Mademoiselle Olympia de NemoursFC: Emilia Schüle
Interests: Comte Sebastien. Lord Vincenzo. Lord Philippe. Amélia <3
Mlle Olympia de Nemours might have been named Mlle Olympia Calderón, had she been born only a century or two later. Only, she was not - born in 1649, she was brought into the world under very lively circumstances that might have been a plot for a romance novel, a short thriller, or perhaps a drama. Her mother started as an illegitimate child turned orphan turned actress but soon learnt that her acting skill along with the long heritage of nature-related knowledge and affinity for drama can be better used in other ways. And just like that, Mlle Maria Calderón died and the legend of Madame Severine was born. The farce played out for ages and Maria, well Severine managed to obtain quite a lot of money from her extracurricular activities. Some of her clientele were idle high-society ladies seeking a thrill that would not come cheaply, old widows looking to converse with long-forgotten spirits, young women seeking to discover the name of their love match or soulmate - the idle sought out amusement. But the majority of her finance came from a very real necessity for solutions for real problems: herbs and teas to help those who wish to have children, same as those expecting some they did not ask to have. Things went according to plan until they didn’t. The night the illegitimate son of a wealthy nobleman showed up for a group seance and left for a month, she knew the plans she had made are sinking beneath the waves like the battleships. Armand de Nemours was a dark handsome stranger, unscrupulous politician and a rake with a reputation Severine chose to ignore. All the warnings were obliterated in the flame of passion she had for him and his walls came down like sand castles - love or lust? Neither knew nor cared. They made a daughter early into their relationship, and to their great surprise, they were both on board with the idea. Altho born out of wedlock - as her father often jokes, in their family tradition of making bastards - Olympia was legitimised soon enough and was raised with the best of both worlds. She spent time in her father’s household learning about etiquette, politics, diplomacy and all the ties that came with a title of a duchess she would inherit. The rest of the time she spent learning how to read tarot cards, combine and seek herbs, and the art of illusionism her mother so skilfully used at work. And all was well with the world. Until things got interesting. She won’t forget the spring day her father came to the house, as he usually did. He came with some flowers from his family garden, as he usually did. He came accompanied by his entourage, which was not always a habit. He came with a feast, which was not the first, but it was a surprise. And he came with a present: a gown, ivory in colour, and an announcement: a marriage. Both women her mother was and the one she had to leave behind to become who she is today promised their devotion to the Armand and the garden party went for far longer at their - now - family estate. In his usual manner, nothing was without a plan - and only a few months later they announced Armand’s father was dead and the estate was left with his widow and a young heir - in reality, the strong ties Armand held with the community gave him a better chance to claim his (unintended, but never unwanted) title of Duc de Saint-Simon. Most are unsure if the young widow decided to give into Armand’s request before or after the seance his wife held at the mansion in the south of France, but the papers have been signed and Armand was now Duc de Saint-Simon - and he had everything that a duke should have: the acceptable amount of fortune, a wife, a child, a house and all the connections the society might not have been based on all the good graces, but for them, it was enough.
Traits: Passionate. Intelligent. Mischievous. Spoilt. Determined. Romantic. Diplomatic. Ambitious. Charming. Confident (or pretending to be). Eloquent. Sophisticated. Sweet (until she is not). Open-minded. Hungry for life.
Picnic / Olympics
it's a cruel summer“I do not want to hear a word about not participating,” Amélia said, and I managed to peek through the sun kissing on our cheeks through the branches of the oak we laid under. It was still quite early - perhaps too early for two women who spent the majority of the last night doing nothing clever (losing on card games) - and still, it felt like a good thing to get out.
“Participating in what?” I teased, chuckling, closing my eyes again.
“Don’t fall asleep on me, Olympia,” she warns and I chuckled again.
“I’m not, let me assure you,” my voice slowed down. I was falling asleep. I used to do it back home, sneak an hour a day alone every once in a while, find a spot near the coast and sleep.
“Maybe you wish to take a moment to tell me what is happening with all the flirting between you and Sebastien,” she says. -”Or you and Philippe,” there is a mischievous tone in her voice that definitely wakes me up, but I keep my eyes closed, avoiding the sun. I hear her shift in her spot, before adding. -”Or the duke of Medici.”
Eyes still closed, I grinned widely, puffing out the air out of my chest. “I was having a fairly nice rest,”
“You are on duty, Olympia, have you ever seen someone sleep while they are supposed to be on duty?”
“It was a trend to start, Amélia, we missed the opportunity now,” I continue, eager to perhaps avoid the topic. Even if I had to run circles around it. -”Maybe—”
“You stop avoiding my questions, or otherwise—”
“Otherwise what?”I laughed, turning towards her only to see her sitting already, leaning on her hands to the back, feet bared a bit - we were, in the end, alone there - and I shifted a little bit, adjusting so I can set my head on her tight.
“Otherwise I will take action,” she stated as if it meant something. There is a moment of silence, and I open my eyes, glancing at her again. I didn’t want her to actually get mad, altho I doubted she would actually do that.
“Don’t get cross at me,” I said.
“I doubt I can, today,” she grinned. -”Have I ever told you why we come here in the morning?”
“Because you like to keep my company and there is very few people around?”
“Both yes, and no,” she laughed, tossing her head back towards the sun. -”I love the sound of the birds singing this early in the morning,”
I smiled, letting out a soft chuckle, enough for her to notice.
“Sounds like I might not be the only romantic around here,” I teased, playfully.
“Birds are not romantic, Olympia,” she laughed. -”Who in the world told you that?”
“Wanting to sit in the garden to hear them sing can be,” I argued - and meant it.
“Don’t dare to tell anyone, but you can have this victory,” she gives a playful shrug. -”Birds singing can be lovely and romantic,” she mused.
“Perhaps we have been in the sun for too long,” I laughed, and she does too.
“Pia,” she sounded like she wanted to coerce the reply out of me against my will.
“My family calls me Pia,” I replied.
“I know, Philippe mentioned it at some point, but we were not friends back then,” she continued. -”It’s sweet, endearing,”
“It’s a bit childish,” I argued, silently.
“It’s sweet, and there is nothing wrong with a few childish antics, believe me,” she continued. -”Men thrive on that boyish charm, and I think Pia sounds well.”
“If you say so,”
“I do,” she agrees with herself, basically. -”So, would you love to share a bit of what is happening with all these men with me?”
“There is very little happening,” I bit my lip, as I hear her exhale, annoyed. -”Honestly, very, very little,”
“Philippe seems to be charmed, he enjoys your company,” she said. -”Same can be said for Sebastien, and from what I heard, the young lord Medici can agree on the notion you are—”
“Flirting is encouraged, is it not?”
“And you’re doing what a good girl does, flirting only?” she teased.
“I am,” I said, considering telling her about the kiss, only I bite my tongue right now. -”Flirting,”
“I’m not your mother,”
“You could not possibly be, I believe you might be a year younger,” I agreed, and she laughed.
“You know what I meant,” Amélia continues. -”So, I will not teach you about holding on to your virtue and keeping your legs closed,”
“It’s a very bold assumption to think I am still as virtuous as I might seem,” I tried to remain playful about it, and she laughs again.
“Fine,” she says. -”I will sleep well at night, knowing I tried to converse with you,”
“You will sleep fine either way,” I offer.
“Absolutely true,” Amélia agreed, and I open my eyes.
“Very well,” I end up saying, and a very content smirk draws the corners of her lips up. -”It’s flirting, altho I did throw my fan for the duke to find so I can meet him,”
“The one with lavender—”
“The duke, Pia, not the fan, for crying out loud!” she says, partly frustrated and partly amused.
“Oh, Vincenzo de Medici,” I chuckle. -”I mean, he is very good-looking,”
“So is Philippe,” she adds, watching me glance, smirking. -”So is Sebastien,”
“One married, one with a reputation that would shake my father to the core,”
“Because it matches his?” she said, which was not entirely untrue, and I shrugged a little bit. She chuckles. -”I do love him, you know that?”
I did - I could not not notice they were actually friends - I believed them to be closer than she might have been with his majesty the king (in a very different way), but I never had the nerve to share that observation with anyone. Amélia shifts a little bit, making me move, too.
“Both Philippe and Sebastien love to live their lives to the fullest,” she continued. -”Liselotte puts up with him, for whatever reason, but he had lovers besides her, I feel this much is obvious.”
“It certainly is,” I admit. Philippe is handsome, he is clever and charming, and his company was lovely to keep, the flirting feels very harmless to me. I didn’t say it out loud. The rumours might have been very detailed, somewhat cruel - and at the same time, I felt most of them were true and very much not surprising.
“No flirting is ever quite as harmless when it includes the royal family, especially Philippe,” she picked up on my thoughts and I scoffed. -”There’s a bit more than just being a good flirt or being good in bed that will get you to the title of the main mistress,” she continued. -”If this even feels like something you might want, for yourself.”
Silence - on my end - and she watches suspiciously, or just curiously.
“I’m not saying you could not—
“I’m not saying I could,” I admit. -”I mean, I doubt there is a chance something like that might come up,” I said, convinced of my words. -”Flirting—”
“—is never harmless, just keep it in mind,” she says, a lighter tone, probably after watching my expression resembles that of a scolded child. -”Besides, if someone can show you the ropes—” Amélia mimics a bow, and I grinned. -“Then, Vincenzo de Medici?”
“He is handsome, he seems like he has his standing in this world, and the letter I got from my father very much encourages the idea of me becoming de Medici,” I chuckled - the letter, which honestly arrived almost a week ago, was quite surprising to me, and most likely came from a good intention of both my parents who both seemed to like the idea. -”Someone saw us conversing on a few occasions,” I explained. -”And for my father, I know he admires his ties to the European court, and for my mother,” I grinned covering my face very adamantly. -”She can never stress enough the importance of marrying rich,” I laughed.
“Smart woman, your mother,” Amélia grins. -”Did he send you any presents?”
“Lord, no,” I laughed. -“Flirting, my darling Amélia, I’m only flirting—”
“With everyone but me,” she jests and I laughed again.
“Had I known you would have me, I would have looked no further,” I replied playfully.
“I doubt Louis fares well with competition,” she smiles, but there was no lightness to her words, and there was some heaviness to the way she said the name. I sat up, reaching for her hand in the grass, brows furrowed, and had I known any better I would have stayed silent. But, I rarely do.
“Is there something the matter?” I ask. Amélia glanced up, as if she was trying to decide if she should watch her words or not. I squeezed her hand, offering a tiny smile. -”Are we not friends?”
She smiles, coyly, and nods. “We are,”
“Share with a friend then, who brought the clouds over your blue skies,”
“You’re not def to the rumours,”
“You would be surprised,” I smiled apologetically, tucking my shoulder up in a clumsy shrug. -”Only, the ones about a foreign lady catching king’s eye, I highly doubt this is anything but a rumour,” I offered my sincerest opinion. She seems unhappy, furrowing her brows.
“So, the words reached you,”
“Rumours, Amélia,” I replied. -”He is in your room so often I consider him to a lamp or a tapestry on the wall, as he is a permanent fixture there, a chandelier, if you want,” the playful tone is lost in the fact she is not happy with anything I have said before.
“Apparently, he finds time to be elsewhere, too,” she said, annoyed. She looks away and ends up falling to her back, so I join. -”It’s oh so—”
I didn’t fully experience the feeling so far - keeping my distance under the cautious eye of a mother who knew all too well about what kind of damage love can do - but, I did have some experience watching from the bylines. And watching Amélia was not easy, and I hoped she got it all very wrong somehow. I shut my mouth instead of throwing any insultingly stupid excuse her way. Instead, I found my way back to the ground, closing my eyes as the sun blinded me through the branches.
“You must think I’m foolish,”
“I don’t,” I replied honestly. That was it. I did not think she was foolish.
“I will not have any newcomer just appear and walk in my place,” she stated, and whoever met Amélia knew exactly how fierce her decisions seem to be.
“And you should not,” I might have surprised myself by saying it out loud or saying it at all. -“Whatever the rumours might suggest, you are still the one the king visits, make use of that.”
Neither of us looked up, but we heard the footsteps arriving in the distance, and the conversation is over.
Been the archer, been the prayAbsolutely incorrigible, Amélia sets off a private set of bets between us during the week - it feels like she aims to keep her mind distracted, more or less successfully. Rumours fly like arrows around here, which might be quite unusual to someone new, but once you’ve spent time at the court here, it becomes everyday.
The hunt, however, is fun. My father is a good hunter, but my mother excels at the skill, and it might be one of the things that came with the marriage and the title that she actually loves doing. I had enough luck to be present for all the parts of the hunt, from preparation to the messy end, and while it might not be my favourite activity to indulge in, I am rather good at it.
Still, we ride in the forest, we make our way through the trees and branches, and the mood, while competitive, seems to be more into indulging the hunt itself.
“I was certain I had you all pinned down, but I did not expect you to join us this morning,” he said, approaching on his horse - same one he used in the race he won in yesterday. I smiled - he seemed like he was not keen on seeing me in these last days, and it certainly had to do with the night of the mascarade.
“You should have let the poor beast rest,” I offered, halting, allowing him to reach me. Across from us, visible through the trees, Amélia and Louis seemed to have been more interested in exchanging quips than actually hunting. Hounds ran around us, and laughter echoed through the forest.
“I wish someone has extended me the courtesy,” he retorted, and I smiled back.
“Perhaps it’s a good time to run away now,” I glanced around. -”No one is looking,”
“Ah, but you would know,” he grinned. Then, the silence again, and unlike most times, I did not know what I did wrong, or what was happening, but it left me rather uneasy.
The hounds started barking just to our left, and I followed in the sound - moment too late, as Elizabeth was already there, bravely ahead on her horse - both Philippe and Louis rode right behind her, with a few more following, and I pulled back my horse, unsure if I actually wanted to follow along, only I remembered the silence here, and wasn’t sure I had enough energy in me to actually do that instead. I steady my breath, turning around towards Sebastien.
“I don’t feel like rushing in,” I say. I never did, or I mostly didn’t, not with an audience, at least.
“I imagine, yes,” he nodded. -”There is no need to rush, if you don’t feel like it, after all, it’s all but a game.”
I glance in his direction, sun battling to get through the branches, and I looked away. I turned back towards the sounds, as there seemed to be some progress they made in the hunt, but quickly gave up. The dust flying in this imaginary space needed to be settled down.
He laughed, gesturing towards me, and I smile.
“We kissed—” I offer a clumsy start, which might have been another source of amusement, and I’m not appreciative of that. He laughs and interrupts.
“I know,” he replied, moving closer. -”I never make empty threats and I never kiss to be forgotten easily, I trust you can vouch for that.”
It felt like he was mocking me, or whatever I wanted to say just a second ago. My brows furrowed. Cheeks blush a little.
“I can,” I replied, turning back to leave. I shouldn’t have mentioned it, at all, as I wasn’t sure where I was heading with my words in any case.
“Was that all?”
“No,” I replied, biting my lip, moving in a direction of the hunt, he follows. -”And also, yes. That is all.”
“You wanted to tell me we kissed, and nothing more?”
“Nothing,” I replied, tossing my hair to the back, as I tried to move faster on my horse. Of course, there was more, but I forgot about it in the end.
“I’m not chasing you again,” he said, and I turned around. -”I never should have done it in the first place, god knows what I was thinking,” Sebastien replied. And I stopped entirely.
“Very well,” I replied firmly, altho the idea did not sit well with me. -”Your message is loud and clear,”
“If I have offended you by it—”
“How could you?” I waved my hand. -”I was doing nothing against my will, because as you say you never make empty threats and never kiss to be forgotten, my lord, I never do anything against my own will and volition,” I offer. There is a silence and some cheerful yelling in the distance. -”If we kissed, you better believe I was both present and willing.”
He seems amused, or perhaps smug, or perhaps the sun hit his face in a way that it always did, making him seem both. I couldn’t tell. He says nothing, and I hear the sound of a trumpet sounding off the end of the hunt.
“Will you come with me to the winners’ luncheon then? Food, wine, and chariot ride followed by fireworks,” he continued. -”I can only offer you my company and whatever might happen is only dependent on you,”
I gave it a second, not because I was second-guessing what was going on, but rather allowing a second between his question and my reply. “I would like that.”
Same old cliche: love chooses you“I have gotten you a present,” she says, altho she could have just left things for another time - literally, as the sun has been up for a very, very short time and I have been asleep for a very, very short time, yet she was there, in my room, and there is - from what I can see, an impish look on her face.
Statement, not a question, not a sound of excitement. I was happy she was there, but the happiness was delayed by the number of hours of sleep I needed to become myself again. Hand to my head, I get up from the chaos of pillows and the large duvet, and the cover I do not even recall pulling to my side last night.
“Mlle Pia, where have you been last night?” the teasing would be relentless, judging by Amélia’s voice and the look she just gave me.
It takes a second for my mind to process. There was short storm last night, my gown was soaked and muddy a bit. I grinned to the memory of last night, which was not the wisest of my choices, but certainly a fun one. I grinned. “You mentioned a present?”
“Oh! Yes, how exciting, you might have gotten something last night, you are getting another gift in bed this morning, you are truly having fun now!”
“Stop it,” I chuckle, stretching, releasing a sharp breath with the word, and smiled at her. -”Present? For me?”
“I had it made a while back, but it’s quite stupid, you know?” Amélia grins, handing a square-shaped gift wrapped in silk, with a small bow on it. -”And we get to try it out today.”
I smirked, untying the bow, revealing the nicest tarot deck I have ever seen in my life. There were tiny speckles of gold and silver on each of the cards, the penmanship of the titles was beyond beautiful and my surprised expression made a thank you enough for Amélia.
“You are welcome!” echoed in the hall leading to my room as she moved towards the exit. It took me a second, when I looked up, there was no Amélia, and the question remain: how are we trying it today?
“Perhaps you should be doing it,” I whisper, following in her footstep, holding the deck in my mind. -”Did you arrange a thunderstorm?”
“I might have,” she replied. -”Louis is Apollo, I might be Zeus, in the end,” she chuckles, before we walked by some more ladies now belonging to her household - and some I had seen around, but never near her. -”You know what to do?”
“Yes,” I agree, and she flips the door open, making her theatrical way to the room. The clouds, the storm, the fact this day went from a very bright to very dark and gray - the nature was on her side, apparently. Amélia gets to the window, waving her hand to some sweets brought to her by one of the ladies, before she turns towards me, subtly nodding.
Passing by one of the windows, the wind blows the curtains towards me - and even if it was not part of the plan, the deck flies from my hand and all over the room. Amélia turned over her shoulder, glancing at me - now on my knees, picking the cards up - and joins me.
“Do not even tempt me, Olympia,” she was louder than I expected.
“I told you before, and I will tell you again,” I sighed. -”When a guardian angel is speaking, one must listen—”
“Absolutely not, you know these things never interest me,” she waves her hand, passing me the card. If there was an ear in the room that wasn’t set on her…it changed now.
“As you wish, of course,” I agree. There’s thunder rumbling outside, and I get up, with deck in my hand. -”But tell me, do you have something more fun to do right now?”
She rolls her eyes dramatically, waving her hand at once and turns around the room.
“You!” she points to someone - I could never tell if she actually pointed at someone in particular, or anyone at all - and flicks her wrist. -”Bring that table over there, and two chairs, and for the love of god, please open more windows, I need some air!”
In a few moments, we sat, one opposite to the other, with a spectatorship, glasses of wine - one each - and more than a few set of eager ears to listen to this.
“I have to warn you, mlle Amélia, that the guardians never speak directly,” I stated, shuffling through the large cards in a way I had seen my mother do for many, many times, and I leaned in a little bit. -”I interpret them quite well, but some of the messages might bring forth some conclusions to you that I might not be privy to,” I explained, as I laid the deck in a perfect semi-circle before her. -”Now, select the first card, please—”
Amélia reaches out and I gasp, startling her for a second.
“What?” she asks, allowing for a very rare glimpse of actually being surprised by something.
“Is this table made of wood, only?” I asked something my mother would pretend to be of uttermost relevance when doing these readings. Amélia shrugged, leaning in a little bit, as if she will notice something on the table.
“I believe so, yes,”
“Angels absolutely love things which are made in purest material,” I nodded, seriously. At this point, I considered this could be my second option, if everything else in this court falls through. There is chatter in the back, but I sit up, looking around. -”Please, Amélia, choose the first card.”
Obviously, the game was rigged - she knew exactly what card she needs to take at which time in order for this little game of charade to play out as she intended it to play out. Amélia pulls out a card, holding it to her chest. “Now what?”
“You put it to the middle, here” I pointed to a place, and she sets it down. -”Oh! L’Ameoreux, the Lover!”
“What does it mean?”
“It presents you - future and the past, that much is quite clear,” I mused, my voice getting ever so silent by the moment. The circle draw in, and she leans above it.
“There are stars around it,” she says and I nodded.
“All the gifts you possess, my darling, of course, but pick the next one, this is where the message might start,”
“Of course,” she gives a playful giggle. -”You are really entertaining me, my dear! What a lovely way to spend inside, honestly!” Amélia picked up another card, giving it a closer look before she set it on the table where I pointed out. Brows furrowed, I nodded.
“Le Soleil,” I say, doing my best impression of a confused person I could do before I glanced up at her. -”Why of course, it’s the king!”
Smiles, grins, some gasps - and Amélia, nods, but looks up at me, reaching for my hand. “What does it mean?”
“The Lover and the King, combined, usually means prosperity, good fortune. It represents a relationship between two people, and well,” I bit my lip, and she pulls away from my hand.
“Unless?” Amélia gasped.
“What in the world is happening here?” The familiar voice comes from none other than Philippe - walking into the room, and finding us all in a very chaotic circle. “Honestly, Amélia—”
“My lord,” I glanced up, very dramatically pulling a hand towards my chest. -”Do not interrupt, there is a message that absolutely needs to reach Amélia, and I am—”
His hands go up in recognition of surrender, he shakes his head, leaving to get more wine. In the meantime, the weather outside stormed, uninterrupted, and there were some scared gasps followed by giggles at times. It took everything in me not to laugh at the scaredy cats around me. Philippe is back, finding his spot near me.
“Go on, Olympia,” Amélia announced the continuation, selecting the next card. She set it down on the table, and I act all surprised upon glancing at it. My lips part, I pretend to want to speak, but instead, lean back a little. -”What?”
“La Roue de Fortune,” I whisper. -”It’s usually the sign of change, but in combination with the first two—”
“What, Olympia?” Amélia says, looking around the room. There is a smudge of surprise on her, a bit of worry, the flush in her cheeks is less rouge and more a rush of blood, and I shake my head. -”Oh, speak, girl, these foolish things do not scare me!”
“It means the change is upon the main figures, the lover and the sun, and when there are two, there is usually the third one, too, which brings the change—”
She laughs, at the right moment, and I try to seem somewhat discouraged.
“Please continue, mlle Olympia,” the encouraging voice is behind me, and I look up to meet Philippe’s gaze. I nodded, somewhat reluctantly gesturing towards the deck, and Amélia takes her sweet time picking - the tension in the room is almost palatable, and what makes me flinch is a soft touch at the nape of my neck - Philippe leaned in, almost unnoticeable and glances at Amélia. “Choose wisely, dear, I feel the next one might be of great importance.”
At this point, I could not tell if he was joking or not - but she picks the card and the audible gasps around the room amuse her - she smirks, for a short second - as she set the card down.
“What is it?” Philippe asks, and at this point, I was even less certain if he was playing along or not.
“Philippe, my dear, it’s clear as a day! It’s the Devil,” she announced.
“Oh, but no,” I shook my head. -”I mean, it is, Le Diable, but it means a threat, it does not mean the unholy, of course, it means trouble, or perhaps—”
“Oh, speak, dear Olympia, please!” Amélia fakes some impatience and reaches out for the next card.
“Les Temps,” I read out loud, and look at her. The silence in the room is entertaining. I part my lips, wanting to say more, but end up silent.
“What?” Amélia asks, leaning back. “Speak, my dear, I promise not to—”
“Choose the last one,” I interrupted before she could finish her rehearsed line. Surprised, she blinks, again trying to speak, but I shake my head. -”Last one, please, otherwise it might be left unspoken, the message.”
Amélia stays silent, reaching for the last card, placing it across the devil one for everyone to see.
“Le Mat,” I speak clearly. -”The Fool.”
“And?” Philippe asks. -”What is the meaning of the message?”
I glanced at everything, allowing for another moment of theatrics, shaking my head before I let out a chuckle, playfully saying “Of course!”
“Yes?” Amelia asks, and I grinned at her.
“It’s quite simple, actually,” I announced. -”There is this endless fortune that has come from this union between the Lover and the Sun, and the prosperity, the fortune just continues in a circle. But, the Devil shows up and while it might feel as if the Devil changes the fortune, there is nothing to it!”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“Well,” I leaned in. -”The Devil is no devil at all, and it’s quite clear in the end, the solution has been here for the entire time - the time will uncover the trick of the Devil - and render the devil a Fool! Quite annoying, yet very harmless: a true fool.”
“The Devil will be unmasked as a Fool,” Philippe repeated. -”How clever!”
“It’s a powerful message, Amélia,” I speak to her again. It took those selected two dozen a few moments to spread the word of how the Lover and the Sun uncovered the Devil as the Fool, and it took me two glasses of wine to be back at my feet, near the window.
“Another parlour trick?”
“Trust me, I am not even as dramatic as some,” I chuckle as Philippe sat down next to me. I smiled, leaning back, taking in the fresh air.
“Do not sell yourself short,” he says, glancing around the room, as if he was looking for someone.
“Did Amélia put you up to this?”
“It was raining my lord, one has to find a distraction, and what else do I have to distract myself with other than making the lady of my household look like the shining star she is?”
“There might be ways to keep yourself amused in boredom,” he says. -”It is a Sunday, what do you usually do on Sundays, when bored?”
“Boredom is such an intimate thing to share,” I smiled back at him. “But, we are friends, aren’t we?”
“I am happy to consider you one,” I admit with a smile.
“I might have reached the number of friends I can keep without getting overwhelmed,” he noted, sipping on wine, and we both watch the rain fall, still. I smiled at that.
“A lover might be more to your liking, then? Oh, but from what I understand, you might have reached that number, too,” I teased, which might have been taking it too far - but, he seems amused by the idea.
“Am I to interpret this as you asking around about me?”
“I do enjoy our conversations and your attention a great deal, your grace, but I have to admit all of my questions did cease at the first sign of your lady wife appearing,” I noted, with a playful little shrug, setting the mood just there, at playful. -”You might have noticed, but I demand a lot of attention, your grace, I am spoilt and I can be very dramatic, not to mention possessive, and I might just be a bit more time-consuming than you wish to, or have the time to handle.”
“Perhaps I should be the judge of that,” Philippe offered a solution and I chuckled at that.
Could you stay a little longer, please?There are many more lustful gazes exchanged during a wrestling match in the gardens than there have been during the beginning of the week - something about the naked flesh and sweat that got the heartbeat going - and there is very little left to the imagination. By the end of the event whoever might have missed on the gossip projected from the intimate knowledge between some of the ladies and some of the gentlemen wrapped in the challenge, was all caught up and could tell which rumours have been based in the truth.
For example, the droplets of sweat running from the jawline of duke de Medici down his neck and through the narrow line that separated his chest reveal that he indeed had a few birthmarks there. My eyes followed the droplet a bit further down, but the trace of light blue hair above his navel really signalled it was time to look back up. I meet his gaze, catching mine, and I go back to feeling like a child caught with my hand in the apricot jam.
I smile, instead of trying to insult either with any kind of witty excuse, and he is - as assumed - kind enough to allow me this trespass.
“You held on valiantly, your grace,” I offered, remembering only a second later that we have reached the agreement to drop the titles a while back.
“Your faith did not go unnoticed, mlle Olympia,” he said. -”And I insist on repaying you, h—
“I insist on refusing that offer,” I raise my hand up, with a strict look on my face. -”A young lady should learn in her mistakes and learn how to trust her reason the next time,”
“We hold our ladies to other standards,” he says and I smiled.
“Honestly speaking, your grace, it felt like a reasonable price to pay for the spectacle alone,” I noted, making him smirk at the idea. I turned in my spot, as one of his men brought him a towel, and he waved his hand instead. The sun did not help with the sweat, but the sight was not at all bad - for me, at least. I glanced up a bit, walking towards the shade, where a picnic was laid for everyone. He follows in my footstep, and I turned back to meet his gaze.
“I hope I provided a good show, then,”
“Oh, but you still are,” I laughed.
“It seemed just,” he continued, pushing his hair back a little bit, and glancing towards me. -”You shared some insight into your nightly clothes when we first met, and it felt like a kind thing to do to return you the favour.”
I blinked, for a second, turning towards him.
“You did not mention any, and you have not worn any nightshirt for the match—” I say, brows furrowed. Vincenzo had a very smug look on his face, and it took another moment for me to get the point, brows darting up in surprise, a grin appearing on my lips. -”Your grace!”
He laughs, amused, with that boyish mischief lighting up every inch of his face. “It’s the florentine way, mlle, I’m offering a course in florentine culture,”
“Very kind of you, you are a gift that keeps on giving today,”
“And to think the day is still very young,” he offered and I smiled at him. We slowed down, there was very little reason to stay undressed as we walked toward the picnic area. “Maybe I can teach you a few other florentine traditions,”
“If you promise to teach me yours, I will promise to teach you some of mine.”
He laughed, amused - maybe a bit surprised. “I never thought you were a tease, mlle,”
“You might not have paid enough attention to me then,” I offered a quick solution.
“Rushing to insult me,”
“Rushing to make you realize the error in your way, perhaps?” I smile. -”Trust me, from where I am standing, it’s all a matter of perspective.”
There is a shirt coming his way, and he exchanges his damp one for a dry one, allowing for another look - not only to me, but rather to everyone within his eyesight. I admired - subtly, of course - and as he was dressed again, I looked up at his face.
“Thank you,” I say. -”I can now pay attention to your words once again,”
“What was the last you heard?”
“Something about you repaying my loss at this wager.”
La fin de l'Olympiade “L’Olympiade and l’Olympia,” he announced as I arrived. -”One ending, one only beginning,”
“I should hope,” I chuckled. -”Count Sebastien, you look absolutely ravishing tonight,” I added playfully before taking his forearm, walking into the room with him.
“And I should hope to do some, too,” he added, making me laugh. “You seem in a better mood today, mlle,” he said. I was - the news from home arrived: Marie and Pepe were on their way to Versailles - and maybe the thing I have been craving was family.
“I have nothing to worry about tonight, my lord,” I replied. -”But, perhaps there is a thing we can address right away that would help me with the day,”
“Whatever you night need,” he says.
“Wine, my lord, I wish to celebrate the end of this extremely strenuous period as one does,”
“Your wish…” he vanished for a second, returning with some wine - as I imagined, some special bottle he intended to drink instead of whatever might be served tonight. -”Hopefully you’re not too tired for the festivities,”
“Do you have some information I might not have?” I asked, taking a sip.
“Best things usually happen after midnight,” he replied.
“Let’s see if we can get me there,” I laughed - but the beginning of the feast really spoke to the fact this day would not end before the dawn brakes in the next one. A few glasses of wine later, there is another moment of revival for the tarot deck and some playful teasing between the well-known group, now joined by the king. Amélia, sitting across his lap, did a masterful performance of pretending all is well, as one should at moments like these, and at times the ingenue energy was back once again. Sitting across from me at the table, insisting on yet another read, unrehearsed this time.
“Mlle Olympia is so well with cards,” Amélia giggled, reaching for my hand, handing me a smile that could light up rooms and melt the ice away. I smiled back, shaking my head, avoiding another torturous moment of having to think about what might be interpreted in cards we have not set up in any way. She is not taking my hints, and the king - while somewhat drunk - seems to be entertained by the idea.
“Rest assured, your grace, lovely mlle Amélia is—”
“This is not the moment to be shy,” Sebastien said, glancing across the table. -”I’m sure your reputation has reached the ears of his majesty already,” he smirked, and Amélia nodded in agreement.
“It has, of course,” the king replied, and I can with certainty say neither of us was convinced this was the truth. -”And I would be both grateful and delighted if you did not decline your king, mlle Olympia,” he smiled.
“I wouldn’t dare, your majesty,” I replied, nodding at the man, reaching for the deck, and I started to shuffle through the deck but Sebastien stops me, placing his hand to mine. It takes a second before Louis is whispering something to Amélia and some more wine is brought to the table. Instead of the rehearsed set up, I made a point to turn the cards myself this time.
Perhaps it was the luck I never knew I had, perhaps it was his majesty sitting opposite of me - but the first card was the King. “As predicted,” I announce, setting it down towards him.
“Perhaps the next one would be the Sun,” Amélia giggled, touching his face, before turning him in for a kiss, and I turned the next one indeed.
“The Sun!” Sebastien announced, and lightly drunk king drinks a bit more to the game, before leaning into the table, stopping me as I was about to flip the last card up.
“Tell me, mlle Olympia,” he said, seriously. -”What do you believe the third card will be?”
My eyes dart straight towards Amélia, as she curls her lips into a glorious smile. “I bet you she can guess,”
“You’re willing to bet me on it?” Louis seems intrigued, or amused - or a bit of both, but he moves his hand from mine and strokes her hair a bit, nodding. His hand moves back towards me, one quick glance, and his attention is right where it needs to be. -”What would you offer me, my dearest?”
Amélia, giggling, whispered something into his ear, and he returns the naughty thought by kissing her shortly. Perhaps I was the one who was drunker than I believed I was, but I felt a rush of blood in my cheeks, and Sebastien, amused by the scene, lets out a small laughter. Before I can think of something clever to say, the king returns to the conversation.
“I’ll ask for a kiss,” he announced.
“How humble of you,” she laughed, but he shook his head, allowing me a second.
“Mlle Olympia, you are part of this conversation now, will you join in the wager, too?” Taken aback for a moment, I glance towards Amélia, but before I find some way to decline, Louis shakes his head, teasingly involving me further into whatever was happening here. -”Twice in one night, mlle, you consider declining a king!”
“Perhaps the wine has clouded my judgment, your majesty,” I smirked, unsure if flattery could get me out of the situation. -”Or I was taking a moment to consider what I might say as my final answer.”
“And have you?” Amélia asked.
“I would like to say, the Moon,” I replied.
“The stars,” Amélia shrugs, playfully, playing with a strand of king’s hair, and he takes another moment to appreciate her before turning to me again.
“What should I say, then?” he glanced at Sebastien, who gave a very expressive look and shrugged his shoulders, before leaning in his place.
“Lovers, perhaps?” he suggested, and the king laughed.
“Lovers it is,” he says. It took me a second, before Amélia bit her lower lip, giggling in anticipation.
“Turn the card over, Pia, I’m already anxious about my reward!”
I did, chuckling at the scene, expecting it to be something else entirely. But there, in white cloth, and golden flecks, stood the lovers. Her face turns red, and she gives him a playful push, pretending to pout as he laughed very loudly.
“It seems like we have a winner,” Sebastien announced. -”I cannot say I’m surprised, your majesty, in the end—”
“The France is always at win!”
There is a cheer, even from the people who might not be participating and the two take a second in some playful fight over the state of the prize.
“You’ve lost your first bet to the king now,” Sebastien teased.
“People tend to lose more when betting on games with kings,” I whisper, and reached out for the wine. -”You, however, seem to be enjoying yourself,”
“I always enjoy the bets I am not partaking in,” he laughs and waves the servant to get us more wine.
Before I could hint at something I might regret later, the deep voice of the monarch in front of me makes me look up. “Mlle Olympia,” he said. -”It seems like you owe me a kiss.”
Amélia’s face did not reflect amusement, and before either of us can say anything, he turned to her.
“It seems you both do,” Louis says, and there is a hint of surprise on everyone there, even Sebastien. Amélia - playing her role to the beat, stood up from Louis’ lap and took my hand, walking past Sebastien and in front of me.
“Have you been kissed by the stars, my dear?” she grinned, bending down, inches before my face, and she crashed her lips to mine. I didn’t think I would react, but I kissed her back, even for a split of a moment and when we pulled back, she had the same wide grin on her face, but turned to the king again. Before I said anything, I felt the move in the room - it was time for us to move to the chariots, to see the light show.
And I did, settling down next to Sebastien, drunken from the wine, and the kiss alike, and enjoyed the moment, as there were both gasps and mumbling heard from all over the courtyard. Lights sparkled in the skies, clouds of smoke covering the stars and the moon, but the spectacle went on and on, it felt like it would not end.
“Allow me to say this might have been the most pleasurable bet I have witnessed lately,” Sebastien reminds me I am not alone in the carriage, and I rolled my eyes at that.
“Allow me to say that the pleasure was reflected on your face when I turned back around,”
“It was anticipation,”
“Waiting for more?” I teased and laughed. -”A delightful moment, once in a blue moon, a chance of it r—”
“What makes you think it was left to chance?” he grinned, leaning in a little bit, and I looked at him.
“Of course,” I exhaled. “Consider me naive, my lord, because it is so obvious now,”
“Luckily, you did not shuffle through the deck,” he grins mischievously as the light show took place before us. -”Imagine turning over such thing as death, or—”
“Queen,” I added, laughing.
“Or the fool,”
“The fool would come together quite well, with the lovers,” I added playfully.
“Lovers are foolish?” he offers and I laughed, playfully slapping his wrist. Instead of pulling it back, he took my hand, holding it in his, staring at the sky. I looked at him, for a moment more, before watching the scene too.
“Lovers tend to turn foolish, yes, in the most delightful of ways,” I offered the solution instead.
“If it doesn’t, you might not be doing it the right way,” I smirked, glancing over my shoulder. It was my second kiss that same evening, and unlike the first one, this one kept on going. The tickle of the beard on my neck and my face made me shiver a few times, and by the time the smoke cleared and the sparkling lights in the sky stopped, I pulled away too, uncertain I would be able to stop had I left my lips on his for a moment longer.
Vanilla and MuskI made very little effort in hiding my basket - and the innuendo of saying those words out loud might have been too much for most - but it was the truth. Lavender and honey, some southern pastries and my favourite dessert (of this week, I fail to mention). Then, Amélia, the loveliest of my friends and the worst person to lose a bet made an effort to call me out on the wager I have lost what only seems ages ago. So, there was a very delightful tarot card placed in my basket, the Moon one, and a tiny bottle of black wine with a handwritten note hanging from it, that had two words on it: love potion. The highest bid seemed to have been Duke - not the one I expected to see. Philippe’s bid was the highest and brought the most whispers my way - and I had very little idea on how to deal with them.
Whispers were either a delightful pastime here or a dull moment of confirming some idea you have already known (affairs, mostly) and they were just that until the sound of your own name was spelt out in them.
The end of the summer always brought forth a bittersweet feeling with it, and I chose to cling to the sweetness as long as I could, and if it meant ignoring my sanity, damn with it. The time was set, and my outfit was prepared, but I was not fully ready to face what I have faced upon entering the room at the end of his chambers. Two men that opened the door must have noticed the surprise and the thrill on my face as I stepped into what could have only been called an enchanted forest.
The tree inside the room must have been real, the leaves and the flowers laid on the ground near the white and cream linens, pillows fluffed alongside the candles. The flickering made it look like a starry night, the wind coming from the open windows moved the plants into life and whatever was left of my wit vanished as easily as I moved inside.
There were so many things to look at, yet I could not decide where to look first.
The save comes in a form of a hand sliding to my waist, before it moves towards my elbow and finds my wrist in the end, putting a glass of wine into my palm.
“You have truly rendered me speechless,” I spread my hands in a very clumsy gesture, and the smile on his lips makes me smile again. -”I don’t believe—” another shrug, as I step towards the middle of the room, turning around, taking a moment to appreciate and check everything there. -”This is just—”
“You speak a lot for someone who is supposedly left speechless,” Philippe joked and as I took another spin, the second I turn to him I see a hand reaching out to me, and I take it, led to the centre of the moment (and the room).
“The indoor picnic, ha!” I smiled, taking another appreciative moment. Philippe sipped on his wine, and I turn around to do the same. -”I never would have thought of it,”
“Good thing I made plans then,” he grinned - I could not agree more. -”But you made yourself easy to find.”
I laughed, kneeling up a little bit to reach for my basket, pulling out the berries set in the bowl and the lavender honey. With it, out comes the tarot card and I laugh again.
“I’m afraid only Amélia is to thank,” I explained. -”I lost a bet to her, and—”
“You had to put some tarot cards and a love potion!”
“Anyone who made it to any of the parties in her household would have been clear on who the basket belongs to,” I agreed, picking up a few blueberries. I glanced at him, in a moment of silence, wondering if it would even be appropriate to ask what made him bid on the basket, so I don’t. Answers are better left unknown, at times.
“So, the Moon?” he asks, holding the card up, and turning it in his hand so he can have a better look.
“I’m afraid you have caught me unprepared this time,” I laughed. -”My knowledge of tarot is amazing when it needs to serve the purpose of helping a friend deal with some dishonesty, but other than that…” a shrug, another berry plopped into my mouth, and I smiled.
“Too bad,” he replied. -”I was hoping for a private reading,”
“Oh, one can be arranged, and in the meantime,” I reach for the card, setting it in the upright position towards him. -”Upright moon represents the illusion and intuition.”
He slides the card into the reversed position and I smiled.
“Release of fears and repressed emotion.”
The smug smirk lights up his face. “Well selected,”
“Amélia again, I’m afraid.”
“I’ll consider it fate,” he concluded, reaching to the basked, pulling the second prop out the basket, and I laughed again.
“Well, to anyone else it might have been a very scary thing to see,” I said. -”And to you, your grace, I did explain there was very little magic to any love potions,”
“You might have said that, but I didn’t hear that only,” he takes the cap of the small bottle, and smells the content. -”What is it?”
“Why love potion, of course,” I smirked. -”And I would gladly present it as a gift to you, only I highly doubt you have any needs to use such a thing, your grace.”
“Is that so?”
“So it is,” I smiled.
“I haven’t noticed my charm was working on you,” he offered and I smiled, reaching for some more wine. Most likely, too much. -”So, perhaps—” another smell of the content.
“Cherry liquor,” I offered. “Made on our family estate,” I take the bottle from him, pouring it into the small glasses set up in the basket near it. Philippe is offered one, tossing it back with dedication, and I sipped on mine.
“Now, we wait,” he laughed and I did too.
So, we drink, we feast on the berries, and we sprinkle honey over the raspberries, and we pick on the sweets, and we drink more, afraid there might be too little wine and too much food - a lie, of course. It felt like a carefully threaded line between flirting and going any further with it - reaching out for the same food, touching unintentionally, laughing and most likely oversharing.
I felt my time was more than overstayed as the candles flickered not in the wind, but while burning out, and the moon turned into the only source of light in the room. I sat up, taking his hand as I did my best to gracefully stand up, but unsurprisingly so, after the wine, it really did not do me much good: I stumbled, keeping my balance barely, laughing through the process, blushed with wine and the evening. He walks me towards the door, and there is a delightful little smell moment in the air.
“Allow me a personal question, would you, Philippe?”
“Were the ones before impersonal?” he laughed, and I laughed, nodding.
“You might have a point,” I agreed. -”Tell me, this perfume you wear often—” I lifted a bit on my toes, shifting my face towards his neck a bit, and he turned his hand to the side lightly. -”It smells like the most delightful thing ever, what is it?”
“A very delicate, milky white and light yellow orchid,” Philippe smiles as I took a step back. He seemed happy about the question, and the thrill in which he explained really lit him up. -”Vanilla orchid, and the smell is collected not from the flower, nor the petals, but the pod and the tiny seeds inside it—”
I tangle my fingers into the rim of the collar on his petticoat, pulling him into a kiss that took him by surprise a bit more than it did me at the moment, and it’s met with a welcome.
It was a surprise to me as much as it was a surprise to him, and as I part, there is a pull for more.
“I’m afraid there is nothing more I can leave you with, but a kiss,” I mussed, untangling my fingers from his clothes, feeling his reach for mine, holding my hand on the place.
“You do not appear frightened,” he leans in, placing a kiss onto my jawline, then my cheek, closing towards my lips.
“I’m afraid I would not be able to stop myself,” I pulled away lightly, kissing the knuckle on the hand that was still holding mine, and before allowing him any words that might have kept me around, I opened the door, walking out and heading straight to my room.
Once the sun woke me up, I got up from the bed, finding a single tarot card laid on the sheets before me.
STATUS: Rushed. Done. Most likely full of spelling errors.
Last edited by Zaralee (23/08/2022 at 12:29)