Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlefolk.

This blog will be devoted to my literary and cosplay interests and stories set in my own alternative historical steampunk background. I hope people enjoy the stories, as much as I enjoy devising and writing them and that it stimulates their own artistic interests, entertains them or if nothing else fires their own imaginations.

A special note to new readers of this blog, the entries "Nation States" are gazetteers of the nations as they exist in the An Age of Steam, Steel and Iron background, each with a few remarks/observations about each nation as they exist within. Any post headed by the title containing the words "Story Snippet" or "Fragments" is a stand alone, snapshot of the background, they will be developed into fuller stories in future, but at present they serve to give the viewer/reader a measure of what this world is like, what is going on in it and who some of the players are. Full stories, will be headed by their title and a roman number, as they will generally be in several parts.

Comments, suggestions or remarks by readers are welcomed.

I would like to thank the following people:

Yaya Han, for getting me seriously interested in cosplay at a time when things were looking very glum for me back in 2006 with several extended stays in hospital due to illness, and motivating me to get actively involved.

Ashley Du aka UndeadDu, for her unfailing friendship and cheerful support since we first met in 2014 at the Hamilton Comic Con, and for being my Cosplay mentor and advisor.

Sara Marly, for her interest in and support for my writings, since we first met in 2016 at the Hamilton Comic Con and incidently helping me make up my mind to finally do this.

Stephen Thomson, my friend, for his advise and assistance with creating and setting up this blog.

Daniel Cote, my friend and co-worker for his advise and friendship over the years.

The People of the The Aegy's Gathering (particularly Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, Scott Washburn and Jenny Dolfen, all of whom I have kept in contact with over the years), who were brought together in friendship by a certain randomness of chance and a common interest in the Honor Harrington books and stayed together despite distance and the strains of life.

The People of the Wesworld Alternative History website, who gave me the opportunity to sharpen my writing and story telling skills while directing the affairs of Lithuania and briefly France during their 1930s timelines.

My parents Mary Ellen and Logan, my siblings Adam and Danika and various friends both online and at work and play for putting up with me, encouraging and supporting me both in the very good times and the very bad times.

I remain as always yours very sincerely, your obedient servant, Matthew Baird aka Sir Leopold Stanley Worthing-Topper

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Attendence at the Kendal Ball (Part VIII)

Kendal Palace, Grosvenor Square, London, Great Britain: January 1886

Sir Leo signaled the attendants to leave him and see to the next group of incoming carriages. The sturdy walking stick he had with him would suffice to help keep his own balance. Both men nodded and walked swiftly back across the pavement. Sir Leo turned back to the great entrance and walked casually towards it taking in the architecture, he was no stranger to this place, but the beauty of the place even at night lite only by gas light was impressive. The architects have managed to blend the various often contrasting styles of the various buildings added at various times into a comfortable and unified whole. The gentle frosting of ice and snow covering the roof tops and grounds reflected the light and twinkled in the darkness like gems.

Sir Leo felt his mood lightening, the strains of music were audible to the ear, as people ahead of him passed through the great double doors of the Kendal Palace inlaid in bronze with the combined Ducal arms and the Wraithdale arms. A group of plain clothes detectives and several uniformed and heavily armed police constables stood at either side of the doorway as he approached working with one of the Wraithdale family chamberlains and several foot postilions. This hardly surprised Sir Leo given the wealth and social precedence of many of those on the guest list for tonight.

Big Ben, the great clock of Westminster, struck the hour, silhouetted like some giant castle tower or keep against the night sky. Sir Leo  had always thought since he had first seen it in childhood of Big Ben as the sentinel of London, with four giant eyes watching out from it's four faces to the four major points of the compass. A glance at the hands of his watch with the aid of the soft light coming from the Great Door, showed it was 10:00 pm exactly. The formal reception for the ball would start shortly.

Sir Leo passed through the imposing security cordon, showed his invitation to the chamberlain, and was cordially ushered through the great doors and into the reception hall beyond. He paused only briefly to discard his heavy cloak and coat into the custody of one of the waiting cloak room postilions, along with his heavy helmet. Sir Leo then was directed into the hall itself, the Senior Butler of Kendal Hall greeted him quietly, and turned to announce him to the general throng of people who already occupied the spacious reception hall. Henry Addington had once been a classically trained and very successful Opera and Shakespearean actor in his youth, before he had found himself by hard times and happy circumstances in Sir Geoffrey's employ and he used his still powerful and crisply articulated voice to good affect when announcing the guests as they arrived. The staff in his gloved hands struck the hard stone floor three times.

"The Right Honourable, the Viscount Worthing." He boomed with a voice worthy of a sergeant-major on a battalion drill field. The excellent accoutics of the cavernous hall did not hurt either as nearly everyone in the hall hear it clearly and turned to view the newcomer, standing at the top of the ten steps that lead from the Door Hall into the Reception Hall. Some three hundred eyes turned on him, as he walked slowly down the ten steps. He knew a great many of these people, Sir Geoffrey and the Wraithdale family as a rule moved in varied and interesting circles of society, although not always circles some of their aristocratic contemporaries approved of. However being a Duke meant as a rule that one could safely if politely ignore most of the other peers below oneself and get on with enjoying yourself.

At the moment his attention concentrated on one person and one person alone. Ursula Wraithdale. She stood some twenty feet from the foot of the stairs, receiving the guests who had entered just before him, greeting each cordially and being greeted warmly in turn. The light airy and soothing notes of the opening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons floated through the room, setting the tone for the evening. Ursula herself looked absolutely vibrant tonight, every inch the aristocratic duchess and accomplished woman of society, although her rich sun tanned colouring would have sent many a more conventional society dame's teeth on edge. Her flaming red hair worn long and heavily curled and coiffed was set off by both her golden hued skin and her fabulous dark green dress, trimmed in decorative and expensive black lace and a hint of white silk or satin at neck and wrists. Her jewelry while deceptively plain, being confined to arrangements, around her throat, brow and ears, of diamonds and pearls were of excellent quality and beauty.

Her dress left her shoulders daringly bare, while falling in a figure hugging cascade of beautifully cut cloth all the way to the floor. The shallowly plunging neckline of the dress was formed into a crescent of black lace with its sharply contrasting line of white against her skin, neatly framing her very appealing bosom. A tiara of diamonds with pearl ornaments adorned her forehead, while a black silk, white laced pearl decorated choker encircled her throat, it's centerpiece was a large flawless stone of more then unusual brilliance. Her ears were decorated with diamonds clasps to which a single large tear-drop pearl was hung. Two pearl necklaces encircled her neck, then fell at two lengths down the front of her dress, the first just below the edge of her laced bust, the second, fell three hand spans lower to stop at her midriff just above her hips. Her arms were covered in long sleeved gloves, which terminated just short of her shoulder, and were like her throat decorated at wrist and just before the shoulder with bands of diamonds and pearls.

Beside her stood a smartly dressed and turned out gentlemen in the dark blue uniform of the British Merchant Marine, with the four gold lace rings of a full captain on his cuffs. A cluster of mercantile decorations for service and medals of merit as well as several British and foreign decorations for gallantry were fitted neatly to the upper part of his tunic. A splendid Lloyd's Patriotic Fund presentation sword decorated his left hip.

Captain Sir Thomas Jameson.

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