Black Legend of Anjou
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Basic Information

Legend has it that Black Fulk, Count of Anjou married the daughter of the Devil and the wicked temper and high vaunting ambition of his father in law were passed down the generations, first to the subsequent Counts of Anjou and, later, the Plantagenet Kings of England.

The girl was called Melusine, and the legends differ as to where he found her - some say he met her in the forest whilst out hunting on the Sabbath when he should have been at Mass, others that he went to the Holy Land as though Crusading … but not out of piety, but merely for the love of killing … and there met his wife whilst her father was out stirring up the Saracens.

Wherever he had been, he returned to his castle one day with this beautiful, if mysterious and slightly Moorish looking girl and in due course they were married.

Now Melusine was, in most parts, everything that a Countess should be - beautiful, charming and accomplished, a strong and efficient mistress of her house and a loyal and attentive wife to her husband, and over the years she bore him three fine, strong sons. There was just one problem … the Countess was adverse to attending Mass, and whenever she was persuaded to attend, it was discovered that she had slipped out prior to the moment when the Host was transformed, and whilst Fulk was not much put out by this he was … curious.

One day he prevailed about his wife to hear Mass, and once the Liturgy was well under way he had his knights bar the chapel door and prevent Melusine from slipping out. As the climax of the Mass approached Melusine became more and more anxious and seemed frantic to find a way out until, as the consecrated Host was presented she gave a great scream and, taking on a rather greater resemblance to her Father than she had had up until this point, she sprouted wings and flew out of the chapel window with one of her sons in each hand, never to be seen again.

The remaining son, for whom she didn't have a hand free, went on to sire the subsequent line of Counts and Kings.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • This could be freely recycled as the backstory for a royal or noble house in your campaign, particularly one with a dark, bloody or hubristic reputation.
  • If you're feeling whimsical you could even inflict it on a PC who marries in haste…
  • One of the sons that Melusine (or her equivalent in your world) took away with her, would make an excellent BBEG … or, equally, a neutral but unscrupulous 'Black Knight' for the jousting circuit. Particularly if there is already a member of the royal house jousting incognito (as Edward "The Black Prince" was said to do).
  • For an alternative - and much funnier - source of supernatural blood, try the plot of the Steeleye Span song King Henry … whether the transformed bride turns out to be a Frog Prince, or is vulnerable to Glamour Failure like Melusine is up to the GM…
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