The party from the night before ended in the small hours of this morning and I slept in to be assured I would be my most presentable. We are after all back in the center of culture and presentation is everything.
Alexis woke me to arrange an early meeting for our departure and we set out through the Montaigne countryside to pass through which was strangely absent of nobles. I moved closer to Wolfie and was about to make some remark on my observation when we noticed a representative of the Castilian Los Vagos. Wolfie took the bull by the horns and began questioning some peasants then stepped up to a local shoppe and demanded entrance. I instead mentioned my concerns to Alexis and he took it upon himself to explore a bit. I then whispered in Luigi’s ear but he dismissed me out of hand.
Wolfie returned with food and an insistence that we should move on immediately. Luigi had a brief exchange with Wolfie and now reconsidered my words of concern but I was no longer willing to hear from him on the topic. Just because a man brought it to his attention…honestly! Alexis tried to complicate matters when he returned by saying that he had seen someone who looked remarkably like Najarro. Since I knew him to be dead (ha!) I urged our party to move on. It was clear to me that whatever was going on in this area was well beyond our party’s ability to handle the situation. Luigi and Alexis were prepared to stay and investigate but I still felt it was more important that we move on and make more people aware of whatever had occurred here.
It was with great joy and relief we came to the grounds of my home. Adrienne was the only of my family there to receive us which was probably for the best. I introduced them around then sent my guests to refresh themselves while Alexis and I went to father’s side. I was saddened to see that his conditioned had not only not improved but worsened in my absence. I told him of my travels but he seemed to not even hear me. I continued anyway in the hopes that something was getting through even if he couldn’t demonstrate a response. I told him of the things that I had done to get back into Grandmama’s good graces, I told him of the lands that I had seen and the people that I had met, I told him how Alexis and I were increasing our bond, and lastly I told him about Luigi – well some things about Luigi. We were interrupted by a butler bearing a summons for my presence that evening on Grandmama’s boat which I accepted but returned to my tales of my voyages. I was so engrossed that I was completely unprepared when Alexis suddenly attacked with a blade next to father’s head. I scrambled to my feet and drew my blade prepared to fight Alexis if need be when I noticed that he appeared to be taking damage from some invisible source. I leapt to try to aid him but with nothing visible I was swinging in the dark. I swiped multiple times but only on my fourth thrust did I hit something. My blade glowed red and Alexis cried out that I had killed one and that there were only two more to go. That was great news. Killed one what?
Something clawed across the front of my shoulder, shredding my dress and leaving bloody wounds. I responded in kind with my brilliant blade and felt another hit sink home. Alexis rejoiced again and it was at this time I noticed his eyes were fully black and he now held a different sword in his hands, he screamed out, then thrashed around a bit more. Our companions rushed to our sides and it was the Lady Rhoades who made good in the combat. It was after her entrance that Alexis collapsed and I felt the threat was gone. I would have sworn it was the Blue Flame that Alexis still clutched but that was clearly impossible as it was only a relic from father’s dusty history books or the fairy tales we Martisse grew up on.
It was in the post fight lull that pandemonium broke out as Grandmama and my mother burst in with their escorts. After introductions around I realized that standing before me was Monsieur Rouge and I was quite relieved to see his friendly face, but also present was Gaston Rois et Reines du Rogne, the candidate my Grandmama had chosen for my potential betrothal. Not uncomfortable at all.
Mother was in grand histrionics about the presence of Alexis and demanded he leave the house immediately all while Stahl was trying to staunch the wounds he had acquired while protecting our father. Even after he left she decided to begin soothing herself with father’s good whiskey.