(1311-08-23) An Appeal for Clemency
Summary: André seeks out Duchesse Armandine de Mereliot, to put forth his view on the Kalisha situation.
RL Date: 23/08/2019
Related: Incident Plot
armandine andre 

Solar — Ducal Palace

Spacious enough to provide a meeting place of more familiar atmosphere to the residents of the Ducal Palace, the solar is of rectangular shape and generously lit during the day through a number of arched windows in the south wall. The opposite side is governed by a huge stone hearth, a fire crackling there during colder weather conditions. Above the hearth hangs a shield with the coat of arms of House Mereliot, flanked by a pair of exquisitely woven tapestries depicting naval scenes of ships on the sea, one in calm and tranquil weather conditions, the other one in a storm with heavy rain.

All furniture is made of oak, be it the long table in the middle of the room, or the number of high backed chairs arranged about it, flat cushions of blue brocade adding to the comfort of seating. The ceiling is a sophisticated rib vault, constructed of wood, the ribs painted in yellow. Depictions of a variety of sea animals have been added onto the light blue ceiling as well by an unknown artist. Several kinds of mediterranean fish adorn the spaces in between ribs, such as combers, groupers and flounders but also starfish and octopuses.

A door leads out onto a rooftop garden, and an archway opens into the upper hallway.

The Lady of Marsilikos had received word that one of the foreign guests currently residing in the city wished to speak with her. And so she waits today, on this late morning, in the solar that has been cleared of all other nobility. Her guards stand at the door that leads into the chamber, and they will admit André as soon as he approaches them. Armandine is clad in a fine dress of blue color, showing off the usual golden fish embroideries in playful reflection of the Mereliot crest. Honey blonde hair has been arranged in a courtly hairdo, but absent is the ducal coronet, which perhaps aims to give the encounter a more informal feel. "My Lord," she greets with a warm smile blossoming on comely d'Angeline features that have aged well. "I am glad you could find the time, given that my invitation came at such short notice."

Andre is dressed up in his nicest clothes, but all the finery can’t hide the fact that he looks both nervous and like he hasn’t slept well for a longer time. “Your Highness, many thanks for receiving me.”, he greets her politely, “It means a lot to me.” He pauses for a moment to lend this his next words more impact, then adds: “I have come to ask for your clemency and to spare a life” And in explanation: “You have heard about the incident at the palace gate, no doubt?”

“My lord…” The address brings a smile to her face, and Armandine de Mereliot shakes her head. “I am no highness, but you may address me as ‘Your Grace’. I take it, the matter was urgent, so it is only natural for me to wish to hear you out.” That smile of hers dims a little, when André explains, but the duchesse’s eyes remain alight with their warm expression of empathy.

“You are here to speak for the foreign woman who got into a fight with the Vicomtesse de Gueret?” She sighs softly. “Yes. I have heard of the matter. But please. Have a seat. There is some wine, if you like.”

“Thank you, Your Grace.”, Andre corrects himself politely and takes both the seat and the wine. He looks like he’ll need it. Once the ceremonies are over and he’s taken a sip of said wine while seating himself across from the duchesse, he begins the little speech he had prepared. “Your Grace, you might know perhaps that I was present when the incident occured and I hope my word as a Prince of Brabant counts for something. The young foreigner had been provoked, first by Lady Desarae and then by the Vicomtesse de Gueret, who both considered her a Skaldi foreigner and enemy. I myself remained in doubt, while the woman’s identity was not proven in any way. I understand and accept that even though she was provoked, she should not have injured the Vicomtesse and deserves punishment. Were she indeed Skaldi, as people suspected, I would even accept that due to the enmity and war between your countries, you had every right to take her life. However -” He pauses to let that sink in for now and wet his throat with more wine. “It has now emerged that she is not Skaldi. She is from Gotland. What’s more, she is a noble lady, the daughter of a Jarl, which I believe is their version of a Duke or Earl. They were driven from their lands by a rivalling Jarl and her family was murdered. She was able to escape on a Skaldi ship and on her way to Caerdicca Unitas where she has family and supporters, when she was shipwrecked and washed ashore here. Which is why she came to be mistaken for a Skald here. Your Grace -” Another pause, “I believe that while she deserves punishment for injuring the Vicomtesse de Gueret, I also believe she does not deserve Death. Which is why I have come to ask for clemency. You can give her her life and a chance to fight for her home, which she had lost in Gotland.” There, speech done. He inhales deeply and waits for the response.

He is a foreigner after all, so any lapse in courtly address will be excused — to a certain extent. Armandine de Mereliot gestures for a servant to pour them both and she waits till André has taken his goblet till she sips from her own. Listening in silence, as André speaks his part, she watches him thoughtfully.

“Skaldi,” the duchesse remarks after a long moment, “are not considered beyond the law here in Marsilikos. What I mean is… that as far as I understand, the city guard are investigating the matter, questioning those that have been involved in the incident. Even if this woman were Skaldi, that would not deprive her of the right… the claim to be judged justly. Alas, Skaldia and Terre d’Ange have a past, and…” She sighs softly. “Especially the Camaelines, holding the border, have a particularly deep animosity towards the Skaldi.”

Putting the goblet down onto the table, she reaches for one of the bake rolls from a plate sitting somewhere between them. “So… while I don’t see how the origin of this woman should affect the outcome of the trial, I assume that this same supposed origin did affect the developments leading to the incident.”

Grey-blue eyes look towards André van Westerlo, and Armandine adds: “How unfortunate that the misunderstanding couldn’t be dissolved before things escalated as far as to have d’Angeline blood shed. Why did the woman not clarify that she is from Gotland?”

“Well, obviously not.”, Andre replies a bit primly to her comment that even a Skaldi shouldn’t be deprived of her rights to fair judgement. He can’t resist adding though: “The deep-seated hatred for Skaldis and Skaldia led to the Vicomtesse’s anger towards her and, I assume, also to her continued animosity. When I visited her to ask her for leniency…. It did not go well.” The young prince makes a face at the memory and quickly moves on.

“The woman had lost her memory during the shipwreck.”, he answers the last question, “She did not know who she was or where she came from. Since I had been a victim of shipwreck myself, I took her under my wing a little, gave her a place to sleep and food to eat and she considered herself my servant. I expected this to last only as long as it would take for her memory to return. A Gotlandish pendant brought us onto the right track and an encounter with the new Gotlandish ambassador here…. Brought her memory fully back at last.”

He pauses for a longer time as if wondering how much to reveal, but figures, she’ll find out anyway. “The new Gotlandish ambassador hails from the family who took her land and killed her family. The shock of seeing her brought it all back. Now I believe that we, as foreigners, should stay out of whatever problems and conflicts the Gotlanders have among themselves.”, he adds quickly, “All I ask is for clemency for Kalisha’s life.”

“The vicomtesse is of House d’Aiglemort, by birth,” Armandine states, lifting both brows. “Which may explain her particular dislike for the Skaldi. But… Hmm…” She falls silent, pondering the information now shared by the Flatlander. “If this Kalisha woman and Lady Elin are of opposing families, we shall refrain from taking a side in their conflict. If things are as you say, we may have to remind them that they as our guests are to respect the rules imposed by our hospitality.”

She pauses, considering the matter further as she eats the bake roll, taking her time to finish it with a glance shot towards André. “It is I who will preside over the trial, given the stir it has already caused. I shall keep your plea in mind, Lord André. After all, no one got killed, and… Well… It all sounds like a chain of unfortunate circumstances and misunderstandings.”

Andre nods in agreement to staying out of Gotlandish affairs. And her last words bring a faint smile to his face. “Thank you, Your Grace. I trust in your wisdom.” He empties his wine cup and gets to his feet to indicate that he won’t steal any more of her time. He does look at her again though: “I understand that the Vicomtesse de Gueret will want redress for the pain Kalisha caused her. Considering that Kalisha is an accomplished warrior, perhaps a fitting punishment would be that she and her loyal Gotlanders will be in service to the Vicomtesse and Camlach for a year to support their troops in the fight against Skaldia?”, he suggests, then bows deeply. “Anyway, thank you very much for your time, Your Grace. I appreciate it very much.”

“I have yet to hear all sides of the story, and to see the case presented before court,” Armandine replies, and a faint smile plays at the corner of her eyes, at the young Flatlanders’s enthusiasm to put forth his ideas and suggestions. “As far as I have heard, Mademoiselle Kalisha is on her own. She has no one in her service.” The duchesse bites her lip, pondering. “Thank you for coming around and presenting your opinion on the matter, my lord.”, the Lady of Marsilikos adds then with a smile. “I shall take it into account, when the time comes. By Elua and His Companions. Eisheth may guide me with Her wisdom, as she has done so many times before.”

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