02x06 - The Sands of Time

You said the Dutchmen invented this?

They are useful at some things.

Shame about that infernal drumming.

Our scouts say their numbers have swollen.

Ready the men.

Sire, inclement weather presents further challenges.

Can't you taste the tang of victory in the mist?

... and having God on your side.

Corpus Christi. Amen.

Corpus Christi. Amen.

All this praying gives me an ache in the belly.

Looks like old Delbart might beat you to the latrine.

Just acquired a vineyard near Limoges, apparently.

Had a party to celebrate, been sampling his new assets all night.

Corpus Christi.

Corpus Christi.

I wanted to share my little adventure with Father Pascal.

You brag of such a cowardly act?

That priest put up quite a fight for a man of peace.

His dying words would make a nun blush.

This does not concern me.

You killed him.

How dare you.

You said you wanted rid of him.

I did not wish his murder.

You know more than anyone what it takes to live in Versailles.

So I hereby wipe my conscience clean and deposit poor Father Pascal's cruel demise onto yours.

Before he departed this life, I persuaded him to pen a missive.

A farewell note. Quite touching.

It seems he couldn't spend another day without the affection of his true love...

... the Queen.

Hm.

My investigation has concluded that Lord Delbart was poisoned at a select gathering in his own rooms.

Then we must control what happens in private.

It is hard to conceive of further action, having already curtailed so much public folly.

After Father Pascal, another man was murdered at my feet.

In the house of God.

We could consider rationing wine, a restriction on gambling, perhaps a curfew.

But we must control what happens in private.

That could be difficult to enforce, Your Majesty.

The very heart of France has a reputation for indulgence and sin.

By the King's return, I vow that it shall be a haven of temperance and piety.

Only a Spaniard would try to stop the French from drinking wine.

What action do you propose in pursuit of the poisoner?

There's only one person I know with the acuity for that.

Your presence is needed in Versailles.

The King has asked for me?

The palace is consumed with poison. I fear for its very soul.

I will try again to reason with the King.

I owe him nothing.

You are the only one who can cure this disease.

Go find another scapegoat. I'm leaving to start a new life.

I'm taking Claudine with me.

It's hard to imagine Her Majesty in that position, I know.

But, well, who can deny there is something enticing about a man in a soutane?

Oh, madame, you have missed the best gossip.

My presence was requested elsewhere.

Really? With company more stimulating than ours?

The Queen asked to see me.

Excuse me.

What services did she require?

If she is with child, it must be an immaculate conception.

Not my services, as such.

So what did she want from you?

To be her friend.

It's not very subtle of her, is it?

Please do not doubt my loyalty, madame.

My private knowledge of you shall remain so, I promise.

You are too principled for your own good.

This one is from Madame de Montespan, sire.

Later, perhaps.

You know, sire, it takes a brave king to sample the modest life of a soldier.

The court can exercise my patience.

I was hoping battle might be a tonic.

But sleep remains elusive, as ever.

You do not fear for your safety, sire?

No, in fact.

At least here it is clear who your enemy is.

I had lost my way.

But this is the path of God so I will be in the palm of his hand while I'm at war.

And he will watch over Versailles.

By order of the Queen, the salons are closed.

The salons are closed.

This place is turning into a prison, not a palace.

No parties, no concerts, salons.

It's impossible to get a glass of wine, never mind exert influence.

You must learn patience.

You have gained favour back in court, have you not?

Yes, but the Queen wants the place like a chapel.

The curfew makes it more like a crypt.

That explains why fewer clients are coming.

The King is away. The soft white underbelly is exposed.

Now is the time to expand our business!

Now is the time to be extra cautious.

You must be careful not to overreach.

Why do you keep this journal?

It's a list of everyone I've helped.

My insurance.

Who knows when such information could come in useful?

Fabien? I think I've found it.

The west flank has been crushed, sire.

The Dutch are being tossed like a kite in the wind.

One battle does not win a war.

I had a vision last night.

It was a fitful sleep, but deep at last.

I dreamed of taking a life.

I felt no pleasure, no hatred, no contempt.

But no regret either.

This was a premonition?

Perhaps a harbinger of destiny. This is the justice of God.

I do what I must.

What is that, sire?

Send a message to Bontemps and Colbert... they will entertain our eminent visitor without me.

You're not returning to Versailles?

I was to discuss a trade alliance with the Sultan of Bijapur.

But it is God's will that I remain in battle now.

The English fleet have been defeated.

A setback is to be expected.

We can absorb the loss and move onward with confidence.

This is a major blow, sire!

To overreach at this juncture could prove catastrophic.

Exactly what our foe would predict.

Precisely why we shall do the opposite.

We move on Amsterdam when this victory is complete.

I would urge caution, sire.

We must cut our coat according to our cloth.

And give them time to prepare their defences?

We will strike at their heart.

Claudine?

Claudine! What happened? Tell me.

What? What is it, Claudine? Tell me.

Oh, God. No!

Oh, God!

Oh, God.

Forgive me.

The Queen would have us become closer to God by the day.

I hope she brings similar enthusiasm to our business ventures.

The Sultan's en route?

Bringing with him much hope and possibility.

We shall hit the Dutch where it hurts when we usurp them from the Port of Pondicherry.

I trust your office will help present the palace in its most favourable light?

Well, when we can all profit from such a trade deal, I will cooperate wholeheartedly.

Ah, just the person!

My friend, Isabelle, was just saying she has aspirations to the King's service.

There are no positions vacant.

Surprising how much fun they can actually be.

I have received good tidings from the battlefield.

Our King has trounced the Dutch at Utrecht and Nijmegen, and now the French army is moving towards Amsterdam.

All residents in the Palace of Versailles shall join together in celebration of our King's glorious victory.

Father Bossuet will lead us all though a time of prayer and sobriety.

"My dear Monsieur Maquet...

... there is a horrible rumour...

... that you have been dabbling in nefarious doings.

But rest assured such poisonous information can be quashed...

... for a modest fee.

Please oblige at your earliest convenience."

Welcome to Versailles, the heart of France, Your Grace.

We are delighted to embrace our Eastern friends.

We trust that your visit will be a pleasant and prosperous one.

Your Grace, Marie-Therese of Austria, Queen of France and Queen Consort of Navarre.

The Sultan is... most thrilled.

However, he looks forward to dealing with the King, very much.

Your Majesty, there has been a misunderstanding.

It seems the Sultan comes from a culture where women are not afforded such respect as ours.

The Queen of France is not good enough?

On the contrary, he sees women as above such things.

He does not wish you to be sullied by matters of finance.

He insists on seeing the King.

Presumably, this commerce is as vital to India as to us?

But we are not in a position to make demands.

They know that we need control of the port for the war effort.

I gave the King my word we would make this happen.

We cannot accept defeat.

Not while there's one person in court with the credentials to fill the King's shoes.

That is the most preposterous thing I've ever heard.

The Queen admits it is an unorthodox request.

Your brother would be deeply grateful.

The people of France would be forever in your debt.

Yes, but what's in it for me?

Fun.

I'm sure the Exchequer could see its way to providing an extra stipend.

How dare you, Colbert!

You think I can be bought like a common whore?

Certainly not, sir.

Although we could do with an increase in our allowance.

You're a man of imagination. You can do better than that.

I suppose I could dabble in this trade lark, find a thrill in the cut and thrust of commerce.

So, we must seduce the Sultan in order to control the Asian trade...

... but how will we transport the commodities within France?

Canals, Majesty.

Right.

And the Canal Royal en Languedoc is under your aegis, is it not?

Indeed, Majesty.

Connecting the Mediterranean with the Atlantic, enabling us to bypass Spain completely.

So the access is more valuable than the merchandise itself.

I will comply.

But I want a small slice of all the trade on the canal and a modest percentage of all the tolls.

This is highly irregular. Do you want me to play my part or not?

Very well.

Your Grace, taking brief respite from his military campaign, Louis, King of France.

Sultan, I trust you had a pleasant journey?

I thank Your Highness for your generous welcome, and present you with this gift.

Enchanted, Your Excellency.

Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!

Oh!

Ah!

We are delighted to extend the hand of friendship and commerce between our countries.

The Sultan shows great foresight in considering this trade deal.

Your arrangement with the Dutch administration is enviable, but we are confident we can offer better.

Yes, the French appetite for your spices and salt should create vast profits for both parties, symbolised by two great leaders in synchronicity and two great countries in symbiosis.

Good God, Colbert! You're trying to bore this man half to death?

We don't require this piffle!

You're here to discuss numbers, not so?

Well, why not let our people compare abacuses, and I will show the Sultan around, huh?

Hm?

I had these trees imported from every country in Europe, so my garden represents all the little nations in unison, facing me.

Each month, a different blossom blooms, according to the colours of the rainbow.

I like to think my personality's in every part of my palace.

It's beautiful, really beautiful, Your Highness.

I knew he would be good at it.

I just hope he knows when to stop.

An historic agreement to be proud of.

Just sign there, sire.

I'm sorry, does that mean it's 1,500 per day?

We took many hours of negotiation to reach that figure, sire.

Well, it's too much.

For that, we'd require exclusive access to the entire coastline and a portion of the profit.

There is no point landing the deal unless it makes financial sense to all parties involved.

Remember, sire, this is of great importance to all of France.

This could affect the outcome of the war.

I am grateful to you for considering this proposal, but don't, for one second, think you can dictate terms to the King of France.

He's done this to humiliate me.

This is directly from De Witt, sire.

Curious.

The thought of our forces in Amsterdam has forced the Dutch to ask for a truce.

Good tidings indeed, sire. This saves us stretching our resources.

This is wrong. They've not yet suffered sufficiently.

This offer is on his terms.

De Witt dresses my victory up as his own.

I will negotiate with William.

The only leader in Europe who is worthy to be my adversary.

But, sire, William does not yet speak for the people of Holland.

He will in good time. How can you be sure?

Because William wants it! And God wills it.

Your Highness.

The Sultan recognises the King's higher reason and concedes to his better judgment.

You underestimate him, my Queen.

You never miss a chance, do you?

Needs must as the Devil rides.

We can't all live like the King.

It was on a plate.

How could I resist?

All with your wife's fulsome blessing, no doubt?

You would have been proud of me.

I managed to turn it all quite deftly to my advantage.

One does need a ruthless streak to succeed in business.

So, I have reason to celebrate.

We should host a party.

"We"?

Why not?

To launch my new career, to honour our success in battle.

And to get fully inebriated.

"We"?

We have a notoriety to maintain.

You and I.

And for this you have the Queen's imprimatur?

Well, as the king, I can do as I please.

I miss you more by the day, my love.

I try to sleep, but I can only see your eyes.

I touch your cheek.

And I kiss your neck, your shoulder, your breasts.

I cannot live without you, my love. Your Thomas.

What are you up to, my little shrew?

Nothing.

Just a note from cousins in Beziers.

I don't remember you mentioning any family down there.

Terribly dull.

On my father's side.

You wouldn't like her.

So, why are you so overwrought?

Be gentle, lord?

Oh...

I know I should.

Aaah!

Have you noticed any handsome boys yet?

No! No?

They don't look at me.

You don't need any help to catch the King's eye. Don't be silly.

Do you hasten to embroidery?

To prayers, madame.


I cannot help but hear gossip.

Excuse my friend's frivolity.

You do not desire the King's favour?

Every girl dreams of such a chance.

But I am much too plain.

Perhaps.

But it takes a special devotion to please a king.

And skills a girl like you can only dream of.

Of course, madame.

But time will pass.

No man can desire a woman of a certain age.

You spoke to the young physician.

Sorry, my friend. I can't help you there.

Me neither. Haven't seen her for months.

She wanted to know about some sort of seed.

A red powder. A poison?

He told her to go to Paris!

But you can't tell them that we sent you.

I used to be in control, but I'm losing everything.

My confidence.

My role in court, my place in the King's heart.

He's even stopped writing to me.

And his bed?

It's only a matter of time.

And the clock is ticking faster.

And while the King is away, the Queen moves against me.

You want her to be dispensed with?

No.

No, that's not an option.

And besides, she isn't a rival for the King's passion.

But there is someone younger...

... who has designs on him.

She will be beautiful, but is she astute?

Is she cunning?

She is innocent like I once was.

A woman must gain guile and wisdom as she loses youth.

You must recognise what you are capable of and embrace it.

That is when real power emerges.

What if I am not strong enough?

What if I fail?

I have faith in you.

But the choice is yours.

Take control of your own destiny...

... or leave it up to fate.

De Witt has been apprehended, sir.

At last, the people of Holland have let their feelings be known.

They wish to execute him. Will you intervene?

I think not.

Then the leadership is yours. Congratulations, Stadtholder.

You did it.

This is the work of God, not man.

And we have word from our source close to the King, the enemy is approaching fast.

I have been expecting this.

Like a spider with a fly.

De Witt would have delivered us into French hands with our britches round our ankles.

From now on, we fight them on my terms.

Tell the men to prepare the dykes.

French men and women, raise a glass to our delicious charter with India, our glorious campaign in Holland and to give thanks for the sacrifices made on our behalf.

A toast...

... to success...

... victory and above all, to my dear, but sadly absent, brother, who created this... dream.

The King!

Admittance only with a personal invitation or unquestionable beauty.

And you, clearly, have neither.

My dear!

Welcome to paradise!

Go, go, go!

And yet again, we have set the benchmark for social intercourse.

And with such aplomb.

There's little we can't achieve when we put our minds together.

And our bodies.

Where's your wife?

She's in the chapel, with the Queen.

Sad really. No amount of prayer will do anything for that face.

Is that the best you've got?

My God, the way you've changed.

And you've become coarser.

She's had you nailed since the start.

She's transformed you before my very eyes. I'm my own man.

I make my own decisions. I turn my back for one second, and, suddenly, you're the King with a new business venture?

And her by your side every step of the way?

What's wrong with having a bit of ambition?

We are creatures of the moment, Philippe. We live for pleasure.

You and I live for now.

Maybe it's time we start thinking of the future.

Are you enjoying the festivities?

They don't have parties like this where I come from.

Just relax and let it happen.

Women are supposed to please, just like everywhere else, but the pain is never as bad as the anticipation.

I fear I may not be cut out for such things.

Oh!

There's no telling what delights tonight will have in store.

The only limit is your imagination.

Madame?

I learned from a young age, a girl just needs to know how to enjoy herself.

Lord our God, we give thanks for our good King's victory against the enemies of our people and for your one true...

I always dreamed of such gatherings.

I wished to be like you.

Glamourous and spirited.

Sweet thing...

Well, no harm can befall of you here.

I have never been with a man before.

That frightens me more than anything.

What's wrong?

Like vinegar.

Your first party at the palace should not be spoiled by bad wine.

So, will you teach me how to enjoy myself?

It's simple.

You just drink and you do powders...

... until you feel nothing.

This one's my favourite.

You'll love it.

Your little plaything seems to be enjoying herself.

Indeed...

Oh, her, delectable little creature... if you like that sort of thing.

You've never sampled a maiden?

Used to be a hobby of mine, before I discovered the real thing.

Well, I would have thought she was quite the challenge, even for you.

Where did you get this?

Someone gave them to me.

Who?

Please don't hurt me!

Who gave them to you?

Get your hands off her!

You do the whoremaster's job for him?

I do Christ's work.

Our Lord values all his brothers and sisters equally.

Now, these people deserve protection more than any bloated palace peacocks.

I need to know where these came from. I don't know.

Never seen them before.

Beads such as these were in my friend's dead fist.

She was a physician. Fair hair.

Came here looking for red powder.

She should not have come here.

And neither should you.

Do you threaten me?

This is friendly advice.

Please.

For your own sake.

Now, if you'll excuse me.

I had a few acquaintances over for prayer and it got a bit out of hand.

But, don't worry, we'll keep the noise down.

You treat this as a joke?

You made me king.

I have every right to do as I please in my own rooms.

You cannot legislate for what happens behind closed doors.

The King will take great exception to this display of contempt.

He'll understand.

I've known him a lot longer than you.

It may have escaped your notice, but while your sinful lover is away, your flank is exposed.

At least I know what my flank is for.

Yes, you have been blessed with the skills of a whore and the morals to match.

We would have made an excellent king and queen.

I shall lead the way.

Your Majesty, this is a huge risk!

Sire, kings fight wars, not battles.

Do you doubt your king? Certainly not, sire.

But if you fall, France falls.

This is MY time.

I will not fall.

Our spy says the attack will be early.

It is time.

Strike now!

Charge!

Hold!

Sire!

Sire!

Sire, you must leave now.

You slipped, sire!

Come with me, sire!

Excuse me. Where is my niece?

Where is my Isabelle? Give me that.

How... ?

Make way for the King!

Shelter for the King!

We had superior forces and a superior armoury, He knew exactly when and how we would attack.

From now on, our own men will not know our next step.

Send scouts to map the waterline and count the fallen dykes!

I want a full assessment of each battalion!

We shall not sleep this night while we plan our attack!

Summon the generals!

We must recognise our predicament.

His Majesty should rest.

We must not make decisions in haste!

Have you forgotten who I am?!

Gentlemen, this is a house of God!

I know God, Abbess!

God speaks through me!

You have a visitor, sire.