Jump to content


Your Stories Await Telling

The Tip of the Iceburg | The King's Rooms 1st am- Xmas 1677


Recommended Posts

The King's Apartment or Kings Lodgings was an entire wing of rooms, kitchens and withdrawing rooms that suited many people, and to which all of the nobility had access. It was also, ironically, the Kings most private place. To guard what little was left of that Charles Rex had ordered that none may enter past the Presence room without his personal permission, save for those he considered family. Even the Life Guard on duty is only allowed into the anteroom just inside from the Presence chamber, leaving the King some modicum of privacy and peace in most of his apartments. The more inner rooms are attended by ushers, grooms, and gentlemen of the household, equally for the King's security, company, and service.


Well appointed, the ceilings covered in symbolic paintings by various Baroque painters (though not so well endowed as Windsor Castle had been) signaled that Charles was lord and master of his realm, Justice incarnate, subjecting Rebellion. In fact, most of his rooms were still in the style of his father, featuring Charles I and James I.


The King had been awake some hours, appreciating the glisten the sun gave the ice and snow that clung to everything. His walk had been long, and he had gone an atypical route, needing at least some quiet on a day that would be long and tedious from the afternoon onward. Receiving presents formally, for hours, was a duty of being monarch that should be gratifying but truly was not. In the very least. The throne was far from his preferred place. A state evening of formality, sitting captive, even if being gifted, was a draining thought.


He sighed and then smiled a bit. At least his morning and early afternoon would be entertaining. Basildon was due with the two Hill boys before long. Young people always amused him. Interacting with them made him feel younger and filled him with a ghost of the feelings of childhood. Feelings that were impossible to have once king. He, too, had once played, did stupid things, been awed by impressive men, other princes, his father. He had once been awkwardly quiet. He had even burned his eyebrows off. And when he was a child, he very distinctly remembered the frantic fears of him being kidnapped, and of moving places, being apart from his siblings.


The audience with the Hill boys, then, was something of a thing to look forward to on those merits and sympathies alone. Beyond that, there was interest in how other things would play out with the more impressive pieces of the game.


After that would be the spectacle of watching his court fly off sleds into snow and other pleasures that the sledding contests would be.


He tried to think of those things, instead of the evening of presents, as he looked out the window in a parlour, waiting for one of his household to tell him Basildon had arrived.




Meanwhile, at Basildon's house Trevor and Arthur were nearly dressed. The eldest had been quite at ease with sending all sorts of notes to get their things from schools, and beyond that had gotten them new hats, lace, and stockings. Thankfully, Arthur had grabbed the signet ring of his brother from Danby's room whilst Basildon had kept his attention. He truly had packed their things, all of them that were important. That most of all. Trevor clearly had not one worry with using it, although Basildon might have wondered of all the boxes and the arrival of their trunks.


Trevor had not even wondered if the earl might think they had put it on his accounts. The thought had not crossed his mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Basildon did wonder about the appearance of the trunks. At first he thought them to be late arriving New Year's gifts that he had ordered. Failing that, he wondered if Nicci had another shopping binge. When made aware that it was the boys' purchases, he marveled at the speed at which they moved; but then, they had a meeting with the King and one needed appropriate attire. It was a note in Trevor's favor.


Before leaving for the palace, Louis had made sure to have Thomas get the darkie children dressed for their presentation to the King and Queen. They were to be made as presents later in the day.


Having toyed with the notion of influencing Trevor to express a favorable view of Norfolk when asked, Louis opted against it, not wanting the King to think he had put his finger on the scale. It was only 100 pounds after all. If the King attempted to influence the boys, then it would be He that would suffer whatever guilt a monarch might feel for manipulating a victory. Instead, Basildon saw to the boy's attire after finishing his own. He had chosen green velvet with golden brocade. Green was the color of new things and it was a new year after all. In the coach, Basildon sought to engage the boys to speak more about the courtiers they knew at court, hoping to learn more about Norfolk and Ibracken's involvement.


"Remember lads," he jogged their memory "I never said the King sent me. Rather, I let Danby draw whatever conclusions that he might." He dared not try and color much more of Arthur's memory. They went straight to the royal apartments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Basildon would learn that the Duke of Norfolk was close with both their father and grandfather. He had the word about them whilst they were at school and their grandfather was away. Basildon might guess that their father did not oft leave Ireland. The reason was not for being in disfavor, clearly, or the King would never let even a distant cousin marry the boy.


They both spent much time with Lord Ibracken and Lord Thomond, another long family association.


Nothing else of much note was revealed. Trevor seemed more guarded in his thoughts but after everything that was likely to be expected.


Arthur nodded complacently as Basildon reminded him of what had happened. To be honest, it mattered very little how they had been rescued, only that they had. He was more boy than Trevor.


Their walk through the palace to the king's apartments drew more overt wonder from the younger of the two, Trevor seemed to want to be the more reserved. After what had happened, he likely wished to not be seen as a stupid child.


They were announced to a comfortable side room with a vigorous fire. His Majesty had moved from the window and was now sitting comfortably in a high-backed chair. He did not wish to intimidate the boys. Then they would not be very entertaining for being scared.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was an enjoyable morning to be sure. The procession was informative and there was a certain amount of pleasure that an adult took when viewing something as spectacular as Whitehall through the eyes of a child. It made Louis ponder the future and look forward to the day that he brought his son to the palace to meet the King.


"Your Majesty," Basildon greeted the king exuberantly and then bowed deeply. "May I have the pleasure to introduce Master Trevor Hill and his brother Master Arthur Hill? Both were rescued from the clutches of villainy, as I relayed. Gentlemen, may I present the His Majesty, the King of England, Ireland and Scotland? You have been honored by the fact that he has taken in interest in your adventure as well as your well-being."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The king had to fight a laugh at "the clutches of villainy." Instead, he noted the boys looked none the worse for wear, although a night or two at ease might have done much to improve their situation.


They bowed so deeply it could have hurt his neck to look down that far.


It was strange to meet the boy who was to marry his cousin's child in such a way, but he had stranger experiences surely. Strange for a man and a king, so little surprised him.


"Lord Basildon is a well-known hunter of villainy, so you gentlemen are quite lucky on all accounts," the king said, attempting to put them at some ease.


"Your grandfather is gone on our service so it is our duty to show interest, especially as we shall be cousins."


Charles Rex was well-known for being friendly and kind, but not many knew him as he truly was. There was a shrewd streak that was the undertow of many of his actions and words.


"Before we speak of what has happened, other than placing you back with those who have been searching for you, what might be done for you to undo this madness that has been inflicted?"


One could tell a lot by what was asked in such circumstances.


Arthur looked at Trevor.


Trevor was silent for a moment as he thought, and then he said, "If Your Majesty might intervene over these allegations with our father...I think what Lord Danby might have been about is a much larger matter and he a victim of it too."


There was a point scored by the boy for intelligence and love of his father. At that age, he was old enough and smart enough to ask for something more selfish.


Beyond that, "A larger matter?"


Trevor nodded, "I do not understand it all, but we heard and saw many meetings and letters. There is more there, I think."


"Nefarious things," Arthur added, with a nod.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was best to watch quietly and learn what one could. If Trevor was already betrothed, it would be news to Basildon. He too thought Trevor seemed mature for his age. He did not seem frightened or daunted by being in the company of his king. Perhaps Louis would learn more about Danby's plan from the lads.


"It sounds as though there is more villainy for me to hunt," he added with a lighter touch to encourage further disclosure from Trevor and Arthur about these nefarious meetings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trevor and Arthur had spent much time away from the coddling of their mother and fondness of their father. Trevor was at the age where youth began and had no duties in his life other than lesson after lesson after lesson on every manner of thing. Like any good English gentleman, he could hide his feelings some.


Danby had done much to adjust what things Trevor might fear. That was not to say the boy was not nervous, but he had a little advance to think of what this might entail.


Arthur was more mesmerized and barely moved.


"It does sound so, Basildon," the king replied. The dark eyes of the king gave Basildon a once over before he said, "What you might not know, my lord, is that Lord Ibracken and his lady wife, my dear Kat Stuart, were also close to Sir Joseph Williamson. Trevor is marrying their daughter. It is all very odd that it is these boys Danby chooses to take."


There was a bit of darkness to the king's tone. To abduct a child that was to one day marry his cousin's child, a fact Danby very well knew, was just as the boy put it. Nefarious. It was Irish matters that had implicated Williamson. It was Danby who had hastened to point fingers.


"Did Danby ever say anything of such business to you, my lord?" They had been allies after all. Basildon had been Danby's protege.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I did not know that Majesty," Basildon replied sincerely. He had been so enmeshed in his own designs that he did not realize much of a connection between Ibracken and Kat Stuart. He did not know they had a daughter. "It makes Danby's actions all the more curious." The connection with Williamson was even more curious. The man had fallen and was in the Tower when last Louis had inquired.


It might seem that the King was not surprised that boys were snatched, only these boys. Yet, Basildon was amazed that Danby would stoop to kidnapping any boys.


"If he had spoken to me of such things, I would have thought him a looney. He did not."


"The Chief Minister of the King should be a man with influence, wealth, and contacts. Danby was always a clever man, else he would not have risen like he did. He was a man who knew he had many enemies. Surely he would have planned an escape, a redoubt, a palace in far lands. He would know that only your favor would keep him from the Tower and the Country Party Potentates in Parliament. Yet, he chose to live like a card cheat on the run, living menially with no servants and no friends." Louis was shaking his head in disbelief.


"He forgot the source of his power, which was your Majesty. Even if you had been forced to take action against him, he would have been safer under your watchful eye, than hiding in flea-infested hovels. You could have pardoned him," the Earl offered aloud.


"I would have laughed had he grabbed Shaftesbury's grandchildren. It would have been madness, but understandable perhaps. Kidnapping the Hill brothers, with their link to your dear cousin, would be ill-advised at best and self-immolation at worst." He was still shaking his head in disbelief.


"Either he has gone completely mad or their was something clever in his choice of Masters Trevor and Arthur. I am certain that I am missing a key fact. Perhaps he hoped their grandfather would give him asylum on the Continent; but, one does not garner favor by seizing one's grandchildren. He could have found asylum elsewhere on the Continent, but he seemed especially reluctant to leave England." After a further moment of thought, Basildon added "surely he did not think to use them as hostages against your Majesty's justice. It would have been simple enough for someone like me to walk in and arrest him, while liberating the lads."


There had been enough conjecture verbalized to see if the King might choose to enlighten Louis further. There were several missing pieces of the puzzle as far as he was concerned. A proper assessment could not be done without them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The king exhaled his thoughts and said, "None of this makes very much sense at all, my lord. You are correct."


Those dark eyes rolled softly over the boys in question. They were well-trained not to interrupt, apparently.


"Unless there is something which would be worse and which taking you two might have prevented. Something which their father or grandfather knew, or perhaps even Ibracken or Thomond." There was a further hum of postulation before he added, "Something to do with Williamson, perhaps."


Few knew that one of the reasons the king had acted as he had toward Williamson was because his actions had implicated Kat & Ibracken (and by extension his own royal policy).


There was some sort of web there that was not obvious. Something they were missing.


"Danby was caught in two betrayals. To think what a third might be that would merit stealing off two boys."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The King seemed puzzled and Basildon wondered whether such was for show. Surely the King had the best perspective to know exactly what was occurring. Perhaps he was inclined to reveal nothing in front of the boys, or him.


"Williamson allegedly empowered some Irish Catholic lords with offices," the Earl noted aloud, watching for any hint that the official story was false. "Perhaps the boys were a card to play against the accuser or in support of the accused." It was the only thing that made sense in that moment. "He wanted to help Williamson and he needed Williamson's help in return." Surely the King's spymaster would be invaluable to a Chief Minister on the run. Perhaps the price of assistance involved bringing leverage to bear on certain well-connected Irish families that could disavow the charges of treason.


The hint of a third betrayal was a tasty morsel to consider. There were several candidates. "Or perhaps more than three," Louis suggested. "It depends how we count." In his mind, Louis had been betrayed, along with the King, the Hill family, Danby's young cousin, and maybe the kingdom itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

"He did not have kind words for Sir Joseph that we heard, Your Majesty," Trevor revealed, looking between the king and Basildon.


His Majesty was still digesting all of the different words he had heard, coupled with recollecting many a conversation about happenings with all sort of courtier that might be related to this. None of his suppositions were very good; his mind was far more shrewd with intrigue than he wished most to know. It meant that he had to be careful what he said of the goings on in front of Basildon.


Useful did not mean trustworthy, for all Basildon's gallant actions. He had extricated the boys, which the king had wished.


"This must be pondered some, and we shall have your full recollection of the tale, but first let us settle where you shall be staying for it shan't be school." If there was value in the boys, Danby might not be the only one to attempt to snatch them if given the opportunity. "We cannot recall your grandfather now, but His Grace of Norfolk or Lord Ibracken have both been looking for you."


Arthur deferred entirely to Trevor, not even seeming to bother to think about the decision.


"We think either equally likely to treat you like princes," the king informed them with a grin. "Or you could stay with Lord Basildon, your rescuer."


Of course, the king had not offered that as an option in their bet. His smile curled more, and he turned te royal eye to observe Basildon's reaction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seemed to Basildon that the King was doing very little speaking. All of the supposition had been on his part, with nothing useful coming from the King. The most useful tidbit was from Trevor, which dispelled one of the Earl's theories. Sadly, there was no way to compel the King to reveal what he knew. It was most annoying. Perhaps the king was disinclined to speak the truth in front of the boys. So, there was hope that the king would open up later.


"So, he was not necessarily in league with the Northern Secretary then," Louis judged aloud. Turning to Trevor he asked "did he not reveal what part of England or Ireland he intended to visit? Surely he did not wish to skulk around London for months and years. There had to be a final destination in mind." He stopped to see what might be offered.


As for the boy's lodging, Louis had not been expecting the King to suggest his own home. There had been a time when he had pondered suggesting it, but had dismissed it because it would make little sense. The boys would be spies in his household. It would mean that their presence could undermine one of his plots. On the other hand, the King liked the boys, and they were well connected. It would give him a chance to know Norfolk and Ibracken better, opening up new circles. Further, in his paranoia, he was convinced that Buckingham and the King had spies in his house already.


"So, they are likely to be treated as princes by those unable to find them," Basildon observed aloud to the King before shifting his gaze to the boys. "Of course, the boys are welcome to stay with me, but they are unlikely to be coddled. No doubt I will be up for another adventure to solve mysteries, punish the wicked, and rescue the just." He gave a dramatic laugh for effect. "Master Trevor looked to be handy with a pistol. If he stayed with me, I might just recruit him into some other dangerous endeavor ... one that his mother would have never approved of."


It would be obvious to the King what he was doing. Louis knew what thoughts went through a lad's mind when he had tasted adventure. No lads worth knowing would want to go and be treated as helpless urchins in an overprotective home. No, Louis gambled that, on reflection, Trevor might fancy wielding a pistol in some future mission. He had offered the lad shooting lessons previously. Now it would be interesting to hear the decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trevor looked back and forth between Lord Basildon and the king. The wheels in his head were clearly turning. Though young, he had lived in a country where far stranger and worse things happened than kidnapping, and he had spent most of his life with unending lessons.


The decision of where to stay was a rather large one. His choice would have ramifications. He would play favourites to choose between Norfolk and Ibracken, even if Norfolk was generally their guardian in London when their grandfather was away. Ibracken could equally in the same in Ireland when their father was away, and he was rather indefinitely away.


Whether it was that it was the king's suggestion, the adventurous suggestion, the practical suggestion, or any other number of possibilities, Trevor knew what he would say.


"We have gathered it is a busy time of events, Your Majesty, and it was quite tiresome to move here and there so much. For the remainder of the season, might we stay where we are since our things have arrived?" Then he added, "Plus, the ladies of the other two might fuss and give us no peace, and I shouldn't like that very much." Trevor needed his own space and a breath. His life had changed. He needed time to figure out how.


Arthur looked rather surprised. He looked up at Basildon for a moment and then looked forward again.


The King chuckled. It said something about a man how he handled children or youth. Basildon might be put to a different test. An amusement considering the rumor was Basildon challenged him in quantity of bastards.


"Then it shall be so. Lord Basildon is quite the capable host, and the only lady of the house shan't fuss over you too much," he added with another chuckle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Earl attributed the decision to his own manipulation, even though Trevor would have been wise to see that Basildon offered the risk of not offending either Norfolk or Ibracken. The lad had a future in politics no doubt.


"Your Majesty, Master Trevor is so adept that his luggage has already arrived at my house today. I am thinking of putting him in charge of all my travel," he jested. If only all baggage could be handled so adroitly.


"And so two shall be added to my household temporarily," Basildon announced in good humor. Their bet was a push. "In a few hours I shall be gifting your Majesties two unique members of the household." He planned to gift two well-outfitted young darkie slaves for the use and amusement of the King and Queen. "You shall see soon enough." Perhaps the King might think Louis meant to give him a pair of new hounds.


"Shall I tell milords Norfolk and Ibracken of the rescue and temporary lodging arrangements at Chapel tomorrow, or shall you?" He wished to commit no faux pas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The king laughed at Basildon said he'd be gifting two household members as well.


"How very equitable!" On the inside he was tittering that Basildon could not give him two children, unless they were his bastards, and that was a hysterical thought considering nobody would gift him such a thing.


"Oh they are waiting just outside," the King said. "I shall tell them with the boys of the plans in due course. They are quite anxious to ascertain that the lads are as fit as they left. You may be spared the family dramas though, my lord. We shall arrange to have them back later this afternoon."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seemed as though he was being dismissed. Perhaps the King wished to chat privately with the boys, or perhaps he wished to converse with the two lords privately.


"Very well Your Majesty. Feel free to embellish the story as you see fit with Norfolk and Ibracken. Either the boys were in no danger. or they were knee deep in it," he laughed with a lack of sincerity. "Lads I leave you in the best of care and I shall see you at home later today. I must ready for the gift-giving and the ball."


Basildon paused to see if there were any more queries. Failing that, he was prepared to withdraw.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

"And I shall instruct them afterward not to say which, and that shall make things most interesting between Ibracken, Norfolk, and yourself," the King replied, with equal humor to the earl. Such banter was a good sign in the Merry Monarch, was it not?


"Good day, my lord," Trevor said for both boys as Basildon made to leave.


He then swallowed, looked at Arthur, and then looked back at the King. He seemed a bit more apprehensive now that they were to be left alone. That would put all the burden of talking on them, or rather him. Even for an educated and intelligent boy that was more daunting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...