“My Life,” by Ayamia the Unfortunate, together with “An Examination of the Rat Queen,” by the Scholars’ Institute for Change, a non-profit organization. Quotations are liberally taken from Ayamia’s own volume, interspersed with logical explanations where necessary.
“Chapter One — How I Came to Live in the Vermin’s Snye.” I’ve heard what some people say about me, and let me tell you straight away that it is not true. My husband abandoned me and I had no choice to but to find a place to live with my children. Our landlord, wretched human scum, turned us onto the streets! I am not as young as I once was, but I am resourceful. By living below, my children and I would be out of the elements. We could find a cozy place to call our own.
“Analysis of Chapter One.” Clearly, the subject is in denial of her current status. Her husband is recorded as “Lord Selien” so obviously, the subject was a woman who lived in comfort. Her reference to being turned out of her home is correct, but only to the extent that her increasing madness led her to bring to her husband’s home all manner of vile creatures, referring to them as her “children.” Upon her husband’s death in battle, his family shunned the subject, which further isolated her, causing her to seek shelter elsewhere.
“Chapter Two — My Children.” I am blessed with seven sons, all in the peak of their strength and youth. The eldest is Varion. He looks remarkably like his dear, departed father. I wished to name all my sons in such a way that their names began with the same letter, but my husband forbade me. He relented when I became ill at the birth of our youngest, Voland. I am so blessed by Tunare! Seven sons! My only regret is that I have no daughters, but I am not complaining, for my sons will carry on the name of their father’s house.
“Analysis of Chapter Two.” Again, the subject tells some of the truth. She did indeed bear seven sons, the first and last of which are named as indicated. And, she did fall ill upon the birth of her final son, rendering her unable to have other children. The subject lay ill for nearly a year, during which time her sons were raised by her sister. When she regained her health, the subject had her sister arrested and executed for treason before she resumed her motherly duties.
“Chapter Three — A Time of Hardship.” Our move to the catacombs was not without its troubles, of course. My children needed me more than ever, clinging to me in the seemingly perpetual darkness beneath the city streets. We found that the crews who maintained the drains kept piles of fuel to use in the sconces set into the walls. I learned to borrow a bit of their fire to start my own. My eldest found the place I now call home by turning down a little-used side passage. The way is patrolled by roving gangs of thugs, but they left me alone. After all, I am guarded by my seven strong sons!
“Analysis of Chapter Three.” Again, the subject shows her inability to separate fact from fiction. Her eldest son would not have been able to find her living area as he, together with all his brothers, perished at sea. This occurred during the Shattering, when many travellers perished. In this case, the subject had sent her sons on an errand, the nature of which has never been determined. It is generally believed that the magnitude of the loss, both personally and throughout Norrath, coupled with the knowledge that she sent them on this journey, unhinged her mind.
“Chapter Four — The Days Grow Long.” We are comfortable here, for the most part. I find that the days are sometimes long, but one of the boys will entertain me. Asrey, my middle boy, will recite tales of the distant past. I believe he will grow up to be a bard! His voice is clear and true. He loves to stand in the chambers where the ceilings are highest and sing, listening to his own voice echo. He is a good lad, as are all my sons, and I am grateful for their company.
“Analysis of Chapter Four.” The subject’s thrid son, Asrey, did have a legendary voice, even in his youth. He was often called upon to sing before the Bayle family. At the conclusion of one of these events, Lady Larinna Bayle presented him with an engraved flute. The flute was lost at sea with Asrey and his brothers. It is interesting to note that the subject retains excellent memories of the details of her children’s lives, but has blocked out the single largest event that befell them — their own deaths.
“Chapter Five — A New Beginning.” I’ve given up some of the fancy work I used to do before. Now that I must scrape by, I can no longer spend time weaving lace or painting miniatures. I have painted several portraits of my sons, however, that I am quite proud of. They are endlessly fascinating to me. I know it is sometimes difficult for them to live in this place, yet they do not complain. When they wander too far, I miss them terribly. Is that so wrong for a mother? After all, nothing is stronger than a mother’s love.
“Analysis of Chapter Five.” We were unable to determine where the subject’s portraits have gone, if indeed she painted any at all. There is no record of her having been interested in miniature painting prior to her exile to the Vermin’s Snye. Some of the lace she created was, however, on display at the Museum of Fine Arts until it was stolen by vandals that tied the bits to some of the rats the subject called “her children” before setting them afire. The subject became agitated and defended the rats, thus earning her title of “Rat Queen.”