My Name is Clara
My Name is Clara is a memoir written by Clara Sundara Waffel-Paine, former Chancellor of Natopia, former Queen consort of Batavia, and the current Supreme Judge of Drak-Modan. Although she was only 36 when the memoir was published, she felt her life had had too many significant events to wait to tell them. She also hoped that by writing her memoirs now, she would perhaps be able to live out the rest of her life in relative stability.
Chapter One - Life in Stormark
My mother was murdered when I was one. My father, Kyle, sent me and my brother, Nathan, to live in Stormark. Years later he told me why he sent us there, and why he allowed my cousin Zakyyr Moonoak to take my brother's rightful spot as emperor. Apparently the Pentheros, Aldin Ayreon-Kalirion, told my father that my brother and I were in danger. It was Aldin and Kyle's plan to allow Zakyyr to become emperor for several years until Nathan and I were older and the dangers of the world had passed. Naturally, neither I nor my brother knew this at the time and so we grew up in that foreign land resenting our father.
Life in Stormark was, in one word, extravagant. The palaces, the language, the courtly life, the people, everything about it I remember being amazed. I now look back on it through the eyes of an adult, a mother, and a woman. I remember a casual attitude towards nudity and sexuality that, as I understand it now, was quite perverse and subversive to expose young children to. Aside from my brother, the only friend I had was Sergius Hergones, former Metrobosarch of Lyrica and my mother's personal Bovic confessor. He told me many stories about my mother. My mother seemed like a very sad girl, and it was no wonder she married the first man who showed romantic interest in her, my father Kyle. She was 18 and he was 45. Why was she attracted to such an older man? Had her time in Stormark's royal court conditioned her to that expectation? I cannot say for certain. But in just the five years I stayed there, I almost came to see such relationships between old men and young girls as normalized. No doubt my mother, who stayed there longer than I did, could have been corrupted by the Vanic Taint.
My brother and I told each other every night that our father would call us home soon. We told each other that for 5 whole years, until my brother's 8th birthday. We were both taken home that very day. I was six and it was the happiest I have ever been, but I was scared too. I was told I was going home to Natopia. It didn't feel like home. As uncomfortable as Haroldsborg made me feel, it was the closest thing I had to a home at that time. I hugged Sergius so tightly, I was told I may not see him for a very long time. I begged and begged for him to come with us too, but Sergius only said, "My service to Bous requires me to stay here, sweet little Clara." It was the first time in my life I remember thinking that Bous was no friend of mine if he wouldn't let my only protector come with me to a new place.
Chapter Two - Homecoming
I remember arriving in Lindstrom to little fanfare. My cousin, Zakyyr, was still emperor and my brother and I had to go visit him in the palace. My father was very upset as he wanted us to go "home" to Anmutstadt first to get my brother and I set up to rule in Flaventia, our family's royal dominion. Zakyyr placed several restrictions on my brother in order to allow him to remain as Zakyyr's heir. This put a great strain on my father's relationship with the Emperor and the imperial government. I often remember him talking about secessions and coups and 'rallying the Frenzy' to depose Zakyyr. Although Nathan and I were now 'home' in Flaventia and we were living comfortable and appropriately normal lives of children now, it still felt dangerous and unsettled. My father seemed to be using us as pawns, and it was a feeling that would stay with my for the rest of my life. I was a pawn for the men in my life, years later even as the Chancellor, even as a Queen, I was still a pawn for men to do as they wished, as if on an whim.
When I turned 8 in 1655, when the wisdom of right and wrong was allegedly awakened within me according to Bovic custom, my brother appointed me to several offices in Flaventia. One of which was Governess of Moonoak Thicket, which was on Tarsica. Can you imagine being eight years old and being told you were going to live on the moon in a magical forest? I was ecstatic. I absolutely loved it. Since I was living in Hazelwood, a Hazkisi druid was appointed to me to teach me about the Hazel culture. The druid was also tutoring another child, a slightly older boy, by the name of Cledwyn Starshade.
I quickly fell in love with my Hazel heritage and would spend many weeks in in Moonoak Thicket. I visited with those Hazel that lived up there and heard tales of the Great Hazel Woods, before the fire, and what a magickal, beautiful place it was. How you could sit under a tree, and if you were still enough, the Tree might speak to you, and tell you a story from generations ago, from before Nett Opaegh.
Everyday I sat under the Great Mother Tree, who was, in fact, my great-grandmother Guinevere. One day I heard her speak to me, and the voice of my grandfather Naian, too. My mother, Asara, was Planted here too. However, because her death and planting occured too far apart, her voice was weak and faded. I only heard her say "I love you." Guinevere and Naian, the loudest voices, had advice on how to navigate this world. They told me that Micras can be a dangerous place, a world seemingly run by bored and capricious gods. The only certainty, they told me, is that you will die. But if you do good works and great deeds, you may live on in the memories.
I resolved, then and there, to do something great, to do something for the Hazel people who lost their homes and now reside in a dome on the moon. That was when I decided to try to regrow the Hazel Woods. Using my powers as governess I created the Great Hazel Woods Replanting and Repatriation Initiative that very same day. Was it destiny that four years later my former classmate, Cledywn, would join the Initiative as well?
Chapter Three - The Replanting
After Cledwyn joined the Initiative, I took a much more active role. I was 13 and he was 18. I developed such a crush on him, and he didn't pay any attention to me. An older man? Had my years in Stormark again resurfaced or was it simply a naive girl's crush?
I devoted most of my time to the Initiative. When I wasn't attending preparatory classes at Nathan & Elijah College, I was on Tarsica or in the Hazelfire Forest. Over the years, Cledwyn and I became very close friends. The process of replanting the Hazel Woods was intensive. When I started the Initiative in 1655, the druids of the Jaiesican Order began their research. Almost every Hazel on Tarsica was employed in the Initiative. I was glad to do it. What else was a little girl to do with her almost limitless wealth? The older Hazel spent weeks communing with the Tree Spirits, figuring out how, or even if, a Replanting was possible. The older Hazel, now known as Listeners, wrote down everything the Trees said to them. The first year consisted simply of listening and recording the Trees.
In the second year, the Druids began the painstaking task of researching the records and identifying which Trees could produce the needed Seeds. The druids also quickly identified the need to perform the Byw Pont Goed which required a living sacrifice.