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The Queen's Garden Party

Started by Laurna, May 26, 2022, 01:28:36 PM

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The queen's spring garden party was a lovely event. The weather was well behaved, the sky clear blue without a blemish of cloud or haze, the sun lit brilliantly the rose hedges awash with the majestic colors of reds, pinks, and yellows. Those were not the only brilliant colors of the day. The Rhemuth court did what it does best, stroll among the queen's gardens resplendent in fabrics that dazzled brightly in every shade of reds, blues, greens, golds and silvers.

An event like this was an honor and a formal invitation was greatly prized. Queen Araxie did not invite just everyone of court to her spring garden party. Nay, she chose her guest list with care. Honored citizens of the countryside, men and women who made a difference to the community and kingdom were among the happy throng who wandered about the grass lawn, surrounded by the queen's prized roses, all secretly hoping that they will be the one to greet the queen with a curtsey or bow and a kiss on her hand, in return for a warm smile and maybe even a pleasing conversation.

It was all very grand with afternoon refreshments of candied fruits, finger cakes, and fine wine. And Washburn Morgan had been appalled that he had received such a coveted invitation with his name boldly ascribed under the words:

The Lord Chamberlain is
Commanded by Her Majesty to invite

At first glance Washburn was convinced there must have been some mistake. Certainly, he had been to the queen's garden parties before,  but always to assist the Captain of the Castle guard.  presence of knights among the guests assured the peace. He had never been expected to dress as a courtier, to mill around the lawn like a star struck puppy. It just was un... unspeakable. This was the very part of court life that normally had him riding out for the hills. Hunting Dragons was by far a better use of his time than parading about a green lawn among the brambles of thorny rose bushes. YES?

Wangle as he could, to find any possible excuse to miss such a prized event, his sister and mother had equally contrived that he would be at court with free time on his hands at just the right day and afternoon for the Royal Tea. To make matters worse his page had chosen this day to give his riding boots a resewing at the back ripped edge, his normal woolen shirt and tunic had been sent to the laundry and his squire had accidentally spilled citrus oils from a bottle over his head. Thus he had been forced to have a full bath along with a scrubbing of his hair, which was starting to grow out to a good length now that he had stopped having it cut. Coming from the bath, with still the faint scent of citrus, his eyes fell upon the fine green silk shirt and heavy black silk tunic, both edged in gold, lying upon his bed.

"Oh No!  This has gone too far!" Wash exclaimed. "I will not dress as a Dandy before the court and queen!"

It is the Morgan colors and you will wear it with pride! A sweet crisp female voice came to his mind.

Wash spun around expecting to see his sister Grania standing there. But she was not. The soft joyous giggle that he remembered from childhood echoed in his mind. Grania must have been waiting for his rebellion, ready to pounce on him with her feminine ways, as she always had when they were growing up. 

"Did Maman put you up to this?" he yelled to the ceiling. The servants around him must have thought him mad.

She is not the only one! came the teasing voice. Dearest brother, don't be such a bore. Wear the Morgan finery and perhaps you will be surprised that you might enjoy yourself. A visual sparkle of lights fell down over his head.

How was he to say no to Grania Morgan Haldane? He never could.

So he walked among the citizens on the lawn, eyes down, determined to be miserable. Then Washburn happened upon a face more miserable than his own. And at that moment he had to smile widely and give his friend and cousin a hug.

"They got you too, did they?" Wash said with a pleased smile.

Father Columcil was a man drowning in a puddle of roses. His Haldane red royal chaplain robes, most becoming on any other priest, was a shining example of why the St Mellengal Priest despised the royal court. He was flashy and standing out like the brilliant roses around him. The color brought out the coppers in his hair and the fiery amber of his eyes.

"Don't ye daur say a wuird!" Columcil muttered under his breath. "I will greet our queen as is my duty" he said in his stiffest court voice. "But after that, Ah am gain! Ah believe it is time Ah made a visit to Lord Darcy and Lady Aliset. At leest wi' them Ah am allowed tae be me."

"I will join you," Washburn said, tugging at the gold embroidery that was scratching his neck. But then his fingers stopped and his eyes opened wide, and his mouth fell agape.

The priest turned around just to see the prettiest of maidens, all buzzing together, come into view. Most were dressed as the roses, in pinks and yellows, but one stood out among her friends. Not in the colors of the rose garden, but rather in a green under-dress and black silk over-dress, heavily accented in gold trimmings. Trimmings that had the Morgan family crest. The lady's hair glistened like snow as it cascaded over her shoulders and down past her waist. As a rule, Maidens need not wear veils and on this day the girls of the Schola, gathered in a knot of giggling lasses , were all wearing their hair dangerously loose.

Not that Wash noticed any of the lovely maidens but the one. His eyes were bewitched by her beauty.

"Oh my heavens!" Washburn let slip. "That angel looks finer than I in Morgan colors. Do you have a ring upon your person, Father? I think I must propose to she who is so beautiful."

Columcil was shaking his head. "If it is only that th' lass looks guid in th' dress yer sister lent tae 'er, then Ah believe ye dinnae ken Fiona weel enaw tae propose tae 'er? She woods nae be interested in someain who is only interested in 'er physically."

"I don't care what she looks good in," Washburn stammered, taken back.  "It's what's beneath all that finery that interests me!"

Columcil cleared his throat in an indignant tone, "May Ah remin' ye, ye ur talkin' tae a priest. Dae Ah need tae tak' yer confession fur havin' salacious thoughts for th' fair maiden."

Washburn quickly ducked his head and fell silent.

"Laddy? When the time is right, and her guardian, Lord Iain, has given his approval, then you can bend a knee to her and ask her to take your ring. Until such time... well... it looks like we are to line up to have our smiles set for the Royal family as they arrive.  Join me at the front of the line, and then after, I shall be happy to chaperone you while you speak to the fairest lass in all the land, Lady Fiona."

"And keep me from bending my knee to her, I suspect."

"Tae keep ye frae doing somethin' 'at will brin' ye tae confession." Father Columcil clapped Sir Washburn on the shoulder and led him forward to the head of the garden lawn where the clergy were honored first.

Washburn murmured, "It looks like I am your Plus One."

Queen Araxie and Princess Grania entered the garden both with bright smiles for the two men at the head of the garden throng.
May your horses have wings and fly!


Very cute, @Laurna !  I love Wash's whole "do I have to?" regarding his attire for the occasion, and the sweet lad is absolutely gone over Fiona.

And Columcil being his usual acerbic, perceptive self is just *chef's kiss* perfect!
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)


It is all Revanne, DerynifanK and Evie's fault, you know. In chat, I just commented on how nice Fiona looked in Morgan colors and it is they who took it a step further. Columicl seems very good at reading Washburn's mind. LOL. I just had to tell the whole story. Of course, it is open for Columcil and Fiona to have more say on the matter at hand.
May your horses have wings and fly!


I love it. What a delightful tidbit. If Queen Elizabeth has a garden party, so should Queen Araxie and Fiona is anxious to show off her new outfit, especially to her special Morgan. And Wash is now happy that he got that invitation to the garden party. Now where is a bower, partially hidden by rambling roses, where the two might have a quiet word, with his chaperone nearby of course.
"Thanks be to God there are still, as there always have been and always will be, more good men than evil in this world, and their cause will prevail." Brother Cadfael's Penance


With all the paparazzi and tattletalers at the queens garden party, I think it best that Wash stay out in the open where he won't have to make confession later. Although, if one special lady does trap him behind a secluded bower of roses, he will not put up a fight. If asked for the truth, he will say they spoke of nothing but the weather and the beautiful single rose that caught his utmost attention. 
May your horses have wings and fly!


A lovely little story!  I can understand Washburn's consternation about the whole affair, but in the end it was worth it.  Good thing Father Columcil had him well in hand.   ;)
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


I think Father Columcil enjoyed his day as well. The next day, during their ride to Caer Mariot, Columcil was happy to tease the smitten knight about how Lady Grania and Prince Javan had been searching for Washburn and how he had managed to point them honestly in the direction of the sweet cakes where his eyes had last seen Washburn... far far from the partially hidden rambling climbing rose bower where his senses told him the knight gave the fair maiden a prized bit of cake. According to the royally honored Priest, Washburn was now indebted to him for his rations of Darcy's fine ale. Darcy did know how to secure the finest ale in all of Meara. Mayhaps, it helped calm the nerves when caring for two lovely, fidgity-like their father, pretty like their mother, wee lasses. Washburn and Columcil would be happy to help in all ways.
May your horses have wings and fly!


Aliset looked wistfully outside the window of her solar.  The roses in her garden were just beginning to bloom, not like the full blossoms Sir Washburn had described in the Queen's garden.  A garden party!  Pretty frocks, tasty cakes, all the scents of summer!

She looked around the solar.  They had found a wet-nurse to help with the twins, and Aliset was thankful for it!   But still, her solar seemed to be always in a state of disarray.  Piles of cloths ready for when the girls needed changing, other cloths for burping (and cleaning up the occasional spit-up that always occurred at the wrong moment).  Darcy tried to help, bless him, but bouncing a lassie on his knee right after a feeding never ended well. 

Aliset rose and went to look at her sleeping daughters in their cradles. She smiled at them in the way only a mother could.  A garden party would be nice, but she had her own roses, right here. 
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany



Darcy will eventually learn the proper timing for bouncing his wee lassies upon his knee.  ;)

Love Love, Aliset's roses.
May your horses have wings and fly!


Love it.
Poor Wash - though I'm glad he managed to get some time with Fiona. He definitely owes some good ale to Columcil, although the latter might well need something a bit stronger - like a large dram or three of old Ballymar- to recover his equilibrium after the garden party "lookin' fer all th'world like yon popinjay Jaxom."
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


"Three Drams of Old Ballymar? Most assuredly, my dearest Father Columcil, I didn't fall that far indebted to you? Did I?" Wash stumbles as he finds a chair before Darcy's inviting Hearth. Darcy only smiled happy to hear other peoples troubles for a change.

The priest frowned in all seriousness."If not for you need'n my..." he clears his throat "... chaperoning... I would have been well away from Rhemuth before that peacock of a knight had the indecency of standing before me to tell me he had earned a lieutenancy in Earl Brendan's army. All the while you were enjoying the Roses."

"Just one rose," Washburn clarified rather shyly with a wistful gaze into the fire.

"Oh, Aye!" Columcil's frown softened for second, but then hardened again. "But that doesn't change the fact that you owe me three drams. One for the day, one for misdirecting the prince, and one for saving ye from the lieutenant, else-wise you would have had as miserable a time as Ah!"

Washburn held out his hand and shakes the priest's extended hand. "I pay my debts, Agreed." He looked across at Darcy, "Lord de Caer Mariot, where oh where might we go tomorrow to find such liquid gold?"

"Closest would be Ratharkin, but if I led you there, you would be owing Me more than three drams for the wrath that would fall upon my head from the lady. Nay, your debt will have to remain unpaid for a while longer. I need you here, and sober, to help remake the nursery to Aliset's liking. You did promise to help with that?"

"Yes, tomorrow you have our hands at your disposal. I will have you give Columcil my portion of ale for the interest at the delay of my paying my debt."

"Only for your kind lady and your bairns do I agree," Columcil added with a feigned disapproval.

Darcy livened up as he poured Columcil an second glass of ale but offered none to the knight. "The two of you make me so pleased to be far, far away from Rhemuth. But I would love to hear more about it. Seamen do love a good yarn."
May your horses have wings and fly!


Ma puir wee Columcil. Ah didn'a mean fur ye to bring yon Jaxon to th' garden party.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
(Psalm 46 v1)


Every garden party needs a peacock, right?  ;D
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany


Y'all are cracking me up. :)
Now is life, and life is always better.