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Defiance

A Muddy Scene | Early Monday AM | Before Chapel

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Privy Garden

 

The Privy Garden at Whitehall is laid out in ordered blocks with statues in the center of each square, the classical creatures easily draw the eyes of lovers of art. The different statues depict the nine Muses (Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania) and the three Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia), each holding or surrounded by that which is most associated with her, such as a lyre or scroll. As one wanders, it is often noted that the red roses remain on one side of the garden while the white ones remain on the opposite side, thus creating a pleasant contrast throughout. About the garden are scattered several benches, but none are secluded.

 

Entry point to:

 

  • Fountain
    • In the middle of the Privy Garden there was a fountain. It was a simple thing... a wide round of water with a single statue in the middle, sprouting water. Unlike last year both the garden and the fountain had been well tended to, and as a result the fountain itself almost sparkled. Around it sit benches, nearly hidden by rose bushes, both red and white

 

The weather was still rather brisk in the very early morning and the clouds that day kept even the rays of the sun before it crept over the horizon blocked. It was yet rather dark. Near the fountain, there was a rush a footsteps another soft thud and continued footsteps away. Then silence. 

 

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The English King knew full and well how long it took a lady to get ready to go out in the morning.  Nicci had been up at an ungodly hour, in order to be seduction-ready at the equally ungodly hour of 7am.  How she managed to pull it off was an Easter Miracle.

Yes the French Belle's mood was a little 'huffed'.

Still she was looking gorgeous in a pale green gown with chartreuse gauze overlay, deeper green flowerettes held further drapes of gauze at her shoulders, and her hair was decorated with wild flowers.  She was channelling her inner nymph - it was not hard to do.   

In her pocket was a length of broad and strong green ribbon. In the other was a pair of scissors (just in case)

Having arrived a little before the appointed time, she finally sighed a breath of relief, she'd made it here before the King arrived (everyone knows not to keep Royals waiting, even if they are your snog buddies).  She became still,  and it was then that realised she had no where near enough clothes on for the coldness of the weather - and then she heard it. 

Head sharply turning to follow the sound (was it the King?)  but the sound seemed to be leaving rather than arriving.  Am I actually late?!  Nicci rushed after the sound, to appear to have stood the king up was unforgiveable!

 

... and so it was Nicci chased

 

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(Ooc - Nicci, being the first to join this after an eon, gets to see what it is about. Jump on open plotty threads faster if you want in on them. Others summoned by the King, please start a separate thread and I will later join the threads. Early bird gets the worm!)

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And so Nicolette gave chase to the sound. In her rush to find the (very tall) King, eyes directed up for any sign of him, she neglected to see what was on the ground. Next to the fountain, her toe connected with something solid, and she went sprawling to the ground. 

 

The beautiful gauze of her gown became a fine screen for mud, dirt, and grass bits. Though the fall was sudden, the ground was soft from a wet evening and she avoided the fountain entirely. Uninjured, a large splatter across her face was the worst of it aside from her dress being soggy and likely ruined.

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Her toe caught, a very prettily shod toe even (Buckingham’s generosity had extended to a number of court shoes) and with a cry - over she went! Landing nearly full length the blow was diffused, and the quantities of fabric provided some padding too. "Merde!" and various other unladylike oaths were sworn as she scrambled back to her feet... with her initial intents to carry on her chase of the King.

But the feeling of mud on hands brought her to aghast good sense. 

"Ca me fait chier..." she continued cussing as she slapped the dirt from her hands and looked down at her ruined dress.  (Yet she'd be no Frenchwoman at all if she did not look around to make sure that nobody had seen her embarrassment.)  Deduction made she was safe (heaven forbid Cordelia was stood there smirking) Nicci huffed an angry breath and kicked at that hidden stone that had tripped her - adding in a few more choice curses for good measure.

She'd got up and five in the morning and for this! 

What upset her the most was not even her spoiled gown, but how she'd explain standing up the King to Duke Buckingham.

 

 

OOC: ha funny! 

 

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Fortunately for Nicci, His Majesty was no where nearby and there was no chance of his hearing her swearing like a French sailor!

 

Unfortunately for Nicci, while there was mud on her hands, what was on the lower part of her dress was not all mud. 

 

In fact, the mud seemed a bit burgundy like spilled wine.

 

Had she tripped over a drunk reveler from the night before?

 

Indeed, there was a person passed out on the ground!

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It had been the shock of it that had nor not register - immediately that the astringent scent in the air wafting was alcoholic in nature, more particularly that of a product from her home land. A scent she oft smelt on her Burgundy drinking cousin (and one she was likely to have partook in herself) Burgundy?  

Kicking at the offending object, fully expecting to punish herself with an impact to the toe, her foot instead met something somewhat softer?

"What....?" breaking from her cussing, Nicolette took a better look at the cause of her calamity, bending down she peered. Pray to the saints it was not a Peer. 

Extending her foot she placed it approximately where a shoulder might be and nudged, "Hey, wake up - you cant sleep here!" She might have been a bit nicer really, but she was still pretty unhappy at having missed the king.  

But why had the King left a fellow reveller behind? And really it was not so much like Charles to have drunk right though the night until dawn, that was really more of a Buckingham thing. And neither man would leave a man downed, unless he/they thought it to be part of some greater schemed joke.

As her mind begun to activate past the distress, Nicolette took a far closer look to what, or more properly who, this was! 

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When Nicolette nudged the man, there was no stirring. 

 

On closer inspection, it might not be wine at all. Taking in that they were by a fountain and it had been raining previously...it might well be blood. 

 

In fact, it was all over the side of the fountain as well.

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Blood.

It was coincidentally blood that now drained from her face, as with the dawning realisation she stood aghast in shock.   Turning out her hands she looked at those too anew, and down at her gown, and what was that wetness on her face...

A better bred lady might have fainted, but this Mademoiselle, daughter of a soldier granddaughter of a merchant, managed to keep upright, while dumbstruck her mind whirred at the magnitude of possible ramifications. 

Whoever this sorry sod was, and odds were it was some next level plot that had been his demise, why had it been her to discover it. Nicci, a French woman, when the English were declared at war with the French.  And not so long ago it had been a Frenchwoman who'd tried to kill York. And now here she was stood alone, covered with the victims blood, and god knew who it was dead at her feet, if this run of bad luck ran out it would be someone really important. 

Fleeing was not even an option.

Finally it was Nicci SCREAMED! 

She screamed, and shouted out for help. Surely somebody, a lifeguard, a servant,  anyone really, would hear her. "Help, Help!"  Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she had a very real sense that it was she herself that needed saving. 

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin

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OOC - if others who are NOT involved in the ribbon thread, who have a real reason to be there VERY early in the morning want to join now, they can join now ;) I'll take a maximum of 2 more PCs for now! For mod purposes, Nicci's arrival at this thread "early" for her summons, which in my mod timeline is a later in the morning thread, it puts her about half an hour ahead of the others who were summoned which is why this is blocked for them as they would not have a reason to be there yet. Once that gap has closed from a few posts here, I will likely join the two threads bc they are close proximity.)

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Only the side of the face was visible, but it would not be familiar to Nicci.

 

Thankfully for the mademoiselle, the man was not an Englishman, which if she realized by the style of clothes (which were the more austere sort those of the Dutch and the Germans) might ease her mind. 

 

There was no wound visible. There was copious amounts of blood and water. The man's hair was wet but dark blond and not bloody. His sleeve was bloody.

 

Her cries seemed to echo loudly around the area, the sort of fright that generally attracted quite a bit of attention. 

 

***

 

Meanwhile, His Majesty was finishing readying with a gaggle of hopping, freshly scented puppies which he laughted at heartily. Each had been carefully selected to the recipient. He was quite looking forward to the presentation of some of them!

 

All of a sudden, the bunch started howling. No barking. Just baying noisily. One female pup was quite prone to it. This time, though, the others joined in, and one particularly hilarious male with golden ears kept hopping at his knees. 

 

"Now, now, not so much," he chided. Little did he realize that they heard the yowling outside with their keen ears and were joining it. 

 

***

 

His Majesty's dogs were so loud that the guard stationed by the entrance to the garden had to blink for a moment, confused as to whether he had heard a scream before the dogs or if that was just the dogs.

 

(OOC - I will wait for Nicci to post once more before any NPCs respond, in case a PC has a good reason for being nearby and arriving first.)

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Anne-Elisabeth yawned as she strolled through the garden at a brisk pace, trying to avoid the mud. If she was going to join the King’s entourage, she needed to practice getting up before dawn and walking a long distance. This was difficult for somebody who generally didn’t wake up until noon, except on those  occasions that she spent the night alone.

 

She wasn’t planning on going to church today, so after her walk, she could go back to bed. Yesterday, she had stayed at home too because of that late-night drinking party the night before. She also didn’t want to see all the families gathered together. It made her sad that she had no relatives at court and brought back painful memories about the shipwreck that had taken her family from her? Why was I the only survivor. I’m the last ...

 

A scream pierced the air, waking Anne-Elisabeth up completely. What the hell? Was somebody else up at this ungodly hour? Were they in trouble? The shriek had come from the direction of the fountain. Hiking up her skirts she hurried in that direction.

 

There was a figure up ahead. It was Nicci, covered in mud. She must have fallen. Breaking into a run to help her friend, she noticed something  else on the ground as well. “Nicci! Are you all right?” she asked as she rushed up to her friend. Her dark eyes widened when she saw the corpse. Taking out her rose-shaped pomander, she took a whiff of its strong floral scent. “Is that … is that a body?"

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In her shock of it, freaking out - fearing she'd be blamed and hoping that those that she knew her would vouch it was impossible - Nicci was barely conscious of her relief at seeing it was not her darling Ranelagh, nor one of his dear cousins fresh to London. 

 

"Help!" she shouted louder still, noticing the fallen figures arm was bloody, as though they had tried fend off their attacker. Or attackers?

 

The only thing she was certain of was that somehow this was politics, she hoped to god it was not the Hills boys father, but could not know. 

 

"Helllllp!" she screamed out again. Where was the ever present eyes of court when you actually needed them! ... then finally (it seemed like hours) somebody arrived, and it was her friend Anne Elizabeth, clutching at a pretty and holding it to her nose though if there was any stench Nicci was utterly oblivious to it in her shock. 

 

"Yes it's a deadman. A murdered man." she almost added 'it wasnt me', but rather she turned and looked again at the body.  Why would anyone kill a man right here. "It's a message, but for who and what does it mean."  

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He'd been on night shift - a particularly boring shift even. Being one of the very newest Lifeguards he got the short straw of duties most often. His friend William Abdy was also on night shift, but as luck would have it he was stationed in a completely different section of the palace.  Easter weekend was basically devoid of crime at Whitehall, it was the worst possible time for a young man seeking action. Frankly, through the night, Bradley had become pretty depressed. Being a Lifeguard was nothing like the posters.       

He was cutting through the gardens on his way to the barracks, tossing up if he'd go straight to bed or to the food hall first (the later most likely) when he heard a scream. 

The sleepiness left him in an instant!

Finally, some action!

Snatching his musket from shoulder, he ran in the direction of the screams while trying to manage his gun in a suitably threatening pose. 

It was a woman screaming (excellent!) but wait, as he neared the fountain in the dim of morning he saw  it was two women (even better!)  Slowing his run he tried to act cool, in control, and suave too.  "Morning ladies, do not fear, Trooper Whitehurst here to protect you. What seems to be the problem." He manfully held his shiny and almost brand new weapon.  

Only then did his eyes notice what was at the womens feet.  And that one of the women was covered in...

"Oh. My. God." it was a dead body.  He'd never seen a dead body.  

...she was covered in blood!  

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Even the King sometimes grew tired when his darlings would not settle and pups simply made everything more boisterous. Thankfully, the surprise brood left by one of his favourite girls and placed into Chatham's coat was now ready to go home.

 

"You lot are not a very pleasing chorus," the King chided as all but one finally quieted down again. 

 

***

 

The Easter prudishness had put quite the toll on libertines, and after Sunday evening two of said had drank into the early morning, lampooning various personages about court, long after others had left. Unfortunately, they had never made it out of Sunday evening and had passed out right there not that long before.

 

"Was that a bloody scream?"

 

"Iz morning?"

 

"Get up, that's screaming." He scrambled for his hat and wiped at his eyes as he made his way toward the sound.

 

"Screaming? Like theatrical screaming?" 

 

"With the sun barely up!" It was a dumb question.

 

"You have twigs in your hair." Then, "I just hear dogs."

 

The man who had alerted to the screams hardly cared much about that. Then again, he knew more than his friend about some of the goings on that season. His friend who was clearly still mostly asleep following behind him. 

 

It took some time before they came upon the scene, but when Nicci heard more voices, she might recognize one from her daydreams and nightly fantasies. 

 

He was the thankfully alive, Ranelagh. His companion was Sir George Etherege. And they both had twigs in their hair.

 

(OOC - Please time the arrival of these two at the tail end of your next posts. I'd like to see the ladies react to Bradley's arrival and the body a bit before interrupting them LOL. Anyone attempting an arrival at this point, you will arrive *after* this pair arrives!)

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He had arisen early to accompany the King on his walk but had been distracted along the way.  It was common to detour through the privy gardens, especially in the Spring.  In his Life Guard uniform, as was standard for him at the palace, Charles heard a commotion.  Was that a scream?

Charles was ever a lord on the lookout to protect the King, fight crime, and rescue someone (especially a lady).  As such, his instincts took over and he rushed to the scene.

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Anne-Elisabeth didn't sniff her pomander just to mask nasty odors. The heady scent of roses also helped calm her down when she was upset. Who wouldn’t be upset when confronted by a dead body? It wasn’t something you usually found around court. Or anywhere really. Her heart’s frantic pace began to slow when she realized that Nicci wasn’t hurt. If he friend had not been covered in mud, she would have hugged her. The young Countess had grown quite fond of the Frenchwoman.

 

“Are you sure he was murdered?” A morbid curiosity eclipsed her initial shock. Surveying the grisly scene, she noticed that there was blood everywhere … on Nicci, on the ground, and splashed upon the side of the fountain. “Maybe he got drunk last night and fell and hit his head on the fountain.” Peeing closer, she noticed that that the corpse’s head was wet, but not bloody. “Never mind. He was definitely murdered.”

 

Anne-Elisabeth nudged him with her boot, but he was too heavy for it to do any good. She was curious as to whether there were wounds on his back. Had some coward stabbed him from behind? “He’s not an Englishman. Look at his clothes. No Englishman in his right mind would dress like that.”

 

She turned toward her friend. “You’re right. He had to be left here for somebody to find. Most killers don’t leave their victims lying around. I wonder who was supposed to discover him.” The Barbadian Countess was about to suggest that she and Nicci hide nearby to see if somebody came by, but a Life Guard who looked not much older than she was ran up to them. His words were brave but when he saw the body, his courage seemed to fail him. Had he ever seen a dead man before?

 

If he served the King, he must have been well-trained. Hopefully, he would be able to keep a level head. “As you can see, this poor fellow has been slain.  Recently, I think."  She sniffed her pomander again. “Can you figure out what killed him, Trooper Whitehurst?" That seemed like the logical first step in an investigation to her anyway. Anne-Elisabeth was out of her league when it came to murder. Imagining killing her mother-in-law in gruesome ways didn’t count. She moved closer to Nicci for moral support if she needed it.

 

Voices alerted her to more arrivals. She recognized two of the men she had met at the tennis match ... an Earl and a playwright. They both had twigs in their hair. Had Nicci’s screams interrupted their tryst?  Or perhaps there was another reason for their disheveled appearance.

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Meanwhile Anne Elizabeth was distressed also, asking a silly question that then answered itself - and then talking about his clothing.  "Precisely, he's been left here in plain view." Nicci added endorsing her own theory, “he looks Dutch if you ask me, they don’t have any sense of fashion.”  

But where were the men who'd know what to do about it!  At last a lifeguard arrived.  But to counter that relief, he was only 12.  

"Do you need a seat?" Rolling her eyes Nicci sighed as it looked as though the Trooper Whitehurst might be the first to swoon at this.  "Why dont you run away and get someone who can actually help us then."

Nicci's upset at this all made her less than patient. 

Shoulders slumping she turned to see Anne Elizabeth was now morbidly inspecting the body.  Where was Niccis' head at, she'd not even thought to do that?!)  "Careful, you will get bloody."

It was really awfully upsetting, Nicolette being all covered with a dead man’s blood and there being absolutely nobody any use around-about. The fleeting thought to wash her hands in the fountain was pushed from her mind she'd ruin the pretty water if she did that. It just was not fair. 

With Nicci on the brink of self pitying tears, next to arrive was Gentle George and Ranelagh, fresh from falling though a shrub by the looks of them. Hungover? perhaps.  Still dunk? Most likely.  It was like a pair of children arriving, they’d be no use to her at all.

It was the very first time that she’d not been delighted to see her future husband, in fact, the sight of him under the circumstances revealed he was hardly likely to ever be a useful man  

Was there nobody here in England that knew what to do!

“We should cover him up.”  Nicci decided, “Whoever he is I am sure he is somebody, he deserves some respect.” She moved close to her friend and knelt, producing a kerchief to cover the deadmans face – and using the moment to look for additional clues. This was bound to be something of interest to Louis, Lisa too. 

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Bradleys knees were weak, he almost accepted the Frenchwoman’s offer of taking a seat (or rather perch on the edge of the fountain) - but then he thought better of it. 

"I will be fine thank you. Ladies, I think you should leave, this is men’s work." It would be easier to panic about it if there were not ladies around to witness it. 

Bradley for one was very pleased to see more men arriving, "There is foul play afoot Gentlemen." he declared for Etheridge & Ranelagh's benefit.  

"Move back, give him some air." but the women were instead going closer to the dead body. Meanwhile squeamish Bradley did not!  "Pleeease.."

More footsteps. Oh Great.  it was his brother.  

The arrival of Charles was all it took to propel Bradley into greater boldness, at that point he actually did approach the body. "Do not touch the body ladies, there my be evidence on him I shall need to discover his assailant. I've got everything under control."  Those last words were said loud enough for Charles to har him. 

 

 

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The first thing Ranelagh saw was Nicci (also the King's mistress) full of blood.

 

"You are full of blood!" he gasped. "And mud. Here----."

 

And then he saw  the wet, bloody body.

 

"Bloody Hell."

 

Nicci put a handkerchief over the barely exposed face. 

 

"How...How did you find it? How are you all wet and..." he asked, looking between the odd trio, mostly at Nicci, as he took off his justacorps. "Did you lot see anyone?" He held out a hand to her to come away from it, ready to put the overlarge article of clothing over her. Mostly, he ignored the young Lifeguard aside from saying, "I am fairly certain he is not the one who needs air." There were many young gentlemen of some blood learning their soldiering amongst those ranks and some had been learning longer than others!

 

Etherege looked around, but obviously the murderer was not now going to pop out. However, Lord Langdon did. Etherege was just about to say something to that effect when the boy yelled he had the situation under control. The writer could not help but chuckle, guessing the reason for the outburst was the appearance of a superior.

 

"George, you should send word that His Majesty should not attend his engagement outside this morning. Ashburnham should still be with him I would think." Ranelagh knew because they had all been in the little nook of the garden the night before. "Oh Good! Langdon, looks to me you have a questionably dead Dutchman...or German..." His eyes cast at the drab clothes again as he considered it could also be the second. 

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Charles slowed his rush when he saw there was a gathering of gentlemen, including his brother Bradley.  It did not seem that either lady was in imminent peril.  What's all this then?

"Ladies, gentlemen," Langdon greeted the group calmly as he approached.  His father had advised him many times that a gentleman should always be calm in the face of adversity.  It was doubly true for an officer to exhibit bravery and project calm to his men.  Having Bradley, Ranelagh and Etherege present meant he needed to project leadership as well.

Ranelagh  mention a dead Dutchman or German.  The presence of blood suggested murder rather than a medical collapse.  Pulling forth his handkerchief, he handed it to Nicolette.  It was a small gesture of chivalry in that one handkerchief was unlikely to remove the blood from her body, but it was a gracious gesture.  "Mademoiselle, please take my handkerchief.  Are you injured?  Do you require a doctor?"  Anne Elizabeth had no apparent blood on her person, so he assumed she was fine, but he inquired nevertheless "milady are you injured?"  

Surveying the scene, he turned to his brother to see if there was anything that he might report.  Pausing but a moment to determine how he should address his brother, he opted to honor his rank and not use his familiar name.  "Lieutenant, please alert at once our Life Guard details around the King, Queen and the Duke of York that there has been an apparent murder and additional vigilance is in order."  The Life Guard's principal duty was the protection of the royals after all.

"Now then, who came upon the body?" He looked to Nicolette first.  "Did anyone see anything that would be helpful to catching the culprit?"  He gaze widened to include everyone as he knelt to take a closer look at the victim.  Did he know the man?  By the plain dress, the man might be a Puritan or even a servant.  "Was he in this position when he was discovered?" Charles asked as he surveyed the man to determine whether a blade or a bullet did him in.

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Anne-Elisabeth had seen a few somberly-dressed gentlemen  whom she assumed were foreigners simply because of their strange attire. She had not met any of them so she couldn’t be certain of the dead man’s nationality. “Nor do the Spanish, but he’s not one of them.” His skin was too light for a Spaniard.

 

She appreciated Nicci’s concern that she might get blood on her. How kind she was, thinking of others when she was clearly the one who needed taken care of. She still looked shocked, as any lady should be when coming across a murder victim. Perhaps she had never seen a corpse before. The Countess had held her husband in her arms as he died and she had looked upon the bloated bodies of her dead family before they were buried. Her mother, she remembered, had seaweed in her hair.

 

Anne-Elisabeth’s curiosity was greater than her horror “I’ll be fine,” she assured her friend. “I’m not going to touch him and these boots can be cleaned.” They had become quite muddy and she wouldn’t be surprised if there was some blood mixed in. If so, Bess would probably have a lot of questions that she would rather not answer.

 

The young Life Guard looked like he was about to faint. Despite the seriousness of the situation, she chuckled when Nicci offered him a seat. He was completely useless. She wanted to tell him to go home to his mommy, but she held her tongue. It was possible that he was the son of an influential lord, and she couldn’t afford to make enemies while she was so new to court. How else would a hopeless moron have obtained a position that most gentlemen would kill for?

 

“We’re not going anywhere,” she told him. “Nor do I think a dead man needs any air.”

 

Anne-Elisabeth stayed where she was, still studying the body and looking for clues. She nodded when Nicci suggested that he should be covered up. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a handkerchief with her and she was not about to part with her dove gray velvet cloak, lined and trimmed with black fur. English spring mornings were frigid when you grew up on a sun-soaked Caribbean island. Her friend did have one and she leaned over to place it on the dead man’s face.

 

The Earl took off his justacorps to wrap around Nicci.  The playwright … his name was Etherege, if she remembered right ... glanced around the area, perhaps searching for the culprit, Was the murderer hiding nearby, getting some kind of sick satisfaction from their reactions? The Countess wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

 

Another Life Guard arrived. This one had a much more confident air. The younger soldier seemed to want to impress him but he sent him away to alert the guards around the royals. He inquired as to whether Nicci was okay and then asked her the same question. ‘I’m doing better than this poor sod,” she replied, nudging the body again with her boot.

 

She stepped back to let the (quite handsome) Life Guard examine the body. His questions were directed toward Nicci, as she had been the one who discovered the body. The young Countess moved next to Etherege.   "I do hope this sort of thing doesn't happen often here at court."

Edited by Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

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The blood covered Nicolette was definitely in shock, floundering some, which little idea of what to do (as if there was anything that could be done?)  

While her new friend Anne Elizabeth was more prepared, more inquiring even, to what had gone on. 

Nicci tried to steel herself, but it was not actually working.  It was the (unexpected) kindness from the Irish Earls quarter that really threw the French miss.  It was his consideration that undid her, and raw emotion surfaced - tears welled up, even if quickly wiped away (by bloody hand) "Thank you Ranelagh." she was grateful of the cloak as covering, it was only then she realised how cold she was.  "I heard a noise, and I chased after it, I thought it was... but I tripped and then saw it was a man." 

Langdon had arrived by now and could hear her account, though what use it might be she did not know.

"I thought the noise went in that direction." she gestured vaguely, and accepted the Life Guards handkerchief (her own being on the dead Europeans face.)  

She was certain she looked a mess, and in front of men she thought much of, well Ranelagh actually, but Etheridge as his friend also fell into the category. Langdon; she knew very little, and as a man of war she imagined he'd seen worse.   "Will you help me?" she quietly asked, thinking to pass Langdon’s kerchief to the lady to help with the gross all over her face. Nicci felt dirtier than she'd ever been.   

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Ooc: whoops forgot this guy!

Ic:

Bradley belatedly pulled himself together, thinking to manfully take control (even as his older brother swept in). His older brother who to all effects ignored him and went direct to the interrogation (which was little wonder, Charles was renown in London for his arrest first and talk later method)

"I'm sure the ladies and gentlemen here have done nothing wrong" Bradley spoke up for the persons of interest behalf, with a smile for each (except a frown for his brother)

" 'That' way, did you say?" He thought to confirm the direction before adding, "Should we go and inspect if a trail has been left we might follow. With this much blood, it may not all be our victims." This suggestion was given to his brother, with another grasp of his gun, and nod to the nobles. Did they even realise he was saving them from incarceration?

 

 

 

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The man was no one Langdon would recognize by name, but he could have seen the man in the company of the Dutch contingent. He could not see a cause of death without moving the body.

 

"We had only just arrived. I heard the mademoiselle's screams. Etherege and I were drunk in the gazebo with His Majesty and some others last night...only a few hours ago I would think...they left us passed out there where we awoke to the screams of the mademoiselle." 

 

Etherege added in agreement to Bradley's testimony, "Whosoever's done it was strong enough to haul about a man in water or hold him to it as wet as that fellow is, so I should think that rules out the ladies of culpability." Trust a writer to pick up the details that added to a storyline. Though the pair looked a wreck, neither of them was wet. That went for both he and Ranelagh and Nicci and her friend!

 

Agreeing with Etherege and younger Lifeguard, Ranelagh said, "Perhaps you might prevent any from leaving the palace ground that have not yet left? Or as the boy says, investigate the direction of the fleeing..." The non-Irish sounding Irish earl the added, "Mademoiselle, I think you have interrupted as this was happening or just after."  He took a breath, "Sir George can alert the Lifeguard by the royals and the households if you wish to leave your man here free to secure the area or pursue, Lord Langdon. Surely, I should see to the ladies...whilst you glean what you might?" Ranelagh knew nothing of dead bodies. Sir George only killed them off in plays. 

 

At that moment, Etherege supplied to Anne-Elizabeth, "Frighteningly often, actually, my lady. Where the fates of worlds are decided oft resides Death."

 

Etherege then added, "I can go if you wish," to Ranelagh's suggestion. They were both part of the King's household, though Ranelagh was the one the status of Gentleman of the Bedchamber. "His Majesty shall want to know of the details and of the ladies whilst you pursue this business and He was supposed to have an audience out here this morn."

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Ranelagh made sense to Langdon.  Moreover, he was a known gentleman with the King.  It was obviously a man would have the strength to do the stabbing and drowning.  He had to assume it was a knife that had caused the profuse bleeding.  A pistol would have made noise an drawn immediate attention.

"Yes, you care for the ladies.  The Yeoman of the Guard must be notified as well."  They protected the palace grounds.  "Though I suspect the killer will have already exited."  Charles looked urgently for any trail of water on the flagstones that might suggest the path of the killer.  Any liquid would point him in the right direction.  "Let us see if there is water to mark his direction of exit" he uttered aloud as he invited others to spot a possible trail.  Failing that, he would run in the direction of the nearest cover.  A killer would exit the gardens choosing the path that could get him under cover the quickest.

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Despite the seriousness of the situation, Etherege’s poetic reply brought a slight smile to Anne-Elisabeth’s lips. So murders were common at court? She supposed she should have known that already. Sometimes the only way to move up the social ladder was to rid yourself of the one who was standing on the next rung up. In St Ives, far away from the rules of court, duels had been the preferred way of settling arguments. Duels were honorable. The death this poor foreigner had suffered was not. He looked as if his head had been dunked in the fountain to drown him and then stabbed for good measure.

 

She tried to think of an equally poetic reply, but she was too shaken up to be witty. “Then I shall be extra wary from now on.” It was impossible to figure out the killer’s motive just by looking at the body. It could have been political or xenophobic, since the victim was foreign. Or perhaps he had picked the wrong married woman to sleep with. Perhaps he had kicked the killer’s dog. Some people flew into a rage at the smallest things.

 

Nicci’s voice brought her out of her thoughts. “Of course,” she said. Taking the Life Guard’s handkerchief from her friend, she gently wiped the blood and mud from her face. Luckily, none of it had dried and it came off quite easily. She listened to the gentlemen as they discussed various speculations as well as what needed to be done immediately. Ranelagh offered to take care of the ladies and the Life Guard agreed. Anne-Elisabeth didn’t think she needed taking care of. She would rather stay and help the men investigate. But if Nicci needed her, she would, of course, stay with her.

 

Finally finished, she lowered the handkerchief. “All done,” she said in a reassuring tone of voice. “You should wipe your hands too, but I need to wash this off first.” The handkerchief was filthy. She heard the Life Guard ask the group to look for trails of water that might lead them in the direction the killer had gone.   Anne Elisabeth walked over to fountain to rinse out the handkerchief. The dead man had been dunked in it so she searched for clues all around it … and even in the fountain itself.

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Nicci nodded to Ranelaghs deduction, while Etheridge’s comment was indeed poetic

"Coming upon a social death by sharp tongue would be my preference."  Nicci had taken Etheredge’s comment to be figurative, Versailles was a bloody battleground by those standards, Whitehall was more forgiving, their salons were like blunted swords. Not this though, this was a very literal murder, and Nicci hoped to never see another.  

She was very pleased to have Anne-Elizabeth assistance, embarrassed as she was for Richard to see her in such a mess. "Thank you darling." she quietly thanked, while she digested the flurry of plans being made around them.  Langdon and his Brother were set to pursue, Etheridge volunteered himself a task that sounded important too.  While Nicolette was pleased not to need be involved, for she felt much too much involved already. 

"Do you think we should remain near, so nobody tampers with the body?" she looked to Ranelagh, pleased that he was to stay with them, though she hardly wanted to remain this close to the dead body.  Frankly she felt a tad woozy from it all, lightheaded, like perhaps within a dream.   "What if this man, whoever he is, was not the target but the assailant?  Who else was with you drinking in the Gazebo last night Lord Ranelagh, perhaps it was one of those returning to the palace who was accosted, and managed to fend this fellow off?"  

 

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Bradley felt to have redeemed himself (from his earlier poor display at sight of the body) when the others agreed pusuit was the best thing - and quickly enough he and his older brother were upon the chase.  Young eyes bright looking for possible clues! 

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Sir George took his leave. As promised he informed the first pair of Lifeguard and the first pair of Guardsmen that he came across, told one of the pair to first alert the others, and then to send for their commander to be woken. He then proceeded to inform the royal households.

 

With Nicci's face clean and her muddy form covered with his justacorps, Ranelagh was fairly eager to leave the dead body and the damp of the morning. He had, after all, passed out in it and found himself chilled by more than just the air. He was content to let one of the highest officers of the Lifeguard manage the dead bodies and interrogations. 

 

Nicolette's friend, on the other hand, seemed far less bothered by it all. Then again, she had not tripped over the body and become covered in stinking mud and blood and water. 

 

"Whyever would someone wish to tamper with a dead body?" Ranelagh asked, clearly no assassin himself. "With guards about and more to come...but perhaps you are right. Best safe?" This was why he overhauled the Irish Treasury, not secretly assassinated foreign dignitaries... "Your lady friend seems quite intrigued and can make sure none come along while she looks by the fountain?"

 

Lord Langdon, was already off looking for a direction of fleeing. Being no expert, if Ranelagh was fleeing such a thing, the nearest exit would be the direction!

 

"Come mademoiselle, I shall see you cleaned up and safe," he held a hand out to Nicolette. Then he added to Anne-Elizabeth, "Do you wish to accompany us or look here before the rest of the Lifeguard arrives?"

 

 

 

The brothers Langdon would find disturbed areas both heading toward the palace and toward the exit leaving the palace. It might be hard to tell when such things had been disturbed. It was a highly traveled area. 

 

Careful eyes would spy blood leading away in the direction that Nicolette had previously indicated she had heard someone and given chase. No footsteps or crunching of branches could now be heard. It was likely if the killer was intent on leaving the grounds, they had left them already, unless one of the two brothers ran to try to get ahead.

 

Anne-Elizabeth would see quite a bit of blood in the fountain. Without much light and with the darkness of the blood, it was difficult to see if there was anything in the fountain. 

 

(OOC - at this point, Anne-E needs to decide whether to stay and investigate the body story-line or go with Nicci and Ranelagh. Totally up to you ;) )

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