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The Countess de Saint-Germain

Sarah Tintagyl

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[i]La Chateau de Pompadour, France[/i]

"I should tell you that this was one of the very castles that The Marquise made her home in during the reign of Louis the Fifteenth." Said Anabella DuPont, the Realtor in charge of managing France's oldest castles and palaces and she had been caught extremely off guard when a call had been placed from the Kingdom of Carthage asking for a specific property in France, notably the castle that had belonged to the Marquise du Pompadour centuries ago. The aristocrat, whoever he or she was had a yearning to finally escape Africa and settle down in Europe away from the recent commotion, especially resulting from the collapse of the Sarnungian Republic and the recent African War. The call had said that the aristocrat had been instrumental in the formation of the new Kingdom of Carthage, though not once did the aristocrat allow their name to be given. Needless to say, Anabella found it all quite odd. Even more so was the fact that on the morning of the tour of the chateau, it was not the aristocrat but instead an assistant that had come to represent. "I don't know if there is anything more you need to see Monsieur Atrides? For your Patron to approve?"

"I believe from what I have seen, my patron will most definitely approve. We have been looking into the formation of France for some time and it is good to see that your unification has been conceived without war. Burgundy, Brittany, and Aquitaine, it is truly amazing. It is what attracted my Patron, we were originally looking at land in North Germany. Though the recent tension between the German States, have caused us to look else where."

"I understand of course Monsieur. Though I must say this purchase was barely allowed, but for the massive amount of payment your Patron allowed. I was quite shocked. Seventy-Million Francs, it is a price unheard of."

"If it needs to be negotiated again..."

"No, not at all, just surprising that's all. The Aristocracy in France is pretty much dead, bar His Highness Karl Martin von Hohenzollern."

Atrides chuckled. "Yes I've heard of your silly king, the German?"

Anabella sighed. "You outsiders don't understand, he is the adopted King and he was born in France, he is of German blood and French so-" The assistant cut her off with this hand.

"I am not here to discuss politics with you Mademoiselle, my Patron has no concern of Karl Martin, a foreign aristocrat does not engage themselves in the politics of a foreign country. Only as a place to relax from the trials of North Africa."

"Of course, well with the payment, everything is prepared for your Patron to move in as soon as he is ready."

Atrides chuckled again and shook Anabella's hand with a large grin on his face. "Well thank you for your time Miss DuPont, your business should receive our check within the week." With that the young man turned on his feet, his dress shoes scrapping against the gravel of the road and looked up into the sky. It was going to rain soon.

"Excuse me. Monsieur Atrides, forgive me for asking, but your Patron, I never got his name, not even on the reports or the signings. They were all under your name. He wishes to kept so mysterious?"

"That she does my dear, the Countess de Saint-Germain wishes for privacy above all else. I represent her in the public therefore I sign for her and I am sure, she thanks you for your time as well. However, if you would please leave, The Countess will be arriving soon and would like everything to be ready."

Anabella's eyes widened in surprise. "Well, yes, I can do so. Good day Monsieur." She said as she walked to her car and drove back off towards the city of Limoges. "Odd." She said. "I know I've heard Saint-Germain before..."


A day later, the storm clouds above the Chateau had finally let lose as a black town car pulled up on the gravel roads outside of the castle. Atrides waited outside with a black umbrella, the drops falling hard from the sky and he opened the door with a gloved hand and smiled as the veiled figure stood out from the car. She wore a black dress, in the late Victorian style, a black hat and veil hid her face, while her hands were covered in lace, and her hair draped far down her back. He bent down and kissed her gloved hand and smiled. "Everything is in perfect order Countess, just as you asked for it." And covered her with the umbrella as they began to walk towards the chateau, the rain bouncing lightly off the umbrella. "Security measures have been put in place, we have the guards stationed..."

"I don't care about the guards Jess...is the harpsichord in the ballroom?"


"My wardrobe in my quarters?"


"And the letters?"

"Would I ever fail you?"

The Countess smiled and kissed the assistant on the cheek as they reached the doors to the Estate. "I would never expect you to Jess and it would appear from what you have told me and the reports I have read on the way over here. We are in desperate need of some change for this world of ours. I will have to have a meeting with this Therese Zelle and a few others, we cannot let our ideals be lost to the sands of time. We have failed once, we will not fail again." As they walked into the estate, a smiled crossed her lips, though Jess would not be able to tell. "Yes, this is lovely Jess, truly lovely, I'm impressed at the work, and all this was Pompadour's?"

"The Realtor assured me so."

"Well then there is only time to wait and enjoy ourselves." She took off her hat and threw it off on the parlor's couch. "I will be taking my tea in the ballroom, I have not played harpsichord in what feels like forever."

"I will get the servants on it right away Countess."

Jess sped away towards the kitchen leaving the Countess alone with her thoughts as she strolled, her dress trailing her towards the ballroom. "This is exactly the setting I planned to begin the Second Act, absolutely perfect."

Edited by Sarah Tintagyl
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A few days prior to the visit by the Queen and Grand Duke of the Australian Queendom, Therese too had received a mysterious letter by an aristocrat holding residence in the Chateau du Pompadour, asking her to meet with the Countess to talk of things that were 'extremely important to the welfare of the French State and the World at large'. Needless to say, Therese was surprised to hear such words in a letter from a person who she had never met before in her life and to assume such influence in a letter to the Prime Minister of France was nearly unheard of, whoever this Countess de Saint-Germain was, she assumed an aura of influence that did not belong to another aristocrat. Therese could only sigh as her limousine approached the prestigious Chateau. "And now I have to deal with another eccentric aristocrat. If Karl Martin wasn't bad enough and the Burgundian claims to the French throne." She just only hoped that this Saint-Germain would not prove to be the same destabilizing factor that Hohenzollern seemed to be, the Countess was another foreigner, which kept Therese on edge. But definitely not as showy either and as the gates to the Chateau opened with a groan, Therese got her first impression of the company of the Countess.

It was like something out of a storybook, the guards throughout the Chateau, at least the guards that the Prime Minister would interact with were uniformed in all black, black frock coats, and rapiers at their sides, along with a silver pistol at their sides. The uniforms looked like something out of Versailles, lace at the collar and at the cuffs, while each of the guards wore a white mask, expressionless and frightening. They didn't talk, instead only helping Therese gracefully out of the limousine with their dainty gloved hands and escorted her towards the front doors of the Estate where the young Jess Atrides waited on the staircase looking down at Therese.

He was about six foot with brown hair, he wore an elegant black suit and stared down at her, one hand in his pocket and a smile that would make most girls fall at his feet. Therese too couldn't feel but slightly attracted to the man, he was quite handsome after all. "Ah. Mademoiselle Zelle." Jess said as he walked down the stone staircase. "It is a pleasure to finally meet the delicate flower that leads this fine country. I trust you are well?"

She nodded. "I am, though..." Therese looked at him oddly. "I was under the impression that it was the Countess de Saint-Germain that set this letter. Unless you call yourself a woman?"

Jess threw his head back in laughter. "You mistake me for my Mistress Lady Zelle, I am her butler, second in command of her household. I appreciate the compliment and all, but no, I am not and never will be a woman. However, if you would not mind, Her Grace is expecting you upstairs in her study. Would you be so kind as to follow me Mademoiselle?" He said offering his hand to the young woman. Therese nodded and graced him with her touch as they journeyed through the Chateau du Pompadour. She had seen the interior of the Hohenzollern places in Germany and France, elegant, imperial, fit for a king. This one however, was quite strange. While the Countess most definitely employed the elegance that graced most French castles, there was a haunting aspect to this place. The tapestries and drapes in the chateau hung low, a deep red color, along with blacks, and deep navy blues. Busts of artists and writers lined the hallways, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, there were statues of Dante, Petrarch, and Shakespeare, whilst nearly every room had at least one book somewhere in it. Therese had been able to glance at a few of the titles ranging from [i]The Republic[/i] all the way too [i]The Late Great Planet Earth[/i].

"Her Grace has quite the collection of books...and the statues...I take it she is a lover of the arts?"

"A muse herself my dear Prime Minister. A poet in her own right."

"To purchase Pompadour's estate then...she had been eying it for a long time?"

"She is a great admirer of Pompadour."

"Well a culturalist is always welcomed." Therese said as they walked up the stone staircase out of the Grand Foyer, paintings hung on the walls of philosophers and artists, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, even some of the abstract artists. From here, Jess led Therese down another hallway towards a large wooden double door and knocked twice. He paused and waited then a strong, and young, yet cold voice spoke from within.

"Has the Prime Minister arrived?"

"She has Your Grace."

"You may leave us then Jess, I wish to talk to her in private."

"Of course Milady." Jess bowed at the closed doors and opened them slightly. "Therese, please, she is expecting you."

Therese nodded and pushed the door open further into the Countess' study. It was a large room, bookshelves lining the walls, a jeweled globe stood in the center of the room, along with a strange light device that reflected up towards the ceiling. There was a harpsichord in the corner of the room, while green drapes were hung over the great windows looking out into the garden below the study. A fireplace was burning elegantly, where a black veiled figure sat with a tea cup in her hands and looked over through her veil at the Prime Minister. Now Therese was thoroughly uneased. The Countess looked up, smiling underneath the lace. "Ah. Miss Zelle, it is a pleasure to finally meet you. Please. Sit down, I had tea and sandwiches prepared for us if you don't mind."

At least she was friendly. "Thank you very much, Your Grace." Therese took the tea and sipped. "Chamomile, delicious, thank you. Now. If I may, what was the urgent matter to the French state that you have called me here for? Forgive, I just like to get down to business as fast as possible."

The Countess nodded and leaned back on her chair. "Of course, I figured that about you Therese, within in what, seven or eight months you achieved full French unification. Or damn near to. That is someone that commands a great deal of respect. However, the last thing that I would want to see is the French state fall into danger because of the shortcomings of other, less admirable persons, that would darken your name and if my cognition serves me right you have already fought many of them."

"If you are talking about the Burgundians, they aren't a trouble anymore Countess. I appreciate your concern but-"

"And the dissent?"

"Something I will eventually have to deal with, though they haven't done anything of late to prove disloyalty."

"You will kept an eye on them then?"

"Well of course, but what business is it of yours Countess?" Therese asked politely, she wasn't angry, just curious and a bit confused.

"I make the world my business Therese. Which is why I am concerned about my adopted homeland first before concentrating on the rest of the world." The Countess stood up and walked over towards the globe in the center of the room, with a flick of a switch the lights in the room turned off and the reflection piece began to hum as the globe was instantly reflected on the ceiling, on the walls, quite clearly, it was like being in an astronomical observatory. "The Earth Therese, for the most part is a screwed up place, look at North America, there is virtually unjustified war going on against a people who are so vile that the world's greatest wish is to see them burn. Two evils fighting to destroy one another, but are they both evil or are they both good?"

"There is good and evil in politics?"

The Countess threw her head back and laughed, the white skin of her neck nearly shining in the light of the globe. "Ah you're of the idealist school. Where there is no real good and evil, there is only politics and human ambition. No Therese, there is good and evil, there is most definitely good and evil, however, the difference is, is that at the end of good and evil there is the same goal. It just depends what route you take to achieve your end. After this war in North America, the world is going to begin to shift again and there will be new self-proclaimed heroes, there will be villains, and there will be wars. My proposition to you however Miss Zelle is the ability to stand above this turmoil and help me forge the world the way it should be forged. Whether in the fires of hell or the waters of purity."

"I'm not sure I quite understand Your Grace..."

"A New World Order a great revolution that will change the face of the world forever. One that we will be able to write for ourselves, everything done as if by the stroke of a pen. A Poet."

"And what power do you think you have to do something like this Countess?"

"All the power in the world Therese." The Countess reached up taking off her veil as Therese's eyes widened.

"Your Grace..."

"I am not asking you to serve me or anything of the sort, all I am asking is that you listen to a proposition and together your pen can change the world as well. France is already a shining light, but it can be one of the greatest lights, to shine with the constellation that we can create with our words and our thoughts. I have no desire for power, just the creation of a world I have envisioned for ages upon ages, if nothing else, if you can desire that, then my work is complete."

"Remake France and the World?"

"Indeed, in your own fashion. In our own fashion."

"Yes...Countess, I can agree to that."

The Countess smiled and reached into her dress pulling out a small silver feather, on a necklace. "The Society of Poets Therese, welcome to our Order." At that, the Countess dropped to her knees and bowed at Therese's feet. "You have both my sword and my pen to protect you. I will not forsake them, save your wish. Novus Ordo Seclorum."

Therese put her hand on the Countess' hair and held it there, nearly shaking. The respect the Countess commanded was too much for Therese to fathom. She had heard revolutionary talk before, but this seemed to speak volumes. The goal was simple, power, unrelenting power. Power over her enemies and her potential enemies. All under the gaze of the Stranger in Black.

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"I would rather you not resist Doctor Villette, you realize that resisting this demand could in the future put the French state at risk from the horrors of the world. There are dangers within the country and outside it at the same time. What you are doing for me is to make sure that nothing can happen to the people of your homeland. Or is it that you would rather betray France?"

Villette stared up at the black veil covering the woman's face, two guards on either side of her wore masks, one with a chilling smile, one with a nightmarish frown. It was like something from a dream, but he knew that it was all too real. "I...I...don't understand Your Grace, the French government would never allow for the creation of such weapons. This would inflict massive amounts of death on a civilian or military population. If Prime Minister Zelle found out, I would be jailed for life and you, you would be the sponsor, you would be jailed as well."

"You underestimate me Villette. You really do, you underestimate Prime Minister Zelle as well." She leaned down their faces nearly touching. "And you'll only be jailed if you are stupid, which in that aspect, you will be killed. I'm really asking for a simple service, you don't even need to do the work yourself, all you need to do is teach my associates how to incubate the disease and cultivate it. After that, you're free to go with the knowledge that if this gets out. You will be killed along with the people that you tell. That I can promise you."

The doctor sighed as he leaned forward in his seat. "I can't get you access to the gas, but as for the incubation of the various strains of Bubonic Plague and Smallpo-"

She cut him off with her hand. "No, Smallpox is a thing of the past, thought I do like the idea of plague. However and I know this from study. You can combine disease can you not?"

"You can, it depends what you are thinking."

"A few things Doctor Villette, but for that, I believe you should accompany me down to the vaults of the Chateau. We have a great deal of work that needs done." Unbinding his hands, she linked her arm with is as if he would escort her down as a gentleman should. From here, they walked down the stone stairs of the castle, into the levels underneath the main floors. Here in almost a dungeon setting, indeed not renovated since the eighteenth century, there was scaffolding, machinery being brought down and workshop areas set up. "This will be the laboratory for my experiments, well, your experiments my dear doctor. In the coming weeks and months, there will be incubators, biological growth tanks for the preservation of the plague and the diseases you will be creating hybrids of. My mind runs to ebola and smallpox combined, but we can always stray away from the beaten path if you will.

He looked back at the woman with worried eyes. "Who are you Your Grace and why?"

"To protect the world my dear doctor and who I am does not matter. I am your matron and you serve me and as such the French people and the people of a confused world and don't worry. None of this will harm the French people, unless the create the problem of death and destruction for themselves. Think of all this as a security measure a way so that what has happened in years past and even what is happening now in North America. Will never, ever, happen again."

Villette began to look through the records laying across the table, in amazement, nearly all of the pathogens that the Countess had described were scheduled for arrival. "How..."

"The world's black market, especially for pathogens, pays quite well. So you have your orders Doctor and your team should be arriving soon as well. I look forward to the development of this. France and the World does as well."

And once the construction of Villette's laboratory would be completed, development and growth of the pathogens would start immediately.

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"There have been thousands of people who have said they can remake the world according to their own dream. Who spend countless, tireless hours tailoring their mind, body, and soul for that one purpose, that one mission. The chance of discovering and being able to answer the question: Why was I put on this Earth?" The Countess looked over the edge and gripped the stone rail tightly in her fingers and sighed. There was no moon that night, there were no clouds either which illuminated the entire sky with stars, it was a beautiful spectacle and she wondered how many other people across the world were looking up at the sky at that very moment and reflected on the stars, just as she was doing. "Change the world." She scoffed. "If humanity could ever be changed I think I could disappear forever. I'm sure it would make a lot of people happy too."

The wooden door to the roof of the chateau opened with a loud creak as Jess Atrides, the Countess' servant walked out, his face illuminated by the small candle he carried in his hand. It was a strong enough light that the entire tower balcony that they stood on flickered and glowed. "I figure I would have found you out here. Doctor Villette wanted me to tell you that the specimens, pathogens, gas and the bombs that you requested have been finished. You actually might be thrilled to see what the good doctor has come up with." The Countess didn't make a move, just continued to stare up at the moonless sky. "Your Grace? Is everything alright?"

"Don't you think what we're doing might be wrong Jess? My whole idea? What if it isn't the right thing to do at all."

"I don't think that at all, you clearly outlined that humanity needs to change if we plan on surviving further. What is so horrid about that?"

"What if we are the problem? What if we're what's wrong with the world?" She turned to him, the slight look of defeat in her eyes.

"You can barely accept that yourself Your Grace." He put the candle on the ground and walked over to her and took her hands. "What do you regret from our operations so far? Our ammunition? We have no targets as of now so surely it can't be that."

"Just how we plan to go about doing it. We have the capabilities, I have loyal members that share the same dream I have, but how does one really erase the world and start over without harming those people who have no real ill in their hearts. I couldn't live with myself if because of me, innocent women and children were killed. I might have a black heart Jess, but I'm still human...I think."

He smiled and took her in his arms, running his hand through her stringy blonde hair and tilting her chin up looked into her blue eyes. "That would be going against everything you have ever taught me Your Grace. I know deep down it is those people that you aim to protect from the start, if I were to title your dream, it is a world void of government, void of states, void of class, an anarchic world and one that people for the first time in the world's history since Cain and Abel get along." Shaking his head Jess sighed. "But you know that it can never happen, people will always kill each other and there will always been those leaders to manipulate them. Our job, your job Your Grace, is to educate the leaders of the world what will happen if the innocence of their land is not protected. Your chaos is a special kind of chaos, something that this world has never seen before. A fear that people have not feared before. I humbly believe that while we will not stop war, while we will not stop the sins of this world. A variation of your dream will be realized Countess. There will be a chaos that humanity will not wish to cleanse itself of anytime soon."

The Countess released herself from his arms and turned back to the dark landscape of central France. "Set the world aflame just to put it out again. It almost seems counter productive."

"If you burn the waste and keep the art, that flame will be the most beautiful thing ever conceived."

"Indeed, throw humanity into the flames of rebirth and see who survives. The pure of heart. One can only hope."

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[i]Outskirts of Karr, J Andres[/i]

The Astori Estate on the coast of Maine was a pleasant change from the golden scenery of France. Here in North America, the might oaks and spruces of the northern forests ran almost into the misty ocean below. The Atlantic on this side was teeming with fresh lobster, cod, and all other sorts of seafood, while forest trails ran far into the dark woodlands, in short Maine was a natural paradise and the change of pace for the Countess to relax near a roaring fire in a darkened wooden estate was almost too much to pass up. She loved it here and though she had decided to change her plans just slightly since the 'collapse' of the Federated States and the emergence of J Andres, the change of scenery was nice as she sat sun bathing in the cool Maine spring sunlight as the screen door of the upper balcony closed behind her, the echoes of the ocean roaring below.

"Your Grace?" The familiar voice of Jess Atrides sounded as his footsteps echoed across the floor. He blushed seeing her out sunbathing as any man would do, coughed and straightened up. "I apologize for bothering you, but I figured that you would like to hear the update on our current moves. To proceed with the Vision of Gaia."

The Countess sat up for a moment and took off her sunglasses beckoning the man forward. "Well, Jess, what is it. I assume you relayed Dunstan my message?"

"I did, he said most of our operatives from the Green Flag are more than ready to be sent out to the targeted countries, we have Caucasians, Arabs, Africans, Polynesians, Asians, and Hispanics, all part of the team and so we can have operations all over the world."

"And material production?"

"Everything that you ordered in production back at the Chateau in France, as well as access to munitions from J Andres, I believe Mr. Mercton has still honored our agreement that was made to President Johnson, so we can rely on that. The problem is just sneaking them into the countries now and making sure that enough damage is done to get a world reaction." He smiled.

"As I said before Jess, I don't want this to be a barbaric free for all, the Vision is that of a world where innocents will not be harmed, unfortunately for any revolution to take place and responsibility to be held to the leaders. If people must die." She sighed. "Then we don't have a choice, this is to be an Age of Chaos after all, which denotes an Age of Fear as well. Its just hard to grasp sometimes, to do something that vile so that the world can live. I guess the big question is, which pillar do we kick out first?"

"The world is a volatile place Your Grace any nation would suffice to bring the world to war, if it doesn't happen on its own terms. North America is in chaos, Europe could be plunged into war, Africa, Asia, even Australia."

She chuckled at the Queendom. "Australia will get theirs in time." The Countess laid back down on her chair and pushed her sunglasses back down onto her nose. "Just tell Dunstan to expect a message from me soon, from there, he can take care of the rest. He knows the penalty of failing."

"Of course Your Grace. Right away."

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