Rossamünd as Europe's factotum.
|Affiliations||Duke of Sparrows |
Lamplighters (Q Hesiod Gæta) (former)
Madam Opera's (former)
|Occupations||Europe's factotum (former) |
|Unique traits||Short for his age |
Is actually a manikin
|Weapons||Various potives |
Rossamünd Bookchild is the male protagonist of the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy. Being a boy with a female name haunted him since his earliest days as a foundling, but is also a reference to his true nature: it is revealed later in the series that he is actually a manikin or rossamünderling, a type of monster with a human form.
During the trilogy Rossamünd attempted first to become a lamplighter, then by circumstances became the factotum of the renowned fulgar Europe following the death of Licurius. He left her to serve out an abbreviated prenticeship and was briefly a full time lighter until he was withdrawn from Imperial service by Europe herself. Rossamünd then assumed his role as her factotum permanently until the two were forced by circumstances to part ways.
Rossamünd has been referred to by various names:
- "Rosy", "Rosy Posy", "Miss Rosy", etc and various female names by his fellow foundlings; "Rosy" by some of his fellow prentice-lighters
- "Little man" by Europe
- "Master Come-Lately" by Grindrod
- "Lamp boy" by Threnody of Herbroulesse
- "New old friend" by Numps
- "The Great Harold" or "Master Haroldus" by the lamplighters of Wormstool
- "Little rabbit" by Syncratis Pater
- "Ouranin", "pink lips", "rossamünderling" by various monsters
His name has affected Rossamünd all his life and at first he was characterised by a lack of self esteem, although he later became more confident once he had accepted who he was. He tends to be quiet and bookish, but has a curious mind and a high sense of integrity, justice, and loyalty. It is revealed that his sympathy for monsters derives from being one of them as well, which also influenced his instinctual determination not to receive a cruorpunxis no matter what, an unusual choice for someone who has killed a monster. However he has not hesitated to fight them if necessary out of self-defense, although he later experienced sorrow for the monsters that he had to kill out of necessity.
Because of his name, Rossamünd was continuously teased and tormented by his fellow foundlings, especially Gosling Corvinius Arbour, who became his deadliest antagonist. He had very few friends, but became close to the kind hearted parlor maid Verline, who became a surrogate older sister, Fransitart, his dormitory master who acted as a foster father to him, and Craumpalin, the dispensurist, from whom he learned what would be his signature skill.
The relationship between Rossamünd and Europe is the most complicated to be dealt with in the trilogy. Despite its inauspicious, Rossamünd proved loyal to her when her organs spasmed following the fight with the nimbleschrewds, as she had missed a dose of Cathar's Treacle. He was able to bring her to the Harefoot Dig and was trusted with functioning as her temporary factotum while she recovered. Despite her apparently cold attitude towards him, Europe's concern for the boy was first seen when he went missing in High Vesting. After his rescue, she offered him the chance to resume his role as her factotum after she returned from Sinster and would pass by Winstermill. She also wrote him a farewell note disclosing for the first time who she really was and providing the first concrete indication of the depths of her feelings towards him.
- Great physical strength, more than that of a normal man. Rossamünd did not realize that he had this strength until after he began serving with the lamplighters when he was forced to call upon it by circumstances. He initially regarded it at first as normal, although others quickly realised that it was not.
- Being much more physically robust.
- An accelerated healing ability that enables him to recover from injuries faster.
- A heightened awareness of threwd when it appears and the ability to discern its nature and intent.
He also shared a few key characteristics with other monsters:
- His blood can be used to create a cruorpunxis.
- Dogs, particularly tykehounds who had been trained to fight monsters, reacted to him violently as they could tell that he was a monster despite his constant wearing of a nullodour. This was effective against leers, although Licurious noted that Rossamünd smelled funny when he encountered him.
- Other monsters can tell that he is a fellow monster, which caused confusion when they found him opposed to them.
- He is susceptible to repellants.
Rossamünd learned the art of being a dispensurist from Craumpalin and Europe believed that he brewed the best Cathar's Treacle she had ever had. Because of his talent for working with scripts, he focused more on this while he was a prentice-lighter, thus his marksmanship with a fusil was poor. Rossamünd favoured and specialised in using various potives as weapons and after leaving Imperial service did not use a firearm again.
Rossamünd's physical strength was his greatest asset when it came to hand to hand combat because it caught his opponents off guard. During the fight in the basement connected to the Broken Doll, he put all his strength behind a crippling blow to the swordist he was facing, inflicting massive internal damage and possibly breaking the man's spine. He was also able to throw off Anaesthesia Myrrh into a post, killing her.
The bastinade art of harundo was taught at Madam Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls and Rossamünd was instructed in it. Although he did not display an aptitude for it during his sparring match with Gosling, he was able to use it much more effectively during the Battle of Wormstool while wielding a fodicar as the moves became second nature in the midst of combat.
After he was born from a threwdish swamp, Cinnamon, the Duke of Sparrows' trusted servant, brought the baby Rossamünd to Boschenberg, where he was in the process of leaving him on the doorstep of Madam Opera's when he was interrupted by Fransitart, who had arrived to take up his post. Cinnamon told Fransitart to look after the baby and that its name was what he was. The name Rossamünd was written on a piece of paper pinned to his swaddling, a reference to his being a rossamünderling. The sudden arrival of Madam Opera herself prevented Fransitart from learning more from Cinnamon, who immediately fled. Opera took the baby in and enrolled him as Rossamünd Bookchild, giving him the family name traditionally reserved for a foundling. This secret, which was shared by Fransitart with his fellow messmate, Craumpalin, after he had begun working at Madam Opera's, was kept between the two for years. Rossamünd grew up believing that he had been left on Madam Opera's doorstep with nothing but the name that was to haunt him for the rest of his life in the human world as the only clue to his origins.
Craumpalin later explained to Rossamünd that once Madam Opera had entered his name into the book, "it was a matter of ineffaceable public record. There was no renaming thee after that, and no fuss could be made without lookin’ mightily suspicious. So we had to luff up and let the matter be."
As Madam Opera's was a marine society, Rossamünd was raised and trained to eventually become a vinegaroon, a sailor on the vinegar seas. It was the wish of every foundling at Madam Opera's to serve on a ram and go to sea. Rossamünd however had been passed over six times by representatives from the navy board and other agencies as a candidate for employment. He was despairing of ever leaving the foundlingery when Lamplighter's Agent Sebastipole visited three weeks after the hiring season had ended in HIR 1601. After observing the children, Sebastipole had Rossamünd summoned and offered him the chance to become a lamplighter on the Conduit Vermis. Although this was completely different from what he had been expecting, Rossamünd felt that he had no other choice except to stay at the foundlingery, so he reluctantly accepted.
After being handsomely fitted out by Fransitart and the dispensurist, Craumpalin, Rossamünd was to take the cromster Rupunzil to High Vesting. On the morning that he was to set off, Sebastipole pointed him in the right direction on the Padderbeck, the quay where the Rupunzil was moored. However in the thick fog Rossamünd ran into Rivermaster Poundinch, master of the Hogshead. The quick-thinking and slippery rivermaster pretended to be Vigilus, master of the Rupunzil, and was able to convince Rossamünd to board his cromster despite his misgivings, as it and its crew were very different from what he had been led to believe by Sebastipole. The Hogshead soon set off, passing the Rupunzil nearby, but Rossamünd did not realize this at the time.
At the southern Axle, Poundinch's dealings with the clerk's sergeant raised Rossamünd's suspicions, although the rivermaster was still friendly and accommodating to him. One the same night that the cromster had passed Proud Sulking, it stopped for a rendezvous with some corsers on shore. Although this was interrupted by the sudden appearance of an ettin, Poundinch and most of his landing party were able to escape with their cargo. Rossamünd overheard some crewmen talk about it the following day and began to consider abandoning the cromster after further proof that Poundinch was involved with the dark trades. Just before the Hogshead reached the Spindle, the Rupunzil passed them again a second time and this time Rossamünd realized that it was where he was meant to be. Poundinch noticed this as well and threatened him as they approached the Spindle. When Poundinch's smuggling scheme was on the verge of being uncovered by the ensuing examination, the Hogshead fled and was fired on by the Spindle's gunners and musketeers. Although he was hit by a musket ball, Rossamünd's proofing stopped it and he fled by jumping into the River Humour. He was able to swim to the eastern bank and find the Vestiweg, which he decided to follow to his destination, High Vesting. He met with no untoward incidents and slept the first night in a haystack, continuing on the following day. Again had no problems, although he had exhausted his water supply by the end of the day.
After spending the night in a boxthorn, he was awakened early the next morning by the sounds of an approaching landaulet. This turned out to be Europe and Licurius. The latter discovered Rossamünd and after informing his mistress of this, she called on him to come out. He was about to leave his shelter when Licurius grabbed him by a leg and hauled him out. He was intimidated at first when she asked who she was, but quickly blurted out an explanation when Europe discounted his initial response. She decided to bring him along with Licurius' agreement to serve as an extra pair of eyes. During the first day he was offered a series of expensive wayfoods, including wortleberries. He also noticed her black box containing the ingredients for Cathar's Treacle and felt a sense of dread emanating from it. That night at their camp, Rossamünd revealed to Europe that he knew that she was a fulgar and was asked if he knew when adventure stopped and violence began. After Licurius lit cones of repellents to keep monsters away, Rossamünd was affected by the smell, which the leer noticed, also remarking that he smelled funny and not like the river. Licurius was only stopped by Europe's intervention, leaving Rossamünd feeling more alone and unsafe.
The following day they continued on to complete Europe's purpose for traveling through the area, eliminating the Misbegotten Shrewd, although she did did not inform Rossamünd about this. After entering the Brindleshaws he realised from Licurius' preparations and Europe's warning him not to leave the landaulet that she was going to fight. When they encountered the Shrewd, Rossamünd watched in horror as Europe fought and eventually killed it, openly mourning its death. To quiet him, Europe approached and shocked him into unconsciousness
Rosamund is a female name and can also be a surname. It has been influenced by the Latin phrases rosa munda, meaning "pure rose", and rosa mundi, meaning "rose of the world".