“I’ll top the bill…I’ll earn the kill…I have to find the will to carry on with the show…” – Freddie Mercury
Friends…family…fiends and fornicators…welcome once again to Jerald Black’s Funday….a veritable feast of degenerate delights for the discerning libertine.
On this Hallowed Eve, your presence is requested for a night of carnivalesque carnage, vaudevillian veneration, and Machiavellian machinations, as the Circle of Seven bring you an ebullient experience for the ages, filled to the brim with forbidden delights designed to tease, tempt and terrify.
Step nineteen years back in time with the Black Family and their associates, don your finest attire and keep your checkbooks handy. There are treasures to be had…for the right price…and many a game to be played.
As always, entertainment will be provided by our distinguished guests and the high-born of the Seven Families. Dress is to be formal and masks are essential to protect the privacy and identities of our patronage.
Let the Games Begin….
(Trigger warnings apply – CW: Rape, child abuse, violence and mental illness).
Name: Jerald Malcolm Black
Played by: Ryan Rhys
Brief History: Jerald was born to Malcolm and Belladonna Black in the 50s in Oxford, England. The heir of stockbrokers and bankers, he was raised to be ruthless, calculating and painfully aristocratic – inheriting his father’s stern and cold exterior, but his mother’s charm and guile. He studied finance, economics, and business at Oxford University on early scholarship, where he met his best friend Marcus Bellamantis. While Marcus was the sweet-talking lothario of the pair, Jerald was not short of female attention – his polite and gentlemanly yet commanding demeanor and his lineage making him quite the catch for any young hopeful. Jerald, however, was hardly a romantic, believing marriage to be a business arrangement for the purposes of appearance and procreation.
When he was 20, Jerald married Olivia Dennison for convenience, the rather plain and unremarkable firstborn daughter of a business associate. Their courtship was standard – some say that Jerald used his feigned charms to lure Olivia into a match with promises of romance and devotion that would never eventuate. When he was 21, Jerald’s daughter Belladonna was born, and by 26 he had abandoned the marital bed, taking his affections elsewhere and indulging in various mistresses to sate his rather stilted sexual appetites. Belladonna quickly established herself as Daddy’s ‘princess,’ much to the jealous dismay of her mother, and would often attend her father’s social gatherings as his ‘date’ while Olivia remained at home.
Belladonna became pregnant at 12 years old, and it was rumored in certain circles that the child was her father’s. Jerald did nothing to dissuade anyone of this fact – the Black Family having a chequered history of incest and inbreeding for over 100 years. When she bore twins 9 months later – a stillborn little girl and a sickly young boy with his mother’s eyes – Jerald adopted the surviving child and claimed him as his firstborn son and heir, Jasper Baelian Black. Jerald was less than fond of the boy and was somewhat envious of the attention that his daughter bestowed on the child, believing that her love and devotion should be for him and him alone.
Jasper was 2 years old when Belladonna faked her suicide in the family home, leaving Jerald with the distraught toddler and nowhere else to place his anger. Jasper quickly became the scapegoat for Belladonna’s betrayal and abandonment, beginning a cycle of psychological, physical and sexual abuse at Jerald’s hands that lasted well into his teens.
When Jasper was 8 and Jerald was in his late 30’s, he and Marcus created the concept of ‘Funday,’ a monthly hedonistic gathering of the upper crust run by Jerald and 6 associates, where the most depraved of clientele could buy just about anything to sate their darkest desires. Due to the nature of their ‘business dealings’ and the treats on offer to their guests, each of the 7 heads of the festivities was required to surrender one of their own progeny to the project. Jerald naturally pledged Jasper to the cause, selling the boy to the highest bidder and finally wreaking his revenge on Belladonna.
Name: Marcus Bellamantis
Played by: Joshua Gorsuch
Brief History: Marcus was born in the 50s in L’Aquila, Italy, to an Italian father and an Iranian mother. His parents migrated to Sussex, England when he was just 10 years old. The child of prominent Italian stock and the grand-daughter of an Iranian Sheik, his family fortune was amassed through heavy ties in the petroleum industry and the sale of conflict diamonds in Africa. Marcus was raised to be charming but ruthless, in a misogynistic household where the man’s word was law. A born and clinical sociopath, he studied economics and business at Oxford University, where he met his best friend Jerald Black. A lover of wine and women, particularly young girls, Marcus was forever skipping class in favor of conquests and parties, his family fortune and political ties ensuring that all ‘scandals’ were quickly dealt with and he sailed through his schooling regardless.
During his latter Oxford years, he met Janine Hardcourt, the young daughter of Englishman William Hardcourt. Infatuated with the woman, Marcus began a torrid love affair with her, much to William’s delight and the disapproval of his parents. Together, he and Janine would frequent the UK fetish clubs, Janine pledging herself to Marcus as his official ‘submissive.’ However, not long after they graduated Janine fell in love with Benjamin Mirror, leaving Marcus and eloping against her father’s wishes. Marcus did not know it at the time, but Janine had borne his child (a daughter named Asinoe)…a fact which he discovered years later when she returned to him to plead for financial assistance to help pay for her husband’s gambling debts – amassed rather strategically by Jerald Black. Marcus obliged, knowing full well that having Janine under his thumb could only be beneficial to him…which it certainly turned out to be. The second time Janine reached out for aide, Marcus and Jerald had just formulated the idea of ‘Fundays,’ and now it seemed that Marcus was to have the perfect tribute to donate to the festivities. When she was 7 years old, Marcus took Asinoe to Australia, cutting off all contact with her mother Janine and effectively ‘kidnapping’ her. He left his daughter to reside in the Black Family Manor with the other children, Marcus taking up residence in one of the guest wings during his Funday stays and frequenting an apartment in the city of Melbourne when the mood struck him. When her mind finally fractured, he renamed her Alina, fashioning her in his own image and locking Asinoe away for a time when the Funday games were over. To Alina, Marcus gave all his attentions – sexual and otherwise – turning her into a kind of weapon that he could use to seduce, manipulate and blackmail whomever he pleased. And when he was bored, he made sport of trying to seduce the wives of his counterparts….particularly Olivia Black and Constance Monére.
Name: Alexei Katorga
Played by: Albert Goikhman
Brief History: Alexei was born in a Katorga penal labor camp in Siberia sometime in the 1930’s, the son of an unidentified female prisoner and one of the camp wardens. It is unknown whether or not he was conceived consensually or not, and his mother was said to have abandoned him when he was a year old upon leaving the settlement. Alexei was passed around the women of the camp for care along with the rest of the bastard children until he was old enough to be of use, then was put to work with the men and prisoners. He was an attractive young boy and the guards would take whatever they wanted from him, throwing him in with the rest of the rabble afterward…who weren’t any kinder. Alexei learned the skills to survive amongst the riff-raff, developing a cruel ruthlessness that served him well later in life.
When he was about 15 everything changed. A fire within the settlement that the head Warden had started (after rounding up most of the prisoners and young men and locking them in their cells) saw him win his freedom. Alexei managed to get out of the building as the fire consumed it, crossing the Siberian countryside with a mere handful of survivors and minimal supplies. The group suffered losses from wolves and the bitter cold, and Alexei lost a few toes to frostbite, but eventually he made it back to civilisation, where he took work doing odd jobs here and there, all the while laying the foundations for his future empire under the name of the system that gave birth to him.
Alexei was well versed in the ways that men became drunk on power, using their vices and greed – along with some force and intimidation – to secure himself a place amongst the brutish elite, working his way through the ranks of the Bratva and eventually establishing himself as the Pakhan of the self-named Katorga clan. Though he had no blood relatives of his own, he was charming, popular and powerful enough amongst his peers to garner pledges of loyalty and brotherhood from many of his associates, who gladly took on the name Katorga in his honor.
In 1961 he met and married his wife, and she bore him two sons – Alec and Dmitri. Not long after Dmitri’s 5th birthday, during some routine business negotiations, Alexei was introduced to the Black and Bellamantis families, forming fast alliances with them for his own interests and ends. He was present during the childhoods of both Jerald Black and Marcus Bellamantis, and orchestrated the two men meeting during their university years. Over the next few years, Alexei was a frequent visitor of the Black Family’s events, taking particular interest in Jerald’s flirtatious and trouble-making daughter Belladonna. One night during a Christmas party, Alexei raped the young girl, who became pregnant with his children. Of the twins that Belladonna bore, only one survived…a young sickly little boy that Alexei called Nikolai.
Enraged by Alexei’s audacity at touching ‘his things,’ but too afraid and respectful of the man to retaliate, Jerald struck a bargain with the man whereby Jerald would claim the boy as his own, renaming him Jasper Baelian and giving him the Black Family name. In exchange, Alexei gained a stronger hold on the Black Family fortune and was guaranteed first preference and a large share of any business dealings that Jerald conducted therein.
When Jasper was 2 years old, Alexei assisted Jerald’s daughter Belladonna in faking her own suicide, spiriting her away from the family home and securing her a place to live in the Motherland. As payment, Belladonna surrendered her second unborn child (the progeny of Marcus Bellamantis) to him. The young boy, whom Alexei named Grigori, was given to his own son Alec…whose wife had recently given birth to a baby girl with such complications that she would not be able to produce another heir. To their dying days, neither Jerald nor Marcus knew the truth about what had happened to Belladonna…it was a secret that Alexei kept to himself.
Travelling between his homeland and Australia for the Funday parties, Alexei continued to work his influence on all within the Circle of 7, keeping a particularly close watch on his son Nikolai (Jasper) and seizing every opportunity to influence and shape the child’s character to his own liking right beneath Jerald’s nose…by any means necessary.
Name: Constance Monére
Played by: Willow J
Brief History: Constance Emeline Therese Travére was born to parents Jacob and Evaline Travére on the outskirts of Paris in the early sixties. While raised almost exclusively by nannies, tutors, and other staff, Constance remembered a mostly content childhood playing with her older brother Louis in the family vineyards, taking her lessons with other upper-class children in her social circle and enjoying many a night at the theatre and opera with her family. When she was five, near-tragedy struck the family – her brother Louis fell into the river that adjoined the family estate and almost drowned. Much smaller and delicate than Louis, Constance was unable to help him – save for sounding the alarm for the servants to come to his aide. As a result of this accident, Louis fell strangely mute and has not spoken a word since. Some say that the near-death experience triggered an inherent madness within him that was a trait of the Travére line…
At barely eighteen, Constance fell hard for Armand Monère – the dashing older son of Margarite and Damien Monère, heir to the Monère title, land, and everything that went with it. They met at a grand ball in the Spring and were married the following year in a similarly grandiose celebration- an event they recreated yearly throughout their married life, much to the delight of the Parisian social elite.
Armand was a fiercely intelligent, reserved, and elegantly spoken man who could make even a friendly greeting sound like a purred threat if he so desired. He was attractive and well-bred and on the surface a fine catch for Constance. Sadly, he was also a sadist with a fondness for knives – particularly well designed fine blades and torture devices – and would carry his favorite implements around everywhere with him ‘just in case’ the occasion arose to use them. More than once the household maids were dismissed or quit under dubious circumstances, and every so often Constance would awaken to screams in the night and find the marital bed empty.
She learned quickly not to ask questions, and in the light of the day could dismiss it all as imaginings or bad dreams. The one time that she had brought it up with her husband, he had expressed concern for her mental well-being, claiming that he was well aware of her family’s history of insanity and hoped that the traits inherent in her brother were not now to begin manifesting within his wife.
Constance never broached the subject again.
Over the years, Constance bore Armand two children – Claudia and Jacob, whom she doted on as babies with all the ardor and devotion that a well-bred mother could. She loved her children dearly and lavished as much affection on them as her husband allowed. Armand did not care much for the squalling of babies, though as bearers of his name their conduct and education became one of his most focused priorities. From the moment they could walk, Armand ruled over both Claudia and Jacob with an iron fist, applying the same sadism and torturous methods to their schooling that he did to his extra-curricular activities…and as they grew older and more silent and withdrawn, Constance’s discomfort around them grew. Soon, she would barely know them at all…retreating into her own world of music and musing, whiling away her hours with a few drams of cognac and a sedative or two.
When Armand uprooted the family and moved to Australia, cutting Constance off from all and anyone who had known her as a girl, she fell further into herself, spending hours gliding about the conservatory, wandering the halls and humming to herself the tunes of her girlhood.The atrocities of her husband and his associates during Fundays were outwardly ignored, most of her evenings saw her retiring early or claiming to be too unwell to attend the festivities. On the occasions that she was forced to make an appearance at one of Jerald Black’s notorious parties, she did so on a heady cocktail of Valium and sedatives, which allowed her to drift like a ghost through the hallowed halls, greeting guests and acquaintances with all the calm demurity that a woman of her standing was expected to exhibit. Inwardly, of course, she was slowly shattering. The blank and haunted stares of her abused children began to take their toll, and it pained her so much to see them that she would avoid it if at all possible.
Left to her own devices most of the time, Constance fell into a succession of affairs, giving herself over to any man who offered a soft word or gentle hand. Her husband, although aware of these ‘escapades,’ seemed mostly content to ignore them…save for the odd occasion where one of her lovers would disappear.
Name: Reverend Landon Dream
Played by: Frank Otis
Brief History: The Reverend Landon Dream was born sometime in the late 40s, raised by an overzealous and fanatical Christian mother whose husband had left not long after she had conceived her second child, Caden. Landon left the family home when he was 15, heading out to ‘find God’ and his path. By 18 he was a pastor at a local church in New Orleans, using his charm, good looks and his warped sense of righteousness to seduce many a young female in his flock. When the father of one such young woman confronted him for violating and impregnating his daughter, Landon fled his church and went to England, settling in a small town just outside of Wales to study the various religions of the world and becoming something of a recluse.
Tormented by his own apparent sexual ‘vices’ and desires, and haunted by his mother’s claims that he was tainted by the ‘bad seed’ of his father, Landon became obsessed with the idea of rebirth through sin…his readings of old gnostic texts and Aztec rituals finally seeing him stumble across the notion of sexual salvation and purification through vice and the prophecies of the Kundalini. The Reverend began to believe that it was only through debauchery and depravity that he would ascend to the kingdom of Heaven to sit beside God…his seclusion serving to feed his own fanaticism. His readings spoke of the ‘seven fiery serpents’ whose sexual fire and seven degrees of power would awaken the Kundalini – the feathered snake that would bring about the Age of Aquarius and carry it’s seven disciples into glory.
Landon remained in Wales for many years, eventually being appointed Reverend of his own congregation. He met and married his wife Patience during this time, a newly minted widow whose first (and rather rich) husband had committed suicide only months before she and Landon were wed. Many believed that the Reverend had had something to do with the man’s demise…for Patience had been seen frequenting the Reverend’s sermons long before they officially been acquainted. Regardless, Patience’s inheritance and the life insurance paid out from her husband’s lucrative business dealings set the pair up handsomely…the funds going to building a new church for Landon where he could continue to preach his rather warped philosophies relatively unchecked.
In 1984 the Reverend met Colonel Kensington during a Sunday sermon, the latter striking up a conversation with the ‘pious’ man that lasted well into the night. The following week, Landon was introduced to Jerald Black and Marcus Bellamantis and invited to attend a series of private gatherings to further discuss his outlandish beliefs. Meetings with Armand Monėre and Professor Kreutz would soon follow…the pieces clicking into place within Landon’s mind as he studied his new acquaintances.
It was Landon who coined the name ‘Circle of Seven’ when Jerald proposed the notion of Fundays to the group – seeing in the 7 men the beginnings of the fulfillment of his own Kundalinian prophecies. Of course, the others indulged his raving and ranting, the benefit of having his money (or his wife’s and the churches) and his influences onside far outweighing the obvious fact that most of the Seven despised him and thought him to be insane.
With his wife by his side, Landon continued to preach his mad rhetoric to any who would listen within the Funday gatherings…collecting disciples and new pledges with each passing month, harvesting money from the most depraved of souls in exchange for a place in his pews and front row seats to the spectacle. And what a spectacle it was…sexual rituals involving the children, human sacrifices and torture with snakes….all feeding the Reverend’s belief that his own depravity would be counterbalanced by the shedding of innocent blood…washing him clean of sin over and again until such a time that the Kundalini would awaken and he would finally become a God.
Name: The Inimitable Vale Lavel and Goldie (Hazel Goldhirsch)
Played by: Daniel Knaggs and Marilyn Mocktail
Brief History: Vale Lavel and his girlfriend ‘Goldie’ have been working the desiccated corpse of the vaudeville circuit internationally together since 1985. They met in Teaneck, New Jersey while 21 year old Vale was touring with a local kiddie circus, meeting 14 year old Hazel after the show. Having snuck out of home to catch the spectacle (both her parents had forbidden her from attending), Hazel and Vale hit it off (read: she offered him sex in exchange for booze) and when the week was out and the circus moved on, Hazel hitched a ride with them out of Jersey and away from her childhood forever. Finding the ‘plucky kid’ charming and amusing, Vale made her part of his act, calling her ‘Goldie’ and teaching her the ropes of showbusiness – namely the booze, drugs, swindling and drunken philandering. In 1986 the pair left the circus and struck out on their own, working small towns with their double act for room, board and light change – and robbing drunken patrons blind as they went.
Though very much in love, the pair remained unmarried and in an open relationship. Vale was unashamedly bisexual, and Goldie enjoyed sharing her male lovers with him. They cut a swathe through America and the UK, eventually becoming one of the most popular vaudeville acts on the tacky local circuit, a favorite at parties and down at the local pub. Their shows involved everything from stand-up huckster comedy to theatre restaurant gags, burlesque, and cabaret. Though both were very talented, they were never able to break into the big time – until one night in London in 1992, when they met Marcus Bellamantis. Marcus convinced them to fly to Australia to perform at a regular gig at what the man called ‘Funday,’ an exclusive party for the rich and hedonistic. Seizing the opportunity of an all-expenses-paid trip to a new start, the pair readily agreed, signing all confidentiality contracts and flying out the very next morning for Melbourne, Victoria.
They were put up in a large apartment in the city, Marcus indulging the pair with all they needed to live the high life – plus an allowance for ‘treats’ and necessities. In exchange, they were to create variety acts for the monthly Funday parties to entertain the guests before the real ‘festivities’ began.
By the fateful night in 1993 that was to be their sixth show, Vale and Goldie had become a staple of Fundays, despite Jerald’s misgivings about the pair and Vale’s growing discontent with what he saw at each party.
They would not return for a seventh show.
Name: Patience Dream
Played by: Poppy Jorgan
Brief History: Born in York in the late 50’s, Patience Flora Bedford was the daughter of a middle-class blue-collar worker. Her father was a real estate clerk, her mother a seamstress for upper-class English ladies. Patience always dreamed of being a rich and important noblewoman when she grew up, and she wasted no time in trying to secure this future. When she was 14, she seduced one of her father’s employers, a rich man by the name of Jonathan Lambridge. When his wife found out, she divorced Jonathan, taking his only child and son and leaving the country. Seizing her opportunity, Patience pretended to be pregnant, appealing to the man’s sense of nobility and honor and coercing him into marrying her. She of course ‘tragically’ lost the baby after the wedding, becoming bedridden in her grief, forcing her husband to hire a slew of servants to care for her and keep a house she had no interest in maintaining.
When she was in her mid-20s, she met the Reverend Landon Dream while attending a charity soiree, immediately setting her sights on what she saw as the next step in her societal ascension. Fascinated by the man’s impassioned and somewhat unconventional beliefs, she became a regular attendee at Dream’s sermons, which served her well in her grief when her husband Jonathan tragically committed suicide a few months later – no doubt shattered by the loss of both his children.
After her husband’s death, Patience inherited enough money to finally live in the manner she was accustomed without the yoke of the real estate mogul around her neck, and she threw herself into the Reverend’s world without restraint. The life insurance paid out from her husband’s lucrative business dealings set the pair up handsomely…the funds going to building a new church for Landon where he could continue to preach his rather warped philosophies relatively unchecked.
It was during the early stages of their marriage that Patience discovered she could not have children, a fact which grieved her irrevocably. She became more self-indulgent than she already was, burying herself in her husband’s zeal and dedicating herself wholly to assisting in his ascension to Godhood…for would she not be a Goddess in the same breath? To fill the void where a child would have been, Patience adopted 5 white poodles, which she dressed in bonnets and lace and addressed as if they were humans, often bringing her posse of pooches to luncheons and social gatherings and demanding they be given separate seats and the same food as the human guests.
Not too long afterward, the pair uprooted and moved to Australia to become part of Jerald’s Fundays. Patience amused herself with the little girls at the gatherings, dressing them up in ribbons and lace and hosting tea parties with them and their dolls, her pooches ever-present and snarling at the poor frightened children. Often, she would feed the dogs ‘snacks’ left over from her husband’s rituals…a finger here, a toe there…and on occasion she would drug the children and bring them to Landon for purification like the good and dutiful wife that she was.
Name: Olivia Black
Played by: Shelley Dunlop
Brief History: The firstborn daughter of a prominent English stockbroker, Olivia Dennison was what one would call the ‘ugly duckling’ of the family. She was always considered a ‘handsome’ young woman, with well-defined featured and form, but she seemed to fall short of her younger sister Katherine (Kitty for short), who was delicate as a doll, with pretty blonde ringlets and porcelain features. Keenly intelligent, Olivia buried herself in books to avoid the inevitable social embarrassment of being compared to Kitty, and as such was largely forgotten and ignored by her mother and most of her family. Her father treated her much like a son, teaching her the business ropes and taking her along with him in the hopes that she would catch the eye of one of his more promising business associates…which she did.
When she was 19, Olivia married Jerald Black, and at 20 (upon her husband’s insistence) she faked a pregnancy and “bore” Jerald their first child – a daughter by the name of Belladonna Elizabeth (after Jerald’s mother). It was a difficult time and Olivia withdrew into herself afterward, shunning her husband and performing her wifely duties begrudgingly. By the time she was 25 Jerald had taken his affections outside the home, often carting his daughter Belladonna with him. The girl quickly established herself as Daddy’s ‘princess,’ much to the jealous dismay of Olivia, often attending her father’s social gatherings as his ‘date’ while his wife remained at home. When Belladonna became pregnant at 12 years old, it was rumoured in certain circles that the child was her father’s, and Jerald did nothing to dissuade anyone of this fact. Mortified by her husband’s betrayal, and already jealous of her “daughter’s” beauty and the attention that he lavished on her, Olivia became quite cruel to the girl, lording her rule over Belladonna throughout the girl’s pregnancy. Jerald and Olivia adopted Belladonna’s surviving child, Jasper, claiming him as their firstborn son and heir. Olivia hated the boy with a passion…both for the looks he had inherited from his mother and the constant reminder of her husband’s sinful infidelities right under her nose.
When Jasper was 2 years old, Belladonna faked her suicide in the family home, leaving Jerald and Olivia with the distraught toddler. Well aware of her husband’s treatment and torture of the boy, Olivia did nothing to intervene…believing him to be undeserving of her protection or love, as he was not of her blood or concern. She was incessantly cruel to him, often starving him and being physically and verbally abusive as the mood struck her. She called him ugly, stupid, worthless…and told him that his mother had killed herself because he was a bad child.
In the same year of Belladonna’s death, Olivia became pregnant with Jerald’s second legitimate child, a young boy and their first official son, Jett Balthazar Black. Some believe that Olivia capitalized on his daughter’s death to seduce her husband in his grief…other more cynical types claim that Jerald’s anger resulted in the rape of Olivia and Jett’s subsequent conception. Neither story is unlikely.
In 1990 Jerald and Marcus Bellamantis created the concept of ‘Funday,’ and Olivia, while finding the constant display of hedonism and depravity rather vulgar, did nothing to stop them, relocating with her husband to a large Manor in the Yarra Valley in Australia, and maintaining her role and title as Mistress of the house in the bargain. She was often present at Jerald’s Fundays, but never did a thing to interfere.
Many wondered if she cared at all.
(To be continued in Part 2)
All characters and story lines remain the property of N.Ristovski and the Underground. All character writings within the Underground are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2017. Natalie Ristovski.