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  1. "Cock jokes?" Rochester looked wounded. "They are hardly that. These are cock observations, study and analysis I'll have you know. Worthy of its own class at Oxford and far more useful than several dead subjects they teach." He swayed as he took to his feet, using a hand to the tabletop to steady himself. "A thorough study of the penis yields knowledge in medicine, science, history, diplomacy, and current politics. How many topics can accomplish that all in one go? The Mademoiselle has marked herself a willing pupil. Can it be so wrong to have a goal of enlightenment at one's core?" He emptied another cup. Kingston turned a card with four golden cups. "The four of cups is a card about wishful thinking," Forensi announced. The lord was owed four pounds. "I'll tell you what I am wishfully thinking of," Rochester slurred. "I hope it involves you sitting down and putting your head on the table until you can think clearly again," Dorset replied. "As if I ever could," Rochester blabbed back with a grin. "Perhaps it was wishful thinking then." Dorset replied with a smirk and turned his attention elsewhere.
  2. Blackguard

    A Meeting, Noon, the 6th Queen's Chapel

    "Aren't you the perceptive one," the elder mentioned in a complimentary tone.. "That could work in your favor." "You see, my name is unimportant dear because you shall never see me again." She wore a smug smile as she returned her gaze to the prominent cross on the wall. "Depending how our conversation goes, you may be meeting another or no one at all. It is best for you dear. I am here to help you, but I have a series of questions to ask, if you are up to it. If not, that is fine."
  3. Davina "I had hoped you would be more accommodating," May lamented. "So many rigors to my role. Can one be criticized for seeking … direction?" He looked hurt, though he was anything but such. As for the King, it would be the last thing that he would recommend, sending him amongst the Queen's maids to flirt while she was pregnant. There could be no happy outcome to that scenario, but he would make no mention of it. "I shall give it more thought," he promised. There was a rather exotic man due to arrive. Darlene George fell for it naturally, looking left and right as if being let in on some crown secret. He was not the brightest of the Churchills. But, he was a pretty one. Her mention of the Green Ribbon Club caused a frown to appear, as the clue was quite at odds with the path that he intended to explore. "Shaftesbury had something to do with it?" It was a broad guess but she had claimed she would signal hot or cold.
  4. Gallery Davina "Chilchester seems like a worthy man to know," May replied while wondering if Davina was sweet on him. When the maid refused to make her selections known, May tutted. "I am a man used to making wishes come true but I am no mind reader. If you will not tell me your wishes, what chances to do I have to please you maids?" he was tormenting her of course. Davina George find his attention distracted further to Darlene. What sort of woman had an office in the palace? Surely only the Queen and the Mistress of Robes. "How did you get an office, let alone one with so many shelves?" He could not contain his curiosity. Surely it was a gift from the King and it was impolite to ask, but it was just so novel that he needed to ask.
  5. Blackguard

    A Meeting, Noon, the 6th Queen's Chapel

    An elderly woman in black lace and black lace veil was lighting a candle in the front of the chapel. Davina's arrival was noted. There was no sign of priest or altar boy. The guest moved to join Davina in the pew. With every other seat available in the chapel it was plain that the woman wanted to speak with Davina. ""Good day Miss Wellsley. I am glad you came. You can call me Johanna. There are far too few Catholics left in England, and even fewer good Catholics. Do you consider yourself a good Catholic my dear?"
  6. Rochester admitted to Kingston "her riches were plundered by me quite naturally. I suppose I am something of a pirate." "These cards are not intended to be used for a game my lady," Forensi replied to Nicci's query. "Come come how can a deck of cards not be a game?" Rochester challenged. Nicci's word choices were quite intentional to arouse the gentlemen in the room and it was clear that she knew it. Dorset smiled and gave her a nod, deciding to say nothing. He was always smarter than Rochester, who could not help but retort. "I think I just burst." He smiled and looked at his crotch. "It was due to your patriotic language that caused me to swell … with pride in my turgid … belief in the righteousness of the English cause. Why my bulging … eyes believe not that any French comers stand tall enough to be voyeured in contrast to the English sterner stuff known to stand tall at the merest caress of a lovely lady's thighs, I mean eyes." He was getting deeper in his cups and his words were starting to slur. "That would be quite a sight," Ablemarle noted absently and then realized that the mention was rather awkward. He stopped speaking. It was in that moment that Anne-Elizabeth arrived. "Ah, the witty Lady Cambray," Dorset greeted, standing as introductions were made. Other gentlemen took to their feet. Rochester knew Anne to be a saucy one. "You arrived just in time my lady," the Earl began. "We were just discussing if English pricks were larger than French ones. The Mademoiselle claims that French ones are bigger, though she professes no intimate knowledge of the subject, so I think that disqualifies her. The rest of us are in agreement that the English are the biggest pricks, often more ways than one. What say you?" Dorset invited the new arrival to select a vacant seat. he explained the rules briefly as Forensi gave a sad smile. Edmund owed nine pounds and he made reference to his bankers. "I do hope you brought more than five pounds with you from the country, "Rochester badgered. It was then Chilchester's turn and the 24th card turned out to be a young man in rich attire holding a staff. "The Page of Wands," Forensi announced. It was one of the few wand cards to not have a bad meaning. It suggests making a decision soon and that a friend may help you." George owed 15 pounds to the pot..
  7. Blackguard

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

    There was indeed an organ loft and balcony large enough for a choir to sing with heavenly voices. The staircase was wide enough to allow three to walk abreast. The front door to the chapel opened and a visitor entered. From the foot of the staircase, the couple might make out the shadowy form if they chose to get a better look.
  8. Arundel caught Sophia's look, but pretended otherwise. As the blond beauty ascended the stage, the crowd grew quiet, mostly. It was time for Sophia to sing.
  9. The seventh card in the deck turned out to be a depiction of a peasant surrounded by nine staves, "The nine of wands," Forensi interpreted. "It means adversity or a struggle ahead." It would cost Edmund nine pounds. "Adversity," Rochester piped up while turning to the Hungarian Count. "As opposed to the rest of us who are merely skating through life with nary a concern?" He was, in part, mocking the interpretation and the deck. "It means unusual adversity my lord," the Count defended. he said no more. This was just a silly English card game and not a proper foretelling. George would be next.
  10. Davina "Chichester a friend?" May asked. How interesting. "I do not know him well," he lied. "What should I make of him?" As for the idea of sending gentlemen her way, May giggled. "I think there are plenty of gentlemen that would like to be sent your way. If I were to send three your way, and the way of your fellow ladies that is, which would you have me invite I wonder?" Beverley "A vote at last," Pepys exclaimed. "I hope that it generates sufficient coin to do more than pay back wages. We need to add to the fleet, as well as new guns." As far as he was concerned the entire treasury of England could be put to good use in the Navy. Darlene "Does the library contain pamphlets?" Churchill did not know. He had never gone to the library to read anything. That was for people who enjoyed boredom and no exercise.
  11. "Oh, I do not know, I am pretty good at turning over women," Dorset retorted to Kingston. He was about to observe that he had not seen his blond friend much in the company of women of late. There would be an embarrassing point about that … but he withheld while in the presence of a lady.. Forensi replied to Nicolette, "tis the rules of this particular game designed by the English. They play until the last man remaining." There was to be no redemption for the fallen.. Rochester had not particularly felt warm about Nicci. He had paid to cheat and become the Lord of Misrule for the Christmas season, but Nicolette cheated first and had deprived the Earl of the limelight he craved in that season. Yet he found himself laughing aloud at Nicci's observation. Maybe he could find it in his heart to like her after all. He appreciated inappropriateness and brashness in a woman. "Well my dear," Rochester replied in a knowing voice, "you must not have been at court long then to not know that everything at court is about penises." Ablemarle gawked. "Think about it," the Earl assured. "Politics, war, merriness, and even diplomacy. It is mostly about the size of a penis. And it is not just gentlemen competing for the biggest, it is the ladies are competing for them too," he added with a wink. "It is why I am so popular at court," he boasted. "You are popular," Dorset retorted, "because you are no threat." Francis turned the 15th card depicting a well dressed young man in medieval attire holding a pentacle in his hand. "The Page of Pentacles," Forensi identified. Kingston was owed 15 pounds. "It is a card of opportunity or inspiration, usually for a financial enterprise." "I'll give you an opportunity to loan me money," Rochester offered with a dramatic smile. It was Edmund's turn again.
  12. With the tension in the air, the vote was called. The measure passed with a sweeping margin. No land tax was put to a vote. "Are there other matters to discuss?" Finch asked. OOC~ In your next post please indicate how your lord voted.
  13. Nicolette asked after the fortune cards that caused Dorset and Rochester's exit as the others greeted Kingston's arrival. "Yes, have a seat," Dorset invited. He knew Francis well enough. They were even related. "It was the High Priestess that did me in," Dorset admitted. "I seem to have an attraction to intelligent women, wisdom and serenity." Rochester could not let that stand. "Any lass interested in you Charlie cannot have any sense." Ablemarle grunted at that. Dorset was to marry his sister-in-law. "As for me," he turned to Nicci, "I was vexed by the Hanging Man. Or, better explained … the well hung man." He grinned without any hint of apology. It was Dorset's turn to snort. The French lady turned the eighth card, which depicted a man on a throne with a crown and a sword held upright in his right hand. "The King of Swords," Forensi identified. "It is a card calling for decisive action." Dorset knew that the French viewed the suit of swords to equate to nobility. Nicci was French, so the card suggested to him that this card might very well mean Le Roi or King Charles himself. It made the double earl ponder. "You owe the treasury 15 pounds," Dorset observed aloud. "I shall make good on it." The deck was pushed in front of Francis. "Will you turn a lady like I have done?" Dorset baited.
  14. Speak of the Devil … . A lady appeared, not in the cards, but in person. If not a romantic herself, she inspired romance in others. The gentlemen at the table stood at her arrival. Each was introduced in turn. Ablemarle offered a shy smile. "I shall advance her the ante," he offered. "And we others are happy to stand surety for any lady with resources," offered Dorset with a smile. The rules were explained to Nicolette. Rochester lamented that the cards were not kind. Both he and Dorset were out, having drawn fortune cards. George turned a card with a well-dressed man with coins in hand, a begger before him -- six pentacles were depicted on the card. George was owed six pounds. "Generosity," breathed Forensi to his old acquaintance. "Maybe he should have been the one to front the lady money then Chris," Rochester declared with a laugh. It was the Duke's turn. "I hope your arrival has brought me luck." He turned a card with a depiction of wind and a single stave upright. "The Ace of Wands," Forensi identified "This year there will be a great change for you, for good or ill." Monck pushed another coin into the pot. It was Nicolette's turn.
  15. "Ah, Lord Sunderland," the King greeted as the Northern Secretary joined him on the morning walk. "Have you a solution for us?" "Your Majesty, I have taken the Hobbes letter to our best cipher. The paired numbers are obviously meant to be words. We are used to numbers equating to letters but the pairing is a complexity. We have thought to subtract one from the other, or to add them, to create an alphabet, but the words created thereby generate nonsense. We have broken out the numbers individually or paired them with like-minded mates, to no avail. We considered that his words might be in Latin, but they made no consistent sense. It is better to assume they are in English unless Mr. Hobbes preferred to teach his former pupils one last lesson in dead languages. Tis not Greek either, nor Hebrew." "You need simply state that you have not solved the riddle my lord." "We have not yet solved it. We have even considered astrological signs." "We had thought that the Northern Secretary would have the best means to solve a code. Apparently not." "We will find the solution Majesty. We need to find the codex." "What of Buckingham and Devonshire?" "My men report they are equally perplexed." "Why would Hobbes present us with a riddle so difficult for us to solve my Lord Sunderland? Surely, there is a simple solution that you are ignoring." "It might be a test Your Majesty, to see which of you three might solve it." "If it is, then we shall be the first to solve it. It shall please me if we do. It shall be otherwise if we do not." Sunderland stopped and bowed to his monarch. "It is best that I return to its solution then." "Indeed."