The sun no longer glows so brightly against the world by the time the King's Deputy arrives at the scene. Perhaps it, too, grieves the loss of a light so bright, and has hidden herself in grief like the French people soon would. The sky is murky and overcast, it appears rain is close. The trees darken the appearance of the forest.
It appears the King and Queen of France are only asleep, he observes, watching the two of them on the dirt-leaf ground. The two of them rest so comfortably on the forest floor, a place that has always brought Sebastian sanctuary and solace. But the way Mary's chest and torso heave as she lays on his brothers body, the blood on Francis' clothing, the bodies of assassins decorating various parts of the floor, it reminds him of why he was here. Guards and Delphine and Nostradamus and Catherine flank him, falling into silence at the horrid sight.
His voice breaks, Delphine turning to him. "Oh, brother." he murmurs, slowly walking to Mary's side. He kneels down to them both, and places a gentle hand on her back. She does nothing to respond to him, and he can see that her eyes are closed. She doesn't sleep, she keeps his body warm, even though it's long passed returning the gesture.
She had slipped into catatonia, he realises. Too despondent, too shocked, to move, so speak, so sleep. Nor does she acknowledge her brother in law in any way. Sebastian doesn't take it personally, for his body begins to tremble, being so close to his little brothers' dead body. It is an image that will haunt him for the rest of his days, his brother slipped from this world, his wife desperately clinging to his body, refusing to let it go.
His trembling fingers get caught in Mary's hair, accidentally making more knots as he attempts to stroke it, in the hope that she would feel some comfort in the knowledge that he was there with her.
He looks deeper at his onetime fiancee as she begins to shiver. It's not that cold, so the shock must be setting in. The skin of her hands that clutch Francis so close grows more and more pale. Guards go to retrieve a blanket, or one of their capes, but Sebastian is quicker. He removes his cloak and slings it over Mary's body, keeping them both warm for the moment.
His lower lip quivers as he sees his baby brother's face in one moment. His eyes fill with tears, and his stomach rolls. Suddenly, he has a memory of seeing his little brother as a child, sickly in bed before Mary. And then the three of them, with Mary's ladies and their sisters, playing in the castle as children, wreaking havoc and mischief. He sees Francis unsteadily getting on his first horse, and the memory of his big beam catches in his throat. How old had he been then? Seven? Eight?
He swallows the physical lump that grows in his throat, and gently says to Mary, "Mary, he's gone." his voice is hoarse, he can barely recognise it being his own.
She opens her eyes, the first time she has really acknowledged his presence at all. But she does nothing else, and then looks back at Francis' face, and closes them again.
He sighs. "Mary, please, he wouldn't want this for you." he says, glancing at the guards assigned of carrying him back to the castle. They don't move.
It was true. If there was one thing that Francis II of Valois would have wanted for his wife, it would be that she would be warm and comforted, cared for in her grief. Not to lay on his chilling body, in dirt and leaves and blood, his own body empty of its soul.
"No." she says. Bash is not the only one with a hoarse voice, it seemed.
"I will stay with him, he won't be alone."
Mary looks at him, and by all the God's, Bash's heart aches. This woman, this beautiful woman he had the pleasure to call his family, looked so broken. Her face bore no expression, which was an expression all in its own. But in her eyes, in those beautiful -albeit black- eyes, there is a rage there. A rage that spoke of the most terrible things to come to the mastermind that orchestrated this, a willingness to fight with everything she had, even though she had nothing left to loose. This woman, this Queen, would burn cities and Kingdoms down to orchestrate her revenge just because she could, and she would because she held nothing left to be taken from her. And in that moment, Sebastian de Portiers felt true fear.
And in that moment, he knows Francis is dead. But he cannot stay dead.
To save France, to save Mary, to save the Kingdoms and the lives she would burn, Francis had to live and he had to breathe. Charles was too young, Catherine was too weak, France would fall at the hands of England or Spain. Francis had to continue his right to rule as King, to keep Mary from that side of her that had only came out once before now, the side that Sebastian never, never wanted to see again.
He looks towards Delphine, then. She seems to understand, as does Catherine. The two women, so powerful in two completley different ways, they come closer and closer. Sebastian moves without knowing how or why. In a few moments, Mary no longer lays atop of her husbands' body. Catherine kneels before her daughter in law and her son. She holds Mary as the little girl weeps helplessly onto Catherine's breast.
Delphine and himself, they draw incantations and knowledge so ancient and so old, borne to them by two different worlds. The woman holds his brothers' heart. The two of them, they are pulled and nipped and jerked and hissed at. Later, they would either be knighted or burned with the amount of spectators around them. Mary had made her pact with the devil so save Francis from death the first time, but this time, it would be Sebastian that would call into the depths of all the hells and all the Gods, giving a piece of his soul to trade it for his brothers.
"Bash." Mary's voice wavers as the two of them snarls and chant, their eyes roll back against their skulls. To others, it may look horrifying, but it brings comfort to the two Queens that cry with each other.
"Sebastian." Catherine's voice is different, but it sounds further away than ever.
The two of them incantate, sibilance so loud that they could have been screaming. Vision was clouded with every colour in the world, the pain so blinding, the pressure so enormous that he thought he'd pop from it all. But he continues, he continues, he continues.
A loud gasp beneath them both, a heart beginning to beat underneath Delphine's hands.
A significant distance away, in quarters somewhere eastern-west of Paris, Lady Lola Narciesse takes a strangled breath, and then she falls like a stone.