The Cousins of the Knight (Angie Lotto's faction site)

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Website
Name: The Cousins of the Knight
Owner/Maintainer: Angie Lotto
Dates: 1997-99
Type: faction site
Fandom: Forever Knight
URL: The Cousins of the Knight


CotK faction symbol
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The Cousins of the Knight is the eponymous faction website for the Cousins of the Knight (CotK), a group of Forever Knight fans who affiliate themselves with the concept of a familial, non-sexual relationship between the characters Lucien LaCroix and Nick Knight.

The faction has had two completely different websites. This article is about the first site, created by Angie Lotto, which was active until 1998; it disappeared from the web a year or so later. (In 1999, a new faction site was created by Lisa Harvey to replace it.)

Site History

Angie Lotto, one of the founders of the CotK, began work on their faction site on 11/05/96, debuting the site officially at http://www.lashersystems.com/fk/cotk.html in the spring of the following year. However, Angie became more involved in the GSS subfaction of the Cousins; and updates to the site were discontinued in 1998, the last being on 10/04/98.[1]

An archived copy of this original CotK faction site can be found on the Wayback Machine. It preserves the stories, but no screen captures or graphics.

In 2013, it was decided to restore the site and add it to the Forever Knight Website Archive. In undertaking the restoration, Greer Watson had to replace the graphics, in some instances by locating or recreating the originals, in other instances by using substitutes. (It was not possible, however, to identify the pictures that had been in the photo gallery, which was therefore left unrestored.)

Site Contents

The main page of the site contains a description of the CotK faction. It also has links to the Cousins of the Knight Favorite Quote Page and Bonnie's Bedtime Stories websites. The former seems also to have been owned by Angie as ancillary to the faction site itself.

In addition, the site includes:

  • a FAQ page, with additional information about the faction
  • a small fiction archive
  • episode critiques (for a limited number of episodes)
  • a small screen capture archive     (NOTE: no pictures remain)
  • bio and credits for Nigel Bennett, the actor who played the character LaCroix

Fan Fiction

The stories archived on the site are:

Site Design

Screen capture of Angie Lotto's Cousins of the Knight faction site, as restored and archived.

The overwhelming impression of the site is monochrome: black, with some white and grey in the graphics. Colour is restricted to the photo gallery (while it existed), and the bottom of the main page, where there are webring links and the like. A consistent small set of graphics is used throughout the website, giving it a coherent appearance.

The top of the main page of the site is dominated by a large image of the original CotK faction symbol, flanked by columns to create a sort of shrine. This recurs on many of the internal pages. As there is no text title on the main page, the faction symbol—which has the name of the site incorporated into the design—serves as a title banner.[2]

The sections of the table of contents are separated by a divider in the form of a long sword, which alternates with its reverse (one facing left, the other right). This reflects the image of crossed swords in the CotK logo. Elsewhere in the site, a slim double-headed lance-shaped divider bar is employed on some pages.

Restoration

The Wayback Machine archives the site with no graphics. Indeed, the main page superficially looks solid white, save for empty squares where the graphics used to be. The original background graphic was dark, and the text contrastively white; and, since the background color was not altered from default (i.e. white), the result is white-on-white.

As a result, considerable restoration was needed to bring the site to a condition where it could be enjoyed by fans.[3] Ordinarily, this would be difficult. However, in this case, the names given the lost graphics were highly informative.

It was clear, for example, that the prominent "cotk.jpg" had the same dimensions as the faction symbol (and indeed, served as the title for the front page of the site). In addition, the webring graphics at the bottom of that page, and a lance-shaped divider bar used on some of the internal pages of the site could be found elsewhere.

However, it was necessary to recreate or replace other graphics.

To replace:

  • the original divider "sword.gif":
    - a sword-shaped divider of similar dimensions that would show up well on a dark background
  • the original divider "sword2.gif" (which had the same dimensions as the other sword divider, and alternated with it):
    - the mirror image of the sword divider, pointing the other way
  • the original graphic "column.gif" that flanked the faction symbol on either side:
    - a picture of a classical architectural column, in light grayscale to match the faction symbol, resized to the dimensions of the original

The background tile presented particular difficulties. From its name, "cotkbackground.jpg", it could be inferred that it should be specifically "CotK" in some way. This was taken in conjunction with the odd appearance of the faction symbol: it was uncommonly pale in comparison with the other symbols, which are either black-and-white or include a full range of grey tones. For this reason, a background tile was created from the faction logo by reversing the colours, i.e. dark grey on black (rather than light grey on white).

(For more details on the choice of background tile, please see the Discussion Page.)

References

  1. This information comes from the main page of the website.
  2. Curiously, the name of the faction is written in French (Les Cousins du Chevalier) on the faction symbol. However, links pages on contemporary websites indicate that the faction site was generally known by the English form of the name.
  3. Some discussion of the restoration was reported by Greer Watson to the FORKNI-L mailing list community in the post "Cousins of the Knight", sent 15 July 2013, archived here on Knightwind's Nook.