cold driving rain that soaked and chilled you to the bone, despite the fact that it was late august.
“Merde!” she swore as she clutched her soaked rag of a blanket tighter to her body. She was a young woman, no more than 24 years of age, born and raised on the streets. That all changed one night when she was just 12 years old..
She spent many of her early years in the brothel where her mother was enslaved by a cruel man who’s only care in the world was profit. She, as a young child, worked to bring whatever the paying customers wanted to the rooms; snacks refreshments, incense, anything and everything, she would be sent to get it and deliver it. Normally the children would’ve been cast out by the owner because they would impede his business, but since her mother was one of his top earners and she herself worked for him, he let her stay. Living in the poorer area of Paris wasn’t the most glamorous of lives, and it caused her to see things no child should have. The women were treated like nothing more than possessions and the patrons who frequented the establishment got away with murder, literally. More than once she had been dispatched to a room to scrub and wash the blood off the floor when a patron got a little over zealous. The owner would send for two men who would appear and carry the dead woman away for her body never to be seen again. The worst thing was that the authorities in the City didn’t care if some courtesan in the slums went missing, as far as they were concerned, it was another potential poor person off the streets. There was one occasion where an investigator showed up to the Brothel asking about a woman who had gone missing. The owner denied everything and the investigator left with a large purse of coin, never to return again.
On a night in December when she was 12, a drunk man entered the brothel looking for an evening of comfort. When he spied her walking a tray of drinks to one of the rooms, he demanded that he be given the right of being her first, and he offered to pay handsomely for it. At first, the owner declined his offer, until he saw the large purse of coin the man was holding. When the drunk man hefted it in his hand the owner stared transfixed at the large sum of money, and the drunk man knew he was going to get what he wanted. The drunk looked over at her and promised that “he would be gentle with her” and then proceeded to laugh.
The two men haggled on the price while she stood frozen in place. Several of the other women objected to what was going on, the owner told them to shut their mouths or he would do it for them.
One of the newer additions to the house, Aline, rushed up the stairs of the quaint building to find her mother. The two men shook on their agreement and the drunkard dropped the large purse on the concierge desk near the door. The owner grabbed the purse and began counting the contents as he waved his hand and said “Vouz pouvez utiliser la chambre proche du le jardin”. The drunk man had a crazed look in his eyes as he grabbed her little wrist, causing the tray of drinks to clatter to the ground. Despite her protests and her smacking the drunk man anywhere she could, he picked her up like she weighed no more than a sack of potatoes and began making his way towards the room next to the garden.
“ARRETE! MAINTENANT!” the young girl’s mother shouted from the top of the stairs as she pulled a negligé over her thin frame. The now robed top earner, took the stairs two at a time as she dashed down to stop the man from taking her daughter.
“What do you think you are doing, whore?” the drunk man said angrily as her mother approached him and tried to pull her daughter free of his grasp.
“You will let her go, now! She is just a child!” her mother screamed angrily.
“I know she is, what do you think I paid for?” he said as he began laughing.
Her mother reached up and swung her open hand, connecting with the drunk’s face with the force of a hurricane. The slap sounded through the brothel causing many of the women to gasp in fear of what would happen. The owner even stopped counting his coins to look up and see what had happened. When he saw it was one of his women who had struck a customer he began reaching under his desk for his chosen weapon of punishment, but he was too slow. The drunk man dropped her to the ground and in one swift motion, he drew a long knife from his waist and stabbed her mother in the gut. There was a faint gasp as the air escaped her mother’s lungs as the knife was driven upwards into her chest piercing her lung.
There was a resounding cry from not only her, but the rest of the women in the brothel. They all screamed in protest and began striking the drunk patron who had stabbed her mother. The owner was shouting for the women to get back to work but none of them were listening as they continued to attack the man who had stabbed their friend. The drunk man was forced to let go of his weapon which was still stuck fast in the now dead woman slumped on the floor in her robe. She lay on the ground frozen in horror at what she has just seen. Her mother who had kept her safe from everything and had provided for her as best she could, was dead because this man had wanted to be the first to claim her, a child. The rage boiled in her. Uncontrollable rage rose from the pit of her stomach until she was consumed by it’s hot intensity.
“Filthy whores!” the drunk man yelled as he began striking back against the women. For every one blow he landed, the mob of angry courtesans landed four. Soon he dropped to his knees, his face a swollen bloody mound while he continued to swing, half heartedly at the women attacking him.
“ARRETE CA, MAINTENANT!” the owner screamed as he moved out from behind his desk brandishing his weapon of choice, a cat of nine tails. He began swinging at whoever he could hit, his weapon slicing and cutting into the backs of several of the women who worked in his establishment. “YOU ARE MY PROPERTY! GET BACK TO WORK!” he continued to scream as his swings continued to strike and rend flesh.
Without realizing what she was doing she moved to her mother’s body, next to large drunk man who was a bloody mess on the ground. She pulled the knife from her mother’s torso and clutched it in her hand. She looked down at the woman who had been her whole world from the day she had been born. The immense sadness at her loss did nothing to quell the fire that burned in her now. Her mother could’ve been asleep with how peaceful her features looked. Not a single hair out of place or a single smudge of her make-up. She looked the same as she always did pristine. But she wasn’t. She knew that. The man cowering beside her mother’s body was responsible for this, and he was going to pay. She stepped over her mother’s body and loomed over the large man. Despite him being over six feet tall, she stood level with him as he cowered on the ground.
“Vouz aimez frapper les madames?!” she shouted as she lunged forward with the knife, feeling it sink into the flesh of his right arm. “DO YOU!?” she screamed again as she pulled the knife free and dug it into his other arm. “You like hurting women and children?!” she shouted as she pulled the knife free and stabbed upwards through the bottom of his chin. The knife sliced through his skin and tongue as it drove through his soft pallet and into his brain. She could feel the warm blood running down the blade and her arm as she still held the knife fast in the man’s head. Her breath coming in ragged gasps as her emotions cooled off.
Suddenly, she felt a sharp stinging pain as the cat of nine tails connected with her small frame, slicing a gash across her back. She screamed in pain and fell forward onto the body of drunk man she had just killed.
“You cost me money you little whore! Why couldn’t you just do your duty quietly?! I own you and your bitch of a mother!” the owner shouted as he continued to strike the young girl. He raised his arm back, ready to strike again at this insolent little girl who had caused him to not only lose his top earner, but had killed one of his customers. His arm stretched back, ready to bring the full force of his anger down on the young girl when he himself, let out a cry of pain. The other women of the brothel had banded together and grabbed some weapons of their own. Kitchen knives, nail files, anything even remotely sharp that they could conceivably get their hands on; and they all converged on the owner. It was quick, each of the women slicing and striking him all over his body. They cut his arms, his legs, his back and his neck. Dozens upon dozens of cuts causing him to gush crimson all over the floor. His weapon fell to the ground, bits of flesh still clinging to the barbed ends. She lay there, draped over the body of the drunk man who had started this whole ordeal with tears flowing from her eyes. She cried not just for her pain from the whip, but from the loss of the only person who truly cared about her, and how it had all been over a purse of coins. As the tears continued to flow down her small cheeks, she felt soft hands on her as some of the women helped her to her feet, checking to see if she was okay.
Gabrielle, one of the woman who had been close with her mother during their tenure in the brothel, picked her up and checked her over to see if she was injured. Despite having killed the man responsible for her mother’s death, her tears wouldn’t stop. Gabrielle pulled a small handkerchief out of one of the pockets are her robe they were all forced to wear and used it to dry her eyes. When the owner let out a grunt as he tried to stand, her sad face hardened into one that the young brothel worker didn’t recognize.
“Donnez-moi le couteau..” she said quietly in a voiced as sharp as steel. Without a word, the youngest member of the workforce, Brayline, jerked the knife out of the dead man face and handed it to her. She turned to face the owner who was on the edge of losing consciousness. “Non non, monsieur, You aren’t going to pass out yet. We have years of retribution to dish out before we finally let you die. Mesdames, s’il vous-plait…”
The women circled the owner and began their work. They cut, slashed, gouged and stabbed into the man who had ruled their lives with an iron fist for years. Cut after cut, the man’s blood continued to flow until it merged with the pool from the drunk customer forming a puddle of crimson on the floor. When the women were finished, you could hardly tell who he had been before that fateful night. The other workers all back up and dropped their weapons as they began moving to their meager bunks and rooms, packing their few possessions. Knowing the wrath that would befall them if an investigator saw what they had done, they all needed to run. As the other women busied themselves with packing, she stared at the owner. She slapped him across the face and was greeted with a low groan, showing he was still alive. Gabrielle and Brayline had taken it upon themselves to pack not only their things but those of her and her mother as well. In only 10 minutes, all the women stood near the concierge desk with their few possessions in tow waiting for their next move. She knelt down in front of the owner and slapped him once more, “Maintenant, vouz pouvez mourir, bastarde!” she whispered as she drove her knife directly into his throat and pulled, slicing him from ear to ear as he toppled over.
They all pulled cloaks and scarves over their heads as they quickly filed out of the brothel and turned towards the docks. They would have to charter a boat to make sure to get them all out of the City safely. She covered herself with a long green cloak, that had been a favourite of her mother’s. She had constantly been told, from as long ago as she could remember, that green was her mother’s favourite colour because it made her feel like royalty and could help to camouflage you in the woods in a pinch. She doubted her mother had ever had to hide in the woods from anyone, but it still smelled like her and reminded her of better days. She had started walking towards to docks only to realize after a few paces that she was alone. Two of the other women had gone to the stable next to the brothel and grabbed their food cart. They had wheeled it over to the door and were moving her mother’s body onto the cart. Once the body was placed, Aline covered it with a green blanket as Gabrielle found a lamp in the stable and threw it through the door, lighting the brothel on fire.
“Notre reine, est mourir me amies. Qu’est-ce on va faire maintenant?” Michelle asked as they started off towards the docks.
“La Reine est mort, vive la reine!” Aline whispered as she pointed to her leading the pack, draped in her mother’s green cloak.