[center [b Cathedral of St. Lydia, two days ago.] ]
[b [i “What is there to confess?”] ] Irritation seeped into the voice of the knight as he knelt before the priest. That wooden cross which hung before him and the holy man was an insidious omen which the Lord felt was mocking him of his stance. Jesus-an innocent men condemned to die-was staring down at an innocent man whom was in the middle of being interrogated by a senile fool. No other words could aptly describe the decrypt relic whose hands clutched the rosemary beard. The creases upon his skin were as deep as the Grand canyon and his voice was empty of all authority. Indeed, the hold which the Church had upon the land was slowly dwindling and it was becoming evident with each passing day. This farce, this facade, this hoax! The very thing which they demanded was justice was nothing more but a fraudulent excuse to boost their own egos. And Lord Henri would not stand for such a thing!
Had he not stood with the King’s cousin, the Duke of Celeni? When the hordes of the foreign kind Astur threaten to invade their country hadn’t he not raised the coin used to taken up arms and sent his clan along with himself to fight in a war which was bloodied and long. Indeed! For six years of his life, he bore the elements in order to bring riches to the crown of the king and now here he was, within the winters of his life being accused of a crime which was so heinous and down-right diabolical that such a thing couldn’t possibly be seen as sensible or just!
[i Adultery.] The mere word turned his stomach as he thought of his late wife which was taken three years ago. Her passion for life was unmistakable; the Lord wouldn’t waste his time romanticizing his wife for mere words couldn’t begin to accurately describe all which she was and all which she meant to him. The colors of this world dulled once her life ended and all which was precious and pure and beautiful, turned into nothing more but an unpleasant reminder that the very thing which he’d love most would no longer draw breath and be apart of his world anymore.
Forty-seven years Henri had lived and these last three years he thought were the worst of them. Never could he imagine that life could become even more hellish and cruel. The Dior clan man was being besmirched! And by the slanderous tongue of a woman! It was common sense that the wilds of women were unbeknown to men. Thus, to trust then, was to be trust nonsense and superstition. Yet, this all of these things matter not to the Priest who continued to rub those rosary beads and looked down upon the gentleman with an even further diminishing presence.
It wasn’t a matter of if he were innocent. It was a matter of if he would confess. To this, the male had nothing to confess. Nothing of worth and as he stubbornly looked into the eyes of the Priest he repeated his earlier statement and the priest look upon him with eyes of pity. Henri could’ve killed the man then and there had he’d but been able to get away with it! Yet there was no sense in killing one whom already had a foot within the grave. Rising up from his knees, he turned away and gather his coats and headed towards the door. He knew. He knew that he’d be summon to appear again, in the halls of the Cathedral. This time, with the inquisition sitting there to question and cross-examine him. It was no secret that all of Yanloir was away of his house for the house of Dior was the oldest and the wealthiest. It had stood the test of time then, and it would stand the test of time now.
[center [b Six weeks prior] ]
[b [i “Henri! You are truly the picture of a most beautiful widow!”] ]
As a booming voice roared over the strings which were playing a jovial tune, hazelnut orbs turned to look upon the man whom had boosted out such a thing. Why! It was no other then his long time friend and company who had been with him during his military campaign! The Knight of Lythia! His clan wasn’t one of the four houses, instead, he had been born into a peasant family. Yet, in order to escape poverty and survive into adulthood, the knight had been present to one of the houses as a servant. And through sheer luck of will, he’d been given the chance to prove himself in battle and now here he stood a hero beloved and as legendary as the Fredrick of house Delacroix!
Grasping his hands with his arm, Henri pulled him into an embrace. His love for the man was as deep as the sea which they’d cross. Neither swords, or arrows, or gossip, or disparity of wealth, could sever their bond which had been forged and maintained for over twenty years. As the knight clasps Henri upon his back he spoke softly sweeping his hand towards his children. Among them was a beautiful maid with blonde hair and rosy cheeks. Looking upon her, one couldn’t deny her beauty. [b “Is this the one whom you said has been recently betrothed?”] Henri asked and as the Knight responded back he turned to introduce her to her beloved man.
As he eyes fell upon the man with whom the daughter was engaged to, the old man couldn’t help but laugh. For surely this was a jest! The daughter was a beauty and a diamond which shone brighter than the sun. She illuminated the room with her presence and her mere smile dimmed the brightest of stars. Such a dull person of ill noble birth was undeserving of him. Yet Henri didn’t speak a word. Instead he welcomed the young boy to partake of his wine and food and told his old friend the knight to stay for as long as he desired. For this castle was spacious and many rooms were offered to hoist him and his family!
Clasping him on his shoulders, the knight beamed thanking Henri for his generosity and declared that he would raise a toast. In memory of his friend’s late wife, and to the future of the union of his daughter. [b “Here, here!”] Henri shouted as he nodded in agreement.
[center [b The next morning] ]
When Henri awoke, it was not within his own bed. Neither was he alone. The foreign smell of perfume perforated his nose and a stranger laid uncovered beside him. Upon the back of her neck were bruises and her shoulders and arms showed signs of rough fingers squeezing and rough play. The prior night was a haze and he didn't remember what occurred beyond the fact that he’d drunk several cups of wine and had talked with his old friend into the night.
Rising up from the bed, he felt a hand reach for him and pull him closer to her. Clearly, the bruised lady had been treated roughly last night and wasn’t in her right mind. For the name by which she’d called him was a name he’d heard but once. But who had told him of this name? As his fingers brushed through locks of blonde he hesitated as the body moved and held his arm underneath her armpit and snuggled closer to him.
She wasn’t in her right name! [b [i In God’s name, harlot let me go!] ] Henri thought to himself, but he did not voice such a thing out loud. For she was clearly comfortable with him. Despite her once more breathing out the name of one who Henri hadn’t heard. It was clear that the case of mistaken identity couldn’t be resolved by simple words and pleading of her to relinquish his grasp upon him. So instead, he lied back down and waited for her to simply loosen her grip. As soon as the bruised lady's hands slipped from him, Henri hurried from the bedchamber and down towards his own place room.
[center [b Dior Manor; A week Prior.] ]
“VILLIAN I DEMAND YOU COME OUT NOW!”
The sound of fist pounding upon the wooden wall reverberated all around throughout the empty halls of the castle. It hadn’t ceased and the banging had been continuing on for well over a minute. At first, Henri had ignored it. Afterall, he often received complaints from the pensantry that the rent which he collected for the King was too high. That he was being dishonest. However, as the banging upon his door continued, the man found that in order to get the incessant noise to ceased that he would have to let himself be shown. Irritation and anger burned deep within his soul as he headed towards the door.
‘That irritation soon turned to confusion as the Men of the King stood before him. It wasn’t just a few. But several whom with swords drawn and crossboards trained upon him. Taken aback, the male raised an eyebrow as he didn’t understand the meaning of such a thing. [b “What is this? I am a loyal subject of the king!”] enraged and simmering, he tried to control his temple but such a thing threaten to be lost at as he stared down the men who had invaded his land.
“You stand accused of adultery, Henri Dior. This charged has been brought against you by the Knight. And since you are of nobility, the king himself has taken an interested this case. You are to be transported to the Cathedral of St. Lydia in the capitol where you will have a chance to confess your sins, before the trial begins the next day. If you try to flee at any attempt you will be found guilty, and we will hang you.”
There was nothing but silence which filled the air between the two of them. Disbelief filled his face as Henri did nothing but stand as they put the irons upon him and walked him towards the wagon. If there was one thing which the man was incapable of doing! It was adultery! He hadn’t known a woman since the passing of his wife. None looked as beautiful or captivating as she saved but [b [i one.] ] The knight’s daughter whom was betrothed was a love rose still in the height of her bloom.
Of course! Now he saw this for what it truly was! How could he have been so blind and stupid to not see that his beloved friend, his dearest Knight, was, and always would be, a commoner at birth. The peasant class were a kniving and vile class. They lack dignity! The Dior family name had no heir, meaning that if Henri was condemned a criminal and hanged then all of his property, wealth, would go to those whom coveted it the most.
If anyone stood to gain from his demised then it would surely have been!
[center [b Present day.] ]
Cold, hard, and damp. Nothing else could describe the abysmal state of the basement of the Cathedral which the Nobleman was being held. Heavy chains rubbed his wrist law and the only reason why his back wasn’t currently raw from being severely lashed was because of his birth. Had he been a common peasant, then his fate would have been torture. During the days when the church was empty, he saw hooded men lead poor souls down here and what followed next were screams which chilled the blood. Cries and pleas of mercy were only met with words commanding that the tortured confessed. Then, and only then, would it end.
Bowing his head, Henri said nothing as the door to his cell creaked open and standing before him was the knight. [b “I saved you..”] Dior spoke to the man as he as he spoke softly.
[b “It was at the Battle of Maldon. Do you remember? The rain of arrows which fell down upon us and the horses which under that cursed rain. The enemy had the higher ground. Pikes were laid upon the ground and pits were dug; many men fell down below to be impaled. Their cries were so tormented that even the denizens of Hell would weep and turn away from the cruelty of man. It was your first military campaign. Even though we lost that battle, I stuck by your side. I was never far from you. I made sure that death’s jaws escaped your grasps and that you were kept safe.. And this.. This is how you repay me?”]
[b “You accuse me of… a heinous act. An act which is so heinous, that even our lord the KING forbade that we did it to the women who were captured. Any man that did so, was flogged, and stripped of a month's wage. I, I have not known a woman since my wife’s passing. You know how much I loved her. For ten years I was faithful to her. Ten years of love I’ve experienced beyond words.]
Henri paused as he turned his head. The time to hear the accusation which was brought against him was now. Looking at his best friend he lifted his hand and spoke softly. [center [b E tu, brute?” ] ]
[center [b ||Seven|| years prior; somewhere in Yainloir.] ]
Raggard breaths came out of her mouth as her hair stuck to her face in sweat. A red flush filled her face as she continued to run through the green hills towards the distant lines of trees which rustled within the wind. There was no fear of being captured but the danger of being caught was still hanging in the air. And as her chaser continued to ran after the young girl her feet began to carry her more swiftly. Beyond the trees was a small fort which had been abandoned for quite some time. Only a stone wall remained and the rest of it had been overgrown with trees, weeds, and other various plant life. That was her refuge. That was the place where she’d found safety from the hands which were all so desperate to snatch her up.
Thundering against her ribcage her heart continued to beat harder and harder in her chest as that salvation and safe haven which she’d been running towards was just within reach! All it took was just thirty more yards and then she’d beast which was chasing her down wouldn’t be able to reach her. It was a feeling of pure excitement to think that she’d been able to run away from the monster. Not only that, but the girl wasn’t alone either! Already she heard a unison of voices cheering for her to join them in the safety of the fort! Oh! How she’d forgotten that her allies had forged ahead of her in order to secure the fort from the encroaching beast which had been after them.
Now, now! It was only a mere ten yards away! As her face redden, she gasp for air straining to be able to make it just a little bit further before she tumbled forward. It happen so suddenly, one moment she was full speed ahead, the next her left foot got wrapped around her other ankle and she was tumbling to the ground. The sound of voices went up in anguish as they saw their beloved lady stumble! Yet, they were already in that fortress and seal off from the world beyond the trees. As the young child stumbled to her feet, she could feel the beast coming to descend upon her and she turned upon her side to get up but it was to no avail! Hands tagged her shoulder and without warning she was now the beast! She’d lost the child game known as tag!
[i “The nails of Jesus!”] She exclaimed as she kicked her feet in defeat. Madelyn was but merely eleven years old and the boy who had tagged her was just a few months older then her. He was the son of a noble man. His hair was an orange color and he had bright eyes which shone like diamonds to the female. As he extended a hand out towards her, she took hold of it and grasps onto it. Already, their parents were talking of the two being betrothed and married as soon as they came of age.
The child had some idea of what that meant, but she wasn’t too concerned with the future. Instead all she could focus on was the present world around them. The smell of fresh grass and the breeze upon her skin. The group of her childhood friends that had gathered around her to make sure that all was right and the distant sound of hooves in the background. The distant sound of hooves? Looking upwards, her eyes widened as she saw that her beloved father had once more returned home! The last time she’d looked upon the face of the man, he had been a commoner by birth. But now, as he returned home, he was a knight. A person of true character who had been gifted land and could now properly wed her to her childhood friend! Life was a perfect almost to perfect at this point and there was nothing which Madelyn could ask for!
[center [b Three years Prior, the house of Nobleman Delacroix.] ]
Death. The hooded figure had come within the form of a plague and his icy hands had laid curses upon many families. There was none whom he considered too old or young, too rich or poor, or beautiful or grotesque to join him in the eternal slumber of the afterlife. And as Madelyn stood outside the oaken door of her dearest childhood friend her eyes widened. Her father had fetch the local priest and as the old man stood barring the now older girl from the room of her beloved her fist clenched and her teeth chattered.
The picture of the elderly man was one of kindness and true understanding. Grief came within all shapes and sizes and as he waited for the young girl to grasps hold of this situation he knew that her first instinct would try to deny. A ginger hand was placed upon her hand as they waited for the doctor to emerge from within. Clothed and black and wearing a mask which resembled the ominous shape of a crow, the doctor had been fetched to provide a remedy for the young noble man’s son. He wasn’t, by all means, the only heir to the Delacroix name. No, he had an older brother that was four years his age, another which was younger, and a sister. But Madelyn only loved him. Not his oldest brother or the younger one!
Creaking open the door and instantly the stench of death wrafted out. Gagging, Madelyn turned around and ran from the house. The fortress which she’d had sought so desperately in her youth was her destination. Out into the darkness of the night she ran, her skin being whipped by the frosty winds of winter. Snow blanketed the ground and the coldness was numbing. As much as she wanted to run to that magical place, that magical fortress where all would be fine and dandy, it was impossible. The coldness arrested her breath and brought her downwards to her knees. It took all she had to catch her breath before screaming at the top of her lungs. Her wails filled up the emptiness and the void answered back with nothing more but silence. Instantly servants came out towards her to wrap her in blankets and comfort her but she would not have it. She struggled against hands meant to drag her bag inside to warm her to comfort her. Her screams echoed throughout the night as she continued to mourn for a childhood lost, a dream broken, and marriage that would never be had.
[center [b A year prior, the house of the knight.] ]
“Why would you force such a cruel thing upon me? To marry a man I do not desire? I’ll not do it. I swear, I’d take a vow of celibacy and declare myself a nun for the rest of life! Or, or, I will take a knife to me wrist an-”
Before her words could be finished, her father, the Knight, walked closer towards her and slapped her hard across the face. He’d not raised a hand to her never before in his life! Yet, his hand fell upon her cheek hard and rough. His face was neither compassionate nor understanding. It was cold, manipulative and calculating. [b [#62646A “You dare speak such damning things before me!?”] ] Her father snarled as he looked down upon her. The words which he spoke came as a shock to the child as he stood back and shook with an anger.
[#62646A “We owe [i EVERYTHING] to the graciousness of the house of Laurent! They’re one of the four noble bloodlines in this nation. And my friend was gracious enough to recommend you become betrothed to his son! You all use to play together, he is a God-fearing man! And I’ll not have it! You will marry him, or so help me! I’ll have you severely punished!”]
There was nothing to say to the man. Nothing at all. Looking upon her father with hateful eyes she’d turned submitted to his will.
[center [b six weeks Prior the house of Dior.”] ]
Another nobleman. Another man to be invited to the wedding. Another time she had to pretend to be happily in love with a man whom she wasn’t. As the smelly noble man wrapped his arms around his wife-to-be, he planted a kiss upon her cheek before his hands gripped firmly against her rear. There was no reaction from her, only the nodding of her head to the older nobleman who was… unbelievably handsome. His figure was imposing, yet he had a softness and gentle touch to him. The look upon his eye was melancholy and filled with a sorry which the young woman shared.
It was a deep sadness, one only felt by those whom had lost loved ones. A kindred spirit, the even was spent much with her by her father’s side. Not because she wanted to be the perfect picture of a doting daughter, but because she was captivated by all which Henri had said. His life, his war stories, the way he spoke of his wife sent something within her soul afire. It was neither lust or desire, but something more of an envious nature. Indeed, as she continued to listen to him speak and converse with him, something stirred with her.
Lady Madelyn was untouched. Or rather, that was what she told her father. He had been gone frequently from her life and her mother had taught her to never deny her own heart’s passion. So, once again, in the heart of that fortress which she and the son of Delacroix had played in, she’d known a man. It was a tender and sweet moment which was a secret deep down within her heart. As the fire crackled in her bed and she remembered all which she dreamed of and all which death had taken she began to break down and cry.
It hadn’t been on purpose. She’d not meant to seduce him. Lord Henri was drunk and had stumbled into her room when he heard her cry. In that moment she felt like only a kindred spirit would understand all which she’d suffered. [i “Please, my lord..”] She wept as she tugged at his robe. [i “Stay..”]
She smelt the wine upon his breath and saw his eyes glaze over with an emotion which she’d not understood. Looking down upon her, he slowly closed his eyes. [#7D177A “Madelyn.. Why do you do this to me? Why do you cling to me like r my wife did…?”] Henri spoke as he trembled softly. [#7D177A “Why do you.. Ask me to comfort you like my wife did?”] And, without warning, Madelyn pulled the male down towards her and desire overcame the both of them.
[center [b the next morning.] ]
“Vincent… why do you stir? Vincent?”
Her whole body ached and as she woke in a daze, she blinked her eyes. Her period had come to in the morning and she doubled over in pain. Groaning, she gasps. She needed to get to a chamber pot and clean herself. For some reason her body ached, her neck was sore, and bruises which she couldn’t remember was upon her body. Sitting up, a hand went to her neck as she tried to remember all that happened last night. Then it came to her! Oh no! This was a mistake, her father would have her killed for this surely. Trembling she covered up her own nakedness and grabbed a nearby pillow. Without warning she scream out in frustration and that was when it started.
She [i Hadn’t] been screaming for help at all. She [i wasn’t] in distress. But, as a female servant came rushing in and saw the bruises on her back after seeing Henri leave this very room. Heard her scream and suddenly assumed the worst, the accusations began to pile in and her betrothed came running in with her father.
[i “That villain! I will have his blood for this.”] Pacing the heir to the noble house of Laurent looked at his darling betrothed and bit his teeth. The man was a chubby piece of meat and as he fell to his knees and took her hand in his he brought it to his lips before kissing her knuckles softly. [i “This villain will pay for this..”] he reassured her as he looked to her before he spoke. [i “We will leave at once. Do not let Henri know of this. I don’t want him to flee the scene or have a chance to plan anything more nefarious. I’ll seek an audience with the king and have him brought to trial.”]
Nodding her head the woman said nothing. Only doing as she was told. That was, afterall, how she would survive
[center [b Present day, Cathedral of St. Lydia.] ]
Blue silk adorn her body as she stepped out of the carriage. It was she who would be the first person to speak of what had happened. Of course, over the six weeks her [b now husband] had told her time and time what to speak and assured her that he’d be by her side. After the incident occured, the man felt like her father, the Knight, couldn’t be trusted to take care of her. So he’d immediately had her moved out and brought to his own castle. Female servants were assigned to her twenty four hours a day and no men were permitted to be alone with her. At first, Madelyn had found her husband to be a repulsive man. But, he was kind. Slowly these last few weeks had been quite alright. Not perfect but neither bad.
As the doors to the cathedral was open the - now - noble woman held her breath. Time seemed to slow as she walked towards the black chair which was place in front of the inquisition and the king himself. She hadn’t know how her Husband had arranged for this trial to take place, but the church was filled with many people. The gossip of what happen had spread all other the capitol and now everyone was waiting to see the girl whom had been the victim of such an evil and heinous crime.
[font "Times New Roman" [center [b [i Eleven Years Prior Somewhere deep in the forest....]]]
Isabella pulled her knees into her stomach tighter as it gave another growl of hunger. She looked around but she wasn't sure what was okay to eat. Her Papa had been trying to teach her, and her Mama had tried to show her how to tell good things from bad. As the rain pelted down on her in large, cold sloshing drops, she couldn't tell if she cried or not anymore at this point. Gone were her shoes, her dress was tattered along the ends, and soiled in mud. Her parents were nowhere in sight. She wished she had payed more attention to her lessons now. She could still hear the screams and she shivered as she began to sob once again.
They had come in the night, she hadn't seen their faces, but her mother had told her to run for the great oak tree in the forest, their usual meet up place when things were bad. She had been in bed, dressed only in her nightgown and chemise, with no time to think, she had ran for the hidden back door of their farmhouse, scrambled across the grass and through the barn to reach freedom through the forest. She had made it to the great oak and hid in its hollowed base like she was told. At some point she had fallen asleep. She awoke the next morning to the rain, and the wind carrying the smell of smoke and something foul. [b "Mama? Papa?"] the young girl of seven called from the tree, but no answer came.
She slowly made her way to the edge of the forest once again, and the sight her little eyes beheld would haunt her dreams for the rest of her days. The farm was burned to the ground, the animals were in various stages of mutilation, some still crying out in pain as they died slowly and painfully. She cried out for her parents, though her own voice was now lost to her own ears as all she heard was her heart breaking. Running as fast as her feet would carry she ran to the house and tried to look for her parents. She looked all around the rubble of the house and found nothing. Then something creaking had caught her hearing and she turned to look, and felt her blood run cold.
In the tree swung that of a body of a man. The battered body was almost unrecognizable, save for the torn remains of the shoes that she and her mother had saved to buy for her Papa's birthday earlier that year. Tears streamed her face as she watched her father swing in the tree. She moved to wipe at her eyes, the salty tears stinging her eyes amidst the smoky air. And that was when she seen the naked remains of her mother in the bushes beneath the tree her father would swing in. She had been too young to truly understand, but her father had been strung up to watch them use his wife and then they were both killed. Bandits of the forest. A kind of highway men that must have stumbled upon their farm and managed to overpower her father in the struggles.
For three days she had laid at the base of the tree and cried herself into nightmare fueled sleep before she began walking into the woods. The thunder and rain had stopped her travels as she shivered and whimpered in hunger. Then something nearby growled. She gasped and looked up from her hunched position and went still. It was a wolf. Not often seen in the woods, but known to be there. Not knowing any better, she immediately took off running. She didn't know where to, or if she would live this night. All she knew was to run.
Whether she ran for minutes, hours, days, she didn't know, but soon the forest gave way to a well trodden path, and just so happened to have a carriage barreling down the path with four horses pulling it, and a couple more carrying men flanking the carriage. She screamed as the carriage came to a halt and the wolf skittered back into the woods. The two men on horses chased into the woods after it, while another man from the carriage jumped down to check on her. She cowered on the ground, pleading with them not to harm her. Her legs were covered in scratches, she was showing signs of fever, and soaked from the still pouring rain. Another man, and a woman now, emerged from the carriage demanding what was going on. She was too tired, too hungry, too cold, and unable to stay conscious anymore. One last look to the couple, asking for her Mama and Papa, she fell under into sleep.
[center [b [i Five Years Prior House of Dior.....]]]
[b "Isabella, its beautiful! You did a wonderful job! My Henri will be beside himself!"] The Lady Dior praised her maid as she gawked at the beautiful dress she wore and the smoothly plaited braids along her hair. Isabella had worked with the Lady's seamstresses to create a beautiful gown for her Lady's birthday. The gown was a deep emerald with gold trimmings. Seamless lace work and hand sewn beadings. It brought out the highlights in her Lady's hair and made her eyes glimmer like gems. Isabella was super proud of her joy and praise.
The House of Dior had been her home ever since the night they had saved her from the wolves. She had been taken in, fed, clothed, and even educated like any child would be. Though the thought of adoption never came up as Isabella had an underlying fear that should she be granted new parents, it would bring bad luck, or even be as though she were forgetting her loving parents. Also, she was never given the option to become their child, but it was never anything personal or disheartening. They had become like her parents, though she was only a maid in the house, she was well cared for and their closest confidant. They were always loving, and sometimes would take her with them when they would go to shows or to church. She was grateful for their kindness and always did her best to try and make them proud.
She helped the Lady down the halls to the dining hall where her husband awaited the birthday girl. The look on Sir Dior's face upon seeing his wife made all the panicking, late nights, and finger stabbing worth while. She knew just by watching them that they loved one another. There was no more perfect couple in the world, save maybe her parents. She served them the Lady's favorite meal, they had some wine and some music. The halls were alight in love and laughter and it felt as though nothing could ruin the life she had come to have.
[center [b [i Three Years Prior Lady Dior's Burial Site......]]]
Isabella gripped her parasol in one hand, her handkerchief in the other as she tried to keep from sobbing too loudly. There was enough sobbing going around on this sad day. Her heart was broken, and she felt as though that hole where her parents had died was now larger. But she did not dare to make this about her grief or sorrow and pain. Sir Dior was in far worse shape. He'd not smiled since the news of his beloved wife's death. He tried to show to be strong when the others looked upon him, but she had heard his cries at night from his chambers. The Lady had been buried her favorite gown, the Emerald and Gold piece that Isabella had given her two years prior.
Each were allowed a moment to give their peace to the Lady before she was fully buried. When Isabella's time came, she settled a jeweled pin in the Lady's hair. It had been meant to be that year's present, but she had been unable to give it to her. She moved to Sir Dior's side and gave him a gentle hug. Not many would be so able to do so, but their bond was different and so he embraced her softly and murmured in her ear for only her to hear. Speaking of how much the Lady had come to love Isabella over the years, and it only made her heart ache more. She tried to smile for him but it wouldn't have her full heart in it. She followed behind him in the procession, still keeping to her place as maid as they laid the Lady to rest.
The House of Dior had never been the same after her passing. The warmth and joy the walls once held seemed to dim and dwindle. A few times she had gone to his Chambers to check on him, and could hear his sobs though he tried to be strong. She thought it best to leave him be. One night he had been having a horrid nightmare and woke screaming for his wife. Many of his staff had come to check on him and Isabella stayed with him until he fell back to sleep, gentle waving the others away so he could rest. It took time, as all healing did, and eventually he got past the worst of the grieving, though she never seen him look to another woman as he had his wife.
Things tried to return back to normal after that day. She gave extra diligence in her chores as well as making sure that he always had what he needed. There came a time that Sir Dior could no longer stay in the same bedchambers that he had once shared with his wife, and claimed that he would move all of his things to the guest wing and that they were to refurbish his old wing into a new guest hall. There were a few nights of drunken mistake that he would wander to the wrong room, and Isabella would dutifully help him back to his new room and see him to bed before leaving. If she had been a decade or more older, then she would be taking over for the head made of the House, but she was still a young maiden yet. But forever loyal to the House would Isabella be.
[center [b [i Six Weeks Prior House of Dior]]]
Isabella had made sure to help the staff as much as possible to accommodate their guests. Especially since they had a close relationship to Sir Dior. She even helped in the kitchen at dinner, though she was never too far away that she couldn't hear for his call should he need. She had tried to be there to help greet their guests, but had missed the look he had given his friend's daughter. She had been too busy helping around.
That night at dinner had been a good night. Sir Dior was in higher spirits than he had been in a good while, and he seemed a bit happier. She did try to ease him on his drinking, but it wasn't often that he was this jovial so she didn't stick to his wine like she should have. He was soon ready to call it a night and Isabella had to ease him up from the table to head him to bed. What she did not see as she helped to clean up and see the last of the guests to their rooms, was that Sir Dior had gone to the wrong wing in his drunken stupor.
With that being the guest wing, it had led him to hos old room, which was now the guest room to Lady Madelyn. When the mess was cleaned up, she had gone to make sure he had not passed out in the hallway, but had not found him in his room. This made her uneasy and immediately Isabella took off through the halls to the guest wing and Lady Madelyn's room. The door was slightly cracked, and a familiar snoring had come from the room. Her eyes widened and she crept into the room, shocked at the sight before her.
If the scent of the room had not been enough proof of what had happened, the rumpled sheets about the two naked figures in the bed surely did. She flushed deeply, never having seen anyone but herself naked before, but she pushed her innocence away as she tried to find a way to save the face of the man whom had saved her life as a child. She crept around the bed to where he lay and made sure to keep her eyes to his face only. Reaching to his shoulder she tried to shake him awake.
[b "Milord...... Milord, please..... please you must wake from here! This is not safe...!"] When he refused to wake she tried to pull him from the bed, but the two were wrapped into one another and she dared not wake the Lady. Should she start a commotion, they were all had. She didn't know what had come over him as he had never looked to another since his wife's passing. This was not like him, not even seven sheets to the wind. She was sure there was more to this, and something did not settle well within her.
She bit her lower lip a moment as she tried to think of something. She always rose at first light to begin her chores, and she knew that once he slept his drunken stupor off, he would awaken. She made the decision to stay in one of the guest rooms that were still vacant, and she would make her way back to gather him to his chambers long before anyone else awoke. She prayed that God would allow her this miracle. With a silent vow to be back, she went across the hall and took up on the room for the night.
[center [b [i The Next Morning....]]]
Screaming shattered her finally peaceful sleep and she jolted up off the bed. She looked around and gasped seeing the time. Her worry and restlessness had kept her from sleep and therefore she had overslept. She quickly ran to the hallway in time to see Sir Dior running down the hall back towards his own wing. One of the other maids, younger and new to the staffing, also had heard the screams and came running. It was too late to do anything about her. Isabella ran after her Lord. Catching up to him, she pulled him from the main halls, to use the servant halls back to his rooms so he wasn't found.
She managed to get him into a bath and once he was decent, and they had spent the time in silence, she finally spoke up. [b "Milord.... I'm ever so sorry..... I tried, honest I tried....."] Tears trailed her cheeks at this and he had finally spoken up to ask of what she meant. She conveyed what she had found the night before and how she tried to help him. Through her tears she then murmured to him, [b "I tried to save you, as you had saved me. I know this is all a mistake, a misunderstanding..... but I failed you, I am so sorry....."]
The guests left immediately and she took on the tasks of cleaning up all the rooms by herself. She started in Lady Madelyn's room, pulling the sheets and bedding to be washed. That was when she noticed something was off. Being pure herself, but more than old enough for her cycles, she knew what the sheets looked like when one got her period. She'd also helped clean the sheets of a newlywed couple, and so she knew the difference between a virgin's first blood with a man, and a started period. She gasped and covered her mouth. She looked at the door of the room, but thought it best to stay quiet and not bring it up, lest she make the situation worse. Instead she quickly cleaned things up and left the matter be. Over the next couple of weeks, things seemed to calm down and be over with, she only hoped.
[center [b [i A Week Prior.....]]]
Knocking turned to banging and the echo of shouts came against the entry doors to the front of House Dior. Isabella had been on her way to answer the door as to get whomever had their issues with the Lord Dior this time to leave. She reached for the door but was stopped and made to step aside. She was behind the door as Sir Dior opened it and she heard the calls. Villain, they called him, but such was not a new term. So many before were angry about the taxes for the King. But then other such words came to her and memories of how she had failed him so many weeks prior came rushing back.
Tears filled her eyes as they demanded he be punished for such a heinous crime. Anger also welled within her as she knew the truth. Lady Madelyn had not been pure that night, and so something was horribly wrong, to be accused of such a crime that was not even his doing! He was taken from the doorway and she peered out as staff began to gather around. Seeing them beginning to bind him in irons she would gasp and try to reach out for him, but one of the stable hands pulled her back as she cried. [b "No, Milord!"]
He looked to her and gave a silent look that forbade her from leaving the doorway to go to him. This man that had been like a second father to her was being taken away on false claims. It wasn't right! If the Stable hand had not grabbed her, she may have very well gone to his side, pleading with the mob that demanded justice. If they ruled against his favor, he would be to death. House Dior had no heirs, what would become of the lands and their home? She looked to the Knight unsure of what was to come, of what would happen to her family and home here. She met Lord Henri's gaze and that was when it clicked.
If they chose against his favor, then House Dior would be a part of the spoils of the winnings in the trial. They would all be given to the man who had done away with their Lord Henri. She couldn't let that happen. She had to find a way to be allowed to speak up in the trial on his behalf. She pleaded deeply with all of her heart that God would hear her prayers and allow her to be able to help him as she promised. Perhaps she had not completely failed him yet.
It had been a very long wait for this day. Isabella paced back and forth in her room. There was a guard outside her room that would make sure she did not try to get to the Cathedral before her time to speak and was playing the role of escort as she was an unmarried woman. A couple of the men from the House Dior staffing was also in the Inn with her in their own room beside hers. They had helped her to attain a nice dress to wear for the trial, especially since they would stand before the King himself. Her dress was nice enough for the occasion without trying to step out of her class.
She had not eaten dinner the night before, nor had she slept well. She also refused breakfast, but did at least accept some tea for her trembling nerves. The trial had become talk of the Kingdom and rumors had began to fly. Some accused Isabella of being Sir Dior's live in whore here to help save his name in hopes of becoming his wife one day. How little any of them knew. Some thought her to be an illegitimate child that he had gained when stepping out on Lady Dior. Her story had been told before, but now that the rumors had started, they began to rethink all things.
Some called the trial the "Battle of Hearts" because the Knight Dior had two women fighting on his life. The Lady Madelyn would speak and plead her case first. Isabella - by some miracle - was allowed to speak on her Lord's behalf, but she had to wait to speak second in the trial and was not allowed to be in attendance while the Lady gave her side of things. She was also not allowed to visit her Lord in his holdings, she had not seen him since he was arrested that morning so many weeks ago. Back and forth, back and forth she paced until a knock came at her door.
[b "Isabella? Are you decent?"] Jakoby, a man of Sixty-Five years, spoke up from the door. He was the Head of Stables, with him was his son, Joshua, a man three years older than Isabella. She allowed them entry to her room, and they frowned at her untouched foods. [b "Bella, child, you must eat.... We cannot have you feinting at the stand."]
[b "I fear more losing my stomach before getting the chance to speak..... I couldn't possibly eat....."]
[b "You've been pacing so much, you've given your guard a migraine."] This made her blink and she forced herself to sit on the settee instead. Her hands settled to her lap, fingers twisting and fidgeting. They tried to calm her nerves, and when she asked to see their Lord Dior once more, Jakoby said that he would ask, but with it being so close to time for her speaking, he didn't think they would be allowed. He even claimed her would be surprised if Lord Henri even knew they were here in town for the trial at all as they had been barred from speaking with him, even in letters. She looked to the clock above the mantle and whimpered softly, trying not to muss her powdered face with tears. She didn't usually wear powder or rouge, but they were informed that she would need to look her best for her station for this trial. Lady Madelyn was the daughter of a knight, so she would have the better attire, and all the more have the sympathy as victim of the people and maybe even the King. But that didn't mean she didn't try.
To try and embrace the love and wisdom of the late Lady Dior, Isabella settled for an Emerald green dress to try and give her courage and strength to try and get through this with her Lord Dior going home safely. She found herself praying to God more often than she normally did, and could only pray more that her prayers were answered. Joshua tried to help ease her nerves, he was a true sweetheart and had been very easy to speak with these last few weeks. She thanked him and his father for all of their help and patience as she fought the urge to fall apart.
[center [b Three years and two months prior; the house of Laurent.] ]
Leaning forward the chubby male stroked his chin carefully as he watched his opponent moved the black horse forward. Chess was a game of war which a person had to be more then careful to play. Already the teenager had taken the black queen and black rook from his opponent. Now his brow was furrowed as he scratched his head in faux perplexion. The son of Noblemen Delacroix was his opponent and as Vincent gave Leon a smile confident in his victory, the teen could no longer wait any longer. With one voice he spoke. [b Check.] Leaning forward, Vincent blinked his eyes. At this time and hour, he’d called his beloved friend Madelyn over to help him out. For two minds were better than one, but it seemed as though she was already preoccupied with the works of an accomplished author.
Muttering a curse word underneath his breath, Vincent flicked his black king over and conceded defeat again to his jovial opponent who laughed and leaned back. The trio had been together for as far back as they could remember. Both Leon and Vincent were born into two of the four Noble houses in the country of Yanlior. And 40 years ago, when Madelyn’s father had been just a wee lad, his parents had given him up to become a servant to the house of Laurent. Little did they know that in the future, the Knight would grow up to be a great and powerful warrior whose reputation was wondrous and powerful.
Reaching his glass of cider the nobleman looked at his friend as he huffed. There was disappointment on his face, but still, the game was a good match and he’d fought valiantly and true. [i “I don’t see why you’re lamenting over one game. When your young and inlove with our beautiful maiden.”] That remark brought a snort to his friend as he leaned back upon the plush chair and nodded his head softly. Indeed, he and Madelyn had been in love since they first laid eyes upon them. Already, they’ve made love despite being sixteen and fifteen .
A plague was currently sweeping throughout the kingdom of Yanloir and already many had succumbed to it. Prayers were being lifted up to God in hopes that he would end it soon. Happiness was often torn asunder and the smell of burning bodies could be smelt on the wind if one got too close to the villages which were impoverished. Leon had requested that both of his friends stayed at his castle so that they wouldn’t be in danger of getting sick. The Laurent nobles were known far and wide for their abilities as healers. Whilst the envious and the jealous accused the noble family of selling their souls to the devil or being witches, this wasn’t true. Every Mass and sunday service the family showed up every time to pray and worship to their holy God. Even the patriarch of the family was a welcoming man who was known for his charity throughout the country. It was hard to bear a grudge against this noble family.
Putting down his cup, he turned to look upon his friend whom he’d loved dearly these past fourteen years of life. Leon was the oldest of the trio. Madelyn was born within the castle of his family when he was six, and Vincent was born when Leon was five years old, he looked upon them as his closest friends. So he knew when some was wrong and he felt something gnawing at him. Reaching closer to his friend he asked Vincent what was wrong, why did he suddenly look so serious and his brother exhaled before inhaling.
[i “I had a dream the other night. I dreamed that I woke up one day but I wasn’t in my bed. I was standing before the gates of Heaven. Jesus, our lord and savior, was looking down at me and spoke to me saying ‘well done my good and faithful servent.’ I fear as thought I’ll not survive the end of this year.”] Vincent spoke.
Shocked, Leon reached for his friend and shook him. This was madness! This fear was foundless and even though it was a beautiful dream to dream of meeting the lord face to face, surely the plague would pass over his house. Just as the Isrealites in egypt were spared by painting blood over their doorframes, so would the house of Delacroix be spared by their righteousness and piety. [i “Leon. I want you to swear to me.. If I die, take care of Madelyn. Even if that means you have to take her hand in marriage take care of her.”]
Sitting back, Leon shook his head fiercely. He refused to listen to his any more. But, looked up at him Vincent spoke. [i “One more game of chess. If I win. Then you will promise to take care of Madelyn if I die..”]
[b “And If I win, then you will surely not die. You will live!”] Leon spoke and his friend gave him a smile.
[center [b Three months later; house of Delacroix.] ]
Clutching the black king chess piece within his ruddy hands, the son of the noble man sniffled. In all of twenty-one years of being alive, there was nothing which would have prepared him for the passing of his friend. He watched through dull eyes as Madelyn was pulled inside with her eyes bleary and red. Tears filled them as she threw herself onto a servant hugging them tightly and weeping. Meanwhile, Leon sat in silence. Despite how heart-broken he was there was no emotion which he could displayed. Instead he sat silently as the lord of the house held his face to his hands and wept bitterly. All around him were the wailing and lamenting of the people he loved dearly and yet here he was stoic and unable to cry.
In truth he was in shock. Shock and illness. When he’d heard that his friend had fallen ill he’d rush to be by his side. For hours he stayed by his bed before he was told that it wasn’t safe for him to remain by his friend’s side. It was begrudgingly that he left. If only he hadn’t left. As he sat there, Madelyn turned upon him and screamed out in anguish. [i “You cold-hearted bastard! You selfish cow! You fat fucking man! Did you not love Vincent as I did!? Then why do you remain calm! Why do you not mourn with us! What! Do you think that now that Vincent is gone, you have a chance to fuck me!? I’ve seen how you looked at me with a lustful gaze. Dreaming of me to be your wife since my father has served and fought for your house for the past thirty years! But you will never fuck me! You will never marry me! It should be you in the grave not Vincent you fucking bastard of a man!”]
Hystria. Leon knew deep within his heart of hearts that Madelyn had not meant to say those words. However, in his grief, he could not stay here. Rising from his chair he thanked Lord Delacroix for his service and then gather his things. This would be the last time he’d ever seen Madyeln. He would not lay eyes upon her till two full years had passed.
[center [b A year prior to the trial; House of Seydoux] ]
Nestle close within the Capitol of Yanloir lay the last of the great four noble houses. It was here, at their manor, which a party was being held to announce an engagement between the Knight’s daughter and noble man Laurent’s son Leon. The Noble house of Seydoux had no sons, only daughters which wore their hair in rosey red braids. Standing within the courtyard of the castle, was Leon holding a bouquet of Roses. His betrothed would be arriving soon and the last time they’d seen each other was when their beloved friend had passed. In truth, the male was entirely surprised that the Knight had convinced her daughter to go through with this. For he knew within his heart of hearts that the child wanted nothing more but to become a nun.
In her eyes, there was no man worthy of her love save Vincent. Twenty-three years old, his eyes gazed upon the seventeen year old Maiden. He knew her secrets and knew that she didn’t love him. However, he’d promise her beloved to watch over her with all of his power. Despite his hesitation and unworthiness he knew that this promise was something which couldn’t be forgotten or forsaken or thrown away.
“Lord Leon.” Madelyn spoke as she curtsy before the male. Returning the favor the male bowed his head before speaking “Lady Madelyn.” it was a foreign word which tasted strange upon his tongue. For the past two years, Leon had studied at the capitol of Yanloir. The house of Seydoux had allowed him to live with them after the passing of Vincent. After all which happen, it was impossible for the male to live within his father’s house knowing that his dead friend’s lover would walk the halls there as well.
“I apologize for my words the last time we spoke. I was angry and I had no right to speak to you in such a way.” As she spoke those words the porky male, nodded his head. His reddish beard could not hide the smile which had begun to form on himself. Despite how sour their last encounter had been it didn’t erase the friendship of their childhood. Walking towards her he handed her his rose and spoke softly. [i “I promise our friend to love and cherish you. I know that you’ll never love me. But I will be by your side to protect you. I swear it upon my life.”]
As the Knight and the Noble man Seydoux watched the couple court each other there was applause which filled the air. The party was to start and after this was done, they would travel to the house of Delacroix.
[center [b Five months prior; House of Delacroix.] ]
Throwing himself upon the ground, Leon wept openly and bitterly before the grave of Vincent. His young brother, Charles, was patting his back as he saw how distraught the big man was. They had buried him before the fortress wall which they’d had played in their childhood youth and it was a bitter reminder that his friend was no longer of this world. Leon had insisted that he needed to be alone when visiting the grave but Charles knew better than to let him face the reality of death on his own. [i “How could God be so cruel. To take a man so beloved away by that damning plague!”] Leon shouted before he sniffled and gathered himself. Rising upwards he looked to Charles who offered him a handkerchief. The feast within House Delacroix was being set and it was time for them enter into the noble man’s house.
As Leon walked down those familiar halls, the father of Vincent embraced him. [i “You’ve finally returned home my son.”] His words came out softly before he turned away and kissed him on his forehead. In truth, ever since Vincent’s passing, Lord Delacroix had considered Leon and Madelyn to be his own children and therefore was paying for the wedding that the two were having. He refused to allow either the knight or house Laurent to pay for anything. All Laurent had to do was offer the Knight land as a dowry price and once that was paid all was well.
As the bethrove couple sat within the dining room the two looked away from each other. This was the place where Madelyn’s anger had been taken out on the porky man. Her words were like ghosts which echoed and lingered within the ears of the pair. As servants began to bring forth food and wine Lord Delacroix proposed a toast to his children whom were getting married and as the dinner went on Leon looked upon Madelyn truly for the first time. She was going to turn eighteen soon. In less the five months time it would’ve been a full year since they’ve been betrothed together. Despite the Knight wanting them to be engaged and married instantly, Leon had protested and insisted that they spent a year preparing before the wedding was had. And in that year they could visit the nobles and travel all of Yanloir. It was an obvious stall for time. However, the knight agreed.
It was clear to everyone that the Knight was growing older and older and that his years of fighting were waning. He had been fighting wars on behalf of the noble family of Laurent since he was sixteen. He was now into his forties and he wanted land of his own to finally own. Being a knight wasn’t enough, and having a title didn’t satisfy his lust either. With his daughter married to Leon, Lord Laurent promised the Knight a castle and land and servants. Already the chubby man despised the bastard father for not honoring her wishes and tensions would only grow worst.
[center [b six weeksPrior, Morning time at the House of Dior .] ]
Previous night was full of dancing, laughter, and drinking. Henry Dior was a most gracious gace who was a true gentleman. In truth, of all the noble houses, Dior was the only one which Leon had never been to. So to meet the man for the first time, he was not disappointed at all. He was everything which he had been told he was. However, the thing which irked him was how he’d assumed Leon was just some peasant. Numerous time Henri had slipped and called Leon a “fat peasant.” and question if he truly was an “heir” to the Laurent house because he’d never seen a noble man so “ugly.” True, the man grew his beard out and had round rosey cheeks and a big stomach. Yet the golden pendant which hung around his neck was proof of his nobility!
Leon had rose early that morning because he was hungry and wanted a few fried eggs and sausages. If he had only slept in a little more, he would’ve never heard his betrothed screamed and come running into her room. Huffing and puffing, he was clearly out of breath and as he saw the bruises on his naked fiancee’s body, seen the blood, his reaction was one which shocked even her. Reaching for the nearest table, he flipped it into the wall.
His eyes were enrage. As the knight came running in he was confused but that didn’t matter to him. Curling his lips into a thin line the knight spoke. [i “Quickly girl, get dress! We mustn’t let anyone know that my daughter had been a whore!”]
At once, Leon slammed his fist into the knights face and sent the man barrling to the floor. Contrary to popular belief, Leon was a fierce fighter in his own right. He’d trained with an ax during the two years prior to being betrothed and had learn the art of jousting as well. [i “You dare shame you daughter accuse her of being a whore! Despite knowning that your friend, the villain, took advantage of her! From now on, you will NOT go near my fiance! I will wed her immediately and after words, I will have words with the king about this!”]
Turning towards his wife, he got on one knee and spoke to her softly reassuring her that he’d get justice for this. He would. He would.
[center [b four weeks prior, the throne room of the King. ] ]
[b [#d4af37 “This is a serious crime by which you’ve come to accuse Lord Henri Dior of.. Do you understand this? The punishment for being found false is to be hanged. You’ll be under house arrest and not be able to leave the house of Seydoux. If You attempt to, a summary will be put out for your arrest and you will be hanged. Are you still sure you want to go through with this?”] ]
Kneeling before the king, Leon watched as he saw the man give him a soft look. During his stay at the house of Seydoux, the king and he had gotten well acquainted. The pair had enjoyed playing plenty of games of chess, along with drinking their full of wine and eating game which they’ve caught whilst hunting. Leon had a surprising skill for setting snares and wires and catching rabbits and the like out in the wild. So the king was hesitant to bring this trial to a head, for if this had been a misunderstanding, if Henri was found innocent, then Leon would hang for this.
“My lord, the villain raped my wife. If it had been just a gentle love making then I wouldn’t have brought it to you. I would’ve demanded he pay the dowry price for robbing me of her virginity. But, there was blood. Bruises, he violated her brutally and she woke up screaming. There was dried blood on her thighs. I demand blood! Your Majesty. And blood I shall have.”
[b [#d4af37 “Very well..”] ] The King spoke as he looked at his friend and he repeated the phrase. [b [#d4af37 “Very well.”] ]
[center [b The day of the trial; the Cathedral of St Lydia.] ]
Darken eyes watched as the judges came waltzing in wearing robes of red. Rosemary hung from their necks as they took their seat before the Black chair which sat his newly wed wife. The trial was about to begin at Noon and the first to bear witness to what happen would be Lady Madelyn. Next the Maid of Lord Henri’s would speak. Then Nobleman Leon would speak and finally Henri would have a chance to say his piece. After the four key witness spoke, anyone else which had something to say would be allowed to speak whether it was on behalf of Lord Leon or Henri.
Many people assumed that it was the Knight whom had brought Henri to trial. But that had not been so. It was Lord Leon who was acting of his own violation. The knight had just wanted this to be quiet and gain his dowry which was land. Once he’d gotten what he desired from the marriage asked to be pardoned from speaking. It was granted. The coward didn’t have the gall to defend his own daughter, however he did have the gall to visit his old friend in the dungeons below.
Leon had no idea why the Knight wanted to visit the villain. He’d seen with his own eyes the brutal way which his own daughter had been used. And still! He denounced her a whore and declared that this business be ignored and his daughter bathed and to stay within the house of Dior. Had he his way, Leon was sure that the knight would let all of Yanloir have his daughter if he meant his wealth would increase! The honor and pride which the knight had had in his former years was gone due to his old age and that was inexcusable within the eyes of Leon.
[i “Lady Madelyn, are you prepared to bare witness to what happen? Are you prepared to give an honest testimony and offer no lie only truths?”] Lifting up his eyes, Leon looked upon his wife. The trial was starting now.
[font "Times New Roman" [center [b [i Present Day Morning.... Guest Suite in the Palace....]]]
Madelyn sat on her bed as breakfast was brought to her so that she may get ready for the day ahead. Her stomach felt all but sour at this point, but she attempted to eat what she could. A bite or two of eggs, a nibble of bacon, maybe some toast. Forcing herself to have something solid on her stomach to stave off her nerves. She'd played the night over and over in her head, and she wondered if things were being taken too far. Though any time she'd mentioned this, she was told that it was merely the trauma of that night that made her think such a way. They had moved up the wedding, and then went to the king. Her now husband plead what he had come to find that morning and she was excused from speaking then, due to being the victim.
Over and over and over she had been told what to say about that night. How to tell her story so that justice would be found. But she didn't know if it was the right thing to do. She pushed her tray away and the maid took it away. She piled up her blond hair to then bathe herself as she thought back over everything. As the date had come closer, she had been feeling more and ore ill. Her husband thought it was because she would be forced to relive the trauma. Her father thought that it was because she was so weak willed, and had told her in secret that she had better not spoil this for him. He was going to get what he was owed. Perhaps that was the problem? Her father scared her, but then, shouldn't the King scare her more? If things in this trial went the wrong way, she could possibly not walk away from this.
[center [b [i Six Weeks Prior.... House Dior....]]]
[b "Do not think me blind, you little trollop.... I noticed how you looked at old Henri. Keep those legs of yours closed, you hear me? You've been promised to another, and I shall be damned if you ruin this for me..... I busted my arse to provide for you, the least you could do is to remain proper while being watched, do you understand me?"] Her father growled at her before dinner. She had been called to his guest room before dinner to speak with her father and she knew it couldn't be anything good. Yes, she had looked to Lord Dior, who wouldn't? He was a very handsome man, with kind eyes, broad shoulders. Even if he was old enough to be her father, he was also still young enough to remarry again. When she delayed in her answer to her father, he backhanded her cheek to regain her attention.
This was the normal. He knew just how to hit so that a bruise would show long after it the hit had happened, so that it was never linked to him. Or the hit would be in a place not easily seen, or just hard enough to teach her a lesson, without leaving a mark at all. This one wouldn't leave a mark, the ones to her face usually didn't. Though there would be no one to dispute it even if it did. She was just the wild daughter being put in her place. That was how they all seen her. Especially since the outburst she'd made against Leon the day her love died.
She held still, not even reaching a hand to her now inflamed cheek, refusing to give him the satisfaction of knowing that it hurt, though she was sure he knew. This was the common now. Her father was abusive and greedy and her love was gone from this world. What did she have to look forward to? Marrying a man she didn't love, helping her narcissistic father gain what he believed was owed to him for all his glory and work. She felt as though her life was no longer her own.
Her father gripped her upper arms and got in her face, reminding her of her duty to the family. To marry well, bare children for that husband, to be the perfect daughter and wife, and help to bring their family name higher in regards. She was to always be seen as a Lady. Little did her father know that she wasn't pure. She'd already known a man, a man she loved and whom loved her in return. No man would ever give her that same sensation within her heart. She took the berating and abuse and the beatings as she always did and then made her way to dinner.
During dinner, she was the picture of perfection. She was witty, and charming, humble and grateful for their host's hospitality, but she was also trying to drown herself in the wine. At least, without getting caught. That was when she noticed the way one of the Maid's was acting around Lord Henri. She had asked the staff the relationship between Lord Dior and his Maid, some....Isabella. That was her name. But they all said the same. She had been orphaned and found by the Lord and his late wife, and raised here in the manor. She had thought for sure that there was something more, but upon deeper watching, they acted like how a father and daughter should act. This pulled a bit at her emotions and she hated that.
Madelyn waited until it was publicly polite enough to excuse herself, and then went to her guestroom to get away from all of the "merriment" happening. She wasn't in a mood, and she didn't want to be around her father while he was drunk. She readied herself for bed and had one of the maids start the fireplace in her room to stave off the chill. When the maid left, she pulled a pillow into her lap, and let her emotions go in silence. Her heart ached for a man she could no longer have. She yearned to be seen as a daughter, to be loved as she was, but that was only a dream now. She had someone to marry, but she didn't believe that he loved her. How could he? After the way she treated him? She didn't deserve it, she felt.
[center [b [i Present Day.... Cathedral of St. Lydia....]]]
[b “Lady Madelyn, are you prepared to bare witness to what happen? Are you prepared to give an honest testimony and offer no lie only truths?”] This was it. She knew how she was supposed to tell the story of what happened six weeks ago, and the story would condemn Lord Dior. Over these few weeks she had come to learn that not only did Leon care for her, but he was truly wishing to protect her. He had taken her from her father, and he was standing behind her in this trial. She had not been brave enough to speak with her husband about what her father had put her through, afraid that this care would be taken from her. Afraid that he, too, would grow cold against her.
She took one final look towards her husband, and the look he held in his eyes filled her with a strength she'd not felt since before Vincent had passed. [b [i 'Give us both strength, my love....']] She prayed before turning to look to the King and spoke up in her resolve. A single tear fell along her cheek as she answered His Majesty. [b "I am prepared to give only truths, no lies, as I give to the courts my recollection of the night in question...."] She answered. She would do this. For herself. For Vincent. For Lord Henri. And for Leon. She hoped that he would see this choice not as a betrayal, but as a show that she has grown to begin to care, and that she wanted to try and make their lives better, if he was willing to help protect her from the true evils of her life.
[b "Very well. In your words and recollections, please tell the courts what happened on the night in question six weeks prior to this night at the home of one Lord Henri Dior."] The King demanded and sat back to settle in to listen.
[b "On that night, we had been traveling in preparations of my upcoming wedding to Lord Leon Laurent. In our traveling, we had stopped to visit a friend of my Father's from the past, Lord Henri Dior, at the House Dior. There we were invited to stay awhile, to visit and celebrate the upcoming wedding. I spent most of the afternoon resting from the travels in my guestroom alone until dinner. Before I went to dinner..... I....."] Her words faltered, fear rising up to clench her tongue.
[b "Continue, Milady..... the court understands that remembering the night can be hard for you, but we need to hear the truth so that justice may be given."] The King spoke gently, thinking trauma was the reason she fell silent. Her fingers toyed with her wedding rings, thinking of how Leon had taken her away from her father and she'd been given safety with him. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, nodding to His Majesty. [b "B-before dinner....... I was called to speak with my father by one of Lord Henri's Maids..... Isabella. I went to my father once I was ready for dinner, and that was when....."]
Again fear choked her. She squeezed her hands tightly against her lap. It was now or never. Live forever in fear of her father, or take the chance she'd been given and show the true villain. More tears had fallen down her cheeks now as she lifted her chin in defiance and looked straight at the King, refusing to look and see if her father was watching her. She would be safe here. The King and Leon both would keep her safe. Wouldn't they? [b "My father and I had a discussion in his guestroom before dinner. He spoke to me of keeping my eyes to myself, accusing me of leering at Lord Dior. I admit that Lord Dior is a very handsome man, any woman with eyes can see that. Wh-when he felt that I was not listening..... he.... h-he physically assaulted me.... a strike to my face, then grabbing my upper arms, and then a myriad of strikes along my torso and abdomen.
From there, once I was decent and composed once more, I went to dinner where I tried to lose myself in the wine. From there my memories feel more like a dream than a reality, so I shall share them as I remember them. They are a bit hazy. I stayed and spoke with the host and guests until was publicly polite, and then I excused myself to my room for the night. I am unsure of how much time had passed, but at some point I was sitting on my bed lost in memories when Lord Dior came to my room. He seemed confused at first, and very intoxicated from dinner. He did not seem hostile or rude even in his drunken manner. He started to leave, but in my emotional state, I asked him to stay...."
"You asked him to stay? What reasons had you emotional?"
"I.... was once betrothed to the brother of my now husband...... But he was taken from us years ago. To this day my heart still aches for him as I did love him..... that night in my own intoxication, I was battling the loss and lonely feeling I held in his absence, as well as the thoughts of my father's abusiveness over the last several years. Lord Dior had been very kind, caring, and to my beliefs, I was looking to that warmth and comfort, something I had not seen in a very long time...... Lord Dior spoke up that I reminded him of his late wife.... and, what happened next, I can only describe as an intoxicated desire......"] She took another breath as she tried to steady her trembling frame. If this trial was to take her to death, she would at least go without guilt, and have it all known, so that true justice was had. She could feel all eyes on her, none more so heated into her skin as the eyes of her father, and the eyes of her husband, though she dared not look to either.
[b "Lord Dior and I shared a kiss, one that could be described as passionate, though there was no love from either side. Just one another seeking comfort to ease the pain and loneliness of a lost loved one. No sooner had it started, Lord Dior pulled us apart. He claimed that such acts were not only sins, but would have us both find the end of our lives, as well as that he did not feel any such emotions for me, and that I was betrothed and should respect such. I was touched that a man, that intoxicated, could turn away such temptations, and I am thankful for that."
"You are claiming that Lord Henri put a stop before anything else happened, so how did you both become spotted in such a predicament?"] The King's eyes were speculating, puzzled and calculating. He was listening for any chance of a lie, and at the same, he seemed surprised to learn of what all was being said when this first party was supposed to be against Lord Dior.
[b "Once we both decided that it was best not to travel such a road, We sat and talked of our lost loved ones. At some point during the night's talk, I started to feel ill, which I thought was due to little food and a lot of wine on my stomach. I went to get some water from the basin and in my intoxicated state, I fell into the bath, and spilled the water pitcher all over me and my nights dressing gown. Lord Dior pulled me from the tub, and in such, ended up spilling the last of the pitcher on his shirt. He removed his shirt and sat it near my room's fireplace to dry, and then turned away to let me do the same with my gown. I was allowed time to get into the bed and cover myself, as I could not remember where I had placed my other dressing gown.
Lord Dior was going to leave then, but again, I asked him to stay. For nothing more than company. I was not ready to be alone that night, not yet. I laid curled up on the bed and he sat in a chair. The night's chill seemed to be a little much, and so he agreed to lay next to me, on top of the blankets to help warm me only until I fell asleep. Then he said he would leave when I fell asleep...... I do not even remember him making it to the bed as the wine took the last bit of my thoughts, and I can only say that I think I fell asleep."
"What do you remember of the next morning?"
"I remember feeling something moving the bed.... and then I was fully awoken by female pains from my monthly cycle. THe night before was a blur, and I didn't remember being in bed the night before at first. My memory was slow in coming back to me. That was when I took a pillow to cover myself, and in frustration and embarrassment, I screamed. I had not thought about what that would cause, nor did I think to possibly muffle my screams in the pillow. Before I realized my poor choice, there was a flurry of incidents. One of the staff came in and in my state, called for my father and Lord Laurent. Everything spiraled from there."
"Your words here are claiming that Lord Dior did in fact, NOT..... commit adulatory that night in your bed..... is this the case, Lady Madelyn?"
"To what my memory brings to me, Your Majesty, that is the truth I know."
"If such is the truth as you have given oath to, then tell me, why not come forward with this truth before such accusations were brought to the crown...?"
"......I was..... afraid.....as well as.... not allowed to..... I was told that I was not needed to speak as I was the victim..... but then I was also told that if I did not tell the proper story, that.... I would be made to suffer...... up until today, I did not have the courage or strength to come clean of what happened that night, and I can only ask forgiveness for such a failing, Your Majesty.... I also wish to apologize to my husband, Lord Leon, for not coming clean with him before this as well..... only one other knew the truth of what happened that night.... I had tried to step up and have this dropped before today...... but it fell upon deaf ears. My husband only wished to protect me, and to get justice for my being mistreated...... he is just as innocent."
"And who was it that threatened you to remain silent of the truth?"
"My father, the Knight - Sir Fredrick of house Delacroix....."] She then took this chance, to not only look to her father, but to point to him in his seat. She could see the anger and the malice in her father's eyes. She came to terms that she would never see love of a father in those eyes. And after her confessions here today, she solidified that notion. She sat there and waited until she was escorted from her seat, and that was the only time she took a glance to her new husband, fearful of what he would think of her after this confession. Would the bond they had been forming be lost over this? Would her life be ended after this trial? She dropped her gaze as she was escorted out, biting her lip in the bubbling fears that took her.
Voice of desperation and rage filled the wide and open filled as bodies hurled came hurling at each other. Holding the reigns of his horses, the King clicked his heels together, before unsheathing his sword. Raising it high he circled it around, letting all who saw it know that the second line of offense was ready to attack. The Longbow archers had been practicing to make their arrows rain down upon the armor forces of the foreign king. For to long; the king of Normandy had sought to claim more land for himself, and now with his eyes set upon one of the most prized regions; such aggression could no longer be ignored.
Swinging his sword down, he gave the signal and the arches let loose their arrows. Over a hundred, thousand arrows filled the midday sun, raining down upon the numerous enemies of the King. His eyes were stern and fierce and calculating. He’d neither the time of capacity for nonsense. Riding towards his most loyal confident and childhood friend, he looked at the eldest son of the house of Seydoux. His father had grown too old to be in the service of the king, and so in his stead, he sent his son whose wife had just birthed two girls. As he saw his lord approaching, he rode towards him meeting him halfway. Amidst the battlefield, there was none whom he trust, besides that of Thibualt. He was a young boy who had been adopted into the house of Delacroix. Already, his prowess on the battlefield had been shown numerous times and as the boy continued to fight valiantly, the kings best friend looked at the lord. [i “If we live through this battle, Thibault should be rewarded. I admit, I’m partial to the name since he two had a daughter such as I.”]
Nodding his head the king agreed to that sentiment. Thibault had shown nothing but true loyalty and bravery out upon the battlefield and that was something which deserved to be acknowledge and treated with pure and honest respect. As the King rode rallied his troops he turned towards his friend and gave him a small grin. This, this was his favorite part of it all. Riding downwards the king led the finally charge would be the decisive blow and would finally put an end to such bitter and bad blood between him and the King of Normandy.
Bodies littered the field and already crows were feasting upon the carrions of the dead. Kneeling before the king was Leverlet. Heaving heavily up and down he looked upwards towards the king whose broadsword was in hand. At this rate he was only afford two options. Surrender or be executed right here and now upon the battlefield. As he looked towards the king he snarled out; [b “You expect me to bow before a golden Stag?”] He breathed heavily as he laughed at the thought of such folly. Indeed, he’d rather face his own death by beheading than to live subservient to a foreign king. So what if his kingdom and land where absorbed into the Kingdom of French, it mattered not to him. One day Yanlior would fall. It’s cities would be in ruins and its people would suffer beyond anything which anyone could ever imagine.
So as he looked upwards towards the king, he shouted for him to bring down his sword. That he was fearless, that he had no reason to fear that which all men must face in their final hours.. Death. His only regret being that he hadn’t lived long enough to see the king die himself. Noddng his head, the king turn towards the rising warrior named Thibualt and ordered him to come here. As he did so, he bowed before the king. Blood smeared his face and he was still very much, weary from the batte. Yet he showed it not, instead trying to put on a brave face. With a grin, the nobleman from house Seydoux clasps him on his shoulders and spoke. [b “You’ve been given the honor of proving your loyalty to the king. Execute this bastard.”] The voice of the nobleman came out smoothly. And without any hesitation, the boy did so and from that moment on Thibualt was known as no other word than than [u the Knight.]
[b Three years prior to the Trial; the capital of Yainlore.]
[i “What sin have I done to bring this Godless Plague upon us?” Even my newborn son and not even a years old, was struck from this world.”]
King Charles’ chalice was tipped over as he stumbled about the castle walls drunk with wine. His night shift wrinkled and his locks of golden hair a mess. He'd not stop drinking for days now and who could blame him. Numerous carts carried the dead out into the open fields to burn the bodies of those stricken with the plague. None were safe from such misery and suffering and all he could do was question what godlessness had brought this upon them all. Even his best friend was afflicted for a week prior he’d had to bury his own father. Now he was the one in charge of the house of Seydoux. Falling down, the king looked at the world around him and closed his eyes. He’d had only one wish, one desire, and that was to leave this world and join his son in the everlasting paradise known as Heaven.
Four servants struggled to carry the king to bed because he was heavy. Yet they managed to place him onto the bed and as he moaned he curled up in his bed and whimpered the name of the child he lost. None could console him and as the plague continued to take more and more lives the King grew more and more darker and depressed. The future was bleak and there was nothing to for.. Not when his only son had been taken from this world and death was rising all throughout the land..
[b the next morning.]
Heavy thudding came knocking upon his door as the king stirred from his drunken stupor. The first thin he did every morning since the burial of his son was drink himself into an unthinking and uncaring Stupor. Time for him was nonexistent and as the door to his bed chambers opened up, the knight came walking in with the nobleman of the house Seydoux and the son of the house of Laurent. Blinking, the king raised his chalice towards them and gave a hiccup as his speech was slurred and his voice down cast. [i [#d4af37 “Ma..ma.. Friends! Ya.. come.ta.. Drank!? Ey, come… Mary! Fetch us… wine..”] ] Falling down before his fire-place the King laugh before the knight rolled his eyes.
They had heard that he was falling to pieces but this was too much. France needed a King to help them through the darkest of times. And their lord was here drinking himself witness and doing nothing but mourning when all had experience lost. Looking towards those whom had served him and a newly formed face, the king blinked once more before he snorted. [i [#d4af37 “If ya not come ‘ere ta.. Drank! Than, why’d ya come?”] ] The King asked and that was when Leon spoke softly.
“I’ve come to ask permission to stay at the castle…And be tutored under the house of-” before Leon could speak the king granted his request and slowly began to crawl on his hands and knees towards the young man. As he hoisted his chalice towards him he gave but one command to drink, but he refused.
Stooping down, Leon looked at the king and spoke. “So this is the luxury of the King? While we all most go about our daily affairs, unable to mourn our loses or bury the dead, the King gets to wail about like a toddler acting as though his pain is the only one that matters. You’re no king! You’re a tragic accident created as a joke by a malicious God!”
Stunned by the silence, every looked as the king blinked once and then again. Throwing the chalice against the wall the king stood, stumbling, but struggled to stand. Leaning against the wall he spat. [b [#d4af37 “You Fat Bastard! Filthy swine! You will be hanged for such insolence! To declare there is a God before me. What God would take a newborn from the arms of his loving father and mother!? What God would release such a plague upon our people!”] ]
[b “You can’t even stand! Pray tell me, who would listen to the orders of a drunken fool! Before you wish to order those around, bring order to yourself! I’ve lost a brother and one closest to me has turned upon me! But here I stand, trying to better myself. And I entreat you to gather senses and fix the kingdom which is falling the shambles!”]
Hold their breath the knight and the Nobleman Seydoux said nothing as the King looked at Leon before blinking and letting out a small laugh. Hiccuping he smirked before he lifted his hand and nodded it. [#d4af37 “Your name? So I can tell who to hang once I’ve become sober?”] The king spoke laughing as he stumbled back. [b “Leon..”] And from that moment on the two become friends.
It took plenty of time to fix the Kingdom and recover from the plague which struck the capital of Yainloir. In total, there was a single house which hadn’t suffered a lost and most who were sick and fell asleep never woke again. But, through effort and time and resilience the Kingdom recovered and things were made whole again.
[b [u Present day: Cathedral of St. Lydia.] ]
As the King answered who had been the one who had abused her so severely he had been expecting an honest answer. So far, everything she'd said was true and convincing. But at the end of her Testimony her words faltered and the king shifted in his seat. He had the courtesy to not laugh at the girl. But many others in the court laughed at her. Soon the whole entire room erupted into laughter at the folly of her answer and as the king raised his hands and called for silence, it took some time for the thunderous roar of laughter to die down.
Looking down at her, one of the inquisitors cleared his throat and spoke; [b “It seems as though the ordeal you went through Madelyn, has traumatized you even more than you’ve let on. Everyone knows that Sir Fredrick of House Delacroix, has been dead for a hundred years! It seems as though, in my humble opinion, since you are without a child, that alone, is proof that you weren’t taken by Henri Dior.. But, perhaps it was he who struck you and hit you when you refused his advances? You father-the Knight-is well know to be named Thibault! He was a peasants son who was badly beaten and abused by his serfdom. In order to save him from such abuses, he was adopted into the noble house of Laurent and taught to be a knight…”]
[b “If we may assume that in bout of anxiety, you’ve misspoke then I can understand child. Your father-given his childhood history-was taught that severe discipline is the only way to discipline a child. Did he tell you that his Serfdom made whips of leather and took several lashes to his back for merely burning a loaf of bread? Or how he was oftentimes whipped just for the mere amusement of the man? Mmhm.. Thibault is, without a doubt, a man with severe flaws. His violent outbursts are well known, but we can’t fault a man for doing what he was learned in his childhood. Now, think clearly child, was it Henri, or your father Thibault that struck you so viciously?”]
[i “My…. my… Thibault…”] Madelyn spoke as he shifted in her seat her cheeks still flushed with embarrassment at how everyone laughed at her.
[b [#d4af37 “You may leave now. I have no other questions for you.. I am satisfied. Next up, is Leon of house Laurent!.”] ]
As the chubby man looked at his wife he gave her a faint smile. He was proud that she spoke her truth and wasn’t at all worried about his own fate or that of hers. As he sat within the chair before the trial, the King looked at him. Before he could speak however, the left inquisitor held up his hand and spoke softly.
[b “The King and You Leon… Are very close. Is this true? Mind you tell us how this friendship began?”]
Letting out a breath, the male nodded his head and spoke. “Three years ago, during the plague. My childhood friend and Madelyn’s former beloved… was stricken from this world. In her grief she wished ill upon me and told me that she never wanted to look upon me again. The house of Delacroix, which our beloved Vincent, was a the furthest house away from the Capitol. So, to put the most distance between us, I decided to leave my father’s house and take up studies under the house of Seydoux and in that time I’ve became acquainted with the King and through our mutual love of hunting, latin, and being one of the few men who do not partake in the drinking of wine, we’ve become close friends..”
Looking at him, the inquisitor nodded his head before blinking. And spoke again, [b “Interesting.. So, your current wife, Madelyn, does not find you attractive, why did she choose to marry you? Was it arranged? Do you not love each other?”]
Letting out a huge sigh, Leon spoke up softly “I cannot speak on behalf of my wife. Only that, out of reward for his life-time of service to my family…. My father saw fit to allow his daughter to marry into our home so that the Knight Thibault could, by daughter, have the title as a nobleman. As I state before, Me, our deceased friend Vincent, and Madelyn would often play at the Delacroix estate as children. In our youth, Madelyn and I were good friends. When first she caught feelings of the son of nobleman Delacroix, it was I whom she told first off. And seeing the opportunity of them to be together, I worked my best to help their love for one another blossom. Before my friend Vincent passed from this world, he had a premonition that he wouldn’t survive the plague. So we made a wager on a chess game that if he won, than he I would bare the life-long responsibility of taking care of Madelyn in any way which she needed. He beat me in that chess game, and now, as promise, I’ve wed Madelyn to provide for her and take good care of her.”
With that, the inquisitor softened a bit. He could see in the eyes of the fat child that despite him loosing his dearest friend, he was still keen on making that promise. Still, the man had a job to do. [b “During the night, prior to this incident occurring. Did you notice Henri leering at Madelyn? It is you who brought the accusation of rape against him. Did you notice that he had a lustful gaze upon your wife? That he wanted to take her as his own?”]
Breathing in and out the male spoke softly. “It is hard to say. Henri was drunk and many times, he insulted me. Calling me too fat to be a nobleman, to ugly to be engaged to a beauty such as Madelyn, and too undesirable to ever have a wife unless it was a….. Cheap wrench bought with coins. Those were his exact words But-”
Cutting him off the inquisitor spoke [b “So~ we’ve established that your wife isn’t attracted to you, and didn’t wish to find you. Is it possible, that you were scared that Henri would seduce Madelyn, that he was in a more favorable positions for her affections, and therefore, invited her back to his chambers? Do you think it possible that instead of rape, that this was… simply, an affair gone wrong? And out of jealousy you accused Henri such a henious crime to see him hung. Out of revenge for this humiliation! Confess! YOU WANTED HENRI TO DIE because he lusted after your bribe!”]
“NO!” Leon shouted.
[b “Just like you were secretly happy of the fact that your childhood friend died so that you could have Madelyn!”]
“YOU BASTARD!” Leon screamed out. “I have NO ILL WILL towards Henri! And I’ve Prayed, and Prayed for God to to perform a miracle and just as he raised Lazerus, to raise my beloved brother Vincent from the Grave! When I heard my wife scream I saw blood! I thought she’d been hurt, and when than in comes her father, the knight, denouncing her as a harlot and threating to strike her! I AM NOT A MAN SO PETTY that I would wish death upon a man just for looking at my wife! I was not made aware of what happen earlier, and I didn’t know that my wife had started her period till after we’ve arrived home! I thought the fear and the anxiety must have brought it on early! I have no malicious intent against Henri! I wish death upon none! If the man is truly innocent than I will pay whatever reparations are needed to be paid, But in God’s NAME! Do NOT insult my character any longer!”]
[b “So, YOU DID KNOW that Henri was innocent! And you DID wanted him-”]
[b [#d4af37 “ENOUGH!”] ] The king barked as he slammed his fist upon his table. [b [#d4af37 “We are not here to twist the words of those on trial and create our on truths based on twisted tales! We are here to discover the truth! The righteous and-”] ] Before the king could finish, Leon stood and threw down his glove before the court.
“It seems as though Man’s law are corrupted and will not yield me justice! Now, I see that my very honor is being called into question? Very well! I demand Trial by Combat! No longer is this a question about rape, but who is more honorable. The Glove has been thrown down, now! It is on Henri to pick it up!”
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