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I. A NEW BEGINNING. No one is exactly sure about the early life of Monsieur Sombre. Some speculate he was a handsome New Orleans bachelor who was driven mad after a broken heart. Others think he was the son of a voodoo priestess in the Louisiana swamps, and was raised to practice black magic. A few even go as far as to say he is the spawn of Satan himself, sent to Earth to do the Devil's bidding. No matter what you choose to believe, the only concrete truth about the Monsieur is this: when Clarion Bros. Circus collapsed during their New Orleans stop in 1925, he was the first man on the scene. Handsome and suave, with his hat pulled carefully over his eyes, the young gentleman purchased the show's small number of rail cars and spare animal stock, and even hired a few starving performers and workers before any other show had time to arrive. After the cars were painted their signature coal black, the show was given a new name: Le Cirque Noir. The Black Circus.
II. A TRAVELING SHOW. At first, the show continued on the Clarion Bros. original travel schedule. When the depression hit in '29, circuses all over the country suffered. All circuses except Le Cirque Noir. With each show that collapsed, Le Cirque grew larger and larger, scavenging the remains of the failed circuses, and seeming to feed on their failure. Monsieur Sombre thrived on the despair and hardships of others, always walking away with the better deal. This continued as the years wore on. Besides growing in size and fame, nothing at Le Cirque Noir changed. While it might have been hard for the common rube to notice, since the show only stayed in one place for a few days at a time, the actual ages of the circus performers stayed the same as well.
You see, while no member of Le Cirque Noir will tell you they remember much about the day they joined the show, every single one of them signed a contract. But, like the rest of the Circus, it was no ordinary contract. Upon signing the document, each member bound themselves to the show for all eternity, receiving effective immortality in return. This contract has proven to be unbreakable, as every person who has gone to see the Monsieur about leaving the show has never been seen again.
III. A STOP IN THE BAYOU. In late August of 2005, while Le Cirque Noir was making the leap to yet another small town, this time in northern Iowa, the train suddenly switched its route south. Within a matter of days the show had reached the outskirts of New Orleans. It was only after the train had been unloaded, after all of the tents, rides, and booths had been completely set up, that the storm hit. The hurricane was named Katrina, and it devastated the city of New Orleans. How peculiar, though, that the newly arrived Le Cirque Noir came out of the storm without the slightest hint of damage.Rumors quickly spread among the members of the show that the hurricane was no regular product of nature, but instead a message from Le Cirque's owner himself. Monsieur Sombre was home, and he was making his presence known.
When the call to pack up and move on never came, the members of the show slowly began to realize that the stop was more permanent than they had originally thought. Le Cirque Noir remained in New Orelans, growing in both size and notoriety. Its members eventually got acclimated to their more stationary lifestyle, and the show began to thrive.
IV. ON THE ROAD AGAIN. And thrive it did, at least until tragedy struck. It was six long years of easy living in New Orleans before trouble finally caught up with Le Cirque Noir.
In April, 2011, a fire broke out in the Menagerie and spread quickly to the Big Top, all while the main Spec. Show was going on. They were lucky that no rubes were caught in the flames, but one of their own didn't make it out alive. The death, along with the blaze, brought people around, and they weren't there for the attractions. An investigation was formed, and Monsieur Sombre began to feel a little too hot under the collar. The circus' felt they were risking too much when the members and directors began to hear whispers around town. People were noticing that the circus hadn't changed much in all the years it existed--even the members were the same. Monsieur Sombre decided it was time to leave.
The black train packed up and hit the tracks again. From April, 2011, to February 2012, the circus travelled the United States, continuing to grow.
V. RETURN TO NEW ORLEANS. It's been over a year since the circus returned to New Orleans and ceased traveling. There was some worry and speculation about what would happen when the Dark Circus landed back in the Crescent City, but it seemed as if everything that happened last time was forgotten--the fire, the death, and even the questions about how it was possible that the employees look so similar--identical, even--to the employees of days past.
While no one's completely sure why Monsieur Sombre decided to return to what might as well be their "home base," there's some speculation. One of the strongest rumors is that he's been gone too long, and needs to stop to refuel--not with gas or coal, but with whatever evil magic gives him his powers and keeps the circus young. Most people utter this with a laugh, but deep down, something about it just seems to make sense...