View Full Version : Misalliances
29th Jul 2018, 8:21 PM
The child had awakened, the Count took the toddler in his arms and he contemplated her. He could not take his eyes off the little girl, her green eyes, her dark hair, he loved them so much.
This mahogany hair, these eyes, those delicate features were so familiar. The little girl has inherited her beauty from her mother, the Lady of Castelmirail.
Tescelin de Brisay of Castelmirail had loved ElÃ©onore with so much passion, she was the apple of his eye.
“I shall not exchange you for better or worse until the end”
Such were the words he’d said when he’d married to the young ElÃ©onore Thomassin a rich commoner. While he uterred these vows, his heart had acquiesced with all his love. And now she was gone to Heaven.
The lord of Castelmirail had always thought that one day he would have grandchildren. With his wife by his side he would play with them, they would read them stories about princesses and knights.
He was wrong, it was a dream and dreams didn’t always come true, he knew it but he wanted to believe in those dreams. Reality wasn’t as beautiful as his dreams. Reality was the worst nightmare, his beloved ElÃ©onore wasn’t here anymore, he had just lost her, all it took were a few moments for everything to collapse
The previous day he’d say good bye to his beloved wife. On this very sad day, the weather was awful, the sky was pouring with rain and hail. These rain drops and these hailstones were like tears of sadness and anger.
The Countess was now in a sarcophagus. He would never see her smile again. He would never hold her in his arms anymore, he would never wake up with her at his side anymore. Her soft voice was silent for the eternity.
His sadness was so deep, he had a huge hole in his heart.
How could he overcome this grief that consumed him?
But he had to bit the bullet, ElÃ©onore wouldn’t want him to give-up. He had to live for Emma, their miracle baby.
He had to raise her in memory of her mother and to make her a lady of the nobility, the worthy heiress of Castelmirail, this small seigniory from South of France.
31st Aug 2018, 7:19 PM
This morning was a busy one for Tescelin De Brisay, the Count of Castelmirail.
Some drunken robbers were stealing in the market stalls, some women were scared by their cries.
The young Count and some knights caught the larceners and sent them to the dungeon.
He went to the countryside to inquire about the inhabitants' requests and to help them. Some peasants had been plundered during the night. The lord of Castelmirail offered them a few crowns and food. He ordered his men to find the robbers and arrest them.
The young man was loved and respected by all of his people, he had to honor the motto of his family:
"Chivalry, justice, wisdom"
This was the motto of his great-grandfather, Foulques De Brisay, the first Count of Castelmirail. In 1085, Raymond De Saint Gilles, Duke of Narbonne offered him this lordship for an act of bravery.
Tescelin was reading quietly when he heard an unpleasant voice that he knew too much was shooting at someone. He closed his book and went to see what the problem was.
In the banquet hall, his wife Hodierne was shooting at a young scared maid.
"What's going on here? Your screams are echoing throughout the castle.”
Hodierne looked at him; her mouth had those bitter folds that showed her anger and contempt. She had this hate on her face almost all the time.
"That maid is just a stupid thing, there's dust on the mantelpiece, she left crumbs on the floor, and she was humming while working.”
The Count authorized the servant to leave the room.
Tescelin shrugged and gave his wife a disapproving look.
“I don’t see any dust or crumbs and why wouldn’t she sing while working, it’s not disturbing.”
“You know very well that I hate noise, it gives me headaches,” she screamed.
“Is there only something you don’t hate; you don’t like parties, nor music, nor poetry, you don’t appreciate the walks in the city or in the countryside,” the young exasperated man snapped.
“This is a lot too noisy for my delicate ears, moreover these ballads and poets have no talent, and only the stupid ones can like those shows. As for the walks, they are unbearable to me, it’s out of the question that I mingle with those people, these inferior persons.”
“Who do you think you are? You patronize everyone!” Tescelin replied angrily.
“I think I'm a woman of the nobility. Your kindness with these beggars who are at our service makes me sick.”
"I'm fair with them, they do not deserve to be treated like that, we're not superior to these people, and it's our duty as nobles to protect them," he snapped.
“This is your opinion, this is not mine in any way, but you’re still a kid and you’re acting like one of them, I hope you’ll change your mind,” she concluded.
She left the room while mumbling unintelligible words.
The young man never got along with his wife. This marriage was arranged by their fathers.
He knew that most of the unions were not based on love, but he would have hoped for a modicum of respect and friendship from his wife. Hodierne belittled him all the time; everything was an opportunity for her to criticize him and try to make him look like an idiot. "You are such a boil-brainedÂ» she often said.
Hodierne always found someone to criticize for no reason. She was happy only, when with her friends, a few women as mean as her, she had a vicious tongue.
She also refused to fulfill her marital duty, she hated it, and for her it was a bestial and vulgar practice that disgusted her. For the wedding night she told Tescelin she was too tired. It was only after five months of marriage that she agreed to make love with her husband. They both hated this moment. This was the only time he touched her, she refused have sex anymore. She didn’t want to get pregnant. Hodierne hated children with passion.
At the end of the year 1175 after eight months of an unhappy marriage, the Count of Castelmirail made the decision to cancel this marriage for refusal to fulfill marital duty. After many protests Hodierne accepted and went back to her family.
Tescelin hoped to find a wife he would love. This time no one could force him to marry with a woman he didn’t like.
His seneschal Gaston Desclets introduced some noble women to him, but the young Count wasn’t attracted by them.
Tescelin De Brisay went to a feast at the market square for the first time in his life; his father never wanted him to go there. It wasn’t a place for noble people.
He was watching all these people having fun when he saw this young lady with mahogany hair. He had only seen her back but he was sure it was her, ElÃ©onore Thomassin.
Four years ago, Tescelin and his father were in Sarlat at Pierre Thomassin’ shop, a rich and talented tailor. The Count of Peyrelail, one of Lothaire De Brisay's best friend had praised the merits of this rich tailor, who had his accesses to the most influential members of the nobility and royalty.
In the shop, Tescelin was attracted by a girl with mahogany hair. She was the tailor’s youngest child, her name was ElÃ©onore.
The young Count talked a lot with the fifteen-year-old girl.
Several days passed, soon they had mutual feelings, ElÃ©onore would be a perfect wife.
He told to his father, the very authoritarian Lothaire of Brisay he was in love with ElÃ©onore Thomassin and he wanted to marry her. The old Count didn’t agree, this young girl was from a weathly family, but she did not belong to the nobility. Tescelin wasn’t allowed to marry her.
Two years later, the marriage of Tescelin and Hodierne D'Abliac was arranged. The young Count was disappointed when he met his future wife, she was thirty-seven year old, ten years older than him, and she wasn’t very attractive; her haughty air, the bitter folds of her mouth revealed her cantankerous personality. The young man had no choice; he had to marry her, thus respecting his father’s last wish. Lothaire died from Saint Anthony's fire* a week before the wedding.
Tescelin followed the mysterious young woman without being spotted. She lived at the inn, "La bougie et le luth ". The innkeeper confirmed to Tescelin that ElÃ©onore was here.
ElÃ©onore was about to sit down when Tescelin approached her, she was surprised.
"My Lord! But what are you doing here?"
"I followed you from the city square."
"Would I have done something wrong?" She asked worriedly.
"No, I wanted to see you again, you were in my thoughts so often."
"Let's go to the yard," she suggested.
They went there, Tescelin noticed ElÃ©onore was sad.
"You seem tormented and what are you doing in this small town?"
"It's because of my father."
"Your father ? What is going on? Does he have problem with his business?" Tescelin Asked
"No, his business is doing well. The problem is that he wants me to marry a shoemaker’son from a neighboring city, and, I do not want to marry that man I don’t even know. My first marriage was a disaster."
"You were married!"
"Yes, a few months after your departure from Sarlat, my father arranged my marriage with the tailor’ son from a neighbouring city."
"What has happened?"
She sighed and explained that her marriage wasn’t happy. Her husband didn’t show her much love and attention, he preferred to spend his days at his shop and sometimes a part of the night. After six months of marriage she discovered that his business wasn’t going well and he wasn’t spending his evenings at work as he claimed, he was playing for real money. ElÃ©onore accused her husband of having manipulated her.
A week later, the young man was found dead in an alley, he had been murdered, most likely because of a gambling debt. ElÃ©onore was four months pregnant.
Three months later, brigands broke into the young lady’s house and pushed her on the floor, fortunately, her father-in-law and a few servants made them run away. ElÃ©onore had violent contractions and her water broke, she was about to give birth two months before the due date. She gave birth to a little boy, but the baby was weak and he died at the age of one day.
After little Jules’ funeral, her parents in-laws chased her away.
She burst into tears, the young Count took her in his arms. They stayed like that for a long time.
Little by little she calmed herself and stepped away from him.
"I'm sorry, I didn’t want to bother you with my ridiculous stories."
Tescelin gently stroked her face.
"You do not bother me, I'm delighted to hear from you, of course, I would have preferred to know you happy."
"It's nothing, you couldn’t know, but I hope you won’t be mad at me for my behavior, I am not sure that Madam the Countess would be pleased to hear that I was in your arms."
"She can think what she wants, it’s not important, and I don’t think it has ever been important," he replied while laughing.
Eleanor looked at him astonished.
“Why are you laughing like this? It seems you don’t have any consideration for your wife."
“I'm not married anymore. Last year my late father arranged this marriage with Hodierne, who was ten years older than I. She was a scornful woman who refused to fulfill marital duty. After eight months this horrible marriage has been cancelled."
“I'm sorry, I didn’t want to be sassy, â€‹â€‹I hope you'll forgive me this misstep,” she said ashamed.
"There is nothing to forgive," he added, kissing her hand.
They talked a little more, and the young Count came back to the castle.
That evening the Count couldn’t sleep, he kept remembering his reunion with ElÃ©onore, He was so happy to see her again. When he had her in his arms the young man had felt an immense joy, he would have liked that moment to last longer. He had never felt that by holding Hodierne in his arms. The only time he had held it that way was when they got married, it was like holding an old and dry pile of wood and it wasn’t pleasant at all.
He hoped to see the mahogany haired and pure hearted young girl very soon.
Maybe this reunion wasn’t a coincidence, perhaps it was his fate to meet her again and if it has a meaning?
To be continued...
Saint Anthony's fire*: Ergotism
3rd Oct 2018, 6:15 PM
It's not a good story at all
23rd Oct 2018, 12:59 PM
( This chapter is not the original one, the sex scene is removed. The original version is on my blog )
The next day, Tescelin was invited to a tournament in a neighboring lordship, he declined the invitation. He had never missed a tournament
before. He preferred going into the inn to see ElÃ©onore. The girl was waiting in the yard. They talked for hours, forgetting their respective problems.
The days went by, ElÃ©onore and Tescelin spent more and more time together, the young Count refused many invitations because he wanted
to be with her. Soon the two young people could not hide their respective feelings anymore. They wanted to get married. Tescelin went to Sarlat
with ElÃ©onore, he wanted to meet her father and to ask her hand in marriage. Pierre agreed, the shoemaker he had chosen for his daughter was
a womanizer; a young bourgeois from Sarlat was pregnant with his child.Someone had seen him having sex with a prostitute.
ElÃ©onore couldn’t stay at the inn, he invited her to reside at the castle.
"Who is this girl?” Gaston inquired.
“Let me introduce you ElÃ©onore Thomassin, my future fiancÃ©e.”
“Your future fiancÃ©e! But she is not noble!”
"I know it, she has no title, but she is endowed with the nobility of the soul, which will make her a perfect wife.”
“You know that you have to choose a wife from your rank.”
“I don’t care of the rank.”
“But you have to think of what the nobles are going to think about this!”
“And so what? I’m in love with ElÃ©onore, and that’s the most important.”
“But Sir! You have to realize the nobilily is going make fun of you! You must marry a noble lady.”
“Good for them! ElÃ©onore will become a noble lady by marrying me! I do what I want! Need I remind you that you are working for me!” Tescelin shouted.
A few days later, Tescelin and ElÃ©onore went for a ride in the countryside, he wanted to show her a place that was important to him. They stopped
in front of a small castle built with yellow stones.
"What place is this?” ElÃ©onore asked.
“This castle belongs to us, my grandfather bought it for my grandmother because she disliked the hustle and bustle of the city.”
“It's a beautiful and soothing place,” the girl said.
“We’re going to marry here."
The announcement of the Count's engagement with ElÃ©onore made some waves among the nobility of the region, some of them perceived this
union as a misalliance.
At the end of the summer of 1176, they got married, only a few guests were here, but it didn’t matter, their love was the only important thing.
( missing scene )
A year later
Unlike Hodierne, ElÃ©onore was loved by the servants, they did not fear her, she never shouted at them, she respected them. Life was
returning to Castelmirail Castle.
Tescelin was looking for his wife, he was worried for her, and for some time he had noticed that she seemed worried. He found her in the
little garden, and he studied his wife's face s. Her smile was gone.
He approached her and took her face in his hands.
"You’re looking sad, what's going on?”
ElÃ©onore's green eyes were full of tears.
“We have been married for a year and we don’t have our first child.”
“Do not worry about that, a year of marriage is not very long. I am sure that in a year or two we will have a child. My parents had been married
for seven years when I was born,” He reassured her.
It gave hope to the young lady.
Five years later the couple still had no child. ElÃ©onore was deeply unhappy.
A strange red-haired woman in her early thirties introduced herself and asked for a private audience with the Countess. She wanted to talk to her
about something important.
ElÃ©onore agreed to receive the young woman the next day at the castle outside the city. The mysterious young woman was named Romelde Mainville.
They went in the small ballroom and sat down
"Lady ElÃ©onore, I hope I don’t bother you”
“No, you do not bother me. What do you want to tell to me?”
“Madam, I know you are tormented, I can help you.”
“ElÃ©onore looked at the young woman, she was surprised.”
“What worries are you talking about?” The Countess asked.
Romelde looked at her with kindness.
"I know you’re sad because you still don’t have children. It saddens me to see you so sad, any woman who desires it should be able to have a child
to cherish. I can help you to get that baby you want so much.”
ElÃ©onore was more and more surprised.
“You want to help me have a child? But how? I do not believe in spells or magic potions, these are twaddle.”
“No, it's not that at all. I can find you an orphaned or abandoned baby for hundred gold Ã©cus.”
“You mean to take under our wing an infant who has no family? But it’s maybe little early to consider adopting a child?”
“You’ve been married for six years and you don’t have children, this is worrying.”
“Perhaps I should first discuss all of this with my husband, it is not a decision that I can take alone.”
“No! Your husband mustn’t be aware of all this,” the young red-haired woman insisted.
“But how is possible? I cannot decently adopt a newborn without talking about it with the Count before!”
“He will have to believe that this child is his.”
“What! But it's impossible! Are you crazy?” ElÃ©onore snapped.
“It's very easy, you’ll said to everyone you’re pregnant. During that fake pregnancy, you’ll put more and more cloth or bigger and bigger
cushion under your dress. You’ll tell your spouse that your pregnancy is fragile and he shouldn’t touch you anymore. You’ll sleep alone in a room.
In seven or eight months you’ll tell him that the baby is coming. A woman I know will come to the castle as a midwife. She will have a basket in
which a newborn will be hidden. You’ll have to tell to everyone he or she is your baby.”
ElÃ©onore stood up and glared at her interlocutor.
“How can you suggest me that! It's dishonest and ridiculous! I will never do that! Now get out of here!”
Romelde's face was now contemptuous, she stared at the young Countess.
“You're just an idiot! You’ll have only yourself to blame when you’re repudiated.”
“Now get out of my sight and never come back, otherwise you’ll be in a deep trouble!” ElÃ©onore shouted.
The young, red-haired woman left the room while smirking at the Countess.
At the castle, ElÃ©onore wanted to talk to her husband, she found him in the ballroom. He noticed immediately her trouble, he was worried.
“It’s because of this woman who wanted a private audience, Romelde Mainville.
“What has happened?”
“This young woman was at first compassionate, she understood my pain of not having children. She said she wanted to help me to get a
“What do you mean?”
“I thought she wanted us to adopt an abandoned or orphaned baby. In fact it wasn’t that at all, wanted me to make everyone, you included
believe that I was with child by putting cloth under my dress. At the supposed due date, she would have sent a midwife with a newborn hidden in a basket.
I would have to tell you it was our infant. Of course I said no. I want a child with you.”
Tescelin was shocked by what his wife had revealed to him. He took her in his arms and hugged her.
“I dare not imagine what you felt.”
“It was horrible, at first she was kind, but when I declined her offer and I asked her to leave she was cruel and told you would repudiate me because
I did not give you this heir.”
“This woman tells whatever, I will never repudiate you. What was her purpose?”
“I think she wanted to take advantage of our misfortune to extract money, she told me she would find me a baby for hundred gold Ã©cus.
I did not know this woman, I had never seen her before,” ElÃ©onore concluded.
This mysterious woman was sought in the lordship, they didn’t find her.
Ten years went by, there was still no heir. This saddened the Countess, she thought she was not good enough for her husband, she had to talk to him privately.
"I’m not a good wife, I didn’t give you the child you wanted so much. I deserve repudiation."
Tescelin gave her a look full of terror.
“You don’t think it, I hope! I will never accept that!”
“We have been married for sixteen years and we don’t have children.”
“I will not repudiate you because I love you, whether we have a child or not. If in ten years we still do not have child, we will adopt a baby he will be our heir.”
ElÃ©onore was close to her forty-third birthday, she had lost all hope of having children. The Count was still hoping. The Duchess of Puytargues had given birth to her first child at the age of forty-five after thirty years of marriage.
Tescelin was worried, he noticed his wife did not look healthy. The young woman had little appetite and suffered from stomach cramps and had nausea and she was tired.
"I’m worried, you were sick again this morning.”
“Don’t worry, I feel much better.”
“But you’ve been sick and tired for days!”
“I’m convinced it's nothing, I'm not very young anymore.”
“I'm afraid of losing you.”
“You will not lose me."
A few days later while she was in the garden, Eleonore had an ill and she fainted.
Octavie Desclets found her. The Countess was installed in the room. The physicist Azalais LabontÃ© was sent for. Tescelin expressed his concern
to the young woman.
"My wife has been sick for days, her stomach hurts, she has nausea, she is tired.”
“Does it last all day?” The blonde doctor asked.
“No it last a few minutes, and she feels better. I thought it was food, but I’m not sick, is it serious?”
"I do not think she's seriously ill, and I think it's normal that you don’t have those symptoms.”
The physicist went to examine the Countess and came out of the room half an hour later.
“Is she very sick?” Tescelin asked.
The young woman smiled at him.
“Your wife is not sick.”
“But why does she feel so bad?”
“It is quite normal to have these symptoms in her condition, all the women in her condition feel like this.”
Tescelin's face lit up.
“You mean she's going to have a child?”
“Yes, in .... "
The Count did not wait for Azalais to finish her sentence, he rushed into the room. His wife was standing, he took her in his arms, and they had tears in their eyes.
"I'm not sick, I'm pregnant, at the end of November our baby will be here.”
“You had not suspected anything?”
“I thought I could be with child, but considering my age it seemed improbable.”
“The Duchess of Puytargues was older than you at the birth of her child.”
“I know it, but I have been told that it wasn’t her first pregnancy, alas she had five miscarriages. In my case it’s my first pregnancy in twenty
four years of marriage.”
“Stop talking about that, the important thing is that we are going to have a child."
Most of the inhabitants of the Lordship were happy at the announcement of this pregnancy. But some very mean women spread the rumor the Count wasn’t the baby’s father. The seneschal warned ElÃ©onore and Tescelin of what was happening. They knew about this rumor, but they decided to ignore it. These women were jealous of the Countess.
The Countess's pregnancy was going well, the morning sickness disappeared, now she had back pain. ElÃ©onore was very comfortable with it, it was less disagreeable than stomach pain. The Count was very present for his wife; he declined all the invitations to tournaments and hunting parties in the neighboring seigniories.
Summer was close to the end, and the weather was cooler. Eleonore was close to the seventh month of pregnancy, she was worried,
she was thinking the premature birth and death of her son. She explained it to her husband.
"I'm afraid of losing our baby.”
"But why would you lose our child?”
“My son was born at seven months of pregnancy and died shortly after. I’m afraid to give birth prematurely and then the baby might not make it.”
“It will not happen, your first child was born too early because of these bandits who attacked you. Our baby will arrive at the end of November and he will be healthy.”
"I hope he or she will be in good health,” The Countess said.
“Perhaps you should run around the church three times while reciting three prayers, then make a hole in the ground with your shoe heel. Three days later you go back to see, if the hole is closed it will be a girl, if it’s still open it will be a boy.”
ElÃ©onore burst out laughing.
"Don’t tell me that you believe in such a nonsense!”
“No, of course! I was joking, boy or girl, I’ll be happy. I wish so much a little girl with your dark hair and your emerald eyes, or a little red haired boy with my green eyes."
One afternoon in late November, ElÃ©onore’s water broke, a servant went to fetch the midwife. The Countess was terrified, Anne reassured
her. At nightfall, the cry of a newborn was heard.
Peasants who were preparing for supper heard the bell ring at dusk.
"Why is the bell ringing?” The child asked.
“The heir of Castelmirail might be born, in town, some people told that the Countess was about to give birth. I’m happy for them.” The mother replied.
On November 23rd 1200 Emma De Brisay de Castelmirail, the heiress of the lordship was born.
To be continued.
A poll about the story here: https://fr.surveymonkey.com/r/GWGC9YV
17th Jul 2019, 8:45 PM
It's good you took the time out to write this. Don't be harsh on yourself if no one comments. I am a writer but don't read a lot of the stories here. I like it and think the theme is interesting and unique. Historical/Gothic stories are very popular. You just need to find the right readers.
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