(1867-11-13) Picking Up The Pieces
Picking Up The Pieces
Summary: The surviving members of the l'Saigner family (well, most of them) discuss the state of affairs in the wake of the plague ravaging their duchy.
Date: 11/13/1867 IA
Related: Logs related to the Plague in Lonnaire
Alina  Corvin  Lucas  

Family Tower — Highwater Castle, Couviere
The small dining and sitting area in the family tower of Highwater Castle is quite well-furnished. The mid-sized room on the second floor hosts a carved oaken table that can seat eight comfortably, twelve if pushed; a pair of butler tables to hold whatever has come up from the kitchens on, and a large carved hutch that matches the table and chairs elegantly that holds a variety of dishes to make serving and eating food a quicker process when needed, on the half of the room nearest the heavy doubled doors.
The back half of the room held a large stone fireplace with a large stone mantle, a set of fainting couches, three comfortable chairs, and a smattering of small side tables for ease of setting a wineglass down. A small table with a well-worn chess board is flanked by two chairs like the ones at the dining table, the chessboard set for a new game, one side's pieces lapis lazuli with gold and silver sunbursts, the other side onyx with golden wyverns.
Outside the main sitting area, there are stairs leading up to the family suites and bedrooms.
Novembre 13, 1867 IA

Slowly, things were returning to somewhat normal in Highwater. The dead had been burned, and the sick who survived were in the process of recovering: weak, tired, still not at their best… but recovering.

The toll on the house was mostly in the outer branches of the family tree.. in tertiery lines, and mostly older folk, to a few children had passed as well. The Master Alchemist, a cousin of Leonore's who had trained with her, was dead, leaving the house without someone to fill that role. Many of those who served the house as servants, guards, or in other capacities were also among the burned.

And of course, Duchess Mina, wife to Duke James and mother of Alina and Lucas, was among the casualties. Her funeral had been days before, but the purple glazed urn that held her ashes still sat on the butler in the main room of the family tower.

Waiting for the Duke to be allowed from bed. Oh, he was awake again. But still weak, too weak to stand, too weak to take back over the running of his duchy, his spy network, and to serve as the stern overseer of the Syndicate.

It was his daughter and heir who had been doing these roles for him over the past several days since recovering from the illness herself. The master healer had actually pulled her from the Duke's study only an hour early, demanding she take a break from the missives and notes that had piled up in the Duke's absence… James's brother Enrique had done well at keeping the duchy intact, but the spy network and the information it brought in was not his forte, nor did he do well with the Syndicates beyond simply laundering the money the house brought in from them.
Alina sits at the table in the family tower, pushing around food on her plate. Her skin is sallow, and there are deep dark circles under her eyes. When the fever broke on her sons the day prior, she had smiled and wept tears of gladness, but since then she had been in a daze.


Her mother was dead.

Lord Enrique sat at the table as well. He looked far better than the heir, but he had managed to avoid the plague. His only granddaughter, Carina, a girl of seven, sat in a chair at his side, eating sweetcakes and looking only slightly less sallow than Alina. It had been a close thing with her, but she lives.

The food on Alina's plate was actually a rather bland affair for what the l'Saigner were usually accustomed to. There was no lemonwater— the last of the lemons, oranges, and limes had been used up weeks before and trade between Lonnaire and Seaguard (which went through Pacitta) was at a standstill due to how heavily the plague had hit all three areas. No potatoes or tiny green peas, because there was no travel into Lonnaire from Rovilon to bring them. Nightapples and strawberries were both no longer in season to be grown with how cold the days and nights had become in Lonnaire.

In point of fact, dinner was fish (caught by some of the few fishermen that remained on their feet) with locally grown herbs, mashed turnips and parsnips, and sweetcakes sweetened with the last bit of honey in the larders from house t'Hone. Alina grimaced. Trade as a whole was slowed to almost a stop across Lonnaire and worse with outside powers, and the l'Saigner had, at least in the castle and among the nobility, grown used to filling their larders with the best that the Edge had to offer. The two large Truefrost chillers stayed full with fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains from all over. She would have to do something to try and push trade through over the next few weeks, or be stuck eating fish and turnips all winter— something that could be borne if it must, but for the sake of the morale, at least…

Corvin Fremont has, for his part, been remarkably fortunate during these past weeks. He has remained free of the plague, despite losing a double-handful of Wraiths (though only two of them permanently) to the Plague. His mother and other half-sister are both on the "recovery" side of the illness, and perhaps most importantly of all, his father and Alina survived.

But that hardly means that the Commander of the Wraiths is in good cheer. Duchess Mina may not have been his mother, but she was a good Duchess, and he knows the house is poorer for her loss, and expressed such sentiments to Alina when occasion allowed. While he's not nearly so disappointed in the food available, he can recognize the signs of supply shortages readily enough. The Plague has been terrible…but the months to come aren't going to be much easier.

Still, while Corvin is quiet, it's not the shell-shocked variety of quiet that so many have been suffering of late. He occasionally makes a silly face or two at Carina when she glances at him, in between glances at Alina to make sure she's eating enough. She needs her strength. Now, perhaps, more than ever.

Lucas look forlorn as he leaned against the wall. His mother was dead. She had always been the closest to him and her passing left him feeling very alone. Despite having been in the city for several days the youngest son of Duke James looks as though he has just returned from the woods, his hair unwashed and a few days stubble grown on his cheeks. His eyes stringently avoid the purple urn, and instead he stares listlessly out the window, letting his thoughts hold his attention more than the happenings of the room.

"Uncle," Alina finally speaks, looking weary. "I've been looking at the imports that are not coming in, and I fear we'll have to spend more coin than we were expecting to bring in another shipment of citrus from the southern climes of Rivana. I believe that we had them on hand when the plague hit the castle is why we did not have so many fall ill and less die than we did in the city— limes and oranges, especially, are supposed to be good for keeping sickness at bay. We need more of them, lest we risk people returning to illness."

Enrique looks up from his own plate and nods. "We can afford it," he replies to the heir. "Even if the cost becomes extravagant. We cannot afford to lose anyone else, I agree. Especially with the loss of the Duchess."

Alina flinches at that, but looks relieved. "I will reach out directly to Lord Thaddeus Greycen, I think," she says simply. "And offer my apologies to the Viscount t'Rannis when he returns to health for going around him when I would usually lean on him to get this done."

Enrique looks grim. "Alienating our vassals isn't wise, Alina."

"I'm sure he will understand," she replies wearily, "and if he doesn't, I will take responsibility for it. We can wait on the other imports without it being a big deal, but I do not wish to risk the health of my family. If we all fall, then what?"

She glances to Corvin and Lucas, willing to hear their thoughts on the subject.

"As soon as Father is able to get out of bed," she says, "we will inter Mother. But he deserves to be able to be there when we do. I couldn't hold off the funeral and her burning for him, but I can hold of her interment."

It takes a few moments before Lucas realizes attention is focused his way. He blinks, shaking off whatever thought he had as he turns to his sister. "Sorry, Alina, what was it you were saying?" he asks. "I only caught the part about mother." His eyes flick to the urn for the briefest of seconds. "Does father care that much?" he asks looking back to his sister. "Or is this more about the tradition of it." That the Duke ought to be on hand for the burial of the duchess.

"Better alienating a vassal than watching our house fade away. I've no doubt the t'Rannis will get over any perceived slight. And besides, the Viscount has been ill himself, though from my understanding is recovering now." Corvin notes, then glances to Lucas, not sugarcoating his words, "Father may not have loved the Duchess in a romantic sense, but he respected and appreciated her. He trusted her as much as anyone, and knew how valuable she was to our family and the Duchy. He would want to inter her himself, as is proper."

Alina sighs. "Corvin said it as best as I could," she says to her brother gently. "Father may not have loved Mother but he did care for her and respect her. And in the end, she was his wife. He should be there when we put her ashes in the shrine."

Enrique nods in agreement. "Though it hurts us all to put it off," he intones, "I have no doubt this is how her Grace would have wanted things to go. She had great love and faith for both her children," he gives Lucas a smile at that. "She was a good duchess and a good woman. She is already sorely missed."

Alina is silent for a time after her uncle speaks. "Has anyone checked on Sir Alliser?" She asks gently.

"He's a wreck, but the Foxes are keeping a close eye on him." Corvin replies, glancing towards Alina. "And I believe father instructed he be sent an invitation to the interment?" Corvin doesn't know for certain…that's the kind of thing that would go through Alina or Enrique, not him. He's just picking up rumors from among the troops, so to speak.

Alina nods. "We will make sure he gets an invitation," she agrees. "Mother would have wanted that."
She taps her fingers on the table. "If Viscount t'Rannis is recovering, hopefully we can have him start pushing trade through again. I will need to pen a letter to him expressing our condolences for the death of his heir."

"Well, if there's any good news to be had….there's been virtually no bandit or pirate activity in the past few weeks." Corvin notes, trying to provide…some piece of good news, at least. Corvin gives a slight shrug, "And for whatever reason, the Black Foxes don't seem to have been hit as hard as some."

Alina gives a smile at that. "Well, some good news then." She takes another bite of her fish. "I am glad that the twins have seemed to come through the plague. we will have to watch them for a couple more weeks at least but the worst is over."

"And we're all glad for it." Corvin notes, grinning over at Carina, "And for you, Carina." He rises from his chair after finishing off his wine, moving over to give Alina a peck on the cheek, "If you need anything of me, I'll be in the Wraith Tower." He then gives a slight bow to Enrique, and a nod to Lucas before heading out of the room, and on to other business.


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