A Gift in Green Silk

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The Eleventh of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four

Cossett’s retinue appeared an hour or so after day break. I had already bathed and had been setting about dressing when Cossett barged into my suite without even the smallest decency to knock. She went on about their arrival for a good twenty minutes before noticing my state of dress. I only had on my smallclothes. She proceeded to go on about how it was indecent and how could I allow someone into my apartments in such a state. Keen to keep some light veneer of peace I did not point out that I, unlike her, no longer have a Lady’s Maid or Varlet in employ. Uncle sacked her as a punishment when I spoke out of turn and was a right bit too willful in front of a young lordling that he was entertaining. She nattered on for another fifteen minutes while I dressed behind my Alazian silk screen, a gift from father when I presented as a Child of Venus and was moved out of the nursery. She was at the very least kind enough to help me work a pin into my hair before dragging me off to meet the new housekeeper she’d hired for the house.

The housekeeper Cossett hired is a severe looking woman who speaks in short, quick sentences. She is a completely unremarkable woman, until I noticed that she’d brought an angry squawking bird with her. I didn’t catch her name to be completely honest, instead I was trying to keep that bird from shitting on me. The foul thing should be in a cage. Having it just sit on your shoulder can’t be sanitary. The woman was hardly here for half an hour before she has Mrs. Argall in a right fit. The shouting could be heard all the way up in the far parlor, just off of his suit of rooms Uncle only receives the most personal of visitors here. Usually if it where anyone of importance he uses the parlor at the front of the Manor, it’s furnishings are much grander and opulent. Uncle insisted that I handle the situation, the person who he had explicitly forbidden to speak to the servants four months ago. In that situation I could not be a impartial judge. While Mrs. Argall may be just our cook and a religious fundamentalist, I do hold some flicker of fondness for the woman. I kindly informed Mrs. Crusan that her duties would not be to deal with the kitchens in any way; That her duties were to see to the care of the furniture and see to the female staff that didn’t work in the kitchens, I went on to inform here that her blasted bird should never be in the kitches or wander into my sight again. I also informed her that if she stepped out of line once more within the next three months she’ll be summarily dismissed without pay or reference.

I’d returned to my suite with a honey cake and a bowl of milk on a tray. I would love to say that I enjoyed such a sweet treat but alas the delicious morsel was for the beautiful carpets to enjoy. I say that to make the situation humorous. In reality I was shocked to find a young man in the uniform of a footman sitting on my bed, a length of green silk ribbon wrapped around his arms and chest and tied into a garish bow. He did not notice my entrance, distracted by some pretty bauble on my night table. As I had alluded to I dropped the tray and the resulting crash shocked him out of his distraction. He jumped so high that I fear there might be a dent in the ceiling now.

“I– I’m so sorry, your lordship.” He stammered running a hand through his dark locks, knocking the bow askew. “The lady said that you didn’t have a lady’s maid or valet,” The young man smiled awkwardly as he stood up. He crossed the space and stuck out his hand. “I guess I’m a bit of a gift.” He said gesturing to the bow. “Me name’s Tam.”

He quickly set about cleaning up the small mess, he even went so far as fetching me a replacement for the sweet without even asking. To be honest he isn’t all that bad to look upon even if his demeanor is a bit like a puppy. I could almost grow fond of him, but I must assume that this is some device of Cossett’s to sneak one of hers into my ranks. To suss out my secrets and blackmail me no doubt. Tam returned with the tray and a large bouquet of harebell with a sealed envelope, his face was ashen and his hands shook as he handed it to me. It had the royal seal. It had the royal bloody seal. I nearly fainted dead away. Never do I receive any of my letters unopened, a royal missive must have shocked Uncle beyond all sense.

Harebell for grief as my mother always said. A token apology from me for the hardship the Pagri put you through. You presided yourself with the elegance and sweetness as our dear late Queen-Mother and I hope you find the sole lily beautiful. I am of the understanding that you were quite arresting during the Pagri festival. As ever a beautiful bouquet of flowers picked by my own hand for a beautiful Child of Venus.
– Evandrus, Son of Iron-Banded Mars, Crown Prince.

To think, I, a lowly and insignificant Child of Venus earning even a moment of the Prince’s thoughts, let alone time. I must hide the contents of the correspondence, with the footmen turned valet whom’s allegiance is in question I really must see to hiding this book as well. I will hide the letter among these pages. I think I may have a use for the gold inlaid books dear cousin Roman gave to me when we visited last winter, I believe it has a lock.

Paranoia is ever the life of a noble lord. One’s enemies are always around the bend. Paranoia keeps one’s mind on the knife that is invisible at one’s back.

Smallclothes: Undergarments.

Starry Heavens Update: March

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Hello My Beloved Supplicants,

I wish to apologize. At the beginning of the month I fell ill, I had a very nasty cold.

As many of you know I write each instance of The Starry Heavens about a week or so before they’re posted. This is to ensure that I can incorporate any feedback, prompts, or world building into the most why I currently am working on.  Sadly, because of this I am unable to write a dozen posts in advance to account for illness and life interrupting my scheduled posts. I would remind you, the reader, that if you have any thoughts or suggestions to mention them in the comments.

In other news, I am contemplating adding a lexicon and/or a cast page. This is mainly for clarity so that you can familiarize yourself with or look up words without referring back to the word’s post of origin. I am also contemplating starting another blog or two. The first being a generalized blog much like this was before I started writing The Starry Heavens, I would eventually migrate the old posts to the new format and it would be updated infrequently. The second such blog would be based on witchcraft, as I have neglected my practice it could serve as an incentive to get back into things, it would update a bit more frequently than the first.

Also, I am looking for an artist who could do up small picture/symbols for the characters to distinguish who is the current narrator. The only current distinguishing features of posts to show who the narrator is are the signature at the end or the current place of origin in the upper corner after the year. While sadly I cannot pay any artist that makes the attempt I can put them down as a contributor at the end of said posts, if their work is used, and link to their various media.

I hope to have a new installment by the twenty-fifth.

Goodbye My Children,

Her Imperial and Royal Majesty, By the Grace of the Gods, The Defender of the Old Faith, The Morning Star, Sovereign Queen, The Empress of Thorns, The Queen of Roses, The Saint of Sinners, Oracle of the Gods, Prophetess of the Old Religion, Pope of Discord, Hecates’ Handmaiden, The Lady of The Quill, The Amber Lady, The Whore of Babylon, Sovereign over all, Daniel Ambrosius Devereux.

Tea Parties and Lady’s Keep

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The Ninth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four

It would seem that I am destined to be held in a near constant state of barely controlled fury. Whatever God, Spirit, or Demon that has designed this, I would kindly ask that they let loose your talons and depart before I raze my lands, salt the earth, and walk naked into the sea.

Two days ago a woman appeared on my doorstep as if spun up from the ether. She claims to be my aunt, I have never met her nor even heard of her. A woman named Cossett, that is not a family name and is no where in Father’s records as a name from either branch. Uncle has not questioned her and acts as if she is in fact a relation. He has even gone so far to give her leave to utilize Mother’s Bower. He hasn’t even allowed me in the Bower let alone a servant to dust and air the room. If it were my choice this woman would be gone. Actually, no, that is a lie. Given half a chance I would take her before a firing squad of no less than ten men.

I am sure that sounds like an exceptionally severe response but this woman is acting above her station and violating my house. I might have be dissuaded from my intense ire had she been more respectful to the possessions that were once my Mothers enjoyment. The action that pushed me from bare annoyance to a hair’s breadth from white eyed frenzy was when she was removing articles from the bower. I awoke to the crashing sound of a gilt porcelain ballerina being hurled with grotesque force from the bower to impact the far wall of the solar. A porcelain figurine worth ten or twelve times that of the gown she wore no doubt.

I must assume that Cossett had no malicious intent in her actions but the detritus littering the floor of the solar from her onslaught was uncalled for. She is a guest, one I have now found will be staying here in my house indefinitely. I can scarcely remember Mother’s and Father’s faces, I was under the assumption that all of the painting were locked up in the attic; I now know that to be yet another expeditious lie that has fallen from Uncle’s silver tongue. Sitting buried beneath a newly stained gown was a painting. The broken remains of a bottle of perfume lay across a large tear that split the canvas in two, the couple torn asunder by this careless woman. The oils of the perfume eroded at the paint causing the image to blur with each passing moment. I was six when it was painted, Mother and Father sat for days while the painter worked. Mother talked about how I would be old enough to join them in the next painting. It was started a week before Father fell ill, a month later and he was dead.

It has been my “responsibility” to see to our guest. I have spent the better portion of the last few days attending to her and keeping her entertained. I have spent the greater portion of yesterday keeping her busy. That involved drinking the atrocious tea she’d brought with her, she claims that the tea is made from an exotic flower that blooms once every six years, and I can speak with the dead. How is it possible for something to taste bitter and sour and as if it was steeped in sea water? Whilst drinking this “exotic” brew we sat in the parlour and played game after game of Lady’s Keep as she nattered on about nothing of actual substance. So far the most interesting thing about her is the set of cards she insisted on using for Lady’s Keep they were hand painted with gilded edges, she claims they are from yet another exotic country she couldn’t pronounce.

Cossett really is terrible at the game, she’s only won three hands and each of those are the tea boy’s fault. He kept spilling the tea, not actually his fault if I were to be completely honest. Her skirts and train were extremely long, anyone would trip over them. Hell, I’ve tripped over them twice and I was walking beside her at the time. He is only twelve and has only recently been sent to work here. As a distraction I would allow her to win, each instance gave the boy enough time to make an attempt at cleaning the mess and to disappear while she gloated over her win.

It appears that she will be here for quite a while. Tomorrow a whole host of servants are scheduled to arrive sometime in the midmorning. A housekeeper, Mrs. Argall has been acting as one after Uncle fired the last; Three lady’s maids, four footmen, three chambermaids, two parlor maids, three laundry maids, and half dozen house maids. Why she requires such a tremendous staff is beyond me. Our house staff is quite sizable, numbering twenty-four, I could understand a lady’s maid or two and a laundry maid. The circus she brings will nearly double our staff, no doubt they will be paid with Father’s money. No one person requires twenty-one people to see to their needs. Honestly we could probably make due with a fourth of our staff if hard pressed, sure some rooms would be left to gather dust but Uncle and I only use a small portion of the estate.

Old oil paintings and devilish perfume. What is it that dances beneath the moon?