Jump to content

JOIN OUR GAME!

Your Stories Await Telling

Hope

EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

Recommended Posts

Davina and Sophia

 

Sophia listened as Davina outlined two different ways to get her into the palace. Was she not allowed to have visitors? Oh, she just didn’t want anyone to see them. She had no idea why being stared at would harm either her or the baby. Only a few days ago, she had sung in front of a large audience and that hadn’t hurt her. Maybe her friend thought it unwise for a Queen’s lady be seen in the company of the Spanish Ambassador’s wife? Yes, that was probably it, and she completely understood.

 

“Eleven in the morning will be fine. I know where the Volary Garden is. I’ve visited it several times.” She had taken a walk with Juan there the night before she had sung for the King last spring and she had once run into Master Greyson in front of the peacock cage. It was about time to reinforce the phrases she had taught the parrots to say instead of cursing. Maybe she could do that before she met up with Davina.

 

“Yes, I will have a bodyguard with me. My lord husband insists that I never go anywhere alone. It is annoying to be followed all the time, but I understand that he is only trying to protect me.” And to make sure I don’t get into any mischief, she added silently and bitterly.

Edited by Sophia de la Cerda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anne-Elisabeth and Ernle

 

Anne-Elisabeth winked. “I already have Hopefully, my streak of good fortune will continue when it comes time to find a seat.” She glanced around the chapel, looking for a pair of young gentlemen sitting together who did no seem to be related. Surely there had to be a few. She couldn’t be the only courtier who had no relatives at court.

 

The young Countess had been hoping that he would offer to join her, but family obligations came first. Sometimes she was glad that she didn’t have one. For the first time in her young life, she cold do as she pleased. “Perhaps after the boredom of Easter is over then. I am counting the days until Tuesday.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chathams and Juliana

Charles swallowed a laugh at Mary's interjection, but he did flick her an amused glance, lips curving upwards.

"Ah yes, where are my manners? Charles Audley, Earl of Chatham, at your service, your highness."

He inclined his head to hide the smirk he could not suppress, a decision that proved doubly wise as Juliana's hand moved to his groin under the cloak, and trebly so as she asked, with an astounding imitation of innocence, if he and Mary were married. The action and the words, following on so soon from each other, provoked a complicated series of reactions, and he was grateful to have a moment to compose himself properly. 

"Lady Chatham is my stepmother," he explained smoothly, "and I too would like to know why she thinks I deserve to be smote." He arched a teasing eyebrow at Mary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John and ....

He offered her a slight bow as she introducd herself.

"A Viscountess? Well today seems to be my Day. A pleasure Lady Fiona. We have a thing in common already."

He smiled down at her his eyes appreciating what they saw.

"We are both foreign - by that I mean not born here - I in the Colonies and you ... Scotland?"

He took up the space that she had left him smiling as his own body would have to 'touch' a part of hers no matter how he adjusted. 

"Ah. Another Lady who is alone. I hope for my sake that you have no 'family' waiting behind a statue?"  He spared a glance but his interest was fully on her. "I would much like to keep all my body parts."

"Have you come to atone for your Sins then? I must confess that I, being newly arrived, have not the chance to acquire any."

His bantering was adjusted to suit her own - a first impression that she was bolder than Lady Susan and he liked it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chathams and Juliana

It was little surprise that Juliana thought they were married, Mary by her manner of self introduction practically implied, it or at least implied her interest over the gentlemen. And the Lady Chatham was still in her prime, just a handful of years older than Charles himself, while also youthful styled in recent fashions.   Charles however, was swift to remedy any misunderstanding...

Mary resisted chuckling at his scurry, before answering both: "Oh it is Our Lords smiting you speak of? Why I of course referred to any of a dozen miffed gents - and the reason: to have secured the company of Princess of Germany course." a pause, and then she added, "Charmed to meet you."

Germany was riddled with noble houses, every second person one met was a Von this or that, while Princes and Princesses were everywhere about.  But not so many of them came to England.  By an large though, she understood this to mean that Juliana far outclassed her stepson, this could not be a possible marriage match - thus her interest in the other woman somewhat diminished, who's remarkability was otherwise not obvious to her.  Perhaps that would still change.

"How have you been enjoying our Anglican services?"  she asked, considering that Charles and Juliana were talking God, while knowing European Protestants while similar were still different. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davina and Sophia

Davina nodded her head then added in the same quiet undertones

"I am glad that you see the wisdom in this choice. You are watched and made much of  - just as many here are -  and by now you have understood the reasons for it. I do not wish to have chatter scattered about Whitehall thus thought to spare you all the focus of the Queens Presence."

"The Riverside is populated thus not easy for remembrances!" She smiled and gave another gentle squeeze of the others hand. "And it is Safe."

"Good. Your man will be discreet I am sure in his own presence. You should tell him that I will lead you inside by way of a few passageways until we reach my rooms. It is perhaps less than ten minutes walk. There are several 'places' he might take advantage of yet still have view of my doors."

"Are you comfortable with this?" 

She gave a small chuckle adding "I wonder if this is what 'spy's' are tasked with?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Catherine Sedley approaching Charles

"Well, you certainly had no trouble finding me," Charles quipped in return.  "If you are desperate enough, you can find anyone," he smirked.

"How are you feeling ?" he asked with concern, dropping the game for the moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chathams and Juliana

 

At my service? You will be on Tuesday. “Delighted to make your acquaintance, my lord.” Her hand remained on his groin, prolonging any anticipation Charles might feel.

 

“Your stepmother?” Juliana’s blue eyes widened, her gaze traveling from the Earl to the Countess. “I’ve rarely seen stepparents and stepchildren get along so well. Usually they fight like cats and dogs.”

 

Charles, too, wondered why Mary thought that God should smite him. Her reason was obviously contrived. She had not known that Juliana was a princess when she first spoke of smiting. The lady must have changed her mind about saying what she had originally intended. Why? They must be fucking each other. A threesome is not entirely off the cards.

 

“Your stepson seems to be a proper gentleman. I can't imagine that he could have done something so scandalous that it would provoke God to smite him.” She cast a sideways glance at Charles. Her eyes spoke volumes. What would his stepmother think if she knew that he liked to be dominated and whipped and wanted a dog collar?

 

Juliana shrugged. “Church is much the same everywhere. Only the languages vary. I haven’t attended many German services, as I grew up mostly in Sweden, which I consider to be my home.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John and Fiona

 

Lord Silverbridge wasn’t a Duke, but he was gallant, bowing respectfully to her. He also seemed impressed by her (future) title, as well he should be. Seventeen-year-old Viscountesses were rare. In fact, Fiona might be the only one.

 

She was curious as to what he thought they had in common. They were both foreigners. He was from the colonies. She had thought he sounded a bit different than most gentlemen. He was even more appealint to her now.. “Yes, I was born in Scotland, but this is my second season at court. I feel more at home here than in my homeland.”

 

She grinned playfully. “We have something else in common too. We both can run really fast. If you were slow, you would have wound up in the natives' stew.” Fiona tilted her head to the side in an innocent fashion. “I don’t think I would like to be eaten … at least not by a savage.”

 

He sat beside her. Good. She would much rather spend a boring service in the company of an attractive gentleman than by herself. Fiona laughed when he mentioned family lurking behind a statue. He had no idea how bold and audacious the MacBain family were. Except for Shona. She was weird. “I came to court alone this season. My older sister had to take care of some issue on her estate and my younger sisters went with her. They’re too young to attend court anyway. I have a brother but I don’t think he’s here either. He is one of the King’s Life Guards and is often away on His Majesty’s business.”

 

She laughed again. “I haven’t acquired any, either.” That’s the understatement of the century, she thought. “Maybe we should obtain a few since we’re going to be stuck in church for two more days. We don’t want to waste God’s time.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles and Catherine

 

“That’s because you were standing in plain sight so that I wouldn’t miss you,” she retorted. Catherine didn’t think she would ever get tired of their long-running game. It was fun to match wits with Charles. He was one of the few gentlemen who was able to keep up with her. Maybe that was one reason she liked him so much.

 

He halted their repartee to ask how she was. The concern in his tone of voice pleased her. He should be interested in her well-being, since there was no doubt whatsoever that this child was his. “I tire often. It was the same way with Caroline. Other than that, I am doing quite well.” Unlike her last pregnancy, she now knew what to expect.

 

“Our baby is thriving.” Taking his hand, she placed it on her growing belly. He would be able to feel his son or daughter kicking vigorously. “See?”

 

Catherine smiled up at him. Do you have time to come over this week? Caroline would love to see you and there are things we need to talk about.” The practical matters had to be discussed, such as how much support he was going to give his illegitimate child, and if he planned to provide for its future.  The son of an Earl deserved a fine education. A daughter would need a substantial dowry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davina and Sophia

 

“Thank you,” Sophia said sincerely, squeezing her hand back. Now she knew that Davina wasn’t worried about being seen with the wife of a foreign Ambassador; she didn’t want her to endure the stares of the ladies who frequented the Queen’s presence chamber or the gossip that would surely follow. Esteban’s precious honor might be insulted if unfavorable speculations about his wife circulated throughout the court.

 

She would visit eventually for she wished to speak to the Queen again. Maybe they could bond because they were both pregnant. She had not given up her goal of becoming the royal German’s friend. Maybe she could offer to sing for her. She must be bored so close to her time and she had been impressed with Sophia’s voice.

 

“Yes, my bodyguard is discreet and he knows how to blend in. He will not take his eyes off your room as long as I’m inside. He’s very good at his job.” Unfortunately.

 

The petite Countess sighed. “I believe he is a spy and that he reports everything I do back to my lord husband. I hate having to watch everything I say or do, but you told me long ago that was what everyone must do at court. I am learning by necessity. When you get married, I hope that your husband trusts you more than mine trusts me.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chathams and Juliana

"It helps, I think, that we are not so far apart in age, and that we are both of a practical, pragmatic bend," Charles said, swallowing a laugh at Juliana's wide-eyed 'surprise.' The minx was taking an entirely unwholesome amount of enjoyment from this little charade, but that was fair. So was he.

He swallowed another laugh and flicked another amused glance at Mary as she refrained from sticking the knife in. That was unlike her, he thought, but in fairness she did generally maintain decorum in public.

That 'practical, pragmatic bend,' of hers, presumably.

Her evasion had been a little clumsy, though. She should have followed through, in his opinion. They could have played it off as gentle (albeit irreverent) ribbing.

It probably won't matter. I doubt very much that Juliana will care to dig any further.

"You flatter me, your highness," he said, putting that little niggle behind him, "but even if I have done nothing to deserve it, I think the Almighty could be forgiven for assuming otherwise. Mine is a most villainous visage, after all." 

It was also most challenging to keep composed, with Juliana's knowing eyes on him. The urge to smirk, or laugh, or hike her skirts up there and then, was almost overwhelming, and made all the worse by the soft heat of her hand on his groin under the cloak.

He did not have to struggle long, thankfully, as Mary took up the topic of comparative religion, a conversational shift he had never thought to find himself grateful for.

"Really?" he asked, humming thoughtfully at Juliana's answer. "In my experience many of our continental co-religionists deem us to be more than half-Papist still, though I suppose that could have more to do with the decoration of our chapels than the content of our services."

Edited by Charles Audley

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davina and Sophia

"Well he is in the employ of the Spanish Ambassador after all so he would hardly be useless! But he may occupy himself where ever he wants and I shall send Poppy out now and then - unless you think it not right."

"Well of course he does! That is part of his job. Who you meet and where and for how long. Who else came or went?"

"You may think I tease but it is close to the truth. And as for my own husband ..."

She gave a small shrug of one shoulder.

"He will be English so there will be no need for me to be 'watched' and I am a creature of Court after all and well trained in how IT operates."

"And you are correct. I am glad that you have seen the sense in exercising caution in both manner and speech. A simple phrase can be turned into a bigger incident that has far reaching affects. And an Ambassadors post is a difficult one. The Master they serve is in another Country yet to them he must remain Loyal yet all the while convince the Host country that he is wanting nothing but friendships and to maintaind good relations. Few bring a wife. That alone makes for difficulties."

She gave a small sigh but then a quick chuckle followed as she added

"But would you not just love to read what is being reported about you? I'd wager most of it are untruths designed to blacked your character to the readers and like as not your husband thinks the same. Of all HE is the one that knows you best."

"I wonder what might be written of me?"

She then turned back to the topic at hand.

"Well then. Tis set and I shall be there when you arrive have no worries. I shall bribe a boatman afore to go and fetch you both ways in comfort."

"And I am full of curiosities about this too."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John and Fiona

He had angled himself so that he now faced her one arm resting on the yet unoccupied pew in front of them and a long leg stretched out for both comfort and balance. His eyes played about her face and form again and he knew than that he had guessed rightly.

"Well I am far too tought while you are ... far too soft so not in the least appealing. To those natives I mean."

"And why would you have a need to run fast? Are you chased often? If I were near by I would ensure you never need to run."

He teased her with his double meanings. He was sure she would not miss them.

She gave him a laughing accounting then making a small furrow appear between his brows.

"Indeed? Well that is most unordinary. Where I come from we do not allow our women to go about unattended. It is not fitting. I had thought to find the same here ...."

"Your words tell me several things  ...."

He ticked them off his fingers

   " One you are a constant source of worry

    Two you are handfull and not easily reigned in

    Three you are far too sure of yourself and think that playing with fire is a thing you can handle"

His words were said in a hushed tone and his eyes on her watching for her reactions. Then they inched lower to her mouth then lower still then just as quickkly back up. She was sending him a clear invitation he understood yet she was barely out of the schoolroom and his tastes ran to more mature and experienced. Yet he had to be honest in that she might well be a nice distraction and in had been weeks since he'd last had a woman. Would she continue her flirting and if so was he willing to give her what she was asking for.

"As as for God, well, I have been twice Blessed this day already. Perhaps I am being tested? What should I do?"

"Dare I tempt Fate and sin  ...." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John and Fiona

 

Lord Silverbridge turned toward her and Fiona did the same, smoothing her skirt so that it ‘accidentally’ brushed against his leg. She pretended not to notice. Her eyes wandered over him once more. “If I were a savage, I wouldn’t think you were too tough. I would think you were the most delicious meal I ever had.”

 

As for running: “More figuratively than literally.” She was running from a marriage arranged by the King, though it was possible that he might have forgotten about finding a husband for his mistress’ unruly and hedonistic sister. Fiona had heard that he had a new mistress now. Maybe that meant she had nothing to fear anymore and could marry a man of her own choice.

 

Her charming companion was as flirtatious as she was. The auburn-haired Scot grinned playfully. “I can’t think of any reason I would want to run from you.”

 

Lord Silverbridge seemed surprised that she was alone. Her grin broadened when he listed the things he had gathered from their brief conversation. He was quite perceptive, she had to give him that, and she enjoyed the way his eyes traveled over her lips … and lower. “I’m not actually all by myself. A chaperone accompanied me and when my brother returns, he will look after me.” Fiona leaned forward and her voice lowered to a whisper. “My family is hoping that I will find a husband this season, but I think I’m going to disappoint them.”

 

Moving back, she swiveled so that she was staring straight ahead. “You could be right about me, but maybe you aren't. There is only one way to find out.”

 

Her full lips turned up into a saucy smile. “Sometimes I think God tests us because he likes to grant us forgiveness when we give in to temptation. If you’ve never sinned before, you should try it. It’s fun. Or so I’ve heard."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davina and Sophia

 

Davina didn’t seem a bit shocked that Sophia’s bodyguard spied for her husband. She had thought that he didn’t trust her, but was he just doing as the English did? Perhaps they had their wives watched too. No, her friend seemed quite certain that her own husband would never spy on her. She wanted to point out that he might if he was the jealous sort, but she doubted that Davina would marry somebody who was suspicious of her. She was fortunate that she was able to choose her own husband. Perhaps that was why she was not still single. She had yet to find a gentleman who was worthy of her.

 

“I thought he was only supposed to protect me.” The blonde Countess realized that she must sound like an ignorant child. She was in danger from Spain’s enemies and from those within Spain who were against the bastard son of the former King ruling the country. Nobody knew of her affair with Juan, but Esteban was one of his closest associates. Sometimes the best way to weaken your foe was to hurt his family and friends.

 

Since Davina believed there was nothing wrong with Karl reporting her activities to Esteban, perhaps it was Sophia’s desire to do whatever she pleased that made it seem like an invasion of privacy. A lady was never truly free. Why had she believed her life would be different? She wasn’t unhappy by any means. And she liked figuring out creative ways to sneak away from Karl. Stolen freedom was the best kind, anyway.

 

In Sophia’s opinion, there was no better authority on the ways of court life than Davina. She had never considered how difficult Esteban’s position truly was. He had to be many things to many people and maintain a balance between his loyalty to Spain and his duties to England. He didn’t need a wife to make trouble for him. That he allowed her to accompany him spoke of his trust in her … or Juan’s.

 

“I certainly don’t want to embarrass him or put him in a tight spot. Your advice is always excellent, Mistress Wellsley. The things you have told me in the past has helped me deal with my new responsibilities. I wasn’t expecting that my lord husband would be appointed Ambassador for many more years. I thought I wold have all the time in the world to prepare.”

 

Davina’s chuckle was followed by Sophia’s own. “Yes, I would love to read what he writes about me. I don’t think he lies about me, though. He would lose his job dishonesty and for failing to keep me out of trouble. Lord Toledo is an intelligent man. He could see right through the deception. And as you say, he knows me well.”

 

What would Karl say about Davina?  “Only good things, I’m sure. If he said anything even remotely negative, I would be forbidden to see you. And that has not happened. I believe my lord husband approves of our friendship.”

 

Sophia shivered thinking of traveling even such a short distance by boat but she knew she could handle it now. “Thank you. I’m afraid I can say nothing more now about the dilemma I am facing. It is a delicate matter.” Lord Kingston had chewed her out for even mentioning it at church.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John and Fiona

He surpressed a chuckle at how audicious she was. Was she, he wondered, an example of how all ladies behaved or the exception?

"Well I can think of many reasons why you should. I am a stranger newly arrived - that alone should give you hesitation - and you are alone."

"Not that I have anything nefarious in mind and Church is hardly a place for abductions after all."

He smiled at her to show he teased the grew more serious after hearing that part about husbands.

"Indeed. You might well be correct. For if you continue on as you are with me or any other of my sex that soon becomes known. Men are not the best keepers of Secrets."

"I should hate to think of you as being found lacking to be a Gentleman's wife. Why then what is left? Back to the wilds of Scotland or dependent upon Family for position?"

He wanted to see if she was all bluff and hot air. Best get that sorted straight away.

"Then again if allowing a young woman to move about so freely an openly here is acceptable then who am I to cast doubts?"

She changed her position but he held his.

"Tis that 'finding out' part gives pause. I am as I have said newly arrived and yet to take up my Place so to run the risk   ......"

"Well God moves in mysterious ways as I have seen full well this day. And did I say I have never sinned?"

He had been absently rubbing the top of the pew ever so slowly back and forth as he'd talked with on long fingered hand which now stilled. She was quite delicious to look at and he suspected she had some experience - he did not deal with virgins on Principle.

"And is that what you are doing hmm? Asking God for forgiveness for the temptations yet to be committed?"

He leaned in inhaling her scent to whisper 

"Challange accepted."

"Not here not today. But soon. But be aware that as the Hunter I will only chase for so long. I will even leave an avenue of escape if that is what is wanted."

She would be in no doubt as to his intentions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davina and Sophia

"I was not talking about the man employed to watch you. His views are nothing. And what he may say about me also matters not."

"My saying that was about those that are employed about Court. They are the eyes and ears of whatever Master they serve. But you already know this."

"They watch and report on EVERYTHING Lady Toledo - what occurs where and who was there; what was discussed and who agreed or not. What Lady and Gentleman stood too long together and what might be construed by it. Why a Queen's lady sits and converses with the wife of the Spanish Ambassador in Church - might there be some mischief afoot then? That Lady after all is kin to Norfolk and that family have been Catholic for generations  ...... it might then be implied that Spain seeks England or England seeks Spain."

"It is all Politics in so many forms. That is why everything we do must be measured. Calculations are an inbred part of this place and it has always been thus."

"What is written in those reports I should like to know especially if it concerns my Mistress."

"I would wager that we two will be written up in some reports and sent to far off places - most is oversaid and used to enhance the tales being told but others are viewed with more seriousness."

"All this talk of War has many watching and waiting to see how the wind will blow. Anything French is looked on with distrust and suspicion be it person or thing. Yet still those go about dressed after that Fashion and why we even have French persons at Court."

"Is it too much to wonder if they have two faces? Yet tis ot my intent to frighten you. Just a cautionary one. But it can be a tool if used correctly. You employ those that 'spy' for you I am sure just as everyone does. Tis no secret after all and how else is one supposed to stay informed or to inform?"

"And as for what your man reports about You - well it must not be anything for there is no suspicions."

"And as for us, well, time alone will tell! I will not involve you in anything that would give Lord Toledo cause to pull you back. No man wants to be told that he must manage his wife by anyone."

"I am curious as to just what this topic will be. A 'dilemma' can mean many things but I know I shall have to wait till Friday. Dress warmly and wear boots for it will be damp and slippery once you arrive. Send me a note if you are wanting for any food or drink - tis easy for me to arrange delivery!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles and Catherine

"You would not have missed me if I was wearing green and hiding behind the shrubbery," he retorted. "Your passion for me would guide you like a homing pigeon."

He assumed that she was fine or she would not have come to the event.  Still, it was polite to ask.  She reached to take his hand to place upon her tummy.  In private that would be endearing.  In public it would be inappropriate.  He resisted her tug at his hand.  "Later in private," he whispered.  What would Darlene or Davina think, or any lady, if he was seen laying hands on a woman that was not his wife?  Not everyone knew that Catherine was his mistress.  In fact. it might just be a few.  Importantly, the Duke of York knew.

"I cannot this week," he continued.  "I am planning to trap a blackguard and make an arrest later in the week.  Fret not, it will not be too dangerous.  I should not be with you if things should go wrong and his brigands attempt to kidnap you to retaliate against me.  In fact, it would be best to send your maid for food and lock yourself in until I send you word of the arrest."  It would be one less female to interfere with his plans and give an excuse to keep his distance while courting Darlene.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chathams and Juliana

 

The Chathams and Juliana

"Oh yes I look far too young for the title." Mary replied, it was true, she was closer to the stepsons age than to the father.  And yes, she and Charles were not at each others throats, sort of, "I suppose the relationship is one commonly marked by passion." she concurred with Juliana and chuckled a light laugh. 

She no longer wished to feed his ego and carry on talk about Charles however (though knowing they both needed to reform before dying lest they go to the bad place), so was content to let that topic drop. Annoyingly Charles accepted Juliana's comment as a compliment.  

And the topic (unimaginatively) swung to church.  They were sat in one after all.  "Oh really?" Mary found herself seconding Charles surprise at Juliana's answer,  "Perhaps it is different in the provinces?" she added, eyes turning to the princess for her further enlightenment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John and Fiona

 

“Those are reasons to run to you,” Fiona clarified. “I’ve always been drawn to danger.” She had expected Lord Silverbridge to flirt back, but not so blatantly. He was not one of those pious idiots she ran into every now and then. If so, he would have been appalled when Lady Susan fell into his lap. The young Scot was glad she had approached him. He was far more appealing than she had thought he would be. She loved blatant flirting, which often led to more pleasurable pursuits.

 

Her enchanting companion expressed concern for her reputation, which was, unknown to him, completely in tatters. Older and wiser than she had been last year (after all, she was seventeen now!), she was more discreet about her affairs and more selective in her choice of lovers, but nobody who had been at court for long would think she was chaste. She knew that her main draw as a wife would be her title; her future husband would most likely care nothing about her. So why give him a virgin bride? Plus, she needed to sow her wild oats while she could.

 

There was a brighter option than the bleak ones that Lord Silverbridge stated. Leaning forward, Fiona whispered in his ear. “I can become a mistress. Mistresses are treated better than wives and they have a lot more freedom. Their lovers shower them with gifts in order to keep them. I would rather that be my fate than marrying some fat old geezer and being sent away to the country for the rest of my life.”

 

He seemed to think that dallying with her was a risk, but then abruptly changed his mind and accepted her challenge. Desire flooded through her young body as he outlined his plan. He wanted to chase her? How exciting! Usually she was the one doing the pursuing. “Very well,” she said with a sultry smile. “You will not find me easy prey but the reward will be well worth the hunt.”

 

How, Fiona wondered, was she going to learn how to play hard to get?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles and Catherine

 

“You would never do that because then I would walk right past you and you would be utterly heartbroken. You are so besotted with me that you make sure than I will always see you.”

 

Charles turned down the opportunity to feel his child kick. Why? Was he worried about what other people would think? When had he become so prudish? They had never hidden their relationship,  nor had they advertised it. Maybe he just thought it would be inappropriate at church. His whispered promise soothed Catherine’s irritation. Hopefully, he meant he would visit her later tonight.

 

No, he didn’t even plan to visit her during the coming week. She didn’t buy his explanation. It sounded too contrived. She knew his job was dangerous but she doubted the miscreat he planned to arrest knew anything about his personal life. There was something else going on. She just didn’t know what.

 

Yet.

 

Catherine willed herself to shiver. “I will do as you say.  I certainly don't want to be kidnapped.  And please be careful, Charles. Our baby needs his father.” He would be less cautious if he thought she was staying home, and wouldn’t look closely at the faces of courtiers to see if she was among them. In disguise, she might be able to figure out what he was trying to keep from her.

 

Maybe I’m just being paranoid and Charles is truly afraid that I will be harmed. I know he cares about his child. Or perhaps he wants me out of the way so that he can plan a surprise for me.  Maybe she should heed his warning after all.

 

“Come to see me as soon as he’s in prison."  She titled her head to the side.  Why not test his explanation?  “I’m curious, though. How does this criminal know so much about you?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles and Juliana

 

Juliana had known Countesses who were in their teens She had no idea how old Lady Chatham was, but she looked to be in her thirties. Perhaps she was going through an early mid-life crisis and wanted to be thought of as youthful. The lady’s mention of a relationship of passion sealed her suspicion that they were lovers. Or maybe she had misunderstood. She spoke excellent English, but it wasn’t her first … or second, third, or fourth … language.

 

“I doubt the good Lord judges a book by its cover,” she replied with an innocent smile. The phony princess adored Charles’ villainous visage.’ It was part of his appeal. It was a pity that his stepmother had not revealed why she really thought he deserved a good smiting, but the subject moved to the differences between the church services of England to those in Switzerland.

 

“I grew up in Stockholm. I don’t know about the provinces. There are disparities, yes, but the message is always the same: repent, repent, repent.” Under the cloak, she squeezed the bulge in Charles' breeches in rhythm with each ‘repent’ she uttered.

 

Bored with the topic of church, Juliana changed the subject. “So how long have the two of you been at court?”  She was curious as to whether his stepmother had joined him last season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davina and Sophia

 

Sophia blushed, embarrassed that she had misunderstood. She had truly believed that Davina was talking about Karl reporting lies to Esteban, which he would never do if he wanted to keep his job. Instead she had been speaking about almost every lord and lady at court. Some were paid for information; others spread rumors. She didn’t doubt that every country and kingdom on the Continent had an official spy in England, and English spies were posted in those places as well.

 

However, she didn’t believe that she interested most of them. All she did was sing and throw the occasional party. That didn’t mean she shouldn’t be careful of what she said and did, but spies would be mainly focused on politics. Esteban  would be the Spaniard  the spies wrote reports about, not his German wife.

 

Hmmm … was it possible that he was so aloof to her because he had to be that way with others? Did he not know how to let down his guard around his own wife? Or was he being distant to protect her from knowledge that might put her and the child in danger? It was amusing that because of this conversation with Davina, she was seeing him in a different light. Perhaps her revised view of him would improve their relationship.

 

The petite Countess understood Davina’s concern about the things that were said or written about the Queen. She was the lady most of the spies would be watching, misconstruing her words and deeds and sometimes lying about her outright. Was that why she didn’t speak much to Sophia, despite the fact that she wanted to volunteer for the Queen’s charities and Her Majesty was impressed with her voice? Was she afraid of what would be said about her if she was seen with the wife of the Spanish Ambassador?

 

As for herself, she did not employ any spies. She knew that Esteban had them, though. She had met one of them and found him quite likable, though he was more Juan’s spy than her husband’s and might have returned with him to Spain. Anna told her everything that she heard from other servants and Sophia informed Esteban about anything that she thought would be useful to him.  He had told her he didn't want her to spy anymore after her first disastrous attempt.

 

“I see,” she mused thoughtfully. “I am glad you are not afraid to be seen with me because of the rumors that might be spread about us. I doubt anyone will suspect us of anything. You know what men think about women … that we’re not smart enough for political machinations. I would never do anything to jeopardize your position with the Queen either."

 

Davina was very curious about her dilemma, and Sophia wished she could tell her right now. “If you don’t want to wait until Friday, I have Tuesday and Wednesday mornings free. I suggested Friday so you would have plenty of time to plan for it.”  She knew her friend was busy most of the time serving the Queen.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Chathams and Juliana

As fun as this game was proving to be, he would have to take vengeance for it, Charles decided. Keeping a straight face as Juliana stroked him through his breeches was absolute torture, and the nature of feminine fashion denied him even the satisfaction of reciprocating, though he squeezed her thigh gently anyway, just to show willing. The scales would have to be balanced at some point. 

Dry as it was, Mary's chosen topic of religion was welcome. It gave him something to think about other than how (and how much he wanted) to make Juliana mewl for him.

"I suppose that is a rather consistent theme in all Christian theology," he conceded, "though the specifics vary widely." Idly, he wondered if this was the first time anyone had discussed theology, even at such a basic level, while having their cock rubbed. Almost certainly not, he decided, given what some Popes had gotten up to.

Alexander the Sixth could have given me lessons in debauchery.

Juliana evidently did not share his amusement with the topic, though, and changed it swiftly.

"I came to court at the start of the last season," he answered, "and Lady Chatham joined me part way in."

He turned to Mary to allow her to elaborate if she wished.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ALL

The volume in the room had been slowly rising as more and more arrived, making their conversations, catching up with friends etc, waiting for the services to begin.   A shift in the volume drew many an eye towards the front, and there stood Bishop Compton. He looked towards all with that patient sort of look that commanded far more effectively than a stern countenance might have...

 

It was time to hush.

 

The Chathams and Juliana

"Stockholm? Goodness, that sounds very dramatic." Especially how it sounded when Juliana spoke it.  Mary, who'd never travelled out of South England, had no idea what Stockholm might be like, but could imagine it as very big with important buildings.

With a smile she added, "I was summoned, actually." it was practically amusing now, at the time she'd been fuming of it.

But then she noticed the room quietening, and, oh there.  The Bishop. Hushing, Mary adjusted herself to appear interested in the looming service.  Leaning closer to Charles she whispered, "that is Sir James' brother."  Even more notably 3rd Earl of Northampton and Constable of the Tower, and having sent flowers to her but a few days before. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles and Catherine

It seemed that Catherine was taking his warning seriously.  Good. Charles liked it when ladies seemed biddable when it made sense.

Nodding his agreement, it was quite possible that the villain would not be sent to prison for some time.  Catherine asked him a question that did not raise his guard.  Rather, he thought her merely curious.  "I have something he wants badly and he may try anything to get it."

There was not much more time to speak as the service was beginning.  It was just as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/10/2020 at 3:18 PM, Anne-Elisabeth Devereux said:

Anne-Elisabeth and Ernle

 

Anne-Elisabeth winked. “I already have Hopefully, my streak of good fortune will continue when it comes time to find a seat.” She glanced around the chapel, looking for a pair of young gentlemen sitting together who did no seem to be related. Surely there had to be a few. She couldn’t be the only courtier who had no relatives at court.

 

The young Countess had been hoping that he would offer to join her, but family obligations came first. Sometimes she was glad that she didn’t have one. For the first time in her young life, she cold do as she pleased. “Perhaps after the boredom of Easter is over then. I am counting the days until Tuesday.”

"Ah, well, it seems that it has. We must not tempt Compton damning our souls if we do not sit and find silence," Ernle said, with a tease in his voice.

 

"At least my family cannot blame me for being obedient to God rather than running about to join them like some court neophyte whilst the bishop looks on scoldingly." He smiled and prevented himself from an attention-drawing laugh, "Somerset will be chide me though for leaving him with the old folk and ladies; his mother and my father are married." Perhaps Lord Basildon would save the young Duke! Older brothers-in-law were not quite as fun as similar-aged brothers through marriage, according to the young captain at least.

 

He moved to sit with her in the nearest spot they would fit, two matrons he did not know gave him a look. He smiled at them and complimented their ribbon. 

 

(OOC - I am anticipating Marie will wrap this soon. If so, we can always make arrangements for later in the week.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Davina and Sophia

"Court is populated with spies Lady Toledo and there is some Truth in what I said - we shall figure in some correspondences but tis all speculation as makes for good Tales when there is hardly anything to 'report' at the moment as tis Easter."

"I am not afraid just cautious. And Rumours are just that. Without evidence that is what they remain. But there are times when it suits to be the creator and things are said or done to make those employed take the bait."

"Intrigue abounds madam! And not all Men share that thought. You are Lord Toledo's wife and thereby likely to know things that might be of interest. People like that are clever and can weedle information with sugar as well as vinegar and you would be none the wiser. That is why long ago, if you remember, I cautioned you about those that appoach you with offers or desires to aquire a friendship. Double meanings after all. And we women are quite skillful  - we can play well the act of not understanding and that makes it easier to listen and observe."

"Are you not curious about what might be said of you? Have you never thought to find out?"

"Friday it will have to be. Even tho I have more time as we Maids have nearly nothing to do on either side I have things to attend to."

"I am glad that you feel that way.  Let us not employ artifice between us then."

She smiled sure that Sophia would take the meaning yet most likely choose to not understand its meaning if she stayed true to form.

"Oh. Compton. Now we must become good little sheep ....... Until Friday then."

She straightened herself and aquired the correct position and expression.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John and Fiona

"Indeed? I would think that to be an unwise choice. You are, for the moment, young and a delight for the eye. But in a few years you will be older and less ... fresh ... and there will be younger ones sprouting up all about to draw the attentions. Then what will you do?"

"Oh you may have a rich Protector as well as all those thing you imagine you will achieve yet you will forever be on the sidles of Society. And what of your Family? Your brother is in agreement? I find it hard to beleve that they would fall willingly into this plan of yours."

"But this is none of my business. Yet tis a Shame that you think so little of yourself Lady Fiona."

His tone had lost its playfulness and he even shook his head at the idea of what she proposed for herself. Yet it held an advantage for him as well. If she cared so little then there was no reason that he should not indulge in whatever she offered.

"Best to understand what I mean. I am no fool and unlike the BOYS you have entangled. In am a man full grown and used to capturing my prey."

"You can not escape the traps I lay and I expect some token resistance. As for how I will find you ..." HIs eyes traveled over her person lazily. "It will be up to me to decide that. It would be a shame to discover that what you offer falls short of what I need."

He suspected that she was used to getting whatever she wanted but this time it would be different.

It was then that the Bishop stepped forward and stood calmly facing his Congregation. For John it signaled the end of this first meeting.

"I shall take my leave. Another pew or two in separation will give you time to ponder how soon you will surrender."

He stood and smiled down at her full of charm.

"Lady Fiona. Rest up. You'll need it."

He gave her a bow then stepped out and away without a backwards glance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×