Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

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Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

Post by JamesG »

The palace at Chant du Cygne was enormous. Whilst King Louis' new palace in Versailles was still under construction, the ancestral home of the royalty of Domus was a grand and imposing sight, with its neo-classical styled stone pillars and wide windows. One of the largest rooms in the palace was where the royal court gathered, the nobles and the monarch in the decorated hall, chandeliers aflame with candles overhead, and drapes, paintings and tapestries of romantic and epic events from Domish history hung from the walls. It was raining, a light drizzle and fog obscuring the neat, symmetrical garden, and its fountains. The King, as usual was slumped in his chair, gazing across his courtiers, as they spoke amongst themselves, in idle chatter or political gossip. They were waiting on most of the court to arrive. For some reason King Louis could not fathom, some of his nobles had got it into their fuzzy heads that being late was the new fashion in court etiquette. In truth it just irked him, but fortunately, the monarch was patient. The wide double-doors were open, and a servant in the royal colours of light blue and white stood stiffly, his clothes adorned with the fleur-de-lis, holding a long staff. As nobles began to drift in, some accompanied by ladies or servants, some alone, the announcer would tap his staff upon the decoratively patterned floor, and declared their name loudly, in a monotone voice. If it was somebody of significance, the aristocrats would turn to look, and perhaps move to greet them. Some calls, however, went largely ignored. Carriages were being trotted through the fancily decorated gates, with servants opening the doors, and making certain each aristocrat remained unmolested to the court room.

"Tybalt de Rheims, Marquis de Champvallon," the announcer proclaimed. A few nobles looked around, Tybalt was fairly well-known about court, and had an excellent reputation as a public orator, and staunch supporter of the King's policies. The border collie was in his usual court dress, with a red doublet, lined with gold with slashed sleeves, showing his white frilled shirt underneath. He swept his black, wide brimmed hat from his head, and bowed low to the King as he approached, sweeping out his right arm, his face partially obscured by his long black hair. The King lazily raised his paw, and Tybalt took that as the signal to straighten up, the formalities being finished. Amongst the aristocrats, Tybalt's hazel eyes spotted a particular fur, and he grinned nastily to himself. He had seen a Dalmation by the window, attired as expensively as himself, but looking decidedly nervous, eyeing the border collie every few seconds. This was Andre Chantilly, Comte de Oise, and he was currently in a predicament. He was paying Tybalt large sums of money, and the aristocrat's financial situation was looking quite tenuous, not to mention the very sight of de Rheims sent him shivering. Tybalt gracefully nodded at Andre, and the Dalmation responded with a nervous jerk of his head. Tybalt had a good feeling about today, and relaxed, smiling or bowing politely when addressed. In this court, knowing the right furs was everything.

"Finally, sire, I draw your attention to the cost. The Marquis de Aubeterre's plan to use the funds of Your Majesty's Dominions in some time-consuming and pointless expedition to the Northern Continent is without merit. What would they live on, the snow?" A few chuckles from the assembled nobles, as Tybalt was finishing his recent attack on the Marquis de Aubeterre, whom he coldly disliked. "In short, Your Majesty, this noble Marquis has, in the past six months, demanded exorbitant sums of money from this court, and I hardly think this plan of his is any more honest than his supposed plan to build a bridge across a river that nobody visits, for the benefit of his peasants!" There were some real laughs amongst the courtiers. The Marquis was notorious for his expensive, and often pointless propositions, which many suspected to be in order for Aubeterre to skim off a good deal of gold off the top. "Tell me, Marquis, how many of your poor, needy farmers have drowned in that shallow mud-hole this year?" Tybalt smiled wickedly. "Your Majesty, I move that the Marquis be denied his money, and-"
"Arrête! J'accuse!" a voice bellowed from the door. The courtiers collectively turned in shock, muzzles open. Who so dared to interrupt? Each aristocrat tremored a little, for each was guilty of something, no matter how trivial. A thin Red Fox stood at the double doors. The announcer was about to speak, when Tybalt cut him off. "de Reyer," he growled his eyes narrowing. He was about to snarl, and give his most irritating rival an insulting repartee, when the King spoke, his deep voice causing the border collie in the middle of the room to fall silent. "Speak, Marquis de Lagoy. You have our attention."
"You can't just remain a root forever. Eventually you grow and change into other things, like stems and leaves and such. Are a tree's leaves an insult to its roots?" - Sade

"It is easy for a statesman, whether he be in the Cabinet or the Chamber, to blow a blast with the wind of popularity on the trumpet of war, warming himself the while at his own fireside; or to thunder orations from this tribune and then to leave it to the musketeer who is bleeding to death in the snow whether his system win fame and victory or no. There is nothing easier than that; but woe to the statesman who in these days does not look around him for a reason for war which will hold water when the war is over." - Otto von Bismarck

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Re: Bestia Sceleris (Domus)

Post by RabidFox »

There was a small smile on the fox's face, though, perhaps in reality it was an arrogant smirk. Bastien was not the tallest man in the room, but considering that the limelight was now all on him, he might as well have been. Golden eyes calmly looked over the other nobles, searching all of the glit and glamor for one particular overdressed canine. He wasn't too difficult to find.

"Thank you, your Majesty." The Marquis replied, before continuing on in a dramatic fashion. "It has come to my attention that one of those amongst us... has been involved in acts of illegality."

Everyone in the court seemed to squirm in their pom pom shoes then. Bastien had pretty much addressed the entirety of Domus' nobility.

"A certain border collie that I'm sure we're all familiar with by the name of Tybalt de Rheims."

There were a few gasps as the fox's rival was put on center stage. People turned to him, studying the collie for a reaction. What was it that he could have done and what would the great speaker say in response to such serious accusations? Court life was the Jerry Springer of an earlier era, the loud-mouth Oprah Winfrey in a time when flattery didn't look much different than betrayal. And then what of the King? One of his most valued advisers had just been thrown to the wolves.

"I have it on good grounds that he has been blackmailing a fellow courtier, Andre Chantilly, and has acquired a rather large sum of money from such wicked deviance." The fox said it as if he hadn't blackmailed a few people over the years himself. "It appears that they both have something to hide from the King's court. But I would not bother you good men with such talk unless I did not possess ample evidence of the crime."

And with that, the fox whipped out a letter, holding it high for all to witness. The tension in the air became as sharp and deadly as a freshly whetted dueling sword. If only they knew how he had acquired it, perhaps he himself would be put on the spot, but the fox had already devised an excuse.

"This is a letter addressed to Chantilly from de Rheims which will more than speak for itself. The signature is undeniably that of the Marquis de Champvallon, and I have already had an expert validate this. The court is encouraged to have another validate the signature if you require more proof."

For a lesser noble, the battle may have been close to an end by now, but in this case the war was just beginning. There was not a chance in Hell that the border collie would stand for such things to be said about him, and by his most hated rival no less. De Reyer stood confidently before the court, long red hair pulled back in a tie at the neck, wearing a white laced collar and black garb slashed with white. He was not as colorful as the more flowery de Champvallon, and he didn't need to be. His flashiness came solely from the fiery blade of his tongue.

The cocky fox coolly waited for a reply. Today was the day that he planned on finally tarnishing Tybalt beyond repair.

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Re: Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

Post by JamesG »

Tybalt hesitated, frozen, for a mere split second, his body tensing, and his heart starting to race at the sight of the letter. He could not have been that stupid, he thought to himself. Quickly, he turned to the King, and said, "Your Majesty, forgive me, but I cannot allow this insult to pass! I intend to expose the Marquis de Lagoy for the liar, and charlatan that he is! Not only that, but I demand that the Marquis publically apologise to this Court not only for false accusation, but for wasting our time!" The King contemplated Tybalt's words, and nodded. "These are serious allegations indeed, Marquis de Lagoy, I shall hear both your cases." The border collie nodded, and stepped into the centre of what had become something of a ring of nobles, with the two rivals in the centre. "Blackmail. Such boldness, Marquis," Tybalt began, smiling devilishly at the fox, "Why, you have truly outdone yourself in ludicrousy this time. Andre Chantilly, you say? Well, let us see where the good Comte de Oise has to say in this matter. After all, you name him as a criminal also. Andre? Step forward, if you please!" Tybalt turned, as the nervous dalmation stepped forward, shakily bowing to the King, and to Tybalt. "Now, my good friend," Tybalt said warmly, his hazel eyes never wavering, "Am I blackmailing you, eh? Am I extorting money from you? Speak truthfully, Comte, you are before your King and Dios, after all." The dalmation stared at the border collie, the two pairs of eyes telling a terrible and altogether too subtle story of coercion and compliance. Finally, Andre spoke. "No, of course not," he chuckled weakly, "We... er, sometimes send each other letters, true," he admitted, eyeing the fox's evidence. Tybalt nodded, "Yes, that is because we're friends, are we not?" he said forcefully, and Andre hesitated. "Er, yes, yes, we are friends," the Comte de Oise agreed. de Rheims threw up his arms in exasperation, and said, 'You see? de Reyer's case is falling apart already. Your supposed victim here disagrees with you! And I draw your attention, my lords and ladies, to de Reyer's supposed proof of his lies. This letter, supposedly signed by myself. He claims an expert has validated the signature as mine, well I ask him this. Did your supposed expert know my signature? I cannot recall ever sending you a letter, Marquis!" a few courtiers laughed at the pointed jab at the rivalry between the two.

"So, you have an expert whom has no signature of mine for comparison, seeing as I never correspond with your esteemed personage, and I draw your attention lastly, Sire and my noble lords and ladies, to my left ring finger!" Tybalt stressed the word 'esteemed', in a sarcastic compliment to de Reyer, before holding up his left paw. On his ring finger, a fat gold ring, with the de Rheims' family crest emblazoned upon it, was visible to all. "I, like most of you, seal all my letters with wax, in which, using my family's ring, I stamp my family crest whilst the wax is still soft. I see your letter has no such seal!" Tybalt was right, in order for the envelope to have been opened and the contents of the letter read, the wax seal had to have been destroyed. "So, to recap, Your Majesty. The Comte de Oise denies being blackmailed, I accuse this man of lying and presenting false evidence, and I question the honesty of a supposed, unnamed expert, and the Marquis has failed to account for a lack of the seal of the de Rheims family upon that worthless document. I move that de Reyer be thrown from the Court, and fined for his gross insult!" a few courtiers on Tybalt's side cheered, though Bastien's supporters looked urgently towards the fox, expecting him to rebut the border collie's arguments. The King watched silently, calculating the dog's words in his mind. Tybalt took a breather, and snapped his fingers at a servant, whom promptly left the room for some wine. Arguing was thirsty work for Tybalt, whom began to pace about, waiting for de Reyer's response.
"You can't just remain a root forever. Eventually you grow and change into other things, like stems and leaves and such. Are a tree's leaves an insult to its roots?" - Sade

"It is easy for a statesman, whether he be in the Cabinet or the Chamber, to blow a blast with the wind of popularity on the trumpet of war, warming himself the while at his own fireside; or to thunder orations from this tribune and then to leave it to the musketeer who is bleeding to death in the snow whether his system win fame and victory or no. There is nothing easier than that; but woe to the statesman who in these days does not look around him for a reason for war which will hold water when the war is over." - Otto von Bismarck

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Re: Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

Post by RabidFox »

Bastien listened on with amusement, the letter down at his side. He had only expected this type of reaction, and therefore was not perturbed. Let the games begin.

"I wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised that the man you're blackmailing would deny having any part in this, especially since he has something to hide of his own. As for the signature, while I've never had the distinct pleasure of receiving a letter from you, de Champvallon, I took it upon myself to ask for the assistance of one of my associates who you've taken the time to flatter in the past. Fortunately, he had held onto one of your more significant letters." The fox made a sly grin.

Some of de Reyer's supporters showed signs of relief, while most of them had firmly believed in his ability all along. After all, the fires of contest were still heating up. There would be some considerable time yet before the debate reached a conclusion.

"And for the seal, oh come now, de Rheims." The fox shook his head in disapproval. "You can't possibly think that argument will hold up here in the presence of intelligent men. You know as well as anyone else that the seal would have been removed and discarded."

His brother would have had a good laugh at that one.

"But let us put all of that foolishness aside for a moment, and have a look at just what it is that you wrote to our dear Chantilly." Bastien smoothed out the letter, and, as if acting a part in a play, he began to read like he were de Rheims himself.

"Dear Comte de Oise,

It is of great importance to you to be aware that I have knowledge of your lowly affair with my servant, and that I am well informed that the two young sons that have been trailing her skirt are indeed of your noble blood. It would, of course, be a grand embarrassment to you if this information were to be made public, and therefore I will make you pleased to know that I am willing to keep silent about the whole matter. You will pay to me a price of seventy Louis d'or. If you do not, then I am certain that the story will make a good appetizer at all of the courtiers' dinner tables. I wonder what everyone would say about your offspring being my personal slaves? I am sure that it would be enough to laugh you out of court. I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,
Your Good Friend Tybalt de Rheims, Marquis de Champvallon"

The fox's eyes moved to rest on said Marquis. They seemed to gleam with sadistic mockery.

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Re: Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

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The Marquis started to laugh, a rather sinister, hiccuping sort of noise, shaking his head. "Oh, please, de Reyer, I had no idea you had experience as a jester," he retorted, the dog's mind racing. Before he could think of his next words, the King interjected, in a calm, deep, and softly-spoken tone that suggested total neutrality between the two rivals. "Marquis de Lagoy, this letter indeed seems damning to both parties whom you accuse. However, I feel that in the interests of justice, you explain by what means you came by it." The border collie frowned, and replied, "Your Majesty, I feel it is important to consider that the letter is a falsehood, a forgery..." the King held up his paw, instantly silencing the aristocrat. "de Champvallon, I shall judge that from de Lagoy's explanation." Tybalt bowed his head, fuming at the fox. The servant he had sent for wine returned with a glass on a platter, and the border collie delicately picked it up, swilled it, and smelled it, before taking a sip. "Very well. I am listening, Marquis. Pray, tell the court, how you came by this... fascinating epistle." Tybalt enjoyed a good wine, and he had decided that it would calm his nerves. After all, this debate was entirely a surprise, and the noble had absolutely no forewarning of it, nor any time to prepare himself mentally. There was low murmuring and muttering, and nobles giving the fox, and each other curious looks, as they waited to hear what de Lagoy had to say.
"You can't just remain a root forever. Eventually you grow and change into other things, like stems and leaves and such. Are a tree's leaves an insult to its roots?" - Sade

"It is easy for a statesman, whether he be in the Cabinet or the Chamber, to blow a blast with the wind of popularity on the trumpet of war, warming himself the while at his own fireside; or to thunder orations from this tribune and then to leave it to the musketeer who is bleeding to death in the snow whether his system win fame and victory or no. There is nothing easier than that; but woe to the statesman who in these days does not look around him for a reason for war which will hold water when the war is over." - Otto von Bismarck

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Re: Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

Post by RabidFox »

Bastien gave Tybalt an empty stare, brushing off the comment. At the King's request, he began to reflect on the question at hand. Privately, of course. If the court knew the truth, then the fox would burn in Hell with them.

He had paid a man to travel to Oise, to sneak into Andre's manor and retrieve the letter. It had been a bit risky, but then the man had no idea who was employing him. It was safer that way, so that there was no chance that Bastien could be identified. De Reyer had simply stayed behind and continued his normal duties. After some time, the letter he had paid for finally reached him. He had read the contents to himself and smiled.

"Certainly, Your Majesty." The fox replied, gracefully. "It seems that there has been a bit of a problem with the post lately. Me and several other courtiers have been receiving letters and packages that were not addressed to us. I had already had a few other letters delivered to my manor that had not been meant for me, as well as a fruit cake. My apologies to the Marquis de Jocas. It would have spoiled.

"And then this letter ended up at my door. Since Chantilly never receieved it, I suspect that de Rheims must have realized this eventually and sent out another one. I cannot be certain what exactly has occurred between the two, but I do know for a fact that the Marquis de Champvallon—If nothing else—has clearly at least attempted to blackmail Comte de Oise. I can only hope that de Rheims recovered his senses and did not proceed to send more letters of such a harassing nature. However, considering the tone of this particular message, I strongly doubt that he did not continue his plan and feel that he did carry through with the blackmailing of Comte de Oise. I recommend that a thorough investigation focusing on the recent interactions of the two be enacted immediately.

"If there are any doubts of my claims, two of my fellow courtiers whom are with us now have already informed me that they are willing to testify that they have indeed been receiving the mail of others from the nobility."

"Yes, what he says is true!" Came a voice from the audience. "There has been something going awry with the post of late, and I keep getting the strangest things at my manor. Why, one of the packages that ended up at my door was a dress! I am not even married!"

"And I got a live peacock!" Yet another man called out. "I wonder what someone wanted with that?"

Bastien smiled wickedly. The two were not lying either. Each had receieved exactly what they had claimed and neither had any truthful idea as to why. But the Marquis de Lagoy knew. Ah, the wonders of bribery and the ease of corrupting postal workers.

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Re: Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

Post by JamesG »

Tybalt tilted his head to one side, glaring at the fox. "This, sirrah, is the most ridiculous explanation for anything I have ever heard. Let us re-examine de Reyer's story, Your Majesty, and my Lords. So far, I have sent the Comte de Oise a brazenly worded letter of blackmail, through the Royal Mail, which has ended up in the paws of a Marquis that is well known for trying to embarass me in public. Not only this, but I also place my own signature upon it, which is convenient, as the Marquis claims to have destroyed the seal in opening it. Tell me, have you ever used a letter-opener, Marquis?" There were a few titters, but the border collie continued. "Your Majesty, you are knowledgeable in many areas, including penmanship. I feel that we can resolve this matter quite easily, if you will permit me to sign on parchment, and then for you, Sire, to compare the two signatures. I think the results will be quite illuminating," Tybalt had a twitch on the side of his muzzle, which he knew threatened to turn into a grin at any moment. The King pondered for a moment, and then nodded. "This seems the logical course of action. Marquis de Lagoy, bring that letter to me. You," he waved at a servant, "bring the Marquis de Champvallon parchment, and a quill."

Tybalt took the quill in his right paw, and leant over a table to sign it, with a great flourish. He nodded cynically at de Reyer, and presented the King with the parchment, bowing his head as he did so. The King examined both signatures carefully, tilting his head one way, then another. They looked exceptionally similar, but finally, King Louis spoke. "This letter is not signed by the Marquis de Champvallon. It is a very cunning forgery, but a forgery nonetheless." he lowered both documents to stare at the fox. "Marquis de Lagoy, your theory rests on the credibility of this document. Your accusations alone are serious enough for the Marquis de Champvallon to demand satisfaction for such an insult. Unless you have any further evidence to the existence of blackmail, I suggest you withdraw." de Rheims breathed out, relieved his scheme had gone as planned. Andre Chantilly merely stood beside him, wondering how this was possible. Tybalt, on the other hand, knew exactly why the King had thought it was a forgery. The border collie knew that whilst King Louis was a fur with interests in many different fields, he was not a master of penmanship nor of the art of examining signatures.

In fact, nobody in the courtroom was aware of the trick Tybalt had played. Left-handedness and ambidexterity were both frowned upon and openly mocked in this time, so nobody had assumed anything out of the ordinary when the dog had used his frilled right paw to sign, rather his left. In fact, Tybalt wrote left-handed in private letters, if only because he found it easier, and so had subsequently signed his letters with his left paw, which was the discrepancy the King had found between the two signatures. Tybalt had not told anybody, especially not de Reyer, that he was mostly left-handed, in order to avoid mockery and scorn. Fortunately, the King was not experienced enough to recognise it, and the final icing on the cake, as Tybalt thought of it, was that if de Reyer challenged the King's opinion, and demanded the letters be re-examined, he dared insult the King, an offence alone that would warrant the fox's removal from court life.
"You can't just remain a root forever. Eventually you grow and change into other things, like stems and leaves and such. Are a tree's leaves an insult to its roots?" - Sade

"It is easy for a statesman, whether he be in the Cabinet or the Chamber, to blow a blast with the wind of popularity on the trumpet of war, warming himself the while at his own fireside; or to thunder orations from this tribune and then to leave it to the musketeer who is bleeding to death in the snow whether his system win fame and victory or no. There is nothing easier than that; but woe to the statesman who in these days does not look around him for a reason for war which will hold water when the war is over." - Otto von Bismarck

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Re: Bestia Sceleris (Domus) (Private)

Post by RabidFox »

Bastien's eyes narrowed in contempt as the scene unfolded. How... utterly absurd. His left ear twitched, threatening to fold backwards in aggravation. He did not allow his ears to move too much, however, as that would have made him look even more the fool. The fox was not certain how his enemy had escaped his trap, but evaded it he had. Another plan would have to be made now. If de Reyer didn't find a way to convince the court he was telling the truth, then his reputation would be marred forever. The fox's supporters were looking to him now, some of them confused and some of them angry. The Marquis de Lagoy would not back down from such an insult.

Yet he must submit at least to this part of the game. If he didn't, it would mean the end of him for sure. The fox gave a quiet, neutral look to the King, and in a voice lacking any real emotion, "I accept that this letter has been forged, however, I must bring attention to the fact that I did not forge it. What I have said thus far has been the truth, as far as my eyes have been able to see it. Someone must be playing a game with us. But that is not important now. I believe that while this letter may have- has been contrived, I still wonder as to why. If the King will permit me to investigate this matter further, I shall return with credible evidence in the future. What this evidence will ultimately reveal, that is the Marquis de Champvallon's innocence or guilt, is not certain. But whatever I will bring to the court will only consist of some truth or another."

And with that, the fox gracefully withdrew from that day's court. He walked out of the room with visible determination, not allowing his image to be tainted further by acting defeated. His supporters were still not sure what to think of him at that moment, but he knew that most of them would eventually come around. De Reyer was too much of a perfectionist to doubt for long.

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