“I dreamed of success, and one day, I was tired of dreaming and worked for it instead.”
The Stella Moreau Companies are a manufacturer and marketer of skincare, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products.
One hundred years ago, Stella Moreau was the founder of the company that bears her name, was a visionary and a role model. She was a challenger who proved that anything was possible — if you dared to dream it and had the guts and gumption to go for it. Ahead of her time in every way, she created and ran one of the world’s most prestigious and innovative companies while serving as a wife, mother and a loyal friend to many. And she did it all with charm, humor and exquisite style. She loved beauty with a passion and believed wholeheartedly in its power. Stella started her business with four skin care products and a simple premise: every woman can be beautiful. Armed with that philosophy, plus perseverance, creativity and passion, she changed the face of the cosmetics industry.
“There are two things that can destroy a family business: the family and the business, and they both have to be kept in order. The business part is straightforward; the family aspect less so.”Richard Moeau, son of Stella Moreau
Today, the Moreau family are still actively involved in leadership of the SMC. Although it looks quite differently then it once did. With offices all over the world and thousands of employees, there are countless products, ever-changing brands and stunning marketing campaigns. Today, the Moreau’s are worth approximately 30 billion dollars (USA). Between Stella’s namesake brand, numerous subsidiaries, and diverse acquisitions, SMC is widely considered the global leader in prestige beauty.
Colette is part of the fourth generation of the Moreau family empire. As her grandfather, Richard says, the family is part of the business but they are also the business itself. He instilled rules that are followed to this day. Any member of the family wishing to work for the companies must first acquire outside experience, they cannot overlap with the duties of any other member of the family, and any serious disagreements must be kept completely private. An heiress of the mighty family, Colette opted to go another way. She was not overly interested in business, operations, marketing or management. She pursued a place in philanthropy.
The Stella Moreau Companies Charitable Foundation
Within the world of philanthropy, Colette truly shined. She volunteered early, and made a name for herself as a leader in discovering worthy causes they might support. The standard was to wait for causes to seek them out, but Colette took the radical approach of entering the community to discover where the need was greatest.
On the wings of her own trust fund and helming causes from the Foundation, Colette Moreau became a fixture in the New York City philanthropic scene. She graced socialite circles to raise support (and money, lots of money), but her very presence lended prestige to whatever group she turned towards. Her favorite causes span the arts and the underserved. Since the death of a loved one to the Sickness, she has reorganized efforts to focus on channeler rights and infrastructure. Knowing her ambitions were a level of change that she would never be able to enact on her own, she contacted the channeler Representative Evelyn Avalon, who has sent Colette to the CCD.
Colette is 25 years old. She is 5’4″ and slender. She has golden blonde hair usually worn in rings or waves. She has a heart-shaped face, a sweet smile and brown eyes. Colette is a passionate person who will devote every part of herself to a goal. She is also extremely loyal to her family, and would do anything in their best interests. She is relatively calm individual, but fun-loving and full of life. She loves beautiful things, and will spend money on things that she cherishes, but she is also charitable and compassionate.
3rd Age: Corele Taravin
6th Age: Iris, Greek Goddess of Rainbows
Colette had been channeling since she was 17. She has no ability to control it, and remains at a new experience level. It manifests when she is trying to protect someone else or serve others.
Colette is the Director of Philanthropic Initiatives for the Stella Moreau Companies Charitable Foundation, where she has worked in various levels since she was 18 years old. For them, she primarily engages with community needs in order to determine new philanthropic ventures that align with the foundation’s mission.
A Sunday morning in May, 2038. Colette was 17 years old, and volunteering at a shelter in the center of Queens. The borough was flooded in 2020, the year before she was born, following the worldwide disasters most attributed to climate change. First, the coastline was destroyed by hurricanes. Then the water supply failed and public health was crippled. Long beach was never even rebuilt and remained under water to this day. Millions of people were affected, and all these years later, even the efforts of the city’s most affluent barely felt like it made a dent.
Colette had been volunteering in the shelter for years. The wealthy daughter of the Moreaus was followed by a private security detail, who even when she was handing out plates for a hot meal, hovered close. It was sunset when she left, exhausted and clutching her purse. The man walked alongside. He didn’t talk to her much except to understand what she was doing or who she intended to meet, but he was nice enough. She didn’t really think about it. He was just another employee of her parents. Suddenly he touched her on the arm and had them cross to the other side of the street. Then she saw why. The car they’d driven to the shelter was completely destroyed. Glass sparkled the curb all around. The doors were beaten in. The tires slashed and she was sure that the interior was no better.
She swallowed. The guard was on the wallet, calling for a new car immediately, but his gaze was constantly watching.
“We’re going back,” he said. Colette nodded. He had been hired by her parents, but she still felt strangely vulnerable. There were eyes watching she’d never really noticed before.
They didn’t make it back to the shelter. A group of nine people confronted them. Hoods up, faces covered, some held knives and other handguns. The guard pushed her behind him. He had a gun of his own.
Colette couldn’t explain what happened. All she knew was there was a light one moment, then they were running the next.
Eight years later, it was a Friday afternoon and Colette was minimizing the screens hovering above her desk. Her volunteerism was dramatically restructured after the incident in Queens, and her family sent her to help the community in other ways. Which was how she ended up working where she did now.
Her office was buzzing with similar sorts of last minute organizing. The Foundation’s offices always closed at 3:00 on Fridays, a policy that she advocated for last month in this position. She always said that their hard-working staff deserved a head start to their weekend, but in actuality, it was so that those who would be working the weekend social scene had a brief respite before plunging into it come sundown. Herself included.
The last screen dissipated just an incoming message dinged, but Colette waved it away. She could read it later. For now, she had a dinner meeting and wanted to have time to go home and change out of her usual workwear first. A moment later, her assistant peeked her head in.
“Colette, did you see it?”
Cole glanced up with a smile. Her assistant was Elle, a woman easily 10 years older than her. At 35 years, she was beautiful. None of the women associated with the Moreau companies went without access to beauty, and the pursuit of it seemed to be an unofficial job requirement. Stella believed that every woman no matter who they are deserved to feel beautiful, and a hundred years later, she would be proud to know they were. Sometimes Colette wondered about their priorities, but even she approved of handing out basic hygienic soaps and shampoos to the poor. So she walked the walk herself. She was a Moreau after all.
Elle entered the office then. Today her chocolate hair tumbled in soft waves across a Chanel dress. She was wearing high heels that made her legs look a mile long. A small set of diamond studs adorned her ears.
“No? See what?” Cole replied as she tucked a wallet into a pocket in her purse. Designer, of course. Such things were very important symbols. By then, she was standing as well.
Colette’s ignorance made Elle’s eyes sparkle, and she danced nearer.
“Look what you just received!” and she turned the screen of the device in her palm for her boss to inspect.
“Oh my gosh!” she lit up and immediately placed a call. Tickets bought and paid for filled the view.
A moment later, she made a call, and a face full of mirth and amusement appeared. It was a man a few years older than her. He shared the same heart-shaped face and dimples as Colette. His hair was brunette, but strung with threads of gold in the light.
“Aloïs! Cousin! I would tell you that you really shouldn’t have done this but I then I would be lying because you absolutely should have! You know I love him!” she was practically squealing.
“Colette, it was either I get you these meet and greet tickets or I was going to hear about it all weekend!”
“Oh buts its opening night. I know actors are always nervous on opening night.”
“Broadway would have been bankrupt by now if it weren’t for you. I am sure that any actor would be happy to thank you for their job,” his pointed look was telling. But Colette would have none of it.
“Stop that now. You know that’s not how we are. The Moreau’s don’t expect gratitude like that,” she crossed her arms, but the light in her eyes remained. She glanced at Elle, who hovered nearby off-screen. She was listening, and it was to her that Colette smiled, “But I don’t say no if Mael Durand wants to grovel.” She laughed. Her favorite stage actor was debuting in a show that very night. They’d been at the same events in the past. Fundraisers in particular and sometimes a gallery exhibit opening, but it took a heavy name like Colette Moreau to lean into the pockets of the city’s waning rich to save the theatrical institution. She’d never met him though, but she knew all his work. Now it seemed that her cousin had pulled the strings of their family’s connections to secure a private meeting after the show for his biggest fan.
Aloïs noticed her side-bar comment. “Who’s with you?” he asked and Colette turned the screen. Elle fanned the attention away, but just as the camera settled, she fixed her boss with a look and greeted the other Moreau. He worked for the company proper rather than their charitable foundation, but he was a well known site on this side of things.
“It’s Elle! Colette how could you not tell me.” Cole shuffled around to stand at her friend’s shoulder. Colette was shorter than Elle, even in her heels, but Elle seemed to want to shrink at the attention. She had an insane crush on Aloïs Moreau for years, though Colette had no idea how they ever met in the first place. Her cousin was an even larger socialite than even Colette, and he was handsome enough to be a New York heart throb well before he started working at Stella Moreau. His trust fund was substantially bigger than Colette’s, too as he had no siblings to share it. What Colette never quite figured out was if the crush was bidirectional. Aloïs was a natural flirt with everyone. She shook her head.
Elle smiled in greeting, “You two are going to have so much fun,” she said.
But Colette gasped. “Us three you mean!” Just as a third ticket populated the screen. “I can’t meet Mael Durand by myself. You have to come. I won’t take no for an answer.”
After the call ended with Aloïs, Colette approached Elle. “Only if you feel like coming, of course. There’s no pressure at all, but I hope you can.” Elle thanked her but said she was definitely up to the evening. They both rushed home to get ready. It was going to be a spectacular night.
The three stepped into their private box at the Majestic Theatre. The heavy beads of her dress slumped around her ankles as Colette sat in the middle seat. At her right, her cousin offered her a glass of champagne. He teased her about it, but he was as much a fan of the theatre as she was. He wore a beautiful Valentino tuxedo, one that Colette hadn’t seen him in before. In fact, she had commented on it when she climbed into the limousine and viewed him there. On the other side was Elle. She wore an elegant black dress. Simple, with ruching across the waist, and it fit her beautifully.
At Intermission, the audience filtered into the lobby. Those from the upper boxes had their own room, though. Colette was handed a fresh glass of champagne, just as a hand grazed her arm. Elle split off to find the restroom, and Colette discreetly gave her directions. She joined Aloïs after that. He was sweeping fresh headlines on the Scroll, but it was the serious expression that made Colette ask a question.
“What is it, cousin?” she peeked over his shoulder.
“Have you seen this?” he turned the view for her gaze. It was a headline from the CCD. Straight out of Moscow itself.
They were both transfixed by the story and accompanying video. When it was over, she realized that they were not the only ones hovering above screens and speaking in whispers. There was irrefutable proof of magic in front of them, and the figure that had come to dominate most of the world was a source of it. A tightness grew in her chest, though she wasn’t sure what it was she feared exactly. She hadn’t much involvement in such politics or debate as what currently occupied American media. Should the US join the CCD or not? Colette deferred to her family’s opinion on such things, and so far even they were undecided. At their height, the SMC was valued at 100 billion dollars (USA), but the dollar was not what it once was and the CCD was incubating competitors.
It was startling to say the least. Then she realized that Aloïs was pale. His face drawn, lips turned low. She blinked and laid her hand on his. “Are you okay?” Then the chimes rang their warning the show was about to restart. He licked his lips, tucked the wallet away and swallowed his whole glass of champagne in one gulp. He was disturbingly quiet the rest of the night. Colette did not press him. She understood why, and she had her own reasons to procrastinate upon such thoughts.
The end of the show brought the audience to their feet. Many dabs were taken to eyes, Colette’s included, in order to spare her makeup from tears. The show was a retelling of Romeo and Juliet but set during World War I. No wonder everyone was crying at the end. Colette dabbed the corners of her eyes again.
The cast returned to the stage for their accolades. The lead actor bowed with a flourishing of his costume before inviting his actress compatriot to join him up front. They clasped hands and bowed together to enthusiastic praise, but it was Mael Durand that stole the show. In that moment his heated gaze swept the audience, Colette thought that he had looked right at her and she clapped all the more vigorously for it.
The Moreau cousins and their friend were promptly allowed into a VIP suite. There was fresh champagne. Lights twinkled the ceiling and chatter filled the air. Colette thought perhaps there were whispers from the news out of Moscow, but it felt no more concerning than any other type of gossip. Strangely, Aloïs went straight to the bar. He wasn’t unaccustomed to a night on the town, but Colette did not often see him drink like this. He was disturbed by the news, but no matter how much she asked, he dismissed the concern. Theirs was a family that spoke of serious matters only behind the privacy of locked doors. So she did not press him, but she intended to do so the first moment possible.
She was immediately introduced to the director, head conductor and stage manager who all waited within. They swept aside and lavished praise, knowing she was their patron, but it was Colette that padded applause for their artistry.
“Please, it is I who stand in your greatness,” she told them with a reassuring smile.
The director, a slender man of about 50, was caught by movement and gestured, “Miss Moreau, please allow me to introduce our star, Mael Durand,” Colette’s stomach fluttered then as she turned.
He was about Aloïs’ height, and maybe a few years older. Honestly, it was almost impossible to tell since he just seemed ageless. Regardless, he must have changed and washed up. There was no trace of stage makeup and his hair gleamed freshly styled like maybe he had taken a quick shower. He wore a black button-down shirt open at the collar, untucked over form-fitting slacks. Simple and appropriate, but with the lackadaisical looseness of an artist riding the highs of adoration. He was just so different from her world of prim and proper breeding. It stole her breath as it seemed to for others. Indeed, the group had to part to let him pass. There were claps on his shoulders, and praise followed him like puppies.
Colette dipped her head in greeting. She was accustomed to gratitude, but when he clasped her hand and kissed her knuckles, her brows rose with genuine surprise. It made her feel like a goddess.
“Miss Moreau, we would not be here without you. You have my unending gratitude,” he said. His natural accent was foreign, which she hadn’t heard when he delivered his lines. The WWI version of Romeo was American.
The director laughed. “Our Romeo, ladies and gentleman!” and the group chuckled.
It was late into the night before Colette, Elle and Aloïs left.
Outside a heavy sleet was falling. It was the holiday season, though, which made the wintery weather feel all the more seasonal. The limousine pulled up to the street, and arm in arm, the girls picked their way over the growing slickness on the sidewalk. Colette’s gaze lingered on a broken string of twinkle lights, but she didn’t think much of it. The fact there were decorative lights at all told them of the richness of this part of Manhattan. Year after year and there were fewer luxuries. Even the Rockefeller Center tree had ceased coming years ago. Elle climbed in beside her, and Aloïs slipped in from the other side. A few moments later, the car rolled into traffic.
“That was one of the most incredible performances I’ve ever seen,” Elle regaled. When she lay her head against the seat, she sighed dreamily.
Colette grasped her hand. They were both wearing winter gloves. “Are you still feeling okay?” Alois looked over, but he wasn’t aware of Elle’s secret. So Elle waved away the question. Her eyeliner smeared under one eye where she had wiped away tears. She’d sobbed at the end of the play.
“Yes, I’m fine. Sleepy though,” she replied. “It’s late.”
Colette signaled the driver. “Brief change of plans. Let’s drop off Elle at her house then we’ll go uptown.” Alois looked over. They’d all planned to attend an after-party. Elle’s home wasn’t far out of the way, but they would need to take a bridge. Luckily, traffic was strangely light this evening. It wouldn’t take them long.
Colette hushed her cousin before he protested. Elle put up a mild resistance, including the suggestion that they go to the party first and she can be taken home afterward. However, Colette was insistent. Alois was reading more Scroll articles and not paying attention. She pulled out her own wallet, and together they were reading the reviews of the show. Mael was being doted upon of course, and there were talks of awards and stardom in his future. The party scene was growing warm, and Colette put out messages to find out who would and would not be there. Elle had closed her eyes by then.
They were on the midtown bridge when suddenly the vehicle slid. Colette gasped, pushed into Elle’s shoulder, by the later movement who was herself pushed into Alois’. There wasn’t time to process. A force slammed back. They screamed. Terrifying weightlessness followed. Then noise like a bomb went off and everything was dark.
The next thing she knew, Colette was being pulled. Her head throbbed. Her arm and leg felt like they were on fire. She moaned, and dared to open her eyes. There was glass everywhere. The smell of gasoline wafted on the wind. The icy road was under her and sleet pelted her face. That was when she realized she wasn’t even in the car.
Elle? She looked over. A body was next to her. Still and twisted, but she was so weak she couldn’t hardly move toward it.
“Help..” said a weak voice nearby.
“Elle?” she called out. When Colette tried to move, the dark world spun. The lights of the bridge blurred to smears. Then the pleading for help fell quiet, and alarm spiked to near panic. “Elle? Elle!” she tried to move. Glass tore at her palms. Sleet had turned to ice and she found no traction.
That was when she saw a shape move nearer. “Alois?” she blinked as the figure stooped over where Elle lay. He was still for a time, then he hurried to her. Strong arms scooped her up like a doll, and in the closeness, she could see his face. Amid a deadly serious gaze flashed the sort of smile to offer comfort to one that direly needed it.
“It’s going to be okay,” he said, then he sort of stared at her and cold flushed her bones like she was dipped in ice.
The next moment, the dizziness fled. The cuts and bones stitched themselves together. The pain was gone.
She took a deep breath, and his gaze came into focus.
“Oh my god,” she uttered and snaked her arms around his neck in a tight hug.
“You’re going to be okay,” he spoke into her hair then helped her stand. She hobbled in her heels and had to lean on him. In that moment, the fullness of the scene came into horrific view. The vehicle must have slid on the icy roadway. They had crossed traffic and hit another vehicle head on. There were multiple bodies ejected. The vehicles crumpled. One was close to the edge of the bridge.
As soon as he was sure she was standing on her own, he rushed off to go to the aid of the people from the other car. Colette and Elle swarmed into each other’s arms. It was a miracle. Together, they just held each other while Aloïs went from person to person. Like a filtering angel of mercy, most of those he touched were standing soon after. Their driver was the only one unable to be saved. It had been too late for him.
Emergency lights were flashing in the distance, and the flood of adrenaline was leaving her weak as a kitten. Aloïs returned to them, confirming they were okay. Blood speckled his clothes, but it wasn’t his.
“How did you—?” she asked, white as a sheet. Suddenly, the image of that video out of Moscow flashed her memory. The clues pieced themselves together. His reaction to seeing it.
“You saved us? You saved all these people!” she couldn’t believe it. “Have you done this before?” Elle put a hand to her stomach just then, understanding just how many lives he had saved.
He just kind of shrugged. “I can’t really control it. It just kind of happens,” he admitted. The sirens were close enough to hear by then. Witnesses were hurrying up. Amazed and terrified. But then he licked his lips, and a grimace flashed his face.
“Aloïs?” she asked, concerned. Then she gasped.
He fell to his knees, clutching his head.
She followed him down. Elle started waving at the ambulance to come toward them, but he was ignoring her.
Then he started screaming. The emergency technicians halted, daring to not come any closer despite Colette’s pleading that they do something.
Aloïs was dead within a minute.
The donation and the campaign
The funeral was somber, and for Colette, it was heartbreaking. She shared the truth of what happened to her cousin with her family. How he had used this magic that was sweeping the world to save them only to perish himself moments later. Nobody knew he had been going through the Sickness, but clues began to take shape. It was all kept quiet, of course, and the Moreau family made sure to take care of the victims in the wreck. Non-disclosure agreements maintained Aloïs’ legacy. Even the ambulance drivers had put down that he had died of injuries sustained in the wreckage. There was no connection between the New York royal family and the Sickness.
Except Colette. She knew the truth, and it wasn’t right. She declared as much to her grandfather, implored him to do something. But there was nothing that could be done to bring Aloïs back. So Colette took matters into her own hands.
Channelers had become a household word. Of course, the majority of these stories came from the CCD, and the most famous of them all was Nikolai Brandon, whose exploits had disturbed Aloïs the night he died. But America was not without their own spokespersons. Evelyn Avalon quickly became a familiar face and advocate for channeler rights in their own nation. So Colette took a trip to DC. She arrived with a large donation for Evelyn’s campaign and a plan for how that money might be spent. What she found was something she never imagined.