1867-10-30: Teaching the Last Lesson
Teaching the Last Lesson
Summary: Talia considers the future of the t'Corbeau household.
Date: 10-30-1867
Related: None

"It is all as you wished, your Excellency," Sophia said, as she inclined her head to Talia. With perfect poise, she waited. Still. Unmoving. Feeling Talia's eyes on her. She could not help the smile that touched her lips, just barely.

"Excellent. I will not have my only son contracting this sickness. I want full reports, twice a day on his condition, Sophia. And I will personally end the life of anyone who attempts to break that isolation without my consent. Very slowly. And very painfully." As always, Talia found herself pleased by Sophia's efficiency. "I am fully confident you have and will make that message abundantly clear."

She exhaled, then, slowly. "I am quite certain, also, I am with child again, Sophia. This news, however, for the time being, shall stay between us. I had intended to visit Pacitta, briefly and compete in the Bare Knuckle again and see dear Odilia, but that will not be happening now. We'll send a representative instead. I trust the rooms are ready for my sister, and her husband?"

"Yes, Excellency," Sophia agreed, quickly. "All is prepared as you've asked it. It will be nice to have the Lord and Lady return to us."

"Indeed. Better still to use this time to try and undo what lies that damnable t'Rannis bitch has planted in Alina's ears about me. Us." Talia frowned, some, then, moving to the window, looking out across the verdant green hills. And, not for the first time Talia had spoken such words, "I do not trust Paege so close to our future Duchess. But, we must play their game. And this is Nyssa's field, far better than mine."

Talia frowned, then, waxing silent for a moment. She had disliked missing the Masque. But, it would keep her from the temptation of seeing Corvin again and pulling him away for a reunion, of the sordid sorts - which would only gall Alina further and prove Paege's mutterings about her all the more, no doubt. But further, and this was the point Nyssa seemed to strike, it would show Lady Alina that Talia did have some restraint afterall. The gifts were a nice touch, too. The shield, while valuable to her in terms of it having an attachment to her father, would be better suited with her future Duke and Duchess. And the blades? Well. Talia knew the things that were out there, certainly. The memory of her encounter with those /things/ would never leave her mind. Nor Alina's. And the poison applicators had the t'Corbeau touch to them. And from what Philippe had told her, the Lady had been more than pleased to recieve each.

Talia realized she'd been waxing thoughtful in her silence, and she waved a hand towards the woman she'd once bought as a slave and slowly turned to one of the most loyal creatures in her household, "You may leave, Sophia. Perhaps I will call on you this evening, if I've the need."

"Of course, Excellency." Sophia nodded quickly, and knew better than to question Talia in her own study, the girl retreating back into the house to double check and make sure that all of Talia's desires were seen to with prudent efficiency and unshakable loyalty.

Talia watch the doors close behind Sophia, and then sighed to herself. "I gave you freedom," she spoke quietly, to the air. "Freedom to do as you would with any woman, or man, as you pleased in secret." Her gaze turned from the window as measured steps drew her closer to the desk where she picked up a sleek dagger that had always been there. Her mother had kept it in a calf-sheath. Talia removed it from it's sheath, examining the blade. Appreciating it's sharpness and it's quality.

"And what did you do with this freedom, husband-mine? Of all the women in Couivere or Rivana you could have bedded, you bed my cousin, Angelique. My. Cousin." The last words came out in a hissed breath, and her hand tightened so hard around the hilt of the dagger her knuckles turned white.

"I have what I wanted from you. What I needed. You were a necessity. A convenience. You have outlived you usefulness to me, and you are unworthy of the Many, and at best inept at our true familial affairs. I will - wait, though. I will make certain, my husband, my dear Alexander will be safe. The country mourns the loss of the Prince. And there will be more mourning, yet. And as this sickness rolls over the countryside, you, at last, will pay for this indignity. Fortune smiles upon this house, even amidst the culmination of Pestilence's time. And no one will blink an eye. For they will all think you've died of the plague. But, my dear husband, at the last, you will know. You. And I. Will know."

Talia closed her eyes, and felt the shudder of glory pass through her body. She slowly kissed the dagger, and then placed it back into it's sheath. "And should my dear cousin survive this, and Pestilence spare her? Well, then I shall have to give her future some consideration as well."

The Viscountess' eyes drifted up to the painting of her father that sat upon the wall, opposite her desk. "Loyalty, above all else, father. I have not forgotten. Nor will I let them forget." There is a pause, then, and Talia smiles. "It is too bad you cannot meet Philippe, though. You would have liked him. The man is quick of wit, and beautifully malleable to our way of thinking. He, much like Sophia, has been tempered well. And become quite valuable."

Talia opened the door to the hallway, and blew out the candles before making her way down to the room that few dared bother her in. It had been a long while since she had touched the potter's wheel. And it had always brought her clarity, helped smooth the thoughts over in her mind as they turned. And there were so many ideas. So many opportunities. And so many perils facing her. She would pray, before bed.

But now, now was not the time to pray. She took a lump of the clay and set it onto the wheel, and sat down. Now? Now was the time to consider. To weigh her thoughts. Nyssa would help, of course. She and her sister complimented each other so well. And as her foot began to pump the wheel and her hands smoothed the turning clay, Talia felt the measure of relaxation coming to her, as it always had.

One way or another, things would turn out right. There may be a struggle, a time of chaos. But as long as she held the faith, as they always had, the t'Corbeau would see this peril through, as they always did. Of this, she was certain.

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