Blackguard Posted March 6, 2016 Share Posted March 6, 2016 The Orangery The great glass windows supported in their metal frames let in the weak winter sun whilst keeping out the brisk breezes, lending a luxurious warmth to the outdoor-indoor space that was the orangery. The air was moist as well as warm, the great orange trees in their large pots carefully tended so that they would produce their treasure-trove of exotic fruit in the summer, unhindered by lack of water or blight of frost. A few orange flowers lent an exotic citrus scent to the air. Between the great pots, stone benches were set so that courtiers might come and enjoy the sunshine without the need to brave the outdoors, and in the centre was a statue of a nymph and two sets of wrought iron tables, painted white, with matching chairs, that one might sit and take tea and enjoy the ambiance of the orangery. The first rays of sunlight caused the two men to rouse. It was not a proper sleep for the pair, as they were still attired as they had been the night before. Their bed was made of grass, highlighted with empty wine bottles. The King's servants had dared not approach them, knowing their identities. The discreet coughs had not roused the men previously. The sun had achieved what the servants could not. With a groan, Charles Sedley sat up, turning to the bewildered Earl of Rochester beside him. "I'm getting too old for this rubbish Johnny." Each word weighed heavily on the swollen tongue of the Baronet. "Is it Christmas yet?" Rochester managed to whisper while still lying in the fetal position. "I think that sunlight is proof enough," Sedley managed in reply, though too wearied to say more. The two men had been drinking heavily. Their memories were foggy of what had transpired the night before. As they took in their surroundings, fragments of memory seeped into their consciousness. "Happy Christmas Rochester," Sedley declared, rubbing his eyes with the palms of his hand. "Kiss my arse. Kiss my arse" came the inhuman reply. It was just the sort of thing that Rochester would utter; but, in this case, he had not. It was a bird. Both men were too fatigued to manage a grin as they turned to look towards their avian companion. There, in the branches of a pear tree, was a colorful parrot, using just as colorful language. It dawned on Sedley in that moment that they had stolen the King's parrot the night before. It was a parrot gifted the King by the Earl of Langdon two years before. It was a favorite of the Merry Gang because it spoke swear words almost exclusively. The King had to hide it away from the ladies of court, sending it to the Tower; but, Rochester and he had liberated it the night before. Rochester had insisted that parrots ate fruit and belonged in the jungle. The closest approximation to the jungle was the King's orangery. It had made perfect sense last night that the parrot needed to be moved to the Orangery. Now, in the light of day, with a trampled mind trying to recover its sobriety, it made less sense. Kiss my arse, the bird called again. Rochester started chuckling quietly as he continued to lay prone upon the soft grass. To him, it was a job well done. He was a man for whom consequences had little meaning. "Shit," Sedley proclaimed inartfully. Now what? "Shit" repeated the bird, well acquainted with the word in the past. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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