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 Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:52 pm


Lady Lynnette Clement

Days, Lynnette Clement reflected from her position in her comfortable armchair, were now simply marked by occasions. An age had passed since she had been outside the palace she had chosen as her own prison a lifetime ago. Now the only way for the silver haired matriarch to tell time apart was through Christmas decorations, through independence day festivities, through the wretched stench of Dahlias all around her room and the entire palace in February, and through the somberness that enveloepd the buildings on the day of the dead.

Other than that, every single day bled into the next without notice. The weather outside her window changed but before Lynnette could take any interest in the shift, a year had gone by and it was the same again. If she didn't stil have one last thing to do, the matriarch would have assumed she had just lived too long. But with her mission not yet fulfilled, she had to keep living. Through the weather cycle and through the occasions, through the pitter patter of young feet turning into the hesitant footfalls of a girl crippled by lack of self worth, through proud joyful moments to when the faces finally turned to ash.

Elenore currently sat by her feet, her head resting peacefully on Lynnette's lap as the matriarch's old, bony fingers stroked the child's head. She had the whore's hair, Lynnette noted idly as she continued the loving strokes, treating Elenore's hair as if it was the finest satin in the world. Growing more brown and rich as the child herself blossomed into a woman. She was taking on all her mother's qualities. The fine bone structure, the slender, musical fingers, the petite frame, the dark hair.

"My darling girl," she whispered, her voice thin with age and emotion. "How I miss you when you're away." the gentle stroking continued as Lynnette leaned back, closing her eyes and taking in all around her with her remaining senses. Two days ago, the Christmas Ball had provided a rare occasion for her to emerge from her chambers. She had been cleaned, bathed and dressed and presented to her Lord and Husband who - after all these years - still could not look her in the eyes.

An she had tasted victory in his averted gaze. She had tasted victory in the stiff way with which Elenore had greeted the whore and found ways to stay out fo ehr parents way the whole time. She had tasted victory again when she had seen Elenore dancing with countless men but not talking to any one of them beyond social pleasantries while her brother had engaged his guests in thoughtful discussions. Elenroe was growing into the woman Abraxas Malfoy would have been proud of, not Vanessa Jhalak.

"How many more years do you have at that loathsome school? And please don't break your grandmaman's heart by saying you will fly off to a university and leave me all alone here. My heart could barely take more separation from my darling child before it stops beating altogether."  

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Elenore Clement
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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:32 pm

Being free from the cold clutches of Hogwarts castle could not have come sooner for Elenore. When she'd reached Hogsmeade village, and been apparated back to France by one of the staff, Elenore had hurried off to find her Grandmere at once. Her parents were an after thought at dinner that evening, where the youngest Clement hadn't really gone in to the happenings at school, because nobody at the table would truly care for her happiness at the castle.

Then, the Clement Ball had happened, and Elenore had felt all tension come away from her shoulders as she danced with Pureblood heir after Pureblood heir at the event. Her eyes had flitted to her Grandmere in between, and the beaming smile upon the young witch's lips showed just how happy she was to be home. With her Grandmere close by.

Christmas Eve had been spent with Grandmere, resting peacefully because she'd overdone herself the previous evening. The guests would focus on her Maman and Papa, perhaps even Jacques, but very few would mind that she'd sought refuge with Grandmere, they rarely ever noticed her being away from them all, anyway.

The day faded from being, and then Christmas Day had come in to being.

Elenore had found her way to her Grandmere's withdrawing room once more, and that had been where she sat. The Clement festivities wouldn't start until the evening, so she could hole up in her Grandmere's rooms until she was needed. The youngest Clement sat at her Grandmere's feet in usual fashion, enjoying the relaxing feeling that came with the familiar stroking on her hair.

The familiar feeling of safety that Elenore had missed in the last three months in being away from the Palace. School was not fair in that manner, it insisted upon the absence of loved ones for much too long.

As her Grandmere confided how much she had missed her whilst she'd been away, Elenore allowed the softest of smiles to blossom upon her lips. How could Professor Holmes ever had suggested her Grandmere didn't love her? He didn't understand in the slightest.

Except, perhaps he had not been talking about your Grandmere's love.

Elenore kept herself from flinching from that thought, closing her eyes and concentrating on the soft strokes of her Grandmere's fingers through her hair. And then, the question of how long she had left at the horrible British school, and whether she had considered university.

"One more year after this one, Grandmere," Elenore replied sadly. The words in her last letter had not been forgotten, but Elenore didn't speak them out loud. Her distaste for the school showed clearly in her tone. But the mention of university made Elenore lift her head from her Grandmere's lap to look up to the matriach. "You know I have no desire to attend university, Grandmere. Jacques is merely stalling for time in his attendance. I would never wish to bring rumours to our family in respect of stalling possible marriage alliances.

"I know what is expected of me, Grandmere," Elenore confided, giving the older witch a soft smile before she replaced her head back on the elderly woman's lap.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:50 pm

"A year... A year and a half..." Lynnette repeated under her breath as the child responded earnestly. Her fingers continued their soft ministrations in Elenore's hair as she pondered her next words. "The heart of a grandmere counts years in seconds my most precious child," she smiled softly, eyes still closed to the world. "And I have spent far too many of those without you." It was unsaid but so poignant that the causation hung in the room. Ever since your mother sent you off, away from your home.

When Elenore raised her head to declare she would not go to university, and that her brother was merely buying time, Lynnette let out a soft sigh. "He is a man, dear love. He may do as he pleases. This world... it was not made for us women." It was true, it was all true and the matriarch could preach it with ultimate sincerity. If this was a woman's world, she would not be forced into the situation she was today.

If a woman wanted her place, she had to carve it out for herself, soemthing Elenore would never be given the strength of will to do.

"You are wise beyond your years, Elenore," she praised, patting the child's head fondly when the young girl returned to her grandmere's lap. "A scandal can ruin everything, and those who set traps are aplenty in the world. Those who seek to send us away and then blame us for not being present. Those who take in strangers to replace family. Those who confine their elders to withering rooms and wait for them to breathe their last..."

Another soft sigh followed before she spoke again. "But my life is close to its end. I do not regret any of it, Elenore. All I want is to see you wed with honour before I leave this world for only marriage can forever free a woman from scandal. Only marriage guarantees honour - to even those who least deserve it." The seeds of marriage Lynnette had planted in her daughter in law's head had yet to green and bud, but the idea could also be introduced to the child for better results. the child who knew her duty and would never go against the only person in this Palace who had given her time.

"And yet, a terribly selfish part of me wishes you would never leave my side, not even for marriage," she confessed with a heavy heart. "I was bold enough a few months ago to request to your mother not to think about you and that Holmes Boy. I was ready to beg... to keep you home. Has she still been insisting on the match?"

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:27 pm

The explanation that a Grandmere counted down the time not in years, but in seconds was one that Elenore knew to be her Grandmere's way of showing her love for her granddaughter as they sat in the withdrawing room, away from the rest of the world. It was her Maman's fault, Elenore knew, her Maman had pushed Jacques to going to Hogwarts, and Elenore had been left with no choice but to follow.

All, Elenore had been told later on, because they had been looking after Mimosa instead of her and Jacques.

"I miss being at the Palace, Grandmere," Elenore confided in the older witch in nothing more than a whisper. "Hogwarts... has been less... it hasn't been the same this year." Elenore explained, leaving the last unsaid. With Mimosa there, it had become a torture, her Grandmere would understand that much, she hated the American child as much as Elenore did, the young witch was sure.

"I'd never wish to dishonour you and the house, Grandmere. No scandal will come from me." The Hufflepuff witch assured the older woman. She might not be happy with what hand she'd been given, but Elenore would never allow a scandal to be brought to sully her House's name. It was, therefore, a shame that Maman and Papa could not do the same, and instead brought a child unfit of the Clement name in to the Palace.

"Those who take in strangers to replace family."

Grandmere knew exactly Elenore's thoughts in that moment, and the youngest Clement nodded softly, feeling her chest tighten once more in the painful feeling that she associated with Mimosa and the thought of the child replacing her within the castle once she'd taken on her own duties as a wife.

The notion of marriage, though, coming from Grandmere as her wish to see Elenore wed before she took her last breath was something the young Hufflepuff witch could do. "For you, Grandmere, I will do all I can to ensure you see the day as soon as possible. If a suitable match should present itself, of course. One that would aid the family, bring us stronger ties. Maman and Papa may find someone on their travels."

But, even as Elenore spoke these words, even as she promised her Grandmere, she could feel her stomach knotting. It was her duty, she knew, to marry well for the family, build bonds to enhance the family wealth, power, influence, Elenore knew this. But, that didn't mean she wished to leave the Palace behind her. Leaving the Palace would mean leaving Grandmere, and Elenore could think of nothing worse than losing her sole confidant.

The question of the Professor Holmes made Elenore shake her head softly. "Monsieur Holmes didn't like the match, I believe..." Elenore admitted, so softly it was clear that the witch had been hurt by the rejection. She might not have known Mycroft Holmes well, but Tess' brother couldn't be a bad man... could he? He loved his sister, it would have been a good marriage between the families.

The question of the match being persued made Elenore let out her own soft sigh. "Maman forbid me from speaking to Professor Holmes on any basis outside lessons. I... I think she might have been disappointed in my inability to seal the proposal with Monsieur Holmes... I tried..." Elenore explained softly, retreating from the subject as her voice wavered softly.

Oh, she knew her Maman only wanted her married off, away from the Palace with a good match, and Elenore had failed her. And since, no further matches had been proposed... did that mean her Maman had written her off as a lost cause..?

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:02 pm

The silver haired witch's hand moved from Elenore's hair to her shoulder, patting it soothingly as the child confessed how much she detested Hogwarts these days. It was no surprise, she had been set up to hate the Scotland School from the very beginning when seeds of discord had been sewn into her eleven year old self. Seeds that wre now bearing fruit.

It was at the mention of Mycroft that Lynnette's tired gaze lifted open once more. The boy had refuted Elenore? A clement, no less. Back in her day, a Clement had no flaw and refusing one was a crime punished with beheading. Oh how times had changed, and how this girl sat here admitting to falling short of a man's expectations. If one required proof of the family's esteem growing weak, the littlest Clement had just handed it to her on a silver platter.

"The boy... he found you unacceptable?" the question was slow, labored, surprised even. But slow enough to drive the point home even further before it was accentuated with a sigh. "You must not worry, my darling. Men have... certain expectations of us. And when they can't picture us fulfilling those expectations, we are cast aside." Perhaps she hadn't worn the right dress? Perhaps she hadn't said the right words? Elenore was already on the path to believing the shortcoming was on her part. "It is a man's world, after all. We simply exist in it."

Just as she finished speaking, there was a soft knock on the door, rousing the old matriarch from her relaxed pose. Sitting up straight from decades of habit despite her age, she cleared her throat, signalling for Elenore to right herself before calling out a thin "Enter."

The footman that came in was all apologies before delivering the message that Lady Elenore Lissette had been requested at her Papa's office. As Elenore rose to obey, Lynnette reached up and held a finger to both the girl an the servant. "Leave," she ordered the footman before turning to Elenore.

Gesturing for Elenore to come closer as she herself could barely stand from her chair, Lady Lynnette Clment beckoned. As the young witch drew nearer, a thin, wrinkly smile pulled across Lynnette's lips. "I love you more than you'll ever know, Elenore. All I pray for is your happiness."

With that, she let the child go, safe in the knowledge that she would hear about whatever it is the horrid spare wanted to say to Elenore would reach back to her shortly.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:29 pm

As Lynnette Clement asked if Mycroft Holmes had found her lacking, Elenore shook her head, raising it once more from her Grandmere's lap to look at the older woman. "Non, Grandmere," Elenore replied simply. "He wrote to me... he said that I was beautiful, intelligent and still growing to my full potential. Monsieur Holmes simply stated that... that he could not love me."

And, once more, the realisation came that this was a repeating episode.

Her Maman.

Her Papa.

Jacques.

Monsieur Holmes.

And, the latest addition that Elenore was vehemently fighting herself over, Grandmere.

Grandmere was right, though, they lived inside a man's world. A world where if they had but only a minor imperfection, the world would cast them aside. The young witch was about to raise the further news of school, of what had happened in the potions lesson, to get the soft reassurance from her Grandmere that Professor Holmes was wrong in his belief, that he had not looked over her potion correctly, when the knock at the door came.

Even as Grandmere motioned for her to move, Elenore was already getting to her feet, gently seating herself appropriately on the sofa beside her Grandmere as she called for the footman to enter the withdrawing room. The request of Elenore's presence in her Papa's study made the witch look to her Grandmere with light question as she dismissed the footman. But no explanation came, and Elenore felt the light uncertainty grow in her stomach as she moved closer to her Grandmere at her summons.

"I love you more than you'll ever know, Elenore. All I pray for is your happiness."

The smile that graced Elenore's lips threw away the worry of Professor Holmes' statement, and the youngest Clement leaned forward and kissed her Grandmere's cheek ever so softly. "I love you, too, Grandmere." The witch replied before straightening up, a quick check in her Grandmere's mirror and a minor adjustment of the lightly ruffled locks, and Elenore took her leave from the room with the usual respectful curtsy for the older woman.

The door opened almost as soon as Elenore reached it, and the youngest Clement moved off in the direction of her Papa's study. What could he want? Elenore wasn't sure, and the not knowing of the reason for this meeting made her somewhat nervous. Had Grandmere's talk of suitors been a warning that plans were being made for a suitor to be brought to the Palace during the holidays? It wasn't as if Elenore would be afforded the courtesy of time to ready herself for such things...

As they reached the door, the footman opened the door for Elenore, as always, and she proceeded inside. The door closed softly behind Elenore as she took in not her Papa, but her Maman instead, and the feeling of unease made itself known more deeply.

"Maman," Elenore greeted, bowing her head slightly in the smallest of signs of respect. "Merry Christmas." Elenore added softly, before falling quiet, because she did not know what else to say, she'd been thrown a curve ball, and she truly didn't know what was going on.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:19 am

After the talk with her son on Christmas Eve, the Lady Clement knew she could not put off a conversation with her youngest any longer. In fact, Vanessa had forced herself to utter out loud the time at which she would speak to Elenore just so there was an illusion of accountability should her heart falter at the last moment. While it was true that she was greatly fortunate at the palace and would never have to do soemthing through being forced, Vanessa also knew the responsibility that came with that good fortune.

Power wasn't gained to be enjoyed, it was gained to be multiplied, to be maintained, to be expanded upon where necessary and to be passed down to the future generation. And whether McEnroe Lissette liked it or not, she was the future of this palace and her Lady Mother would not allow the young heiress to throw that future away.

The Lady Clement was standing by the window, contemplating the winter roses in bloom when she heard the knock. Promptly, her daughter entered, the surprise clear on her face at not seeing her Papa.

"Joyeux Noël, mon cher," she replied with a warm smile, ushering the child to one of the sofas to the side. They wouldn't need to outlize the Lord Clement's desk for this meeting. In truth Vanessa had only borrowed the study for how quiet it would be on Christmas Day. Louis would be out in the grounds, getting some fresh air and seeing to the remainder of their guests in the spirit of the season. "Have a seat."

once Elenore was seated, Vanessa moved to the easy chair beside her, not opposite. This was not a confrontation but rather an intimate discussion. Even if it made Vanessa realize how long it had been since she had sat down with her daughter, certainly almost a year. "It seems I never see you anymore, dear one. What have you been up to of late that's too secretive for your Maman to be included in?"

It wasn't always easy with Elenore, not the way it was with her firstborn, but Vanessa hadn't asked for easy, she had demanded the Gods give her their best. And her children were undoubtedly the best there ever were. "What of you friend, Tess Marie? I noticed she wasn't at the ball." Elenore hadn't seemed too saddened by her friend's obscene, which had been the positive takeaway for the Lady Clement from the occasion.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:36 pm

The invitation to take a seat was one the youngest Clement took up carefully. Not because she wanted to, but because refusing would have been most impolite. The young witch seated herself carefully, tucking her ankles together and resting her hands gently in her lap.

As the older witch took her seat beside her, Elenore turned herself slightly towards the witch, years of social decorum making her move almost on cue without so much as thinking of it.

"It seems I never see you anymore, dear one. What have you been up to of late that's too secretive for your Maman to be included in?"

Elenore's eyes met her Maman's for only a moment, before focusing on a spot just past the older witch which could easily be mistaken as he looking towards her mother. "You said, over the summer, that I was a disappointment to you, Maman, I felt it would be impudent of me to bring any information to you that you hadn't asked for." Elenore replied softly, showing quite clearly that the Lady Clement's parting shot had not been forgotten.

Nor would it be, because that word had haunted her dreams ever since.

But even if the feeling of disappointment was the one that had washed over her Maman, Elenore had her own. But the woman before her had never understood, never listened, and Elenore doubted she would start now.

Past that, though, Elenore offered nothing in reply to her Maman's words. She'd never been interested before, why then was she interested now?

"Tess Marie has been spending time in Capri," Elenore replied of her friend -- outright lying to her Maman by omission of the fact Tess had been to the Ball. "With... other friends." Elenore added, her eyes downcast slightly. There was a chasm building between herself and Tess, and Elenore didn't like it.

But, Elenore was not here to discuss that problem, so she simply sat waiting for her Maman to continue. Not asking of the business trip Papa and she had taken because, as Grandmere always said, Ladies did not conduct business talks.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:08 pm

A lesser woman would have sighed at the response from Elenore. Fortunately for the Lady Clement, her expressions had been masked to perfection years ago. The pettiness with which her daughter replied appeared to be symptomatic of a bigger problem altogether, making Vanessa realize that her own daughter had grown petty without her even realizing.

"It appears years of speech training and etiquette lessons have fallen short on you, my dear," the brunette replied with a sharp edge in her voice. Of course Elenore would make things difficult instead of accepting the re-conciliatory note in her mother's voice. "Unless there was a lesson on speaking to your elders in the tone you appear to be currently employing."

It was a blessing really that Louis was not present to hear his daughter speak with such carelessness. It would break his heart in more pieces than it had broken his Lady Wife's. "You remember being referred to as a disappointment yet you took no actions to remedy the situation. Are you content with staying a disappointment Elenore? Or have you devised a plan to make amends with your family?" The question was direct but perhaps the young heiress needed some direct conversation at this point.

As the child revealed that Tess Marie was in Capri, Vanessa nodded. It made sense, the Valentino boy was of marriageable age and actively seeking potential matches. The Lady Clement would not put it past the Holmes to ensure Tess Marie stayed visible during the process. Idly, the witch wondered if the match would work in the Italian's favor. And if so, to what extent.

"Your brother and I had a chance to speak yesterday," she continued. "He was rightly extremely worried about the events that unfolded at Hogwarts in October but he knew I was away with your Papa and did not divulge the full details until yesterday." There was no need to tell Elenore what her mother thought of the teenager's actions. Vanessa could only hope that with time, her daughter had come to realize that an assault on a child was morally wrong, even more so on a member of the family.

"So i requested your presence here to ask you what i should have in the summer. Elenore Lisette, what is your quarrel with little Mimosa? As far as I'm aware, the child worships the ground you walk on. So what could she have conceivably done to make you loath her the way we suspect you do."

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - December 2023 (Elenore)   Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:31 pm

The not-so-soft reprimand for the way she had spoken to her Maman made Elenore look down at her hands. She might be a disappointment to her Maman... in her Maman's eyes, but Elenore had never wanted to be. She wanted her Maman to love her, like she loved Jacques... Mimosa, but Elenore knew that the Lady Clement never would. The world was never set up how you wished it, and Elenore had been given the short straw on that one.

No matter what she did, she was never going to be enough for her Maman.

That, at least, was how Elenore had always seen it, and conversations with Grandmere only confirmed her worries, rather than relieve her of the weight of the worry she felt.

The question that her Maman posed to her was one that Elenore had no answer for. Why? Why should she apologise when no word of what she had said had been wrong? Why was everyone taking Mimosa's side and not seeing things from her side? Why did no one care that it had not been Mimosa that had been hurting that evening, but the Clement heiress. Nobody had remembered, it seemed. So, Elenore sat quietly, offering no answer to her Maman because she did not have one that would be wanted from the older witch.

But with the quietness came the real reason for this meeting. It was not because Maman wished to discuss Tess Marie, and it was not because her Maman wished to know what she had been getting up to where her letters had been lacking in detail. It was because she wanted to make sure no further harm came to Mimosa. Even if her favourite child had already secured that promise on the ward's behalf.

This time, however, Elenore could not shy away from the question that she'd been posed with silence. No, this time she had no option but to explain herself, because the Hufflepuff witch knew she was not going to be allowed to leave the room until she did.

"She's my replacement," Elenore replied simply to the question, her hands slowly moving from her lap to the bottom of her stomach. Protecting herself without fully wrapping her arms around herself, but showing a defensive manner no matter how slight. "I know... she's being brought here to make her in to the p-perfect image of a Clement in my stead. Papa and yourself are trying to marry me away from the Palace, and Mimosa is the replacement...

"Even though she's never going to be able to do but half the things a Clement should be able to. She's replacing me..." Elenore explained, looking up to meet her Maman's eyes for the first time. "But I never understood why... I never understood what I did that would make you think we needed Mimosa..."

The younger witch's voice had wobbled through the last sentence, only once, but undeniably there. She would not allow her Maman the trophy of her tears, but Grandmere had made the argument quite conclusive. The Lady Clement bore no love for her daughter, and the Harrington witch -- and all her imperfections -- was the solution.

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