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The Duchess and The Countess's Strife

London, England.


a part of The Duchess and The Countess's Strife, by DarlingRapture.


DarlingRapture holds sovereignty over London, England., giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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London, England. is a part of The Duchess and The Countess's Strife.

4 Characters Here

Jeremiah Hawthorne [1] "My legacy shall be - nay, must be - greater than my father's."
Stella Hawthorne [1] "It's time for this symphony to come to an end."
Octavius Alderance [1] "In the beginning, fear was the dominant motivating force. " WIP
Ophelia Alderance [0] "I've never been one to like the cries of a baby boy anyway."

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Ophelia Alderance: The Countess

Ophelia stared blankly into the body length mirror that hung so symmetrical on the wall near the large, rectangular closet that held all of the clothes that Octavius and she shared but barely compared to the space of the square room that they retired to every night. Her hands hung at her hips, trembling lightly and flexing as her fingers were sore, like the rest of her body that seemed so delicate and frail while she was in such a poisoned state. She continued to stare, her eyes glossy with the ruminants of pain and emotional trauma while she gazed upon her shaved head, the dark natural auburn color starting to show again- but she knew he would have that shaved again soon. Her body had grown slightly, her belly swollen just slightly with the signs that she was pregnant once again, for her fourth time. She was practically naked standing there, the nightgown she had worn torn and ripped slightly at the bottom as a bruise marked her left shoulder and a slap imprint from a red and angry palm had been left on the right side of her face. She felt her hands curled into soft fists as she took in a deep breath, before she turned away from the mirror and limped softly towards the closet as the rays of sunshine that dawned early morning peeked through the dark curtains of the windows on the west side of the large bedroom.

The soft knocks on the door indicated her maids were ready to come inside, and had heard the screaming and crying earlier in the night. They had decided to give her time to regain herself, with the permission of Octavius who hesitantly agreed. But she didn’t know if she was ready to have them enter the darkened room, her feet them turning and she walked back to the windows as she shut the curtains closed and made sure the sun couldn’t shine through. She didn’t want sunlight right now; it pained her sensitive eyes that were already sore and puffy from crying. She then turned back towards the door, her lips pursed slightly as she called out softly, in a hoarse and strained voice “Come in.” With that, the door opened and two of Ophelia’s maids slowly came in with lowered heads and shut the door behind them. Silence followed as they glanced around the room, taking note of the damage.

Two chairs were knocked over, and two glasses of wine with a bottle were on the floor and spilled over the wood flooring as ripped clothes remained next to the bed. Ophelia’s hands trembled lightly as she looked towards them and then gestured for them to enter further, and they did so, not needing to ask if she was alright or what had happened; both of them knew, and had seen it many times. They didn’t need an explanation, and they proceeded by going to the closet and grabbing the under garments needed before the actual dressing. A third maid slipped in a little late, bowing her head in apology before rushing over with a bowl of hot water and some pills on a dark rolling cart that she steered near the vanity, where a small stool was and the top of the vanity had a large, round mirror with a surface that held so many substances of makeup and perfume.

Ophelia slid from the remains of her ripped clothing before dressing into the under shirt and under skirt that had been presented to her, and then took her seat on the vanity as she felt the warm wash cloth press softly onto her bruise, rubbing softly to make the muscles underneath relax and stop their defensive hiding, and then onto the slap mark on her face as the wash cloth tried to make it feel better. But the emotional pain inside Ophelia’s chest made it only hurt even more as the wash cloth then gently rubbed all over her face and along her shoulders and neck, trying to soothe the muscles and wash off any unwanted substances. She didn’t have time to bathe this morning; and Octavius had already forbid her too since they were meeting with the Duchess and the Duke this morning. Oh, how she loathed the Duke coming along, with his judgmental stares and dagger eyes looking over her with skeptics and not approving. But, if the Count didn’t approve, she wouldn’t be in this room. So the Duke dealt with her presence in a cold state while Ophelia clung to Stella’s side with her head down, like a child holding onto a mother’s arms.

“Any preference to colors today, Countess?” one of the maids asked, causing Ophelia to glance over at her as her body struggled to move from the tight and stiff position she was in. She waited for the wig color to be announced, and the maid quickly broke the silence with flustered cheeks at forgetting to comment. “He wants a dark color.”

Ophelia nodded to herself, and then she stood up as the maid with the wash cloth quickly drew back and put the cloth back on the cart’s surface as Ophelia made her way to the closet in silence, her bright eyes traveling over the contents of what was hanging in her vision. The closet had over 100 outfits, just for her alone, stuffed on three racks that went deep into the closet as she glanced over at one of the maids standing near the closet entrance. “Something black.” She said, looking over the dresses and then glancing over at the windows. “Weather for today?”

“Cold and Gray, as always, Countess.” The maid replied. Ophelia would nod again, gesturing to the closet.

“Something dark, preferably black or gray with longer sleeves and something not heavy. My body can’t take that.” She said, turning and walking back to the Vanity Stool as she was handed a glass of water and she downed the pills held out to her quickly. The maid standing next to her was frowning at her; worried, but she was also the nurse maid who helped Ophelia with her pregnancies and overseeing her health, along with the doctor who Ophelia didn’t like in the least since she was a close friend of her husband’s and had caught on to the same behavior.

“Countess, do you think the child is alright?” The nurse asked boldly, but Ophelia wasn’t offended in the last. She nodded.

“I think so. No damage to the stomach or lower torso. I should be fine, and so should the child.” She said without even glancing at her, her back straight. “I’ve heard rumors that The Count has been thinking of having a mistress bear a son if I cannot. Is this true, or do you not know?” The maids were silent for a few moments, all with slightly wide eyes and looking between each other as they then looked back at her, and the nursing maid spoke.

“We do not know. The rumors, yes, we’ve heard but… we hadn’t heard the Count speaking about it, and no one else seems to have either.” She said which caused Ophelia to nod. She knew that the reputation would go down if anyone found out that Octavius had a lowly mistress bear his son instead of his own wife. But perhaps the poor bastard was growing hopeless, after all, Ophelia was only 19 and had had 4 pregnancies. But she had many years to come, and the ideas of having a baby boy were revolting. Why should she give love to another male that would end up becoming a soulless monster, when she couldn’t give love to three daughters who were gone the next day?

Ophelia broke the silence and her thoughts by reaching over, grabbing the white powder on the stand as the maids set in motion to picking out a dress, finding her wig and getting everything straight. Ophelia’s hands worked quickly as she covered up her entire face with a matching, pale skin tone powder that was made to be gentle on her own flesh as it soon covered up the hand print on her face, hiding the evidence of abuse as she then put it on her shoulders and collar bones, covering up most of the bruise laying against the skin.

When her face was finally covered in white, along with her upper torso, she quickly reached over and began to color in her eyelids with a dark, gray smokey powder with a small brush around the side of the eye and then a little on the corners on her lower lid as she felt hands gently hold onto her shaved head as the scratchy underside of a wig was adjusted and clipped onto her scalp smoothly, attaching itself firmly to her skull as the long, dark black brown curls fell in light wavy spirals down her back and front while part of them were pinned up on the back of her head to look like a half done ponytail or a very messy bun that had many stray locks loosened. The bangs were long, and covered part of her forehead as she continued to apply some darker looking gray to her lips, and then a slight red tint to the cheek bones upon her face.

“Why do I even bother anymore?” She muttered as the face of sadness and pain was now hidden behind a thin layer of powder and liquid makeup that turned her into a doll, the wig high lighting her pale skin as she stood up and walked towards the closet with ease as her bare feet slid lightly across the wooden floor. The maids had picked out a thin dress that had elbow lace sleeves with a corset top with ruffles at the bottom, and a medium length and flowing skirt that would go to her knees as the back would trail a bit on the floor as she slipped into it. The corset laces were tied harshly, making her huff and puff as it forced her back to go stiff and she had to hold onto the wall while they tightened the laces up and adjust the skirt, doing up buttons and zippers. Once they were done, she walked over to the mirror and observed the dress carefully, cotton with silk and lace all tied into a well done dress she had designed herself for darker and drearier days, and she could also wear it to a funeral if she liked. Of course, Octavius kept Ophelia way from funerals, even for closer friends since he already was aware of her suicidal tendencies and wanted to keep her as far away from the imagery of death as possible. She frowned as she looked in the mirror, a completely different person then what she was around ten minutes ago. She was the other side of Ophelia.

“The Count said once you were ready, to meet him if you would, in the breakfast lounge where the Duchess and Duke will meet you both.” The nurse maid said, adjusting her bun as she watched with her hands folded behind her back. Ophelia turned to her, tilting her head.

“How do I look?” She asked, in a soft and almost broken whisper. The nurse maid frowned, but then smiled sadly at her.

“Like an angel, Countess. You always do. Even without the mask.” She said which actually left Ophelia with slightly wide eyes as the maid quickly rolled the cart away. They all knew… they all knew that she was hiding, that she was forced to hide beneath a shell. They knew it… and they felt sympathy for her. She then would turn, walking out the door as the other maids followed her while she made her way down the hall.

“I want a new wig made. I want it to be a dark, crimson red with black underneath.” Ophelia said as the maid beside her looked at her with slightly wide eyes. “Make it… slightly wavy and curly, in a style Octavius is fond of. I want it delivered in secrecy, and tell our painter I want to set up an appointment for it. I feel like making something more… unique.” She said, and the maid nodded to her as they turned down the manor’s ways. It was quite a large house, almost the size of a small castle, dark with gray brick on the outside and inside, every hallway was decorated with paintings and vases with fake flowers or real ones in them as many doors let to many places that Ophelia hadn’t even seen all of.

They did finally reach the breakfast lounge, where the maid departed as Ophelia entered. It was a light gray room with floral patterns on the wall, as well with couches around the ring with an elegant table and leather chairs seated around it for tea and other refreshments as well as a few pastries that were usually brought. She didn’t see Octavius there, which gave her time to adjust her wig a but before she looked out the glass windows to the east side of the room, looking out over the court yard and the lake in the far distance near the large forest tree line. She could see the barns and stables for their horses out in the expanse as well, training occurring at this time of day. Her hands were rested in front of her as she continued to watch a younger horse start his training with wicked and revolting jerks of the tight ropes. But soon, they would break him.

Ophelia felt like this horse. But only she was already broken.

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Octavius Alderance: The Count

Octavius stretched, letting out a long loud yawn as he stared out one of the large windows in his study already fully dressed aside from his wig in semi-formal wear, a long black coat with small gothic patterns on it and a plain black long sleeve button-up overshirt with black dress pants, his pants were tucked into a pair of big black leather boots.

The previous night was quite strenuous. He had spent almost the entire night with his wife Ophelia, who was being defiant almost the entire time. He, of course, had punished her accordingly for it by being even more rough than he normally was which even had it's repercussions on him. 'Nothing a cup of coffee can't fix..' he thought to himself. He called to his personal servant who was standing just outside of his study. "Yes, Count Octavius?" The servant was an older man, and has been around since Octavius was a young boy. "Would you fetch me a cup of coffee, please?" His servant bowed, giving a tired smile. "Yes, Sir," and left to go make Octavius' favorite brew that was a tradition after a long night.

There was another servant in the room dusting shelves, Octavius shot a glance towards her and pointed to one of the higher shelves. "You missed a spot." The servant girl stammered and nearly fell off of the tall ladder that she was on top of. "I'm sorry, Count Octavius! I will get right on it!" Octavius was a very controlling man in his manor. Every servant, maid, cook, and doctor knew who the real Octavius was behind the closed doors and feared him. Some showed this fear, while others tried their best to hide it to not give him satisfaction of him seeing them in fear. Octavius grinned a bit and turned back to the window, placing his hands behind his back and taking in the sights of gloomy London.

After awhile, his servant returned with the steaming cup of coffee. Octavius turned and took the cup of coffee, smiling. "Thank you, Thomas." He took a sip of the coffee and gave a slow nod of approval.

"Is that all, Count Octavius?" Octavius shook his head after taking another sip. "Mm..No, I need you to go and inform Ophelia's maids that we will be attending breakfast with the Duke and Duchess today. I expect her to wear dark clothing today. Oh, and tell Doctor Clarke to be there as well. I want to make sure my son is alright. Ophelia hurt her stomach last night and I'd like to be sure she isn't suffering internal injuries." Octavius said 'Son' even though he had no clue of the gender of the baby inside of her because he believed if he said it enough, his wishes would come true.

"Yes, Sir." Thomas bowed and left to do the Count's biddings.

Octavius finished his cup of coffee, setting it down on the side of his desk and grabbed his wig, placing it on top of his head. It was one of his most comfortable wigs and could wear it in his sleep and feel comfortable. The wig was long and snowy white, tucked neatly behind his ears. Most of the hair hung loosely to his mid-back but a bit of hair was flung over his shoulder and laid flat against his chest. He glanced at himself in a small mirror on his desk, giving himself a stern look before smiling. He saw his father in his eyes and it made him proud to be who he was and where he stood. He was living up to his father's wishes. After a few moments he stood fully and started to head down to the breakfast lounge to wait for those who were invited.

Breakfast was already being prepared when he arrived and he was glad of that, he was having a good day so far, he didn't want his cooks ruining it already. He sat in an armchair in the corner of the room, a servant coming to him with a cup of coffee which he happily took and sipped on with his eyes closed. He was going through his day in his mind. The very end of the day was what he was anticipating and his thoughts dwelled on the Mistress he was planning on meeting in the late evening. "Mm..A good day indeed.."

When Ophelia entered the room, he tried to avoid her, knowing she would ruin his mood with her emotions of the previous night. He grabbed a book and opened it up on his lap, reading the boring literature in order to give himself the illusion of being busy.

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Stella Hawthorne : The Duchess

"Momma, I don't want to wear my suit. I want to go outside and play fetch with Lionel

Stella shook her head, causing the lavender curls from her wig to swing side to side along with her. Her arms were crossed and her pale blue orbs were focused on the young boy in front of her, her son who, to her amusement, was making quite the show of pouting as a maid showed him the outfit he was to wear while they visited the Count and Countess. Nicholas detested wearing anything uncomfortable, which was the majority of the things his father seemed to approve of these days. She bent down towards her son, smoothing the his wrinkled brow before pinching his nose affectionately.

"Don't worry. Momma and Papa will just be having tea and discussing a few thing with Ophelia and Octavius. Then you can come home and play with Lionel, ok?"She pitied the poor boy, having to attend math lessons almost every day and then being forced into attending a stuffy meeting with adults. She let out a tiny sigh and pushed back Nicholas's hair before walking over towards the large bay window inside hers and Jeriamiah's room. She leaned idly against it, staring outside and watching as several of the servants spoke one another below. Casually, her hand trailed up to where her throat was and the white powder she had put on had seemingly erased the proof of her husbands latest rage.

His hands around her throat, in a vice grip she was never able to escape. She loathed the days when her husband would return home at all hours of night, smelling of perfume and desperation from the whores whose bed he shared. It was those days she couldn't hold back her clear revulsion, in both her expression and her mannerisms towards her husband. All it took was her flinching away from his touch to toss him into a rage these days. The thing that always bothered wasn't the rape or beating afterward, but the look he gave her afterwords. Like he regretted all of it, but there was nothing he could do to stop it.

"Momma? Are you alright?" She felt a tug on the end of her dress, and the rest of her thoughts faded away as she stared into Nicholas's greyish blue eyes stared worriedly into her own. She admired them, and how similar they were in color to his fathers. Nicholas's eyes held only the innocent and purity all children his age shared, while his fathers showed only power and pride. "I'm fine darling, now hurry and put your suit on. Momma will be down in the parlor waiting with Daddy while you finish. Don't give Madeline any trouble." He nodded before walking over to where Stella's favorite maid Madeline was standing, waiting with open arms for Stella's little prince to put formal attire on.

She gave her son one last affectionate look, lingering for a few moments before heading out the door and downstairs towards the parlor where her husband had said to wait in before they left. Surprisingly, Jeremiah was not in his usual spot drinking his beloved whiskey. Despite that, she sat down on one of the many white couches that were scattered around the parlor and waited for her husband to enter and to announce their departure.

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Character Portrait: Jeremiah Hawthorne Character Portrait: Stella Hawthorne
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Jᴇʀᴇᴍɪᴀʜ Hᴀᴡᴛʜᴏʀɴᴇ: Tʜᴇ Dᴜᴋᴇ

Jeremiah marched through the halls of his home with a grim expression on his face, fuming silently as the only noised the accompanied him was the heavy clunk of the old dark wooden walking cane as it stopped him from having to hobble about. His mood was foul as sleep had all but evaded him the night before. An unpleasant mixture of guilt, anger and the usual pain his leg plagued him as he was denied even a moment's rest. The soft silk goose feather pillows and warm sheets imported from the east did nothing as the hours ticked on. Of course it all had to do with Stella again. She had forced his hand yet again despite all the warning he gave her. He'd left bruises this last time that he ordered her to keep covered up. As with every incident before now, it left him fighting off the urge to go and apologize, try and make everything better and swear he'd never do it again. His his ability to justify his actions won over yet again he concluded that it was her fault in the end. A good wife wouldn't give him reason to do such horrible things. He needn't raise a hand if she never stepped out of line to begin with. All he was doing was trying to make her what she needed to be.

The sound of wood hitting against wood was joined by the sound of hurried footsteps as someone approached Jeremiah from behind. He did not break stride of look over his shoulder as the figure approach; he knew who it was already. No other member of the household was so willing to approach him in this way besides.... "Walter, I take it all of my plans for the day are ready," he said in a low, bored sounding drone as the old figure kept up pace at his flank.

Walter was a very old and devoted member of the Hawthorne family's employees as he had been in service as far back as when his father took over as the head of the family. He was an elderly gentleman who wore his greying hair slicked back with a thick and well groomed mustache on his lip and a pair of thick glasses he kept propped up on his nose. Of all the men and women who served the family, he was by far the most efficient and unquestioning member of the lot. He understand his young master's demand for absolute perfection and followed it to a t without hesitation.

The old butler nodded as he adjusted his spectacles on his face as he began to give Jeremiah exactly what he wanted to hear in his light Irish accent. "Of course, sir. Lady Hawthorne is dressed and readied, waiting for you in the parlor as per your instructions. I believe the young master is being taken care of as we speak though it shouldn't be much longer. Your carriage is ready to take you to see Count and Countess Alderance. By the time you return, the house should be spotless and dinner will be served as soon as you request it."

Jeremiah lifted his free hand to adjust his collar as he listened to the butler's report. The old Irishman was absolutely flawless in his execution as usual. "Excellent," he said with a ghost on a smile on his lips. "Inform the chefs to avoid using too many exotic spices with Nicholas's food. He barely ate dinner last time before he swore his tongue was on fire."

The old man nodded. "Of course, sir," he said before giving a quick bow and walking off to complete the tasks at hand.

After another minute of walking, Jeremiah finally reached the parlor and found that Walter's information was good as always as he found Stella sitting there on a couch looking as radiant as ever. She was the purest form of loveliness, the patient and obedient wife she was despite the streak of unpleasantries since their marriage. He approached her with a smile on his face as he sat down next to her, using his cane for support as he lowered himself down. Being so close to her made it very easy to forget the misunderstandings from the night before. "Nicholas hasn't been too much of a handful this morning, has he, dear?" he asked brightly as his weak smile slowly began to widen. There was nothing wrong in the world right now and nothing could spoil his perfect little life.