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Thread: Dancing On Thin Air - 11/11. During the Coronation Ball - Victoria and Edward

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    House Fairfax Victoria Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Dancing On Thin Air - 11/11. During the Coronation Ball - Victoria and Edward

    As the last notes from the musicians' instruments hovered in the air of the ballroom, Victoria grinned at her dance partners and stepped back into the crowd, weaving around groups who were conversing together and individuals who were quietly observing the festivities. She had been dancing most of the night, and she thought it was time for a short break. Her feet were aching slightly and she was a bit out of breath. She hadn't planned on joining the last dance, but when she had seen a group of women dancing together … some she knew and others with whom she was unfamiliar … she had not been able to resist one more turn about the floor.

    With a tired sigh, she plucked a chalice of white wine from the tray of a passing servant and glided over to the wall on one side of the room. Sinking gracefully onto a chair, she arranged her violet silk skirts around her. This was not only the first ball she had attended in Hebron, but also the most extravagant. Victoria was enjoying herself immensely. She had seen many courtiers gazing in her direction since the moment she had arrived, and she was certain that she was making a splendid impression on everyone. Although she had yet to be introduced to the new Queen, she hoped that she had noticed her too. Perhaps she would achieve her goal of becoming a lady-in-waiting in the very near future.

    The first sip of pale liquid slid smoothly down her throat and she closed her eyes and savored the taste of it. The myriad voices around her faded to a pleasant drone, punctuated every now and then by a flutter of laughter.

    @Edward Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Edward Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Edward had gone out of his way to hide the fact that he was paying attention to his sister and the other ladies on the floor. He had been counting potential suitors for the girl, and despite the fact that he had casually dropped their names to Victoria upon their arrival, she had managed to bump into exactly none of them during her misadventures on the ballroom floor. But he himself had been too busy with his own agenda to send someone out to bring his sister back for a scolding. As such, he let her play as she liked, and made notes for their later conversation.

    As the music died down and she made her way out of the revelry, Edward set his empty glass on the tray which she had taken hers from. She had not spotted him that he could tell, but the servant had crossed both of their paths in less than a dozen steps. Without any real hurry, the Lord of Suffolk circled around so as to approach her from behind. He didn't think that he looked angry, but he was aware that this wasn't the place for a spectacle, and Victoria could be rather defensive. Given the fact that she had doubtless already spoken to Xavier this evening, her brother was even counting on her combativeness. Such was always the result of his cousin's meddling.

    "You seem to be enjoying yourself," he said evenly. Edward placed a hand on her shoulder from behind the chair, lightly, but with a mind to apply more pressure if she thought about standing up and turning around. "I'm glad," he said, without any hint of sarcasm or derision. "Catherine was very much a shy child, and she greatly reduced her options for a husband by playing the wallflower." Even still, Fairfax was not sure he was happy with that particular union. But Morgan was better than the other offers he had fielded, and Catherine had done her duty without complaint. Edward was certain that this next betrothal would not be so easy.

    Not bothering to remove his hand, he surveyed the room for a moment to see if he could locate some of the men he had mentioned before, who were now no doubt flirting with other courtly strumpets, since Victoria had wasted her time entertaining the other ladies. "Do try to save some energy though. The week is still full of events for us to attend. Many more people to see and meet."


    @Victoria Fairfax
    Last edited by Rick; 07-12-2017 at 01:24 PM.

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    House Fairfax Victoria Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Victoria's eyes flew open when she heard her brother's voice and felt his hand upon his shoulder. Though his words were pleasant, his tone was almost too civil. Was he angry at her? It was true that she had ignored the gentlemen he had told her about, even though one of them had asked her to dance. None of those she knew appealed to her in the least and she wasn't going to let him sell her off to one of them.

    Not without a fight anyway.

    He said he was happy that she was enjoying herself, and she wondered why he should make a comment like that unless she was about to lose what little freedom she already had. That notion was strengthened by Edward's mention of Catherine's shyness hindering her chances of finding a husband. Victoria was quite the opposite … a social butterfly who sought to entrance everyone she met, whether male or female.

    She didn't think it would be difficult to find a man who was interested in marrying her, but she wasn't ready to be tied down at only seventeen. Since she had come to court, she felt as if her life had begun anew and she wanted to explore all of the options open to her before she was shackled forever to a man who might spirit her away to some drafty old castle in the middle of nowhere.

    Victoria wanted to turn and look at Edward, but his hand on her shoulder prevented it. Her body tensed slightly beneath his touch. Why didn't he want her to see his face? Was he unable to hide his disappointment in her? Or perhaps she was overreacting. What if he wanted to introduce her to Queen Vivienne? They had discussed her becoming a lady-in-waiting and being his eyes and ears in the capital, a role that she relished.

    “You don't have to worry about that, brother,” she replied, keeping her voice calm and light. “I have an unlimited amount of energy and I'm looking forward to all of the festivities. And I can hardly wait to meet more people.”

    Just not any prospective husbands.

    “Are you going to accompany me to all of the other events?”


    @Edward Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Edward Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Victoria had always managed to imagine herself the authority on what Edward should or should not worry about. Though in so doing, she never showed much of an interest in worrying about the things he imagined he should be worrying about. And since Edward was not the type of man who simply let things that he imagined were worth worrying about go unworried about, he had never put much stock in his sister's assurances that his worrying was needless. He would however be willing to accept her statements on her energy levels at face value. She had never proved herself anything but limitless in these regards.

    Edward relaxed his hand on her shoulder, and allowed her to move as she pleased, though he didn't remove it. If she turned quickly enough, or made to rise, it would fall away without comment. "Something tells me that I should probably be offended by that question," he said, though he was smiling. It might have been nice if she were more hopeful that he would find time to spend with her, but he supposed the opposite were true. No doubt she would want to know which events she would manage to shed his presence for, so that she could dally with her friends or cousins.

    Shrugging, the Lord of Suffolk shook his head. "Would that I could, dear sister, though I fear that some manner of business will pull me away from one or more of the festivities. Though I will endeavor to find you the most amiable of escorts for such occasions," he assured her, though it was unclear if he meant by his definition or hers. It would have been no trouble for him to simply arrange his meetings around the remainder of the events, and simply chaperon the girl everywhere himself, but that was a terrible way to gain information on a person. Not when he had others who would relay what they heard about her if she believed that she was safely out of his earshot.

    "Though it would likely be frowned upon for me to miss the jousting championships," he finally conceded. "So no doubt you will have the pleasure of my company on that occasion." Casting his glance about the room, he spied a few people of note, and considered whether or not he should move to mingle more. Edward was a patient man however, and he wanted to bide his time. "Have you spoken to your cousin Xavier since you arrived," he asked her casually, as though he were only mildly interested.

    @Victoria Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Victoria Fairfax's Avatar  
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    The pressure on her shoulder eased. Had her answer pleased him? Victoria hadn't lied. She really did want to meet more courtiers, just perhaps not those Edward had in mind. This was her chance to dazzle at court, and she fully intended to make the most of the opportunity so that she would be allowed to stay. Her brother would have to go back to Suffolk eventually, but if she found a position here that he approved of, she would be out of his grasp for at least a short while.

    Still seated, she swiveled so that she could look at him. Although he professed that he should be offended by her question, he was smiling and didn't look as if he were angry with her. Victoria had not seen him much since they had arrived in Hebron. She had no idea how he had been spending his time. Perhaps he had met a pretty young lady who returned his affections and that was why he was being more agreeable. She wasn't the only one who needed to marry. He would eventually have to choose a wife for himself and produce an heir that would carry on his legacy.

    “Why should you be offended that your sister wishes to spend time with you?” Victoria favored him with a teasing smile. Her statement was only partially true. She would rather be accompanied by him than by some boring gentleman who wanted to court her, which was probably his idea of an amiable escort. If so, she wouldn't be able to protest but she could affect said gentleman's perception of her.

    “Will you tell me who is going to accompany me ahead of time?” If Edward agreed, she would have time to find out more about the men who were interested in her and she could disappoint them by acting in a manner that would not appeal to them. If they loved to ride, she could pretend she was afraid of horses. If they preferred women to be humble, she could put on haughty airs. Then they would decide that she wasn't the right woman for them. Women weren't completely powerless to influence their future.

    So he would be escorting her to the jousting championships. “Will you be participating or just watching?” Victoria was looking forward to the tournament herself. What young girl didn't like to swoon over strong handsome men showing off their jousting skills? If a gentleman she found attractive asked for her favor, she would give it to him whether Edward approved or not.

    The subject turned to her favorite cousin. Victoria shrugged nonchalantly. “I haven't spoken to him yet but I waved to him across the room.” She missed him terribly, but he was married now and she didn't want to cause problems between him and his wife. He would speak to her when he could. She tried to be patient, but patience was not one of her strong points. “Maybe he will ask me to dance before the night is over.”


    @Edward Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Edward Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Edward was still panning the room with his eyes, but his ears remained focused on the conversation with his sister. They had been over his expectations for her time in Hebron to the point of nagging, and he didn't wish to really revisit the conversation here. The capital would likely suit Victoria, who was more than a capable diplomat when she spoke, and Edward was always wary of being overly skeptical of her words. She wasn't above omissions of truth where he was involved, but from what he had observed, she was extremely careful of lying outright. He supposed that he could appreciate that.

    "There is nothing offensive about that," he conceded with a smile. "I suppose it was the manner of asking that made me wonder if you wouldn't perhaps prefer other company," he told her, without hinting at what he thought that company might be. If he had suspicions about the company his sister kept, or if perhaps he actually knew, he had never betrayed that with her. If she offered him some inkling, that would be different. It was not in his nature however, to confront his siblings without good cause. As valuable as Catherine and Victoria were in the political spectrum, they were still his flesh and blood, and that would come first.

    Her question confused him for a moment, and when he finally realized what she was on about a soft chuckle escaped him. He tapped her shoulder playfully and shook his head. "I'm not arranging dates for you, sister. If you have interest in meeting potential suitors, I would prefer it to be in my presence. I would never leave you to strange men." The thought of it, without a contract in place anyway, was something that Edward would simply not consider. "I was more inferring that I would try to find guards with whom you were pleasantly acquainted to accompany you while in public. Nothing intrusive, just for protection. Coronations bring most of the nobles to the city, and likewise attracts many thieves and brigands."

    Her question about the joust was an interesting one. It had been some years since he had found himself in the lists, and to be fair he missed it. But accidents were known to happen, and without a proper succession for Suffolk, he simply couldn't risk being maimed or killed. "I fear that I am simply to be a spectator on this occasion," he told her with a smile. "Neither Lord Hallward nor The Knight of Autumn is not competing, and I see no sense in competing if I am not to test myself against the best." It was a little bit of bravado, but sufficient to excuse himself, even if Victoria suspected the truth.

    Nodding his head at her comments about Xavier, Edward finally moved around the chair to sit on its arm. "I am sure he is eager to see you," her brother assured her. "He is serving admirably, even if only temporarily." The cousins did not see eye to eye, but for the most part Xavier had endeavored to serve the family name well. And had arranged a very strong marriage for himself without Edward's interference. The man had not yet found opportunity to take advantage of the familial ties in a way that was profitable, but once the matter of Victoria's betrothal was settled he intended to look into it.

    "I have no doubt that he will make a point of it when he gets a moment to sneak away. But make sure that you reserve one for me as well." Looking to her, the man patted her hand. "Caught your breath? We should mingle a little. I have no doubt there are people who have observed your dancing and are eager to find out about you. And I would be happy to introduce you to anyone you might like to know."


    @Victoria Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Victoria Fairfax's Avatar  
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    “Now why would you think something like that?” Victoria shook her head as if disappointed that he should believe she preferred another's company over his. Her long flaxen ringlets bounced against the back of her chair. “Your confidence is faltering, brother.” In truth, she didn't want Edward with her all the time, for then she would have to be on her best behavior. And she would have to avoid certain people whom she wished to see again, such as Gisela Darktide.

    She didn't think her brother would condone a friendship between the two of them. Her feelings for the dark-haired woman were a bit confusing. Victoria was drawn to her in a way that she didn't understand. Maybe it was just what she represented that intrigued her … equality for women. Very few people she had ever met believed that women should have the right to make their own decisions rather than demurely obey the wishes of their fathers, husbands, or brothers.

    Or perhaps it was something else, something that she couldn't quite put her finger on.

    So her escorts would not be gentlemen who had expressed interest in her. That was a relief, she supposed, although being accompanied by a guard was no more appealing. Whoever Edward chose would most likely report back to him and tell him what she had done and who she had spoken to. There would be no opportunity for mischief or adventure in the company of one of his loyal watchdogs.

    She supposed she did need protection, though. Victoria was new to court and didn't yet know its ways. She certainly didn't want to be robbed or worse yet … raped … by the unsavory types who hung about on the fringe of court events just waiting for an unsuspecting soul to fall into their traps. There must be another solution, though …

    Did Edward suspect the reason she wanted to know about potential suitors in advance? She certainly hoped not, or he would take steps to stop her plans. Victoria knew he would never leave her alone with them, and had figured he would find someone to chaperone her while she was in a gentleman's presence. Yet he wanted to be with her when she met them. From the way he spoke, he didn't have anyone in particular in mind. That, at least, was a heartening notion.

    “Ahh, but without any real competition, you would win, would you not?” Victoria knew that jousting could be dangerous. She had seen injured men fall from their horses before. Maybe her brother didn't want to compete because he wanted to see which contestants her eyes naturally followed. “I will be happy to have your company in the stands.”

    Victoria closed her eyes and leaned against him after he had positioned himself on the arm of her chair. She was pleased that he thought well of Xavier and hoped that he was right and that their cousin would find time to speak to her tonight. They might even be able to sneak out of the ballroom and into the gardens where they could converse in private. “Of course I'll save a dance for you. Whenever you wish to claim it, just let me know.”

    She sighed when he asked her if she had caught her breath. “I just sat down, but if you wish to mingle ...” Victoria smiled mischievously. “Your wish is my command. I don't know many people here, but I should very much like to meet the Queen, or anyone who is in her social circle, for that matter.”

    Lifting her head, she held up one hand in case he wished to help her up. Her eyes widened slightly as a thought suddenly occurred to her. “Why can't Xavier and Sophia escort me to some of the festivities? You won't have to worry about my safety if I am with them.” Her cousin wouldn't curtail her freedom and let her do mostly as she pleased.


    @Edward Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Edward Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Edward could only chuckle lightly and shake his head. "There is plenty of confidence remaining, and I plan for it to be on display in spades over the next few weeks. But even though I will hit my stride in the coming days, that hardly dispels a brother's concern that someone else might steal his sister's affection," he told her, even though he remained unconcerned. Edward didn't imagine that the affection between the siblings was anywhere near as strong as it had been in childhood, but that was long before he had assumed the mantle of lord, and she was of age to marry.

    For the most part, Edward had relied on intelligence reports when it came to monitoring Victoria's social circles. He wasn't naive enough to believe that every time his sister left the estate, she was off in a sewing circle with old ladies of the court. But nothing he had uncovered had yet made him nervous to a point where he thought it needed to cease. She had traveled with him to River Butte, and had represented herself well with Asher, even if she was more willful then than the old military man would have liked. Victoria was not as easy as Catherine, but neither was she overly difficult.

    "Perhaps," he considered, without giving the matter of the joust much earnest thought. "And winning would be quite the accomplishment in front of the new queen," he added. "But the political climate is different now than it was when King Cailen ascended the throne." He sensed it. Edward was not oblivious to the fact that there was a growing rivalry between Guy Durand and Grant Hepburn. He was keen to the idea that the rule of the land was getting younger, and even in two years the children of the island were now the leaders. He could no longer afford to be seen as one of those who were trying to hold onto their youth.

    The girl's amiability in their conversation didn't concern Edward. What reason would she have to not be pleasant and conciliatory? She was at a party at the center of society, dancing and having a wonderful time. There was a real smile on his face as he nodded his affirmation that he would inform her when it would be best to take to the floor. But for now, he had a few other thoughts. "There's no rush," he said, noting the remark about how she had just come over. "In fact, I wanted to ask you about some of your friends," he said casually. "Perhaps you know more than you are letting on," he told her with a small grin. "Like Allison Hallward," for instance.

    Edward wasn't sure how well Victoria knew the woman. But he had spied her in the dancing circle, and figured that at the very least they had been introduced. Allison Hallward, outside of Queen Vivienne, was the most eligible lady on the island now that Maera Hepburn had been married. Edward did not delude himself into thinking that Vivienne Shellten was accepting invitations to be courted, and so he had to consider other candidates in order to secure his position. Grant Hepburn's recent affair with the Remington woman would leave him room to solidify and alliance with Stone Forge. Perhaps the Lord of Maple Glad was not as smart as everyone said. "I notice that her brother is not here," he said to Victoria, bringing his thoughts back to Allison.

    The matter of her traveling with Xavier and Sophia was an interesting one, but he wouldn't allow her to arrange the matter on her own. "I don't see that it should be a problem, though I would have to speak with Lady MacHeath first, just to make sure we are not imposing. I haven't had a chance to speak to her yet this evening, though I suspect we will bump into each other shortly." Pausing, he rubbed his chin. "Did you have an adventure in mind that you might like to accompany them on?"


    @Victoria Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Victoria Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Victoria couldn't remember the last time they had bantered so amiably. Usually he was reprimanding her for her less than exemplary behavior and her penchant for ignoring the unwritten standards society placed on the fairer sex. Edward must have seen her dancing with those women and he had not even chastised her for it. She hoped his joviality lasted long after the festivities were over.

    Perhaps he had decided to wait until she was a bit older to marry her off. To her knowledge, Catherine had not been betrothed until she was twenty-two. Postponing her marriage would take some pressure off of him and allow her to enjoy being single for a few more years. Maybe when she was twenty or so, she would beg him to find a husband for her. She didn't want to remain unmarried forever or she would be nothing but a washed up old spinster who was pitied and shunned. Beauty was fleeting. Even hers would not last forever.

    The young blonde wondered what he meant by hitting his stride in the coming days. Was he planning something to draw attention to himself? Maybe that was why he was in such a good mood. Idly, she wondered if he intended to court the Queen. Like Victoria, Vivienne would have to marry eventually and Edward was one of the most eligible lords in Tuneric. How exciting it would be to be a part of the royal family!

    “You will never lose my affection,” she assured him. “I will adore you for the rest of my days like a little sister should.” At least as long as his visions for her future were the same as her own. She didn't understand his comment about the changing political climate or why it should affect his participation in the joust. Politics made her head spin and she was glad to let him worry about that sort of thing. It was one of his responsibilities as the head of their house, after all.

    Victoria lowered her hand when he told her that they didn't have to mingle right away, and she leaned her head against his arm again. She closed her eyes and sighed when he said he wanted to ask her about her friends. Oh no, here it comes. He's going to tell me who I can and can't associate with while we're here.

    Instead, Edward surprised her by asking about Allison Hallward. Had she caught his fancy? Victoria wouldn't mind if he married her, for she had hosted that meeting she had attended at Stone Forge for women who weren't satisfied with their lot in life. She might be able to change his own perceptions if she became his wife. Or maybe he was just curious about the girls she had been dancing with and wanted to know if they would be a bad influence on his baby sister.

    “I don't know her well, but we have spoken a few times. She's very nice.” Raising her head, Victoria looked up at him and smiled sweetly. “Would you like me to introduce you to her? I doubt she would turn you down if you asked her to dance.” What self-respecting lady would? Edward was an excellent catch.

    She sighed again, this time in relief, when he agreed that Xavier and his wife could accompany her to some of the other events if Sophia was all right with it. “She wold probably like to dance with you too.” As for adventures, Victoria shrugged. “I thought that they might escort me to the events you will not be able to attend with me. I don't want to miss a thing now that I'm finally here at court.”


    @Edward Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Edward Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Victoria's assurances made Edward smile knowingly, though he only believed them by half. People grew apart, and though they would always be joined by the bonds of blood, someday she would take a husband, and she would be the lady of a house. Hopefully, a very powerful house. And with that duty came a certain responsibility to her husband and the people around her. And, if in conflict with those interests, she had to choose between her husband and her brother, he would completely understand the circumstances under which they would grow apart. Not that he would allow it to happen without a fight. Any alliance gained by marrying off his sister could hardly be casually dismissed.

    "With such devotion and adoration, I wonder why I would ever need a wife," he said to her teasingly. Not that he believed that she would remain for very much longer. And he certainly wasn't the type of lord who would keep confidence with his sister when he could have a wife. Generally he distrusted older lords who remained unmarried and preferred the company of their female relations to that of a wife. It was why he hadn't signed Victoria over the Asher Einar-Isael months ago.

    The matter of Allison Hallward wasn't something he had considered terribly often. But he had made a point to touch on a few names in conversation with her, just to gauge reactions. "She is very beautiful," he said, not bothering to mince words about the way the younger Hallward sibling appeared. "Though I am not sure she would fancy me as much as some less independent ladies might," he said to her with a smile. He wanted Victoria to know that he had a pretty good idea of the kind of crowd she ran with, but that he wasn't concerned about it. Not yet, anyway. "Though networking never hurt anyone," he conceded, as though an introduction might be more appropriate than a dance.

    Edward could only chuckle at the assertion about Sophia MacHeath, and he could feel the wine tickling his nose as he did so. "There are but a handful of men in this room who are currently armed, dear sister. And Lady Sophia's husband is one of them. Doubtless your cousin does not have as much love for me as he does for you. It may well be that I am not destined to do much dancing this evening." And that suited him fine. Sophia was busy speaking with an attractive young woman that Edward didn't recognize, and he pointed the woman out casually to his sister. "Do you know the golden-haired woman that she is speaking to," he asked, figuring that Victoria might have heard something about her. Admittedly, he spent more time at court than Victoria, but if the lady was new, or a relation to one of the lords who had only come to court infrequently, then his sister might have an idea.

    "You should probably compile a list of things you would like to see and do, and then we can decide what my suit me or your cousin better. After all, the more you can see, the more enjoyment you should find, and since Swaren only knows where our travels will take us next, it would not hurt for you to entertain yourself as much as possible, in case we end up in some backwater keep in the coming weeks."


    @Victoria Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Victoria Fairfax's Avatar  
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    Victoria had no idea what her future held, but family was important to her, even if she and her siblings didn't always get along. She had never been very close to Catherine, yet she missed her now that she was gone and hoped that she would be able to visit her eventually in her new home. One of her greatest fears was being isolated by her husband in some drafty old castle, kept like a songbird in a gilded cage. She didn't want that to happen to Catherine either. She knew so little about her sister's fiance and hoped that he would be good to her. Her sister seemed happy with the arrangement so that was a good sign.

    She believed that Edward would always be a part of her life as well and maybe their relationship would improve once she was wed. Unless he married her to a man she abhorred. She wouldn't put it past him if the advantages he would gain from an alliance outweighed her happiness. He would probably rationalize that she would learn to care for her husband in time and that the union he chose for her was in her best interests.

    The family member she feared losing most of all was Xavier. Victoria knew he adored her as much as she adored him, but she was afraid that now that he was married, he would neglect her in favor of his wife. She really needed to speak to him tonight, so that he could ease her anxiety and assure her that their relationship would never change.

    “Maybe neither one of us need to be wed,” she told Edward, teasing him back. She wasn't sure whether her brother was serious about Allison Hallward, but he certainly thought she was beautiful. So did Victoria. Her feelings for the opposite sex confused her and sometimes she felt that it was wrong to consider women as attractive as men. Occasionally, she even dreamed about other women, particularly Gisela Darktide.

    “You'll never know unless you speak to her," she advised him. “I will introduce you whenever you wish. And wouldn't you rather have a confident self-sufficient wife than some meek little mouse who clings to you all the time and can't even make a decision without your counsel?” Now that she thought about it, the kind of woman she described might be exactly what Edward desired.

    Victoria laughed at his comment about Xavier. “You think he will challenge you just because you want to dance with his wife?” She shook her head as a mother might shake her head at a silly child. “You don't know him at all if you think he's that possessive.” Or was she so blinded by her devotion to him that she just couldn't see it?

    “No, I have no idea who she's speaking with.” From her seated position, she could not see the woman well, and the only way she recognized Sophia was by her fiery hair. At least she thought it was Sophia. Her cousin's wife wasn't the only redhead at the ball. “I can probably find out, though.”

    Victoria wasn't certain what activities were available at court. However, she could find that out too. She was pleased that Edward seemed so adamant that she enjoy herself before they …

    What?!?

    Her heart skipped a beat when he spoke of traveling again. She had hoped … “Why can I not stay here?” she asked. “Surely there must be a position for me at court that will be useful to you.”


    @Edward Fairfax

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    House Fairfax Edward Fairfax's Avatar  
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    The prospect of never having a bride had not really occurred to Edward despite his humorous musings on the subject. He knew all to well that siring a bastard would not do anything to assist in the establishment of a line of succession that he would find acceptable for Suffolk. As it was now, he would be beholden to his nephews from Aston, should anything untoward happen to him before he actually produced an heir. Queen Vivienne, as though leading by example would be able to make a strong case for Victoria assuming the mantle of leadership if she were likewise unwed, which played partly into the fact that he wished to see that matter resolved. Sophia MacHeath and Rhett Morgan would also be able to stake a claim to the seat, though Edward doubted Vivienne or the rest of the high lords would allow Suffolk to be so consolidated.

    "That matter isn't really negotiable, I'm afraid," he told her without referencing on which of the two of them he was speaking. "Besides, your sister seems to not be in any rush to produce a child for her husband, and if I never marry, who will make sure that you are everyone's favorite aunt, dear Victoria?" And that question was genuine. He honestly believed that his sister would be good with children, and that children would like her. She was kind and compassionate and very devoted to family, even if she didn't always see eye to eye with them.

    Considering the matter of meeting Allison Hallward, Edward balked for the time being. "It's not a matter of the wife's neediness or demeanor," he said matter of factly. "It is simply a matter of genetics and lineage, and Allison Hallward has both of those in spades. You are well old enough to no longer be so naive as to believe that husbands and wives in nobility are regular partners in the bridal bed, Victoria. Dalliances and the like happen, and I don't see the need to hold out for true love. So long as the father of the heir can't be called into question, what happens beyond that will happen." Edward was greedy and jealous about a great many things, but he never imagined it would be over the affections of a woman, be it his bride or not.

    Her question about their cousin made him laugh and he simply shook his head. "I have known Xavier Fairfax for a great many years, sister. He is not the type to be jealous of a man who was attracted to his wife. In fact, he expects it. But even that expectation doesn't curtail the man's natural need for competition," he advised her. "Or from assuming that someone else is trying to compete with him. And when it comes to a fight, he knows that we have a history on that front," he assured her. Edward knew that it could not, and would not, end in bad blood. But there was a fair chance that there would be a small scene.

    Fairfax had to admit that he was somewhat curious at all the offers that his sister was making on his behalf. "I have no doubt you could find out," he assured her with a smile. "Though I don't think it will be necessary. As much as I like to consider all of the matters at court to be my business, I would hardly want anyone to simply begin snooping about in my business or conversations. I just do not recognize her is all, and you know how curious I can be."

    Turning to look down at her, Edward felt his eyes begin to squint. "Stay here? In Hebron?" He was shaking his head immediately, as though the idea of it could not possibly occur. "And what would I do? Return to Suffolk with nobody to run our house? Our people and our holdings require a Lady Fairfax to keep them in order, Victoria, you know this. When the spring planting begins and the books need to be managed, you will need to assume the position Catherine had maintained until she departed for Brassford. As valuable as your service to the queen might be to me politically, I can't imagine that it would be more valuable than being Lady Fairfax. You should have ladies in waiting, Victoria, not be a lady in waiting."


    @Victoria Fairfax

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