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 Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)

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Mimosa Harrington
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PostSubject: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:11 am



Summer crept over the Palace in stages, quietly, respectfully, as if it knew the mood had to be kept within the parameters of mourning. No brightly colored bars of sunshine filtered through the stained glass windows, no birds dared chirp too loudly or joyously, even the brooks and fountains in the palace ground bubbled with muted courtesy, aiming not to disturb the clearly somber environment and mood of the first family within its hallowed halls.

Perhaps it was best that little Mimosa had left straight for India, the Lady Clement reflected from where seat by her good father's bed. The child need not see death so close at such a young age. For it was clear Lord Thomas was near his end. All the Maester's were in agreement and now, his caretaking was aimed more towards comfort than actual cure. The former Lord Clement had done nothing but worsen over the past few months -  secret kept carefully from the children so as not to district them. But the secret was now out, with the children's return to the police, their Grandpere's situation could no longer be hidden.

Jacques understood of course, the Lady Clement had seen it in her son's eyes the moment he had been told of the upending death. He had understood why his parents had chosen to keep him in the dark until it was unavailable. He had also understood this to be nature's course. The boy came to visit his grandfather every day, to sit with her and the now almost unconscious man who had once stood tall and proud.

And when he wasn't at the palace, he was out with his father. One of the many duties that came with the Clement name was to safeguard the country to which they were tied. The first steps to unify the magical and non magical worlds were being taken and as much as Vanessa wanted to be by her husband's side, she had to be here. The witch may have a natural knack for business, strategy, politics and a hundred other things but right now, she had to be the only thing she had ever wanted to be: a devoted wife, mother and daughter.

A drowsy mumbled escaped Lord Thomas, drawing Vanessa's attention away from her quite reflection. The pattern she had been embroidering absentmindedly had turned into a rather elaborate "E", deciding that this would be for Elenore - perhaps it would be finished by the time the young witch began university. It could be her first week present. Putting the kit aside, the brunette moved closer to the man who had been her father just as much as Wexford Sheridan had been. "Papa," she called out softly, enough to not disturb him if his slumber continued but firm enough to let him know he wasn't alone if he was awake.

"Lynnie..." The sound that came out was weak, defeated. He had been calling for his wife for months now and Lady Lynnette had yet to answer that call. Sometime she claimed to be too ill, other times she pretended not to hear. No matter what Maman claimed afterwords, Vanessa knew what resentment looked like. She could not however figure out the root cause of such a deep and unrelenting loathing. "Je suis désolé, Lynnie..."

Reaching out, Vanessa gently took her father in law's hand, making sure not to hurt him as he stroked his papery fingers, feeling each vein as it broke through the thin surface of his aged skin. When had he grown so frail, she couldn't say exactly. But she knew this was necessary. His pasting would ignite the process of transference, of making her and Louis the most senior members of the house, until they too would fade with time and ritual.

"Je ne voulais pas Lynnie ... Maman m'a fait ..."

Vanessa wished she could help, so desperately wished she could make Lady Lynnette come here and bear witness to her husband's final words. But Maman and Elenore were sequestered away in Maman's withdrawing room as usual. The witch only hoped Lady Lynnette found some solace in her granddaughter's company. Only Elenore could convince her grandmere to do something and Elenore was - for whatever reason - above this cause.

"It is not the boy's fault..." Lord Thomas continued, switching to English in his delirium, a language Vanessa herself had only heard her uncle use a handful of times over the past half a century. "Nor the girl's...Don't punish them for what I did..." This was not the first time the dying wizard had apologized to an invisible judge, and Vanessa knew now to let him say what he wanted. No one to deserved to cross the oceans of death with such a heavy burden of guilt on their soul, and this w the only way Lord Thomas would get rid of his.

"S'il te plaît, pardonne-moi, ma chérie. Je t'ai toujours aimé..."

A pause stretched from the plea, because while Vanessa knew that no forgiveness would come from the person Lord Thomas sought it from, he did not. So after a few moments, the brunette did the only thing she could do.

Squeezing her good father's hand gently, she rose to move over him, placing a soft kiss on his forehead. "Je te pardonne," she whispered into his crease lined skin before adding another kiss to each cheek. By the time she settled back into her seat and picked up her embroidery, Lord Thomas was once again fast asleep.

A sleep from which he would never wake.

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Louis Clement
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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:37 am

The down turn of Louis' father's health had been taking its toll on the Palace for months now, drawing the colour, happiness and normality from the walls with each passing day. The maesters had denoted that Thomas Clement, fifth of his name, would soon be going to reside beside the ancestors of the Clement dynasty in the crypts of the Palace. It had been in this impending reflection that life was not eternal that Louis had realised the break away from his parents for the first time in many years. He'd known, of course, that there was a rift between himself and his parents, it was one of those things that was known, but never spoken of. Publicly, the world knew of none of this, but the fact remained that the love between father and son had never been strong.

It had, therefore, been a welcome relief when Vanessa had taken up the role of dutiful daughter in Louis' father's last days, building a bridge between the former Lord Clement and the current Lord and Lady Clement. As Ven took up the mundane task of sitting by his father's bed during the day, Louis had continued on with the work that had started over a year ago now. The implementation of the new rulings of Muggle and Magical interaction in France was in full swing, and Louis did not have time to sit vigil by his father's bed, waiting for the last breath to be taken by the older man.

Days stretched longer through the summer, allowing Louis -- and Jacques, who had taken up his Maman's role dutifully -- to work on the integration of the new system for more hours, but it did not allow him to shirk the responsibility of family. No matter how long the two Clement men worked, Louis always returned to his father's bedchambers in the evening, taking his seat beside his wife each night and looking silently to Ven with the same silent question. Each time he'd done so, the same reaction came forth, the single shake of Ven's head denoted that no, nothing had changed for the better.

They would stay, silently waiting, for an hour each evening, sometimes less, sometimes more, until Louis could feel tiredness pulling at his eyes. Then, and only then, the Lord Clement would insist they both retire for the evening. There was, after all, nothing they could do for the former Lord Clement now.

Only wait.

The wait was a long one, Lord Thomas Clement was one for hanging on, Louis had reflected the evening of his father's passing. His Maman had not come once to see her husband, no matter how many times they had relayed the former Lord Clement's wishes to see his wife. She had refused politely each time, burning any chance of a bridge she might have had with her youngest son as she did so. Louis had asked the same of Elenore, but their daughter had refused, denoting her wish to stay with Grandmere instead. There had been the underlying notion of fear in his daughter's eyes when Louis had asked, of what, the man could not have guessed. But he'd accepted her softly spoken apology with a curt nod, and knew not to push either his Maman or Elenore on the subject again.

Perhaps Lord Thomas had known, known his wife would not come. He'd let go in early June, enveloping the Palace in a sea of black. Vanessa had been with his father in his final moments, and when Louis had been called to his father's rooms, he'd known that this was not going to be favourable news. The current Lord Clement had stood at the foot of his father's bed in silence as the maester's confirmed what he'd already known when he'd climbed the stairs, offering his condolences at this time, and then continuing on to say that he would ensure the body was readied for burial promptly. Vanessa's hand had found his in that moment, the silent, strong comfort that she'd always been for him, ready by his side without fail. The maester had left, allowing them some time alone, but it hadn't been necessary for the current Lord Clement. There were no final words he wished to speak to his father, no desire to step forth and press a kiss to his father's head. There was sadness, of course, but Louis had long since resigned himself to the fact his family consisted only of Ven and their children, and granddaughter.

The news had broken around France like a tidal wave. Shops muted the colours of the front of their buildings in the coming days, many people of France opted for darker shades, despite the heat of the summer, and the nation bowed its head as one to remember the former Lord Clement and everything that the man had achieved. The gates of the Palace had to be cleared daily of the flowers left by members of the city who remembered the work done by Louis' father, the messages on the cards being shown nightly on the news programmes around the world.

The Palace had denoted the day of Thomas Clement's funeral to be a public holiday, leaving the streets of Versailles filled with those sending their well wishes to the family, and coming out to commemorate a man of great importance in the country. The Clements had taken on the black of their house as they moved out to the carriages that would take them to Notre Dame Cathedral for the public ceremony. Jacques had been sent off to aid Elenore and his Grandmere down to their carriage, whilst Louis helped Ven down the steps and in to their own. The current Lord Clement had turned from their carriage upon hearing footsteps behind him, ready to move forth to help his Maman when the form of the oldest Clement appeared from the doors.

Dressed in black, as was expected, the widow of the former Lord Clement would have looked suitably dressed for the day.

But as Louis' eyes took in his Maman it was quite clear that the notion of grieving was not one she wished to convey.

"Maman," Louis had started, but Vanessa's hand had reached to touch his shoulder. Soft and unassuming, but conveying exactly what was needed in that moment. That there was no need to comment, no need to cause a fuss. The former Lady Clement had made her decision, and there was nothing they could do about it now.

Jaw set, Louis turned back to his own carriage, climbing up beside his wife and sitting, eyes straight forward as he waited for the anger of his Maman's actions to subside. "Elle n'a pas-" Louis started, but Ven's hand settled upon his, the silent agreement that was needed in that moment, but the obvious refusal to allow it to take its toll on the day's proceedings.

The carriages pulled away from the Palace shortly after, the first drawing the coffin of the former Lord Clement, the second drawing the current Lord and Lady Clement who waved demurely to the crowds with the muted appreciation of the turn out of their people. Behind them came the children and the former Lady Clement who paid no mind to the masses.

The procession was a long one, the carriages being slowed by the crowds as flowers were thrown atop the coffin as it made its way towards the Cathedral. By the time they had arrived at the Cathedral the coffin was covered in flowers, black and white in colour, with the odd element of colour woven in. The Palace guards moved forward to clear the coffin with care as Louis aided his wife from their carriage, noting Jacques doing the same just behind them. The coffin was raised by the six men of the Palace guard, and slowly, the family moved inside the Cathedral, followed by other family members, and members of the state.

Where the masses had congregated, television screens stood, showing the inside of the Cathedral so that they could see the rest of the ceremony, ensuring that, as always, the Clement family was shown as it always had been.

The focal point of France.

Louis had seen little and less point in this, but those in charge of PR in the Palace had insisted. Despite none of the Clements, save Vanessa, truly believing in the Gods of this world, they believed it would be endearing of the public to do this. Louis had, therefore, sat quietly, his head bowed, as the Archbishop conducted the ceremony, trying to remember back to a time where he'd loved the man they had gathered here for today. Truly loved him. Louis' ideas remained back in his teens, truthfully, and the guilt in that moment built. How had he lost sight of what was most important in the Clement beliefs? How could he have allowed for family to grow so far apart?

His guilt had been caught in that moment by the Archbishop's request for Louis to stand and deliver the eulogy of the man he'd barely known all this time. To pay testament to a man the world believed to be a loving husband and father. The Lord Clement rose to his feet, and took up his place at the head of the Cathedral, and delivered the speech that had been written for him, frequently looking to Ven for reassurance that even though he was delivering a page full of lies, it sounded like the truth to the world.

Because no matter what may come in this world, the Clement image would have to be as it always had been.

Perfection.

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Mimosa Harrington
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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:57 pm

As per tradition, all the clocks in the palace had stopped when the Maesters declared Lord Thomas dead, and stay that way they would until the mourning period was over. As Lois stood by ehr side in his late father's presence, he healers giving them a moment alone, Vanessa knew what her husband needed, and it was not o wish his father a final fond farewell. For better or worse, Lord Thomas had been the only father they had both known for the longest time, and now that the man was no longer with them, it was easier to forgive his many sins. Or at least it would be with time.

All of France mourned the death alongside the palace, but Vanessa stayed out of the public's eye, refusing to make personal statements in this time of grief and change. The public relations department released several statements, planned the entire religious service that would not have befitted a Clement a few hundred years ago and bought out ads in support of causes the former Lord Clement held dear to his heart. No one expected to hear from his widow and no one did, but everyone did see her on the day of the service.

For it was as they were leaving the palace for Notre Dam that Vanessa saw her good mother for the first time since Lord Thomas' departure. The news had been conveyed to Lady Lynnette through staff and Maesters and she had reportedly fainted in her bed when she'd heard. Vanessa had tried to visit her mother in law since then but had always been informed the Dowager Clement was asleep or too unwell to receive visitors.

Lady Lynnette Clement looked neither tired nor unwell today, Vanessa noticed as the matriarch stepped up to her carriage, helped along ever gently by her grandson. For while the widow was dressed in the appropriate black complete with a flimsy black veil atop her head, the golden hues of her hair shone brightly underneath. The hair Lady Lynnette had left to silver over the past decade had been washed, brushed, dried, combed and styled with color reminiscent of her youth, shimmering almost corn silk yellow in the cloud of blacks and grays that filled the procession. From afar, she looked like a pinprick of warm, joyful light amidst cloudy dark skies.

Louis reacted first, as Vanessa knew he would. But her hand found its way into his and there it stayed throughout the ride. He didn't need to voice his anger and disappointment for her to know it was there. he had always known what he was feeling without having to say them, and beyond the gruffness, she could feel the slashes of betrayal as clearly as if she herself had been struck by the dagger.

As the Lord Clement took the podium to deliver a heartfelt speech written by an aide, his wife mdse sure to keep her grey gaze trained firmly on the man, giving him all her strength to get through this moment. Jacques sat beside her now that his father was on stage, reaching out to squeeze her hand as his other arm lay gently across his grandmere's shoulders. Elenore cocooned the matriarch on her other side, clearly trying to envelope the older witch in as much love and support as possible.

And Lady Lynnette's hair still winked and glittered merrily in the otherwise somber church.

After Louis Eulogy, more informal speeches took place. Informal not by content but simply because they were delivered by people of lesser stations. Cousins, aunts, unless, Clements by birth and by blood, by the time everyone who had been allowed to peak had said their dues, it was well past brunch and the invited were requested to adjourn to the halls outside where refreshments had been arranged. Of course, the Lord and Lady Clement would not be eating, their duty was to stay visible, receiving consolation and good wishes and appear appropriately mournful but with hope still in their hearts for a brighter France tomorrow.

Normally, the Dowager Clement would have joined them but Lady Lynnette chose to sit at one of the tables, Elenore nearly glued to her side while Jacques took on he burden of ensuring everyone let welcome and thanked for attending. By the end of the two hour refreshment session, he had managed to rally up a team of his female cousins to help, some of whom Vanessa noticed were sporting rather low necklines on their tightly fitted funeral wear.

After what seemed like days, it was finally time to depart. Lord Thomas's body would remain here for three days, complete with his honor guard and someone from the family holding vigil -a job for one o the minor Clements as the first family made arrangements to transport their patriarch back to his final resting place.

Once they were back in the carriages heading towards the palace of Versailles, Vanessa looked toe hr husband. The words weren't necessary but they needed to be said out loud for ceremony. "Ma chérie, je devrai aller prier dans les cryptes chaque soir avant de reposer Papa." No mater what services the PR team deemed most appealing to the crowds, Vanessa would worship in her own way for the man who had been a father to her. The three nights his body would grow cold in Notre Dam, Vanessa's would do the same in the crypts underneath the palace. The first day to atone for all his sins, the second to cherish his goodness, and the third to beg safe passage as his soul departed into the unknown.

And a week after he was buried, the clocks would start again, reminding everyone that even through death, live went on.

"Serez-vous bien?" her eyes questioned as her hand lay warm in his, refusing to let go. It would not be the first night they would be apart from each other but it wouldn't be any easier. She need him just as much as he needed ehr, but they both had their duties to the house they had built together.

A house that would survive anything the world chose to put it through.

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Jacques Clement
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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:55 pm

Coming home for the summer had been the derailing of a good year at university, and what Jacques had hoped would be a fun filled summer beside his Maman and Papa as they introduced the new regime from the ICWW throughout France. Instead of coming home in a flurry of excitement and the news of his intentions for the next year, Jacques' homecoming had been muted by the worsening of his Grandpere's health.

The Clement heir had, of course, not shown his displeasure in such matters, instead following every request made of him to the point so as to help both of his parents through such a hard time. The family had to pull together in such times. That had been Jacques' understanding, anyway, except things had not quite gone that way. Where his parents and he had worked tirelessly until the day of his Grandpere's passing, Elenore and Grandmere had shut themselves away from the world, from the rest of the family, as if this was the done thing. Displeasure for his sister's lack of empathy in that moment had registered in Jacques' mind, but he had not voiced it.

He knew better than to cause a scene at such times.

But things had only grown worse. The day of Grandpere's funeral had see the emergence of his Grandmere's distasteful actions towards her late husband. The newly cut, coloured and styled locks of the Dowager Clement had not gone down well with any of the Clements that day, but nobody had said a word. Perhaps Grandmere had felt that she needed to look as she once did for her late husband, but with the events of late stacking up, Jacques had to wonder if the motivation came from somewhere else entirely. Jacques remained tight lipped on the whole affair, though, knowing that his Maman and Papa did not need any added stress at these times.

Instead, Jacques had done what he always did, aided the family in ensuring all of the commiserations, and heartfelt messages were heard from other members of the family. He'd spoken to cousins, aunts and uncles alike, politely accepting their well wishes, and pretending not to notice the lingering of some of his as of yet unmarried cousins. Appropriateness, currently, seemed to be lacking in many of the Clements, and Jacques wished more than anything in the world that they could have let this public facade be, just once, so that they could have mourned their Grandpere privately.

It was only as they finished dinner that evening, as Maman excused herself to go to the crypts to pray that Jacques had realised that his Maman was, once more, taking on a responsibility that she didn't have to burden. That she didn't have to take on.

"Papa," Jacques had asked softly once they were alone, pulling his Papa's attention back to him as the Lord Clement had watched his wife leave the room.

"Oui?"

"Is Maman going to meet Grandmere?" Jacques asked, the words very careful in that moment, with the inkling of already knowing the answer present. No reply came from the older Clement, and Jacques bowed his head respectfully. "Pardon, Papa." He'd added in lieu of apology in that moment. The two of them had sat in comfortable silence for a moment, before Jacques steered the conversation to less tense waters. All the while, though, the Clement heir was trying to work out why Grandmere was acting this way.

It had been late by the time Jacques had retired to his own chambers, reaching for his inkwell and paper. Mimosa ought to know, Jacques believed, but not in writing. No, such news needed to be delivered in person. Instead, Jacques took a moment to forget the current situation that enveloped the Palace, and wrote to Mimosa with a list of questions of her time in India. It hadn't been long since he'd seen the youngest Clement, but he was missing the child fiercely. Her smile would, in this moment, have made the world of difference, but the Palace was not currently a place for a child.

Days passed, and very little changed within the Palace walls. Elenore and Grandmere did not emerge from Grandmere's withdrawing room, except to retire to their respective chambers. Maman retreated to the crypts each night to say prayers to Gods only she believed in. The Clement heir had opted to collect his Maman each morning from the crypts, and escort her to breakfast, ensuring she ate enough before helping her to her rooms for some much needed slumber. The Palace had, in Jacques mind, become dysfunctional, the family becoming out of sync.

But it was temporary.

He kept reassuring himself, it was only temporary.

The seven day mourning period expected of the house had crawled slowly onward, the clocks reinstated with an almost deafening ticking filling the ears after days of silence. Maman had slowly managed her routine back in to place, but still Elenore and Grandmere kept themselves tucked away, earning more and more frustration from the Clement heir. Elenore was not helping Grandmere with her grief, Jacques was sure, merely allowing her to hide behind the door of her withdrawing room to continue the rudeness she'd started.

Jacques eyes had caught the last part of Elenore's grey black dress sweeping in to their Grandmere's withdrawing room on his way down to see his Maman, and for a moment he'd considered going down, to insist his Grandmere emerge from the room, or that Elenore go out with him that day. But Jacques had turned away, deciding that that battle could be won another day. His feet, instead, moved down to the crypts. Maman wasn't praying through the night anymore, but she was still praying in the morning, and in the evening. For what, Jacques still didn't quite know. The footsteps of the future Lord Clement echoed around the crypt as he moved to the newly sealed tomb. Beside it, three empty crypts lay, awaiting the arrival of Grandmere, Papa and Maman. His own would be put in to place in due course, but Jacques didn't think on that point too long.

Instead, the young man sank slowly, silently to his knees beside his Maman, copying the way she held her hands together before her, and closed his eyes. Much like his Papa, Jacques had never believed in the Gods, or a single God, but unlike his Papa, Jacques would happily sit beside his Maman and try to believe with her. For a moment, Jacques didn't know what to pray for, unsure that praying for his Grandpere would be of much use now that he had passed. So, instead, the Clement heir prayed for the wellbeing of the rest of their family, for all of them -- even Grandmere -- to have long and prosperous lives. And, that perhaps if anyone was listening they would give Elenore a piece of advice that would help Grandmere through all of this in a better manner than which they were currently dealing with the passing of Grandpere.

It was by no means a perfect set up, Jacques knew that much, but he'd tried, for his Maman's sake.

Jacques eyes were open a long time before his Maman's, focused on the tomb of his Grandpere before him, wondering if the man who had been laid to rest days ago now had fulfilled his life as he'd wanted. There was no way of knowing, Jacques believed, but he hoped that his Grandpere had left the world contented. The feeling of his Maman's eyes upon him brought Jacques' eyes away from the tomb, and he offered the witch a small smile. "Maman, j'espère que je ne t'ai pas dérangé." He apologised softly, waiting for her to tell him that he was not a bother to her.

"Veux-tu marcher avec moi?" Jacques added, waiting for her acceptance before getting back to his feet and offering his hand to aid his Maman to her feet. Allowing her his arm, Jacques guided his Maman out the back of the crypts, in to the small, private gardens kept for those who visited but could not manage the stifling air of the crypts.

"Merci d'avoir prié pour grand-père. Papa et moi essayons, mais nous craignons de ne pas être entendus." Jacques said lightly, the smile on his lips showing that neither he nor his Papa truly believed, but this was the polite way of saying so. That they were grateful, for all the Lady Clement did.

"I have a question, Maman." Jacques continued, moving to the bench situated in the small garden and waiting for his Maman to be comfy before he took his place beside her. "I know it's not the best timing, and I would understand if Papa and you do not wish for me to do such things. But, Maman..."

Jacques paused, turning himself on the bench to look to his Maman fully. "Would you allow me to continue with my studies, in England? A Masters in my field... Just one more year, then I will return to the Palace to aid Papa and you. I promise..." The insistence was quite clear, but Jacques had always known he would need -- for himself, not in reality -- permission from his Maman to continue on with his education. He'd learned so much in the last three years, there was more he could grasp, too.

"S'il te plaît, Maman?"

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Mimosa Harrington
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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:50 pm

The three nights spent in the crypts left Vanessa chilled to her very bones. Once upon a time, the underground chambers had scared her senseless. Ghost stories from palace staff and the general austere air of the crypts had conjured vivid visions of monsters and murderers for the five year old. Of course, the moment she had told Louis this, his solution had been a mission of exploration and so, frightened out of ehr life but knowing even at five that no harm would come to her so long as she stayed by her cousin's side, Vanessa had ventured deep into the catacombs that sprawled underneath the palace.  

Of course, she was no longer five and death had slowly morphed over the years to become a part of life. Maman had spent a month down here after Dominic's death, at one point not simply praying but just watching over her son's entombed body, as if she could be of solace to him if she remained in the dark crypts. And now, Vanessa reflected where she knelt, Lady Lynnette refused to come down here even to wish her husband of over half a century a final farewell.

The three nights she had spent down here had culminated in the aura of peace she felt as they stood by the tombs on the third day, Lord Thomas's body slowly lowering into its final resting place. A much more intimate gathering of family and friends were invited to this ceremony and no cameras flashed. The only bright spark of the party was once again the Dowager Clement's golden locks.

Aside from Maman, the Lady Clement had not had much opportunity to speak to her daughter throughout these troubled times. Elenore spent most o ehr time ocked way with ehr Grandmere and even when the child emerged for meals or to honor tradition and ceremony, it felt like she wasn't truly there. Perhaps Elenore had suffered the loss of her grandfather more than anyone realized. The witch made a promise to herself as she knelt by ehr departed good father's tomb, she would find Elenore soon, speak to the child, share in her pain and hold her close.

When the witch opened her eyes, she was no longer alone.

When Jacques had managed to come in and stoop down in prayer, his mother did not know. All she knew was that he was still the same little boy who at the age of ten had so easily taken all her burdens and freed her of them. It was just like Jacques to kneel down and pray by his mother's side even if he didn't believe anyone was listening on the other end because her perfect boy didn't pray for the Gods, he prayed because his Maman did.

"Maman, j'espère que je ne t'ai pas dérangé."

"Not at all, my dearest one," Vanessa assured her son with a tired smile. The kneeling was hard both on ehr body and soul. Despite how she may look, her knees were not as strong as they used to be and the floor of the crypt was always chilly with the breath of death fresh in the air. As he helped her up, the witch held on to him gratefully, her exhaustion clear in her features. As Jacques spoke of his fear of the Lord Clement and himself not being heard, Vanessa merely shook her head.

"Did I ever tell you how the crypts used to terrify me as a little girl?" she asked as they approached the small but immaculately kept garden adjacent to the tombs. "Your Papa loved coming down here, it was dark, cold, full of mysterious sounds and shadows. His adventurists streak was as wide as little Mimosa's, and I used to follow him in because..." she paused, wondering why she followed him in. It was not a question she had considered much over the year, she simply knew she would follow her husband anywhere, regardless of the dangers of the act.

"I followed him in," she finally amended, no reasons required. "I have been building good will with the Gods since then, so if you or your Papa ever ask for anything, the Gods would be duty bound to give it to you." Because the men in her life may not believe in a higher power, but the Lady Clement knew that both of them could not have been the result of mere mortals. Jacques and his father confirmed Vanessa's faith every day.

As Jacques sat her down, the witch composed her features once more. The fatigue leaving her face as she listened carefully to her son's request, a request that he need not have made in the first place but one that Vanessa knew he felt he needed to regardless.

"Autant que votre absence m'attristerait," she began, taking her son's hand in her own and squeezing it softly. "Rien ne me donnerait plus de joie que de poursuivre vos études." A small smile graced her features as she gave her blessings to Jacques future plans, because life was not for the dead, it was for the living. And her son had a long, long life ahead of him, a life full of achievements, accomplishments, of proud moments and joyful moments, and she would not dream of taking any of those way from him.

"And don't you worry about Papa and I," she added because she knew he would be concerned. "We will be perfectly alright. We still have a lot to do before you can join us and begin your training, and we both want you to study as much as you could possibly ever want. It would also set a wonderful example for the girls." While traditionalists in almost every way, this was the one aspect in which the current lord and Lady Clement differed from their predecessors. Both Louis and Ven were in no hurry to see their children wed, they wanted their children to go out into the world, explore it to its fullest and learn all they could before returning to the palace that would always be their home.

"En fait, je voulais parler à votre sœur de la même chose," Vanessa continued. "I have been so busy with everything, I don't even know which universities she has applied to. Did she come to you for help with her applications?" Perhaps the young man had seen more of his sister in the fast week than Vanessa had of her daughter.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:25 pm

Jacques shook his head gently at the question of whether he'd heard the story of his Maman's fear of the crypts, not seeking to disturb the memoir of hers as she spoke. A smile touched his features as she denoted she'd simply followed his father without question, seeing the picture quite clearly of a younger version of the current Lord and Lady Clement running through the crypts hand in hand. "There's nothing to be scared of down here." Jacques assured, even though he knew it to be unnecessary for his Maman now.

The story was just another testament to the love that was shared between the Lord and Lady Clement, a story that showed their love had no bounds, and that his Maman would follow his Papa anywhere in the world. The kind of love that was so few and far between, Jacques would have denied its existence had it not been so prominent in his life.

But the time for reminiscing was not held for long, as the two of them moved the conversation forward in to the future of the house, of their lives. As his Maman's hands moved in to his, Jacques placed his second hand atop hers, enveloping them safely in his. A sign that though his request would see him away from the Palace for a longer period, Jacques didn't wish to hurt his Maman in the process. The acceptance was not something Jacques had doubted from his Maman, and he knew that it would be extended by his Papa too. It came with the subtlest signs of weakness from the Lady Clement, being away from her children for longer than she'd anticipated, but Jacques knew that his Maman would never, ever stop him from growing as a person.

Leaning in gently, Jacques placed a kiss to his Maman's forehead, a smile upon his lips. "Merci maman, je te promets de te rendre fier." Jacques confirmed softly, his voice full of gratitude for being allowed to continue with his own studies.

The continuation from his Maman with the reassurance that they would be okay brought a broader smile to Jacques' lips. "I know, Maman." He agreed softly, knowing that they wouldn't need him just yet. The time was nearing, but it could be held off for another year. "I'm pretty sure Mimosa will attend University, she enjoys the stories I tell her of University, and I'll encourage her every step of the way to attend too." Jacques assured, knowing that keeping Mimosa in education would not be easy, but it would benefit her in the long run if they did manage it.

But with the question of whether Elenore had come to him about her applications, the smile on Jacques' lips slid away, a more serious expression touching his features as he shook his head gently with the answer of no. "I assumed she had spoken to yourself, or Grandmere..." The admittance wasn't easy, and Jacques' eyes moved back towards the Palace behind the hedgerow. Had he allowed his sister to miss the university deadlines? Surely Elenore wouldn't have passed up the opportunity like this...

"I can speak to her, if you'd like, Maman?" Jacques offered, but he was already under the impression his Maman would wish to do this herself.

And perhaps, it would be for the best with the younger Clement's recent actions...

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:59 am

When Jacques offered to speak to his sister, the Lady Clement shook her head softly indicating that he need not do so. Elenore had probably applied to universities with all her other friends after her NEWT examinations and had neglected to inform her parents in the aftermath of Lord Thomas' passing. But soon enough everyone would have to return to their normal lives. Jacques will return to university, his sister will start hers and after a month of mourning, Louis and she would have to return to work as well. There was still a lot that needed doing and personal suffering would have to be completed in silence.

The two walked back to the main keep of the palace in companionable conversation, Jacques telling her of his communique with the palace ward and how happy she seemed to be in the far of land of Hindustan. When he confessed he had not let news o his grandpere's passing reach her little ears, Vanessa agreed. The child had never been close to the two older Clements but she should learn of the news surrounded by family regardless. After having to hear of her uncles' demise in 2023 through a newspaper, Mimosa needed to be sheltered from all ills, a sentiment her son wholly agreed to.

By the time they were crossing the marble foyer of the keep, talk had turned to much lighter subjects with Vanessa inquiring if  Jacques had noticed any of his cousins especially at the funeral service or the burial. Her son had been the picture of politeness, stating that all of them were beautiful in their way but had kept any personal sentiments to himself. Vanessa knew her son, he would tell her if he found someone interesting in a more than platonic manner, though she hoped he would not for quite some time. The Lady Clement was not quite ready for her son to grow up that quickly.  

More days passed and her prayer rituals came to an end. The Lady Clement left the crypts for the final time on the fifteenth of the month, contented that she had done all she could to help her father in law pass safely from this world to the next.  The dress close around the palace would remain somber for the month but signs of normalcy had begun to creep through the walls already. The clocks were ticking, someone had slowly opened a curtain in the portrait room, letting the sun in on the old Clements captured in regal poses throughout the centuries and birds were chirping out in the gardens again.

Her birthday celebration would be forgone this year, condensed to a small dinner with her family but Vanessa didn't mind. Days spent with her family were better than any formal occasion, and speaking of family, it was finally time to acknowledge the Clement who had spent the last few weeks confined to her Grandmere's withdrawing room.

Which was why Sierra was dispatched with a note to the administrative department to look into Elenore's application status while a servant was dispatched to summon the young Lady Clement to her mother's withdrawing rooms. Vanessa and Louis would be opening the show tonight at the Great Paris Opera House, their presence a necessity for the event but Vanessa had not wanted to leave without speaking to her daughter first.

Dressed in a floor length black gown with the merest hint of silver etchings on the hemline, the Lady Clement stood in front of a mirror, fixing her onyx and diamond tear drop earrings in place. No necklace adorned her throat an ehr hair remained pulled back for the formal occasion. Her appearance stated clearly that she respected the ceremony they were about to attend but that the house was still in mourning. Louis' ensemble would match hers and reflect the very same message for the papers the next day.

Turning away from the looking glass, Vanessa heard the knock on her door just in time, announcing her daughter's arrival.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:40 am

Coming home to the Palace had, this year, not been a welcoming thought for the youngest Clement. The witch felt deeply worried about returning to the Palace with the news of her choice of university ready for her Maman. She had not wanted to attend, but the Lady Clement had insisted that she choose somewhere. Her Maman's choice had been the university in England, a top university for the Performing Arts, currently ranking third in the world. Third. Elenore took the slight for what it was after reading over the offerings of the Royal Academy of Music.

Instead, the witch turned her attention to the schools above the Royal Academy of Music. First in the list was Julliard School, USA. Elenore had not scanned down further, instead finding the information booklet for that university, agreeing the programme looked much more enticing than the Royal Academy of Music had, and then, promptly applying for a position at the school with the insistence that the application must be kept secret from the world, until such time as Elenore became a student at the school. She did not want someone else to beat her to the opportunity of telling Maman she would be leaving for a university almost as far away from the Palace as she could.

And, Grandmere had to be told gently first.

However, on arriving back at the Palace, the whole notion of telling the family of her plans was stolen from her in the wake of her Grandpere's illness. Elenore had hurried straight to her Grandmere's withdrawing room to find the older witch looking highly forlorn with the situation that had presented itself to her. Elenore had asked her Grandmere why she was not with Grandpere in his final moments, encouraged her to go to see him, but the older witch had answered with an idea that had shocked the youngest Clement completely.

"Your Maman in her infinite wisdom chose not to worry me, not knowing that it is a wife's right to worry."

Grandmere had looked almost defeated as she sat back in her chair, continuing on with how the current Lady Clement had seen fit to take her place beside her husband's side as he drew his last breaths, keeping the older Clement from being with her husband. Elenore had suggested that they try to insist that Grandmere have time alone with her husband, but the older witch had simply smiled sadly, brushing her hair gently from her face as she admitted to accepting the options the current Lady Clement had offered. That Grandpere would understand that she was not strong enough to fight the Lady Clement, that there would be time later for the two of them to be alone together.

Elenore hadn't been able to reply to that much, instead lowering her gaze from her Grandmere as she pondered on how her Maman could be so cruel to a woman clearly grief stricken by the announcement of her husband's slowly creeping death.

"Je resterai avec vous, Grandmère. Je promets que je resterai avec vous." Elenore had promised to the older witch in that moment, settling on keeping the news of her impending departure to America from her Grandmere until such time as it was necessary to divulge the news.

The two of them had stayed holed up in Grandmere's withdrawing room except to retire to their chambers, or to eat in the family meals. Each time they saw the rest of the family, one of them would try to insist Grandmere came to see Grandpere, a horrible farce, another lie from the current Lord and Lady Clement, as they kept the matriarch from seeing her husband. Grandmere dealt with the low blows from her son and good daughter with her usual grace, and each time the question was posed to Elenore, she refused politely, denoting she would stay with Grandmere to keep her company.

The day that Grandpere had left this world, Grandmere had been strong as the news was delivered by the maesters. She had not cried, and had accepted all of the information that was given to her by members of staff who were already busy planning the funeral in what felt like mere hours after the death had been announced. The idea of a public burial had been refuted privately by Grandmere, Grandpere would not have wanted such fuss, but the Lord and Lady Clement insisted upon it, and Elenore couldn't help but feel more sorry for her Grandmere, who had still not been allowed to grieve properly with her husband.

The day before the funeral, Elenore had been excused from her Grandmere's withdrawing rooms earlier, the older woman insisting she needed time alone. Elenore had left her Grandmere be, instead returning to her own rooms to check upon the progress of her attire for the following day. Black, of course, much too simple in its finish, but appropriate for the following day.

Grandmere had looked transcendent the following morning in her own gown and black headpiece, but it was not either of those that made her look beautiful. The once silvery locks of Grandmere's had been dyed back to the blondes of her youth, beautifully pulled up in to a fashion of her youth, making her look younger than Elenore could ever remember her. The surprise on Elenore's features had not gone unnoticed by Grandmere, of course, and the older woman had quickly motioned Elenore closer to explain.

"Your Grandpere always said how beautiful I looked with my hair like this. He would have loved to have seen it." She'd explained, removing all worry from Elenore's mind. How could looking how your husband had loved you to be wrong in the wake of his death? No, it was a touching sign of the love shared between the former Lord and Lady Clement, and Elenore couldn't help but find herself enamoured by the idea.

The service had been too much, the procession too long, and the formalities too forced. There was nothing in the service that would have appealed to Grandpere, and Elenore had gently embraced her Grandmere throughout it all to show that she was right there, through all of this, so that the older witch didn't feel like she'd been completely abandoned through this whole process. Returning home had brought forth more problems for Grandmere, as once more the Lady Clement took up the role of praying for Grandpere. Not allowing Grandmere to seek forgiveness and safe passage for her husband. Once more, Grandmere had insisted that it was okay, that the Lady Clement was only doing what she believed to be best.

But Elenore could tell that this had never, ever been okay with Grandmere.

Days passed, and slowly the Palace returned to some normalcy. The clocks were set back to the right times, allowing a soft ticking to fill each room, the gardens seemed to swell with beauty outside, and slowly the blackness of the house seemed to fade. Black was still required, of course, but it didn't seem to drain the life from the Palace anymore, Elenore reflected as she sat with Grandmere, trying to complete the embroidery the two of them had started yesterday which depicted a large, white rose, ensconced with darker shades of green. A simple piece, but effective despite its two tone simplicity.

The conversation had become lighter now, Elenore had divulged earlier that morning that she would be leaving for America in early September to study music further. Grandmere had been sad that she would be leaving, and Elenore felt the weight of her decision grow in that moment. She didn't wish to leave Grandmere on her own, especially now, but Maman had forced her hand. Maman had insisted she go, driving a wedge between her and her Grandmere in the process. But, eventually, Grandmere had denoted that she was happy for Elenore, even if it meant being alone some of the time. They had many years ahead of them, what would a few more do to make a difference?

With the light conversation in full flow, though, the duo were interrupted by a knock at the door, and the invitation for Elenore to meet with her Maman in her withdrawing rooms. Elenore had flashed a helpless look to Grandmere, who had nodded and sent her on her way, simply asking Elenore to come back when they were done, so that they could finish their embroidery together.

Agreeing, Elenore had headed off in the direction of her Maman's withdrawing room, knocking softly on the door as she quickly checked over her dress, pushing out the imaginary creases in an attempt to be seen as perfect by her Maman. After a moment, Elenore opened the door, moving in to the room to stand before her Maman. The door closed softly behind the witch, and she stood politely, waiting for an idea as to what this was about.

"Maman," Elenore acknowledged softly, wary that they were alone when the Lord and Lady Clement should have been leaving the Palace shortly for an opening at the Opera House.

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Thu Nov 01, 2018 1:11 pm

"My dearest one," Vanessa greeted her daughter with the first full smile she had dared since tragedy had struck the palace. Truly, she should have spoken to Elenore sooner, regardless of circumstance. She could always knock on her mother in law's withdrawing room to see the young Clement. "Come, let me look at you, I feel like I haven't seen you in ages." The older witch moved, the silk of her gown shifting in the light silently as she made to embrace her daughter, placing a soft kiss on the girl's forehead. "The Gods truly have blessed your Papa and I with the most beautiful daughter there ever could be." The words were heartfelt for there was no ignoring Elenore's beauty even when enveloped in  mourning attire.

"Come, have a seat,' she invited warmly, leading Elenore to the plush sofa beside the large window that glittered against the setting sun. "Your Papa and I will be heading out in about half an hour but I wanted to speak to you first. How were your final exams? Did you manage to say goodbye to all your friends?"

The Lady Clement would listen to what her daughter had to say, looking for any special details or accounts Elenore wished to share. Vanessa probably spoke to Elenore lesser than she did to Jacques yet somehow, her son always felt closer than ehr mysterious, reclusive daughter. Though perhaps the reason for her quietude this time was grief.

"Elenore, if you wish to speak about your grandpere, you know you can always do so with myself, or your Papa, or even your brother," Vanessa assured the child. "He loved you very much you know, he spoke of you a few times while... in his last days." Because who else could be the "girl" Lord Thomas had been repeatedly mentioning when he thought he was speaking to his wife. Only Elenore stayed with Lady Lynnette enough for her to be punished in any way. Not that the Dowager Clement would ever do such a thing. Vanessa and her good mother may have some turbulence history but it was all in the past. Each Clement knew that family mattered above all else.

When Elenore had fiendish speaking, her mother turned the conversation to the matter at hand. "Sierra couldn't find your university application in the palace's communications department," she opened, her expression still warm and sincere as she enjoyed her daughter's company.

"I told her it would be for the Royal Academy but I imagine the staff is not at the top of its game right now. When do you start? Your brother wants to continue with his studies too so it might be better to simply utilize one of our UK properties instead of both of you living apart." Jacques would look after his sister, protect her from harm and ensure she focused on her studies. "The poor boy is living in complete squalor at the moment, his "apartment" isn't even as big as his dressing room here."

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PostSubject: Re: Versailles Palace - June 1st 2025 (The Clements)   Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:12 pm

The greeting from Maman was much too warm for a woman who had done so many terrible things in the past two weeks. It wasn't easy for Elenore to bring the smile to her lips in reply, moving forward in to her Maman's embrace out of duty rather than love for the older woman. Didn't she know the pain that she had caused Grandmere? She must have known! And yet, here she was pretending to play happy families as if nothing had happened. "Merci, Maman," Elenore had responded softly to her Maman's compliment on her beauty. How could someone as beautiful as her Maman believe that she was beautiful in comparison? No, Jacques had inherited their mother's beauty, not her...

Following her Maman to the sofa, Elenore sat carefully on the seat, barely touching the sofa as she waited for the questions to come from her Maman's lips. There was an agenda, they both knew, that was why she had been summoned after so long.

It began with talk of school, and Elenore paused for a moment. "The exams went well, I believe. My results will arrive at the Palace in the middle of August." The witch replied, though Maman would already know how this worked, she'd already seen Jacques through it all. For a moment, Elenore considered not telling the Lady Clement the news of this year, of how she had cemented herself as the top student in the whole of the Hufflepuff house. How many times had Jacques won such an award? Did it really matter when the heir had already done it? Did Elenore really need the false praise that would come from her Maman's lips? "I won Student of the Year for Hufflepuff..." The witch admitted softly, glancing to her Maman to gauge the reaction to this news, hoping for something... anything...

No reply came on the talk of friends, though. The only friend Elenore had made that year was of Professor Venizelos, and Elenore knew that her Maman would not approve of the friendship that had spouted there. Or, worse still, Maman might try to marry her off to the Grecian upon hearing the news, much like she had tried to marry her to Mycroft Holmes.

The notion of talking to anyone other than Grandmere about Grandpere's passing, however, was one that made Elenore shake her head softly. She did not wish to speak to her Maman about it, and anything she said to Papa or Jacques would be recounted to Maman. "Grandmere and I have spoken of it, Maman, it's okay. But, thank you." The witch refused carefully, not wishing to sound rude. Though, she was interested in why her Grandpere had been speaking of her in her final days, and not Grandmere. Curious...

It was as the conversation rounded upon the point of her choice of university that Elenore understood the reasoning of tonight's meeting. It took all her will not to seem overly excited about the news she was about to share in that moment, and very carefully, Elenore turned herself to be able to see her Maman fully. This news was going to be best served with full view of the older Clement's reactions.

Of course, the focus of this part of the conversation would include Jacques, and insist on him being more comfortable, rather than Elenore's own comfort, which only made the words that were about to come from the youngest Clement all the more satisfying in the end.

"Non, Maman, the staff are not mistaken." Elenore corrected gently, allowing a moment for that to sink in. "I didn't apply for the Royal Academy of Music like you suggested. The Academy is only the third best school in the world for performing arts. I have applied, and been successfully admitted to the Julliard School, New York. I'm expected to arrive on the first of September for my inductions to the college and all of my courses. Accommodation has been completed, I will have a Penthouse Suite completed over the summer, I hope. I need to discuss with Papa on the funding of my accomodation there, and a small host of staff. Grandmere assures me this won't be a problem, of course." The witch explained, the smile upon her lips now genuinely in place.

"We're Clements, Maman, we deserve the best the world has to offer, not the third best." Elenore finalised, waiting ever so patiently for the reaction to come.

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