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|30th Apr 2008, 3:59 AM||#51|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Padme looked through the window of her carriage as as it traveled to her new home. The scenery was breathtaking, and she only hoped that the palace was just as or even more beautiful as the green foilage. As the carriage made a turn and the palace came into view, Padme's heart skipped a beat, to know that humble little her was going to live in a court that could soon be her future.
It came to a stop as it rounded around the courtyard. A man opened the door and she stepped out ever so gracefully, gazing at the building, not where her feet were going. Her two measly looking trunks appeared before her. She started to pick them up, as a servant would, and the man stopped her before she could get both hands on them. She had to remember that others would take care of chores as so.
The man led her to her new suite and layed the trunks gingerly down on the floor. She was very tierd from her journey, but the adreneline that was unknowingly being pumped through her body wanted to keep her awake. Padme sat down in a nearby confy looking chair and thought of what the first thing she should do. Unpack. She fluffed some dust off her emerald green dress and got up after only sitting for a few seconds and began to unload dresses into dresser drawers.
((Fay- I updated her app , minor, but I think it makes a bit more sense, and added a much better picture. Padme is approachable.
|30th Apr 2008, 4:22 AM||César & Joséphine - sorting their 'differences' #52|
Question: How did one triumph over a woman who knew all your weaknesses like the back of her own hand? Not yet married for so long that all the mystery and excitement of their relationship was gone, and their partner seemed completely and boringly predictable - far from it - Joséphine had still managed to learn just what was the easiest way to coax a desired reaction from her husband. Even when he knew exactly what she was up to, she still had found a way that left him unable to resist. Provided, of course, that they were merely participating in a game of playful bickering, and not arguing for real. Once that happened, she would find him far more difficult to manipulate. As would he her. Not impossible, but requiring a heck of alot more effort.
This was one such occasion, when even though he knew she was playing him like an instrument, César found it so very hard to resist her, to not give in and let her win this round. The most remarkable thing, was that it was by appearing to submit to him herself, that she managed to turn it all to her advantage. The operative word being "appearing". She was putting on a show fit for the Paris theatre, turning herself into the very image of submissive innocence rebuked, by lowering her head and voice, and sporting an almost convincing look of regretful shame.
"You are right, César," she nearly whispered, and her dear husband had to resist rolling his eyes at her. In a most playful and affectionate way, of course. "I apologize for trying to ease my husband's troubled mind with my thoughtless question and disturbing his sleep at the height of morning."
Almost convincing, had it not been for the fact that no sooner had she spoken those oh-so-repentant words, than her gaze lifted to meet with his, and her eyes lit up with pure mischief, both accompanied by a smirk to complete the look.
"And for doing so through... less than innocent means," she said, and then added, now that she could claim to have fulfilled her end of the deal; "Quid pro quo, mon amour?"
Bad mood and morning crankiness all forgotten, César could not help but to laugh, a soft chuckle pushing past his lips and bringing light and amusement to his eyes as well, before ending in a much satisfied smile. She may have acted when delivering most of her apology, but by God, he would still treat it as had it been sincere through and through; as a surrender without terms for her, and pure triumph for him. A perfect act on both their parts.
"Fine, fine", he finally relented, and shifted yet a little more, as if wanting to be able to look at her properly.
His true intention, however, soon revealed itself. With the celerity of a striking cobra, his arm coiled itself around her waist and he pushed her back onto the bed, following in the motion to place himself on top of her, and conequently pin her down with his superior build.
"What I wanted to know, mon petit chéri," he said, with his lips a mere inch from hers, "was what you meant by what you said to the Comtesse de Valois last night, about a son."
Pausing momentarily, he planted on her lips a kiss so soft and fleeting she could hardly feel it, and brushed his fingertips against her cheek before sending them to venture downward, tracing her slender figure until they reached her belly. There they stopped, and his thumb started moving in circular motions, caressing the area just below her ribs.
"Should I be getting my hopes up?" he added with slight smile. "Or should we simply give it another try?"
|30th Apr 2008, 7:32 AM||#53|
Marie-Elisabeth exited her room quickly after putting her writing supplies away. She had finished the letter to her son, and had sealed it in a similar fashion to the one for her sister. Now those were held tightly in her gloved hands as she walked down the halls looking for Monsieur Lambriquet to send the letters for her. And as luck would have it, she spotted him coming down the halls to her room as she exited it. She paused as he came towards her and made an elaborate bow.
“Madame” he said, rising from the bow “How lucky of me to find you so quickly. Are those letters I see in your hand?” “They are indeed Simon” she said, smiling and holding them out “One for Charles and one for my sister. I’m certainly glad you found me so fast. I was afraid I’d have to spend all day looking for you. It is quite the maze in here”.
“Indeed Madame, I shall be glad to get back home where it’s familiar” he said with a faint laugh, carefully taking the letters from Marie-Elisabeth’s hand. “Well I shant keep you” she said, “Be sure to send my love to Charles and tell him his mother misses him”.
Simon nodded and bowed again. “Of course I will Madame, I shall take my leave of you now”. She nodded back to him and waved as he departed down the long corridors. She hoped he would have a safe journey home, and was already looking forward to reading the replies to her letters.
Marie-Elisabeth was now at a loss as to what to do with herself. She didn't really have any other plans for the day, so she settled for walking down the corridors herself and seeing what came her way.
((( OOC: Approachable. Sorry for the short/crapness but I wanted to get her out of that room LOL She needed to be there for a bit though, so oh well )))
|30th Apr 2008, 8:06 AM||#54|
Join Date: Jan 1970
The three Royal's halted, Juliet inhaled deeply, with a look of shock glimmering on her face for some 13 second. Edouard coughed and Isabella looked at a loss for words, but as Royal's did, they made it blend into routine, despite being shunned by a family member, Edouard and Isabella decided as they had barely broken their gate to follow Larkin inside arm in and arm and Juliet swerved off to talk to a footman before decending the steps once again to great the English woman, In deed unless you had been watching their faces very closely or seen the slight pause in their walk as Larkin had shrugged them off you would have believed this was their precise desire.
Edouard and Isabella disappeared once again from the eye of the public, whilst Juliet forced herself to speak in English "It is a pleasure to meet you, may I enquire as to your name?"
"Charmaine de Mollier, Lady Charmaine de Mollier," Charmaine gave her a smile as if saying now you maybe impressed.
"de Mollier...." Juliet paused, "I am so sorry for your families loss, Edouard would have been lost without the Duc." Juliet spoke the truth, Edoaurds wishy washy nature was clear. "I am the Duchesse de Margoles, the Queen's mother.
"So I am told, my husband Michael misses him, naturally the joining of our families made sense, with how much power is held both here and back home."
"Will your husband be joining you here?" Thankfully juliet was leaving for she felt the idea of having two English people in Court sounded like murder, for class and fashion purposes they were a severe liability.
"No i do not think so," Charmaine smiled as a footman offered to direct her to her rooms. "It was a pleasure meeting you dear Duchess." Charmaine turned on her heel and left, Juliet quite fortunately had been prepared this time for desertion and was rallying up carriage drivers for the departure of herself and Isabella.
((Atropa I know Isabella and Edouard have been looking like a blissful couple recently, but that of course is what Edouard needs afetr Adalita's death and Isabella is just playing along, however if I were to explain that in here thoughts, it would sound hollow and unimaginative, I don't think there is an Isabella without Shenan...))
|30th Apr 2008, 8:47 AM||Dimitri & Octavien - Prince's suite #55|
Join Date: May 2005
“…And that rather than give me the chance to agree with him, he wishes to not only anger me by taking away what I have already given willingly once, but also add insult to the injury, by not telling me face to face?” Apparently reaching the end, the Prince turned away, and Dimitri placed his glass on the table. It may have been the only outward indication that something disturbed him: the same niggling sensation that struck him when the Queen collapsed, and when he sat opposite the Prince in the carriage. Something in the wording…
But, as he did in both situations, Dimitri pushed it back, to be dealt with later, later, later.
As far as the Duc knew, he never gave the impression that he spoke carelessly. His tone had always been measured (irritatingly so, as closer associates complained). It served not to hide the indication that every word was strenuously deliberated, but to declare it explicitly to the world. As a fencer’s raised blade, a lion’s proud mane; it showed that he knew he could be attacked and had already prepared—one day, two days, thirty years earlier—for it.
The Prince might, then, have some inkling that his wording had been no mistake. Perhaps that accounted for some of the anger. One could forgive an accidental stab, but it was far harder to forgive a purposeful attack. His intention was to impress upon Octavien—as brutally as he had to—the reality of his situation. Prince in name he may be, but without Adalita to speak for him, the title was useless.
“Does he truly resent me so?” The earlier restraint… not ‘crumbled’, per se; but something had been torn away. The sheer curtain, perhaps, burned away by the embers in the Prince’s bright eyes.
It was an illuminating question, for it described to Dimitri the relationship—or lack of one—Octavien had with His Majesty. He never saw the Prince in Edouard’s chambers, never heard of them riding together or engaging in other companionable activities. Edouard’s desire for Dimitri to deliver such important news on his behalf, and now this question, only cemented his impression that the Prince was far more favoured by one parent than the other.
Nevertheless, he had been expecting more outrage and not this sudden, soft, weary question. It deserved more contemplation. Was Octavien asking of the marriage itself, and his lack of participation beyond being the bridegroom; or was it about Edouard sending a messenger in his place?
Hard to say. Either way, he seemed to already believe that some personal emotion was involved in the decision-making process.
“…Your Highness. I can neither speculate His Majesty’s motives nor why he sent me in his stead. It may be for intricate reasons involving your relationship, and therefore beyond my bounds. Or for the simple fact that the Queen’s uncle needed welcome, that Your Highness needed to be informed immediately, and I was the only person His Majesty felt… suitable to deliver the news.”
Edouard could have just written a note. As Dimitri considered the current situation, perhaps that would have been the better alternative.
“Has Your Highness ever served in battle?” His own question came out of the blue, so much so that Dimitri could carry on unimpeded. “Have you been caught behind enemy lines? Does Your Highness know what goes on between two gentlemen who have fired upon each other, watched their comrades killed by the other?
“Dinner. That is all. Perhaps, if they were provisioned for it, some cards and wine. If it was a Sunday, one may join the other for Mass. So it continues until the prisoner escapes or is ransomed, and they face off in the next battle.” Dimitri ran a finger over the rim of his golden glass, now firmly on the table, looking at the young Prince. “Never shall I say resentment and such passions do not have their place in our world. But there are times when emotions are not a factor. To assume it always is will drive you… If you wish to keep your…”
Sanity was the word, but he decided against it.
“…You have to keep it all—emotions, diplomacies, your entire awareness—compartmentalised, to be summoned at the appropriate time. You must realise that as immediately as possible.”
Dimitri spoke as steadily as he always did, and to any casual observer, he may have sounded unchangingly unsympathetic. Maybe even a tad cold. But even as the words came forth, their cadence might have changed to the discerning ear. As he reached the end, he seemed to speak less to an inexperienced Prince and more to—or from the experience of—an angry, confused boy.
((*lmao!* Have some confidence in Dimitri’s political acumen (rusty as it might be, it’s better than his emotional one, thankfully!). He’s got his back covered.
Fay: Don't worry too much about Isabella. *pats* I doubt anyone expects to cover for Shenan, or we wouldn't be sending the Queen away!))
|30th Apr 2008, 9:27 AM||Rukov and Padme #56|
Join Date: May 2005
((Just to get things going for our new arrivals :D))
Watching the events by the palace entrance unfold, Rukov hadn’t bothered to hide himself very well. These were only another batch of nobles arriving, not much different from the previous batches that came for the funeral—except for the man, who he suspected was the Queen’s uncle the Duc had referred to, whose sudden departure certainly turned a few heads his way. The rest were of the young and female variety—Rukov was not at all averse to the fairer sex, but he thought his lord would groan at the diminishing portion of male candidates in Court. The most significant may have been the Englishwoman, who knew she was related to the departed Mollier…?
“Get your ass moving, boy! We have bags waiting and no more hands to pick ‘em up!” One of the lesser stewards snapped at Rukov, who consequently regretted not hiding himself better. The steward’s finely combed head turned this way and that, before finally pointing at a new arrival, “There, that one! I’d not risk your clumsy self anywhere near a Duchesse, but that one will do. Go on now!”
The young woman may have been just another bland specimen as well, if not for her curious attempt to pick up her own bags—as well as their pitiful number compared to the volumes of luggage carried by other noblewomen. The wonder in her eyes was, likely, not that different from the awe in many courtiers’ faces, but most of them usually hid it better than that…
Rukov picked up her two trunks, easily with his ox-like strength. She followed him to her suite—the suite of the Mademoiselle Padme Castilla, as he was informed.
After setting her things down in her room, Rukov… decided to stay. Outside her room, of course. His instinct paid off—he could hear the strenuous sound of luggage being dragged, the miscellaneous noises of one who unpacked. But there had been no maids or servants waiting in the room, and none had yet arrived.
Was the silly woman unpacking herself?
Chuckling to himself, Rukov knocked. Loudly. He counted to three, before speaking through the door, affecting a voice extremely humble and meek, riddled with broken French. “Is there anything else, Mademoiselle? A maid will be here in a minute to unpack for ye.”
|30th Apr 2008, 11:28 AM||#57|
(OOC: Thanks Fayreview, Atropa and Seiza! I'm glad the first one went okay! So, controlling the non-owned characters in okay, right? Seiza and Atropa, I love the interaction between Octavien and Dimitri, it's certainly engaging!)
Juliet had begun to walk towards another woman stood in the courtyard and Bella was left to herself once again. She backtracked slightly, not looking away incase Juliet had something left to say to her. Bella knew she'd made an impression, whether good or bad depended on her father's history. Nonetheless, whatever it was, Bella was perfectly capable of handling it. Juliet would certainly be a beneficial connection, Bella decided. Her antagonism - any now or in the future - was worth dealthing with.
She turned slightly to witness the porters begin to haul her luggage out of the carriage with little grace. She sighed with exasperation; nothing hurt Bella more than to see her possessions so uncared for.
She wandered over to the men as they poured their efforts into causing as much damage an possible - unintentionally, of course. It may have been unintentional, but it was happening anyway.
As Bella stopped a few feet away from the men battling the tunks, they stopped and glanced up to the smiling Bella.
"Gentlemen," she smiled politely, ready to use her authority. She only used suggestions for now, blatant orders will be employed later, if necessary. "Surely, there is ample 'gentleness' left to be used in the transportation of those?"
They mended their ways. Bella wasn't one for waiting while things were being done for her. She knew her luggage would be delivered to the suite, she'll soon know where the suite was and she expected that they cases would be unpacked when she arrived back. She also knew that if anything went wrong in that chain, there would be hell to pay.
This was the time for adventure, the time to make new acquaintances. Bella's eyes on the perfect candidate. A young woman, wearing exquisite clothes stood before Bella as she walked further into the palace. Bella climbed the stairs cautiously to the other woman, searching for any hint as to who she might be. There was almost no such give away, nothing except the accumulation of subtle signs. Ah, she knew who this woman was. Comtesse Marie-Elisabeth Valois, widowed and rich by proxy. Furthermore, Bella came under the impression that Marie-Elisabeth seemed intent on flaunting her position with airs and graces.
Bella decided she'd put her own noble roots to good use in befriending the Comtesse.
"It is a lovely day, is it not?" Bella smiled pleasantly, wanting to attract the attention of the other woman. "Isabella Devine. Bella."
Bella couldn't tell whether the name Devine had triggered the usual flicker behind the eyes and simply waited for the response;everyone who was anyone knew everyone else who was anyone, as far as Bella was concerned.
(OCC: Bella is approachable)
"Life is just a chance to grow a soul" - A. Powell Davies
|30th Apr 2008, 7:13 PM||Octavien & Dimitri - Prince's salon #58|
(((ooc: Alissa - Thank you, I'm enjoying it as well. It's quite intense! One thing though... Marie-Elisabeth isn't English... And it's also advised that you leave Marie-Elisabeth's reaction to being approached to slytherin-girl, as giving a neutral look might not be what slytherin wants her character to do.
Ghanima - I almost feel sorry for Elena! *lol* )))
As Octavien had reached the window, and spun around to deliver the last in his ever growing line of questions, he had spotted something out of the corner of his eye, in the doorway to one of the adjoining rooms. Gilles. Like the faithful companion he was, the older man had a tendency to appear when he sensed Octavien might need the support. Though to any outsider, it would appear he merely made himself available, should his young master demand that the visitor was escorted out, or simply needed for something to be fetched or dispatched. Or, considering the recent excitement with the attempt made on the Prince's life, as somewhat of a bodyguard. For while he may have lived a fairly long life in comparison to his youthful master, he was by no means a fragile man, and would, if needed, put up a good fight.
Still, while Gilles' appearance played a small part in the sudden cooling of Octavien's temper, it was not what had caught the young Prince's attention. It was the somewhat hesitant look stirring just underneath the surface of the man's placid expression, the hint of worry dancing in the shadows of his eyes. Perhaps he feared that Octavien really would loose his temper. The boy had been under a considerable amount of pressure lately, and it seemed one thing after another kept being added to push him even further away from his usually very amiable and composed demeanor. Or, perhaps, he was wondering if somewhere in the near future, he would once again be made to suffer the consequences of his young master's rage, much like last time it had grown to such immense proportions that the boy could no longer keep it contained. Gilles still had not forgotten how he had been mere inches from walking away from the experience a head short than he had entered it.
However, the distraction he caused was so brief that it lasted no more than a moment, a split second flying by so fast that before anyone else would have a chance to register it, Octavien's gaze had returned to Dimitri, just as he started speaking.
"Your Highness", the Duc said, having hesitated momentarily himself, and then went on claim that he knew nothing of the King's reasons for doing what he had done, and how, and that he could not speculate.
Yet not seconds later after that very statement, he still offered what he apparently believed to be plausible scenarios, perhaps simply to try and lift the small shadow Octavien had cast on the King with his question, or perhaps to appeal to the composed side of him, by showing that currently, there were indeed other matters for a King to deal with. Though it only managed to cause a slight but pointedly disdainful snort from Octavien, who obviously either did not believe such a close friend of the King would indeed know so little of what went on inside the head of their monarch, or found neither of the scenarios to be the least bit extenuating. Or, and most likely, a little bit of both.
Still, the Duc didn't let that stop him, but simply carried on, making an analogy that first had Octavien almost raising a brow as if wishing to silently question what the man was getting at, but ultimately refraining from following it through. Mostly because the analogy as swiftly followed by another lecture, which brought all the Prince's venom to surface once more.
"Never shall I say resentment and such passions do not have their place in our world", Dimitri said. "But there are times when emotions are not a factor. To assume it always is will drive you... If you wish to keep your..."
For the first time, the revered Duc d'Lorraine seemed to stumble and hesitate when choosing his words. So much so, that he finally decided to simply re-phrase;
"You have to keep it all — emotions, diplomacies, your entire awareness — compartmentalised", he concluded, "to be summoned at the appropriate time. You must realise that as immediately as possible."
When making his decision, and agreeing to marry Adalita, Octavien had known that his life from then on would be quite filled with duties and 'must's. But quite frankly, at the moment, he was growing sick of them. You must, you must not, you will, you will not, you shall, you shall not. Each and every single one of those words were slowly eating away at his patience. Not his ability to control himself, but at his willingness to use it. To simply explode into a fit of rage was growing increasingly tempting. If for no other reason than to purge himself of all the tension and frustration that yesterday's ride had only temporarily pushed aside.
At the same time, he knew that it could prove to be a dire mistake, and quite possibly unjustified to make the Duc the target of such an outburst. He was the one currently holding the last straw and if deciding to drop it onto Octavien's burden, would be the one to break the camel's back, as the saying went. But something in his approach had changed. Not his tone, not his posture, not even the look on his face, but rather something underneath it all, so subtle that had Octavien not taken a moment to reflect in order to shackle his desire to simply roar with anger, he would have surely missed it.
"With all due respect, Duc d'Lorraine...", the young Prince replied, and the fire and fierceness had found their way back into his eyes. "... and, you may think me no more than an uneducated and far too brazen whelp for saying so, but I do not believe it is I that is currently in need of a lecture on the appropriate time for emotions and the like. There are times when a single kind word, or a show of understanding can have twice the effect of any lengthy but indifferent explanation, or an uncompromising command completely disregarding the sentiments of it's target. It is my belief that it is the ability to tell the difference, and recognize such times, that seperates the truly noble sovereigns, from the tyrants."
As he spoke, his tone of voice slowly morphed once again, calming slightly with every word, and ending up presenting not a harsh accusation, but a simple, composed observation as he slowly perched himself on the windowsill. There he paused for a moment, in speech and in actions alike, allowing his thoughtful gaze to trace the intricate pattern of the carpet underneath the chairs and table, before returning to lock with Dimitri's.
"A King that commands when he needs not shows one of two things, Duc d'Lorraine; foolishness, for not realizing and recognizing the support he already has. Or fear. Only fear of loosing what he has, drives a man to try and keep it with force."
Here he paused again, and raised his hand to gently rub his temples, as if trying to fend off a growing headache, while giving a heavy sigh. In truth, he was contemplating how to deal with the situation. Currently, he didn't have much leverage to strenghten his position. While Isabella was still backing him, and would refuse to see him sent off or demoted, or otherwise disposed of, she was going to be far away, where news would reach her only when it was much too late to act. And, if the King wanted Octavien to marry this Elena for political purposes, it might just be enough to ensure him a somewhat more stable future at the Palace...
"I am aware that I am neither Prince nor noble from birth, that I have yet to learn how to carry myself properly at all times, and that I am in no position to critize His Majesty", he thus finally concluded, and this time, he took his time raising his head and returning Dimitri's gaze. "And I will of course abide by His Majesty's wishes. It is just my own humble wish that I be treated as a man, and not a possession. Surely that does not make me unreasonable? After all, if pushed too hard, possessions often break. Men adapt. And a man that is allowed the liberty to submit because he wants to, stands more firmly behind his master and his master's cause, than one who is left no say, and no choice."
|30th Apr 2008, 7:28 PM||#59|
(OOC: Thanks, Atropa.
Whoa, it sounds like Octavien's about to reach breaking point with all his obligations!)
"Life is just a chance to grow a soul" - A. Powell Davies
|30th Apr 2008, 8:43 PM||Marie-Elisabeth & Bella #60|
Marie-Elisabeth had paused when the other woman approached her, looking her over carefully and trying to figure out just who she was. She wasn’t a high ranking noble person, that much was certain. If she was she would have known to call her Madame or at least Comtesse before introducing herself.
Marie-Elisabeth wasn’t exactly the most rigid rule abider in the palace, but there were some things she just wouldn;t let fly. And she really didn’t appreciate someone acting so familiar with her unless she knew them. Unless of course that person was a certain brown haired Marquis….
Marie-Elisabeth shook her head, effectively stopping the less than ladylike thoughts that were gathering in her mind. “I’m sure it is Miss Devine” she replied, managing to keep the annoyed look off her face “I’ll have to take your word for it as I’ve been inside for most of the morning”.
The name hadn’t sparked any recognition in her mind either, which further re enforced her earlier idea that the woman was some sort of lower noble. Her husband had been acquainted with all the higher ranked nobles of the land, and while she may not have known them all by face she did know them by name. And the name Devine was not one that sprang to mind as being of particular importance. But still, she would at least be polite to the woman.
“You must have just arrived” she continued “I didn’t see you at all during yesterday’s events. I’m the Comtesse de Valois, so pleased to meet you”.
|30th Apr 2008, 9:33 PM||#61|
(OOC: Oooh, that's not gonna help Bella's ego)
"Enchante," Bella greeted with perfect decorum.
Bella was disappointed -even marginally angry - at Marie-Elisabeth's failure to recognise the family name. However, it was clear that Bella's impetuous behaviour, carrying on from the Abbey, was far from finished with her. She had to regain control.
Bella smiled at the Comtesse.
"Forgive me for my rudeness, Comtesse," she offered. "I am Baroness Isabella Devine. My father and your late husband were well acquaintances, I believe? Please accept my condolences for your loss."
She decided to proceed to answer Marie-Elisabeth's earlier question.
"I have just arrived at court, and sadly missed yesterday's events," she explained. "Please, do tell me, have I missed anything interesting?"
Bella hoped that would redeem her lapse in behaviour. It was a learning curve, she told herself. Any such journey included its mistakes, but they were far from excusable if Bella refused to learn from them.
"Life is just a chance to grow a soul" - A. Powell Davies
|30th Apr 2008, 9:52 PM||Marie-Elisabeth & Bella #62|
Marie-Elisabeth could tell the young woman was upset with her for not recognizing her name. She had almost laughed at that, seeing how Bella was so obviously displaying her emotions. That was definitely not something that would serve her well in this court.
She paused for a moment after Bella finished talking. She did that to curb the instinct to merely dismiss the woman’s claim, which she knew was false. She knew the names of all of Charles’ acquaintances, and it had been part of her studies as a child to learn all the noble lineages of the country. Her mother had insisted upon it, so that she and her multitude of siblings would know the genealogy of the Noble Houses they would eventually marry into. The name rang a very faint bell, but all she could remember was something about disgrace. And that was never something good to remember.
“Thank you for your condolences Baroness” she said, nodding towards her “But I’m afraid you must be mistaken. I know well the names of all of my late husband’s friends, and yours does not seem to ring any bells. Perhaps it was a brother of his?”.
She smiled politely, reaching up to adjust one of her golden curls in danger of coming loose from her elaborate coiffure. “And you have indeed missed a great deal” she continued “We had the great misfortune to loose the young Princess only a few days ago, and her funeral was held yesterday”.
((OOC: Marie-Elisabeth's is just as bad, and Bella's lower ranked than her so she's perfectly justified to be bothered )))
|30th Apr 2008, 10:06 PM||#63|
((ooc: Oh jeez, César and Joséphine are having fun while poor Octavien gets pushed into a corner by the Duc. felt almost guilty writing this post xD
Oh and I wouldn't feel too sorry for Elena You'll see what I mean once I bring her in. Bwaha.
*Watches Marie-Elisabeth and Bella...from a distance!* ))
Joséphine and César ----their suite
Endgame finalized, unrestrained mirth in the form of a cheerful chuckle filled the de la Vallière suite much like the sun's brilliant rays cascading through the tall windows. Within seconds, César and Joséphine had shed their guarded stance, allowing themselves a moment of being who they truly were, comfortable in eachother's presence.
Seeing her husband's eyes lit up and all previous crankiness ebb away from his features infused Joséphine with a feeling of private relief: there had been times in the past when a seemingly mutual game of witty cat-and-mouse had turned sour with a badly-placed comment that simply toed the line too far. Considering recent happenings and the looming threat of the pretty blond Comtesse, an argument brought by a matter she did not even know yet would have been a senseless mistake.
"Fine, fine", César intoned and twisted around. Then, quite suddenly, Joséphine found herself a prisoner in her husband's grip, though only for a split second, before she was lifted off her feet and held firmly in place beneath his larger frame. A brief gasp issued forth from the Marquise's parted lips, her eyes rounding slightly with surprise. César's hands were locked on her wrists, his knees clasped on the either side of her thighs while the rest of him hovered above. From that position, she could look straight into his eyes, which glittered with mischief behind a curtain of loose brown hair.
"What I wanted to know, mon petit chéri, was what you meant by what you said to the Comtesse de Valois last night, about a son." said the Marquis, brushing his lips against hers for a tantalizing instant. His knuckles then moved to bestow a soft caress across Joséphine's pallid cheek and followed the outline of her body downwards to her abdomen. As an immediate physical response, a quiver surged through the entire length of the Marquise's stretched out frame, feeding fuel to the flame that such proximity and touches tended to spark within her, though she was not quite ready yet to abandon herself to it - having at last learned the reason for César's nocturne worrying left her, in all honesty, perplexed. It wasn't what she had been expecting at all. In fact, as soon as they had left the Blue Salon and Marie-Elisabeth de Valois behind, Joséphine had all but forgotten her comment regarding a son, as neither the Comtesse nor César appeared to have perceived it. Its purpose having been that of sidetracking Marie-Elisabeth by subtle assurance that hers and César's marriage was still very much alive despite what she might have been lead to believe, it subsequently became lost among her other thoughts. Not for César though, apparently, causing Joséphine to wonder for how long he had been harbouring similar thoughts. She knew he wanted a son, but had she been underestimating just how badly?
"Should I be getting my hopes up?" he smiled down at her. "Or should we simply give it another try?"
Despite the ever growing temptation presented by that second proposition, Joséphine responded with a ring of clear laughter and a somewhat bemused gaze:
“That was all?” she chuckled, snaking her way into a more comfortable position from where she could reach both arms around the Marquis' back. “Mon dieu, all this mystery had me worried that something dire was the matter!”
Taking a hold of the palm César held over her belly, Joséphine pressed it down and held it there:
“It is too early to tell,” she began, smiling widely. “And as much as we both wish for a son, I do not want you to get your hopes up yet, but I'm more than a week late, César. That has rarely happened unless...” she hesitated “...I was with child.”
Joséphine then buried her fingers in her husband's soft hair, guiding his head downwards where their lips could freely meet.
“Though I see no reason why we couldn't add to the odds, just in case” she said in a mere whisper, followed by a soft trail of chuckling.
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets
|30th Apr 2008, 10:14 PM||Dimitri & Octavien - Prince's suite. No catfights allowed. #64|
Join Date: May 2005
“With all due respect, Duc d'Lorraine...” The fire, which had lowered into smouldering embers just before, now blazed back at him with renewed strength. As the Prince so casually dismissed his ‘lecture’ and embarked on one of his own, Dimitri sighed inwardly, regretting the decision to take the oblique approach. He was too terrible with analogies to try anything but a direct statement, apparently. Well, perhaps one day the Prince will find himself sitting with his enemy at dinner, hearing prayers for their fallen comrades from the mouth of the man who skewered them, and realise the necessity of completely detaching one’s emotions from the whole question of war itself—wars, births, deaths and marriages. The whole lot.
If Octavien could still desire mollycoddling and soothing assurances—at his age! at his station!—of how things ‘could be worse’ than marriage to a Spanish noblewoman, then he was far from being ready to severe his emotions from himself.
“A King that commands when he needs not shows one of two things, Duc d'Lorraine; foolishness, for not realizing and recognizing the support he already has. Or fear. Only fear of loosing what he has, drives a man to try and keep it with force.”
Edouard! Suspicious! His slight, sheepish King, who needed the combined forces of his Queen and a hermit friend, just to pick an Advisor…!
…Yet how often had Dimitri the chance to witness the true Octavien speaking? Just the rarity of this opportunity—and, depending on how it ended, perhaps it would be his last one before the Prince banned him from his suite altogether—made it worth sitting quietly through the other’s condemnation of Edouard’s decision.
But the Prince lapsed into thoughtful silence, which allowed Dimitri to muse as well. There was one good point made. Certainly, he was beginning to wonder who initiated the marriage proposal at all. Other than when he stabbed a Spaniard’s eye in an impromptu tournament, causing a flurry of letters and payments flying both ways, Dimitri did not communicate extensively with the Spaniards. But he was certain that the aristocracy of Ferdinand and Isabella’s homeland held more cunning in a thimble than Edouard did in all his wigs.
‘Fear’, impossible. Edouard, like a child, did not recognise the concept, because he did not recognise treachery until it shot him in the face.
But ‘foolishness’… quite possible.
Drawing Dimitri from his own contemplation, Octavien continued as one who had come to a hard decision, his head lifting heavily from where it had lowered. It was hard to determine just how sincere his humility was. Despite his admission of weaknesses, there did not seem to be a willingness to learn from those who offered. There clearly was a proud streak to him that refused to bow, even to the King, without a fight. Nevertheless, Dimitri was happy, for now, that he seemed ready to move on to actually dealing with the news.
“It is just my own humble wish that I be treated as a man, and not a possession. Surely that does not make me unreasonable?”
…Hmm. Maybe not.
“After all, if pushed too hard, possessions often break. Men adapt. And a man that is allowed the liberty to submit because he wants to, stands more firmly behind his master and his master's cause, than one who is left no say, and no choice.”
Dimitri figured that he could not dig his grave any deeper than it already was, and so was quite willing to give a reply. He steepled his long fingers together, elbows resting on his armrests, and thought. He did not wish to antagonise, although they might have reached the point where Octavien could find fault in his posture if he so wanted. But he seemed willing to… make some sort of peace for now; a sentiment the Duc shared.
“Our respective views of ‘possession’ notwithstanding, Your Highness, you are right—you are a man. Thus no matter how His Majesty may push you, I am confident you shall adapt accordingly.”
Now, all things considered, Dimitri did not think the young man was a complete loss. He had won over the Duchesse de Margoles the night before, had he not? Octavien just had this naïveté about him that was… well, he did not need the Duc to crush such optimism. A few months at Court would do just as well, if it had not done so already.
“A glimpse for you into the mind of His Majesty, Your Highness: this is simply his method. He rather likes mediation between himself and… everyone else. Among his lessons was not to give a man the liberty to choose at all, for there was always the chance he would choose not to submit. Nonetheless, I shall find a manner of delivering your grievances to His Majesty, to avoid similar problems in the future.”
Dimitri staved off any potentially horrified looks, with a gradual wave, and the one assurance he could give. “Without your f-words.”
(( 'f-words' being... yes... 'fear' and 'foolishness'. But I'm a dork, so I couldn't resist the chance.
Thanks, Alissa! Octavien's putting up quite a fight, I love it. He's gonna marry a hot Spanish babe, dammit! :Slap:
Now, as for Bella and Marie-Elisabeth... *ducks in Ghanima's hidey-hole*))
|30th Apr 2008, 10:24 PM||Bella and Marie-Elisabeth #65|
(OOC: Lol, fair enough, Robyn. It's the battle of egos. Bella does need to be careful, though about how to behave with whom. Seiza, I do love the fact that Octavein's putting up such a fight, he makes good entertainment! Although, I know few men who'd put up a fight when forced to marry a hot Spanish girl.
As for Bella and Marie-Elisabeth, she surrendered the battle, but she's not one to give up on the war)
Bella was sure her father knew someone bearing that surname, but she decided to let it pass.
"Perhaps it was a brother of his, Comtesse," Bella gave the victory to Maire-Elisabeth with a gratuitous smile.
"Although, we never know," she added cautiously with a sly smile. Given the age difference between the Comtesse and her late husband, Bella felt the honesty between them was less than complete. "Men and their secrets."
Bella was done with that arc of conversation, it was time to progress things. She had to be careful about what she let on hereafter. There was no point pursuing the matter if the name did not incite any favourable connections, any more venturing into memories might bring past problems into the present and that was the last thing Bella wanted.
However, the news of the Princess was new indeed.
"My goodness, that recently?" Bella asked with surprise. "That is unfortunate, indeed. I assume she was taken with illness for some time? I had only recently heard of her marriage, a beautiful event by all accounts."
Bella was intrigued by the recent developments at court. She needed to get informed on things if she was to get anywhere.
"Life is just a chance to grow a soul" - A. Powell Davies
|30th Apr 2008, 10:30 PM||#66|
(((ooc: Seiza - 'Not a complete loss'?! Boy, I tell ya, they could have done FAR worse than Octavien. Plus, WE know she's hot, but HE doesn't. Yet.
And crap, here I was trying to make him sound wise beyond his years, and he ends up naive. :laugh: Seriously, I love this discussion between the two!
Ghanima - Oh, I'm quite sure she'll be able to hold her own, not matter how Octavien chooses to play it. I read the bio. )))
|30th Apr 2008, 10:43 PM||#67|
Join Date: May 2005
((Atropa: Ack! :laugh: *thwaps Dimitri* He's got the 17th-century version of the "everyone half my age is stupid" complex.
Well! Once Octavien learns of such Spanish hotness, Dimitri's expecting major sorry notes! (Er, until Elena unleashes her forces, of course. Then all the men will do what men do best-- leave Octavien to his fate.) Oh YES, I kept thinking, "actually, Edouard could totally do worse... starts with a S... sleeps around a lot..."
Alissa: Good on Bella! Love her snooping around. She might just climb over everyone's sordid romances and claim the prize. XDDD
[EDIT] Holy crap, César and Jo ARE enjoying themselves! :laugh:
[EDIT 2] Crap the second! Thanks FP, I'll make the corrections now.))
|30th Apr 2008, 10:46 PM||#68|
((OOC: Ooooh, tsall so dramatic I don't know who to compliment...
And just FYI Larkin is the queen's uncle not brother. He's Juliet's husbands brother, so Isabella's uncle))
Larkin had escaped down the hallway, more to reacquaint himself with the palace than any dislike of the attention he was receiving. That is not to say that he was enjoying it- for the past fifteen years he had never seen more than fifty people at a time, and he had lived in a culturally backwards country on a continent good for little but trading purposes- but he had no doubts that he would quickly reacclimate himself to the patterns of court.
So, realizing that he might nto be making the best of impressiosn by disappearing, he wandered down the ahllway. He was fairly sure of where he was in the palace, but then again the whole place looked fantastically similar to him- luxurious floors that in Zimbabwe would be priceless wall hangings, carved and decorated walls and ceilings, the occasional alcove with a lovely statue, large meticulously detailed paintings... a very posh place, the Palace of Light and Air. Larkin neared the end of the hallway and saw a huge marble statue. He froze for a moment. Could it be...?
He walked over to the statue and glanced behind it. A wide grin crept onto his face as he remebered precisely where he was in the cavernous palace. There was a wooden door behind the statue and, with a bit of undignified wriggling larkin stood behind the statue and peeled it open. As he had suspected, this was one of the servant's stairways, hidden quite well in the palace's architecture, except taht the stair itself was plain wood, and the walls undressed stone. larkin was sorely tempted to go exploring, but he realized the foolishness of going in servants passages when dressed in full court attire and he had no establishment of power to excuse idiosyncrasy. Reluctantly he shut the door and turned around to go back to the main hall. Mayhaps Isabella would still be there and he could apologize for his hasty departure, and offer condolences.
Mayhaps. Then again, it had been nearly a decade and a half since he had been in France. So that worked out to 15 some years without speaking to a French woman. Which was something he would much like to remedy. Slightly amused by the direction his thoughts were taking, Larkin leisurely strolled back towards the main hall. "Time enough for all that later," he thought to himself.
((OOC: Approachable. Really. Poor Larkin's bored witless!))
The humor of a story on the internet is in direct inverse proportion to how accurate the reporting is.
|30th Apr 2008, 10:55 PM||#69|
You said it, not me! I made a point not to say it! :angel:
And "sorry notes" my butt! The boy is not superficial. Heck, knowing him, he'll probably think it was better if she had NOT been a looker, because then it would be even easier for him to dislike her.
Okay, I know that sounded somewhat contradictory, but think about it. One single redeeming quality, no matter how irrelevant, can often cause a crack in one's defences.
Not that I'm sure he WILL dislike her, but... Just thinking out loud here.
I think we're having too much fun with this. *glances as spammage* I promise I will stop now.)))
|30th Apr 2008, 11:03 PM||#70|
((Seiza - I know xD *glances at board rating* feel free to have your next post start with "20 minutes later" or something, Atropa (if César lasts 20 minutes? *ducks*)
Anyway I too will stop the spammage, I just wanted to mention I've been literally laughiung out loud over the conversation between Octavien and Dimitri, I feel so bad for Octavien and a young, honourable Princeling like him seems like such perfect prey for Elena, but we'll see how it all plays out He's no pushover, that's for sure!))
If wishes were fishes we'd all cast nets
|30th Apr 2008, 11:33 PM||Marie-Elisabeth & Bella #71|
“Most men do have secrets, that much is certain” said Marie-Elisabeth, matching the sly smile with one of her own “But the names of acquaintances and friends are hardly anything I would say Charles kept secret. He always did like to go on about his great connections and many friends he met during the war against those vile English. There were always old soldiers and friends spending time at our homes, it was quite enjoyable”.
Marie-Elisabeth smiled, remembering those many occasions. One of the fond memories she had of Charles was just how proud he had been of his military service. After their son had been born he would spend hours telling the young boy about "Whipping those dastardly English cowards until they ran home and hid behind their mother’s skirts”, while she just looked on bemusedly.
She nodded toward Bella again. ‘It probably was one of his brothers, all 3 of them have names that start with Cs, so they’re easy to confuse to those not well acquainted with the family”. That much was true, Marie-Elisabeth herself had difficulty keeping them straight and they were her brothers in law. Both Chadwick and Chauncey were rather unremarkable men, who not only looked similar but were both about as dull as dishwater.
Marie-Elisabeth frowned as she felt the same small piece of hair start to come loose again. Once again she reached up, this time firmly securing it under her hat, and resolved to have words with her hairdresser before the day was through.“And as for our poor Princess” she said, turning her attention back to Bella “From what I gathered, the illness was quite sudden. So sad to think she was such a pretty young girl will never walk these lovely halls again”.
(((OOC: That is EXACTLY what I was thinking about Dimitri. It's like he's thinking: Stupid kids don't know how to behave, and people like Marie-Elisabeth are thinking: Stupid old fogie spoiling all my fun.
And daaaang, if I was a guy I'd probably jump at the chance to marry a hot Spanish chick LOL. And since I'm not *goes off to pout and mutter about the stupid Spanish chick who gets to marry the hot prince....))))
|1st May 2008, 12:01 AM||#72|
(OOC: Thanks Seiza, but first Bella needs to learn to curb her impulses. I wonder how that'll work out vs Marie-Elisabeth!
Ghanima: Wow, while everyone's running around arguing, Cesar and Jo are making up for the antagonism!
And yeah, it's only because Octavien has no idea what he's getting himself into... once he sees her, I'm sure all this rebellion would be ancient history)
"Well, I, for one, am thankful for the existance of the English," Bella said with a small laugh. "They make feel very grateful for being French!"
Indeed, Bella was French, but only when it suited her. Maire-Elisabeth seemed to harbour a strong dislike of the English in any situation.
"You know, we must find the answer to this mystery of mistaken identity sometime," Bella carried on. She decided there must be more to it, but then, it really wasn't the time or the place for it.
However, this news of the Princess seemed worthy of investigation at present. Marie-Elisabeth may have had more to say on the subject, but Bella had to gain her bearings first. Although, Marie-Elisabeth was absolute in the idea that the Princess had just come down with sudden illness.
"Yes," Bella agreed. "The loss of a beauty and of youth always is a tragedy. I cannot imagine the grief of the the King, Queen and Prince at losing a daughter and bride, so soon at that."
The conversation had died for now. It had enough death in it to be buried. Bella needed to make new acquaintances, while she was still new and a novelty.
"You must excuse me," she smiled at Marie-Elisabeth. "I believe I should discover what has been done with my belongings. It is a pleasure making your acquaintance, Comtesse, and I do hope to speak to you again soon."
She wandered down the corridor opening into the hallway and stopped at the sight of a man she knew was somehow connected to Juliet. She'd watched him and the Duchesse walk away together earlier in the courtyard. Bella positioned herself tactfully in his field of vision and gave a warm, welcoming smile to light up his gaze over her.
[i](OCC: Bella will be back to gossip with Marie-Elisabeth soon, she just needs to spread out her acquaintances at court a little first )
"Life is just a chance to grow a soul" - A. Powell Davies
|1st May 2008, 12:53 AM||#73|
(((ooc: Alissa - Okay, I'm really not trying to go after you. Seriously, I'm not, but... Bella is, according to the bio, 19 years old, and Larkin has just returned from Africa after well over a decade... I doubt she would recognize him on sight...? Though feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, FurryPanda...)))
|1st May 2008, 1:04 AM||#74|
((OOC: You're right... Although I ahve been a bit off too, saying he's been gone for a decade and a half when he's really, if you add it up, only been gone 13 years. Either way, she'd've been six then... and that doesn't work out...
Alissa it makes more sense that either she doesn't know him period, or has already heard of him from her short stay in the palace, or knows him by reputation. I swear, I'm not trying to nitpick, I was about to say the same thing as Atropa, he just beat me to it, lol))
The humor of a story on the internet is in direct inverse proportion to how accurate the reporting is.
|1st May 2008, 2:27 AM||Octavien & Dimitri - Prince's Salon #75|
(((ooc: Ghanima - Hmph, yeah, everyone feels sorry for Octavien but Dimitri. *lol* Nah, seriously, he doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for him. He just resents being treated like a lowly no-good servant, when the only reason why he's there for them to treat him like that in the first place, is because he gave up his future just to help the royal family, and Edouard's precious princess, save face. Of course, no one except him, Isabella and Mercy know that, but still he can't help but feel some gratitude is owed to him.
slytherin - Oh how César would have loved to witness that little scene. Marie-Elisabeth would've scored more points with him for sure. Though I'm fairly sure that at the moment, he prefers his own score. *ahem* *whistles innocently*
FurryPanda - For the record, I'm a 'she'. I know I tend to RP male characters, but... They're just so much more fun for me! )))
Knowing well that the words to have come out of his mouth had been... provocative, to say the least - the number of people that would dare venture as far as to insinuate that their King was not only a fool or a coward, but a tyrant as well, and in the presence of one of said King's most trusted men too, were few indeed - Octavien was not quite sure what kind of reaction to expect from Duc d'Lorraine. Quite obviously, as the older man seemed to take a moment to contemplate his answer, it would not be the wide-eyed shock and disbelief of the young Prince's nerve to insult his father-in-law, nor would it be anger flaring in haughty offense on the King's behalf. Though when the Duc was concerned, that did not necessarily mean that the reaction to come would be any more pleasant.
Surprisingly, it seemed he actually saw beyond that first layer which one might have interpreted as nothing but impertinent disrespect, but rather took the time to view the Prince's words with cool and sober ojectivity; a sign that maybe, just maybe, he finally realized that Octavien was not a spoilt, indignant child seeking revenge for the wrongs he had been made to suffer by acting and speaking out of defiance, but a young man with a mind of his own, who could be quite useful, not only as a mere bargaining tool, but a real living, breathing, thinking asset, if they would only acknowledge him.
At the same time, the fact that the Duc did not immediately strike down his rebellious words, was an indication that somewhere deep down, despite his unsympathetic exterior, he did recognize Octavien's right to be upset.
And that, those two very things, were all that Octavien had wanted. Preferrably from the King himself, but if the Duc was all he would get, then the Duc would have to do. He did have the King's ear, after all.
Though only time would tell if Octavien's interpretation of the Duc's current silence had been correct. For all he knew, he could be far off the mark, and rather than understanding, Duc d'Lorraine could be merely looking for a way to end the discussion, after which he would go straight to the King and insist that the Prince was making himself far too difficult to have around.
"Our respective views of 'possession' notwithstanding, Your Highness," Dimitri finally said, "you are right — you are a man. Thus no matter how His Majesty may push you, I am confident you shall adapt accordingly."
At that, and for the first time during the entire encounter, the corners of Octavien's mouth tugged upwards. But not in something as pleasant as a smile, but in something as ambiguous as... a smirk.
It had just occured to him that neither Dimitri nor the King, had the slightest idea of the damage Octavien could cause, if pushed too far. What he had said about men that when pushed would adapt, had been true enough, but there was one detail he had failed to mention and that the Duc, by the sounds of it, failed to comprehend; men that when pushed would adapt, would often turn into men that when pushed too far, started pushing back.
The sad part was, Octavien's 'opponents' in this case, knew little of just what he had to push back with. And at the moment, his honor refused to let him enlighten them.
Nevertheless, it was still a comforting and rather empowering thought, in a situation were his standing was surely regarded as somewhat fragile. Hence, the smirk.
"A glimpse for you into the mind of His Majesty, Your Highness", Dimitri offered, in a sudden and unexpected moment of generosity. "This is simply his method. He rather likes mediation between himself and... everyone else. Among his lessons was not to give a man the liberty to choose at all, for there was always the chance he would choose not to submit. Nonetheless, I shall find a manner of delivering your grievances to His Majesty, to avoid similar problems in the future. Without your f-words."
Those last few words, on the other hand, managed quite well to bring a faint but fairly pleasant smile to the Prince's lips, and he inclined his head ever so slightly in recognition of Dimitri's promise. Whatever his intentions.
"I would appreciate it", he said.
But, as his tongue had already been unleashed, he couldn't help but to add, although still in that same soft, calm tone used when stating his previous observation;
"Though one would think it would be in His Majesty's best interest to know who submits out of their own free will, and who submits out of fear or coercion. Non? False-hearted support is a dangerous thing to rely on. One never does know when it will crumble, but when it does - for sooner or later, it will - one can be sure it will be at the worst possible time. Or are you now to tell me that in battle, those that choose to desert are not mainly those that are not serving willingly?"
Despite the somewhat amiable tone, one might've assumed he was once again allowing his razor tongue to run freely, had it not been that there now seemed to be a few grains of sincere curiousity seasoning his words. Much like he had said, a free man with the choice to take an interest and to learn, would have alot more interest to show, than a dog on a leash who had the lessons shoved down his throat.
However, as it seemed the Duc wanted to leave that part of the conversation behind, Octavien decided that rather than wait for an answer, he would continue, and thus graciously offer Dimitri the opportunity to view the question asked as a rhetorical one, one that did in fact not require an answer if he did not wish to give one, without making it all too obvious.
"This woman who is supposed to 'join' me", he said instead. "What can you tell me about her? Provided, of course, that I am entitled to such a question? Or would it be preferred that I be kept in the dark regarding that as well?
(((ooc: Fayre - Just realized I've completely failed to comment on what you said about Isabella and Edouard; it's perfectly fine. The only thing that jumps out at me, is the way Isabella has all of a sudden started revealing quite alot of her emotions, whereas before, when Shenan controlled her, she always, always hid everything behind her regal, placid mask. Just an observation. )))