(9) Intrigue, Power and Plots!

Margarite‏ @palacemaid195 3. 

[Unobtrusively going about my business in a way that is not conspicuous or attracting undue attention, melding, invisible, in the guise of a uniformed grey maid. Going about mundane duties amongst the influential dignitaries at the court of the King fully aware of the responsibility which lay on narrow shoulders. Timidly I blench from courtier’s eyes as they pass suspicious of my purpose in their apartments, everting their gazes with head bowed, always looking down maintaining anonymity.

Never straying from the edges of the endless corridors away from light cast upward by the many torches blacken the ceilings with soot, conscience of time is of the essence, gaining entry I make observation vaporising into nonentity before I’m noticed.

The Châtelaine, @aimeemaid , requested that I service the wing allocated to the foreign diplomats emphasizing that the chambers will only be vacant for a short period, with her usual glare she ushered pacific orders to be finished before the occupant returns. glancing furtively down both side of the corridor before entering the chambers of the ambassador for Spain, @ViceroydeSilvawho appears to be a meticulous man everything in its place with a place for everything.

Diligently I set about the task without feeling any doubt or hesitation regarding the morality or propriety of my course of action. Place a basket on the floor containing cloths and cleaning materials, taking a cloth from within the basket and dabbing the end in a jar of paraffin oil mixed with beeswax, I quickly attend to cleaning the ornate furniture. Casually lifting items on the desk to dust under the neat orderly piles, flicking through certain document waiting for the ambassador’s attention. Without qualms using a hairpin pulled my hand perusing the scripted writing for anything of any interest. Alejandro De Santiago, Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores composed the letter the information is of importance, placing the letter back into the desk, sliding it closed once again inserting the hairpin into the lock, twisting it from side to side until the mechanism turns and locks. Making my way to the door looking back over my shoulder scrutinizing the room before leaving making sure nothing will draw attention to my activities, other than the duties of a maid.

I make my way silently along the corridor soft leather shoes make not a sound, on reaching the chamber of another diplomat, I brush down the plain uniform with the flat of my hands tidiness is next to Godliness, tucking back behind my ear a loose strand of hair which had work its way free when removing the hairpin. Breathing in preparing myself before knocking softly on to the chamber door, I wait, until it is opened.]

“Would it be convenient Sir to service your chambers?”

Lord Charles Fitzwilliam‏ @charlesfitzwil 3.

Slap me, Margarite! Come in. I’m bubbling over with good humor this morning. Would you believe me, I’ve just written to Mater!”

Margarite‏ @palacemaid195 3. 

{Eyes close momentarily irritated by the pretence! Passing through the opened door passed Charles’s, turning to face him once safely inside the chamber.}

“Charles! Oh please! Can’t you rise above trivialities for once?”

Lord Charles Fitzwilliam‏ @charlesfitzwil 3. 

“Can’t rise above anything more than three syllables, my dear, don’t you know!” Now seriously Margarite, what news?”

MEANWHILE  JOHN LOOKS FOR EXPLANATIONS!

 

JOHN‏ @DUKEBRAGANZA 1.

 

*I sigh and stare at the pile of paperwork on my desk. Who would have thought so much correspondence would be an integral part in ruling a country? All I seem to do is read letters, write letters, and sign letters. I’m going to have to buy quills in bulk if this continues. I’m almost thankful for the warning knock at the door, announcing my visitor. I make a big show of shoving the paperwork and the quill to one side as Felipe enters the room.* Ah, Ambassador. How kind of you to agree to meet with me today. Please, take a seat. Would you care for refreshments? *A wave of my hand without even waiting for a reply sends a servant scurrying for the prearranged refreshments, while I shake hands with Felipe.*

Felipe‏ @ViceroydeSilva 1.

{I take a deep breath and rub my temples as the aide ushers me into the room. My mind is still preoccupied with trying to work out what was out of place in my quarters, as I’m sure something was not quite right, and yet, I cannot quite put a finger on it. All looked as it should …. maybe I am just being paranoid. If Azorola was still in my retinue, I would swear this was his doing.} Please, please call me Felipe. After all, we are old acquaintances at the very least.

John‏ @DukeBraganza 1.

Let’s sit by the window. The light is so much better there. I don’t know about you, but I find these castles so dark and imposing. *Plus the window is far enough away from my desk that I won’t have to worry about you reading the papers on it.*

Felipe‏ @ViceroydeSilva 1.

{Helps myself to a glass of wine, as Miguel positions himself to one side, blending into the background.} So, how are you finding rulership?

John‏. @DukeBraganza 1

*I allow myself a small smile.* Oh, you know, it’s very tiring. People always wanting my ear or my signature. And the social life is a little wearisome.

Felipe‏ @ViceroydeSilva 1. 

{Nods at his reply, which sounds genuine to my ear. A soldier who has found leadership thrust upon him and, as yet, has not grown accustomed to the role. A fact which could be in my favour. I nod and stare out the window. Well, not out of it exactly, but rather at the Dukes reflection in the glass. I need to see his reaction to my next question without seeming obvious.} And how is your consort finding the transition?

John‏ @DukeBraganza 1.

*I half expected that question. No deep breaths. No change in my facial expression. Merely the flicker of a smile.*

Aurore? She loves the social life, the chance to meet new people and see the fashions of different countries up close.

*I lower my voice to a conspiratorial whisper.* Between you and me, I suspect she will soon be requesting her very own dress designer.

Felipe‏ @ViceroydeSilva 59.

{Tries not to chuckle, but unsuccessfully.}

John‏ @DukeBraganza 58.

*I think the niceties have been dealt with, and somehow it feels like we’ve done this dance before. Onto business.* So, how exactly did you end up as the Spanish ambassador?
 
 
{Takes a deep breath, unsure that even I believe what I am about to say, and yet, it is the truth.} Apparently, considering the hostilities between our two countries of late, the Spanish government decided that the best ambassador would be someone with whom you had already had dealings. They are of the opinion that you may be more agreeable to hear their words from someone you know, rather than from some faceless politician.
 
 
 
*I raise an eyebrow. In some ways, I can understand their reasoning. However, the fact that Felipe and I know each other because, not so very long ago, we were trying to kill each other, seems to have been completely overlooked. Not something I can blame on Felipe, but still.* Did they think this through?
 
 
 
 
{Cannot help but chuckle now.} I did try to explain to them that opposing each other on the battlefield was not quite the same as knowing each other, but they were adamant, and alas, since my dalliance in Duarte’s employ, few others seem willing to offer me a position. To refuse would have been financial suicide.
 
 
 
*I nod and smile at the refreshing honesty. I had forgotten that about the man. I am reminded of the first time we met, when I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, but I couldn’t help but admire him in some way. Perhaps his association with Duarte has soured my memories. Perhaps I should allow him a little room for manoeuvre. After all, I believe I would actually prefer to deal with a man I know than with a complete stranger. After all, there are enough ambassadors circulating that I know next to nothing about. The English ambassador, for example. That man worries me.* And your aide, Amante?
 
 
 
{Manages to stop just short of a contemptuous sneer.} The man is a womanising fool. Actually, no, Most people believe him to be a fool. He believes himself to be a womaniser. On a good day, the women think of him as merely irritating. He does not have many good days. {Sighs slightly.} He is well thought of in certain circles of our government. In fact, Alejandro De Santiago, Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores organized both our postings. I am not sure what I did to attract such patronage, and I can only assume that Amante knows where the bodies are buried. I would like to apologise in advance for his behaviour and assure you that any unwelcome advances he makes are not done at my bequest.
 
 
 
*It’s my turn to chuckle, as I file the name away for future reference. Alejandro De Santiago. Not a name I am familiar with, but I am sure Miguel will soon know the man’s inside leg measurement.*Then it seems Amante has not changed since the last time I met him. I shall warn the staff that we will be needing more buckets.
 
 
……..And in Charles Fitzwilliam’s chambers!
 

Margarite‏ @palacemaid195 43.

Charles! {Pushes him backwards a pace with my hand flat against his chest, as I always have in these situations!} You can stop the act now, we are alone after all! And if you don’t I will, I will “slap you”

 

Lord Charles Fitzwilliam‏ @charlesfitzwil 42.

“Slap me” don’t you know! Odds fish Margarite you can try! Twoud suit me better, as a man of fashion, that you would make allowances for this ineffectual butterfly”

 

Margarite‏ @palacemaid195 41.

Charles stop it this instance you can play “A coxcombical” when not in my presence, but for now can we please continue with intelligent conversation!

 

Lord Charles Fitzwilliam‏ @charlesfitzwil 40.

{Raises a congenial smile indulging Margarites irritation I’m gratified I raise her blood only rarely, due to our close affection.} Know I tease you dear heart Now do tell what have you uncovered then away it tis to your quarters before tongues wag and ruin your good reputation.

 

Margarite‏ @palacemaid195 39.

A reputation you say! it sours me to say that working with you has blemished my good name beyond compare! {The clock on the mantel strikes the hour.} Tis time to divulge hidden secrets, an easy task with a hairpin to unlock the desk draw in the Spanish ambassador’s chambers.

 

Lord Charles Fitzwilliam‏ @charlesfitzwil 38.

{Deliberates the question, slender fingers reach inside the fob pocket where concealed a silver snuff box, opening the lid a pinch of snuff is taken between forefinger and thumb, sprinkling the powder on the back of a bent hand. Bringing my hand to just under my nose, pressing forefinger to the side of my nose sniffing in the back powder, first one side then the other!} Correspondence with Mater, I think my dear heart will be decided when we have a clearer understanding and what part Alejandro De Santiago and the Spanish King are playing in manipulation of the courts of England, France and Portugal.

 

Margarite‏ @palacemaid195 37.

Charles, I must away before I’m discovered. {Moving a little closer towards Charles a hand is laid upon his chest in concern.} Take good care dear one, these are troubled times and there are those who wish us harm. {A kiss placed on his cheek and I depart leaving the man dearest to me with his deliberations.}

 

 

 

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