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  1. Today
  2. Fiona laughed. “I already told you. I won’t get pregnant unless I choose to and I don’t see any babies in my future for several more years.” She remembered Doug suggesting that she marry an old man who would die soon so that she would have more freedom as a young widow. Knowing her luck, the old codger would outlive her. Nor was she ready to take that path when the ideal husband might show up any day. Shrugging nonchalantly, she added: “I may change my mind if a handsome Duke comes along and sweeps me off my feet.” Now it was a handsome Earl that swept her off her feet. She laughed again when Charles tossed her on the bed. Fiona could hardly believe this was happening. Was it a dream? As she watched Charles undress, she pinched her arm but she didn’t wake up. After a year denying his passion for her, it seemed that he could hold himself back no longer. She had never hidden her feelings for him. Her seduction had finally paid off. When he was completely naked, Fiona lifted her chemise over her head and flung it away. His leer sent tantalizing sensations spinning through her small form. She favored him with a sultry smile, so aroused that she couldn’t wait to feel him inside her. “Wild and untamed this time, but slow and luxurious the next.” Lying back on the soft mattress, she held out her arms to him, inviting him to join her. “We have all night. Let’s make the most of it.”
  3. A young woman approached John, whom he might recognize as Anne-Elisabeth’s maidservant Bess. “Lord Silverbridge,” she greeted him with a curtsy. “My mistress asked me to deliver this note to you.” Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a folded piece of parchment and handed it to him. “I have been instructed to wait for your response.” The note was written in Anne-Elisabeth’s no-nonsense handwriting. My dearest John, I have been looking forward to accompanying you to your estate, but I am afraid that I must cancel. I think the kitten is sick. She threw up on my bed last night. I don’t feel comfortable leaving her with my servants and it would be unwise to bring her with me. And so I must stay and take care of her. If it is not urgent that you go today, perhaps you would like to join me. She is your kitten too. With fondness, Anne-Elisabeth
  4. In other words, Master May, you bid me perform every husbandly duty with no reward, a somewhat sardonic thought manifested, before another chimed in as a counterpoint. Save a title, status, wealth, and the eye of the Sun King. Perhaps envy truly was Cadell’s sin – although pride and greed certainly had made their appearances of late. Regardless, acquiescence became apparent as he nodded slowly as he took in the man’s words, at the end smiling slightly from behind the glass of wine. “But of course. I cannot imagine that a lack of attention, whatever the source, would do much to, ah, rectify the present situation,” he agreed, muted lilt barely perceptible after spending half his adult life abroad. Left unsaid was that he had kept his distance from Louise while in England, for obvious reasons. “Nor would I think that is Her Grace’s discontent is in any of our interests.” Cadell took another sip of wine, dimly noting that warmth had finally returned to him. “Again, we all serve – some of us in ways smaller than others.” That self-deprecation out of the way, the topic turned to recess, and his brow furrowed. “In truth, sir, I hadn’t given it much thought, having only just returned from the Continent. But I’m passing fond of Chelsea, and may remain for the nonce. I’ve one mind to send for my youngest sister, and another to inquire after certain new relations and their own plans for the recess.” Beverley had impressed upon him Pembroke’s loyalty to family, so it wouldn’t hurt to have the erratic duelist on his side. And besides, from Chelsea, he could cultivate newer ties, as bid by his master in Versailles.
  5. His hand was removed slowly from Davina's mouth. "I know how to escape the Tower and I can take you with me," he whispered.
  6. Charles Whitehurst

    A Different Palace -- Wednesday April 13th

    "Yes, we are both free to seek out other lovers," he agreed. Had he married Darlene, he would need to give them up, but not now. He too kissed each of her hands and agreed. "And if another man impregnates you," he added for levity, "you are free to compel him to marry you. In fact, you should find what old man you want to marry and get pregnant with him," he chuckled in order to dispell the otherwise serious nature of their conversation. Lifting her small frame into his arms as he stood, he tossed the young beauty on the bed unceremoniously with a laugh and then began to remove his jacket, belt, cravat, boots, and the rest of his clothing quickly. "We need to make up for lost time since Brighton." As he became completely naked, Charles gave her a feral leer. "I am guessing you might like to be ridden hard?" He would left her choose the tempo, though left to his own devices, he preferred to ravage the girl that had taunted him so long.
  7. Davina Wellsley

    New Surroundings, The Tower, Tuesday Early Evening {open}

    It was so sudden and she reacted instinctively her hands going to the one across her mouth as she attempted to struggle but the words chilled her and so lay still. She could not see anything of who he was and his voice held no accent that she could hear. What was happening! Her eyes shifted trying to see where Poppy was sleeping but that was impossible. She had to do something ..... if I stay silent he will then leave just as he came? Or will he do me some harm and Poppy as well? Is this another test or is this an actual 'rescue'? what shall I do ..... what shall I do ..... if i agree and he takes me from here then to where next and it may be worse! yet if I go and things go bad can I not claim that I was taken against my will - for that IS Truth and none could deny it. Not even Buckingham could claim I was a willing partner ..... She gave a nod of her head her eyes on the mask that he wore. She mumbled something but he would have to remove his hand before it would be understood.
  8. Yesterday
  9. The clock had struck midnight when Davina was awakened by a man's hand over her mouth. The man was dressed darkly and wore a black mask. Somehow he had sneaked into her room. He was almost invisible in the darkness. "Sshhh, make no noise," the man spoke in perfect English. "Do you wish to be rescued from here, or do you wish to stay here without aid?" he whispered.
  10. Blackguard

    Winding Up the Season Announcement

    It is not too early to think about what your characters would like to do in the recess from court. Recesses are one of the best game innovations of AoI because it allows time to pass, other than the week or two of court dates. It allows characters to marry, have children, spend time on their estates, travel, and such. There are descriptions of recess summaries elsewhere on this site, but I wanted each player to start giving thought to the topic and to ask us questions if you have them. You will have several weeks to draft a proposed summary. If you want nothing remarkable to happen during your recess, it will likely be approved. If you want something meaningfully good to happen during the recess, we will look for an offsetting challenge, and vice versa.
  11. John Palliser

    Taking Care of Business, Wed AM

    John did not offer more of his thoughts on either subject but waited patiently for his receipt to be draw up. "I thank you Mister Clark for your time and for hearing me out. I think that we have concluded for today." He stood and offered a tilt of his head then made ready to leave. Once outside he swore quietly under his breath. It would seem that the problem of the absent Governor was not going to an easy thing to resolve. Perhaps if His Majesty was called upon to step in ..... His thoughts tumbled around as he set out on foot to make his way back to the Inn. He had a few stops to make on the way and he just might go in to a coffee house and listen to all the news. He had to begin to make his return plans soon - the end of May at the latest - and so spending time in a place like that, well, he was bound to hear all the latest and that he could take back with him to be repeated.
  12. "Yes, yes. You see," May responded happily. Whether he suspected a lack of satisfaction or not, May wanted to have Cadell supportive of the message. He made a note to himself to send Portsmouth a gift on behalf of the King. That would cheer her surely. "Sadly, you are correct, it is an unending chore for gentlemen and husbands. The weaker vessel has many strengths but fortitude against a lack of attention is absent completely. Our ladies have many thirsts but one surpasses them all, yes? I fear it is not a thirst that can ever be satisfied fully by a monarch. One hopes that expectations can be calibrated downward, no?" He watched Cadell's face carefully for signs that the man truly understood his task, and his duty. "The Queen will give birth soon and the court will be in recess again. What are you planning for the recess?" he asked with genuine interest.
  13. Caroline Despanay

    Merry Gang Poll

    I voted! Hope the King doesn't mind but long live democracy!
  14. Defiance

    Merry Gang Poll

    As B says, get your votes in so I can post the King!
  15. Blackguard

    Merry Gang Poll

    Only three have voted so far. Please log in and vote by tomorrow if possible!
  16. Blackguard

    Taking Care of Business, Wed AM

    The Baron seemed to be less desirous of a debate, preferring instead to end things with a receipt. "Of course milord, I shall draft a receipt. Rest assured that all members of the board will receive notice at the next meeting, which I expect will occur late next week." Unlike most councils laden with the nobility, the Board met regularly during the year, though often with only a truncated attendance. "As for Culpepper, I understand the desire to have him govern from Virginia. My understanding is that he plans to return in due course. He believes he can better direct colonial policy from London than Virginia." The receipts were given and the petition was passed to one of four clerks that would see to it that copies were made, or a summary drafted. "Will there be any other service I can provide milord?"
  17. Last week
  18. An alluring fire smouldered beneath Charles’ hand as he stroked her bare leg, spreading rapidly through the rest of Fiona’s nubile young body. Contrary to his beliefs, she was interested in his dilemma and was particularly intrigued by the way he saw himself. She had always considered him a libertine like herself, but it appeared that he had different views. Maybe he did want to settle down with one lady someday. She didn’t think ill of him for that; she just needed to enjoy every moment with him while it lasted. Or perhaps she would give him so much pleasure that he would keep seeing her secretly after he married. Only time would tell. It was true that Cat and Doug would expect Charles to marry her if she got pregnant, but there was little chance of that. Making a covenant sounded rather odd, but Fiona didn’t object to anything he said. She cared about him as a friend, but she was definitely not in love with him. From what he had just told her, she wouldn’t want to marry him even if he was made a Duke. He might actually want her to be faithful to him and fidelity went against her hedonistic nature. She did nod her agreement, looking up into his eyes. “What you want is exactly what I want as well: to be friends and lovers with no strings attached. You can still spill your seed in me if you prefer. I take a mixture of herbs that prevents me from falling pregnant. I’ve used it for ages and it never fails.” To a teenager, only a couple of years seemed like ‘ages.’ “There is one more thing we need to add to our pact. We will never expect each other to be exclusive.” Fiona took both his hands in hers. Lifting them to her lips, she kissed them one by one. “If you agree to this too, I swear to God that I will uphold this covenant and never ask for more.”
  19. Sophia de la Cerda

    The Process of Elimination | Thursday April 14th, morning

    If he kept grinning at her like that, she was going to kiss him and damn the consequences. “It’s not a vice. It’s fate, destiny, what was always meant to be.” If she had met Charles before she married Esteban, it might have been his child she was now carrying inside her. Perhaps they would have wed or she would have become his mistress. Either way, they would not have to hide their feelings anymore. Sophia bit her lower lip when he said he needed to go. When it came to Charles, the Bard had it wrong. Parting was not such sweet sorrow. It was pure agony. When would she see him again? Hopefully, they would be able to meet before the season ended. Because the last spring season had lasted until the King’s birthday in May, she assumed this one would too. “I’m not sure. He said he was going to buy a house in the country since it is impossible for us to travel to Spain now. I don’t know how close it will be to London. But please do send me letters and I shall try my best to do the same. Perhaps I can get my maidservant to deliver mine and pick up yours. She has relatives here that she will want to visit if we don’t move too far away.” She sighed sadly as Charles collected his puppy and took his leave. Diva immediately started wailing. I understand how you feel, she thought, scooping the spaniel up in her arms. Sophia continued to walk for awhile so that Karl wouldn’t think the meeting between Charles and herself was arranged. ~finis?
  20. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Prosody Problems, evening, 13th April (Open!)

    “I feel the same way,” Anne-Elisabeth confessed. “Maybe when we are older and fabulously successful, we will become set in our ways, but I rather doubt it. To me, fluidity is an important aspect of poetry. One must be open to new things and new ideas, for our art is ever-changing, and we must grow with it.” She assumed that Master O’Neill was being metaphorical about dancing through roses and experiencing their thorns. Figuratively, she had done the same thing. The young Countess smiled impishly. “Perhaps if you go with me, I can persuade you to dance with me.” It seemed that he needed to get back to his duties as well. “If he does notice, I’m sure you will be able to come up with a creative and plausible excuse." Anne-Elisabeth winked cheekily. “I look forward to that as well. Now that we have met, court will never be the same again. You will receive an invitation from me soon. Farewell, Master O’Neill.” And with that, she headed back to her carriage, pleased with the way this impromptu venture int the gardens had turned out. ~finis~
  21. Cadell Mortimer

    Good Catholic Boys, evening, 13th April

    “You might consider a career in politics yourself, Beverley,” a quite-chuffed Cadell replied. “Were we not already friends, you would have ingratiated yourself significantly to me just now. An investment indeed!” Their friendship aside, it was quite flattering to be thought of in those terms, a sentiment within the viscount that was easily played upon. Most men wanted to feel important; those who were ideologues of a cause that had essentially chanced into every opportunity in their life even more so. Left unsaid, of course, was that at least one aspect of his friend’s advice had already been heeded. Jesuit plots and French power plays had left a cagey impression in Athenry’s mind nearly from the outset. Laughing as Beverley mirrored back his quip about the claret, Cadell waved his hand affably. “I won’t bore you with further expositions upon my gratitude,” he offered in jesting reassurance. “But I’ll certainly take heed of what you have told me, my friend.” For all his awkwardness, Beverley’s lifelong experience among the court was invaluable. “At any rate…” He lifted the glass to his lips once more, changing the topic amiably. “I shan’t fault you if you must return to your family, but if you elect to stay, perhaps you might indulge me in visions of your future? The possible career of Viscount Athenry can’t be that interesting.” Ah, but it felt good to be among friends he did not feel the need to impress. (OOC: With the end of the season approaching, should we wrap this up?)
  22. Something in Baptist May’s upbeat demeanor – a rather positive trait for a courtier of his stature and position, particularly at Whitehall – quietly irked the viscount. The Keeper of the Privy Purse must have dealt with numerous similar scenarios, to be sure, but the “wait and see” approach presently being advocated impacted him, who would need to relay and deal with the repercussions of that advice. At least he hadn’t gone in with any sort of optimistic expectations, which served well enough to prevent any inevitable disappointment. “But of course; I'm certain Her Grace understands the importance of the queen's health. Besides, it is as you say: His Majesty’s…friendship, as well as his generosity to his friends, is well-known,” Cadell answered cautiously. Perhaps it really was as simple as Louise’s reputation reaching the queen’s ears – but where, then, did this supposed new mistress fit in? If they could hear of it in Chelsea, then surely Her Majesty could have learned of it at the palace. Cadell took another sip from the glass in front of him, letting out a quiet sigh for conversational effect. “I suppose that is the message I ought to relay to Her Grace, then? As you said, some ladies are ever in need of reassurance.” Playing off that fundamental truth with a laugh, he attempted to sound as light and joking as possible while still insinuating some sort of ambition, “A somewhat Sisyphean task, but we all serve in our own way.” He had little confidence that this meeting (let alone that tactic) would be productive in the slightest, but if he could not have certainty, it was worth restating his faithfulness to the strictures of the marriage’s fiction.
  23. John had changed his plans a bit. Originally he had thought to go to the major property but that it turned out would take several days worth of travel there and back. He intended to now visit a 'lodge' in the county of Surrey which was well with the five mile distance he had judged they could travel that day. Realistically the coach he had hired with two horses would only be able to travel for two hours before needing to be rested. He knew that coaching inn's abounded so he was not worried about that. In fact he fully intended to take advantage of one or two. Since this property was not overly large or so he assumed by its description in the paperwork he had been given he was confident that today would be another opportunity to enjoy the Lady's charms. He had awoken early and broke his fast on bread cheese and beer. From his window he saw clearly that the morning mist was intending to cling and despite it being April the air held a chill which would mean he needed to make sure that Anne Elizabeth was well bundled up and kept warm. He had borrowed a wool clock from his sister who had asked the reasonings but had handed it over. That her brother now had a woman she had guessed but it was his business and she would not interfere unless it should turn serious then naturally she would have to step in. He was dressed and ready and went down to make sure that the coachman was there and the things he had asked for from the Inn Keeper were also ready. *(placeholder for John and Anne E)
  24. Charles Whitehurst

    A Different Palace -- Wednesday April 13th

    Charles did not prevent her from moving closer. His mind was distracted. "I am in a difficult position," he admitted, allowing himself to stroke Fiona's leg as they spoke. He could sense her arousal, which caused his own; but, his mind was an inhibitor to any sudden passion. "I was carefree thinking there would be no consequences for some fun. Catherine had no expectations other than fun. Same with me. Now I see what proper courtiers might think of me. I enjoy the company of women but had not really thought myself a libertine. Despite that, others may view me as such because Catherine is openly my mistress and carrying my child. I thought her prior relationship with York might alter the expectations of court ... but maybe not," he explained, knowing that she was not really likely interested in serious talk at the moment. "You are somewhat different. People may know you to have libertine tendencies, but if I were to get you pregnant, your sister would expect me to marry you, and perhaps everyone else at court. You might change your mind too, and want to marry me," he continued. "We cannot allow you to get pregnant if we are to comfort each other." Perhaps the talk was a bit too serious, but Charles had been shaken by Darlene's criticism. He tilted her face to look into his own. "We must make a covenant, you and I. No pressure to marry. If a pregnancy follows and it is mine, we must be rid of it. A child would ruin both of our chances to marry another. We will reveal to Cat our covenant so she knows we are just friends and lovers. We both want to avoid hurting her," he stated. pausing to see if she was nodding agreement. "It is a strange covenant surely, but we must swear to each other to respect the other's right to be free whenever they wish to end things. I must not spill my seed in your womb unfortunately. Anywhere else is fine. I know this is horribly unromantic. But we are not interested in romance with each other, are we? We are interested in comforting each other and having fun together, are we not? We will be great friends, but not husband and wife." He tried to add some levity. "Why ruin a good thing with marriage?" he chuckled. "Do we have a covenant you and I? Will you swear it with me by God?"
  25. John Palliser

    Taking Care of Business, Wed AM

    John was not stupid. He knew, naturally, that what was being said did not express the views of The Board but rather the man seated opposite him. He also knew that he would not be seen by anyone on this day. "Ah. Yes. But since Virginia's Governor, Thomas Culpeper, remains here in England and maintains his responsibilities on the Isle of Wright. He sends information or decrees by a third party which take months to arrive and then return." "That he has such a lack of interest is part of the problem. How can he possible understand the conditions there by simple words on a report I ask you." "The grumblings are many as you might expect from those of us that must depend upon Him. Which is why we are asking for intervention." "But all of this is a matter for The Board is it not? No decision will be made here." "So I must thank you for your time Mister Clark. If I might trouble you for a receipt of our petition then? I would hate for it to become misplaced amongst all the other materials that must come across this Office." It was a common enough request in such circumstances and it was a way for John to keep record in the very good chance that it would indeed 'go missing'. "And might you provide me with the name or names of those Gentlemen that will read it? Tis simply so that I may had reference as to whom to address my correspondences." His manner was courteous but was clear that he would accept no nonsense. After all he WAS a Baron now while the other was but a servant to this Establishment.
  26. Davina Wellsley

    New Surroundings, The Tower, Tuesday Early Evening {open}

    That he was hurt she knew and so tried to help ease that. "Thank you for coming here. Your visit has cheered me. Honestly. Tis so easy to fall into Melancholy here." "No matter your involvement I must again stress that You re not to linger about me if things get worse. You offer is generous and I will keep it in mind." She had no intention of taking him up on his offer to house her. She herself had no clue as to where she was to go but it would not be to anyone of her acquaintance for she would not bring any badness onto them. "I will send you word thru Poppy but as you say that may not always be possible. But I shall discover a way so that nothing can be discerned if discovered." They reached the end of their walk and he made to take his leave. "Ah but the sun will shine for you have been .... how could it not!" She offered him a small smile and a proper curtsey watching as he walked away. Poppy came to her side and took her arm leading her towards a few benches set beside the Chapel adding in a louder voice so that the guard would hear "Sit here M'Lady ... you look quite pale. Did he upset you then ..." She continued to prattle on with nonsense designed to give her Mistress time to gather herself together. How long they would be allowed to remain outside they did not know.
  27. Caroline Despanay

    Merry Gang Poll

    Ok, I went and found the thread - so a unicorn is a virgin widow? Well, in that case Caroline was indeed a unicorn.
  28. Caroline Despanay

    Merry Gang Poll

    A unicorn? So Caroline is a unicorn? I'm not sure if that was an insult or a compliment?
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