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 I Won't Be Looking Back! (The Clements)

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Elenore Clement
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PostSubject: I Won't Be Looking Back! (The Clements)   Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:26 pm

The static energy of the Palace had only grown through the summer, but Elenore had not been cowed in to submission by her parents' obvious dislike for her decision. Jacques had, as Elenore had hoped, drawn on their parents heartstrings, or by some means found a way to convince them, to let her go to America. Finally, freedom was going to be hers, and the youngest Clement could not be more proud of her own plans to get away from the Palace for a minimum of three years.

Defeating her parents had been invigorating, but it had sent the only buffer she'd had from their wroth halfway across the world.

Mimosa.

Of course, when things got too much, Jacques would flee the country to be with the child. Of everyone in the Palace, Jacques loved Mimosa the most, and it only secured what Elenore knew to be coming. Where her parents had at least tried for subtlety on the matter, Jacques had none. The way he doted on Mimosa was one Elenore had despised for a long time, not seeing the feeling for what it truly was. With Jacques gone, though, it meant that Elenore found herself trying to keep away from her parents even more than before.

That had been how Elenore had come in possession of the small pocket mirror that not resided in the top of her 'personal items' suitcase.

August had brought with it the most beautiful day of the year on the child's birthday, and Elenore had wanted to be as far away from the Palace as she could, for as long as possible. After sending Thomas for her horse, and another member of staff off for her bow and quiver, Elenore had spent the day riding the grounds, and sending precise arrows throw the air to land expertly in the eyes of the trees. They would stay until Elenore had ridden past, and then the charm put upon each arrow would dislodge them from their resting place, only to return to the quiver for Elenore to use again.

A gift, for her eighteenth birthday from her Papa.

It was only as the hour was growing later, the heat of the day fading from being, that Elenore had returned to the stables, quickly sought out by the stable hand who had helped her from her horse, as always, before hurrying to take the beast away. Elenore had just been ready to leave the stable after taking off the quiver from her being, and then her riding hat and gloves, when the young man had reappeared once more.

"M'lady, if I might have a moment of your time?" Thomas had asked nervously, his eyes flickering towards the Palace behind her in a manner that she had never experienced of the stable hand before.

"Oui, Thomas?" The witch replied, always making sure to enunciate his name as he'd first spoken it, with the clear French intonation that her family had never taken up. A welcome break from the idea of using the English name.

"There are rumours that you're heading to America, m'lady... I was just wondering if that were true?"

Elenore's lips touched up slightly in that moment. "It is true." Elenore replied, yearning momentarily for the ability to talk to someone excitedly about her trip. Someone who would understand. Someone who would be happy to listen. But upon admitting the truth, Thomas' features grew full of concern and he moved a little closer than was perhaps permitted of a stable hand, but not improper.

"M'lady... it's not safe there..."

"I'll be perfectly safe, Thomas, I'm a Clement."

"But, m'lady-"

"No, Thomas, I will be fine." Elenore insisted, turning half away from the boy before he could be like everyone else in the God forsaken place.

"Please, m'lady, just one more moment." Thomas insisted, and Elenore couldn't help but stop, feeling so wanted in that moment was playing havoc with her will to be away from the stable boy. Instead the youngest Clement turned back to find the boy holding something silver in his hand and looking much, much more frightened of the Palace behind her than he had before. "I know your family don't have mobiles, m'lady. Umm.. telephones?" He added when Elenore looked momentarily unsure. "I just.. I thought, m'lady, that if you ever need to get in contact with someone here, urgent and all, you could use the mirror. I have the other, m'lady, but I would be happy to run to the Palace if you needed."

The stable hand hastily pushed the pocket mirror in to her hands in that moment, presuming much too much of himself before he quickly backed away to a distance that was much more appropriate for a man of his station. Not knowing what the right thing to do when such things happened, Elenore had remained still for too many moments, before her hand had slowly closed, concealing the pocket mirror, and establishing the understanding between herself and the stable hand that she had never meant to encourage. The boy had smiled at her, almost grinned as his cheeks grew aflame, before he turned and hurried back in to the stable before anything else could be said.

The mirror had been pocketed as Elenore walked back to the Palace, avoiding her parents once more as she moved up to her rooms, and safely tucked the silver trinket in her suitcase for America. The boy was odd, Elenore had decided as she closed the lid of the suitcase.

But that hadn't stopped the small smile that had settled on her lips as she'd moved to change for dinner.

***

The smile had been wiped off of Elenore's lips the moment Jacques had arrived home. He'd not only come home looking much too happy with himself, but he had brought her with him. Which meant that not only was there the annoying presence of one Mimosa Harrington around the Palace now, Elenore's limelight within the Palace had been stolen once more.

When Jacques and Mimosa had returned home, all talk had been about them. Jacques had spent the day they arrived home showing Mimosa his birthday presents. Taking her to see his yacht and allowing her to sail it when they were out on open waters. Then, taking his new super car out around Paris to shop -- Maman had been much too eager to ensure that Jacques had not allowed Mimosa to drive his super car, which Jacques had easily calmed her with his assurance that he wouldn't allow Mimosa to drive until she was much older. That, of course, was a lie, Elenore had seen them returning from their trip with Mimosa sat in Jacques lap and in full control of the steering of the vehicle as they returned it to the garage, but Elenore had simply shot her brother a look that told him she knew he was not being completely truthful in that matter.

Then, of course, they had had to hear all about their time in India. The way culture was so different there. The way everything was so colourful in comparison to Jacques' dull time in England whilst he was at university. Mimosa had explained how Jacques had gone to the Temple there, and it had just made Maman cling to their every word so much harder as the two of them continued.

With Mimosa's arrival to the Palace, Elenore was forgotten once more.

Replaced so easily by the American witch who should not be here.

August, with its heat, had become unbearable, and as the twenty third arrived, Elenore couldn't help but feel like her torment was over as the suitcases were brought down from her rooms ready to leave the Palace. Her penthouse suite in America was ready, and the witch had decided that getting her bearings before the first day of school would be much better than going in blind. It also alleviated the stress of having to be around people who could not be happy for her when she was going to the best school in the world for her degree.

The suitcases left first with the handful of staff that would be over long enough to unpack everything for her. Three of them would stay on to ensure Elenore's household Stateside was kept in order, the rest returning upon completion of their work. Jacques had sorted that much for her, she knew, but she hadn't thanked him yet.

Jacques had been the first to arrive to say goodbye, Mimosa following him like the lost puppy that she was. Elenore had allowed her brother the small embrace that he'd wanted, before gently thanking him for his work. He'd not told her she was welcome, and Elenore hadn't expected that much from him, either.

Mimosa had gone ignored, and for once the child knew well enough to leave her be.

Her parents had been a different affair, all together.

The Lady Clement had stayed quiet throughout the goodbyes that her father had given. Her arm had been carefully threaded through the Lord Clement's arms, and a small, polite smile adorned her lips. Elenore hadn't cared for that, instead listening as her Papa insisted she go careful, and come home if she wanted to at any point.

They all knew that the Lord and Lady Clement would not walk on American soil, so there was no extension of an invitation from the youngest Clement as the goodbyes were finalised and Elenore moved to the Portkey that would take her to her new home. As Elenore waited for the Portkey to go off, her eyes moved back to her Maman, a small smile playing on her lips as she watched the older witch, until the last moment, when the Portkey pulled her from the Palace, Elenore's lips turned up in to a wider smile.

She had won.

She had beaten the Lady Clement!

A few moments later, the realism of the triumph sunk in, as finally the space around her came in to being and her apartment in New York materialised. Her home for the next three years, the witch realised, and as soon as it did, a soft laugh bubbled from the witch's lips. Her hand shot up cover her mouth, keeping in the excited, triumphant feeling inside as she turned around the apartment that was hers.

Just hers.

Without any resemblance of the Palace in sight.

America... America was going to be her making.

Elenore just knew it!

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Mimosa Harrington
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PostSubject: Re: I Won't Be Looking Back! (The Clements)   Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:33 pm

Her twelfth birthday had been amazing!

Where Mimosa had expected just a regular cake, she had gotten one twice as tall as she was, twelve giant tiers of a cake that ran some ten feet high took place of pride in the Ambanis' grand reception room. Around the cake and decorated in a semi circle were barrels and barrels of sweets with Mimosa's favorites given special place of pride. The room had been lit with hundreds of lanterns to soften the glow of harsh electrical lighting and huge, sprawling rangolis had been created on the floor and then covered with a transparent layer of glass. Dristi Aunty had said ehr name was hidden in all different patterns in the rangoli and she had to work to find as many as she could.

And even though no one had told her so, the little witch knew her Jacques had organised it all. As she climbed up the ladder to the highest tier of her cake, a knife in hand and eyes narrowed in concentration, she knew it. The only thing that could have made things better was if Mercy could have joined them but she was getting very sick and had to go back home. Mimosa had just managed to see her before the party and said goodbye before the Irish witch was bundled up and taken to the airport, looking pale and clammy.

But Jacques' hand't let her dwell on her friend's illness, quickly distracting her with other things until it was time to make an appearance at her birthday party. Mimosa had chosen to dress once again in traditional Sesi garb with Jacques joining her in the fun. They had not coordinated so when he child saw Jacques emerge in the same combination of black and white that she herself was sporting, Mimosa burst into giggles.

The rest of the night had been so much fun, it was almost too difficult to remember let alone retell. The brunette remembered so, so much dancing. Traditional waltz, foxtrot, and when the party had really gotten into its swing, someone had started blaring loud Bollywood to her great joy. She danced with Akash, with his parents, and with Jacques who didn't always know the steps but kept up very well anyway. He also insisted that she teach him some day to which the girl nodded enthusiastically, any means of spending more time with the Frenchman was good.

Over the next two days while the servants packed ehr things, Mimosa and Jacques toured the more famous parts of Mumbai. The places they saw would have hardly been on a tourists list but once again, Mimosa wanted to show off her favorite places. They drove to Juhu beach and ate chaat from the street vendors, they visited Lokhandwala Street and saw the colorful houses and even more colorful occupants. Mimosa explained how these people were neither girl nor boy but they liked having fun just like all girls and boys. They also visited another famous temple a little outside the city where she showed him boys carrying girls up a long, long, long flight of stairs.

And through it all, they took many, many selfies to send to Grandpa and Clara.

Finally, when all their cases and the presents Mimosa had gotten everyone were boarded on the Clement private jet, it was time to leave. Mimosa was truly sad to say goodbye to the Ambanis but they invited ehr over whenever she felt like it which made ehr excited for her next visit again. Most of the trip back to Paris was spent curled up against Jacques in various states of sleepiness but at one time, he had gently shake her awake to tell her soemthing he hoped she would take with great stride.

Jacques had began with how sick Great Grandpere Thomas had been, he had gone on to say how much everyone loved him and had tried to be by his side, he had mentioned that Great Great Grandpere was now no longer in pain. Mimosa hand't really understood at first but when he mentioned the funeral service, her eyes had grown wide, her small mouth contorted in shock at the news that a member of her family had died.

Jacques had said it was okay to cry if she wanted to, that he too cried when he was sad but Mimosa didn't believe the second part. Her Jacques was the bravest person in the whole universe. He would never ever cry. But she had a little, and he's pulled her into his lap and let her do it for as long as she needed to. The child had fallen asleep once again but when she woke up, she was oddly at peace with the news. She had asked if someone had prayed for Great Grandpere and her companion had assured her that Grandmere had consistently prayed for the departed.

Before they landed, Mimosa saw fit to change into the darkest dress she had, picking an almost blue black gown with full sleeves that fell past her ankles, stopping only above her sandled feet. In the palace, she was still not allowed to wear heels but the girl was rather hoping that would change soon. The change turned out to be a great idea because as soon as they stepped foot into Versailles Palace, Grandmere was there to greet them dressed in almost a similar manner. She looked a whole lot prettier than Mimosa did of course but the girl still felt proud that she had picked something Grandmere would have also chosen. She was hugged so much by the Lord and Lady Clement, Mimosa almost considered never going to India again given how much they had missed her.

Upon her arrival, she had asked Grandmere if she could join the older with in her prayer room that night, and for some reason that had made Grandmere almost cry as she bent down to wrap Mimosa in her arms once more. From the corner of her eye, the child spotted Elenore atop the stairs. the former Hufflepuff had stopped at the landing for a moment, as if she was considering coming down but then had changed her mind and kept walking elsewhere.

While the staff was focused on packing Elenore's things, Mimosa was busy being pampered by ehr family. From shopping trips to present openings, there was no shortage of things she had to do and Jacques had even let her drive. The child had returned ecstatic one day because she had actually driven his purple car. The feeling was amazing and keeping it from Grandmere and Grandpere was so hard but Jacques had made her promise, and for him she could do anything.

The night before Elenore left, Mimosa was allowed to sit right beside Grandpere who not only indulged her in a steady stream of conversation but kept feeding her morsels from his plate., Grandmere looked both happy and sad and she showed them both by staying close to Jacques and Mimosa all night. Even after dinner and coffee (Mimosa got to stay and have a sip of coffee in the parlour, an activity generally not allowed of children her age) when Jacques was carrying an exhausted twelve year old to her bed, Mimosa could dimly sense Grandmere beside them. And she felt the lady Clement's warm hand on hers long after she had gone to sleep.

The next day, as everyone was preparing fro Elenore to leave, Mimosa had an idea. She knew Elenore was not going to talk to her, and she also knew this was no longer a game. But only talking was off the table right? They could still write to each other. Reaching for some of Jacques' personal stationary, the child began. It took her nearly an hour to write, rewrite, double check, spell check, grammar check and then start again for better calligraphy but in the end, she had a perfectly, beautifully handwritten note.

Calling for Lilac, she asked the witch to somehow have the note find it's way into Elenore's luggage. Mimosa never asked how Lilac got things done, the mechanic's daughter just did. So now whenever Elenore unpacked, she would find a laboriously written note from the child.

"Good Luck At University, Elenore. You Are The Bset! x"

When it was time to say goodbye, Mimosa hung back, a weird feeling in her chest. Not the usual fuzzy feeling that came with being around Jacques. This was heavier, and it felt as if she wouldn't be able to breathe very long if she stayed indoors. Luckily the feeling left with Elenore and much later, Mimosa realized what it was.

She felt heavy and sad because her Jacques felt heavy and sad. Just as he made her feel light and fluffy, she also felt when he was unhappy. The puzzling epiphany was the last thought she had that night before her eyes closed to the world.

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Jacques Clement
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PostSubject: Re: I Won't Be Looking Back! (The Clements)   Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:24 pm

Elenore's behaviour had not subsided when Jacques had returned from India. She hadn't changed her mind, hadn't felt uneasy and quickly changed her mind as if this was just fun and games. No, Elenore had continued on with her plot, and as the staff became increasingly busy with packing her rooms to move, Jacques grew more and more tired of the witch's mannerisms.

It had been the best idea to bring Mimosa back to the Palace, though. Not just for his own distraction, but for his Maman and Papa, too. There was no way in the world anyone would allow Mimosa to notice the tension within the family, because they had always kept the darker sides of the world at bay for her. So the arrival of the youngest Clement had the desired effect that Jacques had anticipated. Elenore's storm continued to rage quietly on in the background, but nobody could feel sad when Mimosa's ray of sunshine nature came to the Palace.

Of course, even Mimosa couldn't halt the fact that Elenore was leaving, and on the morning that his sister had chosen to leave, the whole family had congregated to say goodbye. His Maman didn't look well in herself that morning, the worry was clear on her features as they said their short goodbyes. Jacques' arm had rested around Mimosa's shoulders after he'd said goodbye to Elenore, trying once more to get her to change her mind, but his words went without even an acknowledgement.

Glancing across at his parents as Elenore's form left the Palace with the Portkey, Jacques felt the pit of his stomach open again, lurching downwards with the despair of what he'd aided his sister in achieving. His Papa's jaw was set so tightly, Jacques knew the man to be internally raging about the situation, even as he turned to give his Lady Wife a comforting embrace. The two Clement men met eye to eye, and Jacques conceded gently to his Papa's hardened gaze.

Not now, the Lord Clement had spoken silently, and Jacques knew better than to argue with that much.

Instead, the wizard turned to Mimosa, offering her a choice of things they could head off to do now that they'd seen Elenore off.

Now, all Jacques could do was hope his contact in America would hold up his side of the bargain, and that Elenore would have enough sense to stay away from harmful situations.

But it was only a hope.

Jacques knew his sister better than to believe she wouldn't go looking for ways to hurt herself.

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Mimosa Harrington
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PostSubject: Re: I Won't Be Looking Back! (The Clements)   Fri Dec 28, 2018 3:00 am

Elenore's departure had opened a hole in everyone's heart, one that echoes resoundingly with memories of a time when the witch was happy and at home where she belonged. The only person who had been happy at the journey had been the young woman now undertaking it, refusing to understand what she was doing, refusing to look her family in the eye and see that she was making the biggest mistake of ehr life, and refusing to look at the youngest of their family altogether.

But where Elenore Lissette failed to conduct herself as a proper Clement, Mimosa absolutely glowed. The child made no fuss at the harsh treatment she was being unjustly subjected to and remained composed through the entire ordeal. The only signs of stress Vanessa was able to detect on the child was her tightening hold on Jacques' arm but aside from that, the American conducted herself with the grace and dignity expected of any of the Clement women within these walls.

And while her daughter leaving would never, ever sit well with the Lady Clement, the witch was endlessly grateful to her son for bringing Mimosa back to the palace. The twelve year old's presence had helped more in these tough times than the child would ever know, and everyone intended to keep it that way. more than comfort, Mimosa's presence gave everyone incentive to at least pretend for the sake of the little girl. And if they carried on as if nothing had changed, perhaps one day... it would feel real.

"Grandmere, es-tu triste?" the young Slytherin inquired from her bed where Vanessa was currently in the process of tucking her in personally. A task usually overseen by Jacques, his mother had asked if she could do it for just this one night. The need to feel close to a daughter clawed at her too much to not try and bask in Mimosa's constant, comforting and loving presence.

"Bien sur que non, mon amour," The Lady Clement replied, reaching to straighten the comforter over the child's slender frame. It was too hot for proper covers so the fabric currently adorning Mimosa's bed was enchanted just well enough to provide the weight of a comforting hand while breathable enough not to trap in any heat. "Why would I be sad?'

"Elenore ne te manque pas?"

"A chaque respiration, ma chérie. Mais elle reviendra bientôt."

That seemed to satisfy the child, her mouth opening in a small, polite yawn before she raised her and apologetically to excuse the action. Mimosa knew a lady did not yawn in company, but just this once they would not talk of it. Instead, Vanessa leaned over to place the gentlest of kisses on the little witch's forehead, wishing her a good night and sweet dreams.

Instead of leaving however, she merely moved to the comforter rocking chair beside Mimosa' bed, taking up position beside the child and watching over her well past the point Mimosa entered dreamland. Perhaps if she was extra cautious with Mimosa... someone else would take great pains to do the same to Elenore now a world away. Occasionally, a slent tear escaped the woman but it was dealt with swiftly and seamlessly for a lady's face did not show blemishes.

Not here anyway.

Over an hour passed before Vanessa rose form her seat, taking one last look at the sleeping child before exiting the room, only to find Jacques still outside and waiting patiently. She really should have known. the idea of going to bed without seeing his préféré when she was in such close promixity would never be allowed.

"She's soundly asleep, my dearest," the brunette informed her son before reaching out to squeeze his hand softly. "But you can still go in and say goodnight, I doubt it will disturb her." After bidding her oldest a bon nuit too, the Lady Clement swept from the grand hallway but instead of making her way to her own rooms, she took the gleaming staircase leading down and out towards the eastern tower. Louis would know where she was, he always knew. And he would have to forgive her the tardiness just this once for she refused to face her husband with tears in her eyes and a broken heart beating painfully inside her.

The long, spiraling stairwell leading to her Sept grew colder as she ascended, the chill meant to inspire both fear and awe of the Gods she was about to meet. Grandmere had once explained to ehr that worship was not comfortable, it did not contain silly songs and sweet confections, and it most certainly did not demand ceremony. No, worship was a negotiation with the gods, a negotiation every Lady of House Clement had to come out victorious from. So when Vanessa pushed opened the rickety door leading to the circular room with all the shrines dedicated to the seven facets of God, no warmth greeted the witch. The drafty chill was more prominent than ever due to the open windows and anyone would have assumed it to be closer to spring than the height of summer.

Grey eyes searched each shrine, landing on the Mother, the Maiden and the Stranger in turn before she bypassed all of them to stand beside a potted white tree. Legend held that before The Seven had existed, a far more mysterious power did the job of Gods, and it did so through these Weirdwood trees. Few scholars had tried to find out what function these trees served and Maesters through the ages had done their best to suppress the knowledge of the old ways, enforcing the Light of the Seven on an unsuspecting nation. Most days, the Weirdwood Tree existed as a mere afterthought.

Today however, the eerie white plant had all of Vanessa's attention as she drew nearer, unsure how to communicate with a power she had never had cause to reason with before. reaching out, the witch ran a finger over the bright red leaves the tree produced, tracing a line along the veins of the leaf and likening it to family she loved, the children that were the extension of her and Louis, the fruits of their many years of sacrifice. Jacques, Elenroe, Mimosa, theyw ere all perfect leaves from the family tree, a branch Vanessa had given ehr heart and blood and soul to.

With a quick snap of her fingers, the leaf tore from its branch, the creak so loud, it couldn't possibly have come from such a small plant. But Vanessa wasn't done. Using ehr other hand, the witch neatly shredded he leaf in two, before letting it float down into the pot like congealed bits of scarlet tears.

"Hurts, doesn't it?" she whispered, addressing the Weirdwood because she knew it could sense her pain. "When a part of you i so cruelly torn away. The pain is immeasurable yes?' The tree remained quiet, but as Vanessa reached for another leaf, a strong gust of wind blew it away from her grasp, chilling her to the bone in the process.

"If anything happens to Elenore," she continued, now addressing the tree directly. "I will feel so much more than what you did...." Once again, there was no response but the wind blowing through the Sept was unmistakable. "And I will ensure you feel much more than i do." The thread was delivered as a promise, non negotiable. Because when it came to her daughter's life, there was no room for negotiation no matter who it was with.

The threat completed, now it was time for the sacrifice. Slowly, the Lady Clement reached for a silver dagger housed among the prayer paraphernalia. The purest, most potent sacrifice was always blood. Touching the steel tot eh well of ehr palm, Vanessa let the blade do its job, trailing fresh red dots along it's long body until thy found their final resting place in the soil that housed the Weirdwood.

"This is my blood," she spoke when the dagger was put away and the wound perfectly healed. "Look after my blood, see that she comes to no harm." With that, the Lady Clement sank to her knees in front of the ghostly tree, head bowed in a more traditional form of prayer for her own peace of mind. She would remain that way for over an hour until she was found half frozen, still kneeling on the ground but her face an impassive, porcelain mask.

Because a Lady was not allowed to crumble at the edge of doom.

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Louis Clement
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PostSubject: Re: I Won't Be Looking Back! (The Clements)   Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:19 pm

The pain sweeping through the Palace had been nothing upon his Papa's death, Louis had reflected as the Palace continued to follow through with his daughter's wishes of moving to America. The pain of losing his Papa had been there, of course, but it had soon been over shadowed by the suffering of sending their youngest daughter to America. There was nothing that could have been done for Azalea, of course, they had no power in her life. But with Elenore, with Elenore they had had the power to force her away from America. Not without hurting the family more.

With each day that passed from the talk he'd had with Jacques, Louis could feel his chest tightening painfully with worry, despair, regret. He'd promised a long, long time ago not to allow anything to hurt his family again, but the decision to allow Elenore leave to go to America had undone that promise four fold. You only had to look at each face at the dining table to know that this was the case.

Their usually cheerful, talkative son hadn't managed to look to his Maman in weeks, his eyes never quite managing to meet his parents as he worried over what he'd done, second guessing his decision frequently as if he could find another way. Their usually quiet, but well mannered daughter had lost all of her usual charm that Louis saw in the young witch, instead looking much too pleased with herself, as if she couldn't see the pain she was causing everyone else in the room. And their granddaughter, despite their best efforts of keeping the burden away from her, was much too tuned in to the world, and Louis knew that she knew there was something amiss at the Palace.

Most importantly, though, and the hardest part for Louis to digest as he took in his family's broken image at the dinner table, was the way Vanessa held herself now. To the untrained eye they might not have noted the differences, no, to see his wife's grief, you had to know everything about the woman before you would see it. The way Vanessa's shoulders sat with only the slightest tension across them, forced in to the 'natural' state they should be in instead of the defeated angles she wished to display. The way the witch would smile as Mimosa recounted tales from India, but the sparkle in her eyes would not quite ignite in her grey eyes like normal. The way the witch would be found in her withdrawing rooms lost in thoughts from another time, and he would feel guilty for having intruded, awakening her from the times she had wished to explore one more. But, most prominent for Louis, it was the way they went to bed each night, usually exhausted from their day, and just content in being in one another's arm, that he noted how Ven held him just that little more tightly than she usually did, trying to ensure he would not go with the children, too.

After Elenore's departure, Louis had stood waiting for everyone else to leave, Jacques, Mimosa and Ven had gone off their own way, whilst Louis remained behind, just looking to the point where he'd seen his daughter last and wondering where he had gone wrong. For the blame could not lie anywhere else. He had failed to see, until now, the ways of their daughter's destructive behaviour, he'd been blind to it all, and now it had left a gaping hole in his family where there ought not to be one.

Louis should have seen it coming.

But he hadn't.

The sound of footsteps sounded just above him, and as Louis looked up to the walkway above, he caught sight of his Maman walking by, the faintest remnant of a smile upon her lips as she looked down to him. Or... Louis believed there had been. By the time his eyes had checked a sober look upon his Maman's features showed, before she dipped her head in polite acknowledgement and continued on her way. The Lord Clement's eyes returned to where Elenore had disappeared, and after a few more moments, turned away to his study to continue on with their work to finalise the acquisition of Belgium.

Evening found its way to the Palace, the servants had brought forth Louis' food which had been left untouched despite the insistence from the servants that the Lady Clement had eaten with the children that evening. His stomach would not allow food at this moment in time, Louis was quite sure of that much. The food had been cleared away from his desk hours later, and with a glance at the clock, Louis knew that it was time. Closing his file, Louis returned it to his drawer and locked it safely in place before standing from his desk and buttoning his suit jacket back in place. His feet knew where they were going without him having to think about it, and though the Lord Clement had not been up the stairs of the tower for over four decades now, they knew without fail which steps needed to be taken with caution, which were slightly uneven, and which were taller than the others allowing the unsuspecting pilgrims to stumble if they were not careful.

At the door atop the tower, Louis had faltered, his hand upon the ring of iron that gave entrance to his destination. The last time he'd been up here, Vanessa had been trying to patiently teach him about the Gods and why the Ladies of House Clement would come up here to wage war with them. How it would, one day, be her place to go to war with the Gods for him as his wife, and how he need not worry if he didn't believe in any of the Gods, because she had enough belief for them both. The younger Louis had found it boring, of course, there was not enough mayhem in this tower, not enough fun things to explore, but he had endured for Ven at the time because he'd always put her before all else in his life.

Today was no different, of course, which was why Louis had gently opened the door. The door had no time for his wish to quietly join his wife, of course, announcing his arrival with the horrible creak of the timbers. No matter how carefully you tried to close it, the metal would clatter back in to place, but Louis had tried to be quiet no less before he turned to face the seven Gods depicted by statues. Ven knelt before none of these, though, and it took Louis a moment to locate her in the room. His eyes fell upon her slender frame a moment later, though, crouched before the Weirwood tree that had not been used for centuries by the Lady Clements before Ven.

Moving forwards with caution -- aware of the eyes of all of the Gods upon him -- the Lord Clement crossed the room, his footsteps echoing around the tower despite his best efforts before he sunk to his knees beside his lady wife. There were no words spoken between them, there was no need for words in that moment as Louis brought his hands before him and closed his eyes.

There was a silence then, in the room, and Louis' mind. Sat before the Gods it was difficult to know what to say. He'd never done this before, never taken the time to believe in this working before. Truthfully, he wasn't sure he believed now, but he couldn't flat out deny the fact that he hoped there was something just so he had someone to wager or war with to protect his youngest daughter from the world.

"Je pensais que vous aviez fini de me punir quand vous avez jugé bon de nous séparer." Louis spoke aloud even though he knew better. Ven had taught him that you always prayed in silence because the Gods would hear you without having to speak a word. Ven might have been right in that sentiment, of course, but if he prayed silently, then how would she hear him? They might not need to talk to understand one another, but this time it was different. He didn't want the Gods forgiveness, he wanted their mercy. Forgiveness would only ever be needed from one person in this world, and the witch sat beside him in that moment. "Mais tu n'as pas fini avec moi, n'est-ce pas?

"S'il vous plaît, ne faites pas de mal à ma famille pour les crimes que j'ai commis dans le passé. Permettez à notre fille d'être en sécurité, heureuse et soignée en Amérique. Trouve dans ton cœur l'idée de donner à Vanessa le sentiment que notre fille ne sera pas punie comme elle l'était il y a des années." Louis continued on, his eyes still closed as he tried to think of something else to say. "J'ai tué Javier Montfort, je l'avoue. Mais vous vous êtes déjà vengé de cela. S'il vous plaît ne prenez pas plus pour un crime si vieux.

"Et, s'il s'agit d'une punition pour ne pas être un bon père pour ma fille, je m'excuse auprès de vous maintenant. Je promets que je ferai mieux avec elle, mais s'il vous plaît, ne la blessez pas. S'il vous plaît ne faites pas mal mon Ven..." Louis trailed off because his voice had wavered by the last, an errant tear making its way down his cheeks as he prayed for the mercy of the Gods for everything he'd done wrong in his life.

"Gardez juste ma famille en sécurité, s'il vous plaît." Louis' final words were soft, a finality in his whispered plea to the Gods because he knew this was the last thing he could do now. Rely on deities he still wasn't sure existed in this world, but couldn't help but believe in for the sake of his family.

With the words finished, Louis carefully pushed himself back to his feet, waiting for Vanessa to finish her own prayers before he held out his hand to aid her back to his feet. When she was back on her feet, Louis would bring her carefully in to his arms, place the softest of kisses upon her head, and offer softly. "Je suis désolé..."

________________________________________________

~ Lord Clement ~ Profile ~ 52 ~

Thank you to the amazing Ruby for the signatures! <3
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