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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Attendence at the Kendal Ball (Part XI)

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

Lady Penelope, after making sure, that her willful niece was attending to her duties as hostess, turned back to Sir Leo and subtly but firmly guided him away from Ursula and Sir Thomas, so as to have a moment alone to talk. The two walked through the throng of assembled guests cluttering the great hall, made the necessary polite but friendly conversation and finally ended up in an side alcove gallery which at that moment was quiet empty of guests or family servants.

As soon as Lady Penelope was sure the two of them were alone, she suddenly sighed feelingly while fanning herself briskly with her lace fan. Less, Sir Leo noted, because she felt hot but to give herself time to collect herself and think.

"I really, really do despair of that, girl, sometimes."

Sir Leo, merely arched an eyebrow in bemused silence, if Lady Penelope had something to say, she would say it presently once she had made her own particular way to it. Lady Penelope noticed, Sir Leo's watchful silence, and flipped her fan up to cover her face, leaving only her dark brown eyes clearly visible. She looked back at him coyly.

Sir Leo flatly refused to be drawn, he knew Lady Penelope all too well. She for her part realized that Sir Leo was not going to play the game, tossed her head in a mix of frustration at something she evidently did not want to bring up but thought she should and amused exasperation at her sparing partner's all too typical lapses into wry humoured silence.

"Baron Landseer is coming to the Ball this evening." Lady Penelope finally said with an irritated sigh. That got Sir Leo's attention, both he and Sir Regis Augustus Crossley, 11th Baron of Landseer had been school mates at the Brookfield Grammar School and Barchester College and good friends. Regis was a man of a good natured, suave and tactful sort. One of nature's born diplomats, and well regarded within foreign diplomatic circles and the British Foreign Office. He was also an old friend of the Wraithdales, which only made it natural for him to be invited to the Ball, what set Sir Leo on his guard was, what Lady Penelope had not just said.

"Lord Landseer did not just happen to invite his younger brother to join him, did he?" Sir Leo said with eyes narrowing behind his monocle. Lady Penelope grimaced feelingly and nodded, Sir Leo sighed softly his monocle falling out of his eye as he did so. The Honourable Lord Roderick Octavius Crossley was not amougst either his or Lady Penelope's favourite people for a number of reasons, Ursula or rather Roderick's past attempts to alternatively insult or court her being the chief amoung them. Ursula for her part absolutely despised him to the depths of her heart and soul.

"Neither of them know about, Ursula and Sir Thomas's engagement yet, do they." Sir Leo remarked wryly. His lips quirked into what might almost be charitably called a sardonic half-smile as he looked at Lady Penelope's expression.

"My God, when he finds out,  Roderick with have a bloody fit!" Sir Leo remarked with something like a chuckle of amusement.

The servant automaton stationed unobtrustively at the entrance to the alcove, made a warning sound of softy but audible clicking gears accented by a musical tone, which caused Sir Leo to turn and look sharply at the entrance, a figure appeared in the soft light streaming through the doorway from the great hall.

"Ah Lady Penelope, just who I was looking for. I believe you wanted a quiet word with the rest of the Wraithdale Trustees, before there were any fireworks tonight?"

Dame Daphne Cosgrave, Q.C. remarked as she crossed the threshold and approached both Lady Penelope and Sir Leo. Cosgrave was an accomplished barrister and acted as the Wraithdale family's primary legal counsel and agent before the Queen's Bench when required. She wore an elegant dress of black cloth decorated with black silk ribbons and white lace. Daphne looked beguilingly splendid, Sir Leo had to admit. Her long white hair was set off by sparkling jewelry at her neck, ears and brow, though they did not sparkle half as enchantingly as her witch green eyes.

"Yes, actually." Lady Penelope returned, Sir Leo noticed from the corner of his eye the way, Penelope schooled her face into a demure expression. Dame Daphne noticed it to, a wicked smile played across her lips as she looked at her friend.

"And keeping the desirable Sir Leo as near to your self as possible I see." Dame Daphne remarked teasingly. Sir Leo smothered the impulse to laugh by replacing his monocle in his left eye, and schooling his face into immobility to keep it there. The fact that he and Lady Penelope had once courted each other quite seriously was old news in London Society, as was abrupt end to it when his mother the Dowager Duchess had put her foot down against it. Not that the Wraithdales had objected to his potential suite at the time, although they did rather object to his mother as a potential in-law!

Dame Daphne did rather enjoy twitting people about everyday things, particularly their society affairs or love lives. She was never vicious about it but she did enjoy having a dig at people. Penelope refused to give her long time friend the satisfaction of a remark, and just fanned herself with her lace fan languidly. Which did absolutely nothing to still the raising colour stealing its way into her cheeks, Sir Leo noticed.

"This teasing party a private affair or one with an open invitation?" Duncan Foster remarked from the entrance, the Wraithdale Family's chief solicitor looked on with an amused expression. Beside him stood Alastair Wycliffe Scattergood, a Wraithdale family friend of long standing, bon vivant, fashionable dandy and gentleman of leisure. Just behind the two of them, Sir Leo could see the two remaining members of the Wraithdale Estate Trustees approaching the alcove, Sir Samuel Thistlewood, one of London's most notable businessmen and self-taught inventors and the Lady Philipa Fieldhouse, one of the rising stars of the London banking and financing institutions.

The next few minutes discussion promised to be more then usually interesting, Sir Leo, thought absently.

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