(1310-06-02) Reversing a Curse
Summary: Desarae's health continues to decline, so Armandine sends for Alexandre that he might attempt to reverse the curse upon her.
RL Date: Sun Jun 03, 2018
Related: Logs in the Bloodshed at Béziers plot.
alexandre danielle 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.


Desarae's condition had worsened considerably in recent days. She has been unable to leave the bed, symptoms of a fever now more obvious, and her sleep that of feverish dreams, allowing her only rare and brief momentsof clarity. In such a condition she could not be left on her own, and so the Duchesse had made arrangements for a healer or chirurgeon of the infirmary holding vigil by her bed. These healers worked in shifts, making sure to tend to the cursed Mereliot maid, touching a cloth soaked with water to her lips, renewing the damp cloth resting upon her forehead, changing the damp wrappings about her lower legs to help keeping the fever from rising too high.

The condition of Desarae had become increasingly serious, despite the efforts of the healers. And so Armandine Mereliot had asked Alexandre de Morhban, relative to the Marquis de Chavaise, to attempt what he had been researching - a ritual to reverse the curse placed upon Desarae by the evil witch Naimah.

*

The healer on duty tonight is Danielle, a woman of unremarkable looks. She sits beside Desarae's bed, now and then glancing to the area vacated for whatever ritual Alexandre is intending to perform. Her task will be to look after the patient, and to warn should Desarae's state become critical.

*

Desarae lies almost deathly quiet within her bed now, the welting rash about her throat having brightened now to a livid crimson red. The previous night had been restless for her as she'd slipped in and out of consciousness, and the tossings and turnings of those fractured hours have left her close to exhaustion. Her hair is dampened by both sweat and the frequent ministrations of the healer, and fevered eyes stare at the canopy of silks that hang over her bed. It seems that the suspicions that Alexandre had voiced to her on his previous visit were true; that the curse would run its course and result in her death within the span of two weeks.

*

After the visit to the Temple to see Armand, and all that had occurred there, Alexandre had not been idle. He had been scouring the herbalists and horticulturalists for the supplies he would need to try and reverse the ritual. It's easy to /say/ all you have to do is do a ritual backwards, but in truth it's a lot trickier than that as things have to be made, and then unmade, separated, etc. Let alone the words, does he speak the words completely in reverse? The reverse order? It's a good thing he has enough hair to make several attempts at this… he hopes.

When Alexandre finally receives word that the Duchess wishes for him to attempt to reverse the curse he gathers up his things and then sends word to Danielle to ask if she would accompany him and assist. After all she was the one who had helped with the potion that cured the other curse from the guards and commoners who had been cursed by Naimah in Beziers. Fortunately she was already there for a different reason entirely!

Arriving to Desarae's room, Alexandre comes in carrying a basket full of supplies and the books he is going to need to reference and study, again, throughout this reverse ritual. The condition of his Cousin causes Alexandre's lips to press into a thin line and he frowns, lips curling down, forehead creasing. Not just a faint thing either, it's a real expression that betrays quite a bit of his current mood. Setting the basket down by the bed he nods over towards Danielle and then reaches for Desarae's hand to gently rest his fingers upon it. "Hold on Desarae, be strong." He tells her as soothingly as he can.

*

Danielle looks up when Alexandre is shown in, and a dimmed smile touches her features. "Her fever has worsened," she informs him quietly. The healer's demeanor is calm as she glances to the supplies he has brought along. "I pray to Eisheth and Elua that you know what you're doing.", she murmurs. Well, the other time it had seemed so.

*

<FS3> Danielle rolls Herbology: Good Success. (5 6 2 3 7 2 1 2 3 8 4)

*

Desarae's skin is hot when Alexandre's fingers touch to the back of her hand. Her expression flickers briefly at the sound of his voice, a remembrance perhaps of the promise he'd made to her to return with the cure. It seems to pull her back for a moment, and her lips part, dry and cracked so might speak his name. "Alexandre…" It's a whisper of a word, and there's a second when her lucidity seems to return as her head twists on the pillow enough that her eyes might fall on her cousin. A laboured breath is drawn. "You… took your time…"

*

Alexandre spends 1 luck points on +50 to roll!.

*

<FS3> Alexandre rolls Occultism+50: Great Success. (3 2 8 1 8 7 2 6 2 1 6 2 5 6 1 8 5 7 1 3)

*

"I came as soon as I was allowed to." Alexandre says to Desarae with a small ghost of a smile, "I have what I need to make several attempts just in case." He tells the girl and then nods to Danielle, "Praying would be good." He admits, "I know the theory but this is the first time I have ever attempted such a thing. I am not a witch or warlock myself." He tells Danielle seriously but then goes to pull a table over so he can start lying out the stuff he needs for the ritual. Each piece is taken out of the basket and set in order for the reverse ritual to be cast in. At least to the best of his knowledge and what the book says. "I don't know how long it will take to have an effect. I don't know how long it took her to get sick… or if it will immediately lessen the symptoms of the curse entirely." He rolls those massive shoulders of his in a slight shrug. "There is a lot I simply do not know for certain but if this works, the curse should be broken, and she should make a full recovery."

*

Alexandre has spent his time in studies well. The books he had 'loaned' from the Chavaise Castle library had provided insight into the rituals of reversal, and from what he had found in yet another tome, had hinted at the general ingredients and structure of the ritual, Naimah had performed. Another fact helping him there perhaps, was what Armand had been able to recall. As he had been there, when the witch performed this final curse, he could confirm that Naimah had taken hair from both he and his wife. Five candles had to be arranged on the floor, and then to be lit. There was more to the ritual, and Alexandre had to take care with his preparations. Dust from a dried Marigold flower was needed, a plant seldom found outside of Bhodistan, which he had been able to obtain from the market. He would have to write down Desarae's name upon a piece of parchment, have that and the locks of hair ready to burn at the end of the ritual, he'd have to perform when standing within the circle of candles. After reciting words of the ritual, read in backwards order.

*

"There will be only one way to find out," Danielle says with a reassuring smile towards Alexandre. Concern for Desarae remains in her gaze, as she takes the cloth from her patient's forehead, and immerses it in a bowl of water, wringing it out slightly before putting it back upon glowing skin.

*

"Thank you," Desarae says to Alexandre, words catching heavily in her throat. The smallest flexion of her fingers is given beneath his before his hand is removed and he draws from the bed. There's a shift of her attention to Danielle then, the fever in her body showing in the unnatural brightness of her eyes as she submits to the application of another cold compress. Diminished in both presence and stature, child-like she lays beneath the covers on her bed, her breathing rattling within her chest as Alexandre sets to preparing for the ritual to come. "All… will be well." It's a mantra that might have been repeated many times to herself, and those might be the last words that she'll say for now, her lids flickering as with a will of effort her gaze remains on the healer at her side.

*

Hopefully not the last words she says ever! Alexandre goes about very carefully setting things up as per the instructions. The candles. The writing of the name on the parchment. The dust from the marigold flower… He gets this all ready. It also might have helped that Alexandre had invoked his will and the gift of Kushiel onto Armand as well to get direct exposure to what had happened. Maybe. Kind. Either way, he uses what tools he has. When it is all set up he finally lights the candles and starts the horrible process of trying to recite a ritual backwards at all the right points, doing things in reverse order so that the curse might also be reversed. He is intently concentrating, focusing all his will and what little occult power he has, backed by his nature as a d'angeline, to try and reverse this curse so that punishment can be evoked on Naimah in the best way possible… knowledge that she had failed.

*

Sweat breaks heavily on Desarae's skin as the culmination of the reversal of the curse is reached. It beads in her hairline and glistens on her temples, collects in the hollow of her throat, and soaks the cotton chemise that she wears. Her breathing quickens, and the the rash on her throat darkens as pin-pricks of blood find their way to the surface. Her spine arches as she tenses from her hips to her shoulders as those points of contact dig into the mattress, and her fingers twist in the covers to either side. "Mama…" That singular word is wrought from her lips as her eyes blankly open; and as the blood on her throat mingles and disperses with the sweat that slicks her skin, the whipcord tension in her muscles releases her from its grip. Her breathing eases and she subsides back down. Spent, and exhausted.

*

For a moment there is a flicker in the air in the room, the light on the candles fluttering even if there is no breeze to be felt. A momentary focus of forces that are beyond what those in Desarae's chamber can comprehend.

Then… everything seems as it was before, except for the faint color that is beginning to reconquer Desarae's features.

*

Danielle looks startled when her patient begins to arch her back and cry out. A soothing palm is placed upon her forehead. "Easy," the healer murmurs. Visibly relieved, when Desarae slumps back onto the bed, perhaps by her breathing sounding far less labored than before.

*

These sorts of efforts are not what Alexandre is used to doing, he ignores Desarae's response to the working as best he can, doesn't react to the words from the healer to the patient. He burns the parchment at just the right time, sweat forming on his own brow as he focuses his own energy into the working to try and counteract Naimah's curse she had already done. Even that doesn't stop his focus though and he continues with the ritual… the reverse of it. His own voice goes ragged at trying to read the words backwards and keep them clearly pronounced so that it can take effect… reversing the effects. By the time he is done the candles have melted down and gutter weakly and the big man is drenched in sweat from focusing energies he has never worked before. When all is said and done Alexandre slumps but doesn't fall. He also doesn't move from his spot amidst the candles yet. When he lifts his intense green eyes towards Desarae and Danielle they are dull, less bright, "Did it work?" He asks, starting to look at his supplies for if he has to try again.

*

<FS3> Danielle rolls Medicine: Great Success. (1 4 6 5 8 5 4 8 7 4 7 3)

*

Neither is this a usual situation for a healer such as Danielle. She reaches out, touching her fingers to Desarae's cheek, and a smile blossoms on unremarkable commoner features, giving them a warm glow. "Her cheek feels much cooler to the touch," she announces with a relieved sigh. She continues to check on the young woman's wrists, her ankles, unwrapping lower legs to expose them to the air. "It's… as if Eisheth finally heard our prayers," she murmurs. "At least the fever seems to have left her. But her body is weak. She couldn't eat properly for a few days. We will have to nurture her back to her old strength… But she'll recover, m'lord."

*

"Good." Alexandre slumps and lets the tension in his body that was the only thing keeping him upright ease out of him and he slumps down to his knees and bends over the table, large hands placed flat upon the surface. "Good… it will likely…" He takes a deep shuddering breath, "Take her a few days… Water. Food. Put out that fire in the fireplace. To much heat will cook her now." He reaches out and smothers the flames on candles with the palm of his hand to push the wick into wax rather than doing anything like pinching flames out or the like. It's not a fast process. He clears his dry throat and then starts putting things away. Not in a hurry. He probably couldn't hurry if he wanted to."

*

"Alexandre?" It's Desarae's voice that's next to speak, her voice still broken from the long sickness she's endured, her chest rising and falling with the effort of speaking. As Danielle has noted, there is that touch of colour to her cheeks, and the fever appears to have passed. Her attention cuts towards where her cousin stands, and there's a hint of glassiness that speak of tears unshed when her gaze meets with his. "Thank you." Is that the second time that the young Mereliot has said that to her cousin today? It's a rarity, and as such should be treasured.

*

"Oh sure." There is a touch of sarcasm to the healer's voice. "I know what to do, m'lord. Haven't done much else in my life, you'll have to trust me." She gestures towards the fireplace with a light shrug of her shoulders. "First of all… she needs to sleep. I'll see to her getting a fresh night gown and fresh sheets." She glances towards the candles on the floor, brows furrowing slightly. "And someone will clean out this mess. I'll send for a servant or two." She glances down at Desarae when the young Mereliot begins to speak, murmuring softly, "Easy, m'lady. You need to rest."

*

There is a hard look at the sarcasm in Danielle's voice from Alexandre, the Mohrban Lord continues to clean the remains of his ritual and puts them back into the basket he brought them in. Apparently unwilling to let someone else do so. "You are welcome Cousin." Alexandre says in a softer voice than he normally uses. He smiles faintly and then wipes his forehead on his sleeve before he finishes packing his stuff up and gets back to his feet. It is not the most graceful or quickest standing he's ever done to be certain. Grasping the handle of the basket he tells Desarae, "Sleep well." And then he squares those massive shoulders of his to walk towards the exit, and to tell the Duchess that he was successful.

*

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