|La Comtesse de Savigny
Author: Laurennke PM
After the death of her father, a young girl is sent to live with her aunt. However, her aunt carries a grudge that will change the course of the girl's life forever.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 9 - Words: 35,360 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 40 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 01-06-07 - Published: 06-19-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2445323
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La Comtesse de Savigny
Author's Note:'La Comtesse de Savigny' is a story that was inspired by the movie 'Ever After'. I wondered what would happen if the character of 'the Baroness' was a blood relation to that of 'Danielle,' rather than the typical wicked stepmother of the 'Cinderella' story genre. I therefore created new characters based on the character types present in the movie (although I liked their names so much that some of the characters have been given similar names to their predecessors). The only characters who remain the same from the movie are Henry, King Francis, and Paulette. It was also my challenge to give the story as much of a historical grounding as I could. This is the result:
once upon a time
"We regretfully inform you of the passing of Louis Francois, the Comte de Savigny, on the fifteenth day of April, 1529. He is survived by his daughter, Arielle Louise de Savigny."
Loretta d'Aurillac stared at the letter given to her by a messenger from the Records Office, her entire body as cold as ice despite the inviting spring weather that pervaded the gardens outside. Her eyes began to water and her face formed an expression of distress as she tried to focus her attention on the man who had delivered the shocking announcement. Louis is dead? Her shoulders shook as she took shallow breaths. First my husband and now my brother – am I to have everything that is important taken from me? A lump threatened to form in the back of her throat as she realised with remorse how little time she had spent with Louis over the past few years.
"Baroness, we are truly sorry for your loss, but there is the matter of the child to consider," the messenger reminded her, obviously unaccustomed to such displays of emotion. Composing herself, Loretta focused upon the conversation at hand.
"Oh yes. Arielle," Loretta acknowledged as a second coldness settled itself inside of her. She had hoped that the messenger would not speak about her niece. "I haven't seen her since her mother died. The poor thing – left without parents. It's such a soulless world."
"Pardon me, Baroness, but did not Jacqueline de Savigny die in childbirth?" the messenger questioned, shifting from one foot to another.
"Yes, that is correct," Loretta stated, taken aback by the messenger's intimate knowledge of her family's affairs. But of course he knows, she dismissed it, he is from the Records Office, after all, and Jacqueline's status would have entitled her to be in the centre of every gossip circle. One probably couldn't help not knowing her fate. "Louis and my families have been unable to visit each other – business has been so demanding these last few years."
This returned Loretta to thinking of the last time she had seen her brother – at his wife's funeral seven years ago. How she had envied Jacqueline's beauty, even then, with her thick blonde hair spilling over the bier and a white lily clasped in her hands, its colour reminiscent of her once-luminous skin. The King and Queen had even been there to pay their respects to her! How Jacqueline had made Louis weep uncontrollable tears with her passing brought rage to Loretta and how Arielle had survived as a testimony of Jacqueline's presence on this Earth angered her tremendously. It was because of all of this that she had deigned not to visit with her brother and his daughter.
"You are Mademoiselle Arielle's next of kin, Baroness," the messenger reminded Loretta as she snapped out of her retrospect, "Shall I inform the young girl of your intention of providing for her?" Loretta clenched her jaw to prevent it from dropping at this request. How could she take that woman's daughter into her home? Had she not her own family to care for?
"My dear man! You must surely understand the situation I am in. I must consult with my daughters upon this matter," Loretta ensured that the messenger had comprehended the seriousness of his proposal but then, afraid of sounding too harsh towards her orphaned niece, cautiously added: "It must be known to you that however little they saw of him, my daughters loved their uncle very much. We shall try to do everything we can to help Arielle."
"It would seem so," the messenger acknowledged her intentions before hastily concluding his visit. "Shall I send for your answer in the morning?"
"You shall," Loretta replied and watched him ride off, feeling relief wash through her. The tension of the awkward proposal had been lifted from her, if only until morning.