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Davina Wellsley

A Matter Of Importance Tuesday Afternoon - 1pm

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It was best to have this all out in the open as soon as possible which is why she wasted no time. Or allowed herself to talk herself out of it was more to the Truth. 

She had thought to walk but then decided to use her brothers carriage so it was that it drew up before the imposing building that housed the Duke of Buckingham.

Helped down and then joined by her maid Poppy who setteled her mistresses to rights she sent the driver to announce that Mistress Wellsley had come as requested. This was so important that she left nothing to chance.

Her attire had been carefully put together - a dress of apple green silk with an underskirt and stomacher of pale lilac silk. Beaded with pearls and lavender beads in a trellis pattern intertwined with gold thread it was both elegant and polished. Her hair was dressed and up and she wore her diamond hair pins that had been her Grandmothers - sun moon and star - for courage and luck. Pearls tied with a pale green ribbon at the back of her neck matched those in her ears. Her scent was discreet yet complementary. She was not there to 'seduce' but she was full aware of the fact that how she presented herself would set the tone with the Duke.

Moving ahead she waited patiently to be admitted. Her thoughts for a moment wondering what had taken Kingston away .....

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The Duke of Buckingham had seen a flurry of activity within the last week, and there was a large portion of him that gloried in it. His proper place was in the thick of things. 

 

He had agreed to Mistress Wellesley's visit, for her note to Francis had intrigued him. He had not known the two to be friends, and he kept a rather close watch over Francis. Over most things that happened at court and beyond. That she had accepted his invitation to see her in the cub's stead intrigued him even further.

 

Davina was expected when she arrived. The Duke's house was bustling with all sorts of servants. There were quite a number of them moving about in the background as the door was opened for her. Was the Duke getting ready for some sort of event.

 

"Mistress Wellesley, I presume? His Grace is expecting you." Her maid would have to be left behind in the foyer to await her return. 

 

She was shown up the impressive stairs to a parlour where Buckingham stood at a window overlooking the garden.

 

"Mistress Wellesley. Good Afternoon. You have a matter of urgency which concerns Kingston?" he asked, gesturing to a chair should she wish to sit. 

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Posted (edited)

She had not figued ahead so the fact that Kingston was absent made her nearly turn back.

Instead the Duke himself had asked for her, she assumed on behalf of Kingston, gave her pause but then she relized that by Luck her objective had been reached without the use of Lord kingston as middleman.

Quietly following as she was bid she soon was presented to the Duke.

"Your Grace."

She sank into a respectful curtsey.

His gesture of a chair ment that she did not have to hold her pose overlong. Accepting and setteling she wasted no time in the exchanging of plesentaries.

There was no artifice in her manner - indeed it held a seriousness unlike her personality.

"I had writ to Lord Kingston because I thought him to be the best one. Thru Him there is You Your Grace. And in this matter I could not afford to trust anyone."

"I shall say it all directly from the start."

"A while ago I recieved this ..."

She took from her pocket a folded piece of paper and held it out for him to take.

He would read ....

'"Mistress Wellsley,

I apologize for the lack of notice but a matter of great urgency requires your assiatance. Please meet me at the Queen's Chapel at noon tomorrow, the 6th.

A Friend"

"As I had no appointments this was strange. I do not reconigze the writing but clearly tis a woman's. The location gave me pause."

"Yet my curisoity was now aroused and so I made the decision to go. I had my maid planted amongst the near-by pews and I used two of Baintree's men to watch from the shadows."

"I was soon approached by an eldery Lady who said I may address her as "Johanna."  She then gave me a small lecture about the absence of Good Catholics in England at the moment and indeed everywhere in Christendom."

 "That there was now a Pope in Rome who sought to unite the Church rather than promote War."

"She asked if I would support the notion of joining in on this attempt."

"She said that I had been watched and found to be the person needed because I, as a Catholic, was able to hold a well-placed position in the Queen's Household. That I had not renounced my faith as Norfolk and my brother had done as well as other Courtiers."

"And that as I was still not married it meant that I had resisted the 'parade of Angelican Gentlemen" that had been put before me because of my honest belief in the Church."

"I said I had no desire to be caught up in such a net and then she set about to 'reassure' me that there was no entrapment at all but rather how it was my "Duty" to join in this and if I did not then Mother Church would forget me."

"She was very skilled Your Grace in the manner of ones sweet Grandmother."

"It was then put forth that if I had no special feeling for Mother Church and I was simply going to betray Her in the end than no further business was needed."

"But if my heart was Pure then 'they' would like to help me. Help 'them' and I could ask for anything as reward."

Here she paused to allow for all that she had said so far to sink in.

Edited by Davina Wellsley

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Buckingham was egotistically elated that Francis was regarded as the best one for anything at court, for it meant he was doing his part well with the boy, but her further elaboration only stoked his vanity more. Thru Francis there was himself.

 

And it was a matter she could not trust to anyone...

 

Not her brother, not Norfolk or his relation, but...Francis...

 

And himself...

 

To say that he was intrigued by what this was about was an understatement. What did she trust to Francis and the Duke of Buckingham more than her own family? And he was certain Francis was not sleeping with her, so it was all very peculiar, and he very curious.

 

Buckingham found it intriguing that she brought guards to a chapel to meet a friend, for it seemed oddly paranoid. She then continued her story and it seemed like she was approached by some Catholics. Perhaps that paranoia served her well.

 

Jesuits... he postulated to himself. Because it was always the damned Jesuits...

 

"I suspect that is not all there is to the story," he said, "Please, do go on."

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"You are correct Your Grace there is indeed more."

"I responded back by saying I found it hard to believe that 'I' had caught the attention of anyone as she would have me think. And as to my Faith - oft times one has to bend with the wind in order not to break and there were many that had done so here in England."

"I asked how 'they' knew I had renounced my Faith - were spies set in my household perhaps - if that was so then I would hardly be accommodating to further interferences."

"As to the martiage question perhaps I was too restrictive in my requirements so lacking the right candidate naturally I would resist."

"And so I am to belive that You - or some other - upon my declaration that I am a True daughter of the Church suddenly present me with a Gentleman designed to be a perfect fit?"

"I then allowed my suspeciouns to be clearly seen and I asked for more information. I could hardly strike a deal without knowing the details."

"I must make it plain to Your Grace that by now I was full aware that this was mischief far beyond that which I could deal with. I was afraid and so wanted to escape yet how could I when there was harm about to be done to Someone."

"My thought was to my Mistress the Queen and so I lingered wanting to draw out as much as I could and then, well, think how best to handle and to WHOM I must take it to."

"Not by word or manner did I betray. I am indeed a true daughter of the Church that is a fact. But it is also a fact that I am Loyal and True to both Their Majesties. So I played along."  

"Now came the true plot - I was to perform some small task that would demonstrate my Faith and once complete I could then ask for something that might free me or give comfort."

"A Husband. Jewels. Advancement. It would seem nothing was to be out of bounds."

"The example provided of a 'task' related to a pregnancy or rather unwanted one. Descreet of course and I was the one that should provide the help."

"She then explained about certain herbs and how I was to merely add the potion to a glass of wine and within a few hours or days the matter is ended."

"It was then that the Duke of York's name was brought in. How some believe he to be God's choosen heir to the throne. How the English are stopping it. How Queen Catherine was killed by posion by them. Also Monmouth and the ill treatment there."

"The next name was the Queen's. I was to be tasked with ensuring that she miscarry. This is a diversion so that a year or two may come and go before she has another. How no 'harm' is intended but merely the delaying on an Angelican Heir."

"I pointed out the flaw in this. How I am not a Bedchanber Lady so have no direct access to Her Grace. But then I saw clear by her reaction that there are already those  place there that will aid me."

"I said that no plan is infallible and the Risk is high with just myself on the block. If things go as you and others' wish then all those about the Queen's person and in attendance will be suspect. And even I know enough to know that the threat of losing a baby decreases with each month that passes. And you are also wrong in thinking that the King would not investigate - especially as the Royal Physicians attend daily and say the babe progresses well."

"I then added that there is hardly any activity at the moment so my presence is not required much. And I of a certanity have no access in preparing food."

"I said perhaps they need to rethink this 'plan'. To which she replied that indeed that may be the case and seems to be much disappointed that it could not be done."

"She added that I might well still be useful and if so I would be contacted again. Leave taking came next with the additiion that she and I would never meet again."

"Upon her leaving I had Baintree's men make to follow her. It was imperitave that we do so for where she went might led to those higher."

"She took to a waiting carriage painted light blue. How many of those are about London Your Grace? But sadly we lost her amongst the throng of traffic."

"And now you have heard it all. I do not doubt for a moment that she doubted my complaince in this scheme."

"I wonder if I am still watched. And then I was sent this to my rooms at Whitehall."

From the same pocket she took out a 'kerchief and carefully unwrapped it to reveal the small brown bottle still with the wax seal frim about the opening.

"This. I took the meaning to be that I was to put it to use. And in the direction of The Queen. Or Myself."

This too was held out for him to take.

"So now I must beg Your Grace for help. What is to be done now?"

She had exhausted herself in this re-telling and so the Duke would see it. He would also see that she was truly afraid. 

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4 hours ago, Davina Wellsley said:

"You are correct Your Grace there is indeed more."

"I responded back by saying I found it hard to believe that 'I' had caught the attention of anyone as she would have me think. And as to my Faith - oft times one has to bend with the wind in order not to break and there were many that had done so here in England."

"I asked how 'they' knew I had renounced my Faith - were spies set in my household perhaps - if that was so then I would hardly be accommodating to further interferences."

"As to the martiage question perhaps I was too restrictive in my requirements so lacking the right candidate naturally I would resist."

"And so I am to belive that You - or some other - upon my declaration that I am a True daughter of the Church suddenly present me with a Gentleman designed to be a perfect fit?"

"I then allowed my suspeciouns to be clearly seen and I asked for more information. I could hardly strike a deal without knowing the details."

"I must make it plain to Your Grace that by now I was full aware that this was mischief far beyond that which I could deal with. I was afraid and so wanted to escape yet how could I when there was harm about to be done to Someone."

"My thought was to my Mistress the Queen and so I lingered wanting to draw out as much as I could and then, well, think how best to handle and to WHOM I must take it to."

"Not by word or manner did I betray. I am indeed a true daughter of the Church that is a fact. But it is also a fact that I am Loyal and True to both Their Majesties. So I played along."  

"Now came the true plot - I was to perform some small task that would demonstrate my Faith and once complete I could then ask for something that might free me or give comfort."

"A Husband. Jewels. Advancement. It would seem nothing was to be out of bounds."

"The example provided of a 'task' related to a pregnancy or rather unwanted one. Descreet of course and I was the one that should provide the help."

"She then explained about certain herbs and how I was to merely add the potion to a glass of wine and within a few hours or days the matter is ended."

"It was then that the Duke of York's name was brought in. How some believe he to be God's choosen heir to the throne. How the English are stopping it. How Queen Catherine was killed by posion by them. Also Monmouth and the ill treatment there."

"The next name was the Queen's. I was to be tasked with ensuring that she miscarry. This is a diversion so that a year or two may come and go before she has another. How no 'harm' is intended but merely the delaying on an Angelican Heir."

"I pointed out the flaw in this. How I am not a Bedchanber Lady so have no direct access to Her Grace. But then I saw clear by her reaction that there are already those  place there that will aid me."

"I said that no plan is infallible and the Risk is high with just myself on the block. If things go as you and others' wish then all those about the Queen's person and in attendance will be suspect. And even I know enough to know that the threat of losing a baby decreases with each month that passes. And you are also wrong in thinking that the King would not investigate - especially as the Royal Physicians attend daily and say the babe progresses well."

"I then added that there is hardly any activity at the moment so my presence is not required much. And I of a certanity have no access in preparing food."

"I said perhaps they need to rethink this 'plan'. To which she replied that indeed that may be the case and seems to be much disappointed that it could not be done."

"She added that I might well still be useful and if so I would be contacted again. Leave taking came next with the additiion that she and I would never meet again."

"Upon her leaving I had Baintree's men make to follow her. It was imperitave that we do so for where she went might led to those higher."

"She took to a waiting carriage painted light blue. How many of those are about London Your Grace? But sadly we lost her amongst the throng of traffic."

"And now you have heard it all. I do not doubt for a moment that she doubted my complaince in this scheme."

"I wonder if I am still watched. And then I was sent this to my rooms at Whitehall."

From the same pocket she took out a 'kerchief and carefully unwrapped it to reveal the small brown bottle still with the wax seal frim about the opening.

"This. I took the meaning to be that I was to put it to use. And in the direction of The Queen. Or Myself."

This too was held out for him to take.

"So now I must beg Your Grace for help. What is to be done now?"

She had exhausted herself in this re-telling and so the Duke would see it. He would also see that she was truly afraid. 

Buckingham found the story got more and more sensational as she continued telling it. 

 

Frankly, it was full of all sorts of dangerousness and folly. Women could be such easy targets and such good agents.

 

That was all before she had even mentioned the Queen miscarrying! And bringing it about. 

 

And she was seeking out Francis! Such a thing would be so far over the cub's head, that Buckingham did not trust what his nephew might have decided to do to help! For a stark moment, he reminded himself to have that conversation more in explicit with the boy. He did not want to leave to chance that Francis would know to bring these things to him. 

 

It was quite fortuitous that Buckingham was so practiced an actor and courtier, for he was rather stunned when she pulled out a phial.

 

The sort of thing one imagined being sold in some secret apothecary amongst the lowest and the foreigners deep in London's belly, not being produced in his parlour. 

 

He produced a handkerchief from his sleeve before he took the thing. Not because he had any concept of how science would evolve, but because he didn't want to touch the noxious stuff. 

 

"And when did this arrive? It is very important, for we will need to question the servants that were on duty."

 

If it were not such dire circumstances, he would have thought to offer her a drink, but his mind was on the most important matters. 

 

"What will happen is that you will wait here, my dear. No doubt you are being watched. It may not be safe for you to be freely about if they think you may have betrayed them. For other reasons, my house is very guarded at the moment and will be safe. I must make sure that the potential for poison to Her Majesty is immediately known, and then I will return."

 

 

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He took the vial in a kerchief of his own and then asked when it had been delivered.

"The 10th. Sunday. I can not say the time for it was not noticed until I was hunting about for something and I saw it. No note. Nothing."

"I took it to be some secret gift and so was unprepared for what lay inside."

She listened as he gave her instructions her blue eyes a bid wide as she nodded her understanding.

"I am indeed grateful Your Grace for your care." She whispered. "I made the right decision to come to You."

She attempted a watery smile in bravado but the single tear that edged its way down one cheek gave evidence to the contrary. 

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Dire times were difficult on the faint-hearted, but plenty a lady had played his sympathies with tears in his life, for he was no young man like Kingston, and he was far more jaded. Whether it was an honest tear or not, he could not tell, but he could surely tell that she was frightened. 

 

"Do not worry," he assured her, proving his own voice could have the same sweet tones as Kingston's when it was warranted. "Nothing has yet happened to your mistress the Queen." Well, at least that they knew, so that was something.

 

He could not promise it would be an easy time from here on out, but he was fairly sure that she already realized that.

 

"One of my servants will attend you if there is anything you need. In such circumstances it is difficult to anticipate when I might return." 

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She brushed away the wetness on her cheek embarassed that he had been privy to it. His words about the Queen were even more welcom'd.

She let out a sigh and straightened herself a bit in her chair as he gave further instructions.

"If you will allow it may my maid come to accompany me Your Grace? I do not wish to inconvience your household further."

She frowned a bit at his declaration regarding his return but did not question it. No doubt he would to the King and after that she had no clue.

She would stand and curtsey to him when he took his leave then sit. His words regarding her safety made the fear return.

This was a dangerous game being played yet she had known that in the Chapel but made the choice to join. Whatever was planned next she would follow exactly doing whatever was asked of her

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Buckingham left the room, a liveried servant entering immediately afterward, who asked if there was anything she would like.

 

In the house of Buckingham, it was an open-ended question because most things could be provided for; his master was not particularly known for being frugal or ungenerous. 

 

***

 

On his way down the stairs, Buckingham ordered his horse immediately. He was in too much of a hurry to deliver sane orders and wait for them to be obeyed, so instead he simply yelled the rest loud enough for those responsible to hear him. Davina might even hear Tom's name bellowed. Francis might not be there, but Francis ward was, and the boy was now going to get the pleasure of keeping Mistress Wellesley company. 

 

Once said youth arrived, trailing after him as he proceeded outside, Buckingham gave him only very short instruction before mounting and leaving in a kick-up of gravel and dust. 
 

He had gone straight for the King, because at the moment it was the fastest way to stop anything at all from going to the Queen. And would ensure this was not an elaborate ruse to get His Majesty to do something...foolish. And Buckingham had no issue freely thinking that, for master or not, he had seen Charles do many foolish things that no other king would ever think to do. 

 

After the words out of his mouth that the Queen was in danger specifically of poisoning, it was actually fortuitous that he knew the King well enough to know precisely what was coming next. The bull of a Majesty went right for the door, and Buckingham had to play matador - without a cloak! 

 

"Get out of my way!" bellowed a periwig-less Charles II in his shirtsleeves and breeches, sans shoes and all trappings of kingly dignity. He flung George's licentious hand away from his chest, and the man had the audacity to use the other hand!

 

"You are not going anywhere! That is what servants are for! This may well be a scheme to get you to do something foolish. I told Arlington, Ashburnham, and the Life Guard when I came in; let them handle things. What do you hope to do? Hmm? Flip a turkey off a platter and bellow? Get knifed by the possible spy in the kitchens meant to do the poisoning?"

 

Charles eyed him in that irate, petulant, kingly way.

 

He made the ninny ninny face back at him, daring him to pull the Majesty card. 

 

Said Majesty crossed his arms and huffed.

 

Satisfied his kingly master was not going to try to fight him to leave (because it would not be the first time the two had come to dubious actions with each other), Buckingham took the deferential step back. "The households and the kitchens are already all on high alert. The Queen is safe, no matter the threat," he assured. "This is just something new...And you do not wish distress to her or the child by making a scene that nobody shall be able to quiet, the rumors will fly and ladies have the fleetest lips of them all," he followed up with more sane advise. He knew how to play his moments. 

 

"How did you come by this, George?" the King asked him, leaning against the mantle and taking a calming breath. 

 

Buckingham too his own deep breath, exhaling before he said, "In a very odd manner, I must say. Not the usual channels...And it is doubtful it is related to the Dutch. Or the French."

 

At this, the King raised an eyebrow. Precisely how many persons in high places in the world wished him dead!

 

(OOC - I'm going to break up the posts between Buckingham and the King to a manageable size while posting Buckingham's household with Davina for a few rounds ;) )

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The Duke's exit was followed by a servant who asked about any wants  ..... suddenly parched she asked for wine uncaring of its color but sure to be of a Quality.

Where oh where was her maid?!

Reaction set it as her hands began to shake and her heart seemed to skip a beat or two as she took to her chair again. Gnawing on her bottom lip her thoughts ran riot. Had she indeed been followed here? But that in of itself was nothing for she could well be on some errand for her Mistress of even Lady Mountjoy who sought out the Duke. But she had not done what she thinks was the intention regarding that small bottle so whoever was placed as spy within the Queen's side would know it and, she supposed, would then try to succeed where she had failed.

A hand went to her stomach as the very thought caused her to feel sick with worry - what IF they managed to really get close enough to harm the Queen and her child  .....

Getting to her feet she began to pace back and forth lost in her thoughts

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Buckingham, in his haste to exit, had entirely forgotten about Davina's maid and allowing her up to be with her mistress, so poor Davina was left to wonder about her whereabouts.

 

Shortly after the servant provided her with a Rhenish wine, rather than that of any other region in honor of the Queen, was not her maid but a young man with vibrant red hair. If she had even encountered Kingston's ward before, she might know who Tom was in relation to the Duke, but if she had never had occasion it would be rather ambiguous who the seventeen year old was, because he did not particularly explain! 

 

"Good afternoon, Mistress Wellesley. His Grace asked if I would keep you company whilst he is about his business." He offered her a bow that very closely resembled Francis' if she was a student of such things. "Thomas Sprague," he said, by way of introduction. 

 

Clearly, he was not a servant, because a servant would never have said 'His Grace asked.' If she heard the Duke yell his name earlier, she might have surmised he lived in the house. In reality, though, the Duke had not truly 'asked' either. He had instructed. At the very least, a lady of court like Davina could guess that a man like Buckingham would have many personages of various rank or importance in his household. 

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Now that the King had calmed some from the shock that there was some active attempt to harm the Queen, rather than just a murder occurring near to a meeting place where he was expected, he could interrogate the Duke for more information.

 

Which he readily did.

 

"Who told you? Explain. Everything. Now." Then to add a bit of nicety to it, he added, "George."

 

"It was not from my circle of spies, nor anyone associated with me," he said, to illustrate the surprise of it all. The truth was that this all could be very dangerous, and he was no fool. "Mistress Wellesley came to me just now to say that she had been approached to poison the Queen to induce a miscarriage."

 

"One of the Queen's Maids of Honour?!?" 

 

Buckingham pulled his head back some as the voice escalated to near roar-like levels. Truly, the lady in question should have acted far more quickly...and more in the immediacy of the Queen's own household, but there was nothing he could do about that now. He could not lie for a woman who was no responsibility of his own, and he was not in the habit of lying to Charles, to the lengths of saying many things the King did not wish to hear or think he had to suffer to avoid lying. That is what he told himself, at the least. The truth was that he had only very little ability to do anything for Mistress Wellesley in such a situation, and she was far from his concern. 

 

If he did not act as befit the pseudo-trust he was given by the King, he  knew he would fail to have even that in the future. There was a reason the King called on him during such circumstances. He was not about to jeopardize that for Davina Wellesley. 

 

"She was approached last week by some old woman who spoke of the true Catholic church and of wanting to recruit the lady into some nefariousness for being a part of the Queen's household. The lady said she refused, but i'faith it sounded to me in a very strange way, but then brought to me a bottle of presumed poison which showed up on Sunday."

 

"How could she have waited so long to alert anyone?!?" the King said in a voice far more dangerous than an emotional roar. 

 

There was little Buckingham could say to that. The first meeting at the chapel should have been reported. When an actual phial had shown up, it most definitively should have been reported. He had no news or information to mitigate the circumstances. The facts of the situation simply were not good. 

 

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Posted (edited)

She had been expecting her maid but now a person not known came into her view, addressed her by name, and then said that the Duke had bid him to her company.

"Indeed? Well Mr. Sprague .." She gave him small reverance in return. "I must thank His Grace for his kindness."

"Have we met afore now? Something strikes at my memory but I can not say."

She looked over the young Gentleman.

"And how are you placed in the Duke's house - you are no servant for your words prove that - and your manners as well."

She had resumed her seat and sipped her wine then set it aside on a small side table.

"A relation perhaps to His Grace?"

"Or are you sworn to secrecy and will only commit to memory what I say?"

She smiled across to him in a show of teasing yet there was truth behind her words. She would expect no less from Buckingham.

Her thoughts were on that Gentleman and she wondered if he had to the King and how that would play out. That she was risking herself she understood.

But she could only be faulted in her delaying of it simply because she had hoped, that by seemingly to agree, she might gain knowledge of who was pulling the strings and thereby foiling it entirely.

But now she began to see the folly of that idea and when her presence was demanded by the King she could only pray that HE would see it clear and that his anger would be dissipated. 

Edited by Davina Wellsley

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"I do not think so," he answered. "I am not oft at court." Sometimes he captained Kingston's yacht when his guardian was taking people on it, and sometimes he ran an errand here or there that required the attention of someone of greater trust than a servant, not entirely unlike what he was doing now aside from he hadn't needed to go anywhere. 

 

"Secrecy? No, I assure you that there is not much secret about me," he said, with a twinge of the brow in puzzlement, followed by a chuckle that she should ask! Then he smiled and added, "But you are correct I am not a servant. Though, everyone in the house is truly a servant to His Grace. That is what is expected." Buckingham might have many eccentricities and informalities, but he did wear his noblesse in a way of one raised alongside princes. And all peers generally felt anyone in their household owed them some form of service or loyalty. 

 

"I am not a relation of His Grace by blood, but I am honoured enough to share common relations with the Duke. Lord Kingston is a cousin and my guardian. We have been together for a very long time, so His Grace did not seek to part us when he asked Kingston to live with him." There was very little strange or difficult to explain about his life. 

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"Ladies often do not do the most sensible of things," Buckingham said, with an informal shrug. One did not oft shrug to the King, and Buckingham was generally too pretty in his self-carriage to do something as common as shrug, but boyhood habits were quite engrained. 

 

The Duke also wished the lady in question had done something more sensible than write with the plan to disclose this all to his court-intrigue-naïve nephew! Of all personages! 

 

In many ways, he would rather it possible to keep Francis out of the entire narrative, but it wasn't possible. 

 

"She wrote to Kingston sometime Monday afternoon or early evening about an emergency. I know they are not friends for keeping a close eye on the boy's associations, so I thought it odd enough to be of remark." He trusted Francis, but the cub was limited in his court experience and needed some watching. "With him here attending, I offered to receive the lady and her emergency in his stead---."

 

"God's Blood! Monday!" The interruption was abrupt, for the King only rarely used that form of the swear. Even after the phial had appeared and she had not immediately told someone, she waited until...That was when His Majesty's thoughts stopped short. If the lady was more culpable than she was letting on, she might have been clued in by the events and changes of Monday morning and written to Kingston after. Having been at court some time, the lady could surely sense something was different than usual. The timing was questionable. "Do you believe the lady's story?"

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"Kingston? And he himself so well placed in this Household it makes sense for you as well."

Really Kingston continued to be a mystery - just what was his past and how came he to fly so high was a question many would like answered.

"And how do you find life at Court? Are you at School still or are you being put up for something? Lord Kingston might wish for you to follow in his path."

She knew how to put someone at ease and as her time here was without knowing far better to have someone to converse with.

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"They could have insisted I go to University, especially now that Fr--Lord Kingston is the Chancellor, but I have never learned in such an environment," he said. He had spent most of his life on ships with Francis after his own mother died. He was even fresher ashore than Kingston in many ways, but Francis was well-read and had done the bulk of Tommy's education at sea. 

 

"I have tutors of all sorts here," he revealed, clearly having been truthful that there was not much to hide about his life. He chuckled at the thought of being put up for something, "If I am, I have yet to learn about it, but Lord Kingston had promised that I could go back to ships if I wished, that he would let me captain one."

 

She was quite a bit older than he, and he was not entirely sure what to ask her, so it was much a one-sided conversation, but she seemed a curious lady. He was more comfortable with those of his own age, but truth be told though he knew how to deport himself well, his life experience of sea-faring had exposed him more to different sorts of women than Davina Wellesley. 

 

"I like it here very much. There are many benefits of such a grand house as His Grace's." 

 

The Food. 

 

End of Story.

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Buckingham could see something working in his kingly master's mind after his unexpected curse. 

 

Then the question. 

 

"We both have our sensibilities regarding ladies," Buckingham began. Both were known for an excessive generosity and gallantry toward the opposite sex. "That, we must both allow, is an exploitable weakness."

 

The Duke continued. "Perhaps the lady was simply very trusting that a man as powerful as I could magic this away, but how she said what she said was odd. It could be that the lady is understated or does not fully appreciate how she says something, as I said I do not know her enough to say. She spoke of the foolishness of the plan and the danger of being involved, and I do believe she is frightened..."

 

"You have doubts of the sincerity," the King interjected. 

 

"I do not understand why anyone in the service of a royal household would keep such a thing secret, especially when one has until very recently been known as a Catholic. Generally that increases one's caution with dangerous things like attempts against the royal family," Buckingham answered. 

 

"She was in the group of persons whom I was to receive in the gardens that morning."

 

"What?" Buckingham was fully astounded.  

 

"Indeed." 

 

The Duke blinked with a heavy lid. "So...she knew, and could have informed anyone else, that you would be there that morning?"

 

"Yes, and she also would have noticed the aftermath that morning when the reception was moved and the Presence Chamber closed." The King was almost in some state of disbelief himself. Was that possible? Was that paranoia now that he was about to have a legitimate heir whilst much of the world seemed dissatisfied with that happening?

 

"Or she could be a naïve, fool girl who did fool things and was then scared when she noticed odd changes in the protection of your household," Buckingham postulated as an alternative, pulling the King out of his thoughts. 

 

Ashburnham entered the room and immediately said, "Everything that has been being prepared for Her Majesty has been discarded. Steps have been taken to further insure as few as possible know what is intended for the Queen. Nobody is to be allowed to bring anything in, either, and the wine stock and such has been switched. Nothing is amiss at all, Your Majesty."

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"So you are much like a 'free-spirit'. "The benefits of learning in such an environment as yours outweighs those in a schoolroom!"

"Well then it is good that your education continues and that is a credit to Lord Kingston and to HIs Grace as well."

"And you must not be shy about saying what your desires are but it sounds like you favor The Sea more than land."

"I think you have already revealed where you want to be."

She smiled lost for a moment in thought and the advantages of youth even tho she was not more than four or five years older but a world apart as far as experiences.

"Indeed. The benefits of His Grace must be many  ......"

She looked about the room they were in which clearly showed it.

"And I hope that you continue to flourish. Truly."

She grew quiet then her mind once again with Buckingham and what was happening if anything.

The silence would grow for a while longer as she sipped her wine then set it aside. Then rose and paced about the space seeing but not really noticing as she went round the room. Poor Tom would no doubt be most confused by all of it.

With a sigh she turned round to him asking

"Are you a good story-teller Mr.Sprague? Or handy at cards perhaps?"

"Since you needs must attend me we shall be a study in silence unless we can find some thing to while away until my Fate is decided."

"At least I'll have some comforts to remember once I'm taken away."

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"Well, I had not thought I would like the land life overly much, but...I've found I rather enjoy it, so we shall see." He was yet young and in no great hurry. This was all quite new to him. Kingston might have acclimated some to this great house and court life, but Tom still found it entertainingly novel.

 

He was fairly silent as she strolled about the room, watching her with mild interest.

 

"What sort of story would you like?" he asked.

 

"And what fate would that be?"

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The King took a breath of satisfaction as Ashburnham revealed that they were now prepared for this new threat.

 

"We will have to ascertain what the truth is of the matter," the King said to Buckingham. 

 

"Indeed, but not that I am wholly sure it matters whether she tells the truth or not..."

 

The King raised a brow. Of course it mattered! If the girl had been intent on harming the Queen...

 

"She still might be of use, and if she is of use, perhaps that mitigates circumstances slightly. This plot was one we were not enough aware of, and if it is some Jesuit plan, we could well-use someone on the inside. As could France."

 

"So you wish to see if we might turn her double?"

 

"If you had intelligence Le Roi wished, that could be a very expensive tool, and the Jesuits have been a thorn in his side as well according to Chevreuse," Buckingham said, conspiratorially. "I do not know if she has the proper demeanor, but she is no danger now whether she is telling the truth or not. A loss of position for keeping such a danger a secret will keep her away from the Queen without making it known widely that anything was so close to happening."

 

The pair continued their conversation of the matter and plans regarding how it was to be handled. It was the decided that it would be best if Lady Mountjoy spoke to the girl and tried to find out more of the detail and intentions; after all, the lady knew Mistress Wellesley more than most. And all the Maids were cowed by Lady Mountjoy. 

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She was aware that he'd been watching her with some interest which was why she'd engaged him again.

"Well ..... might you tell me of your travels so far- places been things seen. It will all be new to me."

She resumed her seat in a slightly less than correct posture but not an altogether slouch.

"Things afoot and plots abound. And I acted in a way that I thought would be useful but it turns out that I have risked my livelihood here at Court."

"So as such have, so I believe, sealed my Fate. His Grace has to His Majesty and once returned here ...."

She gave a small shrug of one shoulder and a small smile.

"His Grace will then pronounce sentence."

"Which is why I should like to hear something amusing. For after today things will be dark indeed."

"Are you hungry? Shall we ask for things then? And perhaps more refreshment."

She might be over-reacting but she doubted it.

She would have to tell her tale to His Majesty and she WAS innocent but her delay in telling would not be in her favor. That she had lost her position was a surety. For none of this could well be spoke about so her being set down would be the only outward sign that she was out of favor and not like to return. Her brother would no doubt beat her no matter her claim to innocence and if she were lucky she'd be Matching Priory bound within the week. Her desire to play 'spy' and gather information and gain the confidences of those involved so that she then might foil the Plan had been a serious miscalculation on her part. Her inexperience was clear despite those few little things that the Queen had asked her to do in season's past. She could well be Tower bound as well.

That thought made her go paler than she already was and she had to hold her glass with both hands that trembled.

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Tom smiled at the lady and nodded, "Of course I will. My travels with Lord Kingston have taken me to the Colonies, all over Italy, to the lands of the Turks, the Palatinate, and even to the Carib." He had started on Francis' ship very young, so he had a lot more experience than many his age, though none with court aside from what he had learned in the last few months. 

 

"Which land would you like to hear about?" he asked.

 

"Oh? Is that why His Grace rushed to leave?" His own details were rather sparse. The duke clearly did not see fit to delay to better inform the likes of his cousin's ward. "Perhaps you will tell me your story then too?"

 

His eyebrows further went up as she elaborated some on the gravity of matters. But, then again, young gentlemen were always told that ladies tended toward the dramatic and hyperbolic, court ladies especially.

 

"His Grace's kitchens can provide most anything you wish, and he always wishes to be a generous host," Tom revealed, although it was no secret. The Duke was profligate about his noblesse oblige, especially when people were paying attention. 

 

"I think, Mistress Wellsley, that you should know gentlemen of my age can dine at any time, a dozen times a day. So, pick the location for my story and the fare, I insist. If matters are as dire as you say, that is the least I can do." He motioned the servant closer with a wave of the hand so that she might make he requests.

 

(OOC - the other pair is going to wait for Lady Mountjoy, so you can continue with Tom for now ;) )

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Posted (edited)

"Good." She flashed him a smile. "I want to hear as much as you can stomach to tell."

"Start from the start so to speak. I do so love a good Tale."

"If that is the case then we shall have to take advantage. And this could well be my last 'fine' meal shall we ask for a lot then?"

"Meats bread cheese. A salad perhaps. Then sweets. And wine. Naturally."

She had directed those words to the waiting servant sending him off with another one of her smiles.

"I have a younger brother so I know full well about the appetites of those your age."

She grew quite then her mood changed as she took stock of the surroundings and she gave a small sigh as she settled back into her chair.

"Do you suppose I shall come out the other side and be unscathed?"

"I require no answer back for you can hardly say."

"Well. Let us begin shall we. I am all ears."

"I do so envy those of your sex Master Sprague .... you have the Freedom to go where you please .... "

"Sailing off to far Places and Lands with none to gainsay you."

Edited by Davina Wellsley

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"I could hardly say if I thought you would come out unscathed not knowing your story," the boy said, his brow furrowing in some confusion. He could hardly say he hoped she did come out unscathed not knowing the story either! Maybe he didn't. Maybe she was horrid. His Grace had not specified. 

 

"Oh, I am certain Lord Kingston would gainsay me if I attempted to do what I please," Tom replied, with a grin. He was sure he wouldn't be able to sit for a fortnight either...

 

"The beginning of the story is not so very exciting, really. My father and elder brother were with Lord Kingston on his ships. My family here took sick, and I was the only one who lived, so when my father and brother returned I was the only one left. I wasn't even ten, so I could hardly be left on my own. I wished to go on the ships with them, and Lord Kingston let me come on his even though he usually wouldn't until I was at least twelve. That was how old my brother had to be."

 

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It took some skill to march gracefully, especially when encased in near 50 yards of fabric, but Ursula endeavoured to pulled it off. Which was more than could be said for her maid who was nearly running to keep up alongside her. It was not every day that Ursula was summoned to the king's presence, but these were not usual times. She made unseemly haste.

After a brief pause to catch her breath outside the doorway, the fair haired lady entered the room bearing a time-perfected blend of deferance and importance. She showed no surprine of seeing Buckingham, it was virtual eyebrows risen along with increased curiosity and concern. Dipping a curtsy she waited their motion to approach closer still.

"Your Majesty, Your Grace, how may assist?" There was little need to elaborate further than that, for surely this was to do with the threat to the Queen's life and the guard kept over her person this past night. 

 

 

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"Dear Lady Mountjoy, do sit," the King invited, followed by a weighted sigh. 

 

The weighted sigh seemed to be the indication for Buckingham to do the work of bringing her up to speed, for there was not even a look between them before the duke took over. His master had never enjoyed making or receiving long-winded speeches, and when his moods were dark, he either burst or reverted back into the quietness of his youth in many cases. And the King rarely burst around a lady. Buckingham conceded that Charles had only truly ever done so to two ladies: the Queen Mother and his dear cousin, Cleveland. Both were half banshee in their own ways. 

 

"I shall tell you the entire story, but to prepare yourself for the content, I shall give the abridged version: Mistress Wellsley had been asked to give what is presumably an abortive or a poison to Her Majesty, demurred the duty, and was then confronted with a phial with contents to do so some days later."

 

He waited for her to digest this before he anticipated most things he thought she might ask once getting it all down. "We sent Ashburnham to make more precautions, and he has. All is well that we might tell, but His Majesty is anxious to hear from a lady, who by definition understands such feminine situations better than we, that the Queen has not demonstrated anything out of the ordinary recently for being with child?"

 

Buckingham then said, "Now to the details of it..." He relayed the same story to her that he had just relayed to the King, including he King's addition that the girl had been part of his Monday morning audience and had known where the King would be before the mysterious murder. "So, is the girl a fool or criminal mastermind, and either way do you think she has the demeanor to be of use if we wish to turn her double?"

 

"Your judgement in the matter is most trusted," the King added. Needless to say, given the task to her husband, they were both. 

 

"I have the lady waiting at my house. She won't be leaving. But if we try to make use of her, I would like to know what you think of her story. Perhaps in what she might tell you, we shall all learn more?"

 

(OOC - in the hope of saving time, tee hee, I didn't want to type out the whole story again, so Buckingham relayed everything from his conversation with the King above to Lady Mountjoy.)

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Any effort to hide her surprise, shock and dismay were abandoned as Buckingham revealed the awful facts. The support of the chair she'd just sat in was then tested, her hand clasping at the armrest, and sense of a dead weight upon her form. "Davina?" The girls name whispered from her lips in disbelief. "I would never have redimagined."

The tale then continued, her mind spinning with the additional vile plots that this may relate to. Trying to match this with her vision of the rather mild, prim and  insipid even Davina.

"Her Majesty has been well, with no plights other than the weight of child that she is bearing, and complaints of boredom, wishing the babe was already born. I feel fairly confident that we do not need to worry that the poison was given.Though now I wonder if that was from lack of opportunity." Ursula would never treat such a situation lightly. "As for Davina's character she's always seemed a stickler for rules and procedure,  I also know who to be quite a headstrong girl, stubborn to the point of ridiculousness, and blunt. I find it very odd that this old woman who offered the poison was not completely put off, for I know for a fact that Davina will say no strongly when inclined to. That the poison still turned up a few days later shows she did not."

There was talk that it may have been stupidity on the girls part, naivety. To this Lady Mountjoy nodded. "It is kinder, more palatable even, to imagine her a fool. For the counter argument that she is a criminal mastermind is dreadful to comprehend."

"Either way you're correct we cannot risk her remaining close to Her Majesty."

Mentally she processed the thoughts that she might be turned double, she could understand how the men searched for a way to learn the identity of the conspirators beneath this scheme. That was Davina capable of this, then perhaps she was capable of things that never imagined of her: and embark on a plot of greatest intrigue and deception!

"May I suggest that when I speak to her, we wait to see if she suggest a double cross herself. That will tell us quite a lot of her secret nature, if she comes up with the concept, and believes herself able to pull it off. Either way I do not know that we can fully trust her. It would take some remarkable feat to come back from this."

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"How young you were - just a babe really and left all alone. Kingston was indeed thoughtful in his allowances."

"So you were then raised aboard a ship of one kind or other? I can think how such 'schooling' would only be enhanced by the places seen."

"What Adventures!"

She gave a small laugh her eyes crinkling at the corners as she imagined what she thought his life had been like at that point.

"Yet I think not all was light and fun there must have been hard days too."

"More please."

She hinted as she sipped the last of her wine wishing for the return of servants with her wants.

what does Buckingham do with His Majesty and will I even be allowed to explain    ....... and be Believed?

She could not help her thoughts.

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