Denise was mad, reeling in fact. The Duke, her employer had gone to meet the Merchant Guild. Why would that be a problem? Surely because it was done behind her back and it would surely fail, seeing as she set the meeting and she was the representative for the Hildebrand business. It would've been a successful venture. The first of its kind. The first open and transparent noble venture between a noble house and the Merchant Guild without the need for the greedy Middle Men. The Duke had botched it, slathered it with slime, gore and gruel, by going himself. What did he expect?
To simply leisurely sail through the negotiations as he had done with his whole life? The business was standing on a leg at the moment because of her. She was keeping them afloat from the Duke's plan to die intoxicated and layered with women that were frankly after his imaginary gold pockets.
The Duke returned after an hour from the time he had left. Denise had calmed down by then, she was checking accounting books for any discrepancies when he walked in, his face pale and his personal servant sweating behind him. The servant shook his head and Denise decided it was safe to leave the room when the duke caught her by her hair.
"You bitch" he threw her at the floor, "You sent me there." He couldn't throw very far with his current stature and health concerns.
He slapped her and she bit her lip. This was unfair. It was wrong but the Duke, his heart was filled with pride. The merchants were sure to destroy that and whatever he was offering them. He was free mockery offered to them on a silver platter.
"They mocked me. They even criticized the offer I had given them." he sat on his chair. It creaked from his weight."They dare mock the Duke of Hildebrand. My family has helped run this empire for generations."
Denise almost scoffed. She was quite sure that it was her family that had helped run the business behind the ducal house for generations. He was a fluke, his whole family was a ruse. But what could she do? She was but a servant. She cursed her ancestors for choosing this life.
It's an honorable profession Denise.
No mother, it was not. It was filled with eternal silence and groveling for the nobles that cared nothing for their servants and the commoners. Only thing they knew was to take and take, until they could take no more.
"Leave" he commanded.
Denise stood up to leave. Her part was complete, she would nurse her face with his favorite vase...
"You... you're the reason for this curse. You have cursed me." Denise looked at him like he had gone mad. He had to have gone mad.
"You and that woman." he growled.
It was common knowledge that the Duchess of Hildebrand was quite frankly, too good for her husband. She was, because she had passed a few years ago, glorious in every sense of the word that he wasn't. So in this situation, it had to be his daughter.His scapegoat. His 'sweet' but only ever just for a moment.
"This blunder has cost me the favor of the Emperor"
Denise didn't hear anything about the Emperor being involved in this.
"Tell Colette she is to be offered as a bride to General Viler and you are to be her personal maid."