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  1. #81
    Cardinal Marcellus Drake

    "Oh, my dear queen!" Marcellus said, his face and voice full of ardent sympathy. "Your burden has truly been great! Your majesty need not be ashamed."

    He gently took her hand and patted it, as if comforting a child.

    "Fear not, my queen. We are all sinners before God. Whatever unconfessed sin or act of rebellion has caused God to turn His face away from you, you should not count yourself alone in it. Pray ardently, and He will reveal His will to you in due time. But..."

    The Cardinal paused, as if he hated even to go on but duty compelled him. "But we must still think of the kingdom, your majesty. We must still think of your husband. I can only hope that your prayers and fasting will swiftly lead to clarity about how you must repent and seek absolution, but if the lord should choose to discipline you for a longer time..."

    He ruminated briefly, as though he had never considered the matter and was only now sorting through pieces of knowledge that might help. "I believe we can look to the Bible for help, as always, my queen. There have been cases where God chose to fulfill the prayers of the husband of a barren woman by providing children through another. Consider Sarah. Consider Leah and Rachel. I know it may seem distasteful to you, your majesty... but God works in mysterious ways. Perhaps as with the patriarchs of old, it is not through you that God chooses to bring forth an heir. Your marriage need not end if you are obedient to your husband's needs and desires, even at personal cost."

    At least it didn't need to end yet, Marcellus thought.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #82
    Edward Moore

    Edward smiled at Victoria.

    "Very well, thank you for asking. One just welcomed a new child."

    He saw the Queen heading off with Cardinal Drake. If she was seeking religious comfort, she had sought the wrong person. Edward knew what type of man the Cardinal was. He had his own desire that God might not agree with. Although, it didn't bother Edward much. He had his own desires as well. Like furthering his and Victoria's positions in life. As the wheels in his head turned, many plans were coming. And it would all start with Agnes Drake.

    "Emma has grown into a lovely young woman. You and his Grace must be very proud."

    Although it was more likely that Edward had fathered Emma, he didn't recognize her as his child. She was Victoria and Henry's. She had to be, to keep her noble pedigree. He lowered his head against Victoria's ear.

    "She will make a lovely queen to a very lucky king. Although...She might not have to go so far from home to have that."

    He knew Victoria had her eyes set on the French Ambassador. But, perhaps, if Lady Drake could provide the king with the information he needed, he would seek to replace his queen with another. Emma Montgomery could be seen a very suitable new queen.

  3. #83
    Victoria Montgomery

    Victoria smiled back at Edward.

    "That is wonderful, children are a blessing. Oh, I do hope his Majesty will know that joy in the coming year."

    Victoria commented, knowing that the king greatly desired a child and his queen had not been able to provide one. She nodded when he spoke of Emma.

    "Thank you, we are very proud of her."

    Emma was becoming the woman that Victoria hoped she would be. All Victoria needed to do was find a proper husband for her. She smiled when Edward quietly made his comment about how thought Emma would be queen.

    "That is my dream for her."

    Although the French prince might become option two now. She thought of Lady Drake and said to Edward.

    "I love this time of year, especially the decorations. I have always found red to be such a lovely color, your Grace."

    Thinking of how Agnes had fiery red hair. She would be a good pawn to use to position Emma towards the throne.

  4. #84
    Queen Esther

    The Queen took a deep breath when the Cardinal seemed to sympathetic to her pain. It felt like a welcome relief to feel that someone understood, someone she could open her heart to without being judged for it. Little did she know that trusting the Cardinal would be her downfall.

    "Thank you", the young Queen finally managed to mutter, her voice still broken.

    When the Cardinal mentioned that they needed to think of the kingdom, Esther blinked a few times.

    The thought of having her husband produce a child with another woman hit the Queen as hard as a physical blow would, and she stood up quickly. The idea was so painful and confusing all the Queen was able to do for a few moments was to pace back and forth, the inner struggle clear on her tormented expression.

    After some pacing, the Queen sat herself, or better let herself fall, on the ground by the altar, the color gone from her cheeks. "Oh, dear God...", she sobbed weakly. "I can't, I can't, Eminence... I hope the Lord may forgive me if I am selfish, but I can't", the Queen pleaded. It was obvious that it would not be easy, but the seed had indeed been planted in the pious Queen's heart, and - despite not being in her best interests - it had taken hold there.

  5. #85
    Cardinal Marcellus Drake

    "My queen..." Marcellus said sympathetically. He made reverence to the altar, then lowered himself further so he was beside Queen Esther.

    "You are stronger than you know. Consider the example of King Henry IV, who when he desired to repent of his sins, made the difficult journey across the Alps to Canossa barefoot in mid-winter, then fell to his knees before the pope's gate and knelt for three days and three nights, fasting and wearing a hair shirt. Compared to such a great show of humility and faithfulness, what is being asked of you is not so grave, is it?"

    He patted her hand again the same fatherly manner as before. "Ponder it in your heart, my queen. Think on it, and consider what is best for your husband and the kingdom. I too will pray for you."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 10-16-2017 at 06:13 PM.

  6. #86
    Edward Moore

    "As do I."

    Edward said in agreement with Victoria. Although he did not believe that the Queen would be the one giving His Majesty a child. She had not been able to perform her wifely duty as of yet, and he was certain no amount of prayers would change that fact. No, someone else would be have to prove to the king that the failures in a heir was not his fault. Once that happened, then things would get even better for Edward and Victoria.

    "As you should be and you are welcome."

    Edward replied when they spoke of Emma. Emma was growing up to be a lovely lady. He was proud of her as well. Especially since it was more likely she was his child, not Henry's. When she was younger, she had reminded him of female version of his sons. Not that he had every said that. Emma was a proper noble daughter, not a bastard child. A bastard would not get anywhere in society. Especially not with the plans her mother had for her. No one would make her a queen if he had ever claimed her as his child.

    He smirked when Victoria mentioned the color red. Red made him think of Agnes as well. He knew they were both thinking the same thing. Have Lady Drake prove that the king was not the one with the bedroom issues.

    "That it is."

    He was sure that their King would eventually agree.

  7. #87
    Victoria Montgomery

    It was all starting to fall into place. Victoria had come here in hopes of having her daughter catch the eye of the French Ambassador. And while being the Queen of France would be a fine future for Emma. But to be the Queen of England would be even grander. Although it would it would take for that to happen. First, the King needed to see that Queen Esther would never provide him with a child. And the good Cardinal's daughter would prove that to him.

    "I am sure that soon his Majesty will agree with us."

    She commented quietly. Wondering Cardinal Drake, in his guidance, was suggesting that Her Majesty allow her husband to seek another in bed to see where their problems with conceiving truly was.

  8. #88
    King Theodore and Queen Esther

    Queen Esther was still torn, but it was good to hear that she was stronger than she knew, as she had been feeling weak, and that her faith was failing her. Speaking to the Cardinal, while it had not ended all of her doubts, had indeed helped calm the Queen down and given her some food for thought.

    The Cardinal was right about the kingdom needing an heir, and she had to ponder on that and speak to the King. But now was not the time. All she wanted to do now was to enjoy the holidays, and she was firmly decided to do so. Christmas was not the time for a heavy heart and a sad face.

    “I shall ponder, Your Eminence”, the Queen finally responded firmly to Cardinal Drake’s words. “Your attention was very appreciated, and it has helped ease my heart”, she completed, sincerely. “We should go back to the Great Hall and enjoy the festivities”, the Queen added, waiting to hear the Cardinal’s response before drying off her face and leaving the chapel, doing her best to look cheerful.

    In getting near the King, the Queen once again made a deep curtsy before taking her place by his side, the couple exchanging a quick glance and holding hands gently for a few seconds before the King gestured for one of his servants. After whispering a few words to the man, the King and Queen stood up.

    The servant turned to the people gathered around.

    “King Theodore and Queen Esther welcome you all into Court”, the man started. “They wish for you all to make yourselves comfortable, and you are expected later at the Dining Hall, for the festivities to begin”, he finished the announcement, before waiting for the acknowledgement and turning to follow the King and Queen out of the room.

  9. #89
    Agnes Drake and Cardinal Marcellus Drake

    Marcellus couldn't seem to stop himself from fluttering in and out of the guest bedroom which had been assigned to Agnes as her chamber for the duration of their stay at court. Agnes was becoming annoyed by it... and the servants were starting to give him odd looks. Most fathers didn't take such a detailed interest in their daughters' clothing - or feel free to drop in and converse when the young woman was in her underclothes. Marcellus was oblivious for once, though. He was too eager about what was to come. What importance could the gossip of chambermaids have in comparison to that?

    "Are you sure you should wear that gown?" Marcellus asked, digging through her clothing in search of something better and rejecting a few before settling on the original dress again. "And your hair...?"

    "Like I told you."

    "Don't be impertinent!"

    "Yes, Father."

    A maid came to assist Agnes with donning the dress, but Marcellus shooed the woman back and scrutinized Agnes in her chemise first.

    "You have a better one," he said. "The one with the lace. Put that on."

    The maid stared at her. Agnes blushed crimson but complied. Now attired in underclothes that her father deemed acceptable for her future conquest - even though she assumed no one would see what was under her clothes quite yet - Agnes was helped into her evening dress by the servants.

    Marcellus continued to fuss over her, pondering about hair and jewelry and scent... she was already exhausted by the time he deemed her ready and sent the maidservants away.

    "And what will you say to seduce him?" Marcellus asked. "We must talk through it again..."

    Agnes tried to hide her fear, the heavy weight of dread upon her, as she woodenly spoke through the plan her father had made for her.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 12-03-2017 at 08:09 PM.

  10. #90
    Humphrey Heron

    Humphrey very quickly exhausted all the enjoyable conversational prospects and tolerated some extra gossip, then made his exit, stating a desire to pray in the chapel before dinner. The nobles he excused himself from assumed it was a pretext, but Humphrey actually did so. When he knelt in prayer, it seemed an equalizing force of sorts - all these nobles, after all, were subject to God like anyone else, even if they believed themselves above human law.

    He wished - not for the first time since arriving - that he was back in Northumberland, in his own quiet castle. This time of evening he would be reading before a roaring fire, perhaps, with his dog at his feet. It was a good life. Solitary, yes, but not unhappily so.

    If he couldn't be home, at least he could pray for his people. As he implored God's blessing for Northumberland, though, an image of Agnes Drake unexpectedly entered his thoughts unprovoked. Odd, Humphrey thought, since the cardinal's duplicitous daughter rarely crossed his mind. But the Lord worked in mysterious ways, so Humphrey added in a prayer for Agnes, too. Surely that could do no harm.

    He stood, and realized his knee had gone stiff from the kneeling. It made him feel old. His limp was more pronounced than usual as he made his way to his chamber to dress for dinner.

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