(1311-06-17) Loss
Summary: Belmont is forced to face certain new realities.
RL Date: 19/06/2019
Related: None.

Comtesse's Study — Château d'Aix — Eisande

The past week had passed in a blur. Sombre thoughts and most of all, his heart, heavy with what had occurred so unexpectedly. During the days, Belmont was very much like a sleepwalker, functioning in a way, that courtesy was followed, but his words lacked depth, turned into hollow insignificance, when the void left held him captive, his body, mind and very soul.

He had seen to his duty, attending the funeral held only a few days after his wife had perished. His face a mask, his thoughts lingering in a realm that felt so very far away from where he was. From where they had been, only months ago. With an unmoving face, he had observed how they had prepared Gabrielle. He had leaned in an kissed her onto her forehead for a very last time. And then. More days had followed, hours, minutes, seconds spent in a numb state and sudden insignificance.

He had dreaded the summons, but when it finally came, Belmont felt almost relieved.

The Comtesse Delaunay had requested to speak with him, and so he entered the study, shown in by a dutiful servant wearing a black ribbon around his upper arm, a sign of mourning.

Belmont wore the darkest shade of blue he had found among his garments. When his gaze fell upon his mother-in-law, he offered a deep bow to her, granting her the respect that behooved her station. "My lady." His words sounded flat, issued into the chamber with a voice as low as to suggest that he was afraid to be heard.

"Lord Belmont." Returning the greeting, the Comtesse looked up, her manner composed, but the pain etched into her gaze was still too fresh to be denied. "Please. Have a seat."

He obeyed. There was no way as to ignore her authority. And the matter had lingered between them, all the while, ever since the healer had declared the devastating news of his wife's passing. Neither Yseult Delaunay nor Belmont had addressed the topic. Even so, they were both aware, that it would have to be tackled, sooner or later.

Apparently, as it turned out to be, it was sooner.

"Gabrielle was not blessed with children," Yseult began. "There is no heir." Her lips twitched into a faint smile that lacked essence. "Even if your daughter would have qualified for this position, had she lived. Lord Belmont." How distant, the sound of her voice, the tone, detached, as she considered him across the table.

"Rognac needs an active regent. Till now, it has been Gabrielle who took care of the Vicomté, along with the steward, Monsieur Parnasse. I have thought about this, and come to the decision that Rognac will benefit more from a regent of Delaunay blood. As such, the line of succession will be followed."

"I understand.", Belmont assured, lowering his gaze. The way he drew a breath through his nose suggested that Yseult's reasoning did not come as a surprise.

Yseult's lips, meanwhile, pulled into a faint smile.

"I regret the consequences, my daughter's passing will have for you. We have… other established matches already connecting House Eresse to our House, my lord. As it is, I will therefore release you from your commitment to House Delaunay. This will free you for other engagements, House d'Eresse may have for you in the future, for their benefit."

"Will that be all, my lady?", Belmont replied with outward calm, even if it took all of his composure to uphold the facade.

"Yes. I thank you of course for engaging Gabrielle's interest and making her life worthwhile, at least for the last year it lasted. It would be cruel of me though, to resort to timid and evasive tactics. So I'd thought I'd better address the matter as frankly as possible. May Eisheth watch over you, Lord Belmont.", the Comtesse Delaunay said to him, and leaning back in her chair she waited for him to depart.

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