Steve (full name:Stéphane IV "Steve" Sacrecouronne, 22 Germois 1720 - ...) and Belle (full name: Belle Sophie Fortescue, 29 Germois 1720 - 17 Neigouze 1754) were the imperial couple ruling the Empire of Castaire until Belles untimely death. This article comprises a list of chronological events in their lives.
In Rosix 1732 Impératrice Louise visited her childhood friend Guinevere and was accompanied by her two sons, Steve and Michel. While in Cantoras, they were housed at Ascort Manor, the beautiful summer residence of the Fortescue family.
As well as the imperial children, the children of Guinevere and Arthur, Belle and Fabius, spent their holidays there, so the junior rulers knew each other quite well. Steve, Michel and Belle were inseparable and spent much of their time together whilst striving through the spacious gardens and often left the manorial area to explore the surrounding forests.
Fabius was five years older than Steve and Belle, and the difference to Michel was even larger, thus he had struggles to find his way into the conspired group.
One day, when Michel was off to his riding lesson, Steve and Belle managed to escape the guards and fled into the nearby forest. Two children of royal demeanor, they found the nature far more interesting than the stern protocol and enjoyed the time exploring the nature together far more than endless gala dinners or visitations.
Striving through the forest, they found a small village in the mid of a glade, where several kilns were blowing small bands of steam into the air. Around a small place with a draw fountain stood 6 houses, mainly made of wooden logs, forming small, cozy cabins. In front of some of them were simple chairs and tables, and even an old woman sat in a rocking chair, carefully watching the newcomers.
Belle and Steve felt uncomfortable by rushing into the men work, but they just smiled upon the children and asked them for their home. The busy charburners looked quite dirty with all the ash and charcoal spread over their faces, but after offering their help to make it back to the manor, the children lost their scare of them. But Steve wanted to impress Belle and told the charburners that they would make their way back even without the help of them, but thanked them for the offer nonetheless. Two women, apparently the heads wife and mother, brought a small bag with some bread and cheese, as the manor was about 3 hour’s travel distanced. The children gratefully took them and soon left the small village.
At their deprival from Lilwood they saw a boy fencing with his father using wooden swords. As Steve was quite the fencer even back then, he saw the flawless fighting style of the boy and wondered who he might be. Staring at the children, his father cuffed Caelan and told him not to stare at their princess. He then excused the behavior of his son and offered the services of the Carpontierre family to Belle, who blushed and friendly denied the request.
The children started their way back to Ascort and headed back the way they came. But they took a wrong turn and ended somewhere different than they thought. To crown it all, it started to rain pitchforks. Soon they were soaked to the bone and tried to find shelter somewhere. The ground being wet and slippery caused Belle to lose her footing and she slid down a steep slope. Near the end she came to a stand, but felt immense pain in her left leg. Steve climbed down several meters away, came along and looked for her ankle, which was probably broken.
Using his clothing, he made a compression and tried to stabilize the ankle with an oak limb. Then he took her on his arms and carried her to a small crevice near the slope, where they found shelter from the rain. Belles pain continued, but was bearable as long as she didn’t strain the leg anymore. Steve being unable to orientate in the increasingly dark forest rendered them unable to leave the crevice before the rain stops and morning dawns. So Steve left Belle to look for some dry wood to make a fire. Around half an hour later, they were able to ignite a very small fire just before it became pitch dark. As they didn’t know what may lurk in the darkness, Steve tried to shelter both the crevice and the fire from being visible too far and put some wooden limbs and leaves in front of the crevice entrance.
As it became rather cold during the night, the children huddled together and ate the rests of their bread and cheese. While Belles pain made her dozing off quite fast, Steve stood awake to keep watch. The head of his childhood friend on his shoulder made him think about his actions opposing his mother’s words not to leave the manorial area. He brought Belle here and put her into danger, as he wasn’t able to find a way back. These thoughts led to an essential intention of his later life; he decided to always consider all the options and be informed about the affair before eventually deciding as he didn’t want to put others in danger by his own inability.
Later that night, when Belle woke up tormented by her ankle they talked about finding a way back in the morning. Steve remembered Joques, being an excellent hunter, told him how moss often grows at the northern side of trees, giving him the possibility to find out the cardinal directions. Unfortunately, they didn’t know where the manor was located, so they had to try to find back to the village. Walking would be nearly impossible for Belle and Steve wasn’t able to carry her all the way back, even if the terrain wasn’t that rough.
Sometime later, the rain stopped, they heard cracking tree branches and a shuffling sound not far from their position. The sounds came even nearer and then the children looked into the bearded face of Caedlon Carpontierre, the man who was fencing with his son in the afternoon. He asked to bring them to the village and they accepted relievedly.
Steve told him how Belle probably broken her ankle and that he was unable to carry her back to the village. Caedlon took the young princess upon his arms and carried her to the village. Steve was incredibly glad that Caedlon found them and thanked him the whole way. They talked also about the life of the normal people, telling Steve that, even if it may be a hard life, Caedlon had a happy life together with his family. From him, the children learned that family and friends are the most important things in life, not money to spare, luxury or power. Steve also asked how he was able to find them in the darkness, with Caedlon answering that he followed the children as he was pretty anxious the royal children could lose their way. But he lost their tracks as it began to rain and thus had to search for quite some time.
Half an hour later, they reached the village, where Caedlon brought them to his cabin. Caedlons wife Eliza was still awake and prepared some tea to warm them. She looked for Belles ankle and stabilized it again, telling the children not to worry about that. She also had made a second sleeping place, consisting of a pile of furs and blankets, being completely different from what the children were used to. After taking off their wet clothes they cuddled into the soft and cozy sleep place and fell asleep within minutes.
In the next morning, they weren’t wakened by servants as usual but by a crowing cock. Getting up, they found their clothes dried and folded and ready to dress up. After doing that, they found Eliza and Caedlon in the kitchen preparing a meal of bread, butter and several jams. Caelan was already up and got some eggs from the hatching chickens in the coop behind the house. The children gratefully took some slices of bread and ate an egg.
Meanwhile, a company of royal soldiers came into the village, ordered by Arthur VI to find the children, and as they knocked upon the Carpontierre’s door, Steve and Belle were saddened to have to return to the manor. They really enjoyed the time with the “normal” people, which should heavily influence their later governing style.
Before leaving, Belle gave her bracelet, made of wrought gold with several emeralds, to Caedlon to thank him for the help and meal. Steve ordered Joques, who was accompanying the royal soldiers to hand his rapier to Caelan, as he was quite a fencer. The Carpontierres thanked the children and wished them all the best.
Belle ensured to them, that if they need help one day, they may come to her and she would do what is in her means. As Steve and Belle returned to Ascort Manor, they felt not for the first time that there was more than just friendship forming a strong bond between them.