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Thread: The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God [M - Hannelorian x DuchessLivilla]

  1. #981
    The Grey Lady
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    Internally Arthur was crushed but unsurprised. Christian had of course, failed to give his mother any acknowledgment at all. This was the way, it was as though Elizabeth had never existed. In fact if he could wipe her from history, Arthur was certain his father would have done so. Arabella had supplanted the woman even before she had died. When his mother retreated into the depths of her alcoholism and depression Arabella was there to command the women of court. She was there to act as hostess, as confidant, as ringleader. She had been auditioning for a job she hadn't wanted, and she got it.

    Then of course there was the question of his grandmother. Nora. A woman of iron will, a woman who without acknowledgment effectively ran the country while his grandfather remained weak and paralyzed. No one, of course, would give credit to a woman. Eleanor was not particularly warm toward Arthur. All of Nora's love and affection was reserved for her own son. The only one who truly loved Arthur was Elizabeth his own beloved mother, but naturally, fitfully, it was his mother that made Nora go cold. When Eleanor realized how impossibly useless she felt Elizabeth was, she had no hope for her grandson. He was immediately a disappointment, a reminder of her own husband, a man she loathed and spent the entirety of her early motherhood ensuring that Christian III would be nothing like his father.

    Eleanor did love children, just not those in her own family save for her precious boy. "Did you ever know her, mother?" Arthur ignoring his father's query for the moment posed the question to Arabella who seemed caught off guard. Occasionally the Queen wondered if Arthur just called her mother to irritate her. Either way it did work.

    "The Dowager?" Arabella questioned briefly. "Yes. Not well, we only met a handful of times after my first marriage." Arabella recalled. "Not long before she passed."

    Arthur listened to her and nodded his head a bit. In a rare moment Eleanor lamented to Arthur and Christian her truth, and likely what sent his father down his road. The old Dowager expressed that Arabella would make the perfect wife. There was a woman so pious, so devoted, so beautiful and close to God that she would have done well to marry into the family. But alas, she was already spoiled by marriage to a feeble old man. Another good godly woman gone to waste, she had thought.

    "I do miss her father, yes." Arthur said softly as he turned to look at his father. "I think we were all far happier when she was still around." His father was happier, which made life easier for the rest of them. "She stood for no nonsense, and she carried us all with her." Arthur chuckled lightly. "I do miss my mother too. That is a loss that never leaves you, does it?" Arthur asked and Arabella remained dead silent.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  2. #982
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    The Princess, too clever for her own good sometimes, watched a look pass between the King and Queen when Arthur mentioned his mother. Elizabeth's name had not been said in the court nor before the King in years, as far as Arthur knew, and it was the common thing too for ladies called said name to go by their middle name instead...for fear of annoying His Majesty. The 'late' Queen had been entirely erased, as best as she could be. Damnatio memoriae* as it were, a fate known to the Romans, though they never called it such.

    Elizabeth did not exist. She had never existed. Only Arthur stood as proof she had once been alive. Along with perhaps her room, kept so by Arabella and unseen by Christian. Perhaps that was why the King was so against his son? He was the last link to a Queen he found so repellent.

    Alex could not work out what the look meant. It was not annoyance, not for Bella anyway, it was...something. She filed that for now, with the intention of returning to it, and most of what had happened during their stay here, when it was less stressful.

    It was perhaps rather strange that it had not occurred to anyone, not even Arabella before she was told, that the Queen might be locked away in a mental asylum; it was, after all, it was not uncommon for 'unsatisfactory' wives to be put away like that in their society. Hell, the two previous Duchesses of Suffolk had suffered such a fate!

    Even Alex, who was utterly convinced the King was the foulest monster -perhaps aside from his dog Nikolai- to walk the earth, had not considered he might have done such a cruel thing to his wife, and then to his son in telling him his mother was dead when she was in fact not. Perhaps it was the issue of annulments and so on and the succession that stopped anyone considering it.

    Royal marriages were tricky things, especially if said marriage had produced a son and heir, and even more so if said heir was alone in the line. It created a minefield of legal and religious issues concerning legitimacy. Of course, a King could bribe the Pope to do as he wished...but still...it was a chink in one's armour, as it were, to have that issue. If the marriage had been made in good faith and children born within it, then some issue was discovered...an annulment could be issued and all was fine. In theory. Still, if said annulment was later questioned, any further marriage and children were called in question too, along with the first.

    It was far 'easier' if troublesome Queen's died, permanently removing any problem. Their issue was still legal, unless the King said otherwise, and a new marriage could be contracted. As had happened here. The King had no need for annulments, surely?

    Besides, it was a known fact that Elizabeth had been very depressed. Most people assumed she had either drunk herself to death or killed herself.

    One or two though maybe the King had helped her along but no one guessed what he had really done. No one could even continence it.

    So what was this look?

    Alexandra stroked her husband's hand in comfort and said, smiling sadly -partly for her own amusement and partly to see another reaction- "Yes, I thought of the Queen Mother when I looked at the children. Little Victoria has her colouring I think, unless it darkens later on, as sometimes such colour does. Queen Elizabeth had such a rare colouring and so pretty, it shall be lovely to see it brighten the palaces once again."

    She was not disappointed. The muscle in the King's jaw tightened, ever so briefly at the mention of his former wife. He did not like praise of her. She was nothing. He deserved the praise, after all. Christian knew too that Alex was doing this on purpose, something else he did not like. Clever women unnerved him, and this game was supposed to be his to play. He was supposed to make people squirm. He was annoyed at himself for reacting, though he -wrongly' assumed he had given nothing away.

    He forced a smile and looked at his current Queen, touching her hand as if to centre himself before he looked across at his son and daughter-in-law, prepared, one again, to act the part. One could see him struggling in the way he drew a deep breath. "Yes, very pretty. I miss her too, sometimes," he lied, badly, "My heart grieves for the loss for you, lad. A man's mother is always precious to him. I wish you had had more time with her."

    Now he was back on safer ground, thinking of the fact that Arthur could, even now, have time with her and because he himself had the power, the young man could not. He smirked, unable to stop it, taking comfort and pleasure in that. It was an unnerving sight and, once again, Alex filed it away, frowning, ever so slightly, at his expression.

    Alexandra looked across at her sister and decided it was best to move this conversation along. She had had a moment of fun and learnt much, though she did not know the details yet, but now it was time to change it, in case the King turned and ruined the current, tenuous, peace.

    She settled on a safe topic, for now. Victoria, and not her resemblance to the late Queen, but to her presence.

    "Your Majesty," she said, smiling. "You are most taken with Vicky, which cheers us greatly. Did you wish for a daughter of your own, ever? I imagine she would have been called Eleanor, after your dear mother?"

    Christian smiled, genuinely, at that. "I had not considered it," he said, honestly, "Until recently. I had been raised to want only boys, as was my duty to provide heirs for the realm so...I never gave a daughter a second thought but," he nodded, pursing his lips, "But seeing the little one I am quite convinced that I should be happy and content if my dear wife," here he looked to Bella and smiled again, lifting his hand to rest it on her stomach, "gives me a Princess."

    He paused, pondering, "I had not considered a name, but yes...I suppose you are right...Eleanor, maybe. There can be only one Arabella, after all," he beamed proudly. "We thought Henry, if the baby is a boy," he added. "A fine old name with history. And," it suddenly occurred to him, "A precedent too! Arthur as the elder and Henry as the younger, as with Henry VIII and his older brother."

    The King had, for once, spoken innocently, a history lesson coming back to him in the moment. But it didn't escape Alex that yes, that was true...And Arthur, the heir, had died, being replaced by Henry who was never meant to be King upon the first's death. She tightened her grip, briefly on her husband's hand.

    She could not say whether it was a warning or on purpose or even if it was just an innocent comment but it was yet another shot across the bow, as it were. If this Henry was born and was to be King...This Arthur had to be removed, and death was the best way to solve succession issues.

    And it followed that if Arthur had to be removed, so did her son too. There could be no lose ends.


    * Phrase coined in Germany in 1689 for a practice carried out in Ancient Rome by which disgraced persons of high rank were literally erased from the annals of history; names carved off lists, statues destroyed, the banning of their name being said aloud and destruction of any of their projects, even in the extreme going so far as killing members of the same family...eg. Emperor Gaius's (Caligula) wife and infant daughter.
    "Ye mustn't be afraid to ask for help. Pride is a good thing, my girl, but it will kill you in time." - Granny Weatherwax

  3. #983
    The Grey Lady
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    Alexandra had rocked the boat, ever so softly, but rocked it never the less. Speaking of Elizabeth was dangerous, a frightening prospect. The brief look she had exchanged with her husband was one of knowing truth, and one she quickly set aside for all of their sakes. But to raise her name so casually and so repeatedly broke all of the rules, the precious rules that the court clung to for their own protection. Elizabeth was not a real person. Arthur may as well been birthed into thin air. It wasn't done.

    Christian lied through his teeth and once more they all knew it. He never even thought of Elizabeth, even when they were married. Christian was never happy with her. Perhaps a world of hurt and pain could have been avoided had Arabella only been years older, the perfect first wife. But she was nobody's first choice. That was her sister. Alexandra was a first wife, a true and beloved wife. The fact that her first husband had loved her, where he had no affection for his first two wives should have been enough. But no, not really. Arabella always got what others left behind. She was a toy for men, a play thing. Or so it had felt at some times.

    Arabella often reflected upon Elizabeth, even before she knew the truth. The woman had once been a great beauty, but as far as Arabella knew her, she was far too sad to appear genuinely beautiful.

    Arabella's hand slid over Christian's hand as he rested it upon her pregnant belly. For a moment this felt normal, she could almost accept that he would welcome a daughter. When not many months ago he had more or less told her that he would rather Arabella die in childbirth than birth a girl. The deeply held fear Arabella felt was real and dangerous. No, she prayed. God could not be so cruel, not even to her after all she had sinned. She hoped and begged for a boy. It had to be a boy.

    "Eleanor would be a splendid name if we were to have a daughter." Arabella began slowly. The look on her face was enough to suggest this was an unwelcome thought. "Though we shall have none of that. God will grant me the son Christian and I were promised." To speak of their own daughter was one thing, but to raise the possibility of Arabella's was another. She could afford no such talk. "A Princess can come later." Her displeasure was apparent but not directed at Alex who had only been trying to move the conversation along to a slightly happier place.

    Arabella sighed and leaned back, her frame relaxing into Christian. She was upset, she felt for a moment like she was truly alone. Alex poking at the King about Elizabeth, though she did turn the topic, thankfully, but then to ask about the King and a daughter.

    "All happy things indeed" Arthur spoke with almost a cheer in his voice. He had not taken it personally, or at least had chosen not to take it so here in this setting. Both his wife, and his mother-in-law both having threatened to jeopardize the uneasy peace now. It was his responsibility to try and reroute the group accordingly. "You have a good mind for history. Much like Alexandra. Your father certainly made sure you were both well raised women." Arthur smiled brightly and gently squeezed his wife's hand as she had done his though with increasing pressure. "Children aside, I am quite pleased for the time we'll get to spend together over the next few days." Arthur concluded.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

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