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Castle the King

 
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Solange LeClerc
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 36
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Jobs: Political Activist, Messenger
Can Be Found: Rhy'Din
1557.94 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:11 am    Post subject: Castle the King Reply with quote

((The following is adapted from play with Alain DeMuer and Solange LeClerc))

The wind finally began to unsettle the tidy chignon at the base of Solange's neck. She had hastily pinned her heavy brunette locks early this morning while en route to Rhydin's West End and House DeMuer. The Attaché had planned on finishing her international relations tour on behalf of Baron DeMuer with a visit and brief stay in St. Aldwin, but rumors of some sort of disturbance in Rhydin had cut her itinerary short.

She had been not quite enjoying an enlivened discussion on the merits of the taxation of various luxury imports and the impact it would have on the national production and exportation of cultured pearls with an Envoy of Mayence and the Vice-Consul of Santiago, when an urgent message was delivered to her via a silver-tray wielding butler. Thankfully, she excused herself from the debate and retired to a private parlor to open the envelope. It was from her steward who had been running errands for her. He had heard disturbing gossip surrounding Alain DeMuer and assassination attempts in Rhydin's West End. He had told her as much in the letter that was nearly left on the carpeted floor, Solange could barely hang onto it. She had hastily offered her regrets of having to leave and made an excuse about a dying grandmother. The men were heartsick, and offered every condolence, as well as several escorts. While Solange expertly accepted their sentiments, she declined the escorts.

The past day was once more replayed in her head as her heels began to sink into the soft soil that surrounded the concrete blocks and piles of lumber. Solange's first stop had been Alain's primary residence at House DeMuer, which turned up empty until she was told to look for him here, at this construction site. She thought, at first, that it must be a joke; surely the Baron would not be employed in such manual labor. But before the long-legged Attaché could even finish her contemplation, she knew he probably would be here. Alain was never afraid to get his hands dirty; neither literally or figuratively. He had been that way ever since Solange had first met him all those years ago back in Nouveau Bretagne.

Her hand brushed a stray lock of hair away from her carefully rouged cheek as she strained to find his familiar form. It was obvious that her wardrobe, as it often was, was not conducive to hunting a working construction zone for someone. The white silk crepe suit was starting to accumulate dust around the hemline of its pencil skirt, and the heels of her satin covered pumps were no longer the demure Ceylon blue, but dark gray instead. Twice had she nearly stumbled, only to catch herself on a nearby pile of lumber, the last time, practically destroying the pearl bracelet on her right hand. The sun was high in the mid-afternoon sky, Solange lifted her fingers to her finely shaped brows' level. The longer she went without seeing Alain, the quicker her pulse raced. The violent and bloody flashbacks of Nouveau Bretagne were coming too furiously for her usual calm demeanor to placate.

"Alain?" She caught herself, "Lord DeMuer?" Her heels were now the color of the dirt beneath them; still, she trudged onward.

A taller man, who did little to hide his surprise and joy at seeing someone of Solange's carriage in a place like this, grinned at her before pointing a burly finger toward the western area of the site. "He's over there, M'am," came the words followed almost immediately by a juvenile giggle that he wished he could have sucked back into his mouth.

Feeling suddenly as if she could breathe again, she smiled at the man and nodded her thanks before setting off in that direction. The wind picked up again, the sides of her suit blew back to reveal the gentle blue of the thin cashmere shell she wore beneath her jacket. "Lord DeMuer?" she was closing in on a figure that she would have walked right past had she come this way first.

"Please, it's Alain," came the reply before he had even turned around. In spite of her familiar Newbreton accent the young man had forgotten her voice - written correspondence was more regular, but when had the last time been that they spoke on the phone? Last spring? The winter before that?

The man who turned to face her had aged ten years in the five since he'd arrived in RhyDin, but other than a few new scars he still looked like Alain DeMuer. He'd been working at a table saw, and his safety goggles and a copious amount of sawdust still kept her from view. "What can I do for you..." He paused when he finally pulled off his goggles, and a tentative smile crept onto his face. "...Solange? I heard you were coming, but I barely believed it."

She was taken aback at first. This was not the boy she remembered leaving. At least, that was how she had perceived him. To her, he was a stubborn boy who had, as yet, to realize his potential, his power, his providence. In the span of time that it took Alain to face Solange, he had grown from the youngest of the D'Mourrir males to the Baron DeMuer that was taking this region by storm, the organizer and, some would argue, savior of the near countless refugees who came to call this corner of the world "home." He was no longer the headstrong young man who continually clashed with her on issues of politics, policy and semantics. Here was a man who understood his mission, who embraced his calling and who just might have the pluck to pull it off.

Three years ago this land had a single village, Espérance, and Teobern remained a ruin. Now it had grown to well over thirty thousand souls, and the progress could be seen all around them: the sea to the east was covered liberally by the white sails of countless trade ships, and to the north the old city of Teobern had grown into something new, townhouses and warehouses and office buildings and stone streets stretching here to the final remaining expanse of ruins. What could not be saved or reused from the old elvish city had been demolished, five enormous piles of white stone rubble a testimony to their destruction, and now that enough space was cleared for the new settlers, they built.

Here the latest group of Newbretons would live, another hundred fleeing the increasing tempo toward global war on their home world, along with more than three hundred Uplanders and Vrasheen who could have been from the Hindu Kush by looks alone, and a growing number of Cantanovians whose olive skin could have placed them in Italy, if not for the fine points to their ears. But these were not the only races present at the site, not when one counted all the volunteers and hired contractors: the Aurks, like slender elvish-built orcs with pale green skin and small tusks, half-elves, gnomes, dwarves, and what looked like three blue-skinned men, each gifted with four arms.

Alain reached a hand out for Solange before he got a good look at it (it was filthy); he thought better of the offer and just smiled. "Welcome home."

The softened breeze pulled at her now almost untidy chignon, tendrils swirling about her pink rouged cheeks. Solange didn't know whether to embrace him or shake him. She was more than relieved to find him not only unharmed, but seemingly unaffected by any of the rumors that had made it to her attention. He was not dead, nor recovering from any assassination, nor in the midst of an uprising. So many stories had found her ears since she decided to hurry home; her all too vivid memories of the bloody assassination of the Lord-Chancellor back in Nouveau Bretagne all those years ago were drudged up mercilessly.

She didn't even notice the grime of his palm as it was offered to her. Instead, she reached out quickly before Alain had completely retracted it. She needed to touch him and make sure he was indeed there. Manicured fingers clutched at his hand as her breath caught. He was there, he was fine. Black lacquered lashes closed only briefly as she exhaled, a moment's weakness in the steely resolve of the political Attaché. "You're..." she paused to gather her mental strength and her wits. Swallowing, her gaze leveled on his hand in hers. "You're filthy." As if awakening from a dream, Solange took an instant to survey her surroundings. She was in the midst of a work zone, with dust, dirt and debris churning around her. Her polished heels were half-deep in mud, her hair was nearly fallen, her blazer was being pulled at ruthlessly, and Alain was slathered in sweat and the work of the day. But he was alive.

Alain and Solange's history had been troubled in the past, but as she had noted, the boy had grown into a man, and he was happy to see an old friend. Though perhaps with a touch of the old mischief he'd turned on her in the past, he used her grip on his filthy hand to step in closer and press a kiss to her cheek. "Yes, I'm filthy... but I'm also okay. And I'm glad you've come home."
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Solange LeClerc
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 36
See this user's pet
Jobs: Political Activist, Messenger
Can Be Found: Rhy'Din
1557.94 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I'm sorry," she regained her usual composure. "My appearance has... Forgive me for my unplanned visit. I heard rumors. I came as quickly as I could." Her lips, which were usually lined with stain, were bare. Though that did not diminish the smile that found its rest upon them. "I'm glad you're okay, Alain. That is homecoming enough for me." Her smile widened as she finally relinquished his hand and, uncharacteristically wiped her now sullied palm on the white of her silk skirt. She nearly laughed as her relief at finding him unharmed rose to her cool facade. Dirt and filth did not matter this time.

He began to step away with her, and called to the others: "Paul, Arias, taking off now! Got a whole other pile to cut still, alright?" Several people waved over their shoulders as the Baron left with the Attaché, and he gave her a smile that was a great deal more sober than the first he'd offered.

Solange's steps followed Alain's sure-footedly enough, though she knew that her now gray satin shoes would be destroyed: a small price to pay for the peace of mind she presently felt. Upon the bluff, she could truly appreciate the vision that Alain was setting into motion: a neighborhood, an actual piece of the city for these various refugees to call their own: something worth having, something worth keeping. As he spoke, she marveled at the layout before her: the buildings and homes, the view to the east of the vast sea and its ports. The smell of fertile soil was rich in the air as the breeze lifted the perfume of the new garden around them. It was serene, it would be perfect.

"There've been attempts lately, more than usual," he began. "Where they've been coming from is no surprise, the covert security arm of an interdimensional socialist group... but the timing's surprising, and the fact I hadn't even heard of them until they began their attempts on my life, and Sophie's."

"Sophie?" Solange's ear caught mention of the young Rhovnik woman. "Is she alright?" Perfectly preposterous, Solange thought, to try and eliminate someone of breeding who possessed a vision like Sophie's. She rather liked Sophie Rhovnik, which was a departure from her usual feelings on the women Alain had taken to in the past. She saw Sophie as an attractive and intelligent mind, who could understand and appreciate the consequences of actions for what they truly were. She would have to remember to ask the girl if she played chess at all.

He nodded and breathed a slow sigh as they reached a hilltop at the edge of the construction site, where a large garden had recently been planted for the residents of this new neighborhood to enjoy; Alain's eyes were on the sea to the east, ticking to and fro in minute movements, searching the horizon for answers to his mounting problems. "You received my letter regarding Ad Lucem, right? If I was a betting man... I'd put my money on the two Directors we got kicked to the curb pulling the strings here. At the same time they've been working every nation they can into a frenzy over the 'threat' of a Rhovnik-DeMuer union, they're either trying to get me killed, or at least show the public that people are trying to kill me. Paint a picture for the outside world. I'm beginning to think it's the latter."

"Fools..." she muttered under her breath. "Why can't they see that a union between two such families is what is needed to bring stability, and economic advancement?" Instead of fighting with the fragmented chignon, Solange reached back and pulled free the pins that were doing their best to hold her brunette locks at bay. The breeze lifted the light curls and arranged them as it saw fit, the leggy Attaché, however, didn't care. She was moving onto more significant matters. "I did receive your letter regarding Ad Lucem, which is why I began to suspect the worst once the rumors started," she shed her white silk blazer, which was all but trying to remove itself in the breeze, and folded it over her arm. The sun illuminated the soft blue of the sweater she wore beneath it, along with the creamy completion of her pearl strand. "They must truly have the primitive mindsets of racketeers. Honestly, I never understood the disposition of these sorts of groups. They all claim that they want equality and social justice, yet they try to topple the very support systems that would allow for these ideals to thrive. A government in upheaval will never produce such lofty goals. In order to have an economy that sustains a people and healthy economic opportunities..." her words trailed off as she realized she was bounding into one of her sermons.

Her voice quieted as she opted for her native Newbreton tongue, "There will always be these sorts of threats, as you know. We will just stay one step ahead of them." Though the late Lord-Elector Clarendon had said similar words to Solange not long before his own assassination, she knew that this was different. It felt different, this felt right. The DeMuer and Clarendon family histories were rich in politics; no assassination attempts, successful or otherwise, had been able to take that away from them.

"Ad Lucem itself is a fair-minded group," Alain defended, "as kind and even as such a secret organization can allow itself to be, in any case. But the former Directors Fawsett and Valastro became overly concerned with their ambitions, willing to go to any length to put me on a leash." He was smiling at the landscape, but the smile wasn't in his eyes now, not at all.

The attaché listened evenly to Alain's words of Ad Lucem. Her lips remained tightly closed and her tongue in check. If there was one thing that Solange found nearly impossible to forgive, it was the actions of a few in the face of many. She had been accused before of not being able to see the forest but for the trees, of being blinded to a good idea because of naysayers or negative rhetoric. And while she fully admitted this hubris, she also found cause to point out that she, very often, was right. However, now, she simply listened to Alain as he continued.

"We've finally issued a kill order on them, just recently... in secret, of course... and likewise backdoor arrangements have been made regarding the succession of a Rhovnik heir." He looked over at Solange. "It will not be Sophie, after all. Unfortunately, this is the compromise we have to make... but believe me, the nations that forced our hand, the idiotic lords who listened to Fawsett and Valastro's slippery advice and took heed, will suffer for it once they realize just what they've lost."

The sun shone off of her dewy skin as she reached an arm up to push the hair from her eyes. Surprise shone in her expression as she turned back to face to Alain. "So, Sophie will not be the heir," Solange echoed his words as her shoulders rose in near protest, but by the time they fell with an exhale, she understood what Alain was doing. And he was right. She echoed the future regret of the lands that had indeed forced their hands, "That is a tragedy. She would have been a wonderful mind to have at the helm. They will see." Her pointed chin once more faced out toward the view of the sea as she listened to Alain speak of Sophie. Her lips, now devoid of any gloss or stain, quirked a bit as their corners lifted gently into a small smile. She enjoyed Alain being so happy, she truly did. And she saw Sophie as the complete package.

The ice in Aain's gaze softened again as the subject turned back to Sophie, and on the kindest of his relatives, and he smiled again, genuinely. "Sophie's alright. She's..." For a moment he wanted to gush, to say sentimental things, and perhaps it showed in his face. "...a very strong woman. She knows what needs to be done, and I have to admit... I don't think I could've gotten this far without her. Not in this kind of conflict... not without her support."

There was a slight nod of her head as she recognized the feelings that Alain tried so carefully to sidestep in his words. Solange turned her pointed chin toward him, still employing their native language, "Your uncle would have been proud of you, Alain. And so would your Mother."

He rubbed at his jaw for a moment, considering a few sheltered thoughts, and finally said, "While you were gone... I had a marker erected for Lord Clarendon. I put him near my mother's marker... you know the graveyard," he added, head turning to the hills to the west, then back to her, and he finished in a gentle tone: "I thought you'd want to know."
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Solange LeClerc
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 25 Jul 2006
Posts: 36
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Jobs: Political Activist, Messenger
Can Be Found: Rhy'Din
1557.94 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An almost silent chuckle nearly was clenched in her throat as he mentioned Lord Clarendon. To be fair, Alain and Solange had never really talked about what had transpired back in Nouveau Bretange, at least pertaining to this. Solange had never divulged her ancillary role as it pertained to Alain's uncle. Why would she? And Alain had never asked. Why would he? It was, at times, the proverbial "elephant in the room" that no one ever talked about, for fear of being inappropriate.

The whimsical smile on her face faded as she swallowed and looked briefly away from Alain, finding the view to the east particularly interesting. There was only one sharp intake of breath to betray her once more cool and tidy exterior. She could feel her blood warm within her body and knew that Alain had done her a great service, even if he was unaware of it. Her sculpted face looked back to the Baron; the smile that she bestowed upon him was most unlike any she had ever shared with him. This smile was soft, it was warm, it was real. She blinked several times, taming the glistening that briefly clung to the corner of one eye. Although she said nothing, she was sure that Alain could hear her sincere "thank you."

The quieted pause spread between them, not awkwardly, but contentedly. Solange quickly ran her tongue over her pink lips once more and lifted her chin toward the sea, letting the sun shine off of the tips of her bare shoulders. Thick lashes closed as she inhaled through her nose, taking in the serenity of the moment. As her lids parted, she looked upon the waterfront in the distance. Her lips smiled softly, her voice was even softer. "I'm sure you have to get back to your appointments and such, Alain," her face turned toward the Baron she never realized she would come to respect so much. "To let you know, however, I do have some gifts and trinkets that I accepted on your behalf from several of the emissaries and heads of state that I met with. Some of them are actually quite nice: a pair of goblets, an impressive carved wooden globe, and even an ivory chess set." The light gleamed in her eyes, "And there was an antique jeweled brooch from the Ambassador of Marchezia that I think would look lovely on Sophie. I had them brought to the compound, they are being unloaded as we speak."

She placed her hand upon his arm, "I have much to share with you from my visits, but to be sure, I must freshen myself. Perhaps we can discuss the state of the world this or another evening when you have some time." The habitual primper was beginning to feel more herself, and less acceptable in the state she was in: her silk pumps were soiled and destroyed, her white suit was now a light shade of gray and the wind had been merciless with her brunette locks.

"It's good to see you, Alain," came her quiet voice in their mother tongue. "I'll leave you to your duties. You may send a messenger to me to let me know when is best for you to meet."

The creeping warmth of their time together and this serene moment had its effect on Alain, too. He curled his right hand over her shoulder, and pressed a gentle kiss to her cheek. "I'll see you soon, Solange." His lips twitched upwards towards a smile, and settled instead into something far more content, at peace with the state of things in spite of their tumultuous state. He took the first two steps backwards, then turned from her to return to the site leaving her on the hill to contemplate their reunion before she, herself, left for Baskingstoke Villa.
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