(1311-06-02) The Festival of Lights
Summary: The Festival of Lights in Béziers concludes with the lighting of lanterns in remembrance of loved ones that have passed to the True Terre d'Ange.
RL Date: June 2nd, 2019
Related: None
desarae antoine jaide raphael drake yves boniface delphine aedhwyn paris 

City of Béziers

Compared to Marsilikos, the harbor of Béziers is rather modest, especially since it is located on the outskirts of the city, on the coast of Mediterranean Sea, close to the mouth of the river Orb. The marketplace is further up on the rising terrain, beyond the first ring of city walls, close to where various alleys lead deeper into the commoner's district with its various shops, inns and taverns. A broader cobblestone road leads further up to where the finer houses and residences are located, until eventually ending at Castle Chavaise on the top of the hill. Streets are well kept, city guards patrolling the area.

The end of Spring is marked in Béziers with the holding of the Festival of Lights. It traditionally spans the course of three days, and centres upon the cobbled market square which, for the duration of time, is transformed for the occasion.

This year's Festival of Lights is ineradicably marked by the events of last year's spring, when the Mereliots of Chavaise lost a beloved marquise and her children. A dais decorated with an abundance of flowers sits beneath a canopy of silks at the top end of the cobbled market square, and seats are arrayed upon the elevated platform for members of that family to sit and preside over the events of the third and final day of celebrations. A slow build up of anticipation has continued through the day; starting with the judging of the lantern-making competition for the children of the town, and ending with an acrobatic and fire-eating display by a troupe of travelling mendecants for which the centre of the square had had to be cleared. Sugared pastries, candied fruits, oysters, mussels, and flaked fish cooked straight from the sea are on offer from various street stalls, and earlier in the day, the future marquise of Chavaise had presented a gift to each family of her marquisate in attendance: a posy of rosemary tied with blue ribbons, held fast about their stems by a delicate silver pin fashioned in the image of that herb of remembrance.

Now, as the sun fades and streaks of orange and purple vie to colour the sky, the atmosphere within the square changes. Expectancy hangs in the air. The silks of the canopy above the dais stir in the warm breeze that beckons from the sea, and the colourful lanterns that are strung across shop fronts and through the branches of the trees that line the road leading down to the docks, take on a magical quality as they're stirred into life.

Boniface has only recently arrived, having missed the earlier festivities. Still, the young vicomte said he would attend and attend he shall! After stabling his horse somewhere in the city where someone of his rank and station would stable, he makes his way to the harbor, where things are, perhaps, about to kick off.

Curiousity has drawn Jaide to attend the Festival here and so far she has enjoyed herself. The Lady from Ferraut is clad in an airy gown of rich wine red silk with a sloping neckline, elbow length ruffled sleeves and a full flowing skirt. She has opted for a pair of low heeled black boots to make walking easier. Golden hair is pinned up neatly into a bun with a few curls falling to frame her face. She wanders from place to place, watching the sunset over the water and the lanterns come to life with rapt attention. Pausing at one of the stalls set up she studies the various candied fruits and pastry as though debating.

The official story is that on the verge of being married, the young Vicomte de Draguignan came to commemorate his father, whose early death made the whole thing possible. Rumours have it, though, he's glad to escape the mayhem at home where not only his own family is starting to arrive for the nuptials, but the whole bloody lot from Bhodistan as well. So he's in Béziers now, keeping a low profile, as much as that's possible in a shiny blood-red silk cloak fluttering about his white-shirted, leather-breeched person. He's making his way to the festivities as well, walking solo.

Raphael comes on the scene only now. He does not appear to have been taking part in the festivities earlier in the day. It's possible that he only just managed to reach the place. He is dressed without ostentation in trousers and jacket of charcoal broadcloth over an undyed linen shirt. He is alone, and he stops at a stall to exchange a coin for a pre-made lantern, expression set neutral all the while.

Having arrived earlier in the day via one of the ships, Lord Yves Vallier has been walking around and getting a feel for Béziers. His boots heels clicking against the clean and well swept cobbles, while his eyes remain drawn towards the lanterns in the trees. As he makes his way through the square for the third time pausing to look at the pastries and other fine goods, he inhales deeply of the scent of pastries. Choosing something flaky and fruity, he continues along with pastry at hand to occasionally snack at. His garments are the usual assortment of red and white, heavy wool with a sword at his hip, he looks well polished and orderly. Spotting Jaide, he wanders a touch closer and throws a hand into the air, "My lady, how have you been since the tournament?"

It feels strange being back here after last year, but Antoine felt like it was the right thing to do. He's arrived by ship, making his way through the square and looking around at the various people present for now. He's unable to hold back a bit of a smile as he does so.

Jaide turns her head as she hears Yves approch and address her. A faint smile is given and she inclines her head respectfully. "I have been well enough My lord. My bruises are healed and I am ready to earn some new ones at any time." She flashes a faintly amused smile to Yves, studying him curiously. "And you? How have you been?"

Drake spots Jaide and Yves and although his memories of both are rather painful, he decides to join the pair, glad to see a few familiar faces from Marsilikos. "Mylady. Mylord.", he greets them both politely, "What's brought you here?"

Seated centrally beneath the silken-canopied dais, is Desarae. She occupies the seat which had, for so many years, been the one in which her much-loved mother had presided over the festivities. Though it has been a difficult few days for the future marquise, the evidence of such is shown only in the concentrated set of her brow and the tightness of her fingers where they're interlaced within her lap. Leonard, her Regnant and cousin, and the person upon whom she has leant most heavily in recent months, sits on her right hand to guide her quietly through the proceedings, and there's a conspicuous presence of guards in Mereliot livery that keep a vigilant watch over all. A cassiline wearing the grey of the Brotherhood stands close behind her left shoulder, alert to those that approach his Ward. For this, the most important day of the three-day festival, she's chosen to wear a structured gown of midnight blue with silver-thread embroidery, and hair that is worn long and loose is held back from her face by her mother's diamond tiara. It glitters brightly with the turn of her head as she speaks with those with whom she's seated, and on spotting Boniface amongst the crowd, she raises a hand and offers a smile in his direction. "Hello.." she mouths silently in his direction should he note her there, the best that she can offer across the heads of others and the general noise of crowds.

"I've been quite well," Yves answers Jaide and bows slightly from the shoulders towards her as he moves to stand a touch closer. Lifting his pastry, he indicates it with his eyes and then mentions, "This makes everything a bit better though." At the approach of Drake, he turns his head slightly and re-angles himself such that he can entertain the additional Lord as well, "Good afternoon my lord, your marriage is just around the corner, is it not? How goes the preparations?" A moment of consideration then at the question and he glances towards the nearby lanterns. "Festival of Lights? You?" he asks.

It just so happens that Boniface was scanning the crowd at the perfect, exact moment to catch Desarae's smile and wave- and he returns it with one his own, his smile bright and cheery, despite the somber occasion and his wave enthusiastic! The young man starts to move his way through the crowd, gracefully slipping through open space when he can find it, working his way toward the future marquise's position- and when he's close enough to be heard, he echos her mouthed greeting. "Hello!"


The dowager vicomtesse of Orange has travelled to Béziers, and yes, she probably has been there already for the start of the festivities. She is attired in a fashionable dress of bordeaux-red color, plain compared to what she usual wears, as there are no special adorning embroideries of note. Delphine le Blanc de Baphinol wears her dark long hair in a fashionable hairdo, hair needles keeping the pile somewhat in check. She lets her gaze drift over those present, smiling as she spots Boniface, but leaving him his space for now. To Desarae she looks then from afar, and it seems that she may intend to approach her at some point. But as Boniface seems to head there first, she is content to hang back for a moment or two.

Raphael does not approach anyone or address anyone. If he recognizes others from Marsilikos there, he makes no sign of it, holding the lantern in his hand and taking a path that leads in the direction of the water.

Desarae leans forward in her seat, one hand wrapping the railing that protects those upon the dais from tumbling from it. "I am so very happy to see that you have managed to make it here from the City," she greets him quietly. "I hope with all my heart that you're enjoying the festival and everything that Béziers has to offer. Did you travel by road or by ship? Have you a lantern to light?" There's a charming earnestness to the tone of her voice as her questions are asked, as if perhaps she's grounding herself in the present, and not in the past.

Drake smiles at Yves. "It is indeed, Mylord, which is why you find me here for the time being.", he confirms with a wry little grin, that disappears when he continues. "Yes, the Festival of Lights. Have you been before?"

Jaide grins faintly at Yves and eyes the pastry with a smirk. "Does it? I admit I am tempted to try one. Do you have a recomendation?" She then inclines her head and smiles gently to Drake as he approches. "Hello my Lord. I am here out of curiousity to see this festival. It is after all important to keep our loved ones in memory, that way they live on in a sense." She looks between Yves and Drake with a soft smile. "Besides watching lights float out to sea…its bound to be pretty as well, no?"

Antoine shakes his head a bit as he makes his way further into the crowd, watching people for the moment, it would seem. Nodding to those he knows as he walks.

"Ah, of course, no, I should imagine it must be quite stressful—and no, no, this is my first year in the region," Yves answers and glances around a bit before slowly taking another light bite of his pastry. Turning his attention to Jaide at her question, he considers the one he'd had and advises, "The flaky ones from that stand, fruit of choice," he advises, gesturing towards one of the stands he'd patronized earlier. "I'd enjoy some cheese and wine as well, with it, maybe, but it's quite good by itself. And, yes, from what has been explained to me, the lanterns go out onto the water, and join the fading sun? Or something like that? Very pretty."

Boniface keeps walking- til right up to the dias, though he doesn't try to climb up or anything. Instead he stands near where Desarae leans, looking up at her from the ground, his attention focused wholy on her, unaware of his mother's presence. "I'm glad I'm here too," he responds, his voice quiet, yet loud enough that Desarae can hear him over everything. "I rode, and I had to ride Ombre pretty hard to get here in time.. I only -just- made it! Haven't even had time to get a lantern yet!"

"So it is… it's rather lovely and dignified as remembrance ceremonies go.", Drake confirms, looking between them. "Are you just buying food or have you bought lanterns to commemorate your own lost ones? I still need to buy one myself."

There might be things that Desarae would further say to Boniface, but a touch to her arm draws her attention from him and towards her cousin Leonard instead. When her darkened eyes meet with his, an almost imperceptible nod is given her way. It is time, it would seem. She rises from her seat, her movement slow and deliberate, and she takes a moment to smooth her skirts beneath her fingers as a breath is drawn and she finds the composure she seeks. Her carriage erect and with her shoulders held square, she lifts her chin in a manner so typical of her mother, before looking across the crowds that throng the square. Silence falls.

"My lords and my ladies. My— friends. A year has passed since the occasion of the last Festival of Lights and the atrocities that occurred on that night. As I remember those of my family that I loved and lost a year ago this week, so too do you remember and mourn those of your own that have passed to the True Terre d'Ange. But tonight we remember them with gratitude and happiness for what they brought to our lives, and not with that aching sorrow for what we have lost." She pauses, and there's evidence of a heavy and steadying breath taken in the rise of her shoulders as she turn to accept a lantern from one of the servants. Fashioned from parchment and wood, it's designed to carry it's precious contents far upon the retreating tidal waters. Her face is limned by the glow of the taper she's handed, and she carefully lights the tallow so the lantern glows brightly. A breath.

"I invite you all now to light your lanterns and to join me in the walk to the docks, to tread in the footsteps of the generations that have gone before us, and the generations that are yet to come."

"Not just yet, but I've been eyeing a few over there," Yves mentions and then turns slightly to point towards the appropriate stalls just a bit further along in the square, his hands brushing across each other a few times as he finishes his pastry. Sucking on a finger, he turns in place and with a slight movement to indicate that they are free to follow along, he leads the way towards the lantern stall. "I eyed them, but didn't walk away with one, I didn't want to be walking around with the thing all day, and I haven't bothered to find accommodations yet. I suppose I should also find a candle or something to hold a flame before hand?" he asks, speaking to the particulars of the logistics involved. Promptly hearing the words from Desarae, Yves nods his head, looks at the others nearby and starts off towards that vendor. Makes the quick exchange, lights his lantern and waits for Desarae to lead the way to the docks.

Drake buys a floating lantern and a lit candle for himself, just in time when the procession gets under way. He looks at Jaide and Yves to see if they will join him, taking their place together as the whole procession begins snaking dwon to the water.

Thankfully, Boniface did not travel alone- and while he was speaking with Desarae, his valet was out procuring a lantern for him. The young man takes a step back from the dias when Desarae speaks, watching her with a rather fond smile, before turning toward his severt to accept the latern. "Merci," he whispers, before lighting it, no doubt in memory of his father.

Having gotten hold of a lantern as well, Antoine looks around once more as he listens to the words. Lighting it, his expression a bit distant as he looks between the others present.

Another couple walks in, somberly dressed, if light, for the summer night…a slender courtesan with long black hair and elegant, well cut white shirt and doublet and breeches, tucked into white boots, while his companion, an Alban princess is all in black, so they make a domino effect, formal sheathe dress and a little hat, along with long, arm length satin sleeves for her. Paris is whispering gently to Aedhwyn, as fits the solemnity of the occasion..and he checks the lantern stalls …and the lanterns already flowing down the river. "Shall we light a candle..and then see who else is here?"

Raphael removes the cover of his lantern to reveal the candle inside. The common people are passing lights among them, and he joins them so that he can set his candle alight. He doesn't pass words with any of the strangers he finds himself among, sending the light to the rest.

Delphine keeps her distance for now. But that doesn't mean, that she does not appreciate the speech Desarae addresses to the gathering. "Well done, my lady," she remarks then, after breaching the crowd with the nonchalant energy that is hers, suddenly arriving before Desarae, to offer a curtsey first and then a kiss to the cheek. "Well done, my child. They are here. Those that are gone. We carry them with us, within our hearts." Moving to the side then, she gestures for her servant to pass her the prepared lantern, and the candle within is lit.

Another couple walks in, somberly dressed, if light, for the summer night…a slender courtesan with long black hair and elegant, well cut white shirt and doublet and breeches, tucked into white boots, while his companion, an Alban princess is all in black, so they make a domino effect, formal sheathe dress and a little hat, along with long, arm length satin sleeves for her. Paris is whispering gently to Aedhwyn, as fits the solemnity of the occasion..and he checks the lantern stalls …and the people moving towards them. "Shall we light a candle..and then see who else is here?"

Aedhwyn is new to all these proceedings, her gaze roaming over the crowds, watching those with somber expressions and sad eyes. There is a small tilt to her head, just that lingering shade of confusion at the pomp and circumstance of it all. Even in death d'Angelines do things with flair. She purchases one of the laterns, her finger tracing the design upon the paper, the delicateness of it. She nods to Paris, "Yes, please. This is….I must have arrived around this time of year last year. I remember the feel of it as if were just yesterday, the heat oppresive against my skin, seeming to rob me of my very breath yet this year it is a little more bearable. In but a year, I've experienced so much and want to learn more."

Boniface was paying close attention to Desarae's presentation , and so it comes to pass that he easily notices his mother. After waiting for Delphine to greet the young Marquise, he steps toward her, lit lantern held in hand. "Mother."

For all his general easy-going demeanor, Drake is approaching this with quiet dignity and contemplation. He sets his float down in the water when the time has come and watches it for a while, seemingly lost in inner conversation… with his dead father? The Gods? Who knows? Then he steps back to make room for those who come next and suddenly he's disappeared in the crowds.

Lanterns flicker into life, a glowing sea of light that illuminates the faces of those that are gathered in the square. Desarae makes her way down the steps of the dais, and the others with whom she'd been sitting fall in behind. A genuine smile is bestowed upon Delphine when she addresses her, and the kiss to her cheek is matched by one of her own. "Thank you, my lady. I do feel that my family is here with me this night, and I hope that it is likewise the same for you." There's a dip of her head, and her eyes flit down to the lantern in her hands. "It is time." She echoes the words of her cousin, and a smile briefly ghosts her lips before she's drawn away. There's a quiet solemnity to the procession that forms and winds it way through the cobbled market and thence along the lantern-lit road to the docks where wooden pontoons stretch over the water. The main walkway leads to a long and silk-canopied pontoon that stretches out in either direction. It's from here that the people will kneel and release their glowing lanterns onto the waters of the tide, launching their lanterns with a few private words and silent prayers for loved ones, lost. Further pontoons to the right and the left allow the lantern bearers to return to the shore without impeding the progress of those still arriving.

"Son.", Delphine greets Boniface, offering him a hug as well, executed with one arm as the other holds the lantern. Her lips brush his cheek. "Let us send out a lantern for your father," she murmurs to him. "And take a moment to remember him."

To Desarae, Delphine nods with a warm smile. "He is," she replies, before her gaze follows the marquisate heiress as she gets on her way. Following her then, herself.

Paris holds Aedhwyn's hand gently as she picks up a candle, the boy producing a coin of his own, for this occasion and choosing a lantern and a candle, smiling a bit shyly to another participant, lighting up the candles.. he's cleary out of his element, but..at the same time in it, eyes lowered as he whispers. "Think of the memory of those lost.." He says, inhaling the warmth in the air.

And Boniface follows the two D-named ladies- falling quiet as he does try to conjure memories of his father. And while he still wears an expression of boundless joy he often has, there is just.. perhaps, a hint of wistfulness.

Aedhwyn nods her head at Paris, "I think I shall light it for my grandmother." She looks forward and back to the street that looks as if hundreds of fairie lights bob in the air. There is a breath drawn, wonder and awe on her face rather than somberness. "This night is truly blessed. The Fair Folk have come out to give their very blessing and comfort to those gathered here." Her eyes seem to glisten a bit, "Were it not for my grandmother, I would have never come to this place, been able to see this, to see your people so blessed by the Old Ones."

Holding a lit lantern now, Yves proceeds with the sea of sparkling lights. From within the gathering, the nearby lights are simply that, light—but from afar the lights become a steam. His eyes turning to look at those nearby, he realizes that the Lord Drake and Lady Jaide have parted, and so continues on his own, unhurried. Making his way towards the water, he lets the tide of the walking mass carry him onwards, regardless of direction or destination. His mind briefly, only briefly, reflecting on the few he'd met, grown close to and lost.

The ordinary people are mostly grouped behind the nobles, out of habit if not requirement. It is together with that group that Raphael proceeds, holding the lantern with care so that the light will remain protected and the structure sound until it is his turn to proceed to the water.

It is time. It is time. Clutching her lantern with both hands, Desarae arrives at the pontoon's edge and her silken skirts pool about her as she sinks to her knees. The candle of her lantern burns brightly within the protection of it's parchment walls, and after only a moment's hestitation she leans forward and sets the wooden raft upon the water, sending it on its way with the push of her fingers. The retreating tide draws it quickly from her hands, and though her face is a composition of composure, those that are closest to her would note the over-bright glistening of her eyes and the manner in which her lips are set in a taut, tight line. Her lantern is launched, and it sets the pace for the other which are to follow, and as she rises to her feet, others move to take her place. One lantern bobs on the water. Then ten. Twenty. A hundred and more.

Antoine moves along with the crowd, expression rather distant for now, just listening to the people around him. Looking unsure of what to do, he just follows after the others now.

"It seems only fair if we release our lanterns together, no?", Delphine asks Boniface, falling back so that he may catch up to her. "It pleases my heart, that you have managed to get here in time. It may be a festival to remember our dear Florentin by. But also, there is the other side to it. To show solidarity with the young heiress of Chavaise." She looks a bit pointedly perhaps to where Desarae releases her lantern. "That young lady over there carries a heavy burden. Time may heal wounds, but it will probably take a lot of time…"

There are tears in Paris's eyes too, as he keeps a hold of Aedhwyn's hand , leading her to the water, and nodding as he hears her words, of who put her on her path. "May she see this light and feel the warmth…" he says gently before adding his own. The candle flickering in the lantern, he whispers a name, then leans down to release his lantern too.

"Of course, mother," Boniface replies softly, turning to look at Delphine after watching Desarae release her lantern. He gives his mother a gentle nod of his head, his smile growing a little sad- though still there. "I can't even imagine.. but yes. That is part of why we're here!" Now, the young vicomte steps foward, moving towards the waters edge with lantern in hand, kneeling to set it down- though he waits for Delphine to release it.

Raphael steps up when his time has come and kneels to set the boat in the water with the others. He does not speak; his jaw is set as he stands and watches it just an instant before crossing his arms and turning along the path for recession, which he follows until he can take up a place standing by the bank. By the time he looks from there, he can no longer distinguish which lantern was his. It is like a great many others. He crosses his arms over his chest.

Leaning over to let his lantern go with the others, Yves doesn't look too torn up, but he does look reflective. The great mass of people relieving some of his sense of awkwardness, since many here are new to this festival, and many here are there to show him how to do it without looking strange. Setting the speck of light adrift on the sea, he leans back and moves so that others can proceed to the water unimpeded. Drifting along towards the others to stand out of the way, he is quiet and reflective. Not wanting to break the peace of the moment.

Delphine gathers her skirts as she steps beside Boniface. "We have two lanterns," she declares towards her son, "so let us release one for the father, and one for the husband. Florentin… I miss you so…" She leans foward and sets the lantern onto the water, her demeanor pensive but yet of an inner warmth. "You shall always be remembered. Always…"

Desarae halt on her egress from the waters, her arms wrapping her waist as she draws to a halt where Raphael stands. "I have always felt that this is one of the loveliest of festivals hosted by the town. It is beautiful is it not?" A twist of her head is given as she speaks, her eyes cast towards the bay and sea of lights that now bob upon its waters. "Have you someone in particular for whom you've lit a lantern this night?"

Aedhwyn finally comes to the water's edge, setting her boat down on the waters edge. She speaks not in d'Angeline but in Cruithne, the lilting words flowing off her tongue in a melocid cadence. She gives the boat a little pish, watching it being carried off by the tide to join the dozens and hundreds of lights flowing as a slow progressing into the after life.

Boniface doesn't have any words to add to Delphine's- he nods his head in agreement though, his expression thoughtful and almost pensive as he lets his lantern go, standing back up to watch it float away.

Raphael closes his eye briefly when he is addressed, then opens them again, Adam's apple bobbing visibly in his throat as he brings his gaze to Desarae's face. He opens his mouth to take the breath to speak, shuts it again with an outrush of air through his nostrils, then opens it again, saying as much as, "Yes." Whether that is meant in answer to one of the questions or to both is completely unclear, and he does not make immediate efforts to elucidate, gaze drifting back to the lanterns.

Paris sight a bit as he watches the little boats float out, but he straightens, his darker skin shining in the moonlight, and he lets Aedhwyn say her prayer, before whispering. "Are you alright, Princess?" There is just one tear down his left cheek and his breathing is soft and heavy but he looks around, maybe to offer guidance.

Antoine mutters something quietly under his breath, as he lets his lantern go. Letting out a breath, he steps back, looking around at the others present.

The smile that melts on Desarae's face teeters between one of sadness and one of relief, and she dips her head to Raphael at the response to her question. "Whomever it is that you're holding tight to this night, I hope that they rest warm and happy in your remembrance of them. May the Companions bless you both." Bright green eyes lift with that blessing to meet with his. "If you are to continue the evening by joining with the festivities and feasting in the square, perhaps we might speak again." Her voice tails off, her attention drawn by the sea of lights that drift in the bay. A hitch of her breath. She's saved from further words by the comforting placement of her cousin's hand upon her arm, and something whispered to her ear. "If you will excuse me?" And without further explanation, she turns and sets her feet upon the path back towards the brighter lights of the town's market square.

Raphael nods stiffly at Desarae. He has no reason to offer offense to the young noble, so surely it is grief that prevents him making a better reply than that rather than rudeness. He keeps his eyes on the lanterns, permitting Desarae to drift away. When she has gone, he drops his chin and puts a hand over his eyes.

Delphine is silent, watching the lanterns drifting on the water for a moment. "They look so beautiful," she remarks towards Boniface. "Like dancing stars on a midnight sky."

With the event concluded, Yves looks around for anyone he recognizes, but seeing their looks of sadness or the business of their attitudes—he doesn't approach. Instead he slowly starts to make his way back towards the square, intending to find a bit more to eat before he goes to inquire after a ship back to Marsilikos.

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