(c) 2015 Bonnie Jean Roberts All Rights Reserved
Begins October 5, 2015 and will be an ongoing saga with new scenes posted each week.
**Disclaimer: There are adult themes so, as such, this series is not for people under age 21.**
“He waited in her plush bed laced with deep purples that set off the gold bedposts. Such opulence and decadence in one room. Pedestals in gold leaf that supported shiny trays of fruits, wines, cheeses, and breads from around the world. Olives and grapes hanging from their vines were attached to each corner of the bed…”
Chapter 1 Scene 1
Her flowing chestnut locks cascaded down her barely dressed body. Each curve of soft flesh highlighted in the seductive sunlight, warming her silky ivory skin. Her breasts, full and rising with each gentle breath that fell from her luscious red lips.
He waited in her plush bed laced with deep purples that set off the gold bedposts. Such opulence and decadence in one room. Pedestals in gold leaf that supported shiny trays of fruits, wines, cheeses, and breads from around the world. Olives and grapes hanging from their vines were attached to each corner of the bed.
His olive toned flesh kissed his muscular arms and was warmed by the heat in the room, most of it emanating from her as she basked in the beauty of the day illuminating the window. He was covered only by a silky fringed pillow and he rather enjoyed the feel against his bare loin.
She turned so that he may see her breasts through the sheer cloth. She let the sheet fall as she reached for some grapes so that she may feed him. Such plump grapes. Its juice ran down his chin and onto his chiseled chest. She smiled and gracefully licked off the flow running down his chest.
What an amazing two days.. Demitri and I spent the whole time in my boudoir . We did spend a little time in the garden, but that was so short lived. He was such an exotic creature, carnal and sweet just how I prefer my lovers. He will be back but for now I sent him back to his home country. He was such a pleasant distraction .
I have an accord to make permanent with the King of France so that my people will be satisfied in the riches they have become accustomed to. Our little town on the southwest coast is modest but proud. The mayor is a blond haired buffoon and rather garish in his mannerisms. And as a prominent duchess, even at my tender age, it is my civic responsibility to bring prosperity and progress here.
I will do whatever I need to ensure the longevity of Vielle-Saint Girons. Preparations are being made now throughout the chateau. The King’s adviser is arriving in a few days. I will now direct my attention to put into writing what my requests shall be.
Firstly, though, I desire a warm bath and fresh fruit.
Chapter 1 Scene 2
The King’s adviser arrived early, parading himself around town on his high horse. He demanded respect and his servants went ahead of him ensuring the common people would be bowing as he rode past. His carriage of gold leaf and ivory gleamed in the sun as it cast an impressive shadow over the citizens.
He rode up to the chateau and had his footmen bow before him as he made his way off the carriage. An impressive man to be sure, with his fancy feathered plume, crushed velvet suit and the boldest navy shoes to tie it all together.
Lady J stood at the ready for his arrival, not her usual demeanor, but his visit was vital to the prosperity of her humble town. She opted for her lavender gown and full bustle. Of course she had her heaving chest prominently featured.
She intended to impress…and woo if necessary…the gentleman caller. Business and pleasure were one and the same for the lady. She did have a boundary of how far she would take it, but oft times the mere hint of a tryst would be enough persuasion. Other times she would have to delay with excuses. She knew it was a dangerous game and has been unscathed to date.
The adviser arrived today, in all the splendor of royal prestige. He was shorter than I had envisioned, but handsome in his own right. He lavished me with gifts and a variety of treats from Paris. There is nothing like the sweet scent of lavender fresh from the King’s garden.
We dined by candles and I discreetly brought up the wishes of my people. He ate and nodded; I felt his mind was elsewhere. He let the food drop from his overstuffed mouth. Quite ravenous and I imagined he was interested in ravishings of other sorts as well. I dangled the jewels in front of him as to catch him between mouthfuls. My cleavage was prominent as I took the seat to his left. Leaning in to his ear, I brushed his arm. He was at full attention now.
He stared at my precious lumps and shifted in his chair. I proceeded to ask for our needs to be met; to explain how we all had wishes as my hand caressed his inner thigh. He agreed as much and we soon had an accord with the stamp of the King firmly set on the parchment.
Time for a bath. For two.
Chapter 1 Scene 3
She waved as the adviser’s carriage disappeared around the hedges. Blew him a kiss and proceeded back to her boudoir. Surrounded by the lavish gifts he bestowed upon her, she went through them one by one. She was accustomed to receiving gifts and she was quite appreciative with each one. She kept a few for herself and placed the rest in baskets for later.
Changing into her less formal attire, she asked her handmaiden to call for her carriage. She gathered up the baskets and stopped by the kitchen. Her butler had the rest of the baskets prepared and they set out to fill the carriage. A few times per week she would go into the streets and bestow gifts and food to the citizens. Soon she would be able to offer more once the provisions she set forth with the King’s adviser arrive.
The people know when she will be arriving and each week the crowd grows. Depending on that week’s received gifts, the ladies will receive perfumes, hair ornaments, and exotic scarfs among other luxuries. She does not have many items for the men and children, but she makes up for that with foods from around the world and locally.
All her sins and deceptions are for this reason and this reason alone; to help her people and bring prosperity and, more importantly, survival. This is how she gives back to the people that she lived amongst in her early life.
I was among my people today. I had more to give than usual but it was still not enough to help everyone. I wait with bated breath for the King’s provisions to come through. Our local resources have depleted in recent months as we face civil unrest in the cities around us and thwart any trade efforts we have had.
I plan to make a trip to see the king in three months time if not before to show my appreciation and secure long term help for my people.
I have also received word that the Duke will be returning at month’s end. It has been a long ten months since he departed to England on treaty agreements on behalf of the King. It was difficult at times without him, but we both have a sense of duty for King and Country. It did lead to our courtship and marriage, so I will do what I must to uphold our convictions.
I have missed him so. There is much work to be done to ready for his arrival. I can feel the butterflies swarm in my belly as I write this. I greatly anticipate his return. I will write more tomorrow my lovely.
Chapter 1 Scene 4
She loves her town. Nestled on the southwest corner of France, it is tiny but important to goods being transported into Paris from the ships that dock along the shore.
So much wealth and luxury pass through on any given week and she felt they deserved a portion of the spoils. Not for luxurious means, but for food and textiles to make clothes. Her latest tryst afforded the opportunity to provide for her people. She anticipates the Duke’s return and find out how his end of the plan worked. His methods were vastly different from hers, but unscrupulous nonetheless.
They made a pact to become a power couple for the good of the town. Whatever means necessary type of pact, although they did incorporate a boundary to not become too deep in the evils of the world. It was a delicate balance at times and there were a few incidents here and there over the years. Nothing that would cause suspicion on them, however.
The Duke would be gone for weeks, sometimes months but would have a letter hand couriered frequently to keep her up to date in case they need to change their tactics, which was the case with the King’s adviser.
She had much to tell her husband upon his return. She handed out the last of the gifts then headed back to the estate.
I had another message from my husband when I returned from the town center. He is due to leave in two fortnights and it will take him another two to arrive. I have much to prepare for. I shall cease calling for my lovers a fortnight before my beloved’s arrival.
I do hope we shall not have to deviate from the scheme again. I am not comfortable with mixing politics and pleasure. My passion is strong and pure. Diluting it in order to gain political favors is a sin. And politicians have absolutely no finesse and foreplay is such a foreign concept to their addled, privileged minds.
I shall be calling for Pietr tomorrow to be with me for the week. Maybe longer. I need a pleasant distraction from the stress of politics and entertaining imbecilic power mongers. I need a young, firm, and passionate lover to bring my body, mind, and soul back to life.
I will retire tonight early to prepare for my lover’s arrival. He does make me weary after a day or two with his untamed passion and sensuous foreplay. I will have to make sure the kitchen is stocked. He has a healthy appetite and will need replenishment.
Two days passed since Pietr left. He was a distraction but her mind was elsewhere. She sent him home after one day.
She had much to do for the Duke’s arrival and she wanted him to come home to a clean and relaxing home.
Heading out to the garden, her butler handed her a sealed parchment with the royal seal on it. She felt it took precedence over her garden walk and headed back to the library. Breaking the seal as she sat down she felt a pit growing in her stomach.
A mere formality from the king. Upon his adviser’s return, there was an urgent meeting called. There has been an uprising in recent months by a small group of citizens. Not a problem within itself, but it has taken root and is growing in numbers. This parchment was an announcement that the movement would be swiftly demised and silenced.
She rolled it up and set it aside to discuss with her husband upon his return. She reached for a blank sheet and penned a response to the King, expressing loyalty and support from their house and town. Her town needed to have the resources and any uprising could jeopardize her efforts.
Perhaps she intuitively knew something was off when she sent Pietr away early. She felt the need to be alone with her house servants and prepare the house. To clear her mind also. The season of her lovers had come to an end, this new situation took precedence.
I was not satisfied with Pietr’s visit this time. Oh, he was his usual delicious god of pleasure, but even that could not awaken my desire. I have had this foreboding feeling for a few days now.
I was about to take a stroll in the garden when I was handed a parchment form the King. There is an uprising in the city and they thought it would just dissipate just like the others, but this one is growing. They intend to lock the people in the Bastille. Forever. I fear for the people but for the greater good it must be done.
Of course our loyalties remain with the King. He must remain in power for us to survive and prosper. I fear if he does not take care of this now, it will only grow and overtake us.
I will take that stroll now then bathe. I do not feel any hunger so I may just give the servants a night off. I do wish to be alone so I will send them to their quarters or to do as they please.
My darling should be home soon. I need his presence tonight but I will have the ladies over before his arrival to help pass the time. I shall keep the news from France to myself.
Chapter 1, Scene 6
She sat at her writing desk and began her letter to the King. She got as far as the greeting and then was unsure of what to write. She was sure she knew the reason for the uprising in the capital city, although not all of them.
The conditions of living were dire and the general sentiment was the King and his cohorts were greedy and self sufficient at the expense of the people. She learned a great deal during her deliveries to the people in her town as they did not view her and her house as the same as the King.
She returned to her task at hand and penned a heartfelt letter of allegiance to the King, regardless of how she felt inside about the poor people of the city. She had enough to do to take care of her own people and if that meant to endearing herself to the King to do so then that is the route she would take.
She was very aware of her precarious position should this uprising take root and she is found to be a royal sympathizer. The reasons behind her allegiance would be of no concern to the masses and she knew the people here would align themselves with the revolt as a matter of principle.
She finished her letter to espouse loyalty to the King and had her servant deliver it forthwith. She would spend the day creating a contingency plan for the future.
This news from the King has me a bit unsettled. The people there are forming an uprising in response to the poor living conditions. While I commiserate with them, I must maintain a connection to the King for the good of my town and the people here.
But what happens if they join the movement should the King not be able to quell the rising tide? I must put these thoughts from my mind but it may be that I will have to face the possibility. I will have to discuss my concerns in length when the Duke returns from his travels. I do wonder if he is aware of the goings on in Paris.
It will be good to have my love home. He has been on this campaign for far too long. My lovers do well but I am shunning them now. Even they have not been able to satisfy me on an emotional level. The passion is so fleeting and I need my love to fill that void like only he can.
In the beginning, it was his power I was drawn to, but in seducing him, I found that he had a deep sense of loyalty and duty in the face of every possible adversary. When he first mentioned of his ulterior motives to use his position of power and influence to be of benefit to the townspeople, I was captivated and that began my deep love for the man. I could not fathom life without my Duke.
Chapter 1 Scene 7
Standing in front of her closet, she was staring down a plain box at the bottom of her shoe collection. She bent down and brought it out to her bed.
Once in a while she would walk among the town people as woman who was just passing through to the next town over. Previously it was to just be among the people but not as Lady J, but her reason was different today.
She called for her head butler to let him know of her plans. He was the only person privy to her excursions since she would have to sneak out and he would direct any contacts away until she returned.
He brought in the wash basin and began to help her remove her powdered wig and the heavy dress, bustle, and waist cincher. She washed her face powder and lip stain off and looked at herself in the mirror. Quite a transformation from her everyday look.
The butler left her to take care of the rest. She twisted her hair up in a loose, messy updo and put on the plain light blue bonnet. A plain blue dress and tan apron completed her disguise.
She sneaked out the back and down the side road to head into town. The walk would give her time and fresh air to think. For now, she did her best to abate her worries and be among the people. As comfortable as her life was, she truly felt her best when she spent time in town as herself. This is where her heart truly resides.
I stripped myself of my status and normal attire for the day. I feel a strong need to be among the people as my real self. Partly to find out the sentiment among them that Lady J would not be able to.
The people love her but that does not translate into trust. With this news from the kingdom of an uprising, I need to see the truth. My work here and the Duke’s work in the cities are all to take care of this city and these people. Shortsighted, but we feel our obligation is to keep them out of poverty and make this a self sustaining town.
The garden we helped cultivate is going strong and the people have taken ownership of it and it has grown to three times its original size. I have never been more proud of this city and the citizens. Humble and hard working like my father who held the same ideals and I carried on his vision.
I am bringing the basket that my mother used to carry with me. I will pick up some fresh flowers and bread while I am out then spend the rest of my time working in the town garden. I hope to see Evangeline as well, she has wormed her way into my heart and she loves Lady J as well as my alter ego Celeste. For such a young lady of seven years, she has the mind and soul of an ageless being. I will bring her a sachet of her favorite scent too.
Chapter 1, Scene 8
She was making her way around the last bend and could hear the chatter of the town folk. A smile spread across her face and she felt calmer already. The people were always welcoming and humble to anyone who traveled through their streets. She went around the backs of the buildings to come through on the other side. So far she has not run into anyone while doing this, but the people were always out in the square either selling goods or socializing.
She reached the other side and readied her basket to fill with the goods from town. The baker had his cart out while is wife ran the store. He was talking to the main farmer to arrange a unit of wheat for the week. The wheat was grown just outside the town in a field along with other crops that required more space. He ordered enough for the week as usual. He was the biggest procurer of wheat as he was the only baker in three towns over.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a group of little ones running around chasing each other with sticks. One of the moms was yelling after them to be careful and to stay close. The mom smiled at her as she passed by and offered her a spritz of a new fragrance she cultivated from apples and rose essence. She obliged and soon had a small bottle wrapped up to take home. She was the florist also, so she purchased a large mixed bouquet of wildflowers. She would pick up the bread on the way home. She headed out to the garden to help out and gather some fresh produce for the castle. She felt free.
I love being among the people here. The florist had a new scent that I fell in love with, so I splurged and bought a small bottle. She had a large assortment of flowers but I chose the wildflower bouquet this time.
The chatter among the people was nothing really revealing about the uprising in the city, so word must not have reached here yet. I do hope the people here will be unaffected by it for their sake. They seem to be fairly happy here, it is a tough time but our little town seems to thrive due to the dedication and hard work of everyone here.
I made my way to the garden on the edge of town near the entrance of my mansion. The men and women were busy weeding and cultivating new ground after the recent reaping of the seasonal goods. I set down my basket and joined the ladies on the ground to pull weeds and loosen up the soil. Feeling the dirt between my fingers was soothing. I helped them finish and then put down some seeds for the next round of crops. I should come out here more often, but by disguising myself as an out of towner, I could not ruin my cover by coming every day. Once a week was sufficient. As payment for my work, I was offered a small crop selection and I took less than they offered. I have not yet seen Evangeline but perhaps I can stop by before I head back home.
Chapter 1, Scene 9
She had her crops packaged up and headed back through town. She had more small talk with the ladies and she felt a tug on her skirt. She turned and saw little Evangeline at her side. Evangeline had a small bouquet of flowers that she had picked herself and handed a few to her.
She had taken a special interest in her since she heard that her mother had passed away a few years ago from pneumonia. Her father did well by her and the ladies in town also helped with making her clothes and fixing her hair.
Whenever Lady J would make a visit either as herself or otherwise, She would always have an extra little trinket for Evangeline. This time it was a figurine of a dancer, dressed in a light pink dress. She bent down in front of her and gave her a hug as she handed the little gift to her.
Evangeline laughed in excitement and ran in a circle with her tiny dancer. She had fresh ribbons in her hair and a matching dress. This one had lace and tulle added to it, no doubt from an old dress that the seamstress had used. Lady J thought to herself that she would bring some pretty accessories from her stash next time. There was one seamstress in town that she frequented s she could hire her secretly to make a dress for the young lady.
It was late in the day and she had to bid her farewells to Evangeline. She gave her another hug and watched her run off to show her Papa the dancing figurine. Such a happy young lady and Lady J hoped that she would always be the joyful and carefree girl that she is in this moment
I got my chance to see Evangeline today. She has grown a bit since I last saw her. The other ladies told me she had been ill for a time but she recovered. Such a strong little Girl to have gone through losing her Mom at a very young age. I wonder what memories she holds, if any. I lost my Mom almost ten years ago and I still miss her. I do have memories though, since I was in my late teens when she passed. I wish I could do more for her, so I will find a trusted soul to be a liaison on my behalf for her and her father.Not too much to create hard feelings with other townsfolk or to invite thieving rogues to harm them for gain. I will be tasking my seamstress to make her items of clothing each month and also for the father. He works hard to keep food on their table and a roof over their heads. I will return under my guise in a few weeks. I must now put my focus on the current uprising in Paris. I will possibly make a trip out there to see with my own eyes the condition of the people and the reactions from the King. This is a transition and the balance could tip either way. I hope for a peaceful solution, but I fear the King will not be as receptive to the uprising and make much needed changes for the benefit of the people. It is possible to remain in power and help those in need, much as we have done here. But I fear the pride and small mindedness of His Majesty will woefully be the cause of a greater problem. I will set out within the next few days after i get word to my Duke. I feel he will be waylaid in Paris so I might as well meet him there. We need peace and hope now more than ever before.
Chapter 1, Scene 10
Upon entering the mansion, Lady J removes her guise and sets out to her writing desk. Her butler brings her a plate of fruit and cheese but it goes untouched. She cannot eat until she sends out her letters to gather any information on the uprising that she is able to. Her first letter is to the Duchess a few towns over who has an ear for gossip and a penchant for loose lips. She will spill it all to a curious ear or even to anyone who crosses her path. She is very much a supporter of the King in word and deed, so her position is secure. Unless, or until, the uprising takes root and grows, she is safe behind the cloak of the King. It has been said that she is one of his many lovers, but that has never been proven; such as it is with all His Majesty’s dalliances.
As much as the Lady herself takes on a lover or two, she has not taken the King as one of them. It would seem absurd really, he would be the one to choose her but that is something she would not do unless it is discussed with her Duke. He would have to insist on it actually, knowing it would only be done to gather information. It has not come to that point yet, they have been able to learn what they need to without too much controversy or infiltrating on a deeper level. Her lovers were merely a distraction while the Duke was away, but with all the news from the Royal City, there was no time for such luxuries right now.
She penned two more letters to royal sympathizers and would send them out with her messenger the next day. She had a few bites of food and decided on a bath. She knew she had a life of luxury and knew that it would become precarious once this uprising gained momentum. She would let it go, she had to in order to uphold her ideals and be there for the people. She did much for the people in town and yet she knew it was not enough. She would have to face being stripped down to nothing to see her dream of peace and prosperity for all to come about. Sacrifices were always required and she would have to let go of this lavish life. Part of her did not want to let it all go, she had become accustomed to this life and all its wealth and prestige. She chastised herself at her selfishness and she knew the pittance she does for the townspeople is ineffectual; she would not stop, however. She would have to do more and there would be a demand for it.
Her bath was over and she headed into her boudoir. She looked at all her lovely items. Jewel encrusted hair brushes, jewelry from all corners of the world, beautiful gowns and wigs, the finest perfumes and powders, and luxurious linens adorning the bed. She did not deserve these things, when the world outside her window was suffering. Yet these people were happy in their misery. They always had a quick smile and gave even when they had so little to give. They were always there to help their neighbors as occasion demanded. Such a contrast from high society, where they smiled but it was a veiled smile to hide disdain and envy. It was a dangerous undertaking to have your back turned for certainty of receiving a knife in your spine.
She requested an empty box from her butler and proceeded to put all her items of luxury inside; she intended to sell them off upon her trip to Paris. She would give the money to the town treasury for them to use as they will. She could no longer hold onto these things in good conscience. She kept a few meaningful items, but gave up the rest. It was a new time for her. She began to let go of parts of her life that no longer served purpose for her.
I had a change of heart today, perhaps not a change of heart so much as listening to my heart and honoring it. I can no longer stand all the riches around me. I love all my possessions but, in keeping them, I am choosing to live in a world that I believe to exist. That world will be ending soon with this uprising and I will be among the people. I can no longer hold onto the charade of being a lady of society when my heart is with the people. That is how I was raised and that is my true self. I am not sure how the Duke will feel about this, since he has always known privilege. I do feel that he will understand and will have to come to terms with a change of lifestyle as well if he is to uphold his ideals.
I gathered up all my luxuries and intend to sell them upon arrival in Paris. The town needs the money and I know I can gather a fair price for them. I will gradually sell them over the course of my stay there so as to not raise eyebrows and give the gossipers fresh fodder. They talk anyway but I will not give them cause to use me as that day’s news. I was considering using my guise to sell them, but that would draw unwanted attention and I would be viewed as a thief. I must be careful here but there is no other way.
I do hope my Duke will be there, I miss him so. With everything in upheaval and my current emotions, I desire to be around his stable presence. He will fill me in on what he knows and what our next move will be. We did not see this coming amongst all our plans for peace and prosperity for our town. We now might have to take on a bigger mission beyond our own town. Time will tell of things to come. I will rest now. I know not if I am able to sleep with my mind full f worry, but I must to prepare for a long journey to Paris in a few days.
Chapter One, Scene 11
She spent the next two days preparing for her trip to Paris. Not knowing how long she would be there, she packed for a two week excursion and hoped that would be enough. She would also be meeting up with her Duke so she wanted to pack her finer dresses and wigs. He loved her either way, but she wanted to look her best for him. Plus, in Paris, she would be scrutinized and gossiped about, so why not give them plenty to be envious of?
Her butler came by the morning of the departure and informed her that the carriage was ready and all her belongings were packed and ready to go. She thanked him and requested a light breakfast from the kitchen. Traveling always made her nervous and she did not want to risk getting sick along the way. The chef packed her a basket of food to nibble on if she got hungry along the way. After eating and washing up, she set out to the carriage waiting her arrival in front.
The road to Paris was bumpy at best, but she had no complaints. Most people would have to walk to the city which she had no idea how long it would take them. She was grateful for her carriage and horseman. He was a pleasant man, always smiling, even when he tried not to. Most horsemen would have a somber and serious expression, mostly at the request of their Lords and Ladies. Lady J did not mind his disposition whatsoever, but she would request a serious face and tone upon meeting other members of royalty.
He chatted excitedly of his going to Paris. This would be his first trip out there since he was hired. Her old horseman had to take a forced retirement once he lost his eyesight. He still lives on the grounds as he has no family of his own to take care of him. She was sad that he would no longer be taking her around, but she would oft visit him when she could to talk about old times and fanciful stories. He became endeared to her in the last few years as her horseman and she could not have turned away from him in his time of need. He still went out to pet and brush the horses daily. He had lost his sight, but he was fully aware of the horses’ conditions nonetheless. He ordered the stable hands around; none of them minded and even welcomed his guidance.
She back to the present time with a big bump in the road. The carriage was slowing down and she wondered if they had lost a wheel. Frederick came around to her carriage door and asked her to step out. He helped her down the steps and pointed to the front right of the carriage. There, on the ground, was a young woman passed out and covered in dried mud. The rains have been so heavy here the past few days that the mud was still damp on the ground. She must have been traveling to another town and succumbed to the weather. Lady J reached in the carriage for her food basket and took out the water. She tried to rouse the young lady to give her a drink, but she would not awaken. She asked Frederick to pick her up and set her in the carriage. He began to protest but he knew that there was no use in it. He scooped her up and laid her in the seat across from Lady J.
What a day it has been so far. We are on the road to head to Paris and I am having a pleasant time listening to Frederick hum and sing as we head from town to town. He will stop occasionally to describe his view to me or to tell me of his latest adventures in town while on errands. I cannot help but smile at this man, mostly because he is always smiling and it is contagious. He has been with me for about seven months now. I do miss Charles; losing his eyesight was unfortunate but that has not slowed him down one bit. He has taken over the stables and keeps the hands there on task. He knows the horses and can tell if something is off just by using his other senses. He is quite a remarkable man and I love to sit with him and talk about stories from his past and his philosophies on life. He has become like a father to me in many ways.
Another curious event on the way to Paris was we came across a young woman in the road; she was passed out and covered in dry mud. We could not revive her, so I had Frederick lay her in the carriage and we would try to get her help in a nearby town. She is breathing faintly, so we need to get her help quite soon. She does not appear to be a peasant girl nor a member of royalty. She has a rather nice gown on and wears some costume jewelry that appears to be Roman in design. I wonder what her story is, and I do hope she survives to tell it to us. A most curious day indeed.
Chapter 1, Scene 12
The next town was quite a distance away and Lady J kept an eye on the young stranger passed out across from her. She moaned a few times but has not come back to the realm of consciousness. She had some minor scrapes and a developing bump on her head. Lady J assumed that they had interrupted someone from doing more harm to this young woman. She had much to ask her once she did recover enough, hopefully before they reached the next town.
The carriage came to a stop abruptly when the driver came to the door again.
“My Lady, we have another situation that you need to see.” He held the door open for her and assisted her down the steps.
This time there seemed to be a sudden attack; bodies were strewn about the road and beyond. Men, women, children, and even some animals. They appeared to be from the same group as the young lady in the carriage. There was nothing to be done for these poor souls now, except to help the lone survivor, if she manages to survive, that is.
Lady J walked among the victims and it looked they were ambushed and run through by swords or bayonets. Who would do this and why? They seemed like simple people, baskets of flowers and fresh crops were strewn about. Fresh carcasses of a boar and a pheasant were laying nearby, now covered with human blood and dirt that was kicked up during the attack. The young girl had a sack of flour and a few loaves of freshly baked blood.
She bent down by her and brushed her hair aside. Her face was fixed in a scream, she must have bled out while she watched her family get massacred. She looked much like the woman in the carriage and Lady J was certain now that there was a definite relation between the deceased and her. She took off her cape and covered the young girl with it after closing her lifeless eyes. She said a prayer over her and stood to look at the other bodies. They all had horrific facades that were set in death now. A couple young boys, a young lady about the same age as the one in the carriage, a man in his 30s and what appeared to be the elders of this small clan comprised this devastating scene.
The driver encouraged her to get back in the carriage and continue on, just in case the marauders were still in the vicinity. She nodded, said a final prayer, and returned to her seat. They were off without much ado and the ride became somber and silent. Even the trees held their sway and the forest animals held a revered silence. Lady J once more peered across the carriage and felt an extra stab of pain in her heart when she would have to divulge what she knew of what happened to her family. First thing, though, they had to get her help as soon as possible.
Lady J did wonder why there were only scrapes and an ever increasing bump on her head but no mortal wounds like the others. Perhaps she managed to get away before the massacre began. Men with swords are generally not concerned with being outnumbered by a family out gathering food. She closed her eyes and imagined them all smiling and walking and very much alive before a horrible fate had met them. A few tears ran silent at the pictures in her mind. She opened her eyes but the images remained. She came back to the present moment upon hearing movement and a tiny voice.
“Mum? Are we home already?” her eyes were closed and a look of confused pain twisted her face as she sat upright.
This venture to the capitol city has become something more. As we ventured toward the next town to seek out medical help, we came across a most gruesome and heart breaking scene. A family had been viciously slaughtered as they appeared to be gathering and hunting food for themselves. A very young girl was among them, the youngest so it appeared. She had the same hair color and complexion as the lady that we had set in the carriage. I have no doubt that this was her family, ambushed and run through with swords, perhaps bayonets.
We had to depart quickly for fear of the murderers still in the area. I said silent prayers and covered the young girl with my cape; it was the very least I could do at that point. What I can do now is get this young lady some help and get her back to proper health. I will have to tell her about what we came across but I will not do so until I am certain that she is physically healed. I do hope she has family left somewhere but one thing at a time.
The ride is so quiet now. The forest seems like it is frozen in time without nary a rustle of leaves or birds chirping. Nature is mourning as well with the undeserved deaths of this family. I do hope and pray their souls are in the hands of the Heavens now and their pain is erased. They were dressed in ordinary clothes that had been repaired over time, they must have lived near a water stream as they were fairly clean and not unkempt by any means. Perhaps this young lady was the one to wash clothes and prepare the meals along with the elder woman. The young girl was probably just learning her role in the family. My thoughts keep going to the young girl, her death was particularly heavy for me. It brought back that memory I would have rather forgotten.
The young lady came to a while ago, asking for her mother. I did not know what to tell her, except how we found her. I have so many questions to ask, but it can wait. I will get her some food and drink first. We are almost to the next town.
Chapter 2, Scene 1
“No dear, my name is Lady J and we came across you unconscious beside the road. Can you tell me what happened?”
“Who are you? Where is my mom?” she was sitting up but she was not fully out of the woods yet.
Lady J felt it was too soon to tell her what happened to her family. “I am Lady J and we are heading to the next town to find you a doctor and maybe more answers for you. I feel you should eat something small, it might make you feel better.”
The young lady nodded and the concerned matron prepared her a few pieces of fruit and a glass of water. She nibbled on them slowly and took a small sip. Her head was hurting but they had no ice to try and dull the pain. Lady J felt she needed something stronger and took out her skin of wine. She handed it across and the young lady took a good drink. Hopefully that will help the pain for a while.
“What is your name, dear?” Lady J resealed the wine skin.
“Musette. My name is Musette. My mom plays the harpsichord and being her first born, she always said I was her muse. I do not recall my birth name, since I have been called Musette from a young age. When we find my Mom we can ask her. “ She sat back and smiled at a distant memory before the pain seared again.
“It is a lovely name for a lovely lady. “ Lady J tried to hide the pain in her face when she thought back to this loving family killed like slaughtered animals in the road. She took out the wine skin and let Musette have another sip.
“My mom would love this wine. She was always after my father to bring her some back in his travels. So far she has eleven different wines back home. As a gesture of thanks, I am sure she would let you taste some of each. She would also enjoy your company, being a woman around her age and you seem genuinely nice. “ she handed the wine back again. It started to flow through her and she began to feel warm. The pain was a distant thought within the next few minutes. She relaxed and closed her eyes. Lady J would have to try and keep her awake until they could reach a doctor.
“Tell me more about your family. Do you have any siblings?” Lady J took out a few cheese slices and encouraged her to eat it if she could. Musette nibbled and talked excitedly about her brothers and especially about her younger sister.
“I was so happy when little Charlotte was born. I love my brothers but they like to run and play rough and put bugs in my bed. Once she was able to walk and talk, we became inseparable. Mom had me take care of her a lot. She would tell me that someday I will have a little girl and I will know all I need to know in order to raise her. Most women in our state do not have the opportunity to be taught. It has been a long standing tradition in our heritage to have the mothers teach their daughters. They would teach the sons too, separately though. There is so much more than letters and numbers to teach the daughters, she said. So little Charlotte is like a sister and a daughter to me.” The wine had eased her pain and loosened her tongue.
Lady J smiled and it reminded her of her own mother who had the same beliefs about teaching the future female generations. If Lady J would have had her baby come to term, she would have hoped for a daughter so that she could pass on the tradition.
“That is lovely, the bond you have with your mom and your sister.” It was harder to keep a smile knowing that she would have to tell her soon about the tragedy back on the road.
Such a beautiful young woman. She is in great pain but she manages to smile through it as she talks about her mother and sister. Her name is Musette, a nickname given to her by her mother as a young child. She is very bright and well educated as far as the confines of knowledge go. It is a long held legacy among the women in her lineage to pass down from daughter to daughter.
I am still keeping my knowledge of her family’s deaths to myself. I will have to tell her soon so that she does not hold onto a false belief. She reminds me of my own relationship with my mother before she passed away and the memory I have of losing my mother still bears a dark place in my heart.
I hope we reach a town soon, her wounds concern me and I must try to keep her awake. I fear she will fall forever unconscious if I do not. Perhaps that would be a kindness in her situation to sleep forever believing her family to be alive. There is a reason she survived, so I will honor her destiny, regardless of the pain she will inevitably feel once the truth is laid at her feet.
I look across at her and wonder what kind of future she will have to face. It will be difficult and I do hope she will have other family to reunite with. I will write more later, I am going to continue in conversation and keep my eye on her.
With love and hope,
Chapter 2, Scene 2
The driver announced that they were nearing a town and it was just beyond the bend up ahead. Lady J was relieved to be getting Musette the medical attention that she needed.
“Well, we can finally get that nasty bump and those bruises looked at. How is the pain now?” Lady J reached forward to move her hair away and check the bruises.
“It still hurts, but not as sharply as when I first woke. I am sure I am fine, though. I really want to find my family.” She rubbed her head gingerly.
“In due time, for now let us take care of this first.” Lady J rested back against her seat.
The driver pulled into the main square and inquired as to where the doctor is located. He pulled up a ways and secured the horses before helping the ladies down from the steps. The sunlight was at that spot in the sky now where it shined directly into their eyes. The doctor was a couple of doors away and Lady J took Musette’s arm and walked her over.
It was a simple room that had a cowbell attached to the door frame that clanged softly as they walked in. An elderly woman was waiting on the bench to the right; straight ahead was a closed door that you could hear muffled voices through.
“Hello, my dears. Lovely day, is it not?” she had a pink shawl on, handmade from the appearance of it, and a light blue dress. Her hair was a silver white that reflected the pink shade in the sunlight coming through the window.
“It most certainly is. We were on a trip to Paris when we encountered this young lady and she is need of a doctor, would he happen to be in?” Lady J took a seat next to her and ushered Musette to have a seat.
“He is, and he should be out momentarily. He just has one patient who just came in with a nasty cut on his forearm and a few bruises. Appears he had gotten into a bit of a scuffle.” She turned and leaned into Lady J. “He does look like a nice young man at all. Something of a rogue or maybe even a pirate. It does happen in these parts, you know.” She whispered as if she was divulging a long held secret.
“Oh my. I do hope he will be alright.” Lady J tried to steer the conversation away from the gossip. She was sure the older woman meant no harm, she was probably just lonely. “Are you also waiting to see the doctor, Madame?”
“Oh no, my dear. I find this place comforting. You never know who you might meet here. It is fairly dull, but it is quite lively when someone is severely injured.” She sat back and began to knit another shawl and hum to herself.
Lady J turned her attention to Musette who was sitting quietly, no doubt wondering and worrying about her family. This was one of the rare times that she was away from them, Lady J thought.
The door to the other room swung open and an older gentleman walked out, wiping his hands. He still had his head turned, speaking to the patient in the room. “Just rest for a few moments, I have you stitched up but you will need to stay here so I can take another look at you in a while. You may nap if you wish.”
He greeted Mrs. Bouvier and inquired about the new shawl she was knitting. “Oh, my dear doctor, I am knitting an apron this time!” She went back to her project and the doctor walked over to the ladies in waiting.
“I am Doctor Chevalier, looks like we have another hit and run here. What happened?” he bent down to examine the bump and the bruises more closely.
Lady J spoke since the young lady did not have any idea of her situation. “My driver and I had come along her in the road a ways back and she was unconscious. We set her in the carriage and searched for the next town, hoping there was a doctor present. That is what led us here.”
“Well, this is unusual. The young man in the other room is in similar shape, but with a large gash in his arm. He is resting now, but I can take her in and have a look at her while he recovers.” He held out his arm for Musette to take and led her to the other room, this time leaving the door open.
A few moments later, a cry rang out from the other room and Lady J could hear voices talking fast and rather loud. She got up from her seat and saw Musette crying on the floor. The young man was standing over her and was ready to put his hands on her when the doctor stepped in and held him back. Lady J went and stood in front of Musette to shield her if necessary. She could see the anguish in the man’s face and the tears streaming down.
“You killed them! You killed them all!!” he shouted at her. “How dare you even breathe when they are cold and lifeless because of you!!” he collapsed into the doctor’s arms as he passed out.
Lady J felt a chill run up her spine at this display of intense emotion. There are more questions to find out answers to now.
Things took a strange turn today. We found a little town that had a doctor and took Musette to be looked over just in case. We first came across an old lady just passing time in the office; I feel she was the town gossip and since there was not much going on, the doctor’s was where most of anything worth telling would happen. She would otherwise knit shawl after shawl and she was very gifted with her skills.
Musette was feeling a little better, at least before we got into the exam room. The young man who proceeded her was injured as well. I came into the room as I heard raised voices and crying to find her on the floor and the doctor holding the young man back.
He was accusing this poor young woman of killing people. I cannot fathom this sweet young lady ever harming anyone, especially with how she described her family in such a loving way. There must be a mistake or he has gone mad from his injuries and is delusional. There are many more questions to be answered now. Since the young man is passed out now, I will settle Musette down and have a chat with the doctor of all that I know since we came across this mysterious young woman.
With hope and love,
Chapter 2, Scene 4
Frederick was working on his third pint in the farthest corner of the pub, he was weary from the trip as well as the tragedies they encountered along the way. The crowd was evenly disbursed and chattering away with barmaids carrying and spilling trays of drinks. The men with a free hand would grope and molest the well bosomed ladies while gulping their brews. It was not uncommon to hear skin being slapped throughout the evening; occasionally a drunkard would get tossed out into the street.
He finished his pint and decided to stay a while, his plan was to get drunk enough to go to his room and pass out on the bed. He watched as a fight broke out and carried out onto the street. A shadow fell over him and he looked up.
“You look like a man who could use another drink.” The tall man sat down next to him and slid him another pint. “You will like this one, it is a dark ale brewed in the next town over.”
He nodded to the fellow and took a deep sip. “That is good. Thanks. I am Frederick.”
“My name is Sebastian but they call me Scotty around here, my accent you know.” He had a thick Gaelic accent, possibly Irish but Frederick did not care to ask. “So what brings you here?”
“An unexpected layover with my Lady on the way to Paris.” He sipped again.
“That is quite a journey. Did you stop off to engage in pleasures with her?” he grinned, showing his browned and broken teeth from a few bar brawls.
“No, the Lady and I are not lovers. We are on our way to see her husband and she is also nursing an injured young woman as we speak.” He held his gaze on the burly man.
“That is unfortunate for you. How did you come across this young woman you spoke of? Is she the one that caused a scene over at the doctor’s place?” he gulped half his pint in one blow.
“Yes, but she did not cause the melee, the young man did. He is still at the doctor’s as far as I am aware.” He said.
“Well, it is good you and your Lady intervened. My pint is empty and I need a refill.” He went over to the bar and ordered a couple more pints. When he returned Frederick was passed out on the table.
Lady J turned the bedding and sheets back on both beds then tucked Musette in. She felt the motherly side of her come out, followed by a dull pain in her heart.
“Are you alright, Lady J?” she asked as she sat up.
“Yes, dear, I am fine, just memories that keep coming back.” She sat on the side of Musette’s bed.
“My mom always says that memories are as deep as the ocean and when we think of them, the ocean is churning and seeking to revive itself. It does not make sense to me, but someday it will. I will have to ask her when I find her again. I wonder why she has not come for me. Now that I am alright, I can make my way back home.” She reached out and held Lady J’s hand. “Thank you for being so kind and watching out for me.”
“You are welcome, dear. Now get some rest tonight. I will see you in the morning.” She gave her a kiss on the forehead and settled in to her own bed.
“Goodnight, Lady J.” she blinked then was in a deep sleep.
Lady J smiled and brought out her stationery.
It was a quiet evening in our room. The occasional shouting and fighting in the pub down below us, but otherwise peaceful. I will need to tell her tomorrow about her family before she sets out to go home. Then she can decide what she will do from there.
The young men who were at the office are a mystery still but the sooner we move on, the sooner we can leave this all behind us. I have grown very fond of her and to have her come along would make me happy. I wonder if that is how my Angelique would have been like. Musette is just about the age she would have been.
I am retiring for the evening now, tomorrow will bring many challenges. I do hope Frederick is not imbibing too much tonight, I will need him at full alertness tomorrow.
Love, Lady J
***This next scene contains a trigger warning. If you are sensitive to violence and/or domestic abuse, please do not read this scene. It is part of the story line, and it could be disturbing. If you would like a synopsis of the scene, please email me at email@example.com. I will be more than happy to send you one.***
Lady J Chapter 2, Scene 5
“Come on, friend.” The man pulled Frederick to the empty store room and dropped him on the floor.
Frederick moaned and mumbled something incoherent. The man rolled him behind the barrels and locked him inside. He threw the key to the barkeep and told him to not let him out until the next morning.
“Phillipe, we talked about this. I will not be a part of your ill deeds anymore. Get him out of here.” The barkeep said.
The man named Phillipe rushed the counter and had him by the neck. “You still owe me, and you will keep him locked up.” He released him as he threw him against the back bar.
The next part of his mission needs finesse. And finesse was not one of his specialties. The occupants in the rooms above the bar only numbered a few, so he didn’t have to worry about that. He climbed the stairs and stopped in front of their door. With his hand on the doorknob, he pushed forward with one firm motion and broke his way in.
The room was quiet. The ladies stayed asleep as he made his way around to the bed. He knew his victim, even in the dark. When you spend time in intimacy for so long, you get to know their breathing patterns and other intricacies. He ran a finger down her hair and kissed her. Choking her was easy. The small, delicate neck he had caressed many times before now crushed under the squeeze of his hand. Her eyes opened wide, and she went to scream but his mouth pressed firmly on hers prevented that.
Her arms flailed, hitting her bed-mate. She woke up and asked what was happening. There was no answer, so she rolled over and saw the dark figure hovering over her. The killer struck her in the face, knocking her out of the bed. She rushed to get up, but he was over her before she could run. He grabbed her by the neck and lifted her in the air. She could see the moonlight on his yellowed teeth before he threw her across the room. She passed out, and he went back to work.
Her head pounded. The ringing in her ears made it difficult to get her bearings. She felt warm water rushing down her face. Did someone come to help? She stumbled on the way up and her head swam.
The door was left open, and she could hear voices in the hall. Two men came in and sat her in the chair. Muffled voices, then more people arrived. The only face she recognized was the doctor from earlier that day. He brought her to a different room and looked her over.
“Can you hear me?” he looked in her eyes and checked her pulse.
She nodded. He brought her some water and something for the pain. After she was settled and safe, he went back to the other room.
“What happened here?” he asked the gendarme who arrived while he was attending to the survivor.
“She was strangled. Crushed neck from the looks of it. We will know more once we investigate further. She couldn’t be more than 24 years old. Such a beautiful young lady. How is the Lady?” he asked.
“She will live, that is all I can tell you right now. I have her resting in the other room, you can talk to her after she wakes up.” The doctor left the room and watched over Lady J.
Doctor’s Journal May 5, 1788
The patient is resting now. She had bruises and scrapes on her head and neck, but she will recover. As for her emotional state, I will assess it when she wakes. Her young traveling companion was killed, witnesses say they heard loud noises and when they came to see what was happening, a large man rushed passed them and ran out.
Earlier in the day, I had both ladies in my office. A young man who was there being looked at also recognized her and became distraught. It is more than a coincidence the young lady is now dead. My concern now is tending to Lady J.
I did a preliminary exam on the deceased, and like the gendarme said, her neck was crushed. She is to be transported to my office later for a final examination. Personal note: I have suspicions about a few people in town, but I will keep that to myself for now.