Monday, November 30, 2015

V is for Viscomte Edouard Valois

In Ana's time travel, Edouard is the past-life heroine's father. This is the reader's introduction to him:

It was the dead of night when Viscomte Edouard Angevin Valois entered his mistress’s chamber. He bolted the door and looked with dismay at the pool of wax that was about to engulf the flame of the last lit candle in the girandole. He needed a light to navigate past her maze of lace and embroidery stands.
“Be you awake, my dove?” He pitched his call to rouse her.
            “I am, my lord. I thought you would never come. Does your wife rest?” Lillibet’s melodious voice floated through the summer curtains that surrounded all but a leg length’s section of the tall poster bed at the far end of the narrow, high-ceilinged room.
            “Soon. Make me a light so I can come to you.”
He made his way safely across the chamber, parted the sheer, summer curtains that surrounded her bed, and unbuckled the ornate silverwork girdle that was the mark of his station. Before placing it on its cushion, he withdrew his anlace from its filigree scabbard and slid the long, tapered dagger under Lillibet’s puffy swan’s-down pillow. Sighing heavily, he sat pulled off his beaded slippers and hose. “I've been on my knees since last I saw you.”
            “But that was six hours ago.”
            “Finally Jeanne collapsed from exhaustion. Betia took her from the chapel and is putting her  to bed.”
“My heart would rent if I lost Ferand or Arras. Angelique was everything to your wife.”
            “You are not going to lose either of our sons. Ferand is five and Arras is three. It is the mother who is responsible for the life or death of a child, and you, my dove, are a perfect mother.” Lifting the lid of the heavy oak bedchest, he dropped eight jeweled rings into the top tray. 
            Then he stripped off his brocade tunic, a silk undervest, and matching purple breeches and stretched out on the embroidered coverlet. Issuing a final sigh, he gathered Lillibet in his arms.
            Jeanne had always blamed him for her unripe deliveries during the first three years of their marriage. When she turned fourteen, he honored her wishes for abstinence during her next confinement. After Angelique was born, she stubbornly refused to let him plow her field again for a live male heir. Once, in a fit of pique, she suggested that he concubine the then six-year-old Lillibet, who had been orphaned to their keep when she was learning to walk.
            He did just that, wooing and tutoring the sweet, fair-haired child with mounting enthrallment. He deflowered her for her twelfth birthday and gave her daily doses of abortifactant until she was sixteen. She was not the delicate, olive-skinned jewel that Jeanne once was. Lillibet was from country stock, big-boned and handsome in the best sense of the word. He loved her more than anything else in his life.
“So tell me,” he murmured as he teased a finger towards her puss. “Are you ready?”
            “Time will tell, my lord.” She spread her legs to welcome his fondling. “Should I make a boy or a girl? Or would you like one of each?”
He laughed at her sauciness and forgot how tired he was.  He knelt between her legs and leaned a hand on either side of her warm body. “Put your ankles up on my shoulders, Lilli. If you’re not with child right now, you will be by dawn.”
His back burned with the marks from her fingernails before she was satisfied to let him rest.
“Douly?” she said softly, using his childhood byname.
He hummed his acknowledgement into her shoulder.
“Douly, say you will not leave Samat in the dungeon. Twas not her fault Angelique untied the cord between their wrists as she slept. She did sound a worthy alarm as soon as she realized Angelique was kidnapped.”
“Sweet Jesu, I can still hear her shrieking.”
“Samat is a good nurse, Douly. Remember how she eased Arras’ colic, and fixed Ferand’s thumb when he dislocated it? I want her to care for the babe we are making. Please? She loved Angelique as much as you or I. A wee one will give us all something to live for.” She twisted his thinning brown locks around her finger. “That way I can have more strength to keep up with you.”

She was right, as usual.


  1. Very nice, Ana. I love the detail you've included here.

  2. Great descriptions here - evidence of al the research you've done for this story.

  3. It still shocks me at how young girls were married off and expected to bear children. So many died in childbirth, gave birth to stillborns, etc.

    1. It was the norm in those days, Ana - and the norm for man to have many mistresses too.

  4. Such a different way of life for sure.

    Great detail in the passage, Ana.

    You've been teasing us with snippets from your time travel for so long...I can't wait to read the finished product! Have you decided if you're going with a publisher or self-publishing?