The Moon and the Sun
by Vonda N. McIntyre
(In Order of Appearance)
FATHER YVES DE LA CROIX, S.J., 27, Jesuit and natural philosopher, older brother of Marie-Josèphe
MARIE-JOSÈPHE DE LA CROIX, 20, Yves’ sister, lady-in-waiting to Mademoiselle; recently come to Versailles (via Mme de Maintenon’s school at St. Cyr) from the French colony of Martinique
MADAME*, Duchess d’Orléans, Elisabeth Charlotte of Bavaria, the Princess Palatine, 41, Monsieur’s second wife
MONSIEUR*, Philippe, Duke d’Orléans, 53, Louis’ younger brother.
MADEMOISELLE*, ElisabethCharlotte d’Orléans, 17, daughter of Madame and Monsieur, niece of Louis XIV.
THE CHEVALIER DE LORRAINE*, Monsieur’s lover, 55.
LUCIEN DE BARENTON, COUNT DE CHRÉTIEN, 28, one of the few French nobles permitted to advise Louis XIV.
PHILIPPE II D’ORLÉANS, DUKE DE CHARTRES*, 19, son of Monsieur and Madame; married to Françoise Marie, Mlle de Blois, “Madame Lucifer.”
LOUIS-AUGUSTE, DUKE DU MAINE, 23, Louis XIV’s legitimized natural son by his former mistress, the Marquise de Montespan.
His Majesty’s legitimate grandsons:
LOUIS, DUKE DE BOURGOGNE* (11);
PHILIPPE, DUKE D’ANJOU* (10);
CHARLES, DUKE DE BERRI (7)
LOUIS XIV*, 55, Louis le Grand, le roi soleil, Most Christian King of France and of Navarre
MADAME DE MAINTENON* (née Françoise d’Aubigné; later Mme Scarron), Louis’ morganatic second wife, 58
MONSEIGNEUR*, Louis, the Grand Dauphin, 32, Louis’ only surviving legitimate son
THE SEA MONSTER
MONSIEUR BOURSIN, of His Majesty’s household
FATHER DE LA CHAISE*, Louis’ confessor
ODELETTE (known also as HALEEDA), 20, Marie-Josèphe’s Turkish slave (born on the same day as Marie-Josèphe).
DR. FAGON*, first physician to the King
DR. FÉLIX*, first surgeon to the King
INNOCENT XII*, recently anointed Pope
JAMES II* and MARY OF MODENA, King and Queen of England in exile
The Foreign Princes: CHARLES OF LORRAINE*, and the dukes of CONTI and CONDÉ.
MADAME LUCIFER*, Duchess de Chartres, 16, daughter (Mlle de Blois) of Louis XIV
ALLESANDRO SCARLATTI*, musician, composer,
DOMENICO SCARLATTI*, 8, Signor Scarlatti’s son, child prodigy, musician and composer
MLLE D’ARMAGNAC*, “Mlle Future”
MLLE DE VALENTINOIS*, “Mlle Past”
JULIETTE D’AUTEVILLE, marquise de la Fère, “Mme Present”
ANTOINE GALLAND*, first western translator of
CARDINAL OTTOBONI*, attending Innocent XII
HALEEDA (also knows as Odelette), Marie-Josèphe’s adopted sister.
THE DUKE OF BERWICK*, James Fitzjames, natural son of James II
The PRINCE OF JAPAN, the SHAH OF PERSIA, the QUEEN OF NUBIA, and the WAR CHIEFS OF THE HURONS; and their attendants.
* Historical Characters
Midsummer day’s sun blazed white in the center of the sky. The sky burned blue to the horizon.
The flagship of the King crossed abruptly from the limpid green of shallow water to the dark indigo of limitless depths.
The galleon’s captain shouted orders; the sailors hurried to obey. Canvas flapped, then filled; the immense square sails snapped taut in the wind. The ship creaked and groaned and leaned into its turn. The flag of Louis XIV fluttered, writing
Free of the treacherous shoals, the galleon plunged ahead. Water rushed against the ship’s sides. The gilt figurehead stretched its arms into sunlight and spray. Rainbows shimmered from its claws and from the flukes of its double tail. The carven sea monster flung colored light before it, for the glory of the King.
Yves de la Croix searched the sea from the ship’s bow to the horizon, seeking his quarry along the Tropic of Cancer, directly beneath the sun. He squinted into Midsummer’s Day and clenched his hands around the topdeck’s rail. The galleon moved with the wind, leaving the air on deck still and hot. The sun soaked into Yves’ black cassock and drenched his dark hair with heat. The tropical sea sparkled and shifted, dazzling and enrapturing the young Jesuit.
Yves searched for what the lookout had spied, but the sun was too bright and the distance too long. The ship cut through the waves, rushing, roaring.
Dead ahead, the ocean roiled. Shapes leapt. Sleek figures cavorted like dolphins in the sea foam.
The flagship sailed toward the turbulent water. A siren song, no dolphin’s call, floated through the air. The sailors fell into terrified silence.
Yves stood motionless, curbing his excitement. He had known he would find his quarry at this spot and on this day; he had never doubted his hypothesis. He should meet his success with composure.
“The net!” Captain Desheureux’s shout overwhelmed the song. “The net, you bastards!”
His command sent his crew scrambling. They feared him more than they feared sea monsters, more than they feared demons. The winch shrieked and groaned, wood against rope against metal. The net clattered over the side. A sailor muttered a profane prayer.
The creatures frolicked, oblivious to the approaching galleon. They breached like dolphins, splashing wildly, churning the sea. They caressed each other, twining their tails about one another, singing their animal sensuality. Their rutting whipped the ocean into froth.
Yves’ excitement surged, possessing his mind and his body, overcoming his resolution. Shocked by the intensity of his reaction, he closed his eyes and bowed his head, praying for humble tranquility.
The rattle of the net, its heavy cables knocking against the ship’s flank, brought him back to the world. Desheureux cursed. Yves ignored the words, as he had ignored casual profanity and blasphemy throughout the voyage.
Once more his own master, Yves waited, impassive. Calmly he noted the details of his prey: their size; their color; their number, much reduced from the horde reported a century before.
The galleon swept through the fornicating sea monsters. As Yves had planned, as he had hoped, as he had expected from his research, the sea monsters trapped themselves in their rapture. They never noticed the attack until the moment of onslaught.
The siren song disintegrated into animal cries and screams of pain. Hunted animals always shrieked at the shock of their capture. Yves doubted that beasts could feel fear, but he suspected they might feel pain.
The galleon crushed through them, drowning them in their own screams. The net swept through the thrashing waves.
Desheureux shouted abuse and orders. The sailors winched the net’s cables. Underwater, powerful creatures thrashed against the side of the galleon. Their voices beat the planks like a drum.
The net hauled the creatures from the sea. Sunlight gleamed from their dark, leathery flanks.
“Release the pigeons.” Yves kept his voice level.
“It’s too far,” whispered the apprentice to the royal pigeon keeper. “They’ll die.” Birds cooed and fluttered in their wicker cages.
“Release them!” If none reached France from this flight of birds, the next flight would succeed, or the one after that.
A dozen carrier pigeons lofted into the sky. Their wings beat the air. The soft sound faded to silence. Yves glanced over his shoulder. One of the pigeons wheeled, climbing higher. Its message capsule flashed silver, reflecting the sun, signaling Yves’ triumph.
The procession wound its way along the cobbled street, stretching fifty carriages long. The people of Le Havre pressed close on either side, cheering their King and his court, marvelling at the opulence of the carriages and the harnesses, admiring the flamboyant dress, the jewels and lace, the velvet and cloth-of-gold, the wide plumed hats of the young noblemen who accompanied their sovereign on horseback.
Marie-Josèphe de la Croix had dreamed of riding in such a procession, but her dreams fell short of the reality. She t ...