[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....
[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.