(1310-06-04) Keeping a Cousin Company
Summary: As Desarae starts to recover, she invites Alexandre to pay her a visit. They talk about events in Béziers and he tells her of her father's part in the tragedy.
RL Date: June 4th, 2018
Related: Logs relating to the Bloodshed at Béziers plot.
alexandre 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.


Two days have passed since Alexandre was last in the Marquise de Chavaise suite in the Ducal Palace. Two days have passed since he'd performed the ritual to reverse the curse laid by the Bhodistani Witch. Two days have passed. The first of those days Desarae had spent in the deepest of sleeps, hovered over constantly by Danielle who'd been retained to watch her progress. The second had seen her considerably improved, enough colour in her cheeks that her request to be allowed to sit on the balconied terrace of her room had been eventually acquiesced to. It's on receipt of a letter that she'd sent to her cousin, that Alexandre has now returned, and instructions had been left that should he do so, he was to be immediately admitted. He'll be shown through the sitting room and out to where she sits, her still frail looking form tucked about with blankets that she might enjoy the freshness of the air that blows in from the sea. Her hair is left down so it falls in a curtain about her shoulders, burnished by a thousand strokes of her maid's brush, accentuating well the green of her eyes and the honeied tones that are beginning to warm her complexion.

*

Fortunately Alexandre looks fully recovered from his performance of the ritual of reversal as well. He is wearing dark purple silks over his muscular and massive chest, the sleeves cuffed by silver links and the neckline down just enough to see the top of his extremely well muscled chest. Black pressed pants cover strong legs and fine leather boots cover his feet to finish the outfit. If he had a cloak due to the changing weather it was dealt with by servants on the way in. When he arrives and makes his way through to the balcony where he has been told Desarae waits Alexandre takes in her appearance as best he can from a distance, and upon closer examination once he arrives on the balcony as well. "You look much recovered already Cousin." Alexandre tells her with a polite nod of his head, chin only just dipping towards his chest. "I am well pleased to see your recovery proceeding so swiftly." He doesn't move to sit down himself, instead opting to stand with his hands clasped loosely behind his back.

*

"My healer has been much devoted to my care and recovery," Desarae replies, a slow smile finding its way to her lips with Alexandre's arrival. "But look at you. You are looking very much better yourself than when last we laid eyes on each other. The curse that you undid, it was difficult for you, I think. I don't remember much, except how exhausted you looked when all was done." Her hands are nestled lightly within her lap, but one lifts now and extends towards the end of the chaise on which she sits. Pity the servants that were asked to carry it out to balcony for her, for it's made of heavy oak, and lushy upholstered in ivory silks. "Please. Won't you sit? I feel there is much we could speak about." Her legs pull up beneath the blankets, surrendering a little of the territory she'd previously claimed. Enough, at the very least, for Alex to settle the bulk of his frame. She still holds two-thirds of it beneath her sway however, for as massive as he is, and as small as she is by contrast, possesion is nine tenths of the law.

*

"As you wish." Alexandre says with another faint nod and he moves to sit down in the indicated space made on the piece of furniture. He turns so that he can speak conversationally towards her and there is the ghost of a smile on his face at her words. "I am no witch. I have only dabbled in such knowledge out of boredom over the years. I never thought it would amount to anything, or be used in such a fashion as to save a life." He pauses for a moment with a lifting roll of his massive shoulders in a slight shrug. "I am well pleased now that I was able to do so. The effects of breaking the curse was a price gladly paid to see you whole and healthy, Cousin." He settles just a little bit more, trying to compress his large frame into as little space as possible in the corner provided to him. "It is good to see you out in the open air instead of stuffed into a sweltering bed and being cooked by a roaring fire."

*

"Believe me, it is good to be out of that bed," Desarae responds, easing her shoulders back into pillows that've been placed to support her. "And it goes to show, all knowledge is worth having. The Siovalese have the right of it there." Fingers pick at a thread on the edge of her blanket, and her gaze remains firmly on the man before her as she mulls over how to frame the questions that must next be asked. "You know of these things, Alexandre. Of curses and spells, and so on. So, I was wondering…" Her voice drops a half-tone in pitch and volume. "What is to prevent The Witch from laying another?" She refuses to call Naimah by her given name, as if to do so might give her power, and though her voice might be lowered there's an earnestness to the question she asks. Eyes that are filled with concern dig briefly into his. "Her trial will be soon, but what is to prevent such a thing until then?"

*

"She would need the hair of your mother, and your father, she would need all the things I used to break the ritual, in order to perform it again." Alexandre answers solemnly, "Given her current whereabouts and the lack of materials available to her." He shrugs a little, "There is very little chance she could do so again. At least from afar. There may be other ways to perform a similar curse if she were close to you and had access to your blood directly." Looking over towards her eyes with his own brilliantly intense green ones, "I only have access to the books I found in your fathers library. I do not know much about these things. I got lucky, in finding the way to defeat the curse that she had afflicted you with Cousin." He frowns faintly, "There may be other ways in which she could curse you, even with access to only what is in her cell, or at her trial. I would think that if she had such power though, she would have used it to escape."

*

Desarae's shoulders pull to her ears, and there's the smallest bite to a lip that's still cracked from the ravages of the curse. "I want her dead, Alexandre. I have never wished anyone dead before, but I wish it of her." She pulls a heavy breath and, drawing her legs higher, wraps her arms about her shins and leans enough forwards that her chin can rest on her knees. "When pressed on the matter, Father would be quite vocal in his dislike of foreigners. This is why I have such difficulty in acceptance of them. My lack of trust. What must have happened for this Bhodistani Witch to have cursed my family?" And there's the rub. Nobody has spoken yet to Desarae of her father's past history with Naimah. Her foot slides forward and there's a dig of her toe to Alex's thigh. "Is there something I should know, Alexandre? Was there anything that you learned in your unravelling of the curse?"

*

"The information you want, Cousin, is not a pleasant bit of knowledge." Alexandre says with a visible frown and looks away and out over the view. "It is a story that will affect your view of your father, Desarae." Looking back towards her he studies her for a few long moments. "It is not wrong to want her dead, not for what she has done. She has earned death and more for the lives she has taken but there are some who might feel… sympathy… for her if they knew the whole story. The events that lead up to the deaths of your mother, your siblings, and nearly yourself." He considers her for a few more minutes of silence and then says, "If you wish to know, I will tell you, but know that it will change the relationship you have with your father."

*

"Sympathy?" For a moment, Desarae looks shocked. Eyes that are still smudged by purple shadows, widen. She lifts her head and stares at Alexandre. "Sympathy? I don't understand. How could anyone feel sympathy for the her? She is the reason that my brothers and sisters lie dead. Why my mother lies dead. The reason that others there enjoying the Festival that day were slaughtered like lambs. Sympathy?" Hot tears spring to her eyes, and it's by sheer effort of will that they're not allowed to spill. Her jaw clenches, and there's a flash of anger that shows in her eyes. Despite how much her illness has taken from her, there's a straightening of her spine and a lifting of her chin, and in that moment theres a vision of the woman that she'll someday become. It might be her Mereliot heritage, but it's more likely to be her Kusheline blood that coils itself darkly about her resolve. "Whatever my father has done, did not deserve the vengeance she sought on my family, Alexandre. I will see her dead. By my own hand, if necessary."

*

"Sympathy, and Empathy, are traits that some value as much if not more than justice and righteous anger." Alexandre says with a shrug, "She should die, of that I have no doubt. She has sinned and done things for which she should die, whatever the reasons for it." He explains this to her plainly, "Your siblings, your mother, did not deserve what was done to them. I feel anger at what was done to them and their loss, not as strongly as you do of course, but I still feel it." He reaches to lightly rest the fingertips of his huge hand on her arm gently. "I will tell you why she did these things. I will tell you why your family was slaughtered. If you wish." He looks into her eyes then, "You can live in your righteous indignation, your righteous fury, and be justified in feeling what you feel." He leans back and shrugs, "Or you can know the truth of what happened. You can then make an informed decision as to what should happen." He lifts a shoulder in a shrug, "The choice is yours."

*

"Truth is everything Alexandre," Desarae says quietly. "Of course I wish to know. I could wait and speak to my father myself, but patience is not a virtue I possess." A frown briefly furrows her brow, and where his fingers rest on her arm, her other hand lifts to cover his. A press. "Whatever it is, Alexandre, I have faith in my father. Nothing he could have done can warrant what has happened. Nothing. Speak freely and plainly of what it is that you have learned. Your words won't turn me against my father. Whether your own opinion of him is diminished by what you now know, you can be assured that I will still remain grateful to you for all you have done. I am in your debt, Alexandre. So please, knowing that I will not think the lesser of you for having to tell me what it is that you know, tell me?"

*

Reaching up to rub at his jaw lightly with his fingertips for a few moments Alexandre nods, "I would prefer you to know. So that you could make the best decision for you. I do not seek to turn you against your father. My opinion on him does not matter in the grand scheme of things." He lowers his hand and then says, "Your father took Naimah as a lover, when he was younger. He fathered a child on her but the child did not survive. I do not know the entirety of the relationship they shared, but she loved him, and he cast her aside. She sought then to curse him, at least in her heart, with no actual magic ritual but he was afraid and angry. He struck her down, physically, unable to listen to her pleas any further and he thought he had killed her." He holds up his hand with his index finger extended, "His first mistake was not making sure she was truly dead." He considers, "Or that could have been his second, his first being allowing her to believe she could ever be his consort and bear his children officially. Perspective." He shrugs a touch, "He was ashamed of what he had done and he left her there, but she did not die. He spurned her after loving her. He nearly killed her after casting her aside. That is why she killed your siblings. Why she killed your mother. To make sure that he would suffer loss as she suffered loss due to him."

*

Relief shows on Desarae's face. Pure, unadulterated relief. The tears she'd held onto, spill slowly from her eyes. She quickly blinks. "Oh Alexandre." She reaches for his hand. "I thought you were going to tell me something far, far worse than that. Didn't Blessed Elua tell us to 'Love as thou wilt'? I doubt that he intended to get her with child, for doing so is so very different for foreigners than it is for us. It is a tragedy for her that she lost her child, but it is Elua's will. It is was never meant to be, and a blessing for them both since my father would never have been able to acknowledge it, nor bring her home to Terre d'Ange in any capacity." Her words falter, and there's a tightening of her mouth into the flatness of a line. Her eyes seek his. "Alexandre. We are Kusheline, and Morhban no less. Quick to temper and slow to forgive. Would you yourself not strike someone down in the heat of a moment if they, too, lay curses on your head?"

*

"I would have made sure she was dead." Alexandre says seriously. "To let a risk to his family survive, that is what I cannot forgive him for. If he chooses to fuck some foreign woman, that is his choice, and while I do not agree with /that/, his behavior afterwards is what I fault him for. If he had seen to it that she was /dead/ like he should have your mother, and your siblings, would still be alive. You would not have nearly died."

*

Desarae nods. "Yes. He should have made sure her life was ended, then and there." A frown. "But it was mistake, and not intentionally done. He thought himself already cursed, so it would perhaps have made no difference by then. At least to him. He was not to know that, cursed or not, she would follow him to Terre d'Ange to exact her revenge. Nor that what happened, would happen." Her voice wobbles with those words, and there's finally that breaking of her composure that allows the tears she's held back to finally brook the framework of her lashes, and spill onto her cheeks. "I… I want to see The Witch. To confront her. Will you help me get to the dungeons to speak with her, Alexandre?"

*

"Deadly mistakes and cowardice." Alexandre says with a slight shrug but then at her last question he frowns, "When you are stronger." He says afterwards, "Right now you are still weak. It would be more powerful to face her when you can stand on your own. Proof that her curse has been utterly and completely broken. Proof that you are stronger than her magic." A faint ghost of a smile follows, "When you can stand on your own, I will go with you. Agreed?"

*

Disappointment flashes across Desarae's expression, but Alexandre will get the acquiescence that he seeks. "Fine. Yes. I agree. But only if you promise me that you will take me." It's not a question, it's a request. A request for him to be at her side in what will be a difficult thing for her to do. One hand lifts to her face, her fingers extended to rub the heel of her palm to her eyes and her cheeks, banishing her tears in a quick, easy motion. "I'll send word when I'm strong. Already I am feeling so much better, and what you have told me today has helped me more than you know." A beat. "Are you able to stay a while? It will be supper soon, and I can ask them to bring for you too. I imagine you have more thrilling plans for your evening however, than keeping a cousin company."

*

"I will accompany you when you are strong enough Cousin." Alexandre says with a soft nod, "And I will stay. I think you will recover faster if you have reason to. To speak with others. To not be alone." He looks back out over the railing. "I have had little reason to be anywhere during the evenings of late, Cousin. Perhaps with the period of mourning over then it will be a change of pace, and then my father will get the marriage offers he desires and he will be able to rope me into a contract." A faint smile at that, "What are you going to do cousin? That is an interesting question that could generate quite the discussion." He stands up to go get them both some water and then returns to settle back down so they can talk and such until dinner comes.

*

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