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Mystique | post-gifting continuation- Xmas 1677


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(OOC - this is a placeholder for Mistress Envy as a continuation since there are already IC arrangements, but perhaps for Louis secretively as well. Maybe we shall see him get there IC with another nosy party. Feel free to post to Sunday!)


King's Apartments


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 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) signalled 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.

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  • 3 months later...
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  • 2 months later...

(OOC - I'm going to leave a few OOC notes so that we can move forward with this thread!)



For all your other current threads:

1.) No canoodling with the King in earlier threads, that way we know what's already happened and can freely move on here. Flirting is all good if you're with him, but for the sake of moving on we need a cut off on what's been done physically.

2.) No other canoodling, unless you've already canoodled ;) Kissypoo with Francis or Bucky is cool bc they've already done & it's not like the King doesn't know all that (it's part of the mistress-making job), so that doesn't really impact the story, but no new sordid affairs before this threadstamp LOL, just so we can move on to the fun stuff with this thread.

3.) For the sake of moving on we're going to have to OOC establish what Francis & Nicci talked about in the thread before this. We can still finish that thread, but Nicci at least needs to know the plan from his end of things and he hers LOL.

Now, let's have some FUN and see what happens. If you can hop on skype sometime we can establish #3. That would probably be quickest, whether by instant message or voice!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Francis was not yet there but one of the pages told her that he would be soon and that, until then, she could ask for anything she needed. The room was an extravagant parlour decorated in a beautiful blue. It was warm and smelled...a bit like cinnamon and orange peel. There was a cozy chaise and chairs, thick cushions and furs. It was what one might expect of a lounging place for a King, especially with the weather so unusually cold. 


Though Francis was the method, it was Buckingham who orchestrated much, and so it should not be surprising that there was a note with Envy written across it on top of a box tied in silver ribbon. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The room seemed so empty without Francis there, and her doubts filled that void. What had happened to him, likely enough he was waylaid with one of his numerous lady friend, Francis was very popular - it was not rank of wealth that attracted them. He had that other x factor. The King seemed to have that too but maybe it was only her ambition, and Buckingham’s ambition too, the King had shown a modicum of interest and together they had played him.  

Seeing the box and her nomdeplume on envelope, picked up the letter, even now glancing towards the door. 

There was an alternative, that this was all some great prank played on her, Mistress Davina would be the first laughing if that was the case. 

With ever mounting doubts she flicked thumb under the seal, opened and read. 

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What Nicci found upon popping the seal was Buckingham's elegant script. 



Welcome yourself to this new world with an explorer's enthusiasm for this space is sacred for merriment. In his thrill for the hunt, it is important to remember the chase is over if the conquest is quick. You've enticed the mind, entice the rest now. Satisfy but leave wanting. Challenge but placate. 

Above all, enjoy yourself and you cannot help but succeed. 

For Envy's moment, you will find enclosed something for the truly envious.


The Duke only signed the most personal and least formal of his missives with his initials, but that was not the thing of interest. When Nicci opened the box, she would find a pair of gorgeous sapphire, garnet, and diamond earrings that were far more impressive than anything she might have seen even Lisa wear. They were three tiers with multiple smaller stones dangling from the central large one. Accompanying them was a Venetian mask set with sapphires and diamonds glittering in the light of candles and firelight. 


Any nemesis of Nicolette would surely not be having a laugh, for such gifts would have equally the dowry for many ladies. It was also a gift Francis could never have given her, for all his virtues. 

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Though Nicci's mind was giving in to anxieties, Francis was precisely where he was when she had left the gift-giving in the Hall: attending the King until he too could slip out under the pretenses of seeing to come of the finest of gifts.


He had shown her earlier and made arrangements because he knew he would not be able to meet her at the same time. He would have much rather his duties allow him to hide in the King's private domain instead of standing and looking pretty, fetching the most interesting of the gifts to the King, but he was constantly reminded by both his uncle and the King that it behooved him to be seen whether he liked it or not. So far as occasions of State went, those of the household that were either visually pleasing, of rank, or both, were prime candidates for the visible tasks of attending. Also those that did not have ailments, gout, or anything else that precluded standing perfectly for hours.


Meaning, Francis was pretty to look at, and while he was not of great rank, it was not really his own rank that he represented, but Buckingham's family. And he had two good, long legs, and no joint problems yet!


Nicci might hear just a whisper of Francis tenor voice drifting into the room, signalling his arrival though he had yet to join her in the parlour. If she paid close attention, she might realize Francis was giving instructions for more refreshments for when His Majesty arrived. Such State events were exhausting for the King too. 


Francis then appeared, followed by one of the grooms, who tried to take Francis' justacorps off just as Francis was trying to shed it himself. He had yet to fully get used to the idea of others dealing with those tasks.


"I see you made it," he commented with a happy sigh and a smile, followed by a deep breath of refreshment. The groom took his justacorps and then unpinned Francis cravat and took that as well. He was quite done with being State Event level of dressed for the evening, and thankfully the King felt exactly the same way, both about himself and his gentlemen! "I hope you did not wait long, I escaped as soon as the line started to dwindle some."


"What is that?" he asked her as he moved closer to her. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was a letter, a thoughtful letter. But then she remembered that the Duke was a very thoughtful man, a man who inspired thought in those whom he gifted his advice. 

I must keep this as a treasure. She promised herself, reading it again and divining the guidance that might set her apart from most.  He gives me his experiance.

She was about to read it a third time when the sound of Francis voice caught at her ears, she smiled and begun folding the letter away - but entering Francis did notice. "There you are." she breathed with a happiness in her voice at seeing him, and abandoning any thought of concealing the note she moved closer and passed it to him to read. "I found it here for me, it is from Our Lord Duke."  (although he would know so already, being very familiar with the mans hand)

"No, I have not waited long, only enough to feel the tingle of nerves in my veins. I am happy to see you, Francis."  She realised she was going to have to hide the depth of her affection for Francis, but, not quite yet.   


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Francis raised a brow and took the letter, raising his other hand to scratch at his chin. He did recognize Buckingham's hand, but he had not known that the duke was going to leave anything there. He was surprised and yet not surprised. It was something his uncle would do, certainly. 


"He has sent you a gift!" Francis sounded both surprised and by the soft bite of his lower lip, that surprise shifted to some sheepishness. 


"He is frighteningly poignant sometimes," the younger Villiers said, holding in a roll of chuckles. There was a lesson in it for him, too: that one was supposed to get a lady one was presenting to the king as a mistress something. 


Probably lots of somethings. It was a good thing Buckingham was the financier of Francis' courtly endeavors.


He put an arm around her and gave her a squeeze, "Dare I ask what he gave you or...is it personal?" He wagged his brows. 

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Nicolette could be quite blind sometimes, she had been so absorbed by the letter that it was not until Francis made the statement 'He has given you a gift' - that she realised that the box sitting there was intended for her!

"Sacre..." her voice petered out as she opened it up. Her dearest friend forgotten for a moment as her attention was utterly absorbed... 

"Oooh Francis..." lifting up the earrings she held them to her ears, for a moment she was silently wonderous until she then realised with a delighted cry. "It is a disguise!  A glittering and bejewelled one, a lavish disguise for a royal game.  Oh please, help me to fasten it.” She lifted the beautifully painted mask  The King is not on your heels is he?" Nicolette wanted some time to fuss about with this new 'look'. Is there a mirror?" she stopped to peer about.  “Ooh I feel a little overdressed a sudden, imagine how His Majesty might feel himself revived if encountering his Mistress Envy dressed in these and quite nothing else!” she laughed, only half serious.   

“You would feel revived, wouldn’t you Francis?”



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Francis' blue eyes were not even as large as those sapphires surrounded by diamonds! 


He could not help but say, "God's Blood!" His blunt profanity matched the blunt opulence of the gift. 


"Yes, yes of course," he replied, reaching out to take it from her, still in shock himself. "No, His Majesty shall be a little while yet." There was still a queue of gifters when he left. His hand guided her toward a large, floor-length mirror. He took a deep breath and fastened the silk ribbon of the mask for her. 


Francis giggled at her pronouncement. "That could almost revive a dead man!" He tittered a bit more. "Apparently, this Villiers gentleman should have gotten you a beautiful mantua with only a few loose closures." Then he added softly, "If it were me, the tease of mix of half-dressed would be most titillating. If you removed some pieces though... we gentlemen do like stockings." Legs were something men did not oft see. They were very attractive.


"Shall you do your dance of veils as you mentioned?"

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These jewels did not look like paste, nor could Nicolette imagine that the Duke would make a gift of a fake.  Were these really hers now? "Am I allowed to keep them?" Which was not really such an odd question, she had been allowed to borrow items from Lisa jewellery box at time. Wearing borrowed jewels was entirely acceptable at court. "Perhaps these are Malls, have you seen her wearing them?"  Which, if they were on a loan from, Nicolette still counted as an honour!


Moving with Francis guidance to the mirror, she was mightily impressed at how very large the gemstones each were.  "In his letter he spoke of a new world, and it is.  This is truly a realm of wonders, stepping into it I hardly remember who I once was." She had come a long way from the poor cousin knocking on her cousins door. 


Turning about, she met Francis eyes once more.  If she saw any thing like only-human jealousy there she made nothing of it, but smiled and said, "You know my success will be yours also, it is you I have learnt and continue to learn so much from, and you who believed in me."  On her own Buckingham would never have sponsored her like this. With a soft smile she turned to look back in the mirror, leaning against him a little as she did so. "What paths shall we tread in our futures Francis." she was near to certain that their destinies would remain linked. 


Yet with a tease to her raiment serious talk was the first thing discarded - even as she moved to discard her sleeves.  "Hmm, then down to my petticoat and corset, it might present a rather virginal aspect though I am surely not.  Ooh but gloves-on do you think!  It is little secret that men delight in sight of a wrist also."  Or at least that was the case in Paris.   "Yes the silks dance, tuck them in here and there - those shall be the gift wrappings of your present to His Majesty.  Oh but do not worry, I am in no mind to make it too easy.  My goal is to provoke His Majesty to be the one tugging them free."  

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A bright laugh filled the room as Nicolette's question.


"Oh, I am quite sure that they are yours to keep," Francis replied. "The duke is generous to his friends." 


He smiled as she looked in the mirror, marveling at the earrings. "Nor do I. The captain seems another lifetime." He never expected to be in the King's chambers. The. King. The one from the stories when he was a child. He was far from jealous. He had little reason to be. He wished he had the foresight to also get her something, but he was quite used to learning lessons of court in such a spur of the moment way. Buckingham had artful ways of doing everything, and Francis had much to learn. "Who is to tell. Perhaps this is yet another new beginning to something yet greater." He smiled at their reflection. 


"Gloves, a very good touch. Gloves are a tease against the skin too," Francis approved, moving to aide her in the process. He giggled as she said she wished to provoke His Majesty.

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"Just in case I shall adore them utterly tonight,  and later pray that I see no messenger to collect them upon the morrow."  Nicolette's raptures at the glittering gift perhaps cemented the lesson learnt at that moment Francis, future the potential mistresses he presented were likely to happily benefit from his mental notes now taken.  But for now Nicolette did not see any shortfall from Francis, she was more delighted that he was here to share with her this moment. 


His mention of his Captaincy reminded hr how far he had come also.  "Your earring is one of the last traces of your 'other life'."  was her reply, she could not resist following up with a tease, "though you are still lured by sirens and have a good belly for rum." She giggled of this (pretty much every lady she met admitted to fancying him. No doubt because he was flirting with them!)


 Sleeves discarded, there were the numerous fastening of her bodice to be loosed next. She did not really think about what she was doing, the activity beneficial for her nerves, and her mind focused upon the 'theatre' planned.  "I hope he is good at imagining music, His Highness has a creative mind has he not? I should have planned a fiddler or found a tambourine...  la, he is probably quite used to crowds in  his private chambers, but I, am not."  Which made her wonder if national security dictated that there would be guards present? She was French after all.  Perhaps she’d have to be searched for weapons before…  


That was a sobering thought. "Francis have you your hipflask with the blood orange on you?" 

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Francis giggled. Nicci would soon learn not to doubt the duke's generosity and sense of grandeur. 


"And I shan't ever relinquish it, whether it is out of fashion or not. I shall only increase the size and scope of the stone." He added that last bit with a snort. "Though that might end me up with an ear like a native!" 


Biting his lip, Francis tried to hold back his chuckles at her concerns. "His Majesty has musicians at his disposal at the drop of a hat, and a good portion of his household can play if asked as well. Such things are arranged simply by a word, no planning necessary."


And then a true concern came out. She was shy to think of a lack of privacy. And asked for his brandy! "You can have any drink His Majesty has, but if you wish my flask I always have it." His smile widened, hoping she now sensed what Buckingham's note intimated - that this world was different from others and from what she imagined. As he had told her, she was not being offered up for a night, this was something far greater. She was far greater.


He told her, "There are sometimes servants here, yes. As am I, you know." He reminded her of something that was quite obvious but also easy to forget. In this equation, he was not Francis, but one of the King's Gentleman of the Bedchamber. A close servant, a well-born one, and as much companion as one might be, but he was there to attend the King. And be the last line of defense, as it were. "You must only include me as much as His Majesty wishes, and that might be for very little but filling chalices and managing the mundane activities of the room that happen in the background." She knew what his duties were, but he was not entirely sure she was ready to leave him totally to the background and to go forth on her own with his presence and facial assurances for support. 


Then again, knowing his part in all of this, the King might include him in the conversation some. He might do it just to put Nicci at ease - the King was kind that way and shrewd about ladies in  many ways. He wanted her prepared for whichever scenario might present. 


"And, as His Majesty's guest, you can order me about too," he said, his tenor voice half in a tone of teasing, but he truly was not teasing. When she was there, he was there to attend her too. And serve her. 


Something she might need to get used to. And he was fully prepared for her to display all her endearing cuteness and adventurousness to the thrill of the experience. 

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“I saw a portrait of Charles the first, and he wore an earring - very stylishly too, though does give him a look of a rebel." she flashed a grin, "Your own look holds that same air - that we might dress you in frills but you will choose your own path.  Mmm and yes with a memory of your past. I think that is why I most like it. Our own histories are what make us, and bring us to be whom we are now. Your earring seems a celebration of this." 


Yes Nicci was waxing on a little, at this pause within this landmark in her life. It was appreciation of the moment that spurred her grateful reflection.  


News that musicians (& possibly anything else a persons might wish) was available, anything one might wish to drink for example.... Nicolette looked towards the ever silent yet vigilant room attendants. She had never imagined making whimfull requests of such people before. Was such available to her now? Frances certainly thought so and he would know. It might have seems a small thing to Francis --  but it was incredible to this lass who, back home, had very often gone without the simplest luxuries.  


Meeting an attendant's eyes she asked, "Please, will you fetch a tambourine, or if cannot find one some finger cymbals will suit."   Her eyes were flared some with a 'did I just ask that' look as she returned attention to Francis. "His Majesty has had such a day of ceremony and excess, I think the humblest musical option might be most refreshing contrast."  her choice was thus explained.  


Francis claimed she could order him about also.  He seemed to be joking, but in that way people used when they were actually speaking the truth.  "I cannot imagine such a thing!" was her reply, "though shall advance my request to a demand for your Blood Orange good sir!" she laughed.  Oh sure she could have asked another servant for some other drink, but there was more to her request than that.


Meanwhile she was digesting his advice about others who might be present in the room. 


"Then we shall play it by ear..." she supposed, hopefully he was able to follow her jumping train of thought. "I have always loved impromptu the very best."   




Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
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Her assessment of his earring was astute. He felt that way as well. If he was expected to show off jewels, he would do it his way even if such earrings were more the fashion relics of the Martyred King's time. 


He grinned as she requested jingly instruments. "I assure you, any man appreciates jingly instruments if other parts jingle along as well."


One of the grooms went off, not batting an eyelash at her request. As for his part, Francis gave a flourished bow as he brandished the brandy. "You should imagine it. There is nothing wrong with it. That is why I am here. The more you get to know the King, as a lady you might sense things he wants that I would not, and it is fine to tell me to see to them. The more unburdened your time with His Majesty, the better for us all," he assured her. He did not realize she thought she would have an audience for it all or he would have assured her that if anyone remained for anything remotely intimate, it would be him and perhaps even not him either. The King had always liked his sense of privacy. He did not like bunches of attendants around him, preferring only one in the room during his evening hours, and being an undemanding king, one person could easily do that (especially with at least six people a mere room or two away). 


"It shan't be long now, I think. Someone always runs ahead though," Francis said. "Is there anything else you desire or that you wish to know?"

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That her speculation proved accurate was evidence that she had studied the man before her, to the point that she realised that while he was often understated and even very private, he did like it when persons divined his heart.  For now she smiled, content in what had grown into a very close friendship...   


A swig of the liquor was taken, and her paring down of outfit completed. Now to the task of tucking in the silk scarves into waistband of petticoat.  "And one here?" She asked Frances opinion as she had one taught about midriff.  "I cannot think of anything else to need," was her reply to his question, "but of what is to know, is there any topics I should strictly avoid?" 

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"The more you dangle, the more there are to play with and attempt to remove later," Francis replied with a wag of his brows. 


"Avoid? Anything worrisome. Politics. His family. Danby. The Queen." Those all seemed rather obvious to him, but he was unsure what else might qualify. "You can assume some informality," he said. "Do not worry too much that he is a king. He likes...well...he likes for that to fade to the background some in private. Do just have fun, truly. You are a very fun lady, you needn't concern about much at all. He already likes you very much."


A few door opening and a page could be heard informing the household that the King was on his way. Being deeper into the apartments, it last came to them that the King was imminent.

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That said, she tucked her final scarf under shoulder strap instead, an eyebrow arched for a nod of approval from her handsom assistant Francis Kirke. 

"Pfft, I dont even like talking of any of those things!" with a sweep of hand she laughed.  "It is like how he enjoys to act Old Rowley, yes? "  

She might have asked for further specifics, like, she'd noticed many of his past mistresses were rather demanding and strong women. Perhaps she then needed to try be... but any questioning like that was forestalled by the sound of feet running in the hall, both knew what that meant.  Nicci knew she should be doubley nervous, but discovered her smiling instead. 

"The players are in their places, lets us enjoy playing our parts!" And with a light heart she dipped a curtsy to Francis before anyone else might arrive.  The theatre they had planned for so long was ready to begin! 

Beginning with a humming she broke into the simple English song*;  Jocky met with Jenny fair, Aft by the dawning of the day; But Jockey now is fu' of care, Since Jenny staw his heart away...." thinking it to be a cheery prequel 





Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
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"Yes, precisely. We know Rowley enjoys you for you and Rowley is the King; it is the private piece of him that he cannot show the world entirely but only to a select circle of persons. And Envy has risen above the mere status of those who might warm his bed." This level of preparation and investment surely did not go into every fuck! 


Francis had once benefit from Buckingham's advice of being true. In that instance, it had been in a private sparring match with swords, and Francis had bested the King. The King had thoroughly enjoyed it. He had not enjoyed the being beaten part, but he had enjoyed the truth of it and the challenge of it, something he could not generally have experienced, especially not had there been any others there. Few were true to the King in any way. He would have told Nicci simply to be herself. It was about standing out in the moment, not competing with the past. His past mistresses shared boldness in common, different sorts of it, and Nicci had yet another sort. Changing herself to become demanding like Cleveland, or dominating like Cat, or manipulative with emotion like Portsmouth was ill-advised. She had her own set of boldness that was far more than enough. 


Francis gave her a wink, raised a brow in eager anticipation, took a breath, and prepared to give his own pretty bow. The game was truly about to begin. 

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More noises wafted their way. Before the King arrived, the groom Nicci had sent off arrived with a selection of small hand-instruments like those she had mentioned. He then scurried off again. The yips of some of the King's babies were heard and a few hearty laughs.


His Majesty King Charles II was full to the ears of stiff formality. By the time the door had closed behind him to his apartments he was shedding clothes to servants who came forth like eager puppies as the long royal stride moved toward the more inner chambers, pausing only to greet his little darlings. Even with ample cushioning his arse was numb and the hip joint by where he had been wounded gave an annoying pang from not being moved for so very long. He did not want to sit in a chair for the rest of the evening!


His ears tuned to a most pleasant melody.


By the time the doors opened to the intimate parlour where Nicci and Francis awaited, the King was down to breeches, shirtsleeves, and waistcoat. He had a drink in his hand already and shooed off the last groom that had his cravat in hand as soon as he saw Kingston. Finally, the true excitement of the day. He knew something was planned and that it involved his Mistress Envy. 


"That is not you I hear, Kingston. Not even your tenor is that high," the King teased his young gentleman. "And do not Majesty me any Majesties, for I have just heard hundreds of them." He gave Kingston a pat on the shoulder before he had barely bowed at all. That, too, had grown tedious that evening. 


He downed the rest of his drink and finally turned to see the disguised Nicci in her seductively covered arrangement. For a moment, he was struck quite speechless, for Nicci was a beautiful woman and she was very well-appointed, even with tantalizing jewels glittering in the firelight. 


"You bring me more than a letter this time. Have I finally heard your voice, my lady?" Eager anticipation was behind the royal voice. Witty and seductive letters would now become a firmer reality.

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In swept the King


She laughed with CR’s tease to Francis, even after such a long day he was a witty one.  This was why she was not so much nervous as excited of the moment, she enjoyed the bright of his mind. While yes he was also a door to so many possibilities, were there many other doors so appealing?!


She turned then, to fully reveal herself; Here she presented a picture of such a mis-mash of cultures:  An English folk song sung in French accent, Jewels that were no doubt crafted by skilful Jewish artisans, Venetian mask with an Eastern arrangement of veils. Nicolette seemed to fully embrace the melting pot of diversity that was England.


“I am done with paragraphs, Envy has a composition of another sort for you tonight.” She returned, dropping into a peculiar hands-pressed-together curtsy (which she imagined to seem eastern), “For I would cast away tonight for a journey in to the exotic, perchance erotic…” through the mask her  eyes glinted, while her tone held carefree and teasing warmth.   

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There was an artistry to looking entirely nonchalant whilst someone was seamlessly refilling your goblet and unbuttoning your waistcoat for you. He took another sip, raising a dark brow as Envy promised a different composition tonight. 


"What shall the crescendo be, I wonder?" the King quipped. And then his George was removed. 


"Your education has progressed beyond the pen?" He chuckled, warmly. Kingston knelt and removed the Order of the Garter on his leg and FINALLY all his various regalia was dispensed. Occasions of State required even more than usual, and now with an open waistcoat, he felt he could breathe. 


Here he made a sly look at Kingston, who pretended not to notice as he handed off the two medals to be put away.


Charles knew exactly what Buckingham was up to. George knew how to groom a potential mistress, and the cub needed to learn the family business. The thought made him smirk as he looked back at his masked lady, standing close by the fire. 


"I do hope the exotic does not involve sitting," Charles joked. "Your missives have been an exotic novelty thus far." 


(OOC - skip Francis this round ;) I don't need to post him individually to show what he's up to this round)

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King Charles the Second was entirely succeeding in presenting an air of casual nonchalance (even while servants fussed about his clothing removal) – though it was definitely not disinterest indicated by the look in his eye or lilt of tone. 

This was more of the delicious posturing. It was not the plain speaking ways of the English, rather something learned from his European travels (by this she specially thought of France) where the artistry of flirtation was widely considered a national pastime.  Buckingham practised the French style openly, King Charles seemed to mix and match to mood.  It was riveting!

"The crescendo? I was thinking more along the lines of Creshendii… is that the correct plural, you certainly are the man to know.”

Another item was removed. It was bizarre sensation seeing him being undressed, for her.  Well he’d have had to be undressed no mater what the end of day brought. But it did seem to her view like a very sensible yet heart racing strip tease, and the king almost no hand in it. 

She wondered how far they would strip him down…  meanwhile he was openly teasing Francis of her ‘training’.  

“Beyond the pen to the sword.” She quipped, “And contrary to fable I discovered it mightier!”

It was not a usual trio in conversation; the inaugural cock, plundered quim and the cock ripened to go next -- but this was not a common situation.  She had adopted a brutally honest manner in the letters, so possibly it was her own fault that that manner here continued.  The King did seem to enjoy it. Had enjoyed the letters at least, and here they tested the style out upon warm breath.

Her heartbeat was fast   “I’ve been a diligent student…vigilantly practising, and with home work too!” She laughed, being behind the mask helped her to be bolder, “now here with the master examiner ready to spread open the pages anew.”  

Another item of his clothing was removed. That he said nothing of it drove her wild!

“Sitting is not the posture I hoped for either…” she returned in a softer voice, “perhaps your attendants have done enough, I fancy completing their task personally.”

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
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The King was, in fact, not disrobing, but rather simply getting comfortable for the evening by letting Kingston undo some buttons and get rid of the dangly bits and bobs. If either man had a clue what was going on in her mind, they might have thought her nervous excitement jumping ahead, adorably so, for the only things missing were robe, justacorps, cravat, George, and the garter medallion! 


"You intend to be quite the songstress this evening then," he teased, having thought her change in composition was for song and maybe dance, given her exotic garb, but he enjoyed multiple meaning as much as all libertines. 


He laughed heartily at her teasing, dark eyes sparkling with enjoyment of pleasant and free banter. After an evening of scripted responses, exercising his wits was a necessary stimulant. 


"One of anything is never enough," the King agreed, taking another sip of his drink, with a chuckle upon his cheeks.


"And speaking of attendants, have they not given you a drink? Nor my remiss Kingston, either? Shameful!" he declared this with some glee, not bothering to look at the blond. His gaze was fixed in Nicci's direction. "Or is that his flask I see? Did he not give you a glass!" 


The groom that Francis had handed the medals to had disappeared and not returned during their short banter. It left just the three of them. The King did not fully realize that she was talking about taking his clothes all the way off! His household grooms and such did many things.


"Thankfully, they informed me when I arrived that refreshments would be arriving shortly. Your efforts in entertaining me all season must not go unrewarded."

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Her mind was indeed jumping ahead – she would blame it on her general sense of amplification! 

“Dancing is what I had in mind, I’ve oft remembered our garden talk of the dance of veils…” Nicolette ran her fingers along the scarf at shoulder strap, picked up the end, lifted it with a flick to see it wafting-fall, “yet veils may come in many forms, a look, a missive, even a bruise.” She chuckled at the memory of the fall in the snow.  “… every sort designed to tease.”

To hear his laugh was a fine sound, she gained a pleasure from it, and drawing a slow breath tried to steady her heart.  She was seeing that the pace was not a rush. This was good, in fact it was probably much better.   

Her words had been clumsy upon undressing, thankfully the movement of servant and talk of wine muddled about things, smoothing over the error. “They did not have glasses large enough for my appetite!” Nicci returned laughing over her mistake.  “But now that I’ve taken the edge off with the Blood Orange, I suppose a glass of wine would be rather nice…”

She moved to collect up a pair of finger cymbals, doing so an idea popped into her mind and she looked towards the king wondering if he’d enjoy participation?  “You are a lover of theatre and the melody, the world knows this, but do you play as well?” 



The sound the cymbals made was both pure and simple.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Have we danced before, then?" the King asked, his lips pressed into a smile and trying not to break into a greater one. The Dance of Veils was a phrase he most certainly recalled. The dance in his brown eyes held a mischievous familiarity. 


"Ah! Then, mysterious lady, you prefer drinking right from the bottle or carafe?" he asked, with a chuckle. 


She tinged finger cymbals and he grinned. Then she asked him a question that most ladies did not ask, and it surprised him. In a pleasant way and also a reminiscent way. His grin softened into a warm smile that then quirked to one side. A few private thoughts crossed his mind as he looked at her, the look unwavering. 


Kingston handed the lady her glass of wine and then lifted the carafe to fill his. The King looked at him for a moment and then back at Nicolette, finally answering her. There was a sense that a veil of his own dropped in that moment. That more of Charles and less of Charles Rex was suddenly there. While the laughing banter paused briefly, there was no drop of warmth or pleasantry; it might be greater even.


"I do play, a lesser known talent," he replied. There was a pregnant pause before he asked softly, "Did George tell you that I did?" His eyes tossed to Kingston momentarily as well, as if to say he was asking him the same question. That he switched so easily to calling Buckingham by his first name, might even more signal a shift of intimacy. 


Playing music was a bit of something of a sacred space to him. It was something very, very few people knew and even fewer knew why. He wished to believe that George had not primed this, for there was a meaning in the happenstance that he enjoyed, for many reasons, and he also wished to think that there were certain things George would not exploit to others basely to maneuver. 

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With extension of neck she leaned nearer and claimed in a covert tone, “We have been dancing all season…”  and with a smile she met his eyes before drawing apart.   

She was discovering a skin-tingling distance to be held, both physically and of words, and all at once Nicci wondered if he was seducing her quite as boldly as she did him.  Her eyes flared and she gave a laugh of simple joie de vivre! 

“Well there is a little fun in roughing it sometimes… why if only you could me the most charming rogue I encountered at a party the other eve.  Old Rowley was his name, I dare say that scally wag has drunk straight from a cask or two!” She chuckled.  

Was it freakish good luck that then made an impression upon Charles?  Or perhaps it was something more elemental, a compatibility of spirit here.  Nicci had been unaware of the rarity of her question, but for the way CR looked briefly at Francis, as though his reply was not meant for general publication.   

A mute shake of head was her reply upon George, her head tipped that he’d asked that, and she spoke “I am perhaps most grateful to the Duke for his absence of such details, here I am with the air of an explorer making new discoveries all by herself.” She could understand that the King liked some things to remain private.  But he’d just admitted this thing to her.  

“But now I need your fingers.” She moved closer again, setting down the glass she’d only just been given she reached for Charles hand.  Her intent was to slide the finger cymbals on his index finger and thumb.  In a quieter voice she said, “I can imagine you with a stringed instrument... your fingers so nimble?” Nicci thought very highly of guitars and such (having tried it a bit as a child and learning how very hard it was.)  Had she guessed right? With that question in her eyes she added, "...and strings are a travelers instrumet ."  

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