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, July 4, 2017

Attendence at the Kendal Ball (Part X)

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

Sir Leo suddenly for his part, felt as if a decade has just slide backward in time, he saw a young, mildly nervous and prettily attired young lady making her first presentation to formal society. His lips quirked into a smile at the memory. Ursula saw the smile and the twinkle in his brown eyes, and tilted her head slightly to one side questioningly.

"My apologies, Your Grace, I was suddenly reminded of the first ball, we both attended some years ago."

Ursula smiled in response, that particular ball in 1874 had been memorable for a lot of reasons not all of them pleasant of course given the circumstances, but it had lead to a close platonic friendship between her and Sir Leo which endured to this day. Then Captain-Lieutenant Leo Stanley Worthing-Topper had just returned from Africa on a delayed but necessary medical leave after being seriously wounded twice in action against the Abyssinians the pervious year to discover on his arrival back in Great Britain that he had just been elevated to the rank of Viscount upon the death of his father, the 6th Duke of Shromburg a month earlier. His older brother Stephen, had of course succeeded their father as the new 7th Duke and in doing so passed on his own family courtesy title of Viscount Worthing to his younger brother Leopold along with it's associated holdings, civic duties and feudal responsibilities and the rents, tithes and investments.

In all it had been a thoroughly bad start to the year, and Sir Leo had been in no mood to attend a society ball at his mother's insistence. He had been even less of a mood to stand idly by and watch a young girl be humiliated by a bunch of self important snobs and social butterflies. A man who had recently endured both a sword thrust to the jaw and been run through with an Abyssinian pike was not the sort to quail before the threat of mere social barbs. There were some compensations to being both a decorated military hero and being a member of the British Peerage and Sir Leo decided to make ruthless and entertaining use of them that particular evening.

Ursula's own white eyes began to twinkle brightly at the memory and something like a mischievous grin graced her lips, Sir Thomas saw the look and raised an eye brow in silent question and not a little curiosity. He knew that both Ursula and Sir Leo had a history together and while their closeness gave him occasional twinges of jealousy it never gave him cause for concern otherwise.

Before anyone of the three could speak a word, someone cleared their throat quietly but none to subtlety at Ursula's side. Both Sir Leo and Sir Thomas watched in only partially concealed amusement as Ursula's lips tried to flex into both a bemused smile and a grimace at the same time. Ursula's aunt, the Lady Penelope Wraithdale, took a step forward and tapped her niece gently and reprovingly on the shoulder with her lace fan.

"You still have a great many people to greet, young lady. Time to socialize with old gallants and admirers, later."

"Yes, Aunt Penelope."

Lady Penelope's own lips quirked into a very alluring full lipped smile, her dark eyes sparkled at her niece. She was actually only a few years older then her niece, being closer to Sir Leo in age, although greatly surpassing him in looks as far as he was concerned. Lady Penelope was quite as beautiful and iron willed as all the Wraithdale women were, although her hair was a soft blond, with darker highlights and her eyes were dark brown rather then silver-white of her late sister, the Duchess of Kendal, Ursula's mother. She was also one of the seven appointees that acted as trustees to the Wraithdale fortune.

"Do not take that tone with me, young lady!"

"Oh dear..." Sir Thomas said half aloud, half to himself and exchanging a side long glance with Sir Leo, who was obviously trying to avoid breaking out into outright laughter at the two women's discourse. This unfortunately brought him to Lady Penelope's attention, her fan snapped shut and rapped him soundly in the chest.

"Sir Thomas! I expect you of all people, to set this incorrigible young lady a good example before the guests."

"My apologies, Lady Penelope." Sir Thomas said contritely, Ursula for her part eyed her man with scant favour at this moment and a wicked look glimmered in her eyes, which promised loving trouble for him later on.

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