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A Masonic Moon | Thurs Midnight-Fri early AM

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There's no location post for St. Pauls, just a blank name LOL, so I'm going to have to hunt one down or write it on the fly. Isn't this organized?


Saint Paul's had been in ruins and was in the process of being rebuilt, and thus it had made the perfect setting for the Duke of Buckingham's investiture as Grand Master*.


Francis had arrived a little early, right after he had been able to escape Gresham, in order to make sure that everything was set up properly and prepared for their midnight gathering of the full moon. Buckingham had ordered him to come up with a memorable surprise, and Francis had commissioned some medallions struck for the occasion, which he figured would please his ducal uncle's vanity. Of course, they were quite symbolic, as one could not have a secret organization would a very visible figurehead on its accoutrements; that would rather defeat the purpose, but Francis rather hoped that his efforts and ingenuity would be noticed and appreciated. 


There were many things which needed to be set up and also measures of security that would need to be seen to before fellow Freemasons began arriving. Thankfully, most of these things were relegated to various positions which were each responsible for one certain thing. For his part, the new Lord Kingston had only seen two other investitures in his eight years of membership considering most of his years had been spent at sea. But even though he looked young, he was nearly thirty, and he was a legacy on both sides of his family. His grandfather had sponsored him before he had ever met the Duke of Buckingham. 


(OOC - The actual ceremony will be posted shortly. This is an MA/CD thread for Blackguard and I, and it was intended that we were going to induct the PC Duncan Melville for this, but alas Duncan was retired, so we're just going to write it out so we can continue the plot moving forward. Francis was set up IC as the coordinator by Bucky who in real history was Grand Master during this time. There were a lot of IC doings that went into this from before we moved the board ;) )

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  • 4 weeks later...

The Duke was in high spirits this evening.  This portion of the Cathedral was very private, an underground chamber intended as an archive but the surviving books had been moved after the fire.  Now the chamber stood nearly empty.  The walls were adorned with large crosses on two and on the other walls small smith's compasses.  It had been used as a meeting place for the Free Masons for some time.  The Duke's guard provided the security for those guests invited to witness the ceremony. 

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  • 1 month later...

Having seen that everything was quite secure, Francis headed to the underground chamber. He pulled down the hood on his cloak and was slightly surprised to find Buckingham already there.


He put down his little chest of medallions, bowed, checked again that they were alone with a quick look, and then said with a wry grin, "I do hope Your Grace's early arrival is not indicative of distrust for my making of the arrangements?" 


He then lifted up an ornate silver mask, held it up to his face and added, "I found your accoutrements in my bedchamber when I was dressing?"


Buckingham chuckled brightly at the reality of his nephew matching the image from his head. "Silver makes you look like a golden-haired Grecian statue. Bronze would have made you look like an exceedingly tall cherub." He gave the cub a clap on the shoulder, "And it is indicative of knowing you would be early, nothing else." Buckingham grinned, "And you truly did not think I would refrain from having a creative addition to the proceedings?"


Francis, in fact, had not been very surprised by the mask, but he was a bit pleased by the idea that the duke had arrived early so that they could have a few minutes before everyone else arrived. The younger blond did not have an appreciation for the socio-political aspects of such appearances for he was no born and bred beacon of court as Buckingham, so he could not appreciate that aspect fully. 


Buckingham, for his part, did few things without calculation and knew what it meant to be seen with Francis by his side at such events. Though the pair knew their relationship was uncle and nephew, all the rest of court knew was that they were cousins and not even particularly close cousins at that - first cousin twice removed - and the Duke showed his endorsement of Francis as his closest male relation every time they were seen together in such a way. Even with such a small, intimate attendance, it was influential attendance because Buckingham had done the inviting. 


After a short conversation, some of which was Buckingham wishing to get a preemptive look at Francis' "surprise" in the little chest, that was refused, the pair donned their masks and waited for the other attendees to arrive.


As their royal representative came a gold-masked man who most any would know as Prince Rupert, for there were few with his towering height other than the King. Though known in most ways as a man of war, the Duke of Cumberland had a vast circle of scientific and intellectual friends and correspondence, for he was quite the man of innovation with many credits to his own name. There were many things about Buckingham that he disliked, though that was true of most everyone at court, but toward the end of one's life shared history meant more than other things. From his childhood, his eldest brother was supposed to marry Buckingham's sister, before an unfortunate drowning accident, and after her second betrothed's death it could have been him had he not been destitute at the time, but she had ended up married to his closest friend and Stuart cousin instead, because Jamie had not been destitute.


They had all been young together despite the fact that the then Prince Charles and Buckingham had been but boys chasing after them. Now they were old and him the eldest surviving of their little household. He felt it somewhat acutely that even Buckingham now had a young relation at his side, and a cynical piece of him felt George not quite deserving of Kingston.


Rupert had gotten to know the young man himself this past year more as the grandson of his friend Colonel Legge and a competent man of Naval affairs than as Buckingham's cousin. Kingston seemed one of few young ones at court who knew much of sacrifice without some sort of guarantee of favour beforehand. Francis Kirke had been a nobody though from a good enough family when he had lost ships in the last war and little of that character seemed to change with his ennobling. What youth wished to share the spotlight of the King's attention when given it? Mall had told him that Kingston wished to use his ship-naming moment with Charles to raise more funds for the Navy with him, of all things! 


After Rupert's arrival came Devonshire with his son Cavendish, though Francis could not say that he knew either with the added challenge of a gold mask and a silver one. Devonshire, Buckingham suspected, had also received one of Hobbes' notes. 


They were followed by two more who arrived one after the other with bronze masks. The first Francis surely did not know, and the second he thought might be his friend Sir Isaac.


Another gold mask came next and with a Scottish brogue. Francis did not know him, though Buckingham asked him about an extensive family. 


Then another bronze mask that Francis recognized immediately from the blond hair that matched his as being Sir George. He had the enviable job of guarding the outside of the door with a ceremonial sword once they began. 


The final silver-masked individual arrived, rounding out the guest list at nine. Another Scot, which was not surprising, as it was a society that had moved south into England, not north into Scotland. 


With everyone arrived they were shortly called to order to open the meeting and to invest the Duke as Grand Master. The ceremony, like all of them, relied quite heavily on cardinal points. Buckingham took up his seat in the East, the point associated with Wisdom. From highest to lowest they made their appropriate signs at the altar and to their new Worshipful Master. Buckingham, who had discovered Francis' little chest open on the table next to him, could now appreciate the medallions that had been struck for him to hand out to each as they made their way to sit.


Francis finally sat to the Duke's left as Secretary, whose job he affirmed as "To observe the Worshipful Master's will and pleasure, record the proceedings of the Grand Lodge, if required, receive all moneys paid into the Lodge by the hands of the brethren, pass the same over to the Treasurer, and take his receipt for the same." 


Truly, Francis' job in life seemed to be to observe the Duke's "will and pleasure," and hilariously his only true utility where he could actually help the Duke was in keeping track of coin, and it was the one thing that he did do in exchange for this extravagant life he had been thrust into on the back of said coin. 


When all the grandeur and tradition of the investiture was finally over, they removed their ornate masks and socialized more equitably; concealing identities had not been the purpose of the masks. Francis was more easily able to place faces to names than voices. He felt quite accomplished that he knew that all the Boyles were relations to one of the King's eldest daughters, who had also born him a grandson. Like many scientists, though, he found the man to be particularly shy and quiet by nature. 


Francis also made it a point to speak briefly with Cumberland over offering his ship naming with the King as a venue to raise further Naval funds. Francis still found it quite daunting to be a part of such lofty arrangements, even his own ship-naming in this case. He had not lived his life with that  measure off attention from anyone important. He rather doubted the novelty would ever fully wear off and leave him feeling justifiably deserving! It seemed that the Duchess of Richmond had done her part in speaking to the Prince over the arrangements. Though the Duke of Cumberland had always treated him very well, there was something of a different look the gargantuan German gave him...which was not saying much as Cumberland's refrained sort of expression and demeanor made any look far too subtle for any observable meaning. 


Prince Rupert, for his part, did give the youthful appearing Kingston a good look. The Duchesses' words had prompted it, for he knew her better than even her own brother did, and though his mind could not quite pinpoint what he was looking for, there was something. For George to have interest in one particular cousin was one thing, but for them both to express a similar interest was different for these particular siblings*.


As they had started at midnight, it was quite late or rather early when everyone had left and all that remained was for Buckingham and Kingston to make their way home together.


(OOC - Most all of this was discussed in PM with B & I. Anything else comes from IC happenings and previous threads or confirmed behind the scenes actions like Mall speaking to Rupert about the ship-naming. My extension being that by this point, Rupert is going to be suspicious enough by all this interest to give Francis a good long look. He's no naive spring chicken :classic_laugh: Also, though all the members present know all the others, I purposefully left some names out so that some are running about unknown. This leads to both clear and surprise ways to get involved in masonic things if one wishes to get initiated!)

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  • 1 month later...

Buckingham assured his nephew that his early arrival had been merely the vanity of prolonging the moment.  He was also pleased with the medallions as commemorations of his grandeur.  It was a milestone to note.

Rupert respected Francis as an experienced man of the sea with  measure of success, unlike the so many toadies that frequented the palace.  Yet the imposing German had different thoughts about Buckingham and his grand ego.  One could admire what he had accomplished surely but the new grandmaster was so convinced of his own cleverness, intellect, and destiny that Cumberland could not help but feel a rivalry.  They were not enemies but they kept to their own camps.

The rest of the unmasked men were high nobles and men of science, gathered by the tradition, knowledge and mysticism that the Order provided.  There were conversations of the uncertain future and the role that the Masons would play in the days to come.  A large silver key was pressed into the hand of Buckingham.  It unlocked a room of a secret place accessible only by the grandmaster of the Order.  The Duke, like an expectant child, grinned at the exclusivity of the opportunity,  For the man that had everything, he now held a key that could provide answers he harbored about the history of the Order.   He was resolved to open whatever tome or parchment might be sealed away.

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