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Thread: The Grey Eminence - A Narrative/History AAR 1399-1821

  1. #301
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Well of course John confronts her. He is a scientist and a historian, he just has to know the truth. And honestly, where wouldn he run to? He is on an island, remember?
    I also think he was really quick to catch on, even nowadays most people would need more time, brushing of the strange things cause they are just "impossible".

    I love reading Fantasy and Sci-Fi, do I believe that those things really exist? No I don't, so I would search for other explanations until I run out of them.

  2. #302
    I think she will tell him the truth then kill him.

  3. #303
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Why would she? She was the one to contact him, she must want something from him and I don't think that has changed.

  4. #304
    Captain bananafishtoday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrell8 View Post
    I think she will tell him the truth then kill him.
    "Every picture showed a woman with dark hair and eyes in different fashions and times. Some had men beside her, but in every case they were of subordinate status to the woman."

    I think she will tell him the truth, then...
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  5. #305
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    bananafishtoday: Hahaha! An interesting idea...but not quite correct....
    Sather/Morrell8: Exactly, it would be a rather short story if she decided to just go ahead and off him now. Fear not!
    Sather: You know, I pondered over this. Had he not discovered a couple of clues it would have taken him much longer. You've made some very perceptive statements!
    Sethanon: The Reformation succeeded more in this game than any other I've played because Britain and Scandinavia converted. And thank you, I will continue posting every day!
    Loki: I don't think so. Though, there ARE a lot of hunting accidents you might think that British Princes might start getting agraphobic after a while!

    (And now for something a little different. The Echoes will do narrative snapshots of key moments in history.)

    Chapter 21: Echoes of the Past – The Storm of Wrath

    14/10/1399


    Fire raged and tore through the Palace of Westminster. The old structure, dating back to the time of the Conquest was consumed like dry leaves before a burning wind. None knew where the fire had started, but now it was here, panic set in.

    A young man, well dressed and carrying his sword, waded through the smoke and sparks as though it was water. All around him was panic and disorder, but he kept his cool. The smoke was choking, and he dropped close to the ground and abandoned his weapon in order to breathe. The man’s expensive clothing was dirty and smeared with ash, but he crawled along the ground until at last he came to a dead end. A large section of the roof above had fallen in, blocking his way with burning timbers. However, the man knew that beyond this area was escape.

    He had lost his sword, so he took a wooden beam’s unburnt end and thrust it at the blockage, pushing through it, and allowing him through. The roof above gave a groan, and the smoke boiled so much he was sure that he’d be overwhelmed.
    Through streaming eyes he beheld an unearthly sight; a woman laying in the middle of the fallen timbers. Her clothes smoked and burned, and she was crying aloud in pain.
    He pushed through the smoke and picked her up, ignoring the heat, and headed for the door. She was light, barely heavier than a child, and as he pushed out into the cold autumn night his strength finally begun to fail him.

    “My lord! My Lord de Vere!” A squire ran over to him as he knelt there holding the woman.
    Richard de Vere, barely able to breathe, nodded.
    “My Lord, come with me. Your father ordered we look for you.” The servant looked down at the woman. “Who is she, Lord?”
    Richard shook his head, coughed. “Found inside. Lead on.”
    Around them a bucket train was forming to try and stop the fire, but already it was spreading beyond the palace and into London itself.

    When they reached a merchant’s house, commandeered from the owner temporarily, Richard was able to lay the woman down on a bed. She was apparently asleep, but was breathing normally, so he had covered her with a blanket.
    Before Richard could do anything more the door opened and his father entered. Aubrey de Vere, 10th Earl of Oxford, was an old man, but still carried himself with great authority and grace.
    “My son!” he said, embracing Richard. “Thank God and all the saints you are safe. What happened? What news have you of the Duke and his Holiness?”
    Richard could do nothing but shake his head. “I know not, father. I was attending upon Baron Camoys when there was a great light, a great noise came upon us. A floor collapsed, and the fire spread so quickly! Soon there was panic, and I know not what happened. Finally I happened upon this woman and saved her, carrying her out.”
    Aubrey looked over at the woman. He frowned. “What business did a woman have in the palace? Surely she is not a scarlet woman, and I do not recognise her as consort to any of the lords. See what you can learn of her.”

    Richard changed from his rather dirty and burnt garments into replacements, and then approached the woman he had rescued. She was pretty, with dark hair and a pretty mouth, pale skin and a pleasant shape.
    He pulled back the blanket and saw now properly for the first time that her clothes were of a most unusual design. He touched some of the cloth and found it smooth like silk, yet not. He hadn’t noticed before then, but she wore not a dress but long trousers, like she was a man. Around her waist was a belt with strange objects on it.

    What was most strange was that these strange clothes were burnt and damaged, yet her skin underneath was unmarked, the same with her hair. One of the holes through her sleeve looked severe, yet the skin under was pale and unblemished.
    As he touched one of the holes her eyes opened and she looked up at him. Her brown eyes focused on him, and she looked confused.
    “Can you understand me?” Richard asked softly.
    After a moment she tapped her ear, and nodded. “I can.” She breathed out, eyes drooping as if she was tired. She looked up at him, staring for a moment before speaking. “Where am I?”
    “In a house near the palace. I found you inside near the fire.”
    “What year is it?” she asked softly.
    “What year?” Richard parroted in surprise. He looked as though fearing that she had lost her memory.
    The woman sighed. “I know it is an odd question, but please answer it,” she said sternly.
    “The year of our lord thirteen-hundred-and-ninety-nine.”
    The woman let out a bitter laugh. “Of course it is. It couldn’t be simple, could it?” she asked rhetorically.
    “What is your name? Who are you?” Richard asked. “How did you get into the palace?”
    “Angelique Grey. I am…” she paused, “A survivor.”
    Richard knelt down and touched her arm where the strange garments were burnt and torn. “From a strange land, I see. But I feel you are no devil as others might say. Did you cause the fire?”
    Angelique seemed to look at him with interest for the first time. “Accidentally, yes. I am sorry. Why did you suspect me?”
    “There is much about you which is strange, Lady Grey.” Richard de Vere paused. He then came to a momentous decision. “In cases such as this the church would deem you a witch or other sorceress, and it would go badly for you. However, I can see that you have special talents I might not know of. Will you aid me?”
    Angelique considered the question. Finally she nodded. “If I can. What is your name?”
    “Richard de Vere. Is there anything I can get for you?”
    She smiled slightly. “I need rest. Come and see me tomorrow morning and we can discuss matters further. Until then, my Lord….”

    Richard left the room, wondering just what he had done. Had he made a deal with the devil or an angel? Was she all she had said she was? He set a guard outside the doors just in case though.
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  6. #306
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    even more intrigue ... & superb writing
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  7. #307
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    So, Lady Mendenhall 's first appearance? It sounds like the woman is wearing futuristic garb - an exiled time-traveller with an uncanny lifespan, perhaps?
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  8. #308
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Perhaps Talena wasnt the only survivor from her unfortunate encounter back in outer space.. I wonder, this gives us more to think about (it usually does)

    Ps: I hate it when writers leave you at a cliffhanger without a possibility to skip to the next chapter. Ahwel that makes it all the more fun I suppose

  9. #309
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    It wouldn't be much of a cliffhanger if you could easily skip ahead!
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  10. #310
    So the de Vere family saved her from death as a witch and she promised to aid their family throughout history?

  11. #311
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrell8 View Post
    So the de Vere family saved her from death as a witch and she promised to aid their family throughout history?
    Booyah!
    But it will never be that simple. We can count on Ashantai for that!
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  12. #312
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    Strange fellow that Richard. Was is it with people trusting strange time-travellers that appear out of nowhere so quickly? She even admitted having started the fire and he doesn't bother to ask how?

  13. #313
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Sather: Well, in a world where he already believes in supernatural things it's not that hard to understand. Besides, he now 'owns' her, or so he thinks, so she has to do as he says.
    blsteen: Indeed, I shall not disappoint you in twists, I promise.
    Morrell8: That's a big part of it, yeah, and the reason she stayed in Britain. It's not the whole story though. That...comes later.
    Sethanon: An interesting thought. Hehe, don't worry, I update every day so that you're never waiting too long!
    Arakhor: It certainly looks that way!
    Loki: Thanks!

    Chapter 21a: The High Tide of English Power

    Summarised from Chapter 5 of ’Britannia Triumphant’ by Lady Mendenhall.


    The remainder of Queen Caroline’s reign was active both internally and externally. Externally, English power reached a high ebb, in what has been considered a golden age, especially considering what happened just two decades after her death.

    During her later reign England fought almost every major power in western Europe, and emerged victorious every time. It hardly seems possible, but true nonetheless. The reason for this great surge of military dominance was something of a revolution in royal government. Caroline had argued throughout her reign that Parliament only had authority over the lands in England, the lands which elected MPs. However the occupied lands in France, Flanders and Scotland were not part of this area, since they sent no members to Parliament.
    Thus the Queen was able to draw wealth from both Parliament and from direct taxation and ‘contributions’ from the lands in France. She got away with this because she was almost uniquely charismatic, and could convince even a sceptical Parliament of her need. And since she brought victory, lands and plunder it was not a major issue.
    However the use of French gold to pay for French levies in France was the start of a tradition that would have bitter consequences later in the 17th century.

    For now though England rejoiced. The Queen’s insistence on forcing Protestantism on defeated states rarely had long term success, but it satisfied many of the more extremist churchmen, and also caused great chaos in defeated enemies, effectively rendering them incapable of fighting back.

















    Internally Caroline was faced with more and more family issues. Her granddaughter Elizabeth resolutely refused to give up being heir to the throne to her brother William, even when he grew to full manhood. Furthermore Elizabeth refused absolutely to get married, and famously slapped a potential suitor for touching her, causing much embarrassment.
    Not that her brother William was much better. Although he had a son with his wife, the beautiful Irish princess Fiona, he was also notorious for his dalliances with other women of all sorts. None of this can have improved Caroline’s feelings towards her grandchildren.



    In other areas, as Caroline paradoxically avoided Parliament, she in fact strengthened it in order to get funding for her larger wars and colonial expansions. By moving to fixed Parliament terms she gave the upper classes a way of presenting their grievances to her, and also allowing them to present petitions. The fact that the Queen rarely was swayed was not what was important. Rather, Caroline was able to balance the fears of French despotism with English liberties better than any of her predecessors, and most of her successors also.







    The Queen’s later reign has been considered a great age for culture. In her reign the world famous playwright Anthony Trelawney produces his most famous works, while Christian Hood’s ‘The Bear and Lion’ enthralled generations with his tales of exploration and discovery on board those two ships.





    The Caroline Era, as the Queen’s 56 year reign came to be called, was a watershed in English history. For a start, she was the last ‘English’ monarch, as soon her granddaughter would pass acts to unify all of the realm into Great Britain.
    Despite that though the Queen could not live forever. As she passed 70 she begun to have more and more health issues. The sixteen year old girl who had started her life as a good Catholic now died a Protestant in a country where Protestantism was the majority religion. On the continent under her rule England expanded its power and control to undreamed of heights, while her popularity remained high through her reign.

    And yet there were issues, as always in such cases. Although England’s power was greater than ever before, so was its pride, and its threat to other nations. Furthermore the Queen had set a precedent by calling on her French lands to provide the capital of war. Caroline had been able, even in her 60s, to balance Parliament and state, it would be an uncertain bet whether her daughter could do the same.
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  14. #314
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Well Caroline was pretty awesome - but did the opening discussion forshadow a 'no taxation without representation' problem in France for the future?
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  15. #315
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Annexing Toulouse? Why, only a madman would try that!

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  16. #316
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avindian View Post
    Annexing Toulouse? Why, only a madman would try that!
    or a Woman

  17. #317
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    Sather/Avindian: She might well qualify for madness...depending on the definition.
    Loki: Very well spotted! It does indeed.


    Chapter 22 – Explanations

    24/1/1820


    John stared at Lady Mendenhall. For a moment he could think of nothing to say. Finally he managed to recover from his shock.
    “You mean…it’s true?” he asked.
    Her Ladyship chuckled. “You expected me to deny? Or perhaps you wished it was not true. Come, sit, and we will talk.” She glided through the shadows back to her chair.
    John took a seat opposite, and was barely able to see her in the shadows. “But it’s impossible?” he said, though his statement became a question.
    “Many things are possible, John. You convinced yourself of the truth, but now you do not want to believe it. It is indeed true, I have been in England for over four hundred years, and have met or known all the rulers since that time.”
    “The fire in 1399, that was you?”
    “It was, though not intentionally. Lord Richard de Vere rescued me from the flames, for the stress had exhausted me. In return I agreed to help him and his descendants. And as you know, every King and Queen since has been descended from him and Constance.”
    John looked into the shadows, trying to see if she was telling some elaborate joke at his expense. It seemed she wasn’t. “So your book. It’s just about you without mentioning you?”
    “You could say that. It was a way of explaining what has happened, of shifting the attention away from me. I do not want power or dominion, and I certainly do not wish to be Queen. What I want is security, stability, and to help people.”
    John thought of the smashed carriage, the look of fear on people’s faces. He thought of the history, the incidents when this woman had manipulated things to her ends.
    “Help them…by killing them? Like the Colonel?” John asked. He knew he shouldn’t antagonise her, as clearly she had a lot of power…even more than he had imagined possible. Still, it galled him that she had murdered someone.
    In her shadowed chair the Lady said nothing for a moment. “It was…necessary. Progress cannot be allowed to stop because some obstinate fool won’t allow himself to take ideas from a woman. Had I been a man then I am sure he would have had no issues agreeing. That is the story of my life, being patronised by men not even a tenth of my age and without one iota of my knowledge.”
    “But you killed him,” John protested.
    He had expected her to be angry, perhaps had wanted that. Instead she sighed. “Can you begin to understand what it is like for me? You see the glamour, the wealth, and yes I have those things, but I also have a secret looming over me. That is why I wrote that book, why I asked you to come here. I have no one but Tempest to talk to, really talk to. Clarice Mendenhall is a mask, but is a mask I must wear all the time.”
    “What is your name then?” John asked.
    “Angelique Grey. The Grey Eminence,” she said with a small, humourless laugh. She saw his confusion and shook her head in the shadows. “Never mind.”

    She rose, the shadows flowing about her. However at that moment she went to the wall and lit a pair of lamps, making the room brighter than it had been.
    “I would appreciate if you still called me Lady Mendenhall though. Appearances must be maintained, especially in public.” She paused, as if wondering whether to continue. “Do you think immortality is a good thing? A desirable thing?”
    John shrugged. He had not forgiven her yet for the death of the man. “It has served you well.”
    “Indeed it has, yet at other times it is a burden. That book of mine, it is what happened to me. Think of your life, now multiply that by twenty and you have not even reached my age. I have seen fifteen generations of English sovereign from Edward of York to Anne Seymour. And in all that time I have had to defend myself, protect myself, give myself stability. And yes, I have assured that Britain deserves the title of Great. Would you have it any different? Would you have me roaming the world as some sort of Eternal Exile, or hiding in a cave? No, because what I have done is assured your nation’s dominance over all the world.”
    As she had continued to speak her voice had risen slightly, and she paced back and forth.
    “At how much cost?” John asked.
    “Cost? You ask me of cost, and I say that there is a greater good. Where I came from John, far in the future, there had been another history. In that history Britain was hardly great; overshadowed and overcome by a greater force. What do you know of the War of the French Succession, the Fifty Year War, the Cleansing of the Ukraine? Nothing, because I helped prevent them. By making Britain the most powerful state in the world I alone foresaw the dangers and prevented them. Those I have killed number less than fifty, yet it has saved a million lives, and will save a million more.”
    John was taken aback by this sudden intensity. However, as he thought about it, yes, it did seem more reasonable. He still couldn’t condone it, but he could understand it.
    “This is all a lot to take in,” John said. “I…thank you.”
    Her Ladyship seemed to sag slightly, and she fell back into her chair. “It gives me no pleasure to do it, but when you outlive your friends, enemies, lovers, everyone, it’s hard not to take the longer view. John, may I ask you a favour?”
    “Of course.”
    She smiled a bit wanly. “Be my conscience if you will.”
    He nodded. “Of course, Lady. What of Tempest? Is she…like you?”
    “No, her story is as I said. When King Henry abolished slavery in 1755 I helped many families abandoned by their former masters, but her grandfather impressed me, and I took him on as my friend and advisor, then his father, and now Tempest. She helps me in many ways. I saw at an early age that she was outstandingly beautiful and possessed of great athletic abilities, so I trained her. I do not think I need a bodyguard, but I have one regardless.”
    Lady Mendenhall let out a sigh and closed her eyes. “Anyway, I think this has been an eventful enough night for you. We will continue this in the morning. Goodnight, John Adams.”
    John rose. “Goodnight, Lady. Thank you.”
    “For what?”
    “Being honest with me.”
    She smiled. “Any time.”
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  18. #318
    First Lieutenant Sather's Avatar
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    lol nice pun there, using the name of your other story.
    Her reasoning is nice, though filled with holes. By altering history she couldn't predict what would happen anymore and especially not that she would be successful or that it would be the best for the world to have a strong Britain. Though I guess she also watched over Britain to prevent madmen from rising to power.
    Anyway, it was a risk and not a calculated one, but that's just what people do: What they think is right.

    Well a Time-Traveler has to make use of his knowledge I guess, but did she have any knowing that she would live forever?

  19. #319
    Dremora Courtier Arakhor's Avatar
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    So immortal and a time-traveller? How is she avoiding the pre-destination paradox (the crapsack world motivating her to go back in time, leading to no crapsack world and no motivation etc.)?
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  20. #320
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Ah the always interesting time paradox. Something I try to stay far away from, it gives you headaches.
    Interesting updates nontheless, now its time for John and miss Mendenhall to.. well do what the story is about I supose!

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