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Sophia de la Cerda

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About Sophia de la Cerda

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    Lady Toledo

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  • Title
    Countess

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  1. Sophia appreciated the Duchess' concern, but she didn't see how attending a meeting or discovering that the patients were being neglected could hurt the baby. She already suspected that there was something untoward going on and she wouldn't be surprised if her misgivings turned out to be true. However, if she found out the patients were being tortured … Her stomach lurched at the very idea. Maybe it was a good idea to let that investigation go for now. Anne seemed quite pleased with whatever she had arranged. Whatever could it be? The young Countess loved surprises, as long as they were pleasant. She couldn't think of anything particularly adventurous that she was still able to do, but her friend knew London and its wonders a lot better than she did. “Are we going shopping?” Even pregnant ladies could shop. “Or visiting some place I have not yet been? I do hope you're not taking me to the Tower. I met a lady who wants to come with us when we visit the menagerie as the first event of our Adventuring Society.”
  2. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    “After all that Psyche went through for her Eros, she wants him to be delighted whenever he looks upon her.” Sophia was mostly speaking of the myth she loved so well, but her statement also applied to herself. She had craved Charles since that night at the opera when he had praised his voice, but fate had been cruel and given them no opportunity to be together. Being watched all the time was every bit as torturous as the tasks Aphrodite had given Psyche, but she had finally broken free temporarily by weaving an elaborate lie to ensure that her bodyguard gave her some privacy. If we get away with this, I shall convert to Catholicism in gratitude. The risk had been worth it just to be kissed so enticingly and she could hardly wait for what was to come. Because she was pregnant, she would not have the satisfaction of feeling him inside her, but there were other ways to give and receive pleasure, ways that she had learned about in racy Italian novels but had never had the opportunity to put into practice. Hands and lips could stir one's passions and gratify them in a most exquisite fashion. There was nothing she wished for more than for both of them to find an ecstatic joy in each other's arms. Yet not here, where it was possible that they would be discovered. Leaning into his caress, she sighed in relief. If the guard had hardly noticed Charles when he entered, he would probably not remember him, thinking he was a commoner who wished for spiritual guidance. Anyone who seemed suspicious would have been stopped and questioned. Sophia had no idea how anyone could not notice him, even dressed as simply as he was. To her, he was absolutely magnificent. She laughed and took his hand. “Come. It should be fairly easy to find.” (OOC: Left it open-ended in case a mod needs to decide whether or not they found the organ loft)
  3. Sophia de la Cerda

    To Master Killigrew | arrrives 5th April

    ~arrives late afternoon on the 6th Sophia frowned as she read Master Killigrew's letter.. Why did he not want to meet at his office? Perhaps he no longer had one? It didn't really matter. She was perfectly content to receive him in her newly decorated house. Though she had hoped to speak to him today, she was glad he suggested tomorrow because she hadn't had the time to squeeze in another appointment this afternoon. It was important to find actors for Esteban's play as soon as possible so that the event he was planning didn't fail miserably. After sealing it and spritzing it with perfume, she sent the note with a servant to be delivered immediately.
  4. Sophia de la Cerda

    Rhapsody In Rose | 5th April Evening. public event, open to all

    Sophia parting from Toledo, York, and Churchill and heading onstage York just stared at her, as if he didn't understand her jest. When he finally chuckled, Sophia realized that it had finally dawned on him. Was he truly that dim? It appeared so, particularly as he didn't already know that she was witty. Anyone who hadn't been living under a rock for the last year was aware of that. His rejoinder showed her that he was also lacking in that particular attribute. She felt a bit sorry for him. Maybe he hid behind his status because that was all he had, all he knew. She also suspected that his wife wore the breeches in their marriage. The Duchess, though much younger than he was, was quite astute. Captain Churchill smiled at her but said nothing. Did he not remember her or would he rather not bring up the unfortunate incident at the ball, which had been caused by a tantrum thrown by the man who was currently standing beside him? That must be it. He wouldn't want to embarrass his master, especially in front of the Spanish Ambassador. Sophia had noticed Master Staggins nod to the musicians and as people were starting to take their seats, it was almost time to start. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach and her nerves were strung tight with anxiety. She welcomed those familiar sensations. It was perfectly normal to be nervous before a performance. No concert, play, or opera went exactly as planned, but usually, with a bit of improvisation, they did go smoothly. At least she didn't feel nauseous. York wasn't the brightest candle in the chandelier but he was polite and his good wishes seemed genuine. As did his smile. “Thank you, You Grace, and I hope you and Captain Churchill enjoy the show.” One they had left, she smiled a bit shakily at her husband. “You should find a seat too, Esteban. And wish me luck.” She had hoped to greet Lord Chatham before she performed, but she could speak to him after the concert. Even if their paths did not cross tonight, they would have plenty of time alone together tomorrow. As she left him and made her way down the aisle between the chairs, she noticed Lord Arundel sitting in the back row. Sophia gave him a look that said 'I need to talk to you,' and then continued on her way to the stage. As she stepped upon it, she glanced behind the piano to make certain that the basket of roses she had placed there had not been removed. Those were the flowers that she and Caroline would be using as props during the concert.
  5. “Thank you, Your Grace,” Sophia replied, smoothing down her skirt so that it wouldn't flutter upwards in the wind. It wouldn't be proper for the footman to get a glimpse of her ankles as he helped her into the carriage. Though she noted that the breeze had mussed her friend's hair a bit, she was too polite to say anything about it. When she had first arrived in England, she might have pointed it out, but she was finally learning when not to be blunt. “The two of you look lovely as well.” She sat across from them, frowning slightly at Anne's words. “We're not going to the meeting at Bedlam?” she asked. “Has it been canceled?” It seemed the Duchess had planned something else instead and was being quite mysterious about it. This made Sophia all the more curious. “Are you going to tell me what it is?” Her ice-blue eyes sparkled with anticipation. “Or is it a surprise?”
  6. “Then I will make sure I keep some food in my pockets in case I see you walking with him. What does he eat? Aurora consumes mostly fruit and insects, though she finds flowers tasty too. She's very friendly and curious. I have to hold her back sometimes from sniffing at people who are afraid of her. So far, she's never bit or clawed anyone and isn't aggressive at all. She acts much like a cat, but I guess that's because she grew up around them. I have four plus a new litter of kittens.” Sophia didn't offer Grace one because she didn't know if raccoons got along with felines, but if she wanted a feline, the blonde Countess would consider it. “Aurora is the same way. I usually walk her twice a day when the weather is nice. I thought about bringing her with me today, but she was curled up on my bed asleep when I left and I didn't want to disturb her.” Sophia supposed that her father could have had a bow made just for her, but he had been away from home a lot and either never thought of it or had been afraid that she would hurt herself using it while he was gone. He had been quite overprotective of her, which she understood now. He had lost a wife and several children; she had been the only family he had left. She envied Mistress Preston for having so many relatives. “A picnic sounds like fun, and I would like to try fishing, as long as there's no risk of falling into the water.” The petite singer shivered just thinking about that possibility. Perhaps there was a pond somewhere outside the city where people fished?. It might even be a well-known spot, for all she knew. As she had never expressed interest in that activity, nobody had told her anything about it. “Living in a city can be overwhelming at first. It was like that for me when I first moved to Venice. I had never been away from the estate where I grew up, and not only was Venice strange, but it was in another country with different customs and traditions. I was already fluent in Italian, so the language wasn't a problem. It took me awhile to adjust and then I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. London is fascinating in a different way. There's not as much focus on the arts here but court itself is amazing.” The young Countess grinned. “If you think of it as an adventure, you'll be fine. And soon you'll wonder how you ever lived without all the excitement and activities you will find here. My concert will be the first of many events that you can enjoy this season.”
  7. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Sophia laughed softly when Charles nipped at her fingers. “I have cast a spell upon you,” she whispered, “a wickedly alluring spell from which you can never break free, even should you wish to.” Her eyes narrowed playfully. “Which I hope you don't.” His lips found hers again and she melted into his kiss, her hands gently caressing the nape of his neck. Her soft curves pressed enticingly against him. She breathed in his sent and savored the taste of his mouth, longing to experience all of him and to soar on the wings of pleasure in his embrace. They had waited so long to be alone together, so very long, and the lovely anticipation that sang through her body was almost more than she could bear. His beautiful blue eye followed her own around their small sanctuary, if indeed that was what it was. The fact that he had seen a boy lighting candles attested to the fact that the chapel was not empty as she had hoped. Charles wrapped his arm around her waist and she leaned her blonde head against his shoulder. It was difficult to worry at all as his fingers crept up her side. Her breasts began to ache for his touch, and her entire body trembled with desire. “Perhaps the organ loft would be best. I doubt it's checked regularly and perhaps there is a place to hide if we hear footsteps.” Lifting his free hand, she kissed his fingers one by one, sucking on each of them before letting them go. “There's a guard at the door. Did he see you come in?” She doubted that Karl would speak to the man, but if he did, hopefully he would believe that the gentleman who had entered before her was just a harmless Catholic who wished to pray in peace. Or perhaps Charles had used another entrance.
  8. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Sophia was about to sit in one of the pews when she saw Charles step from behind the beautiful screen that separated the nave from the chancel. Her heart leapt in her chest as she beheld him, looking quite dashing in his own simple attire. She wanted to throw herself in his arms, but there was a possibility that they could be seen. He held a finger to his lips … lips that she longed to kiss … and she glanced furtively around her to make certain nobody was watching them before taking his hands and allowing him to draw her into his hiding place, which just happened to be in the choir stalls. “And you are the sun whose rays the rose craves more than ...” Before she could utter another word, Charles crushed his lips against hers in a delightfully passionate kiss. Starved for him, she wound her arms around his neck and returned it enthusiastically, her nubile young body spinning with sweet and poignant sensations that made her forget everything but the way he made her feel. When he pulled away, she gasped for air, her bountiful bosom heaving as she inhaled and then exhaled. “Don't be sorry darling Eros,” she whispered, one hand caressing his neck as the other moved forward to trace the outline of his lips. “I would have been disappointed had you done anything else.” Again, she looked around her. “My bodyguard stayed outside. Do you think we'll be safe here or should we find a more secluded place?”
  9. Sophia wasn't really looking forward to sitting through a boring meeting at Bedlam, but she did want to find out what was going on at that horrible place. Maybe one of the council members would let a vital piece of information slip, forgetting that they were there. She doubted the warden would make that kind of mistake. He had made one once before, when she and the Duchess had first visited, and he was clever enough to be on his guard. After returning from the Queen's Chapel, she changed out of her simple gown and into an elaborate silk confection of cornflower blue liberally adorned with white Venetian lace and iridescent pearls. Her hair sparkled with the pearl combs that held her coiffure in place. As usual, several long ringlets had been left loose to cascade down her back. Her hair was two thick and too long to wear completely up. It would look ridiculous, rising so high, but it would make her appear taller. Unknown to her, such hairstyles would become all the rage in less than a century's time. Anna had just fastened a necklace made of five stings of pearls around her neck when a servant entered and announced that a carriage was parked in the driveway. They're here already! The petite blonde took a moment to look into her full-length mirror. Pearls also gleamed in her earlobes and around her wrists. She wanted her ensemble to radiate wealth today so that the men at the meeting wouldn't have any doubt that she would be able to make a huge donation. And she believed that she had succeeded while appearing tasteful rather than flamboyant. After donning a lilac silk cloak with three bands of pearls above the ruffles that hemmed the edges, she left the house and strolled toward the open carriage. There were two ladies inside, the Duchess of Monmouth and her cousin Mistress Dundas. “Good afternoon,” she greeted them. “Are the two of you ready for the challenge ahead of us?”
  10. The plan had been hatched last season, and today they would finally be able to put it into action. Sophia had told her husband that she was seriously thinking about converting to Catholicism and wished to spend the entire morning in the Queen's Chapel praying for guidance. He had seemed pleased, which made her feel a bit guilty because her intentions were far from pious. As usual, he insisted that Karl accompany her and this time she had not protested. He would certainly not enter the Chapel with her, knowing that she wanted to be alone to concentrate on her prayers. She had dressed demurely this morning in a cream-colored cotton gown sprinkled all over with embroidered multicolored flowers. Except for a bit of lace framing the neckline and trimming the elbow-length puffed sleeves, it was unadorned and she had wrapped a cream lace scarf around her shoulders to hide her cleavage. Because it was still quite chilly in the mornings, Sophia wore a light blue cloak over her gown. The hood was left down so that her head was uncovered, revealing her flaxen hair arranged in its usual style. This time, though, no ribbons or combs decorated it. Around her neck was a simple string of pearls. Her goal today was to be able to blend into a crowd in case she and Lord Chatham decided to leave the Chapel if they could find no privacy within. She had the entire morning to spend with him and even now, as she stepped from her carriage, her body hummed with the first stirrings of desire. They had waited so long to be together and finally, they had their chance. If everything went according to plan. As she entered the building, it appeared to be empty, which wasn't surprising considering that Catholics were still persecuted in London. Most of them probably kept their faith secret unless they were foreigners like Esteban and herself. There was a guard at the door and Karl remained outside with him. Nobody who looked suspicious would have been allowed inside or she believed he would have followed her to make certain she was safe. Each step Sophia took echoed through the cavernous chamber and she looked around her, wondering if Charles was already here. If not, she hoped he would use another entrance so that her bodyguard wouldn't be alerted to his presence.
  11. Sophia de la Cerda

    Rhapsody In Rose | 5th April Evening. public event, open to all

    Sophia joining York, Churchill, and Toledo Sophia didn't like the Duke of York. Ever since she had first met him and he had told her that she should never ask questions of royalty, she had thought him pompous and full of himself. It had seemed to her that he believed he was better than everyone else simply because of the accident of his birth and that had not sat well with her. Everyone, prince or commoner, was born completely naked with nothing to their name but a good set of lungs. And everyone was equal in the eyes of God. To her knowledge, both Protestants and Catholics agreed on that. Yet here he was, at a concert that he must know would consist mostly of listening to a good set of lungs. Perhaps he was not so bad after all if he enjoyed opera. Maybe she should give him a chance to rise in her estimation. And so she moved to her husband's side, and smiled and curtsied as he greeted her. “Good evening, Your Highness.” Grinning mischievously, she added: “At least I didn't take it all and left the other half for everyone else to enjoy.” The roses had not come from the palace gardens but had been obtained elsewhere. She turned her gaze to the handsome gentleman beside him. “Yes, we have met before. It is a pleasure to see you again. Captain.” Sophia wondered if he remembered the service she had performed for him before the New Year's Eve ball, taking a message to the Duchess of York about her husband's wardrobe problem. It had worked out quite well, as the Duchess had called for her and they had shared a pleasant conversation. She hoped that the two of them would meet again.
  12. Someone had told her that the natives in the colonies were cannibals who shunned clothes, but Sophia couldn't recall who it had been. Probably Ellen Doolittle. Nearly every word that emerged from that woman's lips was a lie. It had seemed plausible to her at the time, but now she realized that she had been fooled and felt embarrassed at revealing her ignorance to Miss Preston, whom she had only just met. Her awkwardness lasted only a second and she grinned when her companion said she had a racoon “So you have an unusual pet too. I have a monkey, a golden lion tamarin called Aurora that was a gift from an admirer in Venice. You will discover that many courtiers are afraid of exotic animal and will avoid them. Even some of my best friends are wary of Aurora. Others are curious about her and a few want to pet her. Don't be surprised some people give you strange looks when you take your raccoon for a walk. I hope I get to meet him one day. I have only seen raccoons in books.” As to hunting: “My father taught me to use a bow too, but as a child, I was barely able to draw back the arrow and bowstring. He had to help me. I wonder if I'm strong enough now. It would be fun to try it again. There's a shooting range on the palace grounds, but I think it's used mostly by the soldiers. And I will have to wait until my baby is born to attempt it.” She laughed at Miss Preston's adventure with the pigs. Sophia had never seen one up close and had not known that they could be dangerous. “I'm glad your brother saved you before you got hurt. Being trampled would be far worse than smelling like a privy. Maybe that was one reason my father wouldn't let me visit the farms. There's too much trouble to get into. “Thank you,” she said to Grace's condolences. “It was a terrifying trip. One of my guardians brought me here on his ship and I remained unconscious most of the time. Whenever I awakened, I threw up and then passed out again. I don't think he was very happy with me and probably regretted promising my father that he would take care of me. “In Venice, I had to avoid the canals. I wanted to ride in a gondola but I couldn't get close enough to the water without feeling as if I was about to faint. Last year, I forced myself to walk on the beach when the court went to Brighton and this winter, I went ice-skating once. Maybe I would be able to sit on a shore and fish. You make it sound like fun. “I wonder if there's any place to fish in London.” The blonde Countess wrinkled her nose. “I doubt there's any fish in the river. It's so disgusting that they probably couldn't survive. Even if they did, one wouldn't want to eat them. They would most likely make one sick.” Sophia regarded Grace with an inquisitive look. “Have you ever lived in a big city before?”
  13. Sophia de la Cerda

    Rhapsody In Rose | 5th April Evening. public event, open to all

    Sophia saying farewell to Francis and Buckingham, trying to catch Charles' eye, and returning to Toledo Francis' agreement sounded a bit insincere to one so attuned to vocal expressions. Perhaps he felt obligated to attend the meeting because he thought it would please his cousin. Sophia felt guilty now for suggesting it, although in truth, she wanted him there. Her former guardian's presence would allay any suspicions her husband might have about her meeting Buckingham alone and would also prevent any rumors that could dishonor him about his wife having an affair with the Duke. The fountain was a public place, after all. “I greatly look forward to it,” Sophia replied, curtsying once more. “Enjoy the concert, Your Grace, Lord Kingston.” When they had gone, she scanned the room for Lord Arundel but didn't see him. Had he left already? She certainly hoped not, as she wished to arrange a meeting with him too, but of a completely different nature than the one with Lord Buckingham and Francis. Her eyes strayed to the door and a soft smile turned up the corners of her lips when she noticed the fine figure of Lord Chatham enter the drawing room. Sophia looked toward him and touched one finger to her cheek and then headed back to Esteban, who was about to be converged upon by The Duke of York and Captain Churchill. She hurried to his side and smiled as they approached, assuming that her husband would want to to be the first to greet them. (OOC: The thorns on the roses have been removed. It's in the intro post.)
  14. “I've never been to Austria,” Sophia admitted. Perhaps Juan would take her there some day. though she had heard that it was not much different than her homeland. Both countries also shared the same language so she would not find it difficult to communicate. “One of your brothers went to the Colonies?” Sophia's eyes widened with curiosity. “Has he written to you and told you what it's like? Are the natives really cannibals that run around naked all the time? It must be very dangerous there. I think he's really brave to go there.” She grinned at Grace. “If you want to travel the continent, then perhaps you should marry a gentleman who aspires to become one of England's Ambassadors. Then you'll get to see many different places. The downside is that you may not spend much time here anymore.” Sophia didn't mention what might happen when she had children. She was still not sure whether hers would be able to stay with her in London or if Juan would insist that he or she be raised in Spain. “I like hunting. Actually, I think the proper term for the kind my father taught me is 'hawking.' I had my own hawk in Germany but it died while I was in Venice. I'm thinking of getting another one and training it after my baby is born. There will be no hunting for me until then.” Sophia shrugged. “My father enjoyed it. I never asked him why. Maybe only men like the taste and the smell. Like coffee. I can't stand coffee either. I much prefer tea. And milk. Milk is my favorite beverage. They sell it in St James Park. You should try it. It's so delicious.” Now it was Sophia who wrinkled her nose. “I've never even seen a pig pen. Our castle sat on a hill and the farms were below it, managed by my father's tenants. I wasn't allowed to go there, nor did I have any desire to do so. Does your family's estate have its own farm?” Grace did seem like the adventurous type. “I'll try anything once too. Except for fishing.” Her lyrical voice took on a sorrowful note. “I told you that my mother passed away when I was three. We were taking a boat ride on a pond and I fell out. My mother jumped in to save me. I was pulled back into the boat but she drowned right in front of my eyes. Since then, I have been frightened of large bodies of water. I'm trying to conquer my fear and every time I sail to Spain and back, it gets a bit easier, but I don't think I'll every be completely comfortable around ponds and lakes and rivers.”
  15. Sophia de la Cerda

    The Art Of Friendship | 4th April, noon

    “Maybe he'll leave the name up to me, unless he wants to name the baby after his father or grandfather or another of his relatives. He has more on his mind than picking out names and if he was really set on one, he probably would already have mentioned it.” Instinctively, Sophia placed one hand on her belly and smiled softly. “I hope it is a boy, but so does every lady who is having her first child. And if there's two … well, I won't know what to think either. Twins are rare so it is unlikely that there are two lives growing within me.” It was also rare for both twins to survive and even if they did, either one or both of them tended to be sickly. She would much rather have twins the hard way … two babies born less than a year apart. It was possible if Juan came to see his child within a few months of its birth. Then again, did she really want to get pregnant again so soon? “Thank you,” she said to Frances' compliment. “I invited Lady Kendishall to join me because I thought that everyone should hear her play, but it it is nice not to have to carry the entire concert alone, especially in my condition. We practiced together last night and everything went wonderfully.” She nodded at her friend's intention to leave, though she didn't understand why Frances should want to be extra dutiful now that she was betrothed. Maybe it was because she didn't have much longer to live in her parents' house and she wanted these last months before her marriage to be pleasant. Sophia would have wished the same thing if she'd had parents to leave behind. But they had left her behind instead, long before she had even met her future husband … or her beloved prince. She led Frances from the bedroom and down the stairs to the front door. “I've enjoyed our visit, Lady Frances. Give your mother my regards and I'll see you next week.”
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