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Assignation at Midnight, 12 AM, 16th September

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Winchester Tower

Over looking the Northern Terrace, connected by turrets left and right to the other buildings, and more importantly to the Round Tower in the Middle Ward, stood Winchester Tower. Inside were several guards rooms and other usually unoccupied apartments.



Having acknowledged, briefly considered, and then deliberately neglected the advice of his new friend Lord Dundarg on the matter of touching a relation of royalty, James O’Neill was waiting as promised at the walkway between the Winchester Tower and the rest of the Middle Ward. His father’s spy was sound asleep, and he had slipped out unaccosted. According to his pocket watch, when he had left his quarters half-way across the palace, it had been fifteen minutes to midnight.

The poet held a lantern in one hand and pulled from a flask in the other, a spot of Madeira and a warm cloak being enough to keep the autumn chill out. It was occurring to him now that he ought to have surveyed the tower earlier, rather than rely on the rumor that it had a number of unoccupied apartments, but hindsight had been no match for the allure of an evening on the town. The card table was ever a powerful draw for him.

A similar rush was to be found in the risky games men and women played with one another (or between men and men – James was no stranger to the Italian vice), a sentiment that he suspected Lily von Seitz – dark-haired, fair-skinned, and somewhat demanding in her attentions – of sharing. Of course, it could have been that the girl was simply a tease, but therein was one of the risks. One had to play to win.

James’ forest green eyes looked towards the Round Tower, awaiting his prospective companion with an uneasy smile on his face, thinking back to the poetry of Carew which he had alluded to. If thou but show thy face again, When darkness doth at midnight reign...* If by some misfortune he was waylaid, a lie had already been prepared in his head. Why, sirs, I’m simply awaiting message from Brooke to deliver to some on Ormonde’s staff. Sleep is a luxury those lofty men cannot afford.


*From Thomas Carew's A Beautiful Mistress

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  • 2 weeks later...

She was all a quiver in anticipation so much so that she became a bit lost and had to back track to her original point.

He had said the Northern Terrace but which way was that? She could hardly ask anyone that she ran into! So she simply looked for a tower that was round and at last she was there. And there it was - the walkway he had said she would see - and the soft glow of a lantern marked the spot.

She slowed her steps the better to observe him. He wore a cloak for warmth and she wondered what he had on underneath. She was pleased to see he also wore a smile. It would all go so much better if he was eager from the start but she suspects that he will need no urging. But then she had been sadly disappointed on more than one occasion by the lengths of vocabulary and the lack to it where it truly mattered.

He might hear her approach  .......

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  • 2 weeks later...

The breeze lapped coolly at his exposed skin, warring thus for dominance with the sticky-sweet warmth of the Madeira and the woolen cloak draped loosely about him. Coupled with the anticipation of what may have been to come, James couldn’t help but finally, truly feel that the hard-fought independence of the recess had culminated in what he bloody well deserved - the sensation of being alive, dynamic, and free.

His jaw had begun to tense, tightening like the staccato beat that he driven him from place to place, conversation to conversation to this potential liaison. Gazing up at the Winchester Tower, he had settled internally on the floor above where he had thought to enter as offering a likely bit of privacy, judging by the small number of lit windows. Finding this satisfactory, the poet pocketed his flask, and – there it was. Footsteps, faintly feminine.

His pivot was cautious, not having yet put Dundarg’s warning of scandal (and the memories of being nigh-dragged from the company of Mistress Constance) entirely out of mind, but as he caught sight of Lily von Seitz, the tension in his jaw eased and his smile widened. “Maze of a bloody castle, isn’t it?” The poet asked, voicing the first arbitrary thought which came to mind. “But not enough to prove an obstacle towards our promised lessons, hm? And to think I feared that I cut short a night in town for naught.”

Instinctively, James tugged at his cravat, loosening it somewhat – he had not seen fit to change, only shed a court sword and jewelry. He fell in besides Lily, searching for those fierce eyes from earlier as his free hand slipped towards the small of her back, hoping to lead her into the Tower. “Up there,” he murmured, leaning in towards the young lady as he gestured with the lantern. “Where the lights are fewer – I should think we can find a quiet spot.”

They both wanted this, he had thought at the bookstore. Pleasing, for my talents here to not have dulled entirely.

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She gave him a smile pleased that HE was taking charge from the start. She followed his lantern direction and the touch of his hand on her back made her shiver.

"I like a man who has things planned. It saves time."

Oh. Did that mean that he had not actually prepared a place? Was she expected to simply spread herself out on some dirty blanket on the cold floor? 

"You think? I like not the way that sounds  .... it means no warmth from a fire or a bed soft with fur blankets  ......"

He might well see her small pout but also the tone of her voice.

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James’ smirk first perked up, then creased itself. It was not in his nature to plan, not even – or perhaps particularly, depending on perspective – for this sort of…endeavor. He huffed a little laugh, jaw tensing again in the absence of a free hand with which to run through his hair.

Some men were, in the face of all reason, susceptible to a pout. Mayhaps that was a difference between him and Dundarg – James thirsted for approval, for glamor, for the ardour of the men and women he drew close to, and a bit of petulance touched upon that nerve. “There are extra rooms there for guards, perhaps stewards…the important staff of lesser dignitaries, maybe,” he reassured Lily. “They will be appointed accordingly.”

Or so he hoped. The poet was suddenly envisioning himself having to break into a guard’s quarters, barricading the door to all comers. A comical, if unideal, mental image.

“Come, ‘twill be an adventure. We have light –“ A glance at the lantern. James's measured footsteps picked up somewhat as they neared the Tower, and the fingers at the small of her back idly made an upwards motion across her spine, hoping to be both teasing and reassuring. “Good Madeira, and what warmth His Majesty’s servants have not provided for us…”

The glimmer in his green eyes grew briefly lascivious as he peered back at Lily, leaning in from the side so that he might murmur into her ear, “Surely can be…made up for, hm?”

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He did sound convincing  ......

And when he said that word adventure well that changed everything!

"Well .... " She offered up a smaller pout this time. "Then lead on. And the light is good enough since we do not want attentions do we?"

She smiled up at him and then he leaned in to whisper about how seeking some accommodation might well be fun in of itself.

"I am chilly and the sooner we find that the better. I shall take ages to warm up ....."

She edged herself closer to his side both for warmth and to remain as hidden as possible if they should encounter others'.

It would seem that despite the lack of his planning this Irishman was not short of ideas.

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The hand that brushed up against Lily's back stopped in its errant searching, so that James might then drape his cloak around her as she drew near and then wrap his arm around her side. They were already together, and near enough that an observer would likely figure out what was brewing between them, so this was not done anxiously. Indeed, he would not admit to such, but…there was something about the possibility of getting caught that lent itself well to the air of adventure.

“Ages, my lady?” James smirked, pushing open the door to the tower, pale fingers grasping the lantern so as to keep it from bumping up against the door. “You do me little credit.” His green eyes darted around the floor, hoping that the coast was clear. “Unless…”

The thrill was beginning to get to the poet as well, emboldening him, racing thoughts and thumping heart warring with what restraint he had – compartmentalized as that was to their current goal. Taking care for her footsteps to not outpace her own, he searched for a stairwell to the floor above, where he suspected there would be less presence.

“Unless a slow warming seems more desirous,” James finally added, unable to resist nearly brushing her earlobe and neck. Retreating, his eyes lingered upon her upon her lips – with her fair skin and the warmth of the wall sconces and lanterns, a strawberry in a bowl of cream – before looking back down the next hallway. “I, too, grow cold – and more eager to discover what would tailor to the lesson to the lady’s preferences.”

“What good is poetry if it is not personal?” Smirking again, he paused, checking to see first if the coast was clear. If so, he would pivot so that he might face Lily fully, free hand cupping her chin gently before attempting to steal a quick kiss, unable to resist any longer. To initiate something that had been at the back of his mind for hours now. "For good luck," he'd murmur - thinking to then set off in search of an open door or a room without light peering out from under the door. If they were alone on this floor's corridor.

Lady Fortuna, do not forsake me now. One unoccupied room, that is all I ask… Would they be able to find one, and go unnoticed?

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His gesture of giving her his cloak was smooth and polished - but one she'd already experienced from others so its value was somewhat dimmed. But his drawing her close to his body she willingly received.

"Well perhaps I am in need of more time  ... and as for your abilities that remains to be seen."

She was teasing him. It was part of how she 'judged' any new lover - responsive and appreciative of HER must meet with his own abilities to command and lead. She wasted no time on those men that wished for her to be the demanding one. 

He lead her with the lanterns light as they searched for a way upwards. His desire for physical touching was already making his current state obvious and she could not help but smile.

"Then I so must see that you are 'warmed' as well. I wonder if we might risk a fire ..."

Her words cut off by his stopping then his hand on her face as his mouth came and claimed her lips. The kiss was hardly that but it hinted at what might yet be revealed.

Her own response back was just as short but she smiled and nodded her head.

"Yes. But I think I not need to worry after that .... Let us hurry on! I do not think any are here so quick to chose a room ..."

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James could and would give as good as he got when it came to teasing. “Mu abilities?” He feigned quiet indignation, giving a dramatic scoff as he murmured, “Need I remind you, my lady, that you were the one asking for lessons? And yet I do not fret over your abilities.”

In some respects, this was his favorite part – not the most inherently pleasurable part, mind, but the most exciting. The chase itself was over, and now came the build-up, with the teasing, the brief moments of physical contact, the knowing looks and sordid quips. One could nearly taste the tension between them.

“A fire could be managed,” the poet assented quietly, once they broke apart from their brief kiss. A shallow thing, that, but it left him wanting more regardless. “But such warmth, I fear, will be insufficient. I may have to rely on you.”

Offering his hand, James began to head down the hallway, finally picking a likely-looking door. “Here we are, my lady” he declared, green eyes drifting from the room to Lily. “Your very own palace.” Much like his own quarters, albeit spartan in its décor, it was small but comfortable – the bed was made, there was firewood in place, and a chair by a desk.

Gesturing for his German lass to follow him inside, the Irishman set the lantern down on the desk for a moment, drew the curtain, and locked the door behind her. “I will attend to the fire directly, to be sure, but…” His forest green eyes lit up by the lantern, dimpled grin growing wolfish, he searched for her hands.

Trying to intertwine his fingers with hers, James looked Lily in the eye and made to guide her backwards, carefully but firmly. He sought another kiss if she were to allow it, a real one that would linger as he sought to back her against a wall, hoping to have her hands pinned as he began to explore – first her lips and mouth, then a string of kisses alongside her neck all the way up to her earlobe, where he whispered, “But the greatest poems all have an introductory verse.”

Edited by James O`Neill
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He was quick to assure her of his abilities - how like a man to boast only to disappoint later.

"You will not suffer." She smiled back full of confidence. "This I can promise."

She took his hand and followed his lead and was glad that he soon opened a door and she said a silent prayer that it was empty. A brow rose at his description as she looked around her eyes adjusting to the room. She heard the turn of the key in the door and relaxed. No unexpected arrivals to contend with was a bit of a mood killer. This was what she liked best - the aspect of being captured was a strong pull for her and she had developed almost a need for it with her lovers. Here was good.

He took her hands and his eyes found hers and then her gave THAT grin that sent her tummy aflutter. She reached the wall as his mouth found hers and a kiss began a real one this time in which she eagerly responded to. She gave him free reign as his hands began to move over her skin. Her little moans and how her body responded to him would make it very clear that she was beginning to catching fire.

"Ah ...... This is good  ...... "

She tilted her head back giving him access to her neck.

"Let me hope that this verse is not long-winded like the ones from earlier ....."

She bit her lip as he continued and hoped that soon they might remove clothing as she was feeling short of breath. Without her restrictive garments those areas of her body that were crying out for his touch might be freed.

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