Aurélie Paquet

Aurélie Paquet

15 Feb 1123 – 30 Dec 1211

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Aurélie Paquet (15 Feb 1123 – 30 Dec 1211) was a Cyntha who was Empress Matilda (Maud)’s protégé and personal maid who played an essential role in Maud’s victory in the battle with her cousin, King Stephen of Blois, in the First Hycath War.

Early Life

Aurélie was born to a modest family of farmers in the French countryside. Her parents, Didier and Hortense Paquet, were deeply religious and raised their daughter accordingly.

Hortense never knew her mother; the local Catholic community raised her until she reached adulthood. In the absence of her family, she never understood her Cyntha powers, nor how to control them or where they came from. When accidentally healing herself following an accident in the kitchen, she had no choice but to run from her village to escape execution. The shock and confusion of this situation led to fear, which she passed on to her daughter Aurélie, who then spent most of her teenage years trying to exorcise the powers within her, which she thought were the Devil’s work. This purge most likely included bloodletting and other kinds of self-harm.

Although Aurélie’s parents are relatively well-documented, there is a mystery surrounding her grandmother’s identity. Historians assume she must have stayed close to her daughter, because Hortense did eventually end up with her powers. However, she had no recollection of the event itself. The only memory she had was one of a weird dream around her thirteenth birthday. Based on these facts, it is speculated that the transfer must have happened while she was asleep.

Joining Empress Matilda

Maud met Aurélie in 1139 while riding in the countryside near her family’s farm. Aurélie was committed to purging “the evil within her”, and she would probably have seriously harmed herself if Maud hadn’t interfered and stopped her. She immediately understood the young girl’s suffering and hired Aurélie as a maid to escort her back to England. Maud began to educate and mentor the young Hycatha to help her understand the powers they shared and the art of Hycathic magic. She also compensated Aurélie’s parents financially for taking their daughter from their home.

Maud brought Aurélie to Arundel Castle in England, where she began educating her. Some historians have speculated that Maud possibly saw finding Aurélie as a sign. She may have even believed that rescuing Aurélie from Catholicism could rid England of the Church. According to sources, Aurélie never fully abandoned her Catholic faith during these years, and she was often depressed and homesick but, with time, began to trust Maud’s teaching.

The Siege of Arundel Castle

See also The Siege of Arundel Castle

Aurélie’s teachings were cut short by a surprise attack from King Stephen’s army, who surrounded Arundel Castle and put it under siege in 1139. Maud was ready to strike back with all she had, but Aurélie used her Hycathic powers of impulse to calm her down and convince her that there was another way. She voiced her concerns about Stephen’s soldiers, stating that they were only following orders. Aurélie proposed an alternative plan. Although it’s impossible to know today what this plan entailed, historians have speculated that it probably included a kind of shape-shifting or another use of Hycathic magic that forced Stephen to abandon the siege and release Maud.

Settling Down in Gloucester

After the siege of Arundel ended, Maud took Aurélie and all her people and set up a court at her half-brother Robert of Gloucester’s castle. Robert was a long supporter of Maud’s fight against Stephen, and he had his own role in the outcome of the war, as he recruited Hycathae to fight on Maud’s side. Here, Aurélie became the official lady-in-waiting to Maud, and for the first time she truly dedicated herself to Hycathism. Here she also met Alice Eymor and Roosmarijn Doolaard when they returned from their quests in 1140. Aurélie became especially close to Roosmarijn, who decided to take the young Hycatha under her wing and provide her mentorship, during and after the war.

Duchy of Hastings

In 1141, as the conflict between Maud and Stephen came to its crescendo, the empress united her forces at Lincoln Castle. Aurélie was told to stay behind and remain in Nottingham until Maud sent for her to come help. Fortunately for her, it never came to that as Maud ultimately defeated Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln in the same year.

Maud then finally took her rightful throne and began to re-shape England’s society and structure, making way for a new kind of thinking free from the pressure of the Catholic Church. She entrusted Aurélie with the Duchy of Hastings; Aurélie turned it down at first, but after Maud had Hortense and Didier brought over from France, Aurélie finally agreed to take the title and stay in England. At first she was uncomfortable with the new responsibilities, but she rose to the occasion and shaped Hastings into a prosperous Duchy. Her kind heart and approachable nature made her very popular with her subjects.

Aurélie settled in Hastings Manor with her family, where they lived a humble, peaceful life. Though by then, Aurélie had reconciled with her mother, it’s rumoured she still wasn’t permitted to use magic in front of her parents. Despite their noble title, Didier continued working on the fields as a farmer until the end of his life.

Legacy

Aurélie remains one of the notable individuals in the history of the First Age of Hycath. Maud ended up being not only a life-long mentor to her but also a dear friend and strong ally. Despite her late training, Aurélie became one of the strongest and most respected Cynthae of her time, who was even more famous for her kind heart and compassion. She remained a close friend to Roosmarijn, who became the godmother to Aurélie’s first child, Mathilde. She married late and had three more children, whom she raised with Hycathic beliefs.

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