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Sour Grapes [22nd of April, early eve]


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They were sitting outside in the garden just outside the Duke's palace apartment, close to the Volary Garden. It was late at a slight chill was starting to creep up from the Thames just behind the many small buildings that made up the chaotic Whitehall palace. A few strategically placed torches kept the garden alight. In the half dark a scarlet uniform could be seen guarding the entrance but at a discreet distance.


"So, he didn't take you with him to Chelsea?" Kinross, the blond Scottish lord that considered himself as royal, if not even more than his friend, commiserated before popping an expensive hot house grown grape into his mouth. Kinross was the Bruce. It was obscure to any Englishman but a Scot would respect him for what he was, the lineage that before the Stuarts were considered royals.


"Bah," Monmouth scoffed, holding up the grapes high in the air and biting them off like that "I didn't even want to go. Newton is going to hold a long lecture on the nature of light. You know how Rupert and my father love that. Puts me right to sleep though, especially if there are no pretties to look at."


"Your father has not been seen in your company at all lately," Kinross pointed out "He seems to be distancing himself."


"My father loves me," Monmouth denied with some passion. He refused to think differently. Had not his father assured him he was the favourite son and showered him in gifts and titles.


"I am sure that he does," Kinross soothed the young man "Though if he is to marry a particularly fertile young wife, you will be replaced by an heir. You'd do well to support a candidate that is less likely to full fill her duties like that. One like De Chartres. Or the chit from Savoy."


"How is Lisa Killington these days," Monmouth asked nastily as he ate a few more grapes. He didn't like Kinross talking to him of politics. He had enough of that from Shaftesbury.


Kinross was silent for a moment, allowing the friend of his youth to dig in deeper a dagger they both felt. "She is well, I think. She has distanced herself from me. She seems very happily married." The moment he would receive any indication to the contrary he would be in full pursuit but his honour bade him to obey her wishes. They spent the last moments of daylight in silence, a nearby servant filling their goblets with wine once more.

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