Return on the spur of the moment. Might get a bit rambly and off-topic at the end.


They call me la belle dame sans merci behind my back. They think I do not know of their fearful whispers; they think I do not know of their stories about me. I know none of them are true, and so I ignore them, just as my father taught me to do. I am commonly known as Lady La Belle Deathstrike; my courtiers, shallow as they are, would never admit that they refer to me as such, of course. I am always Lady Deathstrike to them, a fearsome and dangerous woman.

La Belle is supposedly a dangerous woman. According to the rumors and legends, I play with the hearts of men, toying with their most secret of desires. I bring about ruin and death; I am a seductive monster who knows the deepest, darkest secret of even the most discreet of men.

They say I sprung from the darkest depths of the ocean; yet others say that I was conjured from the powerful dark magic of my father. Some people speculate that I am an illegitimate child from one of my parent's previous marriages. Wild stories abound. In one I walked out of a magical purple fire that burned for a hundred days and a hundred nights, fully formed as a woman. In another I am a demon who did such terrible things that even the Devil banished her, now in human form.

I know none of them are true. I pretend not to hear; I pretend not to know about my subject's stories.

In truth my mother and father were the image of a perfect family. Lord Deathstrike was a fearsome warrior, a harbringer of hell, the most powerful sorcerer in the world. He led an army of men and women of lost races who believed in the 'evil' religion of Serpentine. I was raised in that fashion. By day my father was the most feared man in all the land. But with me and my mother, he was the gentlest, sweetest living being alive. I remember as a child, sitting on his knee as he taught me the basics of the magic I command now. At first I did not understand any of the strange writing; but with time and patience, I learned. My mother was gentle and kind, unlike how the stories portray her.

They are dead now, betrayed by my blood-uncle. I have fought a war to retain this throne; it belongs to the Deathstrikes. No other bloodline shall sit on this throne and rule this empire. I can live forever if I so please. I am more powerful than my father. The people fear me more than they feared my father. My father's loyal supporters say it is the return of the Deathstrike dynasty. Of course I know not all of them are as loyal as they present themselves to be. I know of very few people I can trust.

Yet I must remain strong. I must manipulate the men around me if I am to keep this legacy alive. Kings and their lands have fallen under my rule now; man's greatest weakness is their need for feminine companionship. Love is such a strange thing; once in its thrall, one is helpless and blind to the world, unable to hear what others say. It is through the exploitation of this that I have been able to expand my kingdom and to take over others. There is no man who can resist me.

I must stay untouchable, powerful, and without mercy if I am to keep my kingdom intact. My father is no longer here to guide me in the art of statesmanship. I am afraid, I am lost.

I must remain la belle dame sans merci.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry'd--"La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!"