Louis Henri Caelum Auguste XXXVIII stared intently at the small white porcelain vile, with a carved rose for a stopper that looked more like a skull then a flower, rested snuggly in the palm of his right hand. Glancing out of the large arched window, all the curtains in the lavish parlor of his chambers were drawn closed but this one as a faint breeze of the crisp late autumn air filled the room. He had been standing in that exact spot for some time, unaware of the faint chill as his gaze remained fixed to the outside. In the far-off distance, he could see the warm glow of lights. The Capital d’Éon.
These were not the lights of homes.
No… these were the orange glow of torches, held by the masses who demanded entry being held back that of the Royal Guard. Of people starving for food and looking to him, to his family, with accusatory eyes. They blamed him for this, for something he had no control over. Over something that he thought had been settled, clearly, he was wrong.
He looked back to the vial. What he wanted, what his people wanted, truly, it was the same thing but either side wanted to get it by different means. He had fought in several campaigns of war when his hand was in need to aid, but never had a single inkling to fight and spill another’s blood.
Not like his brother Cassius.
If only he had payed more heed to the signs that were before him but chose to ignore out of familial ignorance, been more cautious like his wife told him. Then maybe, just maybe, this could have been avoided.
“Is this really the only way?” Louis, pulled from his thoughts, turned to his wife. “Do you really plan to do this?”
A marriage through duty and alliances, but also his closest and most trusted friend.
Antonia Charlotte Sophia Johanna Lorraine.
Her small frame clear even with a dress that looked like the scullery maids as a plane greyish-blue cloak rested on her thin shoulders. Worn for subtly, for she was not supposed to be here, but her stubbornness persisted he knew that she would not merely sit idly by, going against his wishes to remain in her homeland for safety, and returned in secret through the hidden passageways of the palace, under the cover of night and the use of her own magic. Now looking at her, she looked far more like that of a regular woman then that of a Queen. Had she kept her face hidden, none would have been the wiser.
The only telltale signs that she was indeed the Queen, was that of the gold heart pendant embellished with diamond-set to look like flowers on a glossy black enamel background. A gift he had given for their anniversary, and the light blue diamond wedding ring that lay on the ring finger of her left hand. For those were the two things she would never remove.
They had known each other since childhood, an engagement set upon them by their parents of once apposing Kingdoms. In many of these marriages, there was no love, only political duty and the need to have decedents to carry on one’s bloodline to the next. But with theirs, it was different. For they truly cared and trusted one another long before they were wed. Confided in each other when those around them only wished to better themselves. Consoled one another when a loss was at had.
Like with the loss of their son…
A smile resting at the edge of his lips as he closed the distance and looked down at her, for she was smaller than he, a mere five foot two, to his five foot nine. But that small stature did nothing to hide the fierceness that she could portray when needed. Louis placed a hand along her cheek, both of their skin as pale and white of their noble bloodlines, as she stared up at him with sky-blue eyes, a slight contrast to his own that resembled more of a lake which had frozen over.
“You know the answer to that.” He says softly.
“There must be some other way! Something else that we could do! Why can we not run? Flee, and head back to my homeland. Her Majesty, my Mother, would be more then willing to do so like she has with our two children.”
“You know it’s not that simple.” He admits to her. “If I don’t do this, who knows what he might try to do next. We’ve tired to catch him in the act, look for evidence, but he feigns ignorance with each attempt. Even though I am sure of his crimes. But because of his own supporters, in our country and from that newly established country, which Londinium struggles against with the aid of Acadia to quell it. Yet people think I am to blame for our enemy’s sudden crisis…”
“That is not your fault Louis, you know that.”
He knew, his expression told her that much, but it would do nothing to change the situation as it was now. With angry countrymen and women nearly pounding at the front gates.
Frustration mixed with sadness was etched into her soft features, he always hated seeing such an expression on her face. She always looked better when smiling with joy or having quizzical look while deep in her own research and poetry.
As if knowing her words would do nothing else, she closed the short distance and wrapped her arms around him in a tight embrace. Her fingers pressing deeply into his back as he held her close, leaning in to rest the side of his face atop her head as her soft brown hair brushed against his cheek. Inhaling deeply as the faint remaining musk of her perfume filled his nose, for she never liked the sickeningly sweet scents that wrinkled her nose. A funny thing considering her delve into potions.
His long fingers ran though her long hair making him wish all the more that time would stop. To have the power to do so. But no such wish would be granted, not even for a King.
After a moment that felt all too brief, and a few whispered words to one another, they separated. Their fingers still interlocked before, finally; their arms fell away severing contact.
“Go,” he said, his voice stern but soft. “Alexie will bring you back to Augusburn.”
“I wish you would let me stay,” she all but whispered.
Louis stepped back. To distance himself further so as to fight the urge to hold her once more. Hands clenched at his sides. “You know I can’t let you do that. Please, please go back to our children. Our daughters still need their mother.”
She opened her mouth only to clamp it shut. Knowing full well that this was a losing battle she could not win. “Then this is goodbye…” she turned and lifted the hood of her cloak over her head before looking back to say. “I love you Louis.”
He smiled, tried to make it genuine, to hide his fear. “I love you more.” And with that, she turned around, her cloak making her vanish from sight. Becoming invisible to all.
He could sense her movements with his powers, one of his own benefits, something he never shared with his other siblings. His gaze then returned to the vile, the blasted thing. And with a deep sigh he took hold of it and removed the cap.
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