(1310-05-19) Breaking the News
Summary: Armandine breaks the news to Desarae of what has happened at Béziers.
RL Date: Sun May 20, 2018
Related: Ducal Court
armandine desarae 

Marquise de Chavaise Suite

The large chambers are noticeably Mereliot, with the house colours sprinkled throughout. The walls are covered with dark oak panels, as are the floors. There is a large stone hearth where fires warm the rooms in the colder months, above which hangs a landscape painting of the port of Marsilikos. Bookshelves are inlaid on either side of the fireplace, filled with books on military theory, histories, and even some literature. Knick-knacks from around the world fill the spaces in between, from Ch'in and Carthage, Menekhet and Bhodistan that have been passed down the generations. Three chairs surround the fire, a long cream coloured chaise with a sea green throw and two wingbacks, all upholstered in the same cream colour.

Through from the sitting room is the bed chamber, where a large four-posted bed constructed from solid oak is the dominating feature. It rises up to a canopy, with sea green brocade drapes that can be drawn for privacy and darkness. A large oak table stands against the far wall, behind which is a full shelf of books and documents, serving as a study area for the Marquise. An archway leads off to an alcove with two doorways in it. One holding clothing and the other a small storage room for a tub and other personal accoutrements.

There is a balcony just off the bedroom, overlooking the ducal gardens, a tree close enough to the railing to provide an alternate entry for the brave or foolish. It is lit by two braziers, one on either end, with a table for private dining between.


It had been late afternoon, a time when there had not been much activity at the Salon of Rose Sauvage anyway - especially with Ducal court drawing most of the usual clientele. A black carriage had pulled up in the square that makes up Marsilikos' Night Court. A carriage that also featured an escort of a few armed Mereliot men. The woman entering the Rose Sauvage soon after was in her mid-forties, noble of carriage and introduced herself as Léanne de Baphinol here on orders of the Duchesse. A message was handed to Jacques nó Rose Sauvage, currently Dowayne of the salon, and after a brief talk in his office, Desarae had been sent for. She was to come with Lady Léanne to the Palace, upon urgent request of her aunt, and Desarae was instructed to pack her few belongings, as the absence would probably be of longer nature.

Once arrived, Desarae has been led to the quarters usually reserved for her mother, the Marquise de Chavaise. Only a few moments after her arrival, there is a knock to the door, and Armandine enters. Without fanfare. Without a word of greeting, she flies towards Desare, skirts whirling, and captures her niece in a warm and intense hug. Her mien is grave, Desarae will be able to tell. "You are here. Good.", Armandine finally says, as she lets go of her niece.

*

No hint as to why Desarae had been sent for was given to her by Léanne, though the very fact of her being sent for, along with her belongings, has set the young woman's nerves on edge long before she even gets to meet her aunt. Confusion and worry besets her as she's swept up by Armandine, and the duchesse will feel the stiffness in her slender frame before she's put away from her. "Auntie? What is happening? You are scaring me." Her eyes are large within the pallid contours of her face, and neither her aunt's mien, her manner, nor the tone of her voice escape her notice. "Why is it good that I am here? What is wrong?" One nervous fingers touches to the corner of her mouth, and emotions play plainly upon her face. This is something that is definitely not good.

*

The Duchesse studies Desarae's face, and seeing concern and worry there, the expression upon her own features deepens. That of sorrow and grief. Armandine's eyes darken with the weight of words that are looming, waiting to be uttered, the dire news she has to convey to her niece. "Please. Sit with me for a moment.", she says instead, that faint ghost of a smile dimming already. "Something has happened. Something grave." Letting go of the young Mereliot, Armandine sits down on one of the seats, gesturing for Desarae to sit down beside her.

*

Desarae wears the gown that she tends to favour when serving in la Rose Sauvage; the ivory brocade one with gilt thread embroidery. It usually has much to recommend it to her colouring and complexion, but as the young Mereliot turns paler with each passing moment, it appears to drain the life from her flesh. Trembling, she sits down beside her aunt. Hands knot in her lap, knuckles tightened enough that they show white. With eyes that are dark and blown, she searches Armandine's face, as if answers might be found before they're spoken. What she sees offers no comfort, and the gravity of her aunt's face only serves to deepen her worry.

*

Once Desarae is seated beside her, Armandine's arm lifts, steadying her niece with her arm and her hand resting on that younger shoulder. "Horrible things have taken place at the Festival of Lights at Béziers," the aunt intones, her voice trembling slightly with sentiment, even if she tries to keep her composure somewhat. "How to put this, my dear, when there is no gentle way of putting it? There has been an assault, causing probably a panic. Your family was brought back to Castle Chavaise, but from that point on… reports have been less clear. Two things are for certain though. Your mother and father have gone missing, and your… your brothers and sisters were killed. They were found dead in the courtyard of the castle." A line appears between her brows, as Armandine cannot help but feel affected by her own words. "I am sending people to investigate, dear. To find your parents. To save them from whatever peril it is that has befallen them. But as long as we cannot be sure what has happened, and why, you shall stay here at the Palace, in these quarters."

*

"I don't believe you. There is a mistake!" Tears spring to Desarae's eyes, and her voice wobbles as a reactionary shake of her head is given. "I wrote to Anaïs only last week. She is in love. And Gabriel, he had his first hunt…" Her voice tails off, and it's soon to be replaced by a low keening sound as she folds herself into Armandine's side. "It's not true. It's not. Those bodies they found are not those of my brothers and sisters. Anaïs, Javier, Genevieve and Gabriel will have gone to safety with our mother and father. They will all be found safe." A sob. "Tell me they will be found safe." Tears wet her cheeks and soak into the silk of Armandine's bodice, and though Desarae is yet a girl on the cusp of womanhood as her birthday approaches, in this moment she's no more than a child who's lost everything.

*

"Yes… Yes, I understand," Armandine murmurs softly, pulling Desarae closer so that her niece's head can rest on her shoulder. "I don't believe it either, I don't want to. But it is what the messenger said. I wish to have this confirmed. They were all so very young… Monique must be devastated. I can hardly imagine how she must feel. Several people have volunteered to look into the matter." She lifts her other hand to brush soothingly over the dark strands of Desarae. "They will be found, your mother and father, and by Elua's Mercy, I pray that they are with them… but… I very much doubt they will be."

*

Desarae continues to keen softly, her tears flowing freely now. "I was meant to be at Béziers with them. I should have been there. I should have. Were I there, this might not have happened." Her body shakes, and her words are muffled by the tuck of her head to Armandine's shoulder. "I… want my mother." Absolute sorrow engulfs her, and though she speaks words of denial to the news she's received, there's that part of her that knows deep down that mistakes of this magnitude are rarely made. Pale and shaking, she pulls her legs up beneath her, pressing herself in closer to Armandine, as if by making herself smaller it'll ward some of the pain. There are no questions she can ask, because there's no answers to be found.

*

There is that twitch of a smile, felt in the light tilt against Desarae's head, a deep inhale telling of sorrow and grief shared, the voice heavy and of that unusual thickness that speaks of tears welling up even in the duchesse. "I'm glad, you weren't.", Armandine tells her. "If you had been… who knows, what would have happened to you? Maybe you'd have been killed with the others?" A sob rises in her aunt's chest and she nods, "We will find your mother, Desarae. I promise you, we will." And for a long while she will just remain there with Desarae on the couch, holding her, providing the modest comfort of her presence, when words fail and emotions become a dark tumble into the abyss. Offering her that reality to cling to, of an aunt, who cares and must be as devastated as she.

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