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Thread: A Not So Triumphant Return [9/6 - Late Afternoon - Farrand-Calhouns, open-ish]

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    A Not So Triumphant Return [9/6 - Late Afternoon - Farrand-Calhouns, open-ish]

    The arrival of the mail had long ago become something that the Queen of Balfour dreaded. On the wings of those birds always came ill tidings, word that another town had fallen, that another noble family had lost members, that the disease that had cursed their land was still eating away at their people. Was there going to be an end to this? Or was this sickness going to be the end to their entire nation?

    But the letter that had come days before had carried altogether different news. The refugees that had fled Balfour for the safety of Tuneric had returned unexpectedly. It was a troubling thing, truly; the plague still raged, and that had been the very thing that they'd left to escape. Jacquelyn found it difficult to believe that Langston would have commanded they leave without having received word from Lochlan that it was safe to do so...so what had happened?

    Although the letter raised more questions than it answered, it had certainly set the castle into motion. With how bad things had gotten, the royal household had been running with its smallest staff in generations. Entire wings had been closed off, both to keep them from being touched by infection but also to keep the workload down. Most of the staff had been sent home to be with their families, with the assurance that their jobs would be waiting for them when the trouble had passed. Now the small number of servants that had remained had sprung into action, preparing the household for its returning members.

    Leaving the new prince's nursery, Jacquelyn made her way toward the front of the castle. Today was, unless things had gone terribly wrong, the day that Langston and Tatianna would arrive, and she wanted to be nearby when the call came out that they were here. Entering the smaller hall, she found Lochlan already there, fires lit in the hearths to warm the cold space. Coming up to stand beside him, Jacquelyn crossed her arms in front of her to ward off the chill that clung to the disused space. "Shouldn't be long now, right?"

    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun
    Last edited by Amy; 05-20-2014 at 10:57 PM.

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Tatianna did not waste long in Fort Chesbrook Springs, knowing the heavy duty that she took on. She had a promise to Nataliah to keep, and a tale she dreaded telling. Thanking Tarran and Eva for their help in getting her out of Tuneric, she traveled on to Silesia to where her brother and her sister in law were waiting. The box holding Langston's ashes never left her sight, carried by a foot-man, and placed in the carriage with her for the journey, moving through a land that felt like it was deserted.

    The plague had worked its dreadful influence on her home-land, making entire estates seal themselves off and forbid entry. Tianna gave orders for them not to stop long, to push on for their safety as well as her own despite weary horses and a goodly amount of distance to cover. She just wanted to get home and face what was coming, how-ever dreadful it was likely to be. There were plenty of questions still in her for why Langston had done this, and what truly went on.

    As the carriage made the turn into the royal estate where Lochlan and Jacquelyn waited, Tatianna braced herself for what lay ahead of her. Nat's letter was tucked close to her, entrusted to no-one else. With each roll of the wheels, her dread grew, the manor coming steadily closer. It was time to return and make the horror known to her family, and to bid Langston a final farewell.

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    "It shouldn't be. No." He reached up and placed a hand on the small of Jacquelyn's back. There was comfort in feeling her there, his skin touching hers, and it softened the horror of the time that Balfour was going through. Rylan was asleep and he thanked every god he could name in one breath that their son went unharmed through this whole ordeal. That his family was left whole.

    The return of his sister and brother worried him, that Cailen would let them return bothered him a bit more, he couldn't imagine what the young King was thinking but he would wait for Tatianna to tell him before he jumped to any conclusions. With that thought a young maid hustled into the room and let him know that a carriage was approaching. He told her to wait for them to lead the Princess to the gates and let her in at once.

    "Show her to where we are and bring teas to make sure she is warm. Blankets as well." Do not dawdle was in there someplace as well and he could hear her delegating her assignments to other servants as she made her way toward the front door.

    "Now we'll find out what this is all about." Lochlan's face didn't show how unhappy he was that they were returning while the nation was so ill but it didn't show how pleased he was to see his siblings again. He wore a mask of calm while he waited.


    @Jacquelyn @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun
    Last edited by Amy; 08-12-2016 at 06:45 PM.

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    The carriage rolled to a halt and Tatianna allowed herself to be helped down, taking a minute to stare up at the castle to prepare herself. Nataliah's letter was close at hand, something to be given directly in Lochlan's hand and entrusted to no-one else. Turning to the footman, she spoke softly. "Bring the casket inside and put it in one of the parlors, please, until His Majesty has further instructions." She nodded to the heavy chest that bore her brother's ashes, then took in a slow breath before she followed the servant, waiting patiently to lead her to Lochlan and Jacquelyn.

    Each step took effort despite how short the trip was. The plague had meant they were down to a skeleton staff where most of the castle wasn't being used. It just made sense under the circumstances. The quiet was a little unnerving, but with so many people sent home, so few servants, Tatianna expected it. She paused, removing Nataliah's letter so that it was in her hand when she was ushered in to where her brother was waiting. Hopefully, it would have the explanation that she lacked for why she had come home... and why Langston was no longer with them.

    The servant showed her to the open door, and she stood on the threshold for a moment, looking at them with eyes that were anxious and sorrowful, and just a little frightened. Remembering herself, Tatianna curtsied to her King, then held the letter out to him. She didn't have the words to speak yet.



    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun @Jacquelyn

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    Even though they had such a small staff, to their credit they were still just as efficient as their large staff had been. Sure, they had to do a few more things for themselves, but Jacquelyn had not seen that as a terrible thing; in such times of tragedy, it was shameful to remain spoiled.

    Blankets were soon brought in, set on one of the comfortable chairs. Water was put on for tea, which would be brought in after the royals were reunited. So now it was just down to waiting, although from the sounds of things, they wouldn't be kept long.

    Finally, the doors opened, and Tatianna stood before them - and only Tatianna. The poor girl looked haunted, hollow almost, and it opened a pit of dread in the queen's stomach. What had happened? What had been endured that left a girl usually so full of sunshine looking sad and afraid? And where was Langston?

    The letter offered to Lochlan might've held some of the answers, but Jacquelyn was content to let him be the first to read it. Instead, she waited for him to take the paper, before stepping up to Tatianna. "It's good to see you again, my dear," she said softly, and she folded the young woman into a gentle hug. Although there were many questions to be asked and answered, Jacquelyn could not ignore the opportunity to bring some small amount of comfort to the one who had arrived. "Are you tired from the travel? Come, we'll have tea soon, you can rest yourself by the fire." She did not pull Tatianna, but she gestured and stepped in that direction, waiting for Lochlan and the princess to join her.

    ---
    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    Tatianna hoped she didn't look as afraid as she felt. Wishing almost desperately for Nataliah, she was on her own, a real test of her as an adult. After Lochlan took the letter, she gratefully hugged Jacquelyn back, glad to know that at least here was some comfort. She hadn't even seen her own mother, but there was something warm and motherly about Jacquelyn that eased some of her fears. Throwing an uncertain look at her brother, she followed her sister in law to the chairs waiting by the fire and took one before she couldn't dam up the words any more.

    Her eyes stayed on Jacquelyn, but she knew Lochlan was listening. Nataliah had explained it much better, but she had read the letter herself on the journey, still not able to believe it. "I brought him back with me." Tianna knew she didn't sound like herself, just a pale ghost of the bright and sunny girl she had been when she departed Balfour. "Nataliah made sure his ashes were put on the ship. I... I can't explain it. I can't explain any of it. I don't even know why it happened, or how, or where it all went so wrong." Blue eyes that were too dry lifted to meet her sister in law's gaze. "I tried to persuade Nataliah to come with me. It isn't safe for her there, not any more. She wouldn't let me stay either."

    She remembered how she had begged Nataliah to change her mind. Come back home with her, or let Tianna stay with her. Her sister refused to buckle, though. She had to stay with King Cailen because of the baby. Because she was innocent and had to show it. "We were almost unable to leave. Lord Captain Hutchinson came to get me before the King's mother could have me taken. Nataliah persuaded them to let Lady Eva go, and we sailed as fast as we could from that place, but she's all alone there now."

    Now Tianna looked over at her brother, the fear returning. "I'm sorry, Lochlan, I'm so, so sorry.. I..." She didn't know what else to say.



    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun @Jacquelyn

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    "I brought him back with me."

    The phrasing was what caused an icy cold hand to grip Jacquelyn's stomach, and it only tightened as Tatianna went on. She didn't have to read the letter that Lochlan held in his hands to know that Langston hadn't made it back to Balfourian soil alive.

    Although she didn't know the details yet, Tianna's words painted a terrible picture. Not safe in Tuneric anymore? What had happened, that had caused the death of Langston and imperiled Nataliah? Had the plague reared its ugly head there again? Was there a war? What possibly could have haunted Tatianna so thoroughly?

    Reaching out, Jacquelyn took Tatianna's hand, squeezing it. She was eager for more answers, for clarification either from the girl beside her or from Lochlan after he'd read the letter, but she was a woman who dealt with problems by doing what she could here and now. She couldn't fix the situation in Tuneric, couldn't extract Nataliah from whatever danger she faced if Tatianna had failed to convince her, and she couldn't bring Langston back from the dead. But she could try to comfort the returned princess, and although the two had never gotten the chance to become close, that was no reason to let the distance between them continue.

    ---
    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    He was ready to stand when Tatianna entered the room but something in her posture, her facial expression, kept him seated. He received the letter as his sister placed it firmly in his hand. He looked up to her, a bit confused, but glanced back down to the letter when Jacquelyn moved forward to greet the Princess herself. He glanced up to see if Langston would saunter into the room but his brother was no where to be seen.

    Carefully opening the letter the first thing he noticed was the handwriting. Nataliah had penned these words and for a moment he held his breath. Skimming the paragraphs, the full weight of the information began to sink in. His brother ... What had he done? Langston is dead. He rose from his seat, quickly, and flipped the chair upon it's side. The letter fell to the floor and he ran his hands through his hair as he approached the window.

    Through the glass he could see Moorford. He could feel his fists pulling at his hair. He was aware of the stares from his sister and his wife. But he was lacking a brother who was to stand at his side.

    "I'm sorry, Lochlan, I'm so, so sorry.. I..."

    There were no tears. "Tatianna. It was not of your doing." His words were just above a whisper and his hands finally fell to his sides. "How does the King of Tuneric fare? To your knowledge?"


    @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun @Jacquelyn

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    House Farrand-Calhoun Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun's Avatar  
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    The sound of Lochlan's chair hitting made Tatianna jump in the chair she sat down in, her fingers jerking in Jacquelyn's grip. Doe-wide blue eyes turned to stare at her older brother, teeth biting into the soft lower lip to see his reaction. She hated being the one to bring him the news, hated knowing that they would never see Langston come bouncing in from his latest adventure, full of stories and sly comments. When Lochlan pulled at his own hair, she felt her nerves starting to rise, the words tumbling from her lips like water over pebbles in a brook.

    Only his whisper made her stop speaking, the near-whisper sounding to her almost like a shout. He was right, it was not of her doing. Tianna had no idea what was in Langston's head, what made their brother behave in this very strange and uncharacteristic way. If she had, surely she could have prevented all of this tragedy and dis-trust. Nataliah would be safe and so would her child be. Hearing his question, she squeezed Jacquelyn's hand with a grateful look for the Queen's efforts to comfort her.

    "He lives," she murmured, "but he is very weak. Lady Evangeline was able to help him, and the King's gratitude was what allowed all of us to leave. Nataliah didn't want to say so, but I could see that she is fearful for him." Had they avoided a war, or was it just post-poned for now?



    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun
    @Jacquelyn

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    Member Jacquelyn's Avatar  
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    Jacquelyn, too, cringed when Lochlan's chair went flying, but she kept her composure. Her marriage to Luther made any fits Lochlan could get into seem like a passing summer storm. His anguish was disquieting, though, and the queen's heart broke for him anew. It seemed the Farrand-Calhouns would never be free from the ghosts that plagued them.

    Silently, the queen kept her seat beside the princess. She was pulled to rise, to go to her husband and to give him what comfort she could, but reason kept her still. Lochlan was not a man to be coddled; he was strong, powerful, tempestuous. He needed the freedom to react freely, to loose his rage and his sadness and everything else in whatever way he could. Later, when they were alone, she would hold him, soothe him, and together they would mourn the losses the family had suffered. But for now Lochlan needed to be unfettered, and Tatianna looked as though she needed what strength Jacquelyn could lend to her.

    "The gods be praised that he lives." Jacquelyn's words were quiet, but in the thundering silence of the room they were easily heard by all. "May they continue to hold him in their care, and speed his way to recovery and strength."

    Her prayer was for all of them; for Cailen, of course, and also for Nataliah that she not be widowed. They all knew, the three of them in that room, that the words were also for their own benefit, though. Gods help them all if the King of Tuneric were to fall from a blade wielded by a Balfourian prince.

    ---
    @Lochlan Farrand-Calhoun @Tatianna Farrand-Calhoun

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