A Note of Roses

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The Eighteenth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four, The Royal Palace, Opris

Cytherean Lord,

I must first apologize for my delay, I received your letter two days ago but I have been much too busy to respond. No doubt you’ve heard of the incursion in Essililon, a third of a legion dead or missing with no known cause. I will be visiting it in a week hence. Over a thousand souls in Ulblne just gone. I almost think that it could be Striecialian Sorcery. I must once again apologize, I should not worry you with the current geopolitical climate as of late. While I am a forward thinking man of culture and learning, I still do not believe that a Child of Venus should be forced to grasp the indelicacies of war and strife. Yet a third time I must apologize. Please do not think of me as rude, I just wish to grant you some shelter from these events. Forgive me?

In the secrecy of letters, and the sanctity of your mind, I would much prefer you to call me Evandrus. Or perhaps Evan if you are feeling over bold. I do insist that in such correspondences as these, unsanctioned and private as these are, that you would do away with calling me “Your Grace” or “Your Highness” at every second line. While it is flattering, if I wanted to hear someone fawn over me I would amble about the kitchens and gardens for an hour, no doubt I would garner a whole host of servants falling over one another to bow and scrape before me. That is if I had the hours to wander the grounds or haunt the kitchens. We are close enough in station that I would not be insulted if you were to act as if we were the same.

You have not insulted me, in fact your letter made me smile, a luxury of which I have had few in the previous months. I don’t think you could ever be timid or simple, I have heard of many Children of Venus and as I understand it a fire burns beneath their breast. Nor do I believe either of those qualities are a curse. Dangerous beauty and beguiling grace, those are weapons that have felled kings and toppled nations. Perhaps they are a curse to ones enemies and a boon to ones closest allies. If you were timid you would have had your Lord Regent respond to me, as would be proper. You also would not have sent a gift in return, at least not one with such personal value. Something thing tells me you very rarely do what is proper when something you value more than standing and reputation are at stake.

I really must thank you for the ring; Sapphire is thought to calm and focus the mind and release tension. It has only left my presence for one hour since I received it and that was for it to be cleaned and ensure the setting was secure. Do not worry, I have treated it as if it were a part of the regalia itself. It also fits perfectly. Now I assume you do not know this, but perhaps you do but do not realize it; Sapphire is a stone of fidelity and integrity. The ring is actually a betrothal ring, I would assume that it was given to your father by your mother when they finished or neared the end of their courtship. The gift has sparked many rumors and for that alone I should thank you. The rumors are quite fascinating and outlandish: One I overheard last night was that I was betrothed to an Alazian prostitute.

Your regards and condolences were well received, they were much more heartfelt than what your Uncle sent; A bottle of Rahsere wine. It wasn’t very good. Does that sound petty? I daresay is does. Is a prince allowed to be petty? I would think not, maybe I should have myself put in the stocks. Why do I have the feeling you would enjoy that?

When I next visit the Great Cathedral I shall stop to see your mother, I assume your father is interred beside her? I think that I would have loved to have seen that tantrum. I can picture it now, with my own embellishments certainly. I see you smashing a small porcelain dog and lighting the curtains on fire. I can’t believe one of your staff would have the gall to say that, had she been your governess maybe, but even so at your mother’s funeral? I do hope she was dismissed.

I believe our nation is too wrapped up in religious dogma; Just last week I listened to a sermon in the Cathedral and the Heirophant went on about how only one god lives in the breast of our people. Last night while he dined at my table I pointed out that gone were the days of one religion. He agreed with me, to a point. He went on and on about the many different branches and sects of The Shining Lord’s worship. The hour was late and the wine was flowing, I didn’t have the heart nor the strength to inform him of his folly.

How is your brother doing? I had heard he arrived around the tenth. I met young Kyran at a gala hosted by Granner and his wives four months ago, Granner mentioned that Kyran would be returning home around that time. Granner said that he was sad to see the boy go but with Kyran’s upcoming responsibilities it would be best for him to return home.

Might you favor me with one question more? I would hope so, but if not I will still ask them. That is the privilege of correspondence as it is. It is a purely selfish question, but I do hope you see fit to indulge me my eccentricities. What colour do you enjoy most? I do hope you answer soon, the window of opportunity does draw to a close.

Do you know the language of flowers?
Evandrus.

A small yellow rose is secreted in the envelope, devoid of thorns it’s stem is twisted into a complicated knot.

Opris: The capital city. The name is slated to change.

Essililon: A province or county within the country. Pronounced Ess – ill- leon

Ulblne: A town in the province of Essilion. It sounds much like Gruel-Bane

Striecialian: The Nationality of people from the country of Striecial; Purported to practice sorcery.

Striecial: A country purported to practice sorcery. The government has yet to be decided but I am leaning toward a mageocracy. Pronounced Stri – Shawl

The names of Opris and Ulblne may change. I’m not completely happy with them so if they spontaneously change you’ve had fair warning. In the comments below please let me know what you think of the post and and the names. Feel free to suggest names or ideas.

For Want of an A’Ladrea Mind Snare

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The Fourteenth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four

Is it sorcery or enchantment that draws my mind to him, and draws me in to indecency? I cannot recall the beginning of my relationship with Margret, if I could I might know if it is decent with Tam. Oh to have an A’Ladrea Kudar here. I have read that they can ensnare a mortal mind and lay its secrets bare, to think what I might learn from my young varlet. Distance is the only true problem, and of course the antiquated laws outlawing most form’s of magic. I think it to be unlikely that the A’Ladree practice thaumaturgy, let alone thaumaturgy warranted by the Shining Lord and his ilk. He returned twenty minutes earlier than I had expected, thankfully I had the letter written and sealed before he had returned. He returned because the silversmith’s apprentice had dislodged one of the stones which warranted my attention.

On the ride to her workshop we chatted and I found out more about him, well, more than the fact that he can drive a motorcar. Tam is his only name, it seems that he was born to a Child of Venus in a chapel in Jarrow; Chapels such as that are little more than brothels. As Tam was born with green eyes, his father assumed the Venus-born whore was trying to pass off another man’s child as his own. He refused to pay for the service and the green-eyed baby was sent to the orphanage a few streets over. Cast out of the Star-born orphanage at twelve he found work at a small guest house for a year or two before he felt the calling of the night sky. As a child born of the Starry Heavens he has always held a fascination for the pin pricks of light that dance across our night sky. Little more than fifteen he’d made his way to this very town and signed on with the Southern Viscairn trading company. The story is such that if it is a fabrication I can almost believe it to be true.

While he doesn’t bear any of the celestial seals — that I have seen — it is still a possibility. It is almost unheard of for a Child of The Starry Heavens to not breed true, but I have read of cases of such. It happens from time to time. Priests of the Shining Lord insist that it is their god exerting his will and dominance over the Heaven’s forcing them to relinquish their claim over a mortal. A fanciful thought but I believe I agree more with the theory posed by astronomers. Astral tides. Well Astral Flux actually. Which could be considered by some observers as the Lord of Light ‘exerting’ his luminous will. Maybe. Honestly I believe astronomers and the like may be fabricating evidence or, more likely, suffering from deluded flights of fancy. I have never felt any difference when Venus is at its zenith nor when it is at its nadir. Is it possible I am broken and that other Children do feel the thrum of the Celestials? Perhaps it is because I was not born to a Child of The Starry Heavens that I have never fully felt the calling. But I digress for the day is short and that is a subject that could be discussed until the end of time.

It is true, I am a vapid and vain Child of Venus. While I speak about the possible snake in my midst and wonder if he holds venom in truth Tam is far from my mind. I can only think of the letter I have sent to our Crown Prince– soon to be King. By train it takes at most two days to reach the capital. Should I have sent one of the spare footmen or housemaids to ensure that the letter was received? No, Uncle would have been most annoyed if I had done that; He would have suggested that I send Tam and that just is not an option. A telegram maybe. Would the prince see that as too familiar? No, telegrams are never an option in private correspondence. The letter passes through too many hands, too many people could read it. Here I am worrying if he will respond, I should be worrying that he even will read it. To him I am just a Child-Lord and of little consequence.

There is always a price on your head. Every action drives that price higher or lower. Do not make that bounty any more attractive than it is.

A’ladrea: Pronounced Ah-La-DRee. An ethnicity/nationality.

Kudar: Pronounced Coo-DaHr. Essentially a Shaman or Spirit Speaker.

Viscairn: Pronounced Viz-k-AIR-n.

Be it Charm or Be it Flame

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The Twelfth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four

Tam is a very interesting young man. He has endeavored to install himself into my regular routine, that is not strange it is in fact quite normal. His eagerness, a bit like an overgrown puppy, has me second guessing if he is in fact a spy planted by Cossett. He is fairly under trained, or is that his youth? This could all be an act. An act that would lull me into a false sense of security. Even now he has brought such a lull, a breach of etiquette. I call him by his first name, he insists upon it. A scorpion strikes best when he is unexpected. An enemy at each side and two more between.

He slipped quietly into my apartments, I can assume that he attempted to be quiet sadly he failed and my slumber was broken. Tam had not thought to bring a lamp. That is in itself a double-edged sword, had he brought the lamp I would have slumbered for a minute or two more. I am a very light sleeper, the faintest amount of candle or lamp light would have roused me. I really must have the draperies of my bed curtains changed, the filmy fabric does nothing to block the light. I was awoken to Tam running into my writing desk, I believe one of the legs may now be cracked, I really cannot be unduly angry with him. While the small commotion did indeed rouse me, my fleeting fear was assuaged because of his quite colourful swearing. Perhaps Tam lived a sailor’s life before he fell into Cossett’s employ.

I cannot say if he charmed or cajoled Mrs. Argall, or it may have been my treatment of Mrs. Crusan that encouraged her to provide my favorite breakfast. Tiny fairy cakes, clotted cream, and fresh strawberries. Honestly I may not even ask him, if he were smart he might claim that he did charm her. Then again he could not be sure if I would ask her. Odds are he would assume that I would not even set foot in the kitchens. Circles within circles, dances within dances. I must attend to the letter from our Prince, Uncle has yet to even ask after it. I shall send Tam away, a frivolous errand that might keep him busy for an age. Not an impossible task such as asking him to find me an apple of silver that might feed a thousand orphans. While that would be an interesting task and would entertain me to no end if he were to accomplish it. I believe the clasp on my amethyst bracelet is broken, I shall send him to the silversmith and insist he waits until it is mended. It is a very minor break, it would only necessitate two hours, three if the smith is much too busy and has to set her apprentice to mending it.

Your Royal Highness,
I wish to thank you for your note, I am touched at your thought and at your beautiful gift. I wish to extend my condolences for the passing of your mother and father; I am sure that my uncle, our Lord Regent, has officially extended our hand and condolences but I feel that I must as well.

Please forgive my presumptiveness if I am mistaken Your Grace. It is a solemn thought and I do not know if it would be a comfort to you, but, as my cook would say “They have been consigned to the Flame. They reside within the hall of The Shining Lord. Do not weep for your own pain child.” She had said that to me after my mother’s funeral, after her body was wreathed in flowers and her body ignited.

Her ashes are interred in part in the Great Cathedral in your capital and in our catacombs beneath our home. I yelled at Mrs. Argall, our cook, for her harsh words and I’m not proud to say it but I threw a tantrum as well. I apologize if this has upset you, it was not my intention.Your Highness I do know in part what you are experiencing, if I can help you in any way please tell me.

Please do not over worry yourself over the Pagri ordeal. I would not have you worried over nothing Your Grace. I am whole and unharmed. I am honored at your concern and kind words. You flatter me with your words and your gift, I am but a simple Child of Venus. Your Highness a Venus Born are cursed with two things: dangerous beauty and beguiling grace. I bear those curses silently with virtue and timidity.

Thank you for your kind words and your time. Please accept this ring as a token of my thanks. It was once my fathers, it does not fit me well and I am loath to have it sized. I do hope you enjoy it my Prince.

By my sign and seal.

NAME REDACTED

Fairy Cakes: Batter fried in oil about the size of a thumb usually flavored with honey or powdered sugar.