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  1. Today
  2. Francis Kirke

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

    Francis jolted out of his thoughts and looked upon the shorter figure of his friend, Newton. "Then I am pleased to be found," Francis replied. "And that any of my meager musings have a place amongst your great thoughts and innovations!" In truth, Francis was not wholly sure to which project Newton was referring, for Francis had quite a few endeavors which he had consulted with his mathematically superior friend. Probably in a way so inferior to Newton's capabilities that he feared it of the level of a schoolboy asking for his maths to be checked by the schoolmaster, but that was neither here nor there.
  3. "Of course Your Grace." She had unrolled her work as she was settling and now walked across to where the Duchess sat. "How pretty!" She quietly exclaimed over the others' design. "I stayed with my orginal thoughts and so have done double Peonies in shades of orange with sky blue forget-me-knots. I just have to finish those there on the bottom right side. That will take no time at all." "I hope Lady Susan stayed with her first ideas as well for then all our colors shall complement nicely." She would wait a bit longer for her work to be looked over - she was confident in her Skills - then take up her chair and set to work. The light was good enough over her shoulders despite the cloudiness of the afternoon. "Recess was as all the others. And I am well." "And you?"
  4. John Palliser

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services (9th all day)

    John and Fiona He had angled himself so that he now faced her one arm resting on the yet unoccupied pew in front of them and a long leg stretched out for both comfort and balance. His eyes played about her face and form again and he knew than that he had guessed rightly. "Well I am far too tought while you are ... far too soft so not in the least appealing. To those natives I mean." "And why would you have a need to run fast? Are you chased often? If I were near by I would ensure you never need to run." He teased her with his double meanings. He was sure she would not miss them. She gave him a laughing accounting then making a small furrow appear between his brows. "Indeed? Well that is most unordinary. Where I come from we do not allow our women to go about unattended. It is not fitting. I had thought to find the same here ...." "Your words tell me several things ...." He ticked them off his fingers " One you are a constant source of worry Two you are handfull and not easily reigned in Three you are far too sure of yourself and think that playing with fire is a thing you can handle" His words were said in a hushed tone and his eyes on her watching for her reactions. Then they inched lower to her mouth then lower still then just as quickkly back up. She was sending him a clear invitation he understood yet she was barely out of the schoolroom and his tastes ran to more mature and experienced. Yet he had to be honest in that she might well be a nice distraction and in had been weeks since he'd last had a woman. Would she continue her flirting and if so was he willing to give her what she was asking for. "As as for God, well, I have been twice Blessed this day already. Perhaps I am being tested? What should I do?" "Dare I tempt Fate and sin ...."
  5. When Nicolette nudged the man, there was no stirring. On closer inspection, it might not be wine at all. Taking in that they were by a fountain and it had been raining previously...it might well be blood. In fact, it was all over the side of the fountain as well.
  6. Yesterday
  7. Raconteur

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

    Sophia and Ellen She gave a small smile as she answered back "Tis not that difficult to sketch out and I decided long ago to wear what pleases me and so I wear what suits. My dressmaker has far better skills and the sewing of garments and toghether we manage." "In that Lady Toledo you have the advantage. I could never outshine that. My Father is not miserly and he did not take away what belonged to my Mother and give to another woman which he could have done. I have what was hers and have added here and there." "And I love pearls and so look when I can." "You have a flair for such things so I will not be at all surprised if you have that wish granted." "Ah but now you are a married woman and soon to be mother. No longer a girl fresh to Court. With your fairness the rich darker hues will be quite striking." "Well you may try out that boldness after your child is born. You can hardly display yourself for much longer and no doubt Lord Toledo expects you to withdraw and to receive in your residence." "Yes I think you should enjoy being out. I imagine I would feel the same yet also need to remember what is acceptable in the eyes of others'." It was a quiet reminder that there was just aspects of Society that would not look with favour on a woman great with child out on display even before her confinemenr for the last month. "Really? I shall be happy to sketch some patterns." She was taken back a bit by this but flattered as well. "When is the child to be born? That will determine fabric and colors. I imagine a round gown or surcoat will be best - they can be worn without stays you see - yet still be fashionable."
  8. Last week
  9. Caroline Despanay

    Easter 1678 | Easter Monday (all day)

    At George's side Caroline was doing her best to look devout, however hypocritical that was in reality. It was all about appearances, right? And besides, George expected it and she would not wish to disappoint the man. Of course she fully realized there were people in the pews who well knew that she was an open and quite unrepentant libertine, she just hoped she would not drag down George's reputation. But - on the other hand - Caroline noticed certain faces in the crowd who she had partied with on more than one scandalous celebration. So be it then. Besides God looking down from on high must be quite used to dealing with hypocrites, there being so many in the human race.
  10. Davina Wellsley

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services (9th all day)

    Davina and Sophia "Well he is in the employ of the Spanish Ambassador after all so he would hardly be useless! But he may occupy himself where ever he wants and I shall send Poppy out now and then - unless you think it not right." "Well of course he does! That is part of his job. Who you meet and where and for how long. Who else came or went?" "You may think I tease but it is close to the truth. And as for my own husband ..." She gave a small shrug of one shoulder. "He will be English so there will be no need for me to be 'watched' and I am a creature of Court after all and well trained in how IT operates." "And you are correct. I am glad that you have seen the sense in exercising caution in both manner and speech. A simple phrase can be turned into a bigger incident that has far reaching affects. And an Ambassadors post is a difficult one. The Master they serve is in another Country yet to them he must remain Loyal yet all the while convince the Host country that he is wanting nothing but friendships and to maintaind good relations. Few bring a wife. That alone makes for difficulties." She gave a small sigh but then a quick chuckle followed as she added "But would you not just love to read what is being reported about you? I'd wager most of it are untruths designed to blacked your character to the readers and like as not your husband thinks the same. Of all HE is the one that knows you best." "I wonder what might be written of me?" She then turned back to the topic at hand. "Well then. Tis set and I shall be there when you arrive have no worries. I shall bribe a boatman afore to go and fetch you both ways in comfort." "And I am full of curiosities about this too."
  11. Caroline Despanay

    After Saturday Service 9th May | G&C walk back to the carriages

    "Well, no, I did not know that," she nodded slowly then added, "No matter we are hardly plotting anything or passing some grand secret, are we? Just two star crossed lovers enjoying the fresh air." Alright, so she was laying it on a bit thick but Caroline truly was happy about her current situation especially coming upon the heels of finding out there was a new Baron Kendishall. George here would provide for her though, in grand fashion even. And in return she would be loyal in this marriage. However, that did not necessarily mean she might not at some point in the future share her bed with another man. She wasn't a saint afterall. Besides he might well have a woman or two on the sly himself too. Who could be sure what the future would bring? As to a possible European honeymoon, she smiled, "Actually since I arrived with my parents in England I have not left since. However, do not forget there is going to be a major war going on and the continent might not be safe to cavort around on?" "Damned wars," she suddenly pouted melodramatically then the subject changed to nicknames. She told him of her father's for her. "Oh George, it was said in fondness. I like it. But feel free to make up a new one for me of your own," she suddenly whispered into his ear, "If you want it could even be a dirty one, I wouldn't mind."
  12. Caroline Despanay

    Desperatis hic in Vinarium | Saturday after 10pm

    Her 'Minister of Evil' seemed to be happy enough for her regarding her hopefully upcoming marriage. As for there being a new Baron Kendishall, he actually some possibly helpful advice for her. "Well, I will look into it then. Perhaps George would know the best person to seek more information from? I will ask him," she nodded. He gave a toast and she lifted her glass too. "How have you been lately? I do think of you quite often - even if you don't believe me, it's true," she now inquired. Also drawing her attention was Nicci doing... well what exactly was she doing? Oh damn! That crazy girl was going to arm wrestle? "Come, we must go watch this. And I need to cheer Nicci on," Caroline grabbed Chatham by his free hand toward the scene of the about to begin event.
  13. Charles Audley

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services (9th all day)

    The Chathams and Juliana "It helps, I think, that we are not so far apart in age, and that we are both of a practical, pragmatic bend," Charles said, swallowing a laugh at Juliana's wide-eyed 'surprise.' The minx was taking an entirely unwholesome amount of enjoyment from this little charade, but that was fair. So was he. He swallowed another laugh and flicked another amused glance at Mary as she refrained from sticking the knife in. That was unlike her, he thought, but in fairness she did generally maintain decorum in public. That 'practical, pragmatic bend,' of hers, presumably. Her evasion had been a little clumsy, though. She should have followed through, in his opinion. They could have played it off as gentle (albeit irreverent) ribbing. It probably won't matter. I doubt very much that Juliana will care to dig any further. "You flatter me, your highness," he said, putting that little niggle behind him, "but even if I have done nothing to deserve it, I think the Almighty could be forgiven for assuming otherwise. Mine is a most villainous visage, after all." It was also most challenging to keep composed, with Juliana's knowing eyes on him. The urge to smirk, or laugh, or hike her skirts up there and then, was almost overwhelming, and made all the worse by the soft heat of her hand on his groin under the cloak. He did not have to struggle long, thankfully, as Mary took up the topic of comparative religion, a conversational shift he had never thought to find himself grateful for. "Really?" he asked, humming thoughtfully at Juliana's answer. "In my experience many of our continental co-religionists deem us to be more than half-Papist still, though I suppose that could have more to do with the decoration of our churches than the content of our services."
  14. Diana Butler

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

    The Gowrans Diana surveyed the room once more with passing interest and doing her best to feign impassiveness to John’s shifted disposition. Darting a glance at him, she felt her lips loosen and a rare soft smile touch her lips at seeing him grinning from ear to ear. “You know, darling,” She murmured, mimicking his brogue. “People are going to wonder about you if you keep smiling like that.” A glimmer of wickedness glinted in her gaze as she looked up coyly at him from beneath her eyelashes. “Tis’ a rare man who comes into the chapel looking like the devil himself and leaves with a smile.” Her lips pursed playfully as she clicked her tongue softly and shook her head, “You aren’t going pious on me, are you?” Her words were quiet enough that he could hear but low enough you’d have to have been right upon them to hear what she’d said. A saucy smile formed and she looked away. Yes, she definitely had something he could worship. Ducking her head to stifle a laugh, “The Milliners will be closed. But I’ll see what I can do later this week as maybe a surprise for you.” He’d just have to make due with her in a pair of breeches and one of his shirts, she thought she might still have a mask from some party or another in the past. Her mouth quirked up. If she were honest, her body hummed a bit to life as it seemed the hangover from the night before was starting to fade with the anticipation of her husband’s salacious wickedness. She was already moving towards the small opening between people when John pointed it out, glancing up at him she huffed a laugh, “You are a golden example of a husband, my lord. So dutiful and diligent to discuss your evenings plans with me… How shall I ever show my appreciation?” Her tone was sardonically simpering in contrast to the amusement in her gaze.
  15. Charles, Darlene, and Sophia "It will need to be very strong," Charles warned, only half-joking. Powder truly reeked. He flicked a quick glance about the room as the conversation came to a close. "We are among the last hold-outs," he conceded. "Do either or both of you ladies require an escort to the carriages?" Charles did like to play at gallantry.
  16. Charles Blount

    Shall Life Imitate Art?

    His suggestion was received as it would have been before, with reason and understanding. This was a relied to Charles as it presaged a return to normalcy. “Oh yes of course… on that account I understand completely and wish to be no impediment whatsoever.” He replied to the need of the Queen’s need for Ursula’s services. When Karoline was a newly arrived German Princess, alone and unfamiliar with English customs, he himself had developed somewhat paternalistic (or at least brotherly) feelings for the Queenly aspirant so the realization that Ursula had been able to fulfill that role was reassuring. His desire to spend more time with her was correctly interpreted for Ursula had a knack for understanding. He did indeed want to spend more time with her but he felt obliged to offer some political even if it was counter to his desires. “I would be cautious with greatly reducing your duties.” He felt a bit uncomfortable raising such a subject as it had the potential of ruining the understanding they had just achieved and casting them back into mutual recriminations. “I say this as a practical matter in support of all that you have achieved. “I believe we should and can find the time needed for us but we must remain cognizant of the political ramifications of our actions.” He was not one of those grasping courtiers that would fight for every bit of influence and then guard that power like a dog with a bone. There had been at least one Blount in the Court of every English monarch since William the Conqueror and although he felt that such privilege was his due he also realized he was not immune from the politics of the court and one needed to strive for their due. This outlook extended to his wife as well and he did not want her to lose her grip on the influence she had achieved. “As you obviously know the position of Mistress of the Robes requires long hours. You must be a constant satellite in the orbit of the Queen, the gatekeeper for Her Majesty so to speak. There will always be others who will try to increase their influence at the expense of your own, you… we… must be cognizant of that fact and work out a way that meets our needs yet still keeps you, and me, available for our duties.” With that minor note of caution he pondered then went on to comment on her suggestions. “As you say the current condition of her Majesty as well as the Lords being in session will greatly reduce our time available but those diversions will not be constant and should be easy enough for us to accommodate. I do like your idea of having some sort of schedule to aspire to. As my legal duties allow I do plan to spend more time on behalf of her Majesty so I will be in attendance along your side so that will allow us more impromptu opportunities. Sundays are not used for legal matters and I can devote Mondays to the Queen’s service so we can share whatever light duties there may be and have the remainder to ourselves. And you are correct that Saturday is often light as well so that time could be added when available to give us more time. Perhaps on the latter parts of Sunday you could contrive to spend the evenings at Saxony House for the gardens are particularly fine in the morning sun and I do miss breakfasting with you. It would also be very pleasant to entertain now and again. I had Heneage over for dinner a few nights ago and he is fine company but there is something socially lacking in two gentlemen dining alone. I have the Woolsack for that.” “When we have a particular light weekend perhaps we could also take a jaunt out to The Queen’s Lodge. It is really not that much farther than Chelsea, an hour by horse, two by carriage, and with the additions made it is now a comfortable home rather than just a hunting lodge. Besides it will give us a chance to spend a bit of time with little Hope.” It was good that they were talking and it appeared that they both wanted the same thing. The details of how they were to proceed were important but not as important as the desire to proceed itself. With such a desire the details would take care of themselves and once trust and understanding was re-established any set backs or issues with the details could be handled like they had been in the past. He knew that it would not be calm sailing for there was sure to be situations that arose that would upset their plans for Royals could be selfishly demanding but that was the nature of royalty and of the nobility that served them. “As I have stated I would like to be more active in assisting the Queen with her administrative burdens. I believe it is settled that this is to complement not replace your duties. Obviously it would be inappropriate for me to personally attend Her Majesty.” He blushed a little for he had no idea what females might do when alone together. He surmised it might have something to do with giggling and having pillow fights but that just might be the French novels he had read while in Europe. Besides he could not imagine Ursula engaging in a pillow fight and the last pillow fight he was in had been about 20 years ago with Heneage when they were in boarding school. “Ahem…” he continued banishing such thoughts “… anyway once her Majesty becomes active again there will be duties I can undertake which would allow us the opportunity to work together.” He sat up on the settee. “The main thing is that we put this episode behind us and allow us to take and give from each other as the situation requires without hurt or recrimination. If we can accomplish this we will both be happier.”
  17. Sophia de la Cerda

    Performance Anxiety | Sunday after dinner

    “Will I be able to send one back to him? I wish to tell him about my concert and how I broke a vase using only the power of my voice.” In the past, Sophia had written letters to him during the course of each season and gave them to him when she visited Madrid. This season, she wouldn’t have that option, as she would be staying in England for a couple of years while their child was too young to travel. Writing each other was now their only form of communication. If Esteban’s response was negative, she would write him anyway and give the missives to him when he came to see their baby. “Do you think he will be able to visit when the baby is due? I want nothing more than to have him with me when I give birth." Yes! Esteban almost smiled and he no longer seemed so reserved. That’s the attitude he needed to be in when she brought up his play. “I haven’t spoken to a priest yet,” she confessed. “Remember I told you last week that I was going to the Queen’s Chapel to pray for guidance? I stayed on my knees for hours, imploring God to help me make the right decision.” The lies tripped easily from her lips. “I felt so peaceful there. Maybe that was a sign. “It will also be less confusing for my children if their mother shares their religion. I know that Juan wishes them to be raised Catholic.” Sophia used the plural because she planned to give Juan more than just one child.
  18. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | A rousing evening with Her Royal Majesty (8th)

    Charles, Darlene, and Sophia “Absolutely!” Sophia enthused. Darlene probably had no idea how much the young Countess admired her. She remembered some of the party games she had organized during her first season at court, and she had always envied her for coming up with so many splendid ideas. Her social skills far exceeded Sophia’s own and she had wanted to be more like her. She still did. Teaming up with her to throw a party was like a dream come true. She noticed Charles’ lips twitch when she gently bit her lip, but he kept his composure. He promised not to tell Esteban what she was planning to do. Of course he wouldn’t. Her husband and her lover barely knew each other. Adding that it was against his better judgment was a nice touch. Charles was, whether he knew it or not, a fantastic actor. If she and Darlene organized a play, then he should definitely be given the male lead. She would, of course, star opposite him. “Thank you, my lord,” she said with feigned sincerity. “I will find a way to make it up to you.” That was a promise she definitely planned on keeping. “I will listen to you and do everything you say.” Almost everything she said to him tonight had a double meaning. Teasing Charles was nearly as irresistible as he was. He would exact revenge on her later, she was certain, and she greatly looked forward to it. Sophia resisted the urge to thrust her breasts forward when his gaze dropped to her bosom. Just one casual glanced and they ached for his touch. Her entire body tingled with suppressed desire. She needed to leave before she gave their relationship away. "Maybe my maidservant will be able to figure out a way. If not, I'll just be the lone woman in our group." Charles promised not to mention that she planned on learning to shoot too. If she didn’t trust him implicitly, she would have told Darlene that she was afraid of guns and then asked to be taught when the two ladies were alone. “I have some strong perfume that can mask the smell,” she said brightly. “But yes, that’s something for another time. We should concentrate on our Wednesday evening adventure first.” Darlene assured them both that they would have fun. “I can hardly wait for Wednesday evening! Now, though, I should be getting home. My bodyguard has probably seen the carriages leaving. He will come to fetch me if I linger too long.”
  19. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services (9th all day)

    Davina and Sophia “Thank you,” Sophia said sincerely, squeezing her hand back. Now she knew that Davina wasn’t worried about being seen with the wife of a foreign Ambassador; she didn’t want her to endure the stares of the ladies who frequented the Queen’s presence chamber or the gossip that would surely follow. Esteban’s precious honor might be insulted if unfavorable speculations about his wife circulated throughout the court. She would visit eventually for she wished to speak to the Queen again. Maybe they could bond because they were both pregnant. She had not given up her goal of becoming the royal German’s friend. Maybe she could offer to sing for her. She must be bored so close to her time and she had been impressed with Sophia’s voice. “Yes, my bodyguard is discreet and he knows how to blend in. He will not take his eyes off your room as long as I’m inside. He’s very good at his job.” Unfortunately. The petite Countess sighed. “I believe he is a spy and that he reports everything I do back to my lord husband. I hate having to watch everything I say or do, but you told me long ago that was what everyone must do at court. I am learning by necessity. When you get married, I hope that your husband trusts you more than mine trusts me.”
  20. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

    Sophia and Ellen “You must have some talent if you designed the gown you’re wearing today.” Why she didn’t want Ellen to downplay her skills, Sophia had no idea. “I leave the designing to my dressmaker, but I do add my own touches to my finished gowns. Like the stomacher brooches I wore at the Christmas and New Year balls. I’ll be wearing them to formal events this season too. I designed one that I plan to have made.” She had meant to commission it from a jeweler as soon as she returned to London, but now it was better to wait until the baby was born and she regained her figure. It was to be made to her exact measurements and those had to stabilize first. “I’m hoping they will start a trend.” Sophia was surprised by some of the colors that Ellen thought would look good on her. She had never considered most of them before, believing that only girlish pastel hues suited her. Darker colors had never entered the equation, but maybe she should try them. They would make her look more mature and perhaps more people would take her seriously. “On the contrary, Mistress Doolittle, I thank you for them. I’ve always worn very light shades. Maybe it is time to go bolder with my color choices.” Ellen seemed happy about her rise in status and her pregnancy. They had come a long way from those two bickering girls they had been last year. Was it too much to hope that they could be friends? “I have been taking it easy, but I also think I need to remain as active as possible. I can no longer ride, of course, but I take long walks when I can. Some ladies just lounge around for their entire pregnancy, but I think that healthy exercise is important too. Then again, I’m German and we are known to be sturdy. I would go mad if all I was able to do was draw, read, and embroider. That time will come when I go into confinement. There’s no reason to hurry it along. I appreciate your advice, though.” Sophia smiled. “I still need a few gowns for the later months of my pregnancy. I would be honored if you would design one of them for me.”
  21. Charles and Catherine “That’s because you were standing in plain sight so that I wouldn’t miss you,” she retorted. Catherine didn’t think she would ever get tired of their long-running game. It was fun to match wits with Charles. He was one of the few gentlemen who was able to keep up with her. Maybe that was one reason she liked him so much. He halted their repartee to ask how she was. The concern in his tone of voice pleased her. He should be interested in her well-being, since there was no doubt whatsoever that this child was his. “I tire often. It was the same way with Caroline. Other than that, I am doing quite well.” Unlike her last pregnancy, she now knew what to expect. “Our baby is thriving.” Taking his hand, she placed it on her growing belly. He would be able to feel his son or daughter kicking vigorously. “See?” Catherine smiled up at him. Do you have time to come over this week? Caroline would love to see you and there are things we need to talk about.” The practical matters had to be discussed, such as how much support he was going to give his illegitimate child, and if he planned to provide for its future. The son of an Earl deserved a fine education. A daughter would need a substantial dowry.
  22. Lucy looked up when Davina walked in. “Good afternoon, Mistress Wellsley. May I see your piece while we wait for Lady Susan?” She waved a hand toward the frame, which contained a garden scene. There was a large white trellis in the center with red, white, pink, and yellow roses climbing over it. A bench sat beneath it and upon it lay a straw hat with a blue ribbon around it that trailed to the ground. She had thought the hat was a nice addition. “This is mine. In that box on the table are the colors I used so that we can weave all three parts together.” Despite the fact that they both served the Queen, they’d had no time alone together since the new season began. “How have you been.? Did you enjoy recess?”
  23. John and Fiona Lord Silverbridge wasn’t a Duke, but he was gallant, bowing respectfully to her. He also seemed impressed by her (future) title, as well he should be. Seventeen-year-old Viscountesses were rare. In fact, Fiona might be the only one. She was curious as to what he thought they had in common. They were both foreigners. He was from the colonies. She had thought he sounded a bit different than most gentlemen. He was even more appealint to her now.. “Yes, I was born in Scotland, but this is my second season at court. I feel more at home here than in my homeland.” She grinned playfully. “We have something else in common too. We both can run really fast. If you were slow, you would have wound up in the natives' stew.” Fiona tilted her head to the side in an innocent fashion. “I don’t think I would like to be eaten … at least not by a savage.” He sat beside her. Good. She would much rather spend a boring service in the company of an attractive gentleman than by herself. Fiona laughed when he mentioned family lurking behind a statue. He had no idea how bold and audacious the MacBain family were. Except for Shona. She was weird. “I came to court alone this season. My older sister had to take care of some issue on her estate and my younger sisters went with her. They’re too young to attend court anyway. I have a brother but I don’t think he’s here either. He is one of the King’s Life Guards and is often away on His Majesty’s business.” She laughed again. “I haven’t acquired any, either.” That’s the understatement of the century, she thought. “Maybe we should obtain a few since we’re going to be stuck in church for two more days. We don’t want to waste God’s time.”
  24. The Chathams and Juliana At my service? You will be on Tuesday. “Delighted to make your acquaintance, my lord.” Her hand remained on his groin, prolonging any anticipation Charles might feel. “Your stepmother?” Juliana’s blue eyes widened, her gaze traveling from the Earl to the Countess. “I’ve rarely seen stepparents and stepchildren get along so well. Usually they fight like cats and dogs.” Charles, too, wondered why Mary thought that God should smite him. Her reason was obviously contrived. She had not known that Juliana was a princess when she first spoke of smiting. The lady must have changed her mind about saying what she had originally intended. Why? They must be fucking each other. A threesome is not entirely off the cards. “Your stepson seems to be a proper gentleman. I can't imagine that he could have done something so scandalous that it would provoke God to smite him.” She cast a sideways glance at Charles. Her eyes spoke volumes. What would his stepmother think if she knew that he liked to be dominated and whipped and wanted a dog collar? Juliana shrugged. “Church is much the same everywhere. Only the languages vary. I haven’t attended many German services, as I grew up mostly in Sweden, which I consider to be my home.”
  25. Charles Audley

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

    The Chathams A breath, and the icy fangs of his anger vanished, swallowed whole by the placid lake of his amiable courtly mask. It was not gone, of course, merely hidden. That wonderful, invigorating near-pain still had him in the embrace of its frigid claws. But Charles had it reigned in now, under control, waiting for a time and place where it could be usefully employed. He was comfortable and content with silence, and he was distantly curious to see how long Mary would allow it to persist. He turned to the doorway, and if his louche grace was a touch more affected than usual who was to say?
  26. Hope

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

    Chathams The change in him was dramatic. The cheeky twinkle vanished and he hardened, and the lady knew she'd touched some sensitive nerve in him, his clipped reply devoid of humour. It was a manner of adult-tantrum. Meeting his eyes she inhaled, with a sense that there was a couple of options before her now. But she had no intents of fussing about Charles, such a role implied subservience, and whatever else she was not that to him. So instead she simply turned her head in a stately fashion, looking towards the doorway in silence.
  27. Charles Audley

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

    The Chathams Mary did not understand, was perhaps too whole and healthy of mind to ever understand. The risk was just spice in the wine, for what was a game without stakes? Other thrills? You took each and every thrill offered you, because the abyss was waiting, as infinite in patience as in depth, and everyone fell eventually, no matter who they were or how carefully they trod. So why not laugh and dance and dare that yawning blackness to take you? Of course, if Charles had embraced that philosophy as fully as he liked to think, he would have scorned anger as a waste of time and energy. The frozen river of fury that poured through him at Mary's words showed that he did not. The idea that there was anything in him or lacking in him that would have been remedied by greater attention from or association with that useless wretch... (And even if, in some grand cosmic joke, there had been so much as the smallest fragment of truth in that, what right would she have to regret it?) The anger was almost painful, every nerve alight with harsh, jangling energy, but it brought with it a wonderful remote, clear coldness. He was still smiling, he realised, but it was his killing smile now, a thin, sharp thing. "I think, madam, that we would all have a great deal more regrets had he not," he said, all cold sibilance.
  28. “Yes, I admit it seemed strange at the time, but in exile one is limited to the personal items at ones disposal. It meant a lot to him, it was all he had really from his parents.” of the plate she expressed. The girl she’d been then would have been as happy with flowers or a monogrammed kerchief. The plate had hardly seemed romantic, till she digested that it was the most treasured keepsake of Lord Francis’ past that he’d entrusted her with. “But give up on that already.” She smiled in chiding her son for the scars reminder, it had become a joke between them, but funnier to him that herself (she was guilty of marring his beautiful face!) These smiles and chuckles were segue to talk of moving forwards with this knowledge. “If you do not, then Mall might, really it is a surprise that she has not done so already. And this seems to me a thing that you might better present for yourself.” That conversation seemed far removed from her at the moment, as she was still digesting, and feeling the renewal of past feelings. It was hard to pull away from that past, the bitter sweet pain of having loved and lost. Unlike her son, she was not thinking of any grave implications. But she did lend her mind to the gently expressed concerns he spoke. “I expect that is because both maintain jovial and bluster exteriors, but for this you’d desire a thoughtful mood. Perhaps there is some catalyst that might set the apt mood for such a revelation, a remembrance day, or some other thing like that, that might help.” Silently she reached for the letter, wanting to run her own eyes over it again (now that the tears had been wept, and she could properly see).
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