[M] Nothing to stay our vengeful hands

[Dynastic Destinies][non-mandatory]

POSTED: Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:47 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

They had captured the usurper Queen. She took the place of the fallen King in his former cell, guarded properly by willing members of the resistance group that had grown to fight her. Chaska sometimes stood watch, though the younger folk tended to give him his due breaks. He was an older man whose contribution had been noted, loyalty proven, and his time to enjoy life freely given.

In her captivity, Mistral gave birth to two bastard children with a tell-tale coloration, slipping the sire's identity. It left a moral conundrum, but Kalypso had put her foot down. They were claimants to a throne that did not truly belong to their bloodline any longer. The Lady sought to solidify her own claim to it with due diligence, though Silvano had forced her to back down. He was not taking the mantel, though it clung to him by default. Nothing had been told, no one knew whose bloodline she herself shared. Yet.

Mistral was dragged, half-carried to a location near the town of Lunenburg, near the sea. Kalypso did not want to contaminate the meeting place or the Hotel while they still lived there. Her blood could spill into the earth near the sea. She found an old park, an old cement rectangle that likely once had a pavilion atop it. There, she had Chaska, her half-brother, Mayne, and the old King waiting with the disheveled usurper and her spawnsire. Both were bound, though only Mistral was already on her knees.

Kalypso called out, singing an angry song that brought those of the pack to her that were willing to witness the first execution in the Court's history. It was also a song that suggested of something great, to be born in the last bloodshed of the Winter of Tarnished Gold.

Silvano was grim-faced in a thick, nondescript cloak as he watched his family and packmates come, their own faces dark. Calista stood near the back of the group, holding pups that yipped blindly, failing to find their mother. They had not been separated from the usurper, until that all important moment came.

Standing in her regalia, a large cloak that was Silvano's royal cape adorning her shoulders. It blew in the cold winter wind. The snow was around them, though it had clearly been brushed aside adopt the "stand". There was a slight hill that gave those waiting below the incline, forced to look up to the group. Those that came finally gathered and no more stragglers seemed to join them.

Kalypso wanted to smile, for it felt like a victory despite the bloodshed. Instead, she left her sternest expression upon her face. She stood forward, raising her arms. The cape moved over her shoulders, revealing a bag on her belt and a dagger glinting from the noonday sun.

"We gather to pass judgement upon the Usurper, who came with blood on her hands, the blood of innocents and of our good King." Her voice was deep, rich, nearly seductive as she spoke out in echoing tones to the crowd of Courtiers. "Mistral de l'Or, you are accused of treasonous actions against the rightful King of the Court, willfully encouraging mayhem and discord among the Court, attempted murder of the rightful King of the Court, kidnapping of the rightful King of the Court and his grandchildren, poisoning the now deceased wife of the King seasons prior, the murder of an innocent child, and the murder of the wife of the King. These but the most vile crimes you are accused of." Kalypso paused looking into the crowd.

"We find you guilty of these crimes, and sentence you death. But we are merciful, and we will give you a choice. Take a poison and suffer onto death as you intended the King to die by, or have your throat slit and suffer as you had forced Shiloh to suffer." Kalypso reached for the bag and the dagger at her hips fingers wrapping around each as she waited for the woman to make her choice. In reality, there was only one choice, and that was death.

Kalypso met the eyes of a pair at the back of the crowd, their expressions mixed. She felt great pity for them; they were likely afraid their son was next to be sentenced to death. She could not blame them.

Set February 6th. Non-Mandatory. Execution thread. Everyone will have been well aware of what's going on. Please allow Lin and myself to post after this before jumping in c:

If I knew you were a sellout. A thief. Use me up - I would have never let you near me.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:17 am

In a matter of days, Mistral was called Queen, then prisoner, then first-time mother. Now, torn from her pedestal, she was called condemned.

They’d waited for her children to be born before dragging her to be decried and butchered. Their mercy would be their own downfall; she had bore heirs to the Court throne, heirs that would ultimately succeed where she had failed.

Had she failed, though? No. She was not dead, and Mistral reminded them of this in screeching tones with every breath she drew, from the cell neighboring Linden, to ugly seaside grounds without him where they forced her to her knees. I am the Queen, she shrieked. I am the Queen, you can’t do this to me. You can’t take me from my children. You can’t take me from my kingdom.

She thrashed and she screamed and she dribbled saliva in a graceless, wild display. She cussed at them all, cursing their families, their heirs. She cursed the betrayers amongst them, including the mercenaries’ leader and the child Mistral had led to the Court under her own command. They ignored her. They all did.

The Court gathered as if the performance from days prior had been turned, and she herself the only spectacle. “Help me,” she cried at each Courtier, her hair in greasy strings, her eyes made wild by shock, her voice and body in shivers as taken by some means of infection brought on since the birthing of her boys. And when the people glared or refused to look at her she thrashed and shrieked, “Help me, you fucking morons! I command you to help me!”

The bitch who took charge in the weak ex-King’s place read the Trouillefou her rights. Allowed her a decision. “Fuck you,” she shrieked, trying to climb to her feet but forced back by Chaska behind her. “You can’t do this to me! I am Trouillefou! I make the rules! I decide who’s guilty! You think you can rule a kingdom based on lies and false accusations? You think this place can last without me?”

Mistral de l’Or broke into a wicked, shrieking laughter, that quaked her entire body and rocked her off edge, as if her head so inflated by pride outweighed what her shoulders could bear.

“You commoners aren't capable of anything! You actually think you can fix this broken fucking Court without me?” she screamed in-between. “You can't fucking kill me! I am a Queen! I am a god! You can’t kill me—I am a fucking god!”

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POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:18 pm

She had not been a quiet prisoner, unaware that it was futile to fight. Or perhaps she did so because she was adamant about being freed from her state. No one came for her though she and Linden were guarded thoroughly until the appointed day came, misty and chilled.

Through it all, Mistral had no sense to keep her mouth shut. Kalypso smiled at her as she spouted profanities at her, tolerating it as one tolerated a tantrum. It was, after all, just a tantrum by a spoiled dog who lacked proper comprehension on the fate that was coming to her and that she wasted only minutes by screaming and raving.

”This place lasted years and years without a Trouillefou on the throne. I think it’ll continue to do well without a short-tempered, misguided, selfish Queen.” Kaly grinned through her teeth, looking pityingly down at the raving usurper. Then, she glanced into the crowd, letting her eyes sweep forward across the faces, noting them, seeing those that looked away and those that look anxiously on. Several seemed to have only calm, but she was not surprised.

With a jerk of her head, Chaska reached forward and securely held onto Mistral by the shoulders, hands looping into the greasy hair that covered her head, pulling it back forcefully. Kalypso fingered the knife on her waist but paused a moment.

”As you are unwilling to choose, it is my solemn duty as Lady of the Court to spare the family of those that suffered at your hands, and I will make the decision you refuse to make.” She shook her head. The poison would have been gentler, but Mistral was not deserving of something gentle. That had been clear from the start, but the option was there only to be fair. She would have to return it to Iris, as the woman had supplied it in the first place.

Chaska’s hand reached out to clamp the woman’s mouth shut with a strong grasp, hands still pulling back her neck. The knife was in Kalypso’s hands as she took a moment, eyes closed, as though in prayer. There was some thought to ask forgiveness for the murder she was about to commit, but she knew that the Lord would forgive her.

There was only one God and Mistral was not Him.

Eyes opened, she looked straight at the deposed Queen. ”The children of one charged with high treason do not retain their right to the throne. For your crimes, they suffer, too.” With that, she positioned her knife, then swiped it hard, knowing how to slit a throat to cause a quick death. That was one mercy she was willing to give. After all, Kalypso was nothing if not merciful.

well we'll let you all know when to post, oops c:

If I knew you were a sellout. A thief. Use me up - I would have never let you near me.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:27 pm

“This kingdom was made by Trouillefou,” she shrieked. “This kingdom will never prosper under the rule of false heirs! Count your fucking days, Sadiras—this kingdom is fated for me! For the Trouillefou! My boys are heirs by two lines. My boys will be Kings!”

The Queen devolved into wicked jeers and curses, calling them blasphemers and murderers, calling them poisons for the throne. “Do you have any idea what you’re doing? You can’t kill me! I am your savior! I am here to restore this kingdom! Why can’t you open your eyes! Why can’t you give me a fucking chance?”

She said this, over and over, sobbing, laughing, wailing, thrashing, until Kalypso’s words no longer seemed to reach her and reality spun from her consciousness. “My boys will fix this,” she wept. “Bring me my boys. I want to be with my boys. I want to be with Trouillefou.”

The traitor Chaska clamped shut her mouth, drawing her back. Kalypso claimed her sons had no longer a right to the throne—a call she could not make in any sense. She was no royalty, she was no Queen. She was not Jacquez. Though Mistral could argue only in thrashes and scathing glares, Kalypso was wrong. Her sons were princes, and her sons would be Kings. With but her eyes, Mistral cursed her: Her family, her children, and the corrupt kingdom stolen from its rightful Queen.

Mistral saw her boys’ faces when the knife opened her throat. She collapsed to her side, gurgling in a bloody display, mouthing curses upon the Kingdom and its villains while watching visions of Linden and Saffron and Shiloh and Judas and Lowry, and plead for help from any of them. She saw Micah last. He looked disappointed.

I am a god, she whispered silently. I cannot die. I have a job to do.

The light faded from her eyes, and the Queen fell still.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:40 pm

The unpleasant task was done, leaving Kalypso with a bloodied knife. She dropped it to the ground before Mistral, who gurgled and lurched, bleeding from the neck. Chaska freed her head, her body, as she slumped to the ground, convulsing slightly as blood scented the air. She shut her eyes as the woman died, her life fleeing the broken vessel. It was a quick death for a woman who had made a family suffer. The moment the woman was dead, though, Chaska moved her body with some care and covered her body with a hempen cloth that had once been a rotting sack. The body would be disposed of later.

”The Usurper is dead and the Court is once again free of tyranny.” Kalypso’s eyes opened the moment Chaska moved to Linden’s side, who had been held in place by Mayne. He did not bring the man forward, though, as he waited for Kalypso’s motion.

”I want to apologize to those who suffered under her reign, though it was no fault of mine. I feel as though it was preventable.” She shook her head, turning to the King with pitying eyes. ”Our King, long his reign, has informed the Grand-Duchessa and I that he will not be taking his rightful place on the throne, to spend the remainder of his life as a Magistrate in mourning and guidance.” She paused, waiting for whatever flurry of words might come.

”He has chosen to step down in favor of a daughter taking his place on the throne of the Court.” She turned her gaze to the King, who looked at her with great sadness in his eyes and nodded, ever a silent sentinel in the proceedings. Kalypso turned back to the crowd with a proud bearing. "As the daughter of the King and Mara Savoy, I accept the position with all the modesty and gratitude I can. I also apologize to the inevitable pain this announcement may bring to the family of the King and the victims of Mistral’s violence.” She did not look back to the King, only to the crowd.

”We have to recover from the troubles of the Queen and return back to the path we were set to follow before her usurpation of the throne from the rightful King, who has ruled longer than her grandfather ever had. May his reign be remembered kindly.” She nodded to the crowd, hands clasping to her chest. ”I know these wounds are fresh, but I swear to remember that the Court may be ruled by the crown but it is the people who define our identity.” She spread her arms to the crowd. Showmanship was her strength, after all.

”The King’s final act and my first duty, is the sentencing of Linden Aatte.” She put out a hand and Chaska pushed the pumpkin man forward, his hands bound, to the spot where Mistral had knelt and died in. Kalypso waited for him to stand near her, though she did not motion toward the discarded knife.

”We are merciful, for the illegitimate offspring of the deposed usurper are innocents born to a madwoman. Linden Aatte, you are charged with conspiracy to treason, failure to uphold the tenants of your rank, and failure to protect the people you serve. Father of these children, you knew Mistral was back before she ever kidnapped the King’s grandchildren. You willfully failed to inform the King. You willingly failed to protect your home. You have picked your side, and it is not of the Court.” She waved into the crowd, and Callista slowly wove her way toward them on that hill. She carried the pups, and a satchel was slung on her shoulders.

”We banish you, evermore from the Court. We banish your offspring. You have sullied your family’s name. We provide you with sheep milk for these two children, but you are no longer welcome near the Court. Should you return, we will not hesitate to attack without warning. You have until sundown to be gone from these lands. If you are found after that, we will have two orphans on our hands.” Her voice had been calm, direct, but softened. She did not want children with no parents, for that was how martyrs were made. Chaska untied the man, stepping back, but keeping a close watch on him. Callista held out the children and the sack that had two bladders of milk taken from their ewes.

mel will post next, but you all are free to post after that

If I knew you were a sellout. A thief. Use me up - I would have never let you near me.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:12 pm

The days he spent as a prisoner in his own home were all but unbearable. Unable to touch and comfort and do anything for Mistral he had listened to the walls and ached for any opportunity to fly. She had done terrible things, but oh so many horrors had molded this young woman into what she had become.

No one wanted to hear that. No one saw her the way he did, and no one remembered these things. They only thought about the King's dead wife, and the King's family, and what discomforts they themselves endured. Suffering was universal, and a product of the ignorance they all carried. For all his attempts to clean his soul and find peace, Linden was never released.

This day on the coast was the worst of all the long seasons he had faced yet. He stood there, hands bound and effectively gagged by fear (for his children, they had taken the pups away from Mimi that day and neither of them knew to where), and the longer he stared at the people in the crowd the more he came to see cowardice and weakness. He stood there, his yellow eyes fierce and angry. Kalypso had been waiting for something like this, he realized, seeing her there in Silvano's clothing. Linden assumed she had preyed upon the King's greatest weakness, his temptation for women, and thought her no better than a harlot.

She read charges like they mattered, like they were not here for something as simple as vengeance.

Mistral, even at the end, roared.

When Kalypso split her throat open, Linden watched her face without blinking. He memorized the shape of it, the color of her eyes and the expression there, and resolved himself to this end.

A small body, shrunken from birth and the weight of days, fell before him. The girl he had called Mimi passed into the next world before her time. They might have thought of themselves as merciful (and maybe it was, maybe she deserved to rest without fear) but Linden watched her blood pool beneath her and steam in the frigid air.

They took her away, these foreigners who had come to make themselves a part of his home, and Linden barely heard what happened next.

He did though. They all did.

His eyes widened, surprised, but when they looked from Kalypso to Silvano and back again he knew that his instincts had been right.

A terrible black hatred rose in his chest. For all her self-righteous behavior, Kalypso was nothing more than a bastard usurper like Mistral. Linden's face twisted into a snarl and exposed his teeth just long enough to taste the air. How dare she. How dare she.

He was shoved forward soon after, another spectacle for the new Queen. Blood stained his feet, seeped up through the fur until one foot was stained a garish color. Linden glared at her silently. No part of him accepted her authority. This was exactly the same, he wanted to explain to the others. They had to see that.

With his hands freed, Linden went and seized his sons from the young girl holding them. He pressed the boys close to his chest, covered them as best he could, and did not linger to see what came next.

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POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 9:52 pm

There was a soberness in the air as Serena Marino listened to the charges read. It was Kalypso who spoke them, rather than her sister or father – she supposed it was reasonable for Kalypso (who had lost nothing) to stand in stead of those who had lost almost everything. Someone had to pass sentence. Someone had to tell the crowd why they stood there.

Blood was red, a color of fear and hate, of anger and warning. Blood spilled, and Serena listened as Kalypso droned on. She seemed to be speaking too many words, talking far too much. Words flickered into her hearing, that her father would not remain as King; he was abdicating, in favor of a daughter. Abigail was to be a their new Queen, Serena supposed; it was fitting, that the new generation overthrew the old simply by the passage of time.

It wasn't Abigail who claimed the crown, however. As the daughter of the King and Mara Savoy. The King, and Mara Savoy. It made Serena's head cock as Kalypso spoke, as the gravity of what she said came to light. Serena was a woman of listening, growing into a creature of silence and thought, of watchful green-gold eyes. As Kalypso Savoy – daughter of the King and Mara Savoy – spoke, Serena saw Linden move forward. He said nothing. There was nothing for him to say, duplicitous in the treason of Mistral. He took his sons and departed, and she watched his orange coat as it disappeared.

She had stood, silent and afraid, when Mistral came to them with her niece and father. This time, as a new Queen declared herself, the darkest of the Sadira brood stepped forward, fearless. For the first time, she spoke clearly and with gravity, projecting her words toward the Savoy woman:

If you believe that you have a right to my father's seat simply because your mother birthed you due of him, then you are no better than Mistral, she stated, brushing her dark hair away from her delicate features. She turned her face towards her half-sister, unaffected by this news so much as the rest. Silvano was given no glance, no skeptical look, no look of pleading – Serena would say her peace on her own. You are not his daughter, Kalypso, for he had no hand in raising you. Nor did either of you deign to tell his family, or the Court, that you are my sister until an utterly inappropriate moment.

There was a stoicism in her, a sternness made of too much time alone and the death of her mother. If Kalypso could speak for so long, certainly Serena could, couldn't she? She had as much right to voice her mind, didn't she? So you tell us, rather than ask us, that you are Queen after lying to us all. You tell us only moments after killing a new mother – and oh, I know she was terrible and a criminal, but no one deserves such callous death.

There was a great sigh that came from the dark-furred Serena, no longer the girl she was prior. Her eyes skipped over the faces that stood for the execution, the faces that were her family, her friends. She shook her head. My father abdicates his throne to a stranger, when my sister has given so much of herself. If Kalypso deserves to be Queen simply because she is a daughter of Silvano Sadira, then the sons of Linden Aatte truly are the heirs to the Court.

I do not accept you, Kalypso Savoy, and I pity your small mind that does not first think to ask the Court who they would see as Queen before greedily grabbing it yourself, she offered, turning her back to them all as she went the way of the fleeing Aattes – away, she wanted to be away, and so she walked from the group with placid calm.

[wc: --] Not my best work.
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POSTED: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:33 pm

The skin-and-bones cat attended the execution leaning against Muddy and Myra for strength, his expression grim and his dark yellow eyes chips of fiery sun. Despite his station he wound his way to the front of the crowd, and sat down staring in a silent, eerie way at the raging, frothing usurper. His tail twitched occasionally, the only indication that he had not become a statue.

The red-haired girl who led the rebellion spoke charges and drew a blade. At some point, the dark tortoiseshell had been frightened off by the shouting and the dark energy of the crowd, and Wilson was alone -- watching with a terrible hatred in his heart, and a terrible joy when that metal pressed to the woman's throat. Red splattered onto the dais, and finally the cat felt something like life again. It was a bloodlust that might have frightened someone else -- someone who pretended to be purer than they were. But despite his white coat, Wilson knew there was something black in him.

Would Shiloh have wanted this? He should have wondered, but he didn't -- didn't think for a moment of Shiloh but for smiling to see her murderer dead.

Until Kalypso, a firestorm upon the stage, said a handful of words.

Slit pupils narrowed and turned onto the King. Wilson's fur began to stand up all at once, and he growled, a low noise that grew louder and louder and more feral.

The woman, the new Queen, spoke on. In the same breath that she acknowledged the tragedy of Shiloh's death and her family's loss, she told them how Shiloh had been betrayed long before this terrible thing. A joke at the expense of a wonderful woman. He thought of nights long passed, when insecurity had flickered up behind her normally strong, beautiful face and she confided in him, softly, about her love and how she worried it was not enough --

He was shaking. He was snarling. He didn't give a damn about the Court and the succession of the crown. He was staring at Silvano.

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POSTED: Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:18 am

ooc here! [480]

Part of him expected to feel frightened by the sight, having only witnessed violence so infrequently, let alone a public execution. Another part of him anticipated giddiness, as if this vengeance was the ultimate solution to their problems.
He thought he'd feel disgust, anger, sorrow, comfort, something...

But he just felt numb.

There was nothing there as the scene played out before him. The Courtier had grown so tired of hating the usurping trollop that it seemed to had become second nature to just belittle her existence.
Had she not come with her unwarranted ambition and mindless bastards too willing to do her dirty work, his father would still be alive.
Along with her numerous other injustices, Basil considered her at fault for the demise of Harvey Butler.

Just because it was not a direct action (hell, she probably was not even aware of it, which only frustrated the mutt more) did not mean she wasn't to blame, even if in some roundabout way.

Ophelia had decided to tag along, having just returned to the Seigneur's home after allowing him space and time to grieve. She sat by his feet with a grimace, "I can't see a blasted thing, you daft boy, what since was it to drag me along?"
Basil shook his head, ignoring her complaints for the moment. He simply wished to not go alone, but no force on Heaven or Earth would convince him to ask his siblings to accompany him. Not only did it seem wrong, he was doing his best to avoid them at all cost, since the passing of their sire.
If he felt like an outsider among his own, it was now more than ever.

The false Queen's claims of being a god caused a brief stir of rage, but it quickly simmered down as Kalypso spoke.
As a practiced Catholic, the mongrel, too, believed in one almighty God. To so confidently title herself as such infuriated Basil from the start, and he was personally pleased to see the blasphemer silenced.

He had faith in their new leader.
Though they'd met only once, he recalled only ever being impressed by her drive to influence and protect. She was intimidating, and while he would not so freely bush her buttons in fear of retaliation, Basil was sure there was no better candidate to mind to fill the spot than she was.
She was an archangel, omnipotent but gracious.

Finally, after having seen and heard enough, the merle wolgdog nudged his feline friend with a foot. "Come on then, you won't see any better bitchin' 'bout it." The cat huffed, but followed as he turned and headed away from the crowd. "Besides, I 'ardly dragged you out. Your macabre fascination with death gives me the fuckin' chills."
Ophelia rolled her eyes with a smirk, but fought the rest of the way through the mob wordlessly.

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POSTED: Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:31 am

The days were starting to lengthen again, the sun reigning for longer as Winter crept onward. To Abigail, every day since Shiloh’s murder had been long and arduous. The nights, riddled with nightmares, were too short for her to feel sufficiently rested. It was only after Mistral’s arrest that she’d been able to sleep a little better, curled protectively around her children.

Ajax and Cicely were nearing three months old now, eating meat and able to communicate more effectively than when they had first been returned to Abigail. That was a double-edged sword, though. The Grand-Duchessa had refused to bring them to the execution. It was a kindness for babes she dearly loved who had seen enough blood already in their three months of life – but neither child wanted their Mother to leave them. Abigail understood how they felt; after all, she hadn’t wanted Shiloh to leave her, ever. But she wouldn’t budge on this.

“Momma, don’t go’d,” Cicely had pleaded through a whine, and Abigail had touched her cheek and sighed.

“I have to. I have to be there for your Aunties and Uncle – for Grandpa. I’ll be back soon.”

The Grand-Duchessa gingerly donned a cloak – her muscles still ached from taking on Ciprian and her wounds hadn’t yet healed – and did her best to straighten her shoulders as she made her way to the execution site. It was close to the ocean, she noted, but not close enough that the usurper would benefit from any of the sea’s grandeur.

Mistral was brought forward, the list of charges recited, and Abi’s jaw clenched as the usurper Queen screeched that she was a God. The Gods Abigail knew, she thought, would not look kindly on this one. There was pity in her sea green eyes, though, for Mistral would also be missing out on seeing her children grow. But then, Abi reminded herself, that opportunity might have been stolen from her as well.

“Count your fucking days, Sadiras!”

Abigail’s ears flicked back, shutting out the jeering screams. How little Mistral knew, for one who shrieked so loudly.

The Sadira woman didn’t smile as the kidnapper of her children was snuffed out. Years ago Abigail might have turned away from such a scene, but now she had to be sure that the end of this Winter of torment had truly come. She let out a sigh as Mistral’s body slumped, thinking of Shiloh, her love and her light, as the world blackened for the Trouillefou woman.

And then Abigail turned her eyes to Kalypso, her ears straightening. The Savoy woman spoke with all the confidence and surety of a Queen already. It was easy to see how she would be a beacon for the Court, lifting them from tyranny and suffering into a new future – if they would let her. Abi held fast to that notion – but even she was caught off guard by the announcement of Kalypso’s sire.

Sea green eyes widened, looking first at Kalypso and then at Silvano. Abi remembered when Ajax had been returned to her, when Kalypso and Alessan had almost devolved into arguing – how Kalypso had seemed somehow invested in the King’s well-being. She remembered silencing them, but the seed had already been planted. Abi just hadn’t expected that seed to flourish into a certainty. A truth amongst a field of lies.

Abigail had been in Kalypso’s position. She had been part of that other family of Silvano’s, when she had first met Pascal and Eugene. She had come to love her half-brothers – but they had not spent months holding knowledge close to their chests.

Her face hardened but Silvano was treated to only a heartbeat of that sight before Abigail – deliberately, with her heart throbbing and her mind whimpering - angled her head away from him.

Serena spoke up – calm, reserved Serena – and Abigail realised, perhaps for the first time, that these days and weeks of pain had truly altered their family. Or had it all been altered months and years ago, in Silvano’s infidelity?

Serena didn’t accept Kalypso as her Queen – and Abigail struggled to see how she could blame her, given the sudden announcement of the woman’s parentage. Serena left the gathering like a wisp of shadow following the flames of Linden’s pelt, but Abi’s words weren’t just for her.

“I am no Queen,” the Grand-Duchessa stated, her voice firm. “I am a Mother and a sister -” Her gaze flashed to Silvano again, and for a moment sadness bloomed in her eyes. “- and a daughter of a King, but I am no ruler. That -” Her gaze rested on her half-sister. “- is Kalypso’s domain, now, and I believe that she will make a good leader. I beg you, give her the opportunity Mistral never gave us – to prove that she can provide a future for the Court.”


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