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Cadell Mortimer

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Everything posted by Cadell Mortimer

  1. Easter, it was said, was a time for family, for the Christian man, his spouse, and children to contemplate the sacrifice Christ had made for mankind and His resurrection. Cadell Mortimer was successful in doing the latter. For once, he had missed Wales, the backwater that was regressive enough to allow its Catholics to practice their faith quietly. The night before, being Holy Saturday, was supposed to be a recognition of the Harrowing of Hell and greeted with hymns, but instead the Viscount Athenry had taken to his books – the study being the one room in their Chelsea manor that was truly his – to consider further how the French dominance of civilized culture might be put to use in England. Catholic priests were in demand, after all, and Holy Saturday was traditionally barren of righteous observance. Nonetheless, Cadell Mortimer, Viscount Athenry and so on, was a man who typically felt need of absolution, guilt or no. So it was that he had been feeling particularly blessed on Easter Sunday, wherein a proper Mass had been provided for the residents of their Chelsea home, allowing the young lord to feel at ease with the moderate impropriety (attending a service belonging to a false Church who owed its rise to a handful of Protestant whores, of course, was improper) with which he had approached his return to the London season. But he had, for better or worse, favored the sanctity of the study from late morning through to the afternoon, head bowed in prayer for his family in Wales,and to reach an accord with what, sham or no, was his erstwhile family of French origin. And then, after resolving to speak to his wife, fellow conspirator, and compatriot in their mutual chastity (at least as regarded the other, Cadell preferred not to think about Louise's extracurricular activities), he uttered one last quick prayer for himself, to follow the wisdom of the felix culpa doctrine, the blessed Fall. That Man might do good from the evil into which they were born. For God judged it better to bring good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist.* Naturellement, it wouldn't have done if his lady wife was to be found somewhere accessible. Their (comparatively) small home was devoid of her presence, occupied only by servants from two realms, and it took the recently-promoted-to-head footman Duncan to guide his master out to the gardens, a long limp for one reliant on a cane. Nonetheless, the courtier's mask the viscount wore grew warm and sincere, fond of Portsmouth as he was, upon catching a glimpse of blonde hair and a lady lost in thought. “I forgot your fondness for gardens, it seems,” he greeted gently, thinking back to the unfortunate circumstances of their introduction. Before approaching her, he paused, plucking a white lily -a symbol of purity and the Blessed Virgin- and hobbling over with it held between his fingers. “But in my attempt to find you I discovered that the cook has prepared a veritable feast à la française, which ought to be pleasing if you should wish to invite anybody.” Realizing that this was an interruption which may have seemed asinine, Cadell shrugged his shoulders. “Is aught amiss, my lady?” Even now, as he offered the lily, he stuck to formality, querying further. “Might I sit with you?” *St. Augustine
  2. Cadell Mortimer

    Away & Here Notices

    Thanks everybody! I took it for granted the first go-around, but I'm excited to be moving forward with life now. Appreciate the support
  3. Cadell Mortimer

    Away & Here Notices

    More of a heads up than an away notice, I finally got my act together enough to go back to school. I don't plan on going anywhere, but since I have loads more work responsibilities these days, things may be a bit sporadic as I figure that out/quell the butterflies in my stomach.
  4. Athenry and Sophia Sophia seemed somewhat distracted, a reminder that a great deal of time had past – ever if it was not as long as it felt like, it nonetheless served a purpose for Cadell, bringing to mind just how quickly court moved, whether one was present or not. His friend had gone from a blushing young thing whose talents with music exceeded her grasp of English, to a married woman with connections to high-ranking Spaniards and friends outside his own circle. The same could be said of him, he supposed, although his true allies in London seemed rather limited – the spectacle during which the dark-haired lady who interrupted him in such a boldly cheerful manner seemed proof of that. Lord Athenry, as of yet, had no claim to fame beyond his marriage to the “French whore”, as Mistress Nell would have likely put. Nonetheless, the viscount was buoyed somewhat by the shift in conversation, and even managed a wry smile when Sophia offered her reasons for not reciting the entire psalm, saying, “My dearest lady, I'm impressed. Since when do you avoid the spotlight?” The other quotations seemed to peter out in terms of their controversy and creativity, although the one selected by Her Majesty was curious enough – strange, Cadell thought, to hear a Protestant German reference good works. “If our good Queen thought this was court exhorting one another,” he muttered to Sophia with a grimace. “I daresay that I fear for those events scheduled outside of Holy Week.” Even a game of Bible quotes was filled with one-upsmanship and peacocking, along with...whatever it was that inspired such butchery of the Book of John. Unceremoniously, he drained the rest of his glass of wine, weary from the voyage, the drink, and the courtly games alike. Steadying himself on his cane slightly longer than ought to have been necessary, his tired eyes managed one last bout of warmth for his friend as he addressed her. “As always, my lady, your presence has been enlivening, but it, hm, seems that even you are powerless against the promise of a decent night's sleep. “I,” Cadell yawned, and gave a courteous half-bow. “Will eagerly await your missive. Adieu, dear friend.” And off he hobbled, in search of a coach and a final glass of wine to smooth out the mixed emotions of his return to Whitehall.
  5. As strange and inhospitable as London could be at times -and that was to say, at least as far as concerned Catholics, most times- Brooke House had been more of a home to the Viscount Athenry than had his old house on Piccadilly or the new one in Chelsea, with its grand library and the sanctuary it had provided for an open Catholic among friends who kept the faith in private. So too had Lord Beverley, military man, recently remarried, and a seemingly proper soul among the decadent court proven to Cadell personally. London had nearly from the get-go (as if the viscount needed to remind himself of the fate of Gabriel Richmond and his conspirators, or his role in it) proven itself almost as duplicitous as Versailles, and without the saving grace of being a Catholic court in service to the most powerful of the Catholic kings. Beverley's honesty and understanding, as well as dedication to the appropriate way of doing things, stood in stark contrast. It was a rare moment that the third son of a minor Welsh baronet, whose wife had been unfortunately inclined to their barbaric culture, could find a peer among the Peers. Even if he was one of them, now. Not that one would notice... So it was that, still wearing the grey silk damask of earlier, Cadell had taken a coach to the familiar Brooke House, exiting the carriage with a slight groan but not before nipping from a pewter flask decorated with the lion-and-dragon of the old Mortimers, the ones before the rebellions against the House of Lancaster. His marriage allowed for more ostentatious arrivals now, yet, he viewed himself as defiant rather than a fool – displays of status were best kept out of sight of the mob. Holy Saturday, one could surmise, would mean little to a sufficiently-stoked fire. As he reached the front, he gave a crooked smile to the blue liveried servants of the Earl, nodding to the stalwart footman Duncan and his new counterpart, Jean-Pierre, to dispense of their gifts to the counterparts among Brooke's household. “Athenry to see Lord Beverley,” the viscount announced brusquely but presumably unnecessarily, believing the servants to know him. The cognac burned down his throat and into his chest and stomach, prompting a slight, familiar, and a strangely welcome nausea as he watched his servants retreat to the coach. One gift was in a small wooden box, carved ornately in a Turkish style, the other clearly a work of white-and-blue porcelain, adorned with lotuses and a figure that seemed to be a portly eastern Mandarin of sorts. “I would appreciate it greatly if my lord's belated wedding gifts were present when I see him.”
  6. Cadell Mortimer

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    The Frencherchief Debate (Caroline, Cadell, George, Charles) Caroline responded with a jest of her own, then Mountjoy with some polished flattery; even in reply, Cadell felt more of an observer. “As was I, my lady,” he explained with a self-deprecating smile. “Although I've made a valiant effort to understand the principles of theater, I confess my dramatics to be conceived entirely on accident.” She had a bold tongue, George's prospective wife, and the comment on his own attractiveness brought him to cast a look to George, as if to say I don't know. Nonetheless, Mountjoy kept the conversation going, and Cadell nodded sharply at his assertion that Caroline was hard to ignore, remarking “I have of late stocked my cellar with the latest out of la maison Augier.” The marquis would have found himself on the receiving end of an approving look; over the past year, cognac had been a boon companion to the Welshman in Paris. “So it seems we're in mutual approval on a number of subjects, then, my lord.” Meaning, in turn, tastes in French culture and the courting couple before them. “Although, I would contend that while political concerns should not impact sartorial sense, nor cultural tastes as a whole, it would perhaps make for a better world if the exchange of taste could impact politics.” Ever the student, even titled and at court, the viscount could not help but philosophize a bit, and bely his humanistic worldview at that. “Fostering a spirit of cooperation...” “Mm.” His left (and therefore cane-free) hand gestured vaguely, his drifting set aside in the face of courtesy as he admitted, “A weighty subject for the venue, perhaps too much so. Certainly not as important as pockerchiefs.” Which he would certainly be wearing as soon as was humanly possible. “Particularly when it comes to our Chichester's estimations of them.”
  7. Cadell Mortimer

    Happy-ish Returns, early evening, 9th April

    “They say one can't choose their family,” Cadell considered, on the topic of the Herberts and Somersets. “But I hardly think whoever coined that adage gave thought to the subject of marriage. Or our friend Pembroke, for that matter.” He had not yet gotten to know Pembroke, beyond the customary courtesies – for the reasons Beverley had listed, the man seemed more of a liability than an asset. “Still, I suppose a lion would make it worthwhile. Perhaps I should ask for one?” That, given what he remembered of his own youth and of cousin Gwen's Arthur, would likely endear him to any prospective prince or royal bastard, although the viscount's provincial roots made the suggestion an instinctive joke. Two accidents had seen him rise from complete obscurity to a more mild one vis-a-vis his former baronetcy, and he was as of yet unaccustomed to the truly gaudy benefits of wealth and stature. He gave his friend's advice due consideration: by now, he had known Beverley to possess a keen mind for the workings of court despite his demeanor, and nodded along at the words. “A Catholic influencing a prince might raise a few eyebrows,” he put in, right thumb brushing the sapphire eyes of his cane's carved ivory handle. “But perhaps if the lad has an appreciation for the written word...” A slight smile and light laughter followed a shrug of his shoulders. “Elsewise I may need to petition Prince Rupert to borrow you. It went without saying, after all, that a man crippled in his youth knew nothing more of military affairs than the strategies he'd learned in books and the basics of firing a pistol. Not that Cadell had needed such, not even during the Flotilla catastrophe. Cadell beamed even as he disagreed with Beverley, proud that he'd apparently made an excellent selection. “As pleased as I am by your reaction, I must say au contraire, my friend. Where we in London copy the French, in Paris they look to the east.” His left hand lifted the flask up, and his eyes fell upon it for a second before drifting back to his friend, explaining, “The teapot is an imitation, of course,” he said, smile still going strong. True blue-and-white porcelain was for the wealthiest of the wealthy, kings and dukes and merchant princes. “But the jade is from Hindustan, and the blade Damascus steel.” “From what the Turk merchant said to me, I should like to see the Sublime Porte as well. But that's the domain of traders and those in high office, and I don't see an ambassadorship for myself any time soon,” the Welsh viscount threw in with another mild chuckle. “As for you, I do pray there's little opportunity to use that blade in the near future, hm?”
  8. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. 1 Corinthians 14:35. The verse could have made an excellent, if entirely improper, sarcastic retort to the lady who spoke against him. Cadell had nearly made it a day in London without feeling a longing for the byzantine ways of Versailles, where at least respect was shown and the true faith acknowledged. Even were he not a Catholic, he could not help but shake the feeling that le Roi or his queen would not have approved of the dark-haired woman's slight against his words and the transition to the Song of Solomon. The flush in his cheeks, which began with Sophia's verbal misstep (easily brushed off) and continued with the urging of one glass of wine too many (more than welcome), seemed to refuse to leave. His courtier's mask became a scowl, one Athenry hid behind another sip of wine, the glass raised momentarily in acknowledgment of what appeared to be Chichester's defense of him, inaudible though it may have been. Smiling gratefully at Sophia as she provided a measure of reassurance, the viscount attempted to seem diffident in his shrugging as he murmured a quiet, wry, “If nothing else, their ignorance of the principle of tolerance spurs the competition onward.” And thus, away from his embarrassment. “Very apt, my lady,” Cadell commented on Sophia's suggestion, nodding once in approval. “And a beautiful Psalm besides. 'May sinners vanish from the earth, and the wicked be no more'.” In a very un-Christian manner, his grey eyes drifted back to Darlene briefly, wondering who his naysayer was before reclining slightly in his seat, shoulders beginning to slump. He felt tired, all of a sudden, and the wine in his belly had begun to shift from relaxing to distraction. “I suppose if Her Majesty is pleased, then the venture was worth it,” he observed to Lady Toledo with a slight sigh. Then, a weak chuckle. “Leave it to court to turn the word of Our Lord into a competition, hm?”
  9. Cadell Mortimer

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    George and Caroline with Cadell and Charles Cadell continued to smile pleasantly as George completed the introductions, making several mental notes; first, he was pleased to have his suspicions about the earl and Caroline confirmed, happy that they both seemed favorable to their match. Secondly, he gave the widowed Baroness a nod and a slightly raised eyebrow when she replied to his courtesy with further French, murmuring a quiet, “Ah bon*?” Perhaps it was cynical to focus more on observing, but it was a duty of his to be on the lookout for friends to his master abroad. George he already considered a friend and an ally, a man whose support for Toleration was laudable, and the fact that he appeared to be in a courtship with a woman of French descent (who would momentarily be described by Chichester as having an affection for the continent's greatest power) was an intriguing one. As ever, he would remember the commands of the Second Epistle Peter, and remain vigilant and (at least during the holy season) sober. Of course, the viscount had once promised the same to the Jesuits. Who responded with a fleeing friend, an executed Frenchman, and, oh, a war between my lady wife's countryman and her royal lover. Galling thoughts, all. But this was Easter, and Cadell was with a friend, whose other companions were not unpleasant. Though, he considered, Apparently I must needs seek the advice of the good earl before adopting the pockerchief. Partiality to French culture had to make way for the indifferent elegance of the courtier, all the books advised, after all - and Versailles had confirmed said advice for the young viscount. “You're very kind, Lord Mountjoy,” he replied, after the well-mets and courtesies were finally dispensed with. The marquis gave a well-measured response to French culture, perfectly patriotic, and seemed to be an equally well-placed friend of George's – worth getting to know, in sum, perhaps privately. Another observation went, “To myself, Her Grace, and to England's erstwhile enemy alike.” A light chuckle bubbled up from his throat as he joked, “Between the professed fondness and recent voyages, I fear the four of us may seem quite the conspiracy to any onlookers.” *"Is that so?" Used in a rhetorical manner in French.
  10. Cadell Mortimer

    Happy-ish Returns, early evening, 9th April

    “And I suppose it wouldn't do if I accused you of being Italian in taste, in turn, would it?” Cadell shot back with a smirk, noticeably more relaxed among the company of like-minded men than he would be in nearly any court function. The Italians were known for their vices in general, but one in particular, of the sort that even proper men could joke about – at least in closed quarters, without women about. If only court as a whole was that simple – for the most part. For all his supposed humanistic ideals, Athenry was still a man, and held a man's opinion about most things, but even he knew his own horse was tied to that of Portsmouth. A step up from having no horse at all, at least. Moving on, however, he once again considered the match, altogether having long since approved of it but taking note of Beverley's mention of the family in question: if memory served, Worcester was of the Court party, and of originally Catholic extraction. “Imagine my disappointment,” Cadell drawled, swishing around some cognac briefly. “When I found out that the Herbert related to your father-in-law shares little but a common ancestor with Pembroke. Ha! Wouldn't that be something.” “As it is, the man's mostly good for his menageries, to hear tell. I've made little effort to discover more.” He shrugged languidly. Mercurial types were not for him, particularly those whose reputations ran to the dark. “I should like to see a lion with my own eyes, however,” he added in non-sequitur, the brandy perhaps encouraging such errant thoughts. “My cousin's boy is quite fond of them.” 'I see there were some trades.' Cadell hid his reaction to this remark behind a sip of the cognac, instead nodding as the conversation turned to the boons at hand. “Let's hope His Majesty's heir isn't the jealous type, hm?” That could get particularly sticky, considering the number of royal bastards on hand. More seriously, he added, “You should meet Richmond, you know. With all that's transpired, the boy could use a military type around him. The French do it well, but...” Another shrug. “A French wife, French gifts for my friends...” He glanced back at the unopened box. “The least I could do is ensure the lad grows to be properly English, I should think.”
  11. Athenry and Sophia A hint of scarlet to match Sophia's own flared up on Athenry's cheeks, belying his own youthfulness, spurred on somewhat by the evening's intake of wine. Her comments as towards Toledo's possessiveness gave the truth to his own discomfort in private matters; to wit, neither of them any intentions in that regard, of course, but he was as ever far from a libertine. Even suggestions in that sense caused a very Catholic consternation. Blessedly, the topic moved on. “Un poco,*” he replied softly, returning her grin with a more-subdued playfulness in his voice. “As I said, I'm horribly out of practice.” He had met few Spaniards outside of Artois, and mostly at official court functions where it would have been strange to resort to their mother tongue – and besides, French was the language of diplomacy, of courtly manners, of literature. “Even still,” Cadell conceded, “You have my word that I'll remain at my most politic, and endeavor fully not to restart the Franco-Spanish War.” A few agreeable nods greeted Sophia's thoughts on Moliere and Racine, the viscount considering her interests in literature as ever commendable. The natural weaknesses of women, the humanists taught, were remedied best by education, and as something of a pedagogue himself (intentionally or otherwise), he could not help but agree. “You may have one of the chapbooks I brought back. Her Grace's wardrobe required some adjusting while we were abroad,” a light, lyrical Welsh laugh passed his lips as he made the jest. Portsmouth's tastes were famously expensive, no thanks to the two kings he served. “And I fear I'm now obliged to make room for it.” A Catholic enters the fray Kingston and Chichester were the first two to offer verses, the libertine under Buckingham's sphere offering a verse from John, while the well-dressed earl chose the contrasting Matthew. The proverbial ball then fell in Cadell's respective court, or so he believed: an educated Catholic voice would have provided good contrast to the Anglicans old and new. And besides, finally there was a court contest that he could succeed at without the machinations of his so-called wife. “My lords, I thank you both for your suggestion of the gospels,” he answered earnestly, raising his voice as he steadied himself on his cane to rise. “For mine own part, I admit that I favor the history of the growth of our Lord's ministry, particularly during these holy days, where His Kingdom began in earnest.” Feeling more confident in this than in most other courtly endeavors, Cadell went on to quote, “And Peter opening his mouth, said: In very deed I perceive, that God is not a respecter of persons. But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh justice, is acceptable to him.” With enough of his typical introversion to appear somewhat abashed, he smiled meekly and bowed his head. “Acts, chapter 10, verses 34 through 35.**” It was both an earnest statement and a coded message, one he hoped subtle enough to pass the scrutiny of the Anglicans around him – they too believed in works, as he understood it, simply not in the manner Catholics did. “To me, it serves as a reminder that all men are brothers and women sisters under the Almighty, redeemed by His loving sacrifice, and that none are loved more or less by Him save by their actions.” Inwardly, his commentary involved several diatribes against the Five Solas of the Protestants, and pointed barbs elsewhere, but instead he simply added before sitting down and facing Sophia with a brief shrug, “An important reminder when events threaten to tear us apart from others, and a motivator at all others.” *A little bit. **Specifically, the Douay-Rheims version of the Bible, favored by Catholics at the time.
  12. Cadell Mortimer

    Happy-ish Returns, early evening, 9th April

    In the back of his mind, where the rest of the urges suppressed in good, Catholic manner lay, Cadell had always wondered what it would have been like to have been born among the truly great families, to be catered to by more than a handful of servants, to have your name sought by matchmakers (Baptist May did not count, in this regard) and to have risen in life respectfully. Even here, which was not so great as Maidstone -another of the Saint-Legers' holdings familiar to the newly-made viscount- a wave of that old feeling, a sort of longing that belonged to the permanently crippled third sons of the world, a desire to do more, be more. All in all, it was faintly ridiculous to think so. Even if his father had been a bastard of the non-literal kind and his mother a hen with a bizarre attachment to the Welsh lifestyle, he was still of the gentry. And envy was most un-Christian for the fortunate of the world, regardless of whether they had done and become more than what was expected of them. Fortunately, Cadell was among friends, a sensation more comforting than the excitement at Versailles' viper pits. He gave a smile to the servants for their assistance with the belated wedding gifts, and rose to greet Beverley as the young soldier made his appearance in the doorway. “Thank you, my friend. I believe that my sea legs are of much more use than my actual ones.” After the self-deprecating jest, he took a pull from his flask, then smiled rather bashfully, the courtier's mask having faded around his friend. “Ah, cognac Augier. Do you, er, mind terribly...?” It suddenly felt very common to have taken a drink without something being offered. As if to lessen the blow of his rudeness, he offered Beverley the pewter flask. “I sent my congratulations by letter, of course-” Beverley, his sister Beth, and (oddly enough) Nell Gwynn had been those he'd corresponded with the most in France. “But I found it insufficient to convey my congratulations – Mary Somerset! Well done, man. Well done.” A more boisterous sort would have likely clapped Beverley on the back at this, but neither of the two gentleman were anything approaching boisterous. “Madame la duchesse was too busy taking in the sights of her homeland to assist me, so I must confess that I enlisted the help of a charming Turk in acquiring separate presents for your marriage.” His grey eyes darted between the teapot and the box which held Beverley's. "I am...not particularly well-versed in this type of thing."
  13. Cadell Mortimer

    Away & Here Notices

    Ouch. I've been dealing with TMJ that induces severe back, neck, and head pain for years, so I'm no stranger to that! Hope you feel better soon.
  14. Cadell Mortimer

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    And Then There Were Four Companion, hm? If intellect was indeed Athenry's weapon of choice -of course, there was little in the way of other options for a man marked by a permanent limp- then the Welshman would have been amiss to not consider himself a student of body language. From Dutlas Manor to Versailles, observing first and speaking second had been the outsider's premier tool. George's gestures, then, provided more context than words could have whilst still remaining politic, the way the man positioned himself next to Lady Kendishall speaking volumes. “No, my lord,” Cadell replied in good humor, shaking his head once. The Jesuits described themselves as soldiers of the mind and soul, and he could still appreciate their way of doing things, even if le Roi didn't favor them. One wondesr why... “I fear that I'd be without a defense entirely should I relinquish that particular set of arms. But I can assure you that I would find it most un-Christian to take them up against a friend while here.” That was likely the most sacrilegious Athenry could get with a jest; he had known enough libertines to become accepting, even comfortable, with their habits, but firmly outside the camp of those so comfortable with sin. Self-consciously, he primped his cravat, white silk on Tourainian gray. Caroline and George were both gracious as regarded his joining them, and he provided the widowed baroness with a respectful bow and courtier's smile. She was young, not unfair to look upon, and courteous – a good match for Chichester, if that was the way of things. “Enchanté, Lady Kendishall.” His flawless French being a particular point of pride, he could not help but lapse into it on occasion, particularly after a year of speaking mostly that. “The good earl has the right of it; while he inflates my pride with a far too charitable estimation of my talents, it's certainly true that a man's greatest victory is the woman who accompanies him.” His eyes darted from Caroline's face to the corsage, to George and then back again, searching for a reaction. This was delayed, however, by the arrival of a fourth, a well-dressed man (he made particular note of the pockerchief, a familiar affectation in France, but one that was just beginning to seem acceptable in London – Cadell resolved to acquire some immediately) with the bearing of a practiced courtier joined them. Something was familiar about this one; it seemed certain that they'd never met, but there were only so many who attended court with any regularity. From the House of Lords, perhaps? If that was so, he would likewise need to pledge himself to making the man's acquaintance. If they don't exclude us Papists from that, too. “I do hope the lady's in a forgiving mood today,” he offered by way of greeting, bowing once more. “Or else Lord Chichester's popularity might make us both seem the interloper, my lord.”
  15. Cadell Mortimer

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Cadell Joins George and Caroline (after a moment) Cadell's eyes continued to wander about the assemblage for a few long moments, only to eventually catch sight of an old acquaintance, one he had set about contacting the night before: in the distance, there was the inimitably fashionable George. Most curiously, he was handing a young woman whom he did not recognize a corsage of lilies. Well, I say, Chichester! The man, as ever, was bold – a trait the younger viscount did not quite feel he possessed despite evidence to the contrary. As their gazes met, the corner of his mouth perked up, turning the fixed expression of aspiring sprezzatura into an amused, though still friendly, smirk. Perhaps the gesture exchanged between George and Caroline was merely a friendly one (he had the distinct suspicion it was not, although it would be unsurprising if the Church of England was lax in its rules of decorum), but Athenry was not self-centered enough to test the waters just yet. Instead, Cadell took a minute longer to survey the surroundings, allowing George and his companion a private moment; by the time he ceased feigning interest in the Royal Chapel's stained glass, it would nonetheless take a longer than average time for the limping lord to make his approach. Still, better to be rude than to act the obvious exile among the Pharisees... Finally, he reached the two, tucking his Bible (the English College at Douai's translation, naturally) into the crook of his cane arm as he offered a deep bow. “We're on hallowed ground, my lord,” the viscount greeted, his Welsh lilt having been muted and somewhat morphed by his year in France. “I suppose that means our truce will hold for awhile longer, hm?” Not to leave the young lady out of the conversation with references to chess matches from what felt like an age ago, he chuckled and turned to Caroline with a respectful smile. “I beg your pardon for the intrusion, my lady, but I felt honor-bound to ensure the unfinished business-” His grey eyes darted back to George, half-twinkling at the jest. “Between this man and I did not ruin your morning on this holy day. I don't believe we've had the pleasure, however...”
  16. Athenry and Sophia Happiness seldom factored into what Cadell believed was his duty – and indeed, it would have been difficult to say if he was truly displeased with the circumstances of his marriage. The mask that Nell Gwyn had gifted him was of the commedia dell'arte character Pantalone, an obvious dig at the nature of the King's (or Baptist May's) charity, and yet it hung opposite a bust of St. Thomas Aquinas in his study. The juxtaposition was both a private, self-deprecating joke and a moment of cynical pride, an homage to the role he played in order to further the cause – and a sign of respect for Mistress Nell. Like her rival, his wife, the woman was worthy of respect despite her coarse nature. The humanists all agreed that a clever woman was a welcome thing. All the world's a stage... “It's settled, then,” he agreed, as the conversation turned towards a visit, so that Sophia might speak her mind freely. “I will open my ears, and we shall endeavor to introduce our respective better halves.” His courtier's smile remained firmly in place, teetering on the verge of warm, an effort assisted by the wine. “I would relish the opportunity to practice my Spanish once more, in truth,” he continued, mock-confidentially. Monsieur de Comte would surely approve as well. “I was, ah, somewhat more lax on my decorum at St. Omer, and made the acquaintance of a handful of hidalgos over the shared language of drink.” Now, Artois was much more heavily contested, and the Catholics of the College there likely had their loyalties split. In culture, as with much else, Cadell sided with the French, and thus had an answer immediately at the ready when Sophia asked about his reading selection. “Molière's shade still haunts the literary world of France,” he answered with a shrug, personally finding the man a bit too blaspemous. “Racine interests me more, but, ah...you may find yourself interested in the works of Madame de La Fayette. Her salons are the greatest in Paris, and her works filled with tragic heroines and commentaries on court manners.” “Speaking of,” the viscount segued with no explanation as to whether he was referring to heroines or courtly behavior, exchanging his empty glass for a full one all the while. Drink had been a welcome companion in France, and even when just returning to court, he saw no reason to change that. “My arrival was extremely recent, so I am at something of a disadvantage: what does Her Majesty have in store for us tonight, do you know?”
  17. Cadell Mortimer

    Away & Here Notices

    Monday we lost a quarter of our kitchen team, Tuesday my grandmother slipped and had to go to the ER. Been dealing with that, will be back to writing tomorrow - sorry for any delays, y'all.
  18. Cadell Mortimer

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Of all the Protestant events which he had been to, this one grated on Cadell the most. That was to say, he had not been to many, solely the important, court-sanctioned ones, but it felt particularly sinful to attend a church event on Holy Saturday outside of the Queen's Chapel. Nonetheless, appearances had to be made, and more importantly, little of political value could be gained from enlisting Portsmouth into taking a carriage into the mouth of the mob, not when it had seemed that the fires of anti-Catholicism had cooled only to flash up into a blaze of anger at the French. The King's presence, of course, would have the opposite effect. Cadell had, before his absence, began to make in-roads of the sort Chevreuse and Saint-Aignan would ideally approve of, and sought to continue to do so now. His conscience, for the moment, remained clear: the true faith had been acknowledged earlier, in private and in a manner reminiscent of the hiding-places for Catholics he had once aided in the construction of. Besides, the confessional was made for such gray areas. The new Lord Athenry, being the God-fearing scion of the Apostolic and Catholic Church that he was, needn't have made a mental note to visit it soon. A silk damask justacorps matched the grayness of the sin at hand, light blue and silver brocade accenting the damask's floral patterns while cooling down the scarlet of his waistcoast. A quiet click-clack heralded his arrival, and the light slate of his eyes scanned the gathered courtiers for those he recognized, either by acquiantance or reputation, though Cadell did not yet make to join any of them. It was hard enough to act in a sanctified manner when such pressing matters weighed on the young lord's mind. It was even harder when those who surrounded him could easily have known of his faith, and wonder as to his intentions. Hopefully, the King's attendance was reason enough to be here.
  19. Athenry and Sophia A thin eyebrow arched itself in response to Sophia's knowledge of Erasmus, scarcely a field Cadell considered appropriate for a young woman, particularly a Protestant one – but then again, equally scarce was his knowledge of feminine pursuits. Lady Toledo herself, too, had proven herself to be full of surprises, capricious as she was, and so the viscount greeted her response with another muted smile and a quiet, “The concept is equally foreign to me as well, if you might pardon the expression.” He could still remember the young girl who had showed up at his doorstep, followed shortly thereafter by a bedraggled Lucas Cole. Outsiders all, then as now, the feeling persisting – maybe, in some respect, strengthening on Athenry's end – despite the rise in status he and Sophia had experienced. Accordingly, even without their friendship, he would have felt hard-pressed not to help with the German countess' mysterious problem. The example of Christ taught that succor was to be provided to all outcasts, rich or poor, that those on the outside looking in were all the more cherished by the Most High for their struggling. Even still, hearing that Lord Kingston would indeed be involved lifted something of a burden off the young lord's shoulders. The man had a much more intimate knowledge of material matters than he. Even still, such charity and insistence on virtue had gotten him into trouble before, first with Father Petre, and later with the older acquaintance who had chanced upon Her Grace his wife with him. “Sympathetic ears I have in abundance,” he murmured back, eyes looking upon the Queen as he considered the topic of his marriage, and the sham it was. “Or at least in a matching pair.” Still wearing his courtiers smile, he went from Her Majesty, in part the instigator of the strange turn of his life, back to Sophia with an answer. “I didn't think it would suit me,” he confided, neglecting to complete the thought. Maybe it still doesn't. “And it's strange, no longer being a bachelor.” Given the circumstances, especially. “But, ah, I'm certain my lady wife would be grateful for the introduction. London is lonely for the French.” With a quiet laugh, he looked back at the very German Queen, nodding to himself as he added, “I do hope your husband has heard only a kind estimation of me, hm?”
  20. Athenry and Sophia “Content” would have been an overstatement as an assessment of Cadell's state of mind. “Resolute”, perhaps, would have been closer to the truth, although still missing its mark; more than anything, the viscount still found himself to be on the outside looking in on matters pertaining to Whitehall. That did not rule out acceptance, however – that he had certainly found, as the red heels of his court shoes and Tourainian silks might have revealed. Truthfully, it was only regrettable in the sense of where it had come from. But Cadell Mortimer, who was in his heart very much the newly-minted man, possessed a quarter-century of experience with being the outsider at home. Thank you again, Father, he considered, reflecting back on all the unkindness Sir Hugh Mortimer had shown his third, and only surviving, son. This beast is of your own creation. George and Davina were treated with a respectful nod of acknowledgment and a courteous smileThe Queen's approach and Sophia's word brought to mind (who else?) the words of the aforementioned cat's namesake, and unbidden they formed on Cadell's lips, uttered quietly out of the corner of his mouth, “'I am a citizen of the world, known to all and to all a stranger.'” He wondered if Sophia, a German married to a Spaniard residing in England, would identify with Erasmus' words as much as he, a (regrettably) Welsh courtier belonging to the French party might. Of course, Erasmus of Rotterdam also had a few choice words for those who belonged to any party, but then again, Cadell had never been given the option of joining the clergy as his idol had. Though I feel half the monk for what His Majesty has given me... went the unbidden conclusion to that thought. He eased back into the seat, masking a twinge in his mis-set leg with another gulp of wine, all the while finding physical pain matched by a slight bit of guilt as he considered the possibility of getting to know Lord Toledo, and the potential it had to serve the interests of his two causes. St. Omer had been under Spanish rule at the time of his attendance, before war had returned to the region, and there was surely something to be gained from familiarity with the Spanish – but his friend then asked for help, and the ever-present Catholic guilt reared its head at the prospect of utilizing her in such a manner. “My lady,” Cadell began to answer, uncertainly, before swapping it out for a more familiar form of address, “My friend.” Although the past year and the company of Portsmouth had lessened it somewhat, he still felt apprehensive when relating to the troubles of women – they were curious, emotional creatures, while he was a scholar through and through. “I'm scarcely a font of wisdom, and am seldom equipped to deal with the problems of the world save with a smattering of Plato and Aquinas.” He continued more solemnly, keeping his voice quiet. “But you have been kind to me.” Habitually, his eyes searched for Kingston, thinking this would have been much easier if the young Countess was still his ward. “So I think it's only courteous that my door remain open to you, always.”
  21. Noting George's glance of acknowledgment at Her Majesty's festivities, Cadell resolved to contact the man directly when as soon as possible. The same runner who had delivered a missive by hand to Lord Beverley was summoned to the study of his master that night, and given a note to deliver to the home of Lord Chichester, so that the earl might find it in the morning. *From Homer's Odyssey
  22. Athenry and Sophia A Galician friend of the Jesuits had, in Athenry's St. Omer days, introduced him to the concept of saudade. At the time, the idea of a profound, bitter nostalgia had made little sense to a pious young idealist, with dreams of discarding his family's ridiculous Welsh-ness re-invigorating the humanism of Erasmus of Rotterdam and Sir Thomas More, but in the brief time since he had returned to London, the notion had begun to make a great deal of sense. Has it truly only been a year? He felt a different man now, and perhaps he was – Sophia certainly seemed to be a different woman – but now was hardly a good time for such considerations. “My adventures, as always, are somewhat limited, and oft more mental than anything truly gallant,” Cadell replied softly, shooting a wry look towards the cane in his right hand. A half truth, of course, but a truth nonetheless; service in the cause of the Lord and true faith often required far worse lies than that. Letting the warmth found in drink and the company of an old friend guide the conversation to fairer climes, he explained, “But they have taken me about His Majesty's business, and in the doing, so allowed my lady wife to return to her homeland.” “I found Paris to be grand, and the chateau le Roi has begun to favor in Versailles cramped, but orchestrated with a fascinating precision that would never be allowed by us independent servants of the King here,” he went on, careful not to sound too enthralled with the grandeur of the Continent's greatest power. “And the reception far more gentle than current events would lend one to think.” Defying what must have been good sense, Cadell had made no secret of his Catholicism, having associated where he could with York's party. But considerations in this regard fell by the wayside as his manners returned alongside the presence of the Queen, and he gave thought to Sophia's situation in turn as the gathered courtiers performed the necessary courtesies. She no longer seemed the coquettish girl he had met when new to London. With child, risen in station, her English much improved...and troubled, clearly. Time, it seemed, had put them on parallel paths in many regards. “You have my congratulations on your blessing from Heaven, my lady,” Athenry offered in a low murmur out of the corner of his mouth. More of the old stiffness returned as he searched for an appropriate conclusion. “And my, ah, sympathy for whatever weighs on your conscience.”
  23. While Cadell and his friend -truly, perhaps his closest and only companion deserving that label, considering the Marchioness of Winchester had never quite been close enough to the former baronet to be a true friend, as regrettable as that was- had remained in contact during his year abroad, it was nonetheless true that he had been starved for proper English company. His work for Chevreuse and Saint-Aignan notwithstanding, Beverley had understood him on matters religious and personal. And while this was Holy Week, Cadell -Athenry now, he had to remind himself, as the French had told him- could find nothing holier than reconnecting with those few that could pretend to understand the struggles of remaining sanctified in a world of sin.
  24. Cadell, Arriving, Approaches Sophia Appearances, after all, did have to be made. He could have (and would, if the subject were broached) provided feasible enough excuses for his absence from the usual Good Friday celebrations – penalty or otherwise, there were plenty of reasons he had to avoid attending events sponsored by a church that was the product of a womanizer and a Protestant whore. But at some point, court needed to know that the man who had wedded the French mistress had returned from Versailles – stronger, more confident, and wholly more French. It was almost a dirty word when one thought about it. And by “almost”, the narrator means that it almost certainly was. Dressed in the scarlet justacorps over navy from earlier, with his shoes heeled in a very French red, Cadell limped his way inside the Queen's Presence Room with his ivory-handled cane in hand. Twirling his cane-holding hand slightly, the viscount made to observe the bust of Aristotle, wondering if the man's likeness in antiquity was at all factual in the present. There was a philosopher he had found overrated, more important for his influence than his ideas, but ruminations on the worthiness of various dead Greeks were in short order interrupted by the offer of a glass of wine -taken readily- and the sight of a few he recognized from a year -had it truly been a damnable year?- past. Kingston was the first to be sighted, but the old dog had already busied himself with meeting a woman, so the former baronet simply flashed his old friend a smile and a nod, thinking to meet him later if possible. The man's connections to the Golden Junk were, after all, quite medicinal. As of yet, however, his lady wife (already familiar with his whereabouts, whatever she had chosen to do for the evening) having not yet arrived, Cadell looked for an open seat. One was found near Lady Toledo, another old acquaintance, and one who had saved his precious Erasmus at that. He made his approach, easing into a seat respectfully close to Sophia with a slight smile, hiding a groan of pain behind a large gulp of wine. The French tradition of powdering faces had begun to make sense to him, as the Welsh Catholic had begun to see in the mirror a slight rosy hue to his nose and cheeks. “My dear Lady Toledo,” he began, lilting Welsh flavored with a year of speaking almost entirely French, “I am so pleased to see you in good health, but surprised to see you alone. Erasmus, I'm sure, would send his regards.” Lowering his voice ever-so-slightly, Cadell added, “I do hope this is not a matter of being ignored. I am recently returned to England, and would loathe to hear that foreigners and their friends are unwelcome.”
  25. He was tempting fate by being here, of that much Cadell was certain. The upper level of of the King's Head -ironically named, given the Cromwellian sympathies of its members- was reserved for those who were clearly not of his stripe, politically, religiously, or fashionably. For this outing, he'd taken up, against the advice of his own manservant (and conversely, on the advice of the male staff assigned to the Duchess of Portsmouth) with a justacorps of scarlet silk, brocaded in silver, accented over a navy waistcoat and matching breeches. His shoes had red heels matching his baldric and overcoat alike, in the French style, and the ivory head of his head had now been in laid with a single sapphire. All in all, it was a striking figure, had the figure in question not been walking with a marked limp. Hardly a soldier, with that appearance, it was true, but nonetheless, the idea of sprezzatura had been taught to him by one Master Ashburnham at first and later by the greats of the Sun King's court. And so he had sauntered, if an obvious invalid could be said to do so, into the tavern, having already prepared his excuses for avoiding the morning's services held by the Church of England – Paris, the saying said, was worth a Mass, but when it came to London, Athenry's feeling was less than certain. He had taken his coffee with little ado, and opened his copy of Spinoza's Ethics upon finding a quiet(ish) corner booth. The late mathematician had some grand ideas, the devout Catholic would admit, and Athenry hummed quietly to himself as he considered the passage before him. “Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner.” “Easy words for a philosopher to say, and a dead one, to boot,” Cadell murmured, his accent having since become an odd blend of Welsh, English, and courtly French. His right hand, that which normally grasped his cane, reached for a pewter flash, prefacing the abysmal local ale with a pull of cognac, which made the whole drink a great deal more refreshing. The thought occured to him, rather obliquely, that at some point he would need to make a truly public appearance, marriage and all, if only for the sake of His Majesty. Or both of them, as it were. “If we're all to be attributes of the Most High, that means none of us are wrong.” He took a swig, gulping down the ale and distantly wondering what his faux-wife was up to. Swiving some noble relative of the King, or His Majesty himself, no doubt. The expression of God, at either rate. Grimacing, Cadell swept back a loose strand of hair and focused on the text ahead, keeping an ear out for interesting conversations. He had a job to do yet, he considered, even as he proclaimed to nobody in particular, “Wise words indeed, for a man that the Almighty Himself just claimed.”
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