(1310-08-29) Thy Will Be Done
Summary: Isabelle de Valais' double life comes knocking on her door at last.
RL Date: 29/08/2018
Related: None
isabelle 

August 29, 1310 — Courtly Couture


His hands encircled her throat and squeezed amidst the sounds of shattered glass and the scent of brandy stinging her nose. Tears blurred in the corners of her vision as her hands pushed at the hard shoulders hunched on top of her, the world swimming before her eyes. She couldn't breathe.

Fingers grasped and grappled on the carpet. He was hissing something above her, she could barely make out the words, but by the look in his furious dark eyes, she knew that he knew, and it only steeled her resolve.

She didn't know how she managed to reach the broken shard, but she did. It sliced at her glove as she gripped it tightly between her fingers and plunged it deep between his ribs - the precise point in which she was taught to do so within close quarters. She heard him choke as warm, wet crimson blossomed over his clothes and the black velvet of her cloak. She ground her teeth, twisted the improvised blade, and hooked it higher within his innards. She watched as life started to drain from his eyes.

"…who…are…you…?"

He was still breathing and she felt his heart pound within his chest. As his grip on her slowly slackened, she rolled them both over and let go of the fragment. Legs framed his hips from under her long skirts in a loose straddle and as she loomed over him, she knew what she had to do.

It wasn't easy to take a life, but experience had long since tempered her nerves as far as the act was concerned. To panic during was to die, and her work was important enough not to consign herself to that specific fate so readily. The first time had been self-defense, an incident that haunted her, still, and ushered her quickly from untried girl into a woman in the profession that she was in, the cause that she believed in. Her fingers reached out to close over his nose and his mouth, and pressed her full weight against it to hold him down and quicken his passing. He struggled futilely underneath her much more negligible weight, clawing uselessly at her cloak until his movements ceased altogether.

She didn't have much time after that. She poured the rest of the brandy in his mouth, and it took some effort to pull his body to his feet, leaving the shard within where she stabbed him to stem the tide of blood from pouring out and leaving more of a mess. It took a few more minutes to turn him around, and shove him through the window overlooking La Serenissima's beautiful landscape. The glass shattered readily under his weight.

It didn't take her long to find the passage that led her to his study in the first place, maneuvering carefully in the dark, and out the small alcove that opened to the sitting room in the palazzo where she had been waiting for her afternoon appointment. She had just managed to situate herself on the chair she had been sitting, and arranged her skirts just so when the next patrol of guards came marching past the entryway leading into the veranda. She removed her gloves and stuffed them in the hidden pocket where a small bundle of stolen, secret correspondences resided.

She was busily retouching her perfume in an effort to mask the smell of the brandy when the doors swung open, and a stately, fashionable middle-aged woman came striding in, her skirts brushing over the marble floor. Her face brightened considerably upon sight of her.

"Isabelle, mia cara!" Her arms extended in invitation, which she took, kissing both her cheeks.

"Contessa," the designer greeted. Mischief lit up her dark-and-gold eyes. "So, you mentioned that you have a problem that you would like me to rectify?"

"Yes, my darling." Contessa Caterina Lorenzo took her hand and tucked it securely in the crook of her arm, leading her away from the sitting room. "It is Maria, you see. I showed her all the options available in the city for her wedding dress, and she wouldn't have any of them! She must have you, she said, and wouldn't speak to me until I managed to coax you here all the way from Tiberium! I'm afraid I've spoiled her utterly and now I must inconvenience you…"

~ * ~

A heavy knock on the door pulled her out of her reverie. Isabelle drew her eyes from the window of her loft salon in Courtly Couture, having spent the last hour watching the comings and goings of the foot traffic outside. As usual, the Market Promenade was bustling in all hours of the day and with the recent opening of l'Amour Mechant, evening traffic was going to be even more considerable. She was going to have to take that into account in the immediate future.

"Come in," she said, pushing away from the glass panes and moving to her desk.

Guillermo, ever silent and vigilant, and her right-hand man for years after her father and the Comte de Digne allowed her the degree of independence that she needed, stepped inside, clad as usual in his crisp, black-and-white livery. He bowed deeply from the waist, before wordlessly handing her an envelope bearing a familiar seal. The sight of it carried both equal measures of trepidation and relief; she hadn't received one of these missives since she returned to the land of her birth.

"Thank you, Guillermo," she said, taking the parchment and perching herself on the corner of her desk, breaking the seal with a flick of her fingers. "Please wait a moment and close the door."

He didn't question it. He never does. She waited until the latch clicked sharply against wood before unfolding the letter and taking a look at the flowing, impeccable penmanship within. Lashes lowered over her eyes.

…knowing how well you have handled previous assignments, I trust you will succeed and await your visit.

"Do I have any appointments this week?" she wondered, looking up at her manservant.

"Two," Guillermo supplied readily. "As well as your standing luncheon with Lord Jehan-Pascal de Baphinol."

"Please reschedule them. Inform them that my mother's health has taken a turn for the worse, and I am bringing her to the northern countryside to get some fresh air." She searched the hangings upon her wall, her attention falling on an accurate map of Eisande. "I believe Uncle still has that lovely summer estate two hours east of Cabries. I'll leave the arrangements to you."

"Guards?"

"Oh, yes." Isabelle smirked faintly. "We might actually need them, this time around."

Guillermo's tall, lean form bowed once more, and after he departed, she moved towards the fireplace. Striking a match, she set the parchment on top of the logs, and let the single, gold-red tongue of flame kiss its edge, shriveling as it slowly spread, ashes flaking into the rest of the pile underneath.

"Thy will be done," she murmured as she watched the letter disintegrate.

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