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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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