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Bonsoir, je m'appelle Chatial, et je suis un boulanger. Oh, very sorry, shall I speak in English? Much better, you looked quite disappointed when I started, though the exasperated look that came across your translator's face was fairly amusing. No offense meant, he seemed to struggle to keep up while Augury was grumbling when she was being questioned, but don't worry, anything that comes out of her mouth is useless and convoluted anyways. I've heard my accent is thick, and you'll have to forgive my mispronunciations, though I've gotten much better at your language ever since I met Ver.
I guess I should start at the beginning. I've done many things during the Revolution, some willingly, some reluctantly, an even others unwittingly. Some I'm proud of, others will be harder to admit. Pouring out my life story may take a bit of time, but that's what you've been sent to find out, isn't it? Those must have been the strangest orders you'd ever received, a captain of His Majesty's Royal Navy sent to question a baker. The Marquis probably pulled many strings for this interview to occur.
I'm trusting you when I tell you all this, remember that. Someday light may be shed on my role without fear, but for now the guillotine still gleams over many a neck. Your offer to take me to the remains of the Royalist force and even to England was most generous, but I can't leave beautiful France, despite the growing danger. I don't belong with the Royalists, I'm not a noble or aristocrat. I didn't like the way the monarchy was behaving, to be honest, but at the same time I condemned the means of the Revolutionaries. And of course in not supporting them I have been labeled an enemy, but there are more of us who fall into this category than they know, and we look out for our own.
We look out for our own.
Name: Chatial Farine the White Gallion
Home City: Versailles
Personality: Quiet, Organized
Fresh Baked Bread
Walking at the Palace
Do you remember when you could just collapse in that field down the lane, letting the sweet scent of hay brush over you from the neighboring farm, the sun warm your fur, and the wind ruffle your wings?
I think I do.
I hope I do.
I'd go in the morning, after the rush when idle paws caused me to become less helpful around the bakery and more of a nuisance. I'd take the leftover bread with me for brunch, for back then we could still afford to bake a new batch for the afternoon's customers. I'd eat as much as I could and still there would be bread leftover, and I'd lie contently listening to the voices of the songbirds. Sometimes I'd bring a book with me, but I didn't have the appreciation for letters then that I do now, and I'd only get through a few pages before my eyelids would droop and my head would lower slowly back onto the grass.
I really was quite ignorant then.
I was born on a small farm outside of Paris, an area known as Versailles. My father passed away when I was little, too small to remember him, but I've heard he was a hard worker and quite well liked by the neighbors. He was a faerie xweetok like me.
My mother was a small white furred xweetok, very kind, with light blue eyes that I inherited. She always seemed very quiet to me, but apparently she was quite active and extroverted before my father died. Still, I remember her as a very strong person, and despite her ailing health I knew she would always do her best to take care of me.
When my father died we sold our farm to a neighboring one, with the agreement that we could keep our house and that they'd give me odd jobs to help support mother. We had the better land, but they had the manpower to actually use it, so it worked out for the best. The new owners put up a tiny orchard, and though it was hard to grow fruit with the damp and cold weather it was possible to find small windows of time when the trees would flourish. I liked planting seeds and picking fruit, but I never truly thought farming was the life for me.
Apparently my mother thought so too, and in her wisdom she found me a lovely little job working in a bakery about a mile away with good pay, and the added benefit of free leftover bread. A pair of kougras I remember quite fondly owned it, and they put me to work counting and sorting loaves, purchasing butter, flour, and other supplies, and making the occasional delivery. I worked this way for some years.
Mother passed away when I was sixteen. Though it upset me greatly, I knew with her ill health her day would come eventually. She told me to be brave and strong for her, and I refuse to let her down.
Though I'm sure I could have worked something out with the farm family, the kougras came to my rescue, offering me the basement of the bakery as a room so long as I continued to work. I sold the house to the farm, they didn't give me much but it'd be a lifesaver in case of an emergency, and the sum allowed me to furnish my new home a bit more nicely. I bought a beautiful bookshelf and set about filling it right away, that's when reading started to become a favorite pastime of mine. I learned more and more about baking and really began to enjoy my life there.
All good things must come to an end though. The bread shortages in the city didn't affect me, I never went hungry, so I guess I never noticed the discontent that was beginning to stir. The kougras did though, and one night after we closed the bakery they sat down and told me that they were moving to live with their daughter and her family, far away from Paris.
I asked them if they were selling the bakery. I had no idea where I would go, if the new owners would want any hired help, or if they'd want the basement cleared out. They put my fears to rest with a surprising response though. They wanted me to have it.
I agreed of course, but I don't think I really understood how much work that needed to be done. The poor bakery didn't do very well during my first few months of ownership, but things got better, and soon I knew how to haggle for ingredients, when and where to purchase, how much bread I'd need for certain times of day. It was a bit lonely sometimes, but I soon found myself in possession of a mischievous little gallion, Farine, who's presence does wonders to lighten my mood.
This was the extent of my life's experiences when the Revolution began.
Prologue: Chatial's Augury
Shod hooves clacking along cobblestone woke Chatial, and he was simultaneously grateful and irritated at the acuteness of his hearing. Slipping out from underneath a faded, patchy quilt, the xweetok looked about for Farine. His eyes, adjusted to the darkness, picked her out of the usual shadows and forms in the room within seconds. The gallion was lounging contently atop the small bookcase, and Chatial almost felt guilty as he picked her up and placed her on the floor, nudging her up the stairs with his foot. The gallion glared but bounded up the steps with ease, her tail flickering out of sight as she reached the top and vanished into the back room of the bakery.
Chatial followed much more groggily, smoothing over his ruffled fur with a few quick licks and flicking away any straw that had slipped out of his mattress and caught in his tail. The old steps creaked as his paws slipped across them, though their complaints were partially muffled by the swishing of his fur against the floor. Making his way to the window, the xweetok peered through the thick glass at the retreating form of a ruki and his uni, on the way to market no doubt. The sun had yet to rise but the sky had a touch of pearly grey to it in lieu of the night's charcoal black, dawn was not so far away.
Farine made a sound akin to a sneeze and light flared out of the corner of Chatial's eye. He clicked his tongue at the sight of the tiny candle, melted almost to nothingness. If memory served him right that was the last one he had, he'd have to purchase more today. Without having to think Chatial then picked up a large bowl and wandered into the front room, reaching for the door handle.
Grimacing, the xweetok pulled open the door, letting the cold engulfed him as it always did. Shutting it quickly behind him he scampered to the well, trying to ignore the way the damp grass beneath his paws made him want to shudder. Deftly he drew up the bucket and poured the icy liquid into the bowl and lowered it once more. More slowly, so not to spill, he entered the bakery again, and soon he was at work. Flour, sugar, and eggs became dough, which he delightfully squished between his little teal tipped paws. His tail thumped happily on the floor as the minutes ticked by, and soon he nodded to Farine, who clawed her way up the side of the oven and blew a wisp of fire into it. Soon the fire was roaring, pleasantly lighting and warming the room.
Chatial divided the dough into large rolls, plopping them onto a slab of wood he then used to lower clusters of the stuff into the oven. He drew smiles in the thick coat of flour the table wore as he waited for the dough to rise, pleased at how they slowly took on a lovely shade of gold. He scooped them out and hurriedly slid them onto a shelf to cool, piling the next loaves into the oven with the alacrity that came from experience. Row after row on the shelf was filled, and soon the bread on the uppermost shelves were collected in large woven baskets, which ended their journey as they were carefully transported just outside the door.
A knock sounded just as he pulled the last batch out of the oven and closed it, leaving the fire to devour the last of its tinder and die out. Still working Chatial? And I thought I was late!Coming, Annette!
Chatial responded, patting Farine on the head and sweeping the remains of the candle, long consumed, into the garbage pail.
Just out of the oven,
he said, tossing a roll towards his friend, whose eyes lit up as she realized how fresh it was. Every market day the brown cybunny and her uni Sable would give him some space in their wagon, and in return she would have food for the day.
she murmured as she took a large bite.
Sorry, not this time. I'm running low and if I can't find more at a good price this week it'll have to last until next market day. Maybe with lunch if we're lucky.
Annette nodded in understanding and helped Chatial lift the baskets into her wagon alongside some cages filled with wild gobblers. The turkey like petpets were sort of cute, but he knew they could be a nuisance too, presumably why the cybunny was hoping to sell them. They clucked in protest as the cart bounced down the road, Sable setting a brisk pace. Chatial soon became accustomed to the jolting, and slowly the motion began to make him feel drowsy. His eyelids began to droop.
And then Annette was shaking him. Chatial awoke to her grin and the merry buzz of the market all around him. The cart had been pulled off the road under a large tree, and Sable has been unhitched and was grazing with a spotted uni tethered to a post.
We passed Colbert on the way in, he's got butter but I think it will sell quickly,
That really woke the white and teal xweetok. Hurriedly he picked up a smaller basket of bread and made his way over to the grey kacheek's cart. Colbert gave Chatial a weak smile.
No need to hurry kid, saved some special for you,
he drawled, reaching into his cart for a slab of butter. Need any jam?
Of course he needed jam, but he wasn't sure what the kacheek would be charging. He gazed wistfully at the little jars, and Colbert must have guessed his thoughts, for another small smile stretched across his face.
I'll still trade for bread, no need to part with coins. Say, one basket instead of half?
A wave of relief flowed over Chatial as he nodded gratefully, and the grey pet emptied the rolls into a box in his cart and handed it back with the jam.
Looks like I'll be leaving early then,
the kacheek laughed. Watch out for Verrill, the meat he's trying to get rid of is bad.
Thankful for the tip, Chatial made his way back to the cart, only to find Annette frantically tying Sable back up to the cart.
What are you doing?
he finally managed to sputter.
My brother just arrived; he told me Papa's hurt his back while plowing again. I'm so sorry Chatial, I have to get home.
It's not your fault,
he assured her. Leave me one basket and I'll see what I can get. I'll catch a ride back later when the market closes.
Are you sure?
Annette's big brown eyes looked like they would overflow with tears. I'm so sorry.
Chatial said with a smile, helping her to finish tying Sable. You can leave the rest of the baskets behind the bakery; the window's open so Farine will come out to guard them.
Chatial waved as Sable galloped away, the cart bouncing along behind him, gobblers no doubt voicing their annoyance in their piercing squawks, and tried to make the best of a bad situation. With only one basket of bread to barter with and a pitifully small sum in coins he had to be picky, and that meant turning down meat except for scraps for Farine and keeping away from the bookseller's cart, as much as he wanted something new to read. Baking ingredients came first.
All in all things didn't go as badly as he had expected. Verrill did try to swindle him with the rotten meat, but Chatial made a delightful trade for not just one, but two bags of sugar. That allowed him to use his money on eggs alone, which the farmer even agreed to deliver fresh to the bakery the next morning, and by a stroke of luck the xweetok caught a ride about three quarters of the way home with a pair of aishas. Chatial left their wagon at a crossroads and proceeded on foot.
The basket was light but bulky, and Chatial soon found himself struggling to carry it as well as the bags of sugar, and as the sun slowly slipped past the hills on the horizon he paused to catch his breath. He set the basket down and the bags upright. Then he turned to sit, but the xweetok stopped short. For just coming over the crest of the hill was the most wretched looking lupe he had ever seen.
Without having to see her up close Chatial knew she was too skinny to be healthy. Her coat was dull and turning silver with age, her tail was ragged. A scrap of fabric was tied around her eyes in a blindfold, but that was not the strangest thing about her. The lupe had strange, shifting black wings, with feathers that danced at the lightest breath of air. The motion was disconcerting. And yet a strange humming was reaching his ears, terrible and sharp.
Chatial suddenly went cold. Those weren't wings.
They were birds.
A hurricane of crows and ravens drifted along with the lupe as if they were attached to her by strings, forming the looming black masses that Chatial had mistakenly assumed were wings in the dying light. There was something terribly wrong.
The xweetok had to fight against his every instinct to keep still. If he bolted now he had a chance of getting away, but the lupe was larger than he and her stride would cover more ground. Short distance, yes, he could easily outrun her, but she was between him and the bakery and the closest farm was past the crossroads where he left the aishas. Maybe she would just ignore him, or perhaps she'd just take the food and let him go.
The birds began to scatter as the lupe drew closer, wheeling in a few lazy circles before departing from the lupe entirely. She was getting closer and closer. Chatial began to feel a bit faint as her paw steps slowed and she drew up alongside him. The lupe did not look directly at him, for which he was grateful. She merely addressed him.Do you hear it?
she rasped.Here what?
Chatial asked in a shockingly calm tone.The wheel is turning little one.What wheel?The wheel is turning, and it is taking you with it. Yes, it's taking you with it,
the lupe wheezed.Alright,
Chatial responded, hoping the answer would appease the mad creature and compel her to continue her journey. Things are about to become very complicated for you, little one,
she crooned. Do not doubt that.
With that she walked off, murmuring of birds and wheels, leaving a stunned Chatial in her wake. A xweetok who suddenly felt quite small indeed.
I'll admit it, the first time I met this lupe it was pretty scary. I don't fear her as much now, but some of the things she says still make my fur stand on end. Something is not quite right with her, that's for sure, but she hasn't done anything to shake the organization's trust in her. Yet. Can she really her the voices of those birds that always follow her around? What's her motive in all of this?
These are characters who are important to Chatial's story but do not exist as Neopets.
I met Ver when walking around the grounds of the old abandoned palace. She's English, and from what I understand she was on her way to live with her aunt when she arrived in Paris, only to find the house completely burned down. It's shaken her, but she doesn't seem to care too much for finding out what happened. I wonder if she knows more than she's telling.
Still, Ver's probably my best friend. She's helped me improve my English and I've attempted, quite unsuccessfully, to teach her French. She helps out in the bakery and stays with me and Farine when other pets are hanging around the palace. She's quite determined to continue caring for the flowers there even though everybody else is gone, I can't understand it. Some people don't really trust the English right now, I hope no trouble comes for her.
She's a brown cybunny who lived on a farm near the bakery. She helped me a lot on market days before the soldiers started coming, but her whole family vanished one night. I don't know if I'll ever see her again. I hope she's safe.
Twi started and worked away on her application for me!
October 1st 2008
The main bulk of my application is finished! Twi's working on the petpage part now. She's lucky that Auqua granted extentions!October 15th 2008
The application's been submitted!November 21th 2008
Twi's one of the 5 finalists! 3 more pictures added to the collection too! December 25th 2008
Some more fanart was added to the collection from the Neopound Christmas Project! A new adoptable was put up too. December 31th 2008
New owner chosen. Application failed. New image added to the sketch collection. January 3rd 2009
I was recreated as Baker_Chatial!January 16th 2009
I won 1st place in the Xweetok Category of the Beauty Contest and 27th overall with 298 votes! Thank you so much everyone!
February 27th 2009
Twi hasn't been able to add anything to my page lately because she's busy working on things for the newest member of our family, Kliarin! Rin's come to join me at the bakery. Pirate (o_pirate_o) has colored me a fun new adoptable though!
March 29th 2009
There's a new color in my adoptable set, plushie!
September 19th 2009
Twi's completed an adoptable trade with Pirate! This time I'm sitting in a bucket!
June 17th 2011
Has it really been so long? Time has flown without updates. Neo has changed its coding filters some, so some images are misaligned here and there, but nothing major has been disturbed. Twi has gotten some wonderfully inspiring neomail from people who are excited to hear more about me, so I'm slated for the first update this summer! I hear I'll be getting a new image for my petlookup and some chapters for my story. Twi is on vacation but has managed to add a new segment to my collection, gifts from Christmas 2010! Soon the names of artists who have drawn me will be updated with links.
October 13th 2011
Adoptable trade with amelie246 complete! The bow suits me, no? My page still needs those image alignment updates, perhaps I should bribe Twi with some fresh bread for them. Maybe pumpkin bread, seeing as it's autumn now.
February 18th 2012
My adoptable set was updated today. That means you can now take home Christmas, desert, electric, grey, Halloween, orange, rainbow, robot, royalboy, royalgirl, speckled and woodland xweetoks in bread bags!
(Future journal entries will include Beauty Contest entries and results, as well as notices on when things like new adoptables, makeables, or links are added to Chatial's petpage.)
Some amazing people have taken the time to draw Chatial as well! I'm so pleased! Thank you everyone!Artists: maddington_bear, pernillepapillon, cheap_shop777 (spiffilicious), frozen_fire_dragon Artists: sarahqzq, iceangel181092, mispronounced, qieru (fence) Artists: ezilla, sumi_e, knux2201, animagi62 Artists: akrona_catgrrl, quippery (avianserpiente), xso_ecstatic, ahqua (Suiqu) Artists: o_pirate_o
Joyeux Noel! In Christmas 2010 I received wonderful gifts, thank you everyone! Nicknames are listed when I couldn't remember account names; if you see yourself here and want a link, let me know!
Artists: Bosco, magpiesstealrainbows (Deyan), Kei, Mia
Artists: silver_spring (Nix), _undead_whisper_ (Whisper)
1.) Do not enter these in the Beauty Contest/Art Gallery or claim you made them.
2.) Do not alter the images or code. This includes removing my username.
3.) Do not take a custom that is not yours.
4.) These may be used on any page on Neopets. Do not use them off site.
5.) Please do not neomail me about customs. If I open them I will post about it on the BC board.
Paintbrush Colors (40):
No magma xweetok adoptable available at this time, sorry!
Blipzy (Application)Chatial (Application)Chatial (Application)Keadia (Application)SebaileVersailles_GardenerLebuki (Application)LukasnDaqilynMoonehsuisaKorimetsuIliianKataishiFeriando