Chapter Five: Sugar And Spice And Angels

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"Little girls are cute and small only to adults

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"Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another, they are not cute. They are life-sized."--- Margaret Atwood

The world stands still for a moment, and only a miracle of quick reflexes keeps the canvas from tumbling to the ground when the black veil of the redhead falls

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The world stands still for a moment, and only a miracle of quick reflexes keeps the canvas from tumbling to the ground when the black veil of the redhead falls. Pierre d'Ailiot did not expect such an extreme reaction to a woman fainting, but it pulls him away from his work. Before him sits a collage of noble and desperate faces; the task of capturing a dozen men beheaded in an hour is no easy thing to achieve, and it takes an emotional toll on any person with a heart. The thirteenth will stand apart from the rest of the group, the handsome lover of Princesse Anne-Camille, so desperate for her love he would assassinate her husband.

The artist doesn't buy the story, though it is a romantic and utterly tragic one. He has been at Court long enough to know there is another story lurking behind every story.

He notices the redhead fall into the arms of a slightly older but still handsome woman, and a man rushes to her assistance. The man did not rush over to help the poor unconscious girl, but the woman who caught her, or so says the very strategic placement of his hands. He feels sorry for the redhead, noting how young and peaceful her face looks without the veil suited for a widow. Pierre has the urge to pick up the cloth and cover her face again if only to protect her from all she has seen and the curious eyes looking at her.

An even smaller girl with hair the colour of honey and wheat fields stands beside the unconscious girl. She is like a little statue, offering no comfort or reaction, but instead appears to be praying.

She is too young to be so stoic and old in spirit, he thinks. The poor girl has suffered too much, like my Angelique.

"
Cordelia, run and find the kitchen staff. Tell them to provide help to those who are suffering from heat or grief. Bring people into the Chateau. We will set up a banquet for those who wish it tonight." Pierre's face turns serious as he addresses his eldest daughter. "Go to the kitchen, and nowhere else. Tell Madame Elise these instructions. Afterwards, she is to come to me."

Cordelia looks pleased to have something to do and a chance to sneak off out of the set of rooms. She curtsies and moves with almost a bit of excitement in her step, pale curls falling loose. The little girl is almost angelic, which Pierre knows means she will likely grow to be a handful. Looks are always deceiving, and Cordelia was already happiest when made the centre of attention. "Yes, Papa."

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