In a sleepy village just far enough from London...
Our first ABJDs arrived in Spring of 2005, and after long months of waiting, they were full of stories to tell us. Join us for a trip down memory lane, punctuated here and there with pictures from those first (and sometimes very blurry!) photostories...
Aramis Diderot, an ex-priest facing the prospect of re-entering the secular world, wants nothing more than a quiet retreat in the country. Little does he know that his humble rectory is about to become the center of a whirlwind adventure, one that will lead him through space and time. In the process he will find true love, magic, and a good bit of himself along the way.
Amandine, Diderot's older twin sister and his closest friend since childhood, urges him to stay in London with her. To her thinking, Diderot will do himself no good, holing up in a crumbly old pile in the middle of nowhere. But Diderot is firm. He has been badly hurt by the church he trusted, and he wants nothing more than to be alone for a while. Well, alone except for Djedefra, a surprisingly articulate cat whose commentary--perhaps for the better--remains unheard by his human companions.
And so Diderot makes the old church rectory his home, moving in with Djedefra, and his few treasured possessions.
With Amandine off on family business, Diderot gets used to peaceful, uneventful solitude. But he won't be alone for long.
The first stray to turn up is a friendly, not-too-bright mutt that Diderot finds hungry and cold in the rectory's adjacent graveyard. Amandine, newly back from Paris (and briefly a redhead!) takes to him right away. She names him D'artagnan, to Aramis' dismay. It's too much name for so silly a dog, so he's Dart, for short. When Amandine's traveling, he stays at the rectory.
Dart might be a dim bulb, but he knows when there's something funny in Diderot's dustbins. The next stray Diderot finds is considerably larger than Dart, and far more trouble.
The strange young man has no memory of who he is, or how he came to be in Diderot's alley, dressed in rags and shivering with cold. Diderot calls him Bellamy, after Bellamy Road, where the Rectory is located.
Diderot searches for guidance through his guilt...
While Bellamy tries to get used to this strange new place.
Eventually Bellamy begins to notice the charms of the village, as well as the charms of his host.
By the time Halloween arrives, Bellamy has settled into his new life.
Diderot, unable to ignore the growing attraction between them, confesses to the scandal that ended his tenure as a priest. While teaching art as his seminary, he fell in love with one of his students, but he hid his feelings away, never acting on them or confessing them. When a high-ranking priest was accused of abusing the young man, it was Diderot who served as the scapegoat. In his mind the crime of his guilt was enough to earn the punishment.
Bellamy convinces him otherwise.
Buoyed by Bellamy's love, Diderot discovers joy in his art once more.
But as the frost arrives, Bellamy's long-locked memories begin to surface. Christmas ornaments, a snowflake and a clock, stir something inside him.
Amandine has a New Year's encounter with a cat who is more than he seems. While she sleeps, a gift is left in trade for her kindness, and the stranger continues his search for someone...
And Bellamy, fully aware of who he is, can no longer pretend to be an ordinary human.
Left with only Bellamy's necklace, Diderot cuts away the past and, with Amandine, goes in pursuit of his future.
Bellamy's necklace leads them to a strange otherworld of snow and ice.
Where a tiny djinn named Moth (and Nicodemus, a large, bespectacled ginger cat) offer their assistance.
Diderot and Bellamy are reunited, but Nicodemus warns them all that Janus, the Lord of Time and Bellamy's father, will not be pleased. Bellamy ran away after he and his father had one of their many arguments, but Bellamy's inexperience with time travel caused him to become lost in the flow of time. By the time he arrived in Diderot's alley, his memories were lost.
Now that Bellamy has returned, Janus has no intentions of letting him go again. And he is none too pleased at finding two mortals in his timeless realm. The last mortal to trespass there was Bellamy's mother, and she long ago deserted Janus to go back to her own world.
It's Amandine who convinces the angry demigod that Bellamy would have died without her brother's aid, and that punishing them is no way to repay Diderot's kindness. Janus recognizes Amandine as the young woman who took care of him on New Year's Eve, when he came to Westraven disguised as a cat, hoping to find his son. In return for her care, Bellamy is allowed to stay with Diderot, provided he doesn't use his powers.
That spring, things in Westraven are back to normal. But before long, Moth and Nicodemus arrive, and announce that Janus needs to set up a small, temporal anomaly in the back cemetery, to use as his lodgings and to study this time period Bellamy finds so fascinating. Bellamy is not entirely thrilled at having his father so close, but for the most part it's an uneventful time.
Until someone else turns up in the alleyway...
Arouet is from 18th century France, and was fleeing the revolution when he wound up in Diderot's back garden.
Bellamy's inclined to blame his father for being messy with his time portals...
But Arouet's arrival is due to his necklace, which--like Bellamy's--pulls him towards his father in time of danger. His father, Janus.
Arouet is Bellamy's mortal brother, and his mother took him with her when she fled Janus' realm centuries ago. But before long, Arouet finds the future more comfortable than the past, especially where Amandine is concerned.
And that's where things stand in Westraven for now! But around here, something strange is always just around the corner.