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

Monday, July 19, 2021

Attendence at the Kendal Ball (Part XIV)

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

Sir Leo watched the expressions of the two Crossley brothers at this announcement, first momentarily blank, then when recognizition of the words my fiance hit. It was almost comical to watch, really Sir Leo thought absently. Regis's eyebrows shot up towards his hair line, with astonishing rapidity and he took a half step back in surprise. Regis then warmly took Ursula's hands in his own and offered his congradulations and immediately asked a flurry of wedding and reception related questions. Well Regis loved ceremonial occassions, especially happy, geniune ones. After pausing to take a breath, Regis offered his hand to Sir Thomas for a hardy handshake and best wishes. Sir Thomas with polished good manners accepted both, with equal warmth. The glow of happiness that surfused Ursula and Sir Thomas, would have lite up the room, had it not already been awash with lights of all sorts.

Roderick, however was a study in contrast to his brother Regis. Roderick looked like he had just been run through with a pike. Given that Sir Leo had survived having that happen to him back in East Africa in '72. He had some idea both what it both looked like and felt like! Regis glared at his brother's stricken silence and stunned expression for a fulminating minute, before Roderick reacted and managed to mumble words of congradulations to the pair. Roderick then excused himself from Ursula's presence and disappeared into the crowd of guests.

Regis just prevented himself from sighing aloud, as he watched Roderick's hasty, unseemingly departure. We are not here ten minutes, and already, Roderick is offering offense. Regis thought crossly. The expressions of the other guest immediately to hand, differed according to their temperments, Lady Penelope looked relieved that Ursula's bold announcement had not cause anything more unpleasant. Dame Daphne, looked tranquil and unconcerned, while Duncan Foster looked just as guarded, although an amused smile was trying to quirk the corners of his mouth. Sir Samuel Thistlewood, regarded Roderick's hurried and undignified retreat with undisquised contempt. While, Allistair Scattergood and Philipa Fieldhouse, both shared bemused glances. Regis noticed, that Sir Leo kept his gaze on Roderick for several long moments before saying a few words to a nearby postillion, to which the servant nodded and disappeared into the crowd, after Roderick.

Ursula's expression as she watched Roderick flee her presence, there was no other word for it, was to put it mildly, indecently triamphant. Then again, this was hardly unexpected, she hated Roderick, which surprised no one who knew either of the two principals. Regis stiffled the impulse to sigh again. Roderick had always exhibited a singular talent for making people dislike him, and many of his social peers absolutely dispised him. What many of his social inferiors thought of him, was not even printable in mixed or polite company. Years ago, Roderick had thought it fun, along with a cortie of his usual vapid, sychophantic hangers on, to try and humilate Ursula at her first formal ball. Sir Leo, who was at that same ball, largely to please his mother. Decided to intervene, and he had stepped on Roderick, brutally. There were distinct advantages to being someones, social superior both in family lineage and in rank, and Sir Leo had ruthlessly used both to humilate Roderick. Regis had heard a lot about that evening from various sources over the years, and to a certain extent approved of the savage snubs, Sir Leo had administered to his younger brother. It did not happen often enough, otherwise Roderick might actually have learned to moderate his behaviour by now.

Ursula was finally getting her own lethal broadside in at Roderick, Regis thought. Ursula had as time went on, acquired a definite and stylish, poise and grace, it did not hurt that her neat and attractive looks had improved as she matured. Ursula's refusal to bend or kowtow to him, had had a strange effect on Roderick, who was it had to be said used to getting his own way in most things, particularly women. Roderick had conceived a strange infatuation for Ursula, which Regis though both bad form, considering his previously insulting behaviour towards Ursula, and unhealthy as it was completely obvious to everyone but Roderick, that Ursula did not return his advances and frequently rebuffed them.

Regis, forced himself to not sigh aloud. Roderick was likely going to spend the rest of the evening sulking, and with Roderick a good long sulk, usually ment drinking himself into a stupor. If Regis was lucky, Roderick would drink himself scarlet, and pass out on some sofa somewhere and put himself out of harms way. Sir Leo was obviously thinking much the same thing, as he watched Roderick disappear into the throng filling the hall.

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