By Court and Cargo.

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  1. While fog hung low over the dry docks of London there wasn't much to be considered alive at that point save for the cats, rats, and dogs that scurried the dampness far below. That is, save for one dry dock crew awake before dawn and without but a few grudging words to the hard labor the day pressed on began with balking laughter and hearty insults of one mother or another while groups broke off to return to designated tasks.

    Atop the rigging hanging by bare foot and hooked elbow around one of the thick ropes that criss-crossed where the sails of the merchant ship Our Lady Marie, a man let forth a sharp whistle. With only one hand to cup his mouth Cobiah Sibill took a deep breath before he bellowed.

    "Ho-Ho an' up she rises! Ho-Ho an' up she rises!" His voice echoing across the otherwise quiet river long before even the church bells told the early hour, even the sun hadn't caught up with the man who lead his crew with iron mace and deep cups.

    "Early in the mawnin'!" Came his resounding response from down below, even below the second deck where cargo would be stored and sorted to keep the ship sailing.

    "What do we do with the drunken sailor?!" Cobiah cried out as he swung in slight tune to the shanty he'd gotten started.

    "Put'im in the long boat an' make'em bail'er!" They called back with near practiced unison as each man attended his duties with an infectious smile cracking on each of their faces.

    The baudy song continued on with a few others added to its chorus as one man or another or Cobiah himself found it necessary to be creative in their dealings of drunks and adulterers alike, all in good humor of course. Were it not for the nature of their work this sort of behavior would likely have the clergy calling for blood with a few of the choruses.

    "Mista' Sibs!" Came a shout from below. Not two moments later he landed on the decks, a set of brown trousers his only attire and a belt to keep them up as his hands fell to his hips with that boyish grin that simply refused to dim as he grew ever older. Upon one side of his belt hung a four sided mace, an archaic weapon when these new rifles could kill a man at fifty paces with hardly a risk to the shooter, on his right side was a thick piece of driftwood shaped into a club with bands of iron while below that swung a rope knife, a mercy for a man caught in the rigging to be sure.

    "What's the call, Adam?" He asked with a grin and a twinkle in his eye.
    "News from the court." The graying man stated, offering him a rolled slip of paper to pour over.

    A few brief curses in at least two different languages came from his lips as he handed the paper back and climbed back to his riggings. If there was one thing Cobiah couldn't stand, it was rich upper class folks.
  2. Gentle rapping on her chamber door rudely snatched Lady Adella Rochester from the pleasant land of dreams. The lady-in-waiting hovered between the thin line of dozing and sub-conscious awareness. Another knock escorted her fully into the latter. "Who is it?" she mumbled from under her mound of silk-embroidered blankets.

    "Cecilia, my lady," came the muffled whisper of her maid.

    "Does her majesty wish to see me?" It must be something as urgent as a royal summons for Cecilia to awaken her mistress before the chambermaid had even stoked the fire or drawn the drapes. Adella slowly pushed herself onto an elbow and turned towards the oak door, blinking reluctant eyelids to keep them open.

    "No, my lady--" Adella groaned "--but there is a gentleman crowing in the garden and disturbing the other ladies. He says he is Lord Wolfe and will not depart until he sees the Lady Adella."

    "Lord... Wolfe?" Gone was any chance of reclaiming sleep. Adella's eyelids flew open as she bolted up in anger. "That pompous fool!"

    "My lady?"

    "Oh, fye! Help me dress."

    Adella shoved her covers back and swung her legs over the side of the bed as Cecilia rushed into the room and supplied slippers for her mistress's feet. A corset and muslin under-dress were quickly added over Adella's chemise. She shooed Cecilia away before the maid could remove Adella's nightcap and instead ordered her to locate a shawl. "For," she explained "if he is so ill-mannered as to act the cock, I will not dress to impress him. Nay, let me be merely decently clad to whisk him away from the premises and pray he ceases his rants before her majesty suffers a similar wakening."

    With the shawl wrapped tightly around her shoulders and dark locks still tucked firmly into her cap, Adella hurried from her chamber to the private garden where she found Lord Wolfe standing upon a bench in his puff-sleeved finery and serenading the stone walls of the palace. Her full lips drooped in a disapproving frown and her brow furrowed in disdain as his song reached her ear. The lord caught her approach with his eye and confidently strode from his perch on the bench to her, arm outstretched as his clear tenor rang in the courtyard.

    "I'll sing a song for sixpence
    To woo thee by and by.
    Four and twenty hours
    And thou shalt be my wife.
    When this ditty's over
    Thou shalt clearly see
    Thou was meant for marriage
    And I am meant for thee!"

    Before Wolfe could delve into another stirring verse, Adella crossed her arms in front of her chest and retorted in a sarcastic tone:

    "Cock a doodle doo
    What is the dame to do?
    She swears she will never court the man
    The fool has not a clue."

    Though meant to be discouraging, the verse in reply only spurred the noble on to greater [or lesser] genius with the same gusto:

    "The Queen is in her chamber
    Slumbering in a doze
    But her maid is in the garden
    Sweeter than any rose."

    "Go away, go away, and eat a plum bun
    Come back no more, your wooing's done."

    Adella spun on her heel to head back into the palace, but was stopped as Lord Wolfe caught her by the elbow and whirled her back to face him.

    "Have you met any other man who flattered you with witty verse?" he asked her. "It is said throughout the court that only a sharp-minded man with a love of knowledge can win the affections of the famed Queen's Spinster. Have I not proven myself for your love?"

    "You seek not my hand, but my money," Adella countered. "Even if I did marry you, not one sixpence would I vouch to clear your debts. My fortune is my fortune and I would sooner donate it all to the poor box than see it in your hands. Do you need me to speak plainer?" She yanked her arm from his grasp. He made no attempt to stop her this time, anger lacing his features as a testament to his bruised pride.

    When she reached the door, she paused and turned back to Lord Wolfe. "In any case, I have yet to hear a witticism spring from your lips. Good morning, Lord Wolfe. Do not come here again or I will see to it you are executed." Before he could make any sort of comeback, Adella disappeared behind the door. "Pompous fool," she muttered on her way to her chambers. Alas, it was too late to sleep again yet too early to rise. She would finish dressing, she decided, and slip into the library before breakfast.
  3. "Cobiah!"


    "Yer' requested!"

    Requestin' my foot up yer' arse. He dreamed as he slid down a long line from the mid mast and down to the deck below, giving the graying man another eyeballing that could rot wood and set fire to a sail if it was so inclined. Already the sun had begun to peak over the taller buildings, well, it would have were it not another rainy day in this fine capitol. Before another curse could leave his mouth the paper was shoved back at him once more, if he could count on nothing it was Griggs having no tact when it came to superiors. He admired that in a man anyway, no man was more equal than another. Even if they were, a good heavy anything quickly levels a class playing field.

    "Personal summons.." He read on, climbing down one-handed from the dry dock supports that kept the ship in place while repairs were made. ".. Pro-fesh-un-all.. " A brief wave towards a group of boys on the dock with string and scrap hooks dashing by. ".. Manner to build.." He'd nearly collided with a carriage that time, reading, rich people read, he worked with his hands. "... Oh it's a manifest." Coby proudly exclaimed as he neared his small home some ways down the river, stepping in a puddle of something he didn't want to name, glad he took that moment to put on his shoes this time. "Jus' gonna read the bottoms from now on.. Couldn't even let me have it.. Gotta go pick it up personally.."

    For all the prim and pompous perfuming nobles did to themselves just to visit a court Cobiah would have none of it, a quick check to make sure he didn't need another shave, a wash of his face and his arms with a dust of talc below his arms to keep that musk that a hard working man always seemed to have lingering around them down. A few more minutes and he'd be on his way, the sound of rain beginning to wear on him to go with the constant drips of the water pans on the street outside, sure beats the river water.
  4. Once safe inside the haven of her bedchamber, Adella threw her shawl aside onto a chaise and ripped off her cap. "Cecilia?" she called out, casting the cap onto the chaise with the shawl. It was highly doubtful that her maid was still within, but knowing the Italian woman's eagerness for gossip, there was a greater chance this morning to find her waiting for Adella's return. The curly head of her maid popped up from the high-back chair facing the stone hearth.

    "Yes, my lady?" She promptly ran around the chair and curtsied.

    "He wanted to marry me," Adella informed her promptly. There was no reason to keep the poor girl in suspense. Cecilia never could do justice to Adella's wardrobe when distracted.

    "A loud racket for a simple question."

    "Yes.... he thought to impress me with revised children's ditties and begging to be united with my fortune." Adella rolled her eyes and strolled to her massive wardrobe. Cecilia rushed ahead to fling open the doors and stepped back to examine the brilliant colours and textures hanging inside as she did every morning. The maid cast a side-long glance towards her mistress. "And no, I will not be marrying him," the lady-in-waiting answered. She joined Cecilia in front of the wardrobe and flipped through the wide selection of fabric. "What do you think, burgundy or crimson?"

    "What is inspiring you this morning, my lady?"

    A slow smirk played about Adella's lips. "The fool," she said at last. "Today I shall dress the fool."

    Cecilia giggled in understanding. "Then crimson, it shall be!"

    Adella held her arms above her head as Cecilia added layer upon layer of rich, crimson cloth. Folly dictated exorbitant amounts of material and gaudy trappings to display social standing, and her crimson garments bundled enough around her body to scream "prominent lady-in-waiting!" Folly stirred envy in the hearts of the royal ladies-in-waiting towards Adella's ridiculous gown as it took attention away from their superior station. Folly bound her into obedience to any whim of her parents, no matter how asinine it may be. And lastly, folly demanded marriage betwixt two miserable souls to be the ultimate goal of a woman. With each brocaded skirt added, Adella silently laughed in the face of folly. She was one maiden ensnared in its schemes who still kicked with life.

    "Which head covering, my lady?" Cecilia broke into Adella's revelry. She held two caps in her hands, one simple headpiece with intricate beading and one more elaborate covering with a long train down the back. Adella pointed to the latter. "I was sure you would choose this one, my lady." The maid quickly secured the covering on Adella's head and fixed it in place with pins. Adella fluffed her skirts in satisfaction. "Now let the fool see me... and weep."

    She departed from her room for the second time that morning before the chambermaid had lit the fire, though to be fair she did pass her almost immediately in the hall. With any fortune, it would be a bit yet before Elizabeth was ready to sup in her room with her ladies. Adella held up her skirts to keep from stepping on the hems and dashed madly down the corridor of bedchambers in a very unladylike sprint, but she could not afford to be stopped this morning. Not when half the wing had awoken to the embarrassing cockle of her suitor. After safely exiting the corridor, she paused with her back against the wall to catch her breath.

    Now to the libraries, which was best approached by cutting through the commoner's court. Head held high, Adella boldly wound through the palace passages until she came to the wide double doors. The two guards stationed there bowed their heads at her approach and ushered her inside.
  5. "Whattaya mean it Isn't proper position to address you?" Cobiah bellowed, hands being thrown into the air behind the massive desk of the trade quarter headmaster, a thin wiry man a few years his elder with an oily look to him that only made Coby remember eels and how they coiled inwardly when threatened. Just as this man was doing as he attempted to shuffle papers rapidly away from the shouting sailor.

    "No, n-no.." The man began to stutter, a brass inlay stating his name as a Mister Henry Picket, even the name seemed to fit him. Doing God's favor in trying to appease Coby in his outrage at the penance being paid for the cargo and its manifest.

    "I a'ready told ya' you blithering idiot I ain't got my papers in order, do I look like I carry papers 'round on the docks like some idiot behind a de-- Oh tha's YER' BLOODY JOB!" He continued to add a few choice northern curses as he spun about. The two men-at-arms kept their distance at the door despite both carrying weapons that in themselves could buy half of a clipper.

    Another spin back around and the iron banded mace swung at his hip and smacked the desk, leaving a nasty gouge in the otherwise immaculate craftsmanship. Behind him one of the men winced as the color began to drain from Picket's face. "N-N-now, now.. Mister uh.. Erm.. Mister Sibill.. The cargo will be-- " He paused to shuffle more, giving Coby eyes that reminded him of a fish in a net. "-- Down at the docks within the hour!~ Yes!~" He began to chime, shuffling more rapidly this time. "Here here here, right.." A folder of papers was lifted from the pile seemingly at random. "The manifest for Her Majesty's Cargo!" If words could have stamps that likely would have it.

    Once the paper's had been snatched Cobiah turned around to lean against the desk. He'd been fooled before and been given the wrong papers, only once anyway.
  6. Adella groaned inwardly as the first sounds greeting her ears upon entering the grand hall were heated shouts. Was it her lot in life today to be serenaded with cacophonous voices from dawn til dusk? Who had enough wind to blast this early in the morning anyway? The very few commoners wandering the hall bobbed their heads respectfully when they made eye contact with her and stepped aside if her path took her near one. None of them seemed eager to cause trouble or looked like they had the stuffing to. A long, drawn out sigh joined her groaning as the raucous continued. Ignore it, she should ignore it and head to the library as planned. If she stopped and scolded, the ensuing confrontation could eat up her free time. But a commoner with stuffing, such extremely loud stuffing, might be worth a peek. Adella shifted her destination to the office where the shouts and curses echoed from and paused at the door. Just a peek, she told herself.

    The lady-in-waiting stepped between the stationed men-at-arms and peered curiously into the office. The blustering had ceased by this point; a fumbling, blubbering clerk and a brooding, ill-dressed man left in its wake. Her dark eyes swept over the second man as he leaned against the desk clutching a paper. Was he reading? Could commoners read? She inched closer. The rustle of her skirts garnered her the distressed clerk's attention. 'Oh, fye!' She had hoped to go unnoticed.

    "Ah! A lady," the clerk jumped to his feet and bobbed his head. "How may I assist you?"

    Resigning herself to a brief interview, Adella arched a brow and nodded towards his client. "Is it common practice to antagonize a person to the point of waking an entire building or were you short a cock this morning as well?"
  7. The rustling of clothes didn't seem to garner his attention very easily, far too absorbed in commuting the manifest to rough memory in case it became lost or as was his usual custom, destroyed. It wasn't until the clerk blathered out some submissive dribble that Coby took notice of the lady near the rooms entrance. For a brief time he judged her with a tightening of his lips and a slight bob of his head from one side to another. He saw little that he liked.

    Once her lips began to move did he realize he wasn't listening. Something about his cock made him raise his brows. Oh, how the court ladies really were starved! He mused in his mind before he wasted no time in opening his mouth to dismiss her worries.

    "My manhood'a right where I left it, m'lady!" It was a mock attempt at politeness. Worse was when he pulled his trousers out from his stomach with his eyes down before giving his hips a shake. "Aye, he's still good an' limber." If her humor was as good as he was assuming his view of nobles and courts may have drastically shifted.

    "I do thank ya' for worryin' about my second cap'n and all but it's really all fine an' good. Me an' Mister Wickets here--"

    "It's Pickett!"

    "Yes, Pickets. Were sorting some work. Didn't mean to bother yer' lady's hip." He was a bull in a china shop that thought it was admiring fine cutlery.
  8. Never before had she been addressed with such audacity and it left her temporarily speechless with disbelief. Should she be offended or amused? It hadn't really offended her, but Adella knew she ought to be offended. Such topics were never discussed outright unless in the privacy of a bedroom, and even then they were alluded to. How the nobility managed to breed such large families she had no idea, but the method of "Show Not Tell" obviously worked to some extent. After all, she was here, wasn't she? Adella reined in her fleeing thoughts to the matter at hand. Should she react at all or walk away? The latter option seemed a trifle dull at the moment and the performance the man gave was certainly worthy of some attention. If only to admonish him for being so animalistic.

    'Commoners are crass,' she added to her perception of the lower class 'and the men really do think with only one head.' The same thing could have been said about Lord Wolfe. Something twitched in the corner of her lips at the thought of the over-stuffed peacock making a similar performance. It wasn't much of a smirk, oh no, this abrasive man had done nothing to earn one of those, but she was amused with the comparison all the same.

    "Do you have a habit of leaving him places he shouldn't be?" she asked in all seriousness.
  9. Oh how she stood there and took his brashness! It was exciting so much more so now that she had simply taken his dangling bait like a starving fish. Or so he seemed to think in his mind, always comparing something to the sea and her bounty.

    "I don't actually! Though I hear some drunkards often wake up with theirs in some heifer then have to go back to deal with the calf." He mused back in an almost sing song tone , arms folding like hairy girders across his chest, paperwork still held in between his fingers.

    Poor Mr. Picket, at a total loss for words as Cobiah spoke, half of him screaming to stop the man before she called for an axeman and the other half seeking to egg him on just to get him from his office. If only his mouth listened to his mind instead of his body. Only managing a whine and whimper as he sunk further into his post.

    Coby could admire this girl, if she was so prone to such talk then likely she was no man's wife. The rudimentary and base ideas if a quick way into nobility came to mind. Hastily erected and just as hastily begun to be executed as he marched to the young woman and have her a not so chaste once over with his eyes.

    "Don't often see such fine things on my trips to Mr. Widget. What brings such a delicate flower to try and speak to a hard northern barnacle like me?"
  10. Stiffening as his eyes raked over her form, Adella held her head higher until she seemed to be looking down her nose at the hairy brute though she stood a good few inches shorter. It was a specialty of hers and one that often came in use in times like these when a man's attentions became undesirable. Although this time she doubted her unwanted admirer had enough smarts in his head to back down properly. She was loathe to admit it, but she almost hoped he didn't. While certainly not appreciative of his eying her like a slab of meat in the market, the unrestrained conversation almost made up for it. Then again, she was speaking to a lowly, crude, ill-bred commoner. She clasped her hands tightly and settled them on top of her skirt in a prim and proper manner. Her brows furrowed as she frowned.

    "I was not aware I was the one having difficulty speaking, sir," Adella replied coldly, with a cutting emphasis on the undeserved title. "Do all commoners crow like cocks and snuffle like hogs when they are in court or are you particularly prone to bullish behaviour?"
  11. The only way he could be having a better time would be if he was at sea with a bottle of rum in one hand and a woman on his arm, this was coming at least a little close to making his day seem that much more entertaining at least. Had such a prim and proper lady of the court not fallen for his prodding and poking it may have ended quickly and politely, but now she was falling into his territory of insults. Of which he was not unaccustomed to some very colorful ones.

    "Mista' Wicket!" He clutched his chest in dramatic fashion one might liken to seeing in a local theatrical release. "I think I've been hit in the bay by a load'a bullshot!" The hand clenched clothing and he extended in arm in half a spin. "We're taki--- Oh! We're in luck! It hit our cargo o' English shit goin ta' sprinkle the fields." Now he returned to standing with his arms crossed and a broad smile on his face. "C'mon now, Ma'am, shouldn't you be takin' tea an' reading good books. Not pickin' on folk who only wear one set o' clothes at a time."
  12. She refused to get angry. Any negative response from her was just the sort of encouragement the cock would take as a prize and Adella lost to no man. Instead, she dwelt on the absurdity of the situation and watched his animated performance with growing interest. His earnestness, his candor, indeed it was a worthy act considering the stage. When he finished his theatrics, she released her hands from their locked clasp and applauded him with slow, steady claps.

    "I believe that answered my questions quite nicely." Adella inclined her head in brief acknowledgement. "Good day to you." She made as if to leave and halted as though a thought suddenly struck her.

    "Sir Bull, the next time you find yourself calling on," she paused to read the name on the clerk's name plate, "Mr. Picket, feel free to drop in for tea. That is, if you can afford to wear at least three sets of clothing and learn what a bath is before then. Oh, and do remember your 'second captain.' I won't forgive you if you show up without him."

    A forced smirk that did not reach her eyes accompanied her invitation. She bobbed again and swished out the door and into the hall. Today... today she played the fool. And it was deliciously amusing.
  13. If the applause didn't do it for him it was the way she sashayed away after she had spoken. While she was heavily entertained so was he over the entire matter, and all he could manage was a triumphant grin. "Tha's Coby to you!" He called as she walked off, as pleasant as Sir Bull sounded, he liked his name far better than any other. Though in this case he hadn't caught hers, he'd have to turn to his favorite tradesman who was sitting flabbergasted behind his desk.

    "Mista' Wickets! What's the name of that sow?" If his brash attitude hadn't made him bolt upright it was referring to her as a sow that made him cringe.

    "M-M'lady's name is Cecilia.." He managed to stammer out, fidgeting with his paperwork just as rapidly as he had before the incident, it didn't help Cobiah was leaning on his desk like a winning show dog.

    Not entirely sure he'd been the victor over that whole matter, one could never tell with nobles. Even when insulted and predisposed to bouts of anger they played it off. It reminded him of a story of playing checkers with a pigeon, no matter how well you play, it'll still defecate all over the board and strut around like it won. The idea made him balk loudly with laughter. "Good 'nuff. If you see her tell her she'll have to set the table though." The comment on his odor did make him lift his arm slightly to check in a very familiar male fashion, not too bad today, he felt.
  14. With a sigh, Adella brushed her fingers over the supple leather bindings lined up on the oaken shelf and dropped her hand. Usually this sanctuary brought her peace of mind and a relative amount of diversion, but so much had transpired this morning her musings flew far away from the library walls. Adella turned from the shelves and wandered over to the large window panes overlooking the courtyard, her thoughts spiraling inside her head in an attempt to analyze themselves.

    She had stooped, that was all there was to it. It egged her, tormented her. She, Adella Hawthorne, the Queen's Spinster, the high and mighty lady with the power to make grown men cry [so she believed], she allowed a commoner-- an abominable commoner-- to sport with her. As an equal. The exchange had been amusing, sure enough. There was no question she enjoyed the indiscreet conversation and the taste it left on her tongue in comparison to Lord Wolfe's. Sir Bull would most likely be the highlight of her mundane, senseless day and that distressed her. The daft brute would laugh about it while at court and forget the encounter as soon as the simpleton wrapped himself in whatever work he had lined up for the day while Adella had naught to distract herself from it. It was this simple fact more than anything that constituted that man as the victor, though with that parting jab she'd dared him to remember her. A foolish endeavour.

    "I played the fool," she uttered bitterly. "Now to forget the fool before I become the fool."

    However, Adella needn't have stressed over this encounter. When a manservant fetched her from the library to join the other ladies-in-waiting in the queen's chambers, she walked into a nest of confusion. The queen paced back and forth across room, her hands fidgeting with a handkerchief as she brooded. Several ladies whisked the untouched breakfast trays from the table while a few others whisked in with freshly steaming trays. Elizabeth's favourite ladies paced with her, cooling her temper with fluttering fans. Adella turned to Lady Susan, the next youngest lady-in-waiting who was the closest Adella had to a companion, and raised a brow in an unvoiced, 'Well?'

    Lady Susan removed a long piece of parchment from the breakfast table and handed it to Adella, who took it immediately and began reading in a low voice.

    "Pius Bishop, servant of the servants of God, in lasting memory of the matter... Him alone He has made ruler over all peoples and kingdoms, to pull up, destroy, scatter, disperse, plant and build, so that he may preserve His faithful people (knit together with the girdle of charity) in the unity of the Spirit and present them safe and spotless to their Saviour...

    "But the number of the ungodly has so much grown in power that there is no place left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their most wicked doctrines; and among others, Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England and the servant of crime, has assisted in this.... she has followed and embraced the errors of the heretics. She has removed the royal Council, composed of the nobility of England, and has filled it with obscure men, being heretics; oppressed the followers of the Catholic faith; instituted false preachers and ministers of impiety," Adella paused long enough in her perusing to snort incredulously.

    "...we do out of the fullness of our apostolic power declare the foresaid Elizabeth to be a heretic and favourer of heretics, and her adherents in the matters aforesaid to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the body of Christ. And moreover we declare her to be deprived of her pretended title to the aforesaid crown and of all lordship, dignity and privilege whatsoever. And also declare the nobles, subjects and people of the said realm and all others who have in any way sworn oaths to her, to be forever absolved from such an oath and from any duty arising from lordshop [sic] fealty and obedience...

    "We charge and command all and singular the nobles, subjects, peoples and others afore said that they do not dare obey her orders, mandates and laws. Those who shall act to the contrary we include in the like sentence of excommunication. Because in truth it may prove too difficult to take these presents wheresoever it shall be necessary, we will that copies made under the hand of a notary public and sealed with the seal of a prelate of the Church... Given at St. Peter's at Rome, on 27 April 1570 of the Incarnation; in the fifth year of our pontificate."

    Flipping over the paper to ensure she had read all of it, Adella stared at the declaration in disbelief.

    "Arrogant man, who does he think he is?" Elizabeth cried in displeasure. "Who does he think he is to order my subjects, my people, to desert their own nation?"

    "The Pope, apparently," Adella muttered, returning the parchment to the table. Elizabeth cast a sharp glance in her direction but merely pursed her lips.

    "The Catholic Church has no authority here," the queen finally said. "I do not want to impose on my people's religious liberties, but this" she gestured to the parchment "this gives me no alternative. Who knows what sort of rebellion this could stir up if I allowed them quarter here?"

    Adella lowered her eyes to her hands in an attempt to hide the mirth lurking inside. It would not be a mundane day after all.
  15. Of all her predictions the main one that did come to fruition was his quickly dismissed encounter with the Lady Adella. In all likelihood he'd never see her again, if she had more power the guards would have been summoned the moment he dared mouth off. Surely she was some low noble taking her frustrations on someone she thought slow witted and oafish, which he sometimes was. These monthly trips never lasted long and the city and court was massive by the days standards, no sense in worrying over someone else at the time.

    With manifest in hand he had to stop at the gates, locked for whatever reason until he managed to read off the courts notation. Something was abuzz in the higher echelons of society, most likely someone had a child or lost a husband. Little of Cobiah's concern right now, taxes might change and a new law against whores might be issues but again, unlikely to bother him on his way to the docks.

    The rising sun kept itself hidden behind the thick clouds, owing to a humid day laden with fog that already had sweat beading on his brow. "That tea is beginning to sound nice if they've got ice for it." He mused to himself, swinging into a local watering hole for a meal, dockside hardtack sounding less than appetizing this time of day.
  16. Immediately in response to the declaration, Queen Elizabeth ordered every Catholic chapel closed and sent her soldiers into heavily catholic areas to discourage riots. For the first time in the young queen's reign, it became illegal to practice Catholicism. The penalty? Imprisonment. Try as she might to quell any unrest, the fact remained that discontented murmurs were not always stoppable.

    Days passed and any hope Adella had that the edict would change things up in her dreary life faded as quickly as it had sprung. The only difference, in her opinion, was a more consistent state of agitation in the powers that be which only cut into her free time when Elizabeth requested song from her to soothe her furrowed brow. Although not a lady of the bed chamber, Lady Adella was not a royal lady-in-waiting either and therefore became excluded in many of the conferences transpiring behind Elizabeth's closed door as well as the whispered unofficial conferences in her majesty's bedchamber. She was simply a maid-of-honour, an unmarried lady-in-waiting who only had access to the gossip in the queen's private rooms and seldom did she hear anything more significant than, "Does her majesty find the omelet well cooked?" It infuriated her.

    Then an idea brought on by a letter from home planted in her mind. An adventurous, audacious idea. She cultivated it, fussed over it, and pruned it into bloom. Only when the blossom reached its pique did she dare approach the queen with her intent. Letter in hand, Adella marched into Elizabeth's sitting room for an afternoon tete a tete. Elizabeth looked up from her writing desk as the lady dropped into a low bow and set down her quill.

    "Is something troubling you, Lady Adella?"

    "Let me be your eyes, your majesty," the young maiden asked boldly, rising from her curtsey. Before Elizabeth could reply, she rushed on. "I have heard rumors, whispers, that the Pope's words have troubled your ladyship beyond what you have let show. Do not blame your friends for betraying your majesty's fears to your lesser friends. Tongues wag when hearts are troubled and is it not best to let them loose in privileged circles?"

    Elizabeth frowned but nodded her head for Adella to continue.

    "Your words have inspired action and your army enforces your bidding, but who has the eyes to judge the true sentiments of the people? Is it not prudent to have a trusted friend discover where loyalties lie? Let me be your eyes, your highness, where I may be of some service to you. A simple frock is all I would require, so that I may blend in-" she was quickly cut off.

    "I will not stoop to spying on my subjects!" Elizabeth said sternly as she rose to her feet; however, Adella could see her mind racing behind her intelligent eyes to find a discreet way of accepting the proposal. "But if you were to leave, how would you explain your absence here?"

    Adella held up the letter. "This came this morning from my mother. She is ill. Not deathly, but she is ill. I should like to... attend her."

    "It is not common for a lady, especially an unmarried lady, to leave the Queen's services for any reason," Elizabeth mused. She began to pace from her desk. "But if done properly, if done delicately..."

    Holding her breath lest any puff of air disturb the queen as she contemplated the matter, Adella stood still with her hands clasped before her. At last, Elizabeth turned towards her and issued her decision:

    "You will have no direct contact with any of my house as long as you carry on this guise. You do not have my blessing in this endeavor, is this understood?" Adella nodded, slowly releasing her breath. "Furthermore, you are acting completely of your own accord. I will deny any claim to the contrary. Should trouble arise, you will not come to me for aide for I will not lift a finger. And lastly," Elizabeth bestowed a hard look upon her lady-in-waiting "there is no promise you will be able to reclaim your position when you return. If you accept all these conditions, you may attend your sick mother how you see fit."

    "It will be as you say, your majesty. Thank you," Adella replied with a low curtsey. Her eyes glinted. Life would soon be drastically different.
  17. "Oh fer' fu-" The curse was immediately cut off by the clanging of hammers on steel as Cobiah threw his arms up in the air in exasperation. This wasn't how things were supposed to be going at all. When the Queen's declaration had hit it instantaneously put much of the river and cargo on hold, nothing in, nothing out. Even rumors of warships blasting any boats that left the river's mouth trying to get to sea. They were unfounded, but rumors had power in themselves.

    It was all enough to drive a man to drink, so that's what he ended up doing for the first day in a vain attempt to avoid getting any angrier about the lost income he'd dealt with. Ships were being built of course, but worry that they'd never see open ocean made investors wary, many having drawn some of their support out and leaving a few ships half-completed on the drydocks.

    "Cobah! Where do ya' want this 'e--" "Warehouse, Keke!" He didn't mean to snap, but it was the calmest he could be. Many people were late in getting news of the freeze. If it kept up, the already overflowing warehouses would need to be sold off wholesale, a loss for everyone in that situation.

    Yet another attempt to calm himself he found it a little bit easier to be in the rigging of his personal vessel, no one else on board save for him and maybe the cook, who both called it home away from home. Hot breeze touched his cheeks and he felt some of the sweat wick off to help cool his naked torso. "I bet good gold this is them spanish' fault.."
  18. Adella pulled her shawl tighter over her shoulders as the wind whipped viciously through the streets by the docks. The one downfall, at least one of the downfalls, of downgrading the quality and quantity of her wardrobe was how poorly it protected her skin compared to what she was used to. Not even an hour had passed since she slipped out of her father's house this morning and yet her excitement of freedom had dulled into nothing. She wasn't sure how long she'd last without a quiet hole to slip into.

    To be honest, Adella had a fairly good idea what she was getting into. The stench, the noise, the throngs of people, and the attitudes of said throng weren't far off from her guesstimates. What she hadn't been prepared for was the hardened, gaunt faces of the children running amok in the streets, the turned up nose from one commoner woman to another, or the unmasked lewd expressions of the men along the dockyard. And they called this civilization?

    Following a burly looking man into the first tavern she came across to get out of the wind, Adella barely squeaked through the doorway behind him before the heavy door banged shut. Oh, how she missed commanding respect! Suddenly, the man in front halted and Adella fell against his back.

    "Ho there, missy!" the man exclaimed as he turned around. His look of anger quickly turned into... one Adella didn't recognize, but she certainly did not like it. "By yerself are ye?"

    Adella kept her head down and her shoulders drooped. 'Be meek, downcast,' she reminded herself. She'd already had an altercation brought on by a haughty word today and did not wish another. "Excuse me. I wasn't looking where I was going."

    The man surprisingly let her go at that, but she could feel his eyes follow her as she dodged past him. A quick rest and she'd move out.
    #18 Lady Alainn, Sep 6, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  19. The Wounded Dog they called this place, name taken from the owners old hound that limped its way around the establishment looking for scraps of any sort that might hit the floor, or come down from offered hands. The pet having long since slipped away to old age with a fat belly and a warm rug that lay in front of the hearth.

    Cobiah let out a groan as he finished his meal, pushing the cleaned dinner ware off to the side of the bar while taking a swig of the watered down ale he'd been given to down his meal. Anything was better than drinking the actual water supply of the city, hence the ale mixed it. Almost made it bearable to drink, but he wasn't about to blow his meal budget for the month on drinking ale morning, noon, and all night. As nice as it'd be, he knew it'd be his killer if he let himself keep up with that.

    The commotion at the door was nothing new to this part of town, an early drunkard, a jobless youth looking to pick some sort of fight for an easy snatch and grab of a wallet. When a woman's voice crossed his ears that gave him cause to spin around in his chair, flanked on either side by a burly Englishman and a Scotsman following suite, both having finished their meal as well. "Well, well, well." Of course he wasn't talking about choice masonry for drawing water when his brows lifted up, earning him confused glances from the burly brutes he'd just shared a meal with.

    Their confusion grew more when he stood up with hands on his hips giving the woman a swift once over from where he stood at the bar, making no attempt to approach her just yet. He'd seen twins before, even unrelated twins, could be another of those times. No way in Her Majesty's Wardrobe was that the same woman from before.

    It couldn't be! He hadn't been insulted just yet!

    "Bring me my tea, have you? Was just thinking of visiting again to get me some!" How crass.
  20. Standing by the door to keep an eye out on the weather outside and her back to the patrons, Adella was able to drown out the unruly background noise for the most part. While she wanted to collect an honest opinion of how the Englishmen felt in regards to her majesty's proclamation, she was more interested in the views of the merchants and clerks. The middle-class, if you care to break society down that way. They at least had some degree of education and a better notion of what was going on. These rough-and-tumble scallywags only looked as far as the end of their noses. Adella risked a side-ways glance at the brute she'd knocked into earlier. He'd taken a table a bit too close and had yet to take his eyes off her. It unnerved her. She pulled herself up straighter and tossed her loose brunette curls over her shoulder. He smirked. Were all men this infuriating?

    "Bring me my tea, have you? Was just thinking of visiting again to get me some!"

    The maiden froze. She recognized that voice bellowing over the din. Where...? Who would she know in a place like this? She knew she'd heard it quite recently, too. Slowly, Adella turned again into the tavern and locked eyes with him. Cock man. The impudent bull. 'Oh, fye!' Before her jaw could plummet to the ground, she jerked her head around to stare out the gritty window again and tightened her hold on her shawl. Whether the weather looked promising or not, it was past time to move on. Ducking her head, Adella slipped outside and into the fray.

    She only made it half a block before the winds grew too strong for her to fight against them. These winds wouldn't knock the average layman down, but living a rather sheltered life for the majority of her 23 years, Adella did not have the strength to stand against them. She was soon forced to seek refuge in the nearest alleyway and work her way around the barrels and crates littering the dirty lane.

    Footsteps echoed closely behind. Heavy breathing. Adella picked up her pace and kept her dark eyes focused dead ahead. The footsteps followed suit. Adella turned left onto another small lane. They persisted. Alarm pulsed adrenaline through her body as she broke out into a cold sweat. That man, either of them, they hadn't followed her, had he? Adella sprang into a quick clip. Suddenly, beefy hands locked onto her and pushed her against the side of the building. A sharp cry escaped her lips as the wind knocked out of her briefly.

    "Let me go!" she hissed angrily at the ugly face leering above hers. Her nose wrinkled in distaste as wafts of alcoholic breath assailed her nostrils.

    "Ye seemed ssso eager ta ge' erquainted bafor, lassie." He leaned in closer. "And 'ere I am."

    "I said it was an accident, now let me go!" Her voice steadily rose with each word until a shrillness entered her tone. She tried to pull her arms away from his grip, but to no avail. Defend, she had to defend herself. But how? Oh, why weren't ladies taught what to do in situations like these? Her arms were stuck fast, but her legs were still movable, though the man had them straddled. Quick thinking brought her knee up and in contact with his second captain. Apparently that did something, because the brute loosened his grip on her with a howl and she wiggled herself out from his power.

    Without casting another glance in the man's direction, Adella sprinted madly down the way she'd come to return to the safety of the tavern. Ha! She had bested him! Triumph sat smugly on her face. But the victory was short lived. She almost made it to the first alley before a snarl erupted behind her and once more, those beefy hands locked onto her. Down she fell onto the road on her hands and knees. Panic welled in her chest again, thudding in her ears and scattering her wits. Before she could react, she was on her back with the cur straddling her.

    "Let me go!" she screamed.

    "I like a sspirted wench," the brute cackled.
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