Addi and Sig started at the knock on Felicie's front door, but Felicie remained calm, at least outwardly. "It's probably someone coming by to get some of my produce or medicines," she said as she rose, and went to the front room of her cottage. Addi and Sig however, heard a tone of nervousness when she saw who was on her doorstep.
"Isabel, please," said the visitor as she stepped into the cottage. "I'm passing through on my way to visit one of my friends. I wanted to take her a couple of your delicious jellies. I heard the berry crop was remarkably good this year."
"I'm honored. Please, take this comfortable seat here. It will only take a minute to get the jars out of my pantry."
This Isabel, however, did not sit, but followed Felicie into the kitchen. "Oh, forgive me, you have visitors already!" said the girl ingenuously.
"Yes. Madame de Corseul-Yverdia, meet my guests, Sigismund and Adolfina Jager. One of my friends from their area asked me to host them for a night. They're passing through," Felicie said firmly.
Felicie rapidly moved to the pantry and returned with two glittering jars.
"Thank you, Felicie," said Isabel, laying some coins on the table. "My friend Rosamund will love these!"
"I hope she will," said Felicie, subtly trying to urge the princess towards the door.
"Oh, and I have a letter for you," Isabel added. "I imagine your postmistress was happy not to have to send someone out here. I hope you've enjoyed your stay here," she said to Sig and Addi. "Goodbye, Felicie!"
"Rather coincidental, her visit," said Addi thoughtfully.
"Well, yes," said Felicie slowly. "I presume she was already passing this way, though, so perhaps... it's nothing."
"Let's hope so," said Sig cheerfully. "I hope your letter is good news. Should we leave while you read it?"
"Oh no," said Felicie. "I'm sure it's nothing important." She opened the letter and scanned over it quickly. "Hmm. Another coincidence. I wonder..."
"Well, you may as well know," said Felicie. "When my aunts fled this region, my eldest aunt moved to a quiet town named Beaumont, in the kingdom of Normandie. This letter is from her granddaughter, with whom I keep in touch. She's not part of the Marchen world, but she mentions in passing that there have been several break-ins in the capital city of Rouen, and she's worried, because the thieves have apparently moved on to the countryside. There's recently been a break-in at the summer home of the royal family, Roseraie."
Sig turned to Addi as she drew in her breath. "Roseraie has long been in the royal family of Normandie," Addi explained. "Supposedly, it was once a hiding place for one of the younger princes, who had been turned into... a beast."
Sig sighed. "I see. Felicie, do you know any Marchen who live there?"
"No, I only know my cousin. My aunt made the choice to leave the fairy life behind, for the safety of herself and her children. The truth is, my own fairy powers are rather limited. My mother worried about too much power leading to more evil. She only passed down some of her abilities to me."
"Louise might know someone," said Addi. "Ulfer clans try to stay in contact with at least the nearest clans in their regions."
"Hopefully she'll know someone to send to investigate, too," added Sig.
"Do you know, Sig, I think we ought to handle this ourselves," said Addi slowly.
"More attention than you might know," said Felicie. "The current daughter of the king of Normandie is named Rosamund. She's likely to be the friend our inquisitive Isabel is going to visit, seeing as they're both royalty."
"That may make it all the important that it be you and I, Sig, that go."
"You know something, Addi," said Sig.
"No, I've guessed something. But I may very well be wrong. Do you trust me enough to draw possible attention to yourself, in the case that I am wrong? I imagine Louise can find someone else to accompany me."
"No, I've begun this, and I'll see it through. But I wish you could tell me what you suspect. You've always trusted me."
Addi sighed. "Let's get to Normandie and find out more about the situation. If we find what I think we will, I'll tell you what I'm thinking. We'd better get over to Louise's village and see if she knows a Marchen near Roseraie."
*Although the current story location is not in a unified France, it's obviously in an area of what today is France. I did some research on what princesses were called in French royalty, and my best guess is that Isabel's royal title would be "Madame de (her home kingdom.) I'm taking a little license here, as the kingdom of France did not allow reigning Queens, as we see the Queen Eleanor is in this story. Therefore there really isn't precedence for what the younger unmarried sister of a reigning Queen would be called.