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Chapel Side Thread: Davina and Henry


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OOC~  continued from the Chapel thread

Davina admitted that she had not considered the challenges to be a male.  Her anger had needed an outlet, as did his own.  Now, she seemed for amiable.

He began to smile again as she did.  Amusement was contagious.  He followed her lead playfully enough.  "What can I give you?" he answered in jest.  "Well, I have a few coins to my name and a half eaten sandwich in my room,  I'd gladly share with you cousin," he laughed in jest.

"You are in need of protection, cousin, mostly to protect against yourself," he offered lightly as he scampered after her.  Left unsaid was the fact that he believed that no one was really protecting her.  Not Norfolk and not Richard.  She was alone, surrounded by enemies.  He might be her only hope, but only if she realized the truth of her situation.  He rather liked her, and was willing to be of assistance.

"There is to be a carnival later this week.  Perhaps we might go together," he offered.

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His offer was met with a 'pfft' and a "Not good enough."

'You think me to be like a ship lost at Sea with no sails then cousin?"

She tossed over one shoulder.

"Surrounded on all sides by enemies with no hope of rescue .... oh but that is where you have placed yourself   ......."

"What if I were to say that eyes do indeed watch me  - but in secret - and I will come to no harm?"

She could give out as well has he gave and she enjoyed the by-play and what things were being left unsaid.

"Would you believe or seek to win more out of me?"

"Yes. I have heard."

"Shall we have our Fortunes told Henry? Or are you afraid of such things  ...."

Her laugh was as teasing as her words.

She would flirt with him but beyond that nothing.

There was too much going on and she could not well afford any real distractions.

Yet there was also the possibility that cousin Henry was up to no good. Was he a player as well in this Game? Had he been directed to her with the intention to deliver messages and aid or was it to disrupt and cause her to be forsaken and betrayed?  

This was what she did not like. The uncertainties that seemed to be everywhere. But she had begun this match with him and now must play her part.

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"Yes, you seem foundered cousin," he admitted before she gave a hint of being watched.  This caused his merriness to vanish briefly as he looked about.  "Who might watch over you?" he asked quietly.  "Only York has the power," he all but whispered.

In an instant, he rediscovered his merriment it seemed.  "None could protect you better than me," he boasted "and I shall win all or none from you when you realize that.  Yes, let us have our fortunes told together.  It shall be sporting.  Do you believe in such things cousin?  Do you believe in Fate, or perhaps divine purpose?"

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"You are so sure of that cousin?" She whispered back to his remark about York.

"Not everything is as it appears. Perhaps you are too long absent from Court."

Her own smile was just as quickly revived.

"You are so sure of your prowess then ...... No other at Court can best you  ....."

"There are too many to count that would gladly occupy that position. Best have a care about how much you boast."

"Let us say your goal is achieved - but do not forget in your eagerness to remember that I am no toy to be trifled with. Disappoint me Henry and suffer for it."

"Play me for a fool and you will like not the ending."

She had turned to face him so the sincerity of her words as well as her manner would leave him in no doubt of her seriousness. 

"Divine Purpose or Fate? Depends on the cards drawn."

She gave a little laugh and did a small twirl to walk ahead of him again.

"Let us then arrange to meet come opening day. I shall wear black."

"For Luck."

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"I do not boast.  I am confident.  There is a difference," he replied to her caution.

With a serious look, he nodded "not a toy.  A lady with a sharp edge then."  He was not able to keep his serious look and smiled broadly.  "Davina, you are a damsel in distress and do not acknowledge it.  You sit at your tower window and encourage me to climb.  I shall save you, and when I do, I shall claim my prize," he declared in a cocky tone.

She announced her lucky color as she moved away.  "Then I shall wear white, as your savior should.  And when we meet, at last, we shall be grey, but will it be light or dark grey I wonder?  Perhaps it will be luck that determines, or not."  He followed along dutifully to see if this talk of meeting was tto be a dismissal, or whether she wished to play further.

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She stopped mid stride at his description of her.

"A Damsel in Distress ...." She said over one shoulder. "I am hardly that. And have a care of that smile that you wear so confidently."

"It can well grow to be an irritation and one that must be removed."

"Save me will you? Again you repeat words said already. And just what do you think will be there for you to claim after you have scaled that tower?"

"Am I to give myself in gratitude to you then? As if you are some Hero fresh off a battlefield?"


She continued on with her stride her smile hidden from his view. This was what she needed - some word play to relieve her tensions and clear her head.

"You need to work harder Henry. I am a creature of Court and so have been practiced on countless times."

That he would wear white to her black was not a surprise. He fancied to play the part fully it seemed.

"Dress as you please. But what message are you sending I wonder - and the mixing of both colors can have many a meaning - shall we create light and calm or dark and intense?"

"I in black and You in white. Does dark not dominate and thus win?"

"What a sad ending to your Tale."

She knew he would follow for he was keen to play along. But she would send him away soon enough and a glance upwards made that a certainty.

Rain was not far off.

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Henry had done some research on Davina before this meeting, so he had a basis for his assertions.  He had considered being serious about her bleak prospects, but that seemed unnecessarily cruel.  Instead, humor was a way to kindle a spirit of hope in the future.  Davina, in response, seemed to convey that she held a strong position with strong prospects.  Was it a bluff, or something else?  Henry decided to play along.  If she had plenty of offers and powerful allies, then he would need to be persuaded.

"So you are not in distress then?" Henry countered.  "Life is a bowl of cherries then?"  It was clear from his tone that he did not believe it.  "Then, perhaps I am to save you from happiness and bring doom with the ascent of your tower."  He made light of the foreboding thought.

"If you have been practiced upon by courtiers, cousin, then you bid me adopt a different strategy.  Perhaps I am an agent of change in your life ... a harbinger of kismet.  Would you turn me away if I were?"  He did not answer what he expected as a prize.

"Light always dispels darkness Davina," he offered in a more serious tone as he followed after.  "Perhaps the light you have seen at court has not been bright enough." 

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She was not about to allow him to think that she was in any way desperate so kept her tone as before.

"Me? Distressed? How so? Because I have no husband? How like a man to assume that."

"You know nothing Henry of how things are arranged. Why even The Queen has an interest."

"And there are those that I cannot speak of. Plans underfoot but not yet finalized."

She was being deliberately in her baiting. She wanted him to think it was all true.

"And of course my life is not as you say. How could it be. I know of none that fit that. We all have good and bad do we not?"

"Why would you wish to save me from happiness? You have puffed yourself up as the only one to provide it and now you say tis Doom instead?"

She stopped to turn to face him folding back a stray strand of hair that the breeze had caught.

"Do not play 'Angel of Death' Henry. That part suits you ill."

"If you act as all the others' then soon I shall grow bored."

She had resumed her stroll giving a small shiver. Rain was on the way and the air had changed.

"You? An Agent?"

She gave a little laugh.

"Well all things are possible I suppose."

"So tell me then - who has sent you to see my life changed?"

"And you would offer me a brighter one then? How can a brighter light than Court exists?"

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"So it seems that there are plans to which you are privy then," he observed neutrally, unsure whether she was bluffing or not.  "It involves the Queen then?"  This made him more suspicious that she was bluffing.

She then started taking his words literally.  "I am no agent of doom, at least not for you," he clarified as he shook his head.  "Doom does not hire agents, nor do I think it personified.  I am speaking figuratively and dramatically to create contrast to your own viewpoint," he explained quickly.

"Cousin," he began as he looked to the sky as a light rain began to fall, "if you are trying to tell me that you need no help and I should not spend time in your company, you have but to say the word.  There may be other damsels in need of assistance who might be more appreciative of my time."  It was his turn to toss the challenge to her.

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"Naturally Her Majesty. Why are you doubtful? She has always had an interest in finding husbands for her unmarried Ladies. I am no different."

well not so much anymore I suppose

Was left unsaid.

"Well of course I teased how could I not? But if you wish to play at it with others then by all means do so."

"A Lady can always use help - but that too depends on the circumstances and who is offering."

"And why would I deny you my company? You may see me as often as you wish or I allow."

"But I would hate for you to neglect those damsels that might be in need of your ..... services  ....."

"Do not devote yourself to me entirely Henry. That makes me look like I do not play fair."

"Rain. As I thought." 

"Well then take me back and let us find something warm to drink beside a fire or take your leave."

"It is not like we shall not meet anymore. And besides you needs must keep to your pretense of being my 'rescuer." 

She stopped and waited for him to draw along side then slipped her arm thru his.

"Shall we?"

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Henry let her reference to the Queen go unanswered.  She had dismissed Davina from her service, so how much would she care now?

"A lady like you knows what help is needed, and knows my identity," he half-answered.  "It is good that you do not shun me, for it would be cruel," he offered in jest.  "Oh but I am prepared to devote myself to you," he insisted playfully. "Other damsels, at the moment, do not hold the same appeal.  You are kin after all."

As the rain fell, he offered his arm and turned her towards cover.  "The question is whether you would invite me to your room for a cup of hot tea ... or you prefer us to share warmth on a later day."  As always, it was the lady's choice.

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"Ah so it is to be a 'body and soul' devotion then?"

She asked as she let him lead them back.

"Once I would have been taken with that idea but now, well, it might be too much. Perhaps even preventing me from spreading my wings."

She kicked away a small stone in her path offering a quick glimpse of her stocking clad ankle.

"As to your identity  ..... well you have always been cousin Henry but now there is a new name added  ...... Where shall it all lead I can only wonder."

"How you tempt me.  But I needs must be circumspect at the moment as I am under the watchful eye of many."

"Today I shall offer you a tankard of mulled wine and a comfortable chair close by a fire."

"In Public View."

He should know that she would not offer sanctuary in Private. At least not so soon.

She gave a small chuckle to show how she understood his word play full well. She enjoyed a witty exchange and was glad that he was able to keep pace.

"You are, naturally, free to seek out that cup of tea elsewhere. But I shall nevertheless warm myself and pass some time in a restful manner."

"I am well enough in Company or Alone."

This was all fun for the present but she still did not trust him. He had appeared suddenly and seemed uninformed yet in conversation he was well knowledge'd. There was much beneath the surface that she still neededto unearth. 

Was he was friend or foe.

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"Or it could be body or soul devotion," he laughed as they walked.  She knew what he was doing.  It was a game ladies and gentlemen played for thousands of years, but had never lost its enjoyment.

"Spread wings you must," Henry countered.  "And never seek the restful path.  That is for someone in their dotage cousin.  You are yet young and vibrant."

She mentioned that she was being watched. That seemed a warning of sorts, but he did not look around.  "The way you say it, tis not a good thing.  Tell me cousin, the person watching us today  ... what will he report of you and me do you think?  And, if I join you for mulled wine in public view, what will he make of it?"  He gave her a wistful smile.

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"So you agree then? Odd. I had thought you were of a mind that I needs must settle myself in Marriage. Was that not what we spoke on earlier?"

"But no matter. The choices are mine after all."

He should read between the lines - he can flatter and charms all he wants but she will not be swayed so easily.

"Just one person watches ..."

She gave a small sweep out in front of them with her free hand.

"See you what is before us. How many do you count? Everyone watches Everyone. Speculates. Calculates. Plots. Schemes."

"That is what WE do Henry."

"And as to who reports what ..." She gave a small shrug of her shoulders. "Why do you assume tis a man?"

"As for us together side by side - what will be thought is that you have been sent to check on me. That word has reached even your side of our Family of my mistreatment and losing my Position."

"That it is because I am Catholic. That it is unfair. That some protest needs must be made."

"A show of Unity for the poor treatment handed out to one who has been wronged. That I have ever been LOYAL."

"Or it will play the opposite."

"Which benefits me more Henry?"

"And what will YOU gain or lose hmmmm."

"Oh good. Now let us either separate or continue inside."

Said as they had reached back to where they had originally left from.

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"Spreading one's wings is not mutually exclusive from marriage," Henry replied.  "There are some things a woman can do alone, and there are some that could benefit from a gentleman or husband.  You are never truly free cousin, even when unmarried," he reminded her.  He was not changing his mind to agree with her.  Rather, he was encouraging a measure of initiative on her part.

Davina was an enigma to Henry.  At times she spoke as the most knowledgeable matron at court.  She spoke in riddles in tones both playful and morose.  She was a study in contrasts.  She revealed only one watched her, and then immediately switched to a view that the entire court watched her. Was she trying to signal him that someone was spying on her?  Was she changing language to throw off the watcher?  Could she be signaling him that the person watching her was a woman, and a lip-reader?  That might account for the odd turns in conversation.  Or, was this all silly nonsense?  If it was the latter, he might wonder if Davina had been broken by the dismissal.

At the end of her questions, he escorted her safely inside and paused for her direction.  "In all things cousin, I prefer the truth.  I would have you tell me the truth and let the rain fall where it may.  As for me, I think what I might gain or lose ... is you."

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She had kept her expressions relaxed and even a half smile now and then. Once under cover and at his pause she turned half towards him to whisper 

"Truth? is it not amazing how just one word manages to have so many meanings."

"Be careful Henry. The 'Truth' as you would have it may well be more than you bargained for. Might well shatter you. Leaving no escape."

Her words carried a seriousness she had not had up till this point. There was no playfulness or flirtation.

"Believe me when I advise caution. Make sure that you are indeed ready. You might well be called upon. Like I was."

She then stepped away from his side.

"Shall we then seek out a warm warmer place? My feet would appreciate being toasted as would my throat. A warm drink to chase away evils."

"And I would hear more of how I might be yours to gain or lose."

She smiled at him directly. Her words said with just the right amount of pitch so that any that were nearby might understand she was teasing.

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Another odd twist of the conversation occurred as soon as they entered cover.  She spoke of being ready and hinted at danger.  "I am ready," he replied, with only vague knowledge of the basis of her warning.  He now knew she was being watched and that she had been called upon, either by the Crown or the Mother Church.  It smacked of intrigue; but, he was schooling himself in such.

The stark voice was quickly replaced by the courtier's one, as easy as a door opening and closing.  "There are some chairs in the hallways outside the various drawing rooms, or we might enter a drawing room and see if seats near a fireplace are free."  With a glance backward at the falling rain, he added "though on a dreary day like today, it will be a battle to get one."   He was allowing her to direct him.  "There is a seat outside the kitchen that might capture some of the heat, but the stream of servants back and forth might drive us mad," he offered in jest.  "Have you a solution?"

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She gave him a steady serious look as he replied to her warning.

"Somehow I do not think you are. A false show of Bravado is to be expected naturally. By heed what I have said."

"Ah! I have not spent all these years at Court without gaining knowledge!"


She then turned in the direction of an arched doorway that led them back into the place where the Reception had been but she continued past that to follow a corridor that had several branches that one could take. They passed a servant whom she stopped and quietly gave orders to and then nodded towards the left and several doors. She chose one so it seemed at random and went inside not looking to see if he followed but sure he did. It was a small room that had a curved window a few tables as well as several rather old fashioned tall back chairs with padded cushions. Just to the right of the window was a fireplace built into the stone wall. Several carpets covered the stone floors.

"Will you set those two close to the fire   ......"

"Wine shall be brought presently and the fire will be lit as well."

"To answer your question -there as many of these smaller rooms set all over and I arrived earlier than most so had the chance to see how things were. Tis often used by anyone so it seems so I doubt any will think it unusual."

"And as we are Family it will to be that suspicious if we were interrupted. You have long been absent from Court after all cousin Henry so we but catch up on News."

She smiled across at him as she waited for the chairs to be placed as instructed.

"Is this not preferable to outside the kitchen or would you rather go there?"

She gave a small shiver for the room was without warm and if that servant did not appear very soon she would have some words to exchange.

She may not be a maid of Honor anymore but she WAS in Prince Rupert's household now and no servant would risk causing a disruption to him.

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Henry followed behind attentively, wondering how he might find his way back.  At last they reached a forgotten room.  "How is a room like this not occupied?" he asked in amazement.  The castle was overflowing with courtiers and small rooms like this might have been converted into a small bedroom.  "Far more preferable," he agreed readily.

Following Davina's instructions, Henry placed the chairs as she bade.  The room was dark and chilly as they sat and awaited a servant to bring fire.

In a low voice he whispered, listening for approaching footsteps, "no one is watching us now.  What is this all about?  You act as though something bad is about to happen."

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She rubbed her arms in impatience as she paced about the small room answering over her shoulder as she took to a chair to wait.

"Windsor is full to the brim yet I discovered, much like any Palace or Castle, there are often places that get over-looked. Our luck then that it just happened to be available."

"Well  ...."

Interrupted by a discreet scratching on the door as it was opened to admit a younger household servant who carried a tray with two glasses and a bottle that was clearly one of the many made for use by anyone occupying a place at the castle. The other carried a pail that was filled with wood scrapping and several logs which added to the few that were already stacked in the hearth. He was quick to strike a flint and soon it sprung to life. With a short bow they turned and left. Davina knew that they both observed that she and a Gentleman used this space but said nothing. It was not hard to miss the eyes that took quick glances. Anyone who had servants knew this. Nothing ever escaped the eyes of a well trained servant.

"Is it not a strange thing ..." She said stretching out her hands to the warmth. "How the smallest of fires makes one feel safe?"

"We shall have to make due with a glass rather than a tankard - I was hoping for that for then we could have heated the wine  ......"

She expected him to pour and pass.

"And I cannot vouch for the quality of the that either. Some days tis actually quite good but others not so much. Oft times it is like tossing a coin."

"Shall we place a wager then?" 

She relaxed back into her chair glad for the added comfort of the cushion but not for its lack of padding. He had asked her what was going on. She had led him on was true but again she was now faced with just how much to tell or embellish. She could hardly reveal the Plot in its entirety or the Players involved. That would be akin to setting herself on fire. And she was not about to sacrifice herself for anyone.

"Indeed we are quite safe from many prying eyes. One would think that after all this at Court one would have gotten used to that and even learned how to ignore."

"Are you skilled in that regard cousin?"

She was stalling naturally. With her mind unmade as to his true intentions she needed the time to gather her thoughts.

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They were interrupted by servants, causing the conversation to cease.  A glass of wine was poured for both and Henry held a glass in hand as he pondered the situation.

Davina was beating around the bush and failed to answer his question.  Were they still being watched?

"Am I skilled at knowing how everyone watches everyone, or skilled at ignoring it?"  He was not sure which she asked.  "I would like to think I am skilled at both," he answered quickly.  "What is it you are trying to tell me cousin?  I confess that I am beginning to doubt my skill in understanding you.  Perhaps my mind is too simple," he offered in a way to not be critical of her.  She seemed uncomfortable, even in her small talk about fire and drink.

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He was right. And she had known he would catch on to her ploys at some point.

She took the offered glass and jumped in.

"It is not that your mind is too simple. It is your sudden appearance and the timing of it."

"That is what I am questioning."

"So tell me Henry   .......... which side are you playing for? Or is it both?"

"It would be far easier to be honest now."

"Who sent you?"

She did not look at him directly but continued to stare into the flames. 

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Deftly, Davina turned the tables on Henry, just as he was about to hear her secret. There was a soft grunt at the maneuver and then he sat back in his chair as he composed an answer in his mind.

"I suppose I should say that my father sent me," he responded, with a hint of amusement.  "But that is not the answer you are likely seeking.  Saints preserve but you seem to think that everything is some conspiracy," he offered quietly.

"I have told you how I feel about harassment of the true faith.  I have stayed away from court as the fraudulent Popish Plot played itself out like a chapel that had been burned to the ground.  Things have not gotten much better it seems.  Toleration is fleeting.  The Parliament seeks to remove York based solely on his faith.  No man of the Church may hold an office, while plots are created to justify the arrest of anyone the Protestants would like to destroy.  Even the Northern Secretary was not safe.  How looney is that?" he asked as he shook his head.

"My father thought I needed to come to court. "  He shrugged.  "Then I heard that my cousin Davina had been stripped of the honor she surely deserved, another false charge no doubt.  Perhaps, I told myself, I could save her from the Protestants that preyed upon her." He sighed as he looked into her eyes.  "So, I suppose I am on your side.  Certainly not theirs." 

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He offered a rather sweet and persuasive answer ....

"Ah so you came for MY benefit then? A True knight - as you have tried to have me believe through out all our talks."

"You are not that un-schooled Henry in how Court operates! Of course plots and schemes abound daily how else would courtiers find amusements? Most are innocent and out of some imagined slights but then there are those that are not. Yes we Catholics are much endangered and some, such as Baintree and myself, have had to relinquish Beliefs in favor of others' on a Public Stage. This we have already spoke of and I assumed you understood. Laws made can be undone but there are no guarantees. Now that there is an Heir tis possible that topics will cool and tempers set aside. But there to one can not guess."

"What reason were you given by your father to come here? Was it to expand your knowledge and prepare you for a foothold? To seek an alliance thru a marriage? Did you not find it odd that he should want you to return?"

"Especially now."

"My situation had no direct effect upon your family. How did you come to hear about it? Who wrote to your father or to you? Or did you hear it bandied about in some tavern as 'common gossip'?"

"It was hardly an 'outside interest' after all."

"To assume that I needed to be rescued from those Protestants was one thing. But did it not occur to you that it might be persons at Court and not the direction you went in?"

She then turned to face him as well.

"And who's side do you think I am on then?"

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"I told you I was your true knight," Henry was quick to reply, with a smile.  He could sense that Davina's cool exterior was starting to warm.

"We heard of your downfall from the few Howard relations friendly to us that observe court.  My father's confessor heard something similar from friends in the church.  Fear not, your name is not bandied about in taverns.  I hope you will not be crestfallen to learn that very few of the people have even heard of you."  He smiled again.

"Let me be honest with you dear cousin.  My father is not liked by many Howards.  They see him as a religious zealot.  I feared that this plot nonsense would come to his door and none of our relations would speak to save him."  He gave a rueful smile.  "Your branch of the Howard clan is not full of roses either.  So, maybe there is further kinship between us.  Norfolk is less likely to invite us to a private party."

She spoke of plots aplenty and he nodded his understanding.  "Perhaps the heir will make it better.  Perhaps not," he sighed.

When she asked him what side she was on, he cocked his head, somewhat in surprise.  "You have suggested the answer already.  Outwardly an Anglican toady and inwardly, a true daughter of the Church.  Am I right?"

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Here too he offered up some plausible reasonings for coming to her aid.

"It is conceivable indeed that 'relations' would indeed have heard about my situation. Norfolks reach is wide and long all know this. So if he is removed then tell me about those other relations that are so forthcoming."

"I am curious indeed about them. They observe Court and report its happenings. But why about me - specifically?" 

"But your fathers confessor as well? How odd. He must then have friends outside his parish ..... You said from in the Church correct?"

"One has to wonder just who 'they' hear things through. Do you not find it at all odd?"

"I am full aware about the Howards close to me. I know them near better than anyone."

She had to smile a bit as his insistence of yet more kinship.

"So we are two in a pods then? I hate to delusion you Henry in your thinkings but Norfolk would sooner invite me then You. Unless he might find you useful to him."

"Would you I wonder go in that direction? If so you would not be the first or the last."

He seemed surprised by her last question and his response made her think that he might not know anything more than what he was currently selling.

"Indeed. One in Public the other in Secret."

"Was it a test? Have I passed?"

She had heard that phrase said to her before by that odd woman in the Chapel.

A 'true daughter of the Church'  was a flow of words that had been used as a means of testing her. To find out weather she would be biddable and follow orders.

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Davina expressed the view that she was much closer to Norfolk than he was led to believe.  Her words marked her as some sort of expert on the clan, which he found difficult to believe at her young age and the events of late.

"I suppose the fact that Richard married a Norfolk girl will get you an invitation," he conceded.  "I had thought Lady Norfolk ... less enamored with you," he ventured quietly, demonstrating thereby that he had some sources into the Norfolk household or closer family connections.  "No matter."  

Yet, she was correct about the Duke.  He had offered to meet with Henry, no doubt to measure him for his usefulness.  There was no reason to share that at this point.

She was concerned about the church gossip as well.  "I do not find it strange," he confessed.  "We Catholics number perhaps ten percent of the English people.  Being a persecuted minority calls for greater intelligence and fact-gathering.  If the Church does not keep its ears open for every development, lives can be lost.  A timely warning of something is quite valuable.  You were the only Catholic maid to the Queen.  Does it surprise you that many in the family and in the Church would be interested in your welfare?  They would be interested in mine as well, should I be in harms way."

Oddly, Davina asked if she had passed some test.  He cocked his head and looked at her with a quizzical expression.  "Davina, with your odd warnings and curious statements, I am left to conclude that I am the one being tested here.  If so, have I passed your scrutiny?  Can you finally tell me what this is all about?  Are you in danger?  Are they spying on you?  Am I in danger associating with you?  Is that what you are trying to tell me?"

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He did seem well informed. That still filled her with caution and she noticed that he spoke only of "Church Gossip" and offered nothing regarding those family members who spoke of matters at Court.

She decided to not keep that line of questions open. He would not give up anything so it seemed and she was weary now of this topic. Going round and round served no real purpose and so she must reach her own conclusion.

"Yes I suppose you are right. Being the only Maid of Honor was indeed a known thing amongst everyone it seems."

"Indeed Henry I have not played fair with you. I am in a position where I needs must be suspicious and your arrival aroused that."

"And as to the 'whys' I am not at liberty to discuss."

She leaned her head against the back of the chair and closed her eyes for a moment. One hand absently swirling the wine left in her glass.

"Danger? No Henry I do not imagine that you are in any danger. You have come to Court after being away so tis only natural that we should be in the company of each other. Whatever shall be construed from it I have no idea."

"As for myself .... I have always been 'spied upon' how could I not be? A position at Court comes with many gifts as well as perils and there are those that seek my favor, as well as all the Maids, in hopes of advancement. It is an accepted practice."

"Add another log to the fire please Henry  ....."

"Danger is around every corner here.  Whatever danger might befall me I must be on guard against. There are indeed plots and schemes in the wind and perhaps I find myself blown that direction."

"There is nought that you can do. I would appreciate your company despite all that has been said between us." 

She gave a small sigh and turned her head to look across at him. A small smile played about her mouth and the light from the fire cast a becoming glow to her features.

"Let us turn the topic back to other things shall we  ....... "

"I wonder what the weather shall be on Wednesday? You in white are you not and susceptible to ruination if it favors you not!"

That she would not reveal any more to him would be clear. He had to be satisfied or not.

If he was indeed just there out of genuine concern she did not want him involved. If he was himself involved in some plot then they might well be put into a position of being at odds with each other.

"It has grown warm in here now  .....  Quite cosy do you not think?

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Henry was not an unintelligent gentleman.  The words she used, and did not use, painted a picture for him.  She mentioned something of which she could not speak, which spoke volumes.

As the mood eased with Davina's eyes opening again, Henry sat back in his chair in a more relaxed fashion.  "I will aspire to a sunny day on Wednesday," he offered with a smile.  "The odds favor a cold, rainy windswept day; but, even if it happens, it will not be a dark day with you at my side."

"Norfolk wants to see me," he offered in a more serious vein.  "Shall I tell him I am ill?" he offered with a laugh.

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"Yes - light a candle or several and say a Prayer that will be so."

She teased.

She did not speak of him by her side.

The conversation then returned to a serious note. 

"Don't be foolish. " She countered back. "Of course you must go as summoned. How could you not?"

"He wants know if his spies have got it right about you appearing at Windsor ..... that is but a common sense conclusion. He will be told that you and I have spent time today in leisure conversations and then we sought privacy here."

"It is possible that someone has been lingering out there trying to overhear but I would not expect that to be successful."

"Has your father made some arrangement? It is possible that there are many things that you do not know about despite what you may think."

"Perhaps he wants an alliance through marriage  ..... God knows it failed with ME  ..... "

"What do you think he wants you for?"

The wine and the rooms warmth had softened her so she was not all hardness and angles. She still had control however and would not give up secrets that easily.

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