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New Surroundings, The Tower, Tuesday Early Evening {open}

Davina Wellsley

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She was led out of by a Guardsman who said nothing but was deferential. Thru a corridor and then out into the open thru an arched doorway. They air was scented by the River which must lay beyond that wall she supposes but they did not linger. She was led for some distance and then up ahead was another building and when she asked was told 'Beauchamp Tower'  before being led inside she saw the Chapel further down towards the end. Another arched doorway and a series of stone steps worn in the middle leading up and up - a landing in-between with a scattering of closed doors . It was to one of these that she was led and the door was opened and a nod for her to enter. She complied and then it was shut behind her. Was that a key turning in a lock .....

Poppy stood in the center of the room.

"Its 160 paces. I've done it thrice and it never changes. But come and sit and I shall tell what I know."

She went to her Mistress and eased her towards one of the two chairs then poured wine into a pewter goblet.


Davina did her eyes never leaving her maids face glad for that matter-of-fact voice and that Poppy was no whining ninny.

"Floors are red brick the walls white-washed. Fireplace is adequate. Two windows that open set into that arch and the other there across from the fireplace. No separate room to sleep but someone sent in a screen for privacy so thats a blessing. A bed with straw mattress for you a cot for me. No guardroom but pots."

"A table, two chairs and two stools. A chest for clothing 

 "We can bring our own things and I've already spent some coin to get firewood and a pot to heat water. And once settled then there is not hardly a thing that can not be brought in if one has money."

"Better than I had imagined. But then you ARE a Lady so it was bound to be better ......"

She gave a small smile.

"Thats good. Your color is returning. So .... When do I go out? Back to Whitehall and gather up enough for a few days and to make you comfortable then I will set about packing it up. I'll bribe that boy Ralph to stand guard so nothing goes missing."

Davina let out the breath she did not realize she had been holding and then a tear then another began to fall and she felt herself coming undone. 

"Oh Poppy .... what's to become of us  ....  I do not think I can make it."

"Nonsense.' Came the quick reply. "You are strong and besides YOU made the choice with the Devil Duke so just out of spite you have to get yourself in check."

"There are eyes and ears even in this place and no doubt spies as well. Do not let them see you thusly. I will allow you this night and then no more."

"We need our wits about us. You are a Court Creature Madam and so you needs must remember that."

She went to Davina then and knelt at her feet.

"Do not fear for I am here and none shall harm you. If you are not going to drink that I will. I too need a taste of courage!"

She took the goblet and drained it. Davina gave a muffled chuckle and wipped at her checks with one hand.

"Bang on the door Poppy and see yourself out. I will .... I will make a list in my head on what is most needed. I think my frame will go well there ...."

She stood up and went to the two smaller windows so that Poppy would not see the tears she could not stop.

Edited by Davina Wellsley
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The shadows lengthened into dusk and dark before Davina had her first visitor; one she dreaded.  She could hear his voice as he climbed the stairs towards her room.  It was her brother Richard.

Rather than barge into her room, he knocked at the door.  After all, she might be disrobed.

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She gave a long outward sigh. He was quicker than she had expected.

The knock was followed by her quiet calling out to enter. He would find her still in her apple green silk dress only she had removed all her jewelry and taken her hair down and made one long braid as best she could until Poppy returned. It would seem that Poppy had also be right for soon after she had left the door was opened and a Tower servant (she supposed) carried in a basket of wood and twigs and made up the fire in the fireplace. Water too had appeared or rather an earthward brown jug and a small round wooden bowl. But nothing in which the water could be heated. T'would seem not enough coin was used to add that in. She made a mental note to discuss with Poppy later. She was seated in one of the two chairs that she had dragged closed to the hearth. And a small brazer filled with sea coals burned low in the area where they would sleep. Two tallow candles had been lit and that was all the light she had.

She wondered what he had heard or been told and by whom .......

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In came Richard, wrapped in a fur cloak to combat the cold.  It took but a moment for him to assess Davina and her surroundings.

"Hell's bells Davina, what did you do?  I was told you were imprisoned in the Tower but I could not believe it at first.  Not you.  Not my sister who says I should leave her alone.  That she has everything under control.  That she does not need my help.  So, sister, why would the King arrest you and send you to the Tower without any pause?"  He was shaking his head in disbelief as he continued surveying the room.

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She stayed seated too tired to stand up. 

he knows nothing 

"Who told you?" She asked him quietly. "Come and sit. I am afraid my surroundings are limited so at least be warmed. I have nothing to offer. Poppy has gone to the Palace to gather up things so we are quite alone."

"And as to what has happened .... I am unsure just what to tell you."

Buckingham had said nothing on this. What was she supposed to SAY that is. The story as she had told it which was Truth or to pick and choose.

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"It i bloody cold in here," Richard grumbled.  "I think it was one of Buckingham's servant that delivered the message," he recalled.  "Why Buckingham?"  He would have thought Blount or the Constable would send notice.  Maybe they did.

"What do you mean you are unsure," he stared in disbelief.  "Out with it Davina!  This has to be more than stealing cutlery from the palace.  I need to know.  Our family honor is at stake."


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how do I begin to explain in such a manner that you will first BELIEVE me Innocent and without out malicious intent? And that me here is but a temporary measure to try to flush them out. And that 'My Honor and Reputation' will not suffer. 

"Please sit down. It is not a thing that I can rush."

She would wait until he had settled himself then in a voice absent of emotions (for she was all used up in that department) tell him.

"Please let me say it all."

"Buckingham was not my first choice but then I realized that there was only one person that had Power and the capabilities to call in whomever was needed. I am going to tell you everything - even if it goes against what I should not. Too keep secrets - at least from you -  at this point is foolish and I think that His Grace will understand. And what you hear must not leave this room."

She pitched her voice lower and they were close enough that he would hear her. She knew that eyes and ears lived in many places even in here.

"A little while ago I received a note asking me to meet at The Queen's Chapel. I had made no appointments and so I was curious. The choice of location was odd as well. I took Poppy and borrowed two of your men and they were placed about me. I was soon joined by an elderly woman who I do not know. She then proceeded to question me - asking if I were a "Good daughter of the Church" and then about how all the sufferings and who was to blame ..... how I had been watched and was now thought to be perfect to do a little task."

"In short I was to cause harm to the Queen to make her lose the baby - another placed in thru the kitchens was to help me. As you will suspect I was frightened and thought to flee but then, in a moment of pure foolishness, I thought I might play 'spy' and discover more. I pointed out there was a flaw in their plans as I had no contact with the Queen at this time and certainly no access to how her meals were prepared."

"And that she had best go back to her Master and think again. She left and your two men followed and saw her getting into a coach that was blue but they lost her amongst all the traffic in the streets."

"Then I found a small bottle in my rooms. Someone had entered and put it there and the intent was clear. I have no idea what the contents were but I could make a guess. I was afraid. Truly. And the idea that someone came into my rooms and was also watching me made it worse."

"I was so far over my head. I had thought that I was so smart and being so adept here at Court I could easily find out more and thus expose the whole Plot and those involved."

"I was everything that Buckingham accused me of being. I sent a note to Kingston asking to meet and then thru him to get to the Duke. But Kingston was out and so I was taken to the Duke who was curious as to why I was after Kingston. I then laid it all out. And he then went to His Majesty. Then Lady Mountjoy was brought in and she knew it all and was beyond measure. I kept saying over and over that I was innocent and had no malicious intentions. That I was NOT a part of whoever was set to cause harm. I was as ever Loyal to both their Majesties as always. She then left and the Duke returned. I tried to give him my badge but he refused."

"He told me that the choice to come here was mine. That I was to play two sides against the other in the hops that I would be sought out in here."

"That I would be given instructions by those engaged for that business but was not to imagine that I could be so foolish as to think I would do it alone.That my life was still in danger either way. That in doing this I could well prove my Loyalty."

"But most important of all I was assured by Buckingham that this is temporary and that my Reputation would be sound and without blemish."

"I made the decision to come here Richard. I made the choice to accept the offer that was given."

"And there is nothing that you can say that I have not heard already. Damn me if you will. Beat me."

"But you must believe me when I say I am innocent."

That last part held her emotions. For her Name was Everything. And she had no choice but to take the Duke by his word. 

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Richard listened to his sister's story without interruption though his eyes widened at times and his face became flushed at various points.  He was shaking his head slowly by the end, clearly in a position to second guess his sister's actions.

"So, let me understand you.  This Catholic assassin tries to recruit you and you send her on her way and have my men follow her?  You could have had them hold her until you summoned the guard to arrest her.  Our family would have been a hero and all would flock to be in our orbit."  It was clear that he was galled by her choice.

"Instead, you do nothing.  You do not come to me.  My men reported that they followed some woman for you.  I thought little of it.  Had you come to see me, I would have taken immediate action to report this plot.  You then do nothing until you receive this bottle sometime later?  How much later?  You did not warn the Mistress of the Robes there was someone in the kitchens that might poison the Queen's babe?  If the Queen had been poisoned and you not have reported what you knew, you might have been executed as a traitor Davina!  You thought to wait and see what happened?  How can you be so foolish?  Did you contact the Life Guard?  There is a group that guards the Queen.  Surely you would have warned them.  Or did you, instead, do your needlepoint while the future of this very kingdom was at mortal risk."  He started pacing the floor as an outlet for his anger.

"Then, of all the people to tell later, you write to Kingston?  Kingston?  Are you sweet on the man because he is the last you should have approached!  He attends the King and is a cousin of Buckingham.  Other than that, he defies reason.  You could have gone to the Guard, to Lady Blount, come to me so that I might protect our family, gone to the Duke of Norfolk.  At least he is family and would have sought to protect you.  You went to Buckingham!  The man owes us nothing and here you are in the Tower, like a discarded rag to attract the scent of a hungry dog."  Despite the assurances Buckingham gave Davina, Richard was sure that his sister, and their family, would be thrown on the scrap heap.

"Damnation.  Damnation.  Damnation!  Don't you see what will happen?"  He was running his hands on the hair of his temples as if to prevent his head from exploding.  "How could you be so foolish?  When word gets around , as it will, that you were part of a Catholic plot, Norfolk cannot help you.  No Catholic family can help you without being tarred as a Popish tool.  My own betrothal will be in jeopardy.  Who the Hell would be interested in marrying you?  The traitor.  We are ruined!  You stupid girl.  You have always attempted to act like you were the smart one in the family.  Well you just lost that mask.  You are the most stupid one in the family!"

He had worked himself into a highly agitated state.  Richard looked like he might cry in despair, but his male persona would not allow it.  "I need to see Norfolk.  He will tell me what must be done.  I will likely need to leave court."

He was aware he was hurting her but did not care.  She had set fire to all of his plans and the world seemed especially bleak.  He seemed to snap in his inner turmoil.  With a deep intake of breath and an exhale, a defeated voice mumbled "I will leave some money with the Constable to see to your needs."  He looked at the ground, unable to raise his gaze to meet hers.


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She had expected him to react as he had but it was still even a bit too much.

"You have stated everything that I already know. My foolishness is absolute and yet you are without concern for what happens TO ME once this is passed."

"Yet I can hardly fault you can I."

"Let me address what you have said ......"

She neither raised her voice nor changed her manner. She was all bluntness.

"Item - You will say nothing about what was said tonight. To Anyone. You will put into jeopardy plans there are already a foot to capture the mind(s) behind it all.

Item - Of course I thought of Lady Mountjoy but you do understand that she attends to the Queen and has no other mind but for that. To lay this onto her would have made it too unbearable.

Item - Life Guards -  There is Lord Langdon naturally. But just as with you and your people he would have drawn more into the circle and just how quiet could things then be kept?

Item - Kingston was simply to gain access to Buckingham. Norfolk? He is, as are you, no longer a Faithful Son of Mother Church so how could he 'help'. Catholic Families are not as forthcoming as you imagine. And your marriage is long arranged and Norfolk will not break it. You are too valuable of a tool to be discarded from whatever his Plans are for you.

Item - As for my own marriage ... it is of little consequence."

She watched him with new eyes. Determination now held sway and she would see herself thru onto the other side without incident.

"You will see no one. I suggest you adopt the attitude you are perfecting here as it is quite convincing. Naturally since we are blood kin you will not allow me to be without small niceties. Leave Court? Why - you have suffered no injury. You will denounce your foolish and stupid sister as being a female so lacking in the ways of how her sex must behave that a stint here should do much to change her ways and cause her to reflect."

"My 'arrangement' with Buckingham is just that. Mine alone. I have agreed to do as what ere I must and that will salvage my Reputation. I have to believe that in order to do what I must. Do not think that this is easy for me. I have lost all that I hold dear and only I am to blame for the actions that I took."

"But tis possible that what Buckingham told me - that my Life is now in jeopardy will benefit you - after all having a dead sister rumored to have done things is far better than a living one that constantly reminds you of it." 

She gave a ghost of a smile then.

"You should gather yourself so that when you leave EVERYONE will see you as the hurt/injured party. How many will come to your side I wonder once news is out - not only to gloat but to offer sincere sympathy and ask what might be done." 

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"See, you still have it wrong," he replied at length.  :The Mistress of Robes was to busy to bother?  Norfolk and me were no longer Catholics?  Davina, the right thing to do was warn the Queen immediately so she would not be murdered.  You were thinking, instead, of going to a Catholic that could help hunt down Catholics?  That is looney.  Then you went to Buckingham, who is less than of a Catholic than Norfolk.  I would have warned the Queen and Life Guard within minutes of you telling me of your first meeting.  Don't you see?  We would have been thanked for our service to the Crown and the Queen saved.  You would have gained favor with the Queen.  Now you are a political leper."  He shook his head as he assumed she was still blind to her duty.

:I do care about your future, even if you do not.  You are my sister.  You are my family.  It is why I am here.  I will not denounce you publicly.  It is better to say that you were sick and out of your mind, or something like that," he mumbled as he swore under his breath.  "Maybe we say you drank the poison to save the Queen, and it drove you mad."  He liked that idea.  Unfortunately, the King and Buckingham would know better.  "It would have been better to tell no one and just leave a warning note," he offered as he continued to think of alternatives she could have pursued.  In his mind, she had 101 choices and she chose the one bad one.

"I do not want you dead," he replied, even though he though her future dead, if not his own. "And stop telling me what to do!  My failure was not taking you in hand sooner.  It would have saved you.  I will do as I please, thank you very much.  You will do as I say from now on.  I will need to tell Norfolk, but no others.  He is a cunning man.  He may think of a way of saving you, and saving us."  He prayed that there was still time. "Buckingham cares not a whit for you.  Norfolk does.  Lady Norfolk was even going to wed her first born to you, for God's sake."  And you messed that up too.

"So what is Buckingham's plan then?  Pray tell."

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"You should actually THINK. I mean me going directly to the Queen, who by the way is with child in case you missed that announcement,  and tell her about a plot to kill her."

"And if I had done that and she miscarried the child what then? Do you imagine we would have been 'thanked' then?"

"Lady Mountjoy has countless things that she must see to but right now tis only Her Grace that matters. She is young after all and I am sure unprepared for what lies ahead and also worried that she has a daughter and not a son. Lady Mountjoy runs the Household and all of its Ladies. What could she have done? Her Duty is to keep the Queen as calm as possible and if I had gone to her then the Queen's side would have been set ablaze with those looking to discover. Just how quiet do you think that could be kept hmm?"

"Norfolk has publicly abandoned his Faith as have you. To the outside you are see as Church of England now. So do not lecture me on that. I have been forced to it as well and do you not think I suffer for it?"

"My what ideas you think of. Drink poison is akin to me falling on my sword I suppose if I was a man. And yes I miscalculated badly. I could have indeed done nothing but what IF something had happened and I knew but stayed silent. How much favor would I then receive once it was found out."

"Well not wanting me dead is admirable brother. The fact that you can not grasp what now must happen amazes me. You no longer have the right to tell me anything. And as for Norfolk - yes he is indeed cunning. He will immediately begin to plot how best this might serve his own intentions and he will naturally aim high. He could care less for either of us and will sacrifice at the drop of a hat to gain Advantages."

"For your own sake please do not Trust Norfolk so. His affection is of the tidal kind - it comes and goes."

"As for me marrying George .... there too you fail to see the bigger picture. Let us say that Norfolk does what many think and disinherits his son and then it goes to George and so I will be the next Duchess. Wonderful. Great. But Richard what if he does not? Who knows his true mind. Not I nor you. If I was wed to George and he is passed by then what becomes of me then? I will have to depend on my dear cousin to ensure that my future as well as my children is assured and that husband mine is also taken care of. You would wish to see me thus dependent not to mention so mis-matched in choice off husband?"

"Buckingham is for Buckingham. I imagine he cares even less than Norfolk does for my person. The saving grace so it seems is that I am now a useful tool to be used at want by both the Duke and the King. I made the choice of my own will. I AM innocent and must prove it. I must do whatever I need to wash off the dirty water and make myself clean again."

She gave a long sigh and sat back resting her head against the chair back closing her eyes.

"There is nothing to tell. I am here in the hopes that I will either be contacted or killed. I obviously do not have any Power of my own to further investigate that blue carriage  ..... how many blue carriages are there in London   ...... I am to be given 'instructions' and be aided by those I have no clue as to their identity. If I am left alive and this business of me here manages to make 'them' not suspicious and inclined to ask me again then I shall endeavor to be a useful as I can."

"THAT is how I clear my name. I can only hope that Buckingham holds true to his words. If not, well, then I shall retire from London to Matching or some other place and live a quiet life."

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The squabbles between siblings could be as bad, if not worse, than squabbles between spouses.  Still, each in turn heard out the other.  Her continued defensiveness gave him a newfound energy to fight on.

Davina tried to make excuses as to why warning the Queen directly or indirectly would have been bad, but Richard was having none of it.  He was attempting to imagine whether anyone else would believe it.

"Davina, you treat me like a simpleton, so let me try and keep this simple.  You claim you are innocent.  You are not.  The crime is not attempted assassination.  The crime is failing to do your duty in warning SOMEONE immediately.  Your duty was to protect your mistress.  Your silence did not do so.  Is that simple enough from a simpleton brother?"  He gave her a sarcastic look. 

You no longer have the right to tell me anything.

"Oh you are wrong dear sister.  I have always had the right to tell you what to do.  I am the head of the family and your senior male relative.  I have shirked my responsibility by letting you treat me the way you have.  Now that you have made a mess of things and stained the honor of our family, you will do exactly as I say.  As soon as you are released from the Tower, I am sending you home to recover your senses and reputation.  The country air might help you fully appreciate our situation."

"As for your betrothal, I will find you one.  It will not be one of the Duke's children for you have lost the appreciation for the fact that you would have been the daughter-in-law to the Duke of Norfolk, one of the most honored titles of the realm.  It mattered not whether George was legitimized.  You did not ever deserve to be a Duchess.  George will get a title in time, even if it be a barony.  His true value was lost to you amid the dark forest of your silly pickiness.  Right now, I would be lucky to find a wealthy merchant to marry you, even if you recover some of your reputation.  It shall be my primary focus at court to find you a husband that can control the haughtiness that so encircles you."

"If our only hope is Buckingham, then we are doomed.  My task is to find us new hope while you sit here waiting for conspirators to contact you.  If they do, you had better warn someone immediately.  Are we clear?" 

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"I am well aware of where my Guilt lies. I am also well aware that I have no wish to continue to fight with you."

She sat back up and her gaze was level with his. 

"I am your sister and that never changes. I am concerned for you in that your blindness to Norfolk you overlook what else is important. I am innocent of wishing for any harm to Her Majesty or of being involved in any way with those I sought to seek out by my pretense of compliance. His Majesty has, thru Buckingham, given me a means to Salvation if I survive - and I intend to."

"And I never called you a Simpleton. Merely unable to see outside the piece of paper before you."

"You are head of our House tis true. And I can not go against you. But you can not force me into a marriage. George Howard is and will always be but a creature of his mothers and we share nothing in common and that fact will never change no matter how many years pass. Norfolk's title is as you say yet I have no desire to be re-connected thru a marriage to a bastard son. As for me wanting to be a Duchess ...." She gave a small shrug. "The position open with eligible sons is limited and I am older than most of them save for one or two. You speak as if you can see the Future. Impossible even for you."

"I can not stop what endeavors you seek to undertake. How could I. But you must remember that I am forever now changed. I am a tool to be used when needed and for that I must remain in London. Being here is not a Lifetime and it is to be hoped that I am indeed reached out to. Do you imagine that there are not persons planted here to be 'eyes and ears' and that they report back not only to Buckingham but to whatever Master they serve. It's no different than the Palace. Tis but speculation on my part yet I am sure tis true enough."

"And where will you look for that 'new Hope' without causing any disruption to plans being laid? Do not I beg you lather up Buckingham. Keep yourself safe."

The sounds of voices and footsteps could be heard and soon the door was opened and Poppy entered.

"I am returned M'Lady. Nothing was amiss. I have brought some things and will go back ...."

She then saw that they were not alone and was quick to bob a curtsey to the Viscount then quietly saw the one chest and several bundles brought in as quick as possible. She took in the atmosphere and with another curtsey retreated to wait back outside the closed door.

"I was kindly received and even allowed to bring in some of my things as you see. Tomorrow I shall have a better idea of what is needed."

"Look at things this way - being sent to The Tower has been a thing suffered by many that we both know - and most of them came out unscathed. I do not know what story shall be provided but we have to stay with that."

She was suddenly very tired and felt drained as her sudden pallor would give evidence to. 

"I think tis been too much all at once. I do not think I can continue this discussion further. But you know where to find me."

Her eyes were dull and tiredness hung about her and would he be truly heartless and not care for her person as his attitude claimed?

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  • 2 weeks later...

The time for arguing about the value of a marriage to a bastard son of the Duke of Norfolk had passed.  There was little utility in further debate.  Richard was certain that the Duchess would never forgive Davina anyway.  Frankly, he had little idea what man might be interested in marrying his sister.  Someone poor enough to find her dowry attractive enough he supposed silently.

They were both spent when Poppy arrived.  It was a good opportunity to end the encounter.  That she knew she was wrong and had betrayed everyone was little solace to the Viscount.

"Yes, I know where to find you," he acknowledged as he prepared to put his tricorn hat back in place.  "Did Poppy get all of your belongings?  Do you need my men to help move a trunk or two for you?"  He awaited an answer before turning towards the door.  He paused on his way out.  Without turning back to face her he added "if I leave court, I shall go home and shall write you.  If you are released, I shall have money available to you with the Constable to see you home too."  He expected no reply so he opened the door and exited into the cold night air.

As the gate of the Tower closed behind him, Richard stared at the coach awaiting him.  He took a parting glance at the foreboding walls envying the men of politics that would know what best to do.  He was not trained in this sort of intrigue.  Yet he had faith in the Duke of Norfolk, his future father-in-law, to sort out the mess.

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"For now." She answered back. "I do not really know what I may or may not do. I am sure I will be told if I am over-stepping."

"How can I not be reminded that I am, after all, a prisoner much as everyone else. And I shall take your offer if allowed to."

He turned away both so it seemed physically and emotionally from her yet his parting words gave her some comforts.

"God be with you  ..." She said quietly unknowing if he even heard.

She hoped he would not do all the things he had said he would do but she had no way of stopping him. If he indeed involved Norfolk as well as any others he might well find himself on the wrong side of Buckingham or perhaps even further endanger her own Life.

A long sigh and she called out for Poppy and then stood. Tiredness was great but she needed to set some order to this space and then, well, whatever was to happen would.

She did need however to set to paper a few things and see them delivered over the next days to come. 


A few hours later there was improvement in the surroundings and Poppy had once again managed to acquire several needed things and even arranged for food to be brought in ..... bribes worked the same matter where  ..... but she had no appetite and simply drank the goblet of mulled wine that was simmering in the small black pot that was hung by a hook to one side of the open hearth. Changed out of her worn clothing and sponged down as best they could she was at least comfortable in her dressing gown settled close to the fire that added some cheer to the room. It was not as bad as she had imagined and the addition of a sea coal brazer that burned warmth near to the place they would both sleep had taken some of the chill away but the cold seeped in nevertheless never far away.

Poppy busied herself in moving the trunk and setting up a workable area and she had hung a chemise over a chair by the fire to warm ready for her Mistress to slip into to sleep. As for herself she was well enough. Yet for all her Bravado she was frightened and unsure on what lay ahead. So far things had gone their way but that was sure to change. Uncharted territory and the men here were dark and brooding and some not like to be swayed by any of her 'tricks' but she would do what ere was needed. Her gaze went to the figure that sat rather slumped in a chair one hand holding a goblet the other fingering a few strands of dark hair which was a habit left from childhood but was a thing done when worried. Tomorrow was another day and what that would bring she had no clue but one thing was sure - it would be but a repeat of this one and that would happen for as long as they were here - and she wondered if they would be allowed out to walk the area by the Church or some other place perhaps. And she also wondered who, if any, would come here. 

Friend of Foe? To Mock or to Help?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wednesday  Morning Continued ....

She had dozed a bit and then Poppy had risen and so the day had begun. She had sent her maid to see what was on offer to break their fast but she was back in  moments causing her Mistress to ask what was wrong.

"This." Poppy said and from her skirts unrolled two things and set them on the table. "They were outside the door when I opened it. No one about. They must have been put there by someone but who?"

Davina stated at the items then took up the beads her fingers going over the surface.

"Amber and clearly of good quality and the cross however small is as well. Whoever has sent them tis clear a message contained therein."

"Can this be from those that contacted me before? it is also possible that there are others' that are Catholic here and do this is but an offering of Hope?"

"Either way I do no think tis wise to have them in sight and even of more import if we are searched and they are found then that can be an accusation of harboring things banned."

Poppy sat in the other chair and gave a sigh.

"Either way we have no clue but I agree that to leave them here is too great a risk. I shall take them with me back to Whitehall and see them placed with all the things going to Matching. You have been made to put one a show of Conversion but there are none that suspect that we practice in secret when we can unless you have spoken of it to those close to you?"

 "No. I had told none about my private devotions not even my brother. Everyone thinks I am like him and Norfolk and my own actions benefit from that thought as well."

"Whoever is now playing this we do not know but I will not let it sway me back into fear. I shall be steadfast in my determination to seek out those who have put me here and see them brought to Justice and my Name restored."

"Fetch that scrape of brocade I was working on and wrap them up in that securely. They are small enough that you should be able to see them hidden away in one of the chests as you say."

She watched as Poppy did as told and was able to slip it into her side pocket oh her skirts where it was undetectable as she moved.

"After we have eaten and you had helped me to dress go on your way to Whitehall and finish there."

"I have four letters I need you to deliver in Person. You are familiar to them all and I do not think that Lady Mountjoy would refuse to see you for a few moments. The Duchess and Lady Susan are in one letter so go to the Duchess. Lady Toledo to the Embassy and my cousin to her residence."

"I made an excuse of needing to leave London of a sudden but it was light enough I think to not cause any suspicions."

"Keep your ears open for any news that might have been put out about me  ..... Buckingham did not say if it would be leaked by his side or given out to another or perhaps even not at all  that I am here - but it could well be from someone here inside this place as well."

"This is a Game after all and I am merely a pawn and so must wait to see who the Players are and who will move first."

"I am thinking the first move had been done by what was left outside the door. And so now we wait."

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  • 2 months later...

Wednesday Afternoon Continued .....

She had not been 'allowed' to traverse the area outside her room and so all she could do was stare out from the windows or, as she was now, seat herself and take advantage of the sunlight whilst working away at her embroidery. The patten stretched on her frame was an unfinished one from months ago that had been set aside as she had grown bored with the pattern but now there was no excuse to not continue it. Dressed with simplicity in something she'd have worn at home it had none of the frills or elegance of a "Court Gown" nor did it sparks or shine from embellishments. A soft carnation (pink) woolen with its skirts attached and she had left off her stays as there was no real reason for them - there was none to see her anyway and if by some chance someone arrived then she'd simply drape a thin shawl across her shoulders. A small built fire burned in the hearth for even with the sun the room held a chill that never seemed to go away. That she was far lucky then so many trapped here she knew full well.

She was growing more used to the sounds that came from all directions and now and then she could hear a cry from out on The River as boatmen called out or someone plied their trade in passing. This time of day traffic would be heavy and Poppy would be delayed in returning. She wondered if anything was being said but then she supposed that were true she'd have had at least one visitor besides her loving brother once he had heard the news. But was she still in his heart after they least meeting? And even if she was would he want to involve himself in coming here. And how was he to explain it if asked  .....

She sipped from her goblet glad that Poppy had had the foresight to pack up all the bottles of wine yet unopened and bring them. What passed for wine that they paid enough for was hardly drinkable but she would not waste the good either so was determined to drink sparingly. She knew she would lose weight as well for they no longer had access to Whitehalls kitchens and the every ready foods. But it was still possible to bring in bought foods found amongst the lanes near The Tower and Poppy would soon have it all remembered. She stuck her needle in the linen and rose going to the two sets of windows behind her. She could see towards the Church and the green grass and if she listened hard enough the sounds of animals from the Zoo were heard drifting on the breeze. Her eyes went to the scratches on a few of the glass panes wondering who had made it and what had happened to them. Tracing some with the tip of a finger absently her thoughts drifted off as they always seem to do as she continued to try to come up with a plan but without knowing when she might be contacted by Buckingham's people or some of the others' she could only be half-hearted in design.

She worried about her brother and his boasting of going to Norfolk and telling everything thinking that would actually be a Benefit. The Duke would expect a heavy price in return and her brother seemed unwilling to believe that was true. Yet he was now firmly aligned in that Faction as he was soon to wed Catherine and it was expected he would be Loyal and do as commanded. But was she too expected to fall in with that? She had no wish yet she was a woman and that made her useful only to a point and now with all of this she doubted that the Duke would be amused if she balked. Buckingham might well step in just for amusements sake but there too it was only for his own agenda. 

It was at times like this that she bemoaned being born a woman. Just imagine what she might accomplish if she had been a MAN!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thursday Morning  

It was the chill that greeted them firstly. No matter how brightly the fire burned its warmth never went far enough to take it away. Luckily she had been allowed to have her things about so her makeshift bed was warm enough and she had made sure that Poppy was as well. Her maid had returned the day before from her visit back to Whitehall attending to things still related to the shutting up her apartment there and sending the last of her things to the townhouse of her brother. The Viscount made no gesture of greeting her and indeed seemed inclined to growl a bit as she took things upstairs. Luckily she was familiar enough with him not to take offense and she had curtsied as she always did and then took herself off. It would be a miracle if they all remained untouched and not send off to the country!

Davina, in her woolen dressing gown and furred slippers, stood looking out the windows as the scene there was shrouded in mist that only added to the overall scary effects of this place. She sipped her mulled wine from the night before reheated so she might break her fast and east some of the bread and cheese and thus plan her day. She smiled a bit at the joke for she had no say of how it was to go. She had been told that today she would be allowed to partake of the air outside and it was a Gift indeed and one she would use to the fullest. Poppy had said that there still seemed no word on her being there made Public - not even by rumor amongst any off the servants or others' that had seen her there. Several of the other Maids had cast curious glances at her but none made any move to ask outright. Her absence would have been noted by now by those she was closest to but they all knew to play the Game for association with someone with even the smallest amount of dust about them could well drag others into it. 

Poppy poked at the fire adding two more of the precious logs that they must pay for mumbling all the while about the injustices of it all  .....

"It is no matter really. I have enough in the way of monies so do not skip on things we need. And yes I know that we must also think ahead but for now let us be made comfortable as we can. Tis possible that I might well be moved to another cell for there is no guarantee after all of 'kindness."

'Did my brother say anything or was it all scowling?"

"Nothing. But that can be a good thing as well. He has let you have your things there and I am sure that Lady Catherine, his wife to be, does not approve and no doubt once His Grace the Duke of Norfolk learns they will all go up in smoke on her command."

Poppy's feelings about the soon to be Viscountess were well know to Davina and she just smiled at the words adding no corrections.

"Well that Lady is Norfolks daughter after all and she expects my Brother to run a household that is as Pure as she is. I will win no favor from that quarter. But let us leave off that shall we. Do you think I should sent my letter to Langdon ...."

"Yes of course My Lady! Then he will make a mad dash to see you and rescue you from this horrible place."

Poppy reply was clearly sarcasm at the nonsense of a question.

"Indeed. Indeed. " She gave a small sigh. "I do not like doing nothing but my hands are tied by Buckingham. Patience is a hard thing when I am so wanting to seek out those responsible ..... But I have little choice. Have you seen anything else that looks like it was left by someone?"

Poppy shook her head adding that 

"Just those first things. Maybe twas a test of some kind by those wanting to catch you using them. That would not surprise me at all and so we should take more caution ."

"We do nothing suspicious now but I think as you. But I shall be glad to be outside even in that weather. Perhaps the sun will shine after all."

She turned back to the windows one finger messing aside the fogged up pane.

 "Come help me dress so I am ready to go out ..."

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It was late morning that found Charles arriving at the Tower.  He had learned that Davina was held there but none of the details had been shared.

This season had been spent saving ladies, helping ghosts, Savoyard intrigues, and solving mysteries.  What was one more mission?  That this was Davina in trouble, it made things personal.

He had no difficulty entering the fortress, being an officer in the King's Life Guard.  It did not take long before he could visit the officer of the watch to learn where Davina was assigned and what sort of crime had triggered her imprisonment.  When last they met, Davina was trying saying goodbye.  He assumed she was dying from some lingering illness; but, perhaps she had done something crazy, like Darlene had.  He was beginning to think that, when ladies became ill, they did something looney.  Had she attempted to try and stab someone like Darlene?

At last, he saw Davina out for a walk on the grounds.  He moved in her direction in an unhurried manner so as to not draw any undue notice from the guards.  He hoped to maneuver her somewhere private.

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Dressed in dove grey without much adornment that was far removed from her Court Attire. No headdress or hat just the single long braid that she had adapted over the past few days for convince sake and her flat boots. A guard trailed behind at a distance that afforded her privacy yet was close enough to reach her if needed. She had walked towards the Chapel and thought about going in but then turned away to stare across the courtyard at the White Tower that rose into the air where the mist lingered still and every now and then some sunlight peeked through. She had not ever seen this place save for the Zoo and its captive animals and yet she drew a comparison to those creatures in her own confinement. There was noise here too for the open spaces caught the sounds from The River and there were many that moved about inside the walls which surprised her a bit for she had not seen this as a place of  'residence' yet it was just that as well.

Her thoughts were interrupted by her maids sudden intake of breath and she turned eyes widening at the person she saw.

"How is this possible ...." She whispered as they drew closer to where she stood.

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Moving up to Davina and her maid, Charles maintained a formal demeanor, knowing that they were under observation.  He thought Poppy would be dismissed but did not expect it.

"My lady," Charles greeted his former sweetheart.  "What has happened?  How did this imprisonment come about?"  He had many more questions, but withheld them so as to not overwhelm her at one time.

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What she had hoped for had somehow appeared before her and so she did nothing but stare at him for a few moments then dipped a curtsey in greeting then recovered herself to speak in more of a whisper than her normal tones.

"Lord Langdon ... Charles .... How did you know I was here? Who told you?"

She was aware of her guard and with a 'look' to Poppy who stepped a few paces away as if giving privacy she then moved a bit closer to that person where she would try her best to occupy his thoughts.

"Please. Walk with me so that we draw little attention but I think that will not be entirely possible. Much has indeed happened and I do not know how or where to begin. I shall begin by saying that tis my own fault for I was foolish in thinking that I was experienced and could deal with everything."

She had set the pace of a slow stroll and walked without touching him her gaze focused ahead and a small smile playing about her mouth. She was indeed practiced well enough at the many 'faces' one had to wear about Court so this impression was designed to make it look like nothing but casual conversation.

He would be able to see that at once.

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"I am an officer of the Guard after all," he replied, as if that might answer everything.  It had been one of his men in the Queen's Guard that reported it.

"You were acting strange when last we met," the young officer noted aloud.  "I thought something was wrong.  Tell me what happened and I will report that I interrogated you," he encouraged.

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She nodded her head at his words ...

"Yes. Of course that was how. So now I know that it is not made 'Public'. "

A small sigh followed then she stopped and turned to face him directly.

"I will tell you everything from start to now but you must let me say it straight please do not interrupt."

Turning away she continued to walk at that same slow pace every now and then her hands making a gesture as she told him her Story. *

"And so now here I am. At Buckingham's command and I must obey for it is imperative that my Name and Reputation be cleared."

"I wanted to try to find that blue carriage on my own but I was told by the Duke that that was an impossibility and I would be 'contacted' here by those I suppose he controls as well or, well, I have no idea."

"I have had one small thing occur - someone placed a small gold cross and a rosary outside my door and thankfully Poppy saw it and took it to me. I have had her secret it away to bury in one of my chests that now reside with my brother."

"Tis obvious that it is a trap - to test me either regarding if I still remain a "True Daughter of The Church' or it was put there in the hopes that I will be caught practicing in secret ......"

"My brother came here and was not happy. Calling me foolish and stupid and then carrying on how he will go to Norfolk despite my warning him to not cross Buckingham. I have no idea if he will actually do that but he is soon to wed Norfolk's daughter Catherine so he too is now a pawn to be used how ever the Duke wishes. Baintree does not see that and just imagines his rise to Greatness thru that marriage."

"Now I suppose you will carry on the same as Baintree? I know I was foolish to think I could deal with this alone. I know I have given myself over to Buckingham but I went to him, as I have said, simply because HE has power. Yet has made it clear that I am still in danger from whoever is pulling the strings and that I could be killed either way but I can not allow myself to be defeated. I am Loyal. I am innocent of any actual idea to harm. I Must prove that I had no part in the attempt to harm The Queen or her child."

"And I have lost my Position as well. Buckingham would not take my badge saying that it  was not his place. So I will send it to Lady Mountjoy. Me not going to her first has caused the two of us to fall out. She thinks I see her as unreliable and not able to have done anything."

"She thinks that I am guilty .... I tried to make her understand - was it just a few days ago? But I do not think she will ever forgive me even if it is prov'd I am innocent."

Her voice hard grown a bit wobbly and he would see that she was close to tears. And if he looked closely at her he would see just how fragile she was looking.

"Can you understand?"

She expected him to react in the same way as her brother had but her heart holds the hope that he will react as Baintree but then offer comfort and assure her that despite the fact that she would never be able to see an ending and clear her name he would be beside her.



  * (I'm not gong to retell all of it here as its just too much)

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He was silent as they walked, withholding judgment.  She was clearly in distress and in need of more support than criticism.

"I believe you Davina.  I know your heart.  You would never harm the Queen.  I have not known you to be a religious zealot in any manner, and only a zealot would entertain something so ... monstrous.  You are a good and kind person and, in me, you have a good friend."  He hoped that she would be comforted by his words.

"I do not mean to criticize, but you could have trusted me with this and I would have protected you."  He was dumbfounded and hurt that she did not tell him in time for him to save her, but he hid his disappointment as well as he could.  "But it is not too late for me to help you," he assured her without a clear idea how he might do so.

"Just as you advised Baintree, you must not trust the Duke.  You are nothing to Buckingham.  He would abandon you at the first breeze of opportunity.  In fact, I do not know that you can trust anyone ... other than me.  Is there some other friend that I might enlist in your defense?" he inquired.

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She stopped at his words and one hand went to his arm resting there. She closed her eyes for a few moments then looked up at him with a watery smile.

"Of course I am innocent! But tis good to hear those words - I have felt like no matter who listens or how long they have known me I will be found guilty afore I can prove otherwise."

"You were indeed one that I wanted to go to firstly but I hesitated simply because I knew that you would have to bring in others' to help - and yes I know that you command many but this is such a delicate thing - I could not risk that."

"I had no intent to hurt you Charles. Honestly." Her fingers applied some pressure to his arm. "Please believe that. You are dear unto my heart and I will not risk you being caught up in this."

"I t was a very short list and finally I saw that only Buckingham had the Power and Means."

She took up their pace again not wanting to draw attention.

"I do not want to involve anyone as I have said. I needs must see this through to its end however that may be,"

"But I know that you will not accept that so I shall take your aid but it must be done in silence. Can you promise that?"

"Do not worry I am not like Baintree. We are kin to Norfolk and he heads the Family that tis true and so my Respect goes to that. Plus I am not 'in favor' because I dared to say 'N0' to his Duchess in her attempt to marry me off to her son George. So this added to that ..."

She shook her dark head.

"I am like as abandoned or soon will be! And Baintree knows the way the wind blows so he is hardly likely to put himself in he Duke's black book."

"But I have to think that Buckingham will not prove false in his words to me. I have Faith that His Majesty will see that I am truly innocent and will see me restored."

"And as for my defense, well, as I have said I can not bring others' into this. No." She held up a hand to quell a reply. "This is something that only I will be in. I must wait here until I am contacted for however long that may be."

"How is The Queen? She is near to her time and I have no way to know what is going on." 

"You must not stay long".

Her gaze traveled ahead and looked to the sides but she could see nothing odd but then again she had never been inside like this before. 

"I would take you back to my 'cell' if it were possible. Just to be held close and safe in your arms even for a tiny space of time   ....."

She whispered leaning into his side breathing in the scent of him.

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Davina's reasoning did not resonate with the young officer; but, unlike others, he gave no voice to it.  What was done was done.  There had been many better options than the one she used, at least in his mind, but there was little purpose in criticizing it.  In his own mind, he would have found the culprit woman and had her arrested.  A light blue coach was unusual and his men might notice one around London.  It was not much but it might have succeeded if he had learned of this earlier.

"i will try to operate quietly," he replied but did not promise.  "The Queen knows nothing of this.  She is best to stay ignorant of this until well after the child is delivered and she has recovered, but I will not make the choice.  Others will decide."

Davina was all alone and she wanted him to return to her cell to give her a hug.  He desperately wanted to give her comfort but knew he was at the center of scrutiny at the moment.  "I should like that very much," he whispered, "but it would be foolish for us to show you too much affection openly.  People will be less likely to believe me if they know how dear you are to me.  Our past must never surface openly.  When you are back in your cell, wrap your arms around yourself and know it is me hugging you.  Feel my presence beside you as you struggle to sleep.  Once you are free of here, we will find secret ways to meet," he assured her.  "You could hide in Bagshot for a time, or I could arrange a room in Dorchester House if you need lodging in London and your brother is unwilling to provide it," he offered quietly.

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He did not scold or berate and for that she was grateful. Yet she thinks he is somehow upset still at how she did not naturally turn to him first.

"Thank You. I shall be grateful indeed for your help." 

"Well I did not think that she had been made aware - no one is willing to risk upsetting her at this stage which is of course how it must be."

"But I am assured now. And when she does hear of it perhaps Lady Mountjoy will speak of it despite her dislike of me for that Lady knows full well the words and manner to best apply."

"She is another that I wish to make my sincerity seen as Truthful. But for now I do not think it will come soon."

Davina stopped and turn to look at him and could not help the small laugh that escaped.

"I was not intending for us to actually do that. No matter the desire I have for comfort and the longing to be held."

He spoke then of how they must always remain a secret and then of how they might continue to contrive to meet. But what they had shared was now in the past - and she did not think that she would ever return to his bed. She was forever changed and her path ahead was going in a far different direction in which she must learn to play new rolés and gather information to be passed on. She was no longer a Maid of Honor but simply a daughter of a dead Viscount who held family connections to the powerful Norfolk. She was meant to be used. She knew that and had freely committed herself. Yet deep inside she was scared and unsure of just what lay ahead and of all that would be asked of her. This place was much as Whitehall - full of eyes and ears always watching and it made her nervous although she was learning to hide that.

"I shall do as you suggest then Charles and think of you."

"Let us retrace our steps then. And as for where I am to go once freed I have no idea. I suppose Buckingham or some other in his employ shall pass that on. If I am released without any evidence I can not return to my rooms at the Palace for I have already seen my things removed. I wrote to several with excuses that I have been called away and I think twas believable enough so mayhap I shall to Matching? Or Baintree may demand I stay under his eye ...."

"Your offer is appreciated but how can I involve you in that? If word is put out that I am in in disgrace tis best for all that know me to stay away."

"Besides I do not want to have you muddied for you have Position and Title that must be protected."

She walked on silent for a few moments.

"I wonder if the Sun will shine today?"

Deliberate in her change of topic it would help to ease his departure and her being alone again. She could see Poppy in conversation with her guard and so was assured that nothing of note would be reported on. 

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There was no happiness in their conversation.  It seemed especially gloomy and Charles attempted to think of something optimistic to say, but nothing came to mind.  'Things will be better afore long," he attempted to assure her.

"I can keep my distance and still help you," he added as Davina tried to distance herself from him.  "I can arrange a room in Dorchester House if you find yourself without assistance.  My ward owns the house."  He supposed Richard would take care of her, but there was a chance he would cast her out.  "Write me if you need assistance but assume someone may read the letter en route so choose your words carefully," he advised.

They walked back towards the gate.  "I will bid you farewell formally," he warned.  "I fear the sun hides from your sadness."  He looked into the overcast sky.  London rarely saw the sun these days.

In the end, he took his leave formally, as if he had been questioning her.  He could only hope that she would be released soon.

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That he was hurt she knew and so tried to help ease that.

"Thank you for coming here. Your visit has cheered me. Honestly. Tis so easy to fall into Melancholy here."

"No matter your involvement I must again stress that You re not to linger about me if things get worse. You offer is generous and I will keep it in mind."

She had no intention of taking him up on his offer to house her. She herself had no clue as to where she was to go but it would not be to anyone of her acquaintance for she would not bring any badness onto them.

"I will send you word thru Poppy but as you say that may not always be possible. But I shall discover a way so that nothing can be discerned if discovered."

They reached the end of their walk and he made to take his leave.

"Ah but the sun will shine for you have been  .... how could it not!"

She offered him a small smile and a proper curtsey watching as he walked away. Poppy came to her side and took her arm leading her towards a few benches set beside the Chapel adding in a louder voice so that the guard would hear

"Sit here M'Lady  ... you look quite pale. Did he upset you then ..."

She continued to prattle on with nonsense designed to give her Mistress time to gather herself together. How long they would  be allowed to remain outside they did not know.

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