|Jouberts circa 1500: Sophie (9), Sylvia (3), Agnes (12), Annabelle (?)|
If anyone bothered to look, they could find records of the Joubert family dating from the year 1500. That was when Annabelle Joubert bought an estate/vineyard outside of Marseilles and moved into it with her three daughters: Agnes (then 12), Sophie (then 9), and Sylvia (then 3). That very same estate/vineyard is still owned by the last surviving members of the Joubert family: Agnes and Sylvia.
How is that possible? Simply put, the Jouberts are a family of witches. Using their magic and potions, they have the ability to keep themselves from aging like normal humans and to heal injuries that would kill anyone else, especially back in the Middle Ages.
Shortly after taking possession of the house in Marseilles, Annabelle Joubert began to instruct her daughters on how to use their powers. It began a few months after Agnes turned 13 and her power began manifesting itself. That is the most dangerous time for a young witch, because she hasn't learned to control her abilities yet. Agnes was kept quarantined to prevent harm to her sisters until she was able to control her magic.
Nearly three years later, middle daughter Sophie started to manifest her power, right on her 13th birthday. By then Agnes had already completed her training to become a junior member of the coven. Sophie, always the most intelligent of the family, didn't need as long as her elder sister to learn to control her magic or to become a part of the coven.
As for poor, tomboyish Sylvia, she had to wait another eight years for her magic to show itself. Eight years of being the only one in the house who isn't a witch is no picnic. Needless to say, Sylvia felt very left out for a while. It was even worse after her thirteenth birthday when she still hadn't gained any magical ability. She was about to give up hope until nearly her fourteenth birthday when she too finally manifested magical abilities. Within a few years after that, Sylvia too had become a witch.
Each of Annabelle's daughters had a different specialty in the world of magic. Agnes had skill with potions. Sophie with her book knowledge was adept at researching old and new forms of magic. And Sylvia with her fiery passion was gifted at offensive magic.
But in the late 17th Century, two tragedies struck. First, Annabelle came down with an illness that deprived her of her ability to use magic. Without magic, her body began a rapid deterioration. No spells or potions could save her, until she finally passed away.
In a last-ditch effort to save her mother, Sophie traveled to the New World to look for a cure, where she wound up being arrested in the town of Salem and condemned to death by the local authorities. By the time word of this reached the coven, it was already too late to save Sophie, leaving Agnes and Sylvia alone in the estate.
Sylvia, always a restless spirit, left soon after while Agnes remained in the house until near the end of the 19th Century. Then, her mortal family having all died, Agnes accepted Sylvia's invitation to make a fresh start across the ocean in a city called Rampart.
The Joubert estate has continued to survive, though, and even to thrive in the capable hands of the Devereaux family, who have served as caretakers of the estate since the 16th Century. The wine produced by the estate--Chateau Devereaux--can be found at better wine shops and restaurants. While the main house of the estate remains closed to visitors, tours are available for the vineyards. Some visitors who stray from the tour come upon the graves of Annabelle and Sophie at the top of a hill overlooking the estate.
(Fun Fact: most of this post comes from the prequel story I wrote that focuses on the Joubert family, as narrated by Sylvia, which itself was largely adapted from flashbacks in the fifth Scarlet Knight story.)
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