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Thread: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

  1. #1051
    Epitome of Ephemeral Success Member Death is yonder's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    A wonderful read

    All is well in the world when Fulk and Eleanor finally reunite has a really nice flow to it, especially the dialogue.
    You cannot add days to life but you can add life to days.

  2. #1052

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Very happy to see more chapters! Sure hope the next ones don't take as long to appear!

    (And when and how did I get that picture over there to the left? Yikes.)
    Last edited by furball; 05-09-2011 at 21:16.

  3. #1053

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    A seriosuly epic tale,Pacy read totally convinicing.The Sheer might of your storytelling is so damned hard to resist!

    I loved it,This brings back history to life

    Overall a great story,aggressively good,but a geuinely thriiling one,top drawer story,heart pacing read,one of the most exciting stories I've read in a long time,another real sorcher

    A briliant read
    Last edited by Marshall Louis-Nicolas Davout; 05-15-2011 at 15:25.

  4. #1054

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Rain? Pour? Flood? Torrent? Deluge? Yes, deluge. The rightness of the word thrummed through Trempwick's mind. "Never does it rain save in a deluge," he muttered. No, no, not one to write down. Not one for public use. Not quite right, missing something which would lend the phrase the right ... savour. "When one has left one's cloak at home it never rains save to deluge." Better? Better.

    Adele announced her return by snarling, "It is not fair!"

    "When Heaven urinates on you it falls as a deluge," muttered Trempwick. "No, not quite there." Perhaps deluge was not the word after all? That must be a problem saved for later. With a weary sigh he abandoned his attempts at a witty turn of phrase and permitted that state of mind which best allowed him to compose his writing to slip. So much for completing William the Third's reign in his grand history of England.

    "He is not even that handsome anyway. Not with that ugly crooked nose. And so much for the great warrior - someone got through his guard well enough to black his eye! He is nothing but a talked-up story."

    Trempwick massaged his brow. Complication. For once - just once - could he not do without it? Could not his life follow a simple path?

    "Why did people cheer anyway? It is pathetic."

    "Needs must when Satan breaks wind in your face," Trempwick concluded. Yes - that was it!

    Adele broke out of her sulk with a stunned blink. "I beg your pardon?"

    And now to begin clearing up the mess caused by Fulk's appearance, insofar as he could. He drove his horse close to hers so that they could speak without all and sundry hearing. "People cheer because they are happy. Your sister and her husband are both well regarded by their retinues. But more to the point, a lot is invested in that couple. For these people it means an end to an unhappy division which has made their lives difficult. Consider that these households are used to functioning as one; your sister and her husband are not often apart. Now think of how many families and friendships were slit when each had to follow either their lord or their lady. Consider how many feel loyal to both and had to choose."

    Adele made a moue of distaste. "What matter the feelings of servants?"

    Considered saying it. Said it. "It is readily apparent that you have lacked attendants, companions, even friends for years, your Highness. Any noble worth their salt pays attention to their followers and takes all reasonable courses to maintain their happiness."

    She flushed. "I was a queen-"

    "Servants?" Trempwick interrupted. "Rather sworn knights of the household. Men at arms. Men of status who will give their lives for their lord or lady. Lady companions, of noble blood themselves. Then the servants in truth, the folk responsible for making their lord's life comfortable-"

    Adele flapped a hand at him to silence him. "Yes, yes. As you observe it has been a long time, and your effort to remind me is wasted since I shall never again have servants."

    "Playing sleight of hand to disguise your true reason for complaint achieves little."

    Adele rode in malevolent silence, glaring ahead to where Fulk and Eleanor rode together. "She has everything," she said eventually. "She has had the easiest of lives, and she has everything. It is not fair."

    Trempwick resisted the urge to rub his head again. A quiet day to compose his history. Had it been so much to ask for? "What matters, Highness, is your own goal. Focus, remember? You must not do anything which might cost you your sister's support."

    "I do not need her. I need only Hugh."

    "She knows your brother far better than you, as he knows her better than you. She will be a valuable ally if only you make her so!"

    Softly Adele said, "I will use every tool ..." Sounded saner than she had for the rest of this conversation. Then a tear tracked its way down her cheek. "He was not interested! He stared and then - then it was as if I were barely there! He looked through me. She is so plain and he ..." She wiped a second tear away on the back of her hand. "It was as though I am the plain one."

    "Love affects the eyes of man," Trempwick quoted.

    "She has everything and I only wanted ..." She closed her mouth and refused to say anything more.

    After several minutes of silence Trempwick gave up on her and turned his mind to the other difficulties presented by this reunion.






    Dinner presented the next opportunity. Adele took the seat of honour, at Fulk's right hand. Although he shared his platter with Eleanor, and Adele hers with the priest, there was ample occasion for talk. So talk Adele did, seizing every chance to pull his attention towards her.

    He listened politely. Barely. On occasion he came close to being rude.

    She worked through various subjects. When asked about his past his answers were curt and gave little away. Requesting tales of his more famous deeds won a little more, though far from the boasting loquaciousness to which she was accustomed from other knights. Asking about how he met Eleanor returned them to the first two subjects. Trying to get to know his personality he mentioned that he enjoyed reading, and so she managed to carry a laboured line about the romances she used to read with her ladies. When that died out Adele tried talking about herself, about Spain, about the dashing knights and glamorous court; again barely polite interest was the best she managed.

    The entire time his face remained guarded, closed. He kept his physical distance, was careful not to touch her even when she created moments where such an accident would have been natural.

    He did find her attractive. She knew it. She knew it! Why else was he so guarded? What would it take to see that frank admiration in his eyes again? To get that open admission that she was more beautiful than Eleanor? The other men did not trouble to hide it, but this one, this one would have far more meaning. That he fought only added value to the eventual victory.

    Disaster! A moment's distraction and he had turned back to Eleanor, and was now talking with all the engagement that he would not give her. Under the table Adele clenched her fists so hard her nails cut her palms. Was it so much to ask? To have proof that she was still desirable? Still young and beautiful after all her suffering? To know that she could still play men, still have them hang on her every breath and stuck at arm's length where they were safely frustrated, wanting her all the more because they could not touch? To have something her sister did not? To have some little fun before she was shut away from the world once again?

    Ezio engaged her in conversation and so she was stuck talking to the priest until the meal broke up and everyone left the table.









    There was supposed to be another scene. Unlike these two it isn't short and relatively unimportant; it adds some potatoes to the Fulk soup. It's important that they boil to al dente and no more. It's not quite there yet.

    I feel rather sorry for Trempy-in-disguise in these two.


    Thanks, all. Good to see that people are still reading
    Frogbeastegg's Guide to Total War: Shogun II. Please note that the guide is not up-to-date for the latest patch.


  5. #1055

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    You know, when it's been so long between chapters, the cleverness of the writing stands out even more.

    You brighten my days, Ms. Frog.

  6. #1056

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Fulk heard footsteps behind him, too soft and too close for anyone meaning well. A fraction before he could throw himself into an evasive roll the person spoke, "If I had her waiting for me I doubt I should be in a church." Trempwick.

    Fulk did not rise from his knees, did not move. "She is engaged in matters of her own. Eleanor has a life outside of me, as well you know."

    "That would irk some men." Trempwick stood at Fulk's right, a good arm's length away.

    "If her life centred on me and had nothing more to it, that would be irksome."

    "I never did understand the men who want a shadow for a wife," Trempwick agreed without rancour. "But considering today was a reunion, even an indulgent husband might be irked by coming second in priority."

    Fulk let his hands drop from his prayerful pose. He would not rise, he refused to give the former spymaster the satisfaction of prickling him sufficiently that he felt the need to assume a more equal posture. "That is not how things are, and you know it."

    He felt Trempwick staring at him, and for a long time.

    With a rustle of cloth the former spymaster knelt at Fulk's side, crossing himself and bowing in respect to the altar. "Three years I have not seen you. Now you are thrust back into my life I find it difficult to regard you with loathing. Do not flatter yourself - you have not proven yourself admirable, or any such thing. It is more such things seem far away, beneath my notice, trivial. Part of another world I care not to rejoin."

    "It sounds almost as though you have discovered a religious vocation," Fulk said sarcastically. "Saint Raoul Trempwick."

    "Nothing of the sort. More a matter of irrelevance, I suspect. You are irrelevant to me, to my interests, to my life. Save for where you concern Nell. And there ..."

    Fulk turned his head; the evening light edged Trempwick's profile, highlighting every curve and line of his brow, nose and lips. "And there?"

    Trempwick shook his head. "So I shall no longer call you knight, or bodyguard, or any other such dismissal," he said, avoiding Fulk's question. "I shall give you your name, for I no longer find it within me to care otherwise. Fulk."

    Hearing his name on the man's lips made Fulk grimace in distaste. "Why are you here? I told her to keep you out of my sight."

    Trempwick's lips curved in a slight smile. "I came to pray. You are in my way."

    "Saint Raoul indeed. You were not formerly one for devotion, not more than the acceptable minimum."

    "And you, Fulk?"

    "I came to pray. You are in my way also."

    "And you see, that is what puzzled me when I first arrived. For you were not one for devotion, either. I could see you waiting for Nell, passing the time in many ways. In prayer? No, that I do not see."

    Fulk turned his attention back to the altar and raised his hands, locking them together before his face and resumed his prayers. Forgiveness. Strength to do what was right. Forgiveness. Guidance. Forgiveness. Blessings for his wife and those he cared for. Forgiveness.

    When his knees began to ache and his run of prayers exhausted itself, Fulk asked, "Did you seduce her?"

    A pair of rapid blinks gave away Trempwick's shock as he ceased his own prayers. "Now what manner of a question is that?"

    Fulk waited and kept his expression impassive.

    "You know Nell is no silly fool to be lured unless she chooses to be." Trempwick ticked a point off against a raised finger. "She is loyal and so unlikely to choose such." He ticked off another point. "Thus you know you can trust her and the question appears moot. However it cannot be, else it would not have been asked. You wish to discomfort me, perhaps?"

    Fulk kept his gaze steady, meeting the other man's eyes.

    "No. I do not think that is quite the crux. That ship long since sailed, all three of us know it."

    Fulk waited.

    "So perhaps you wish to discomfort another? There are but three candidates, two after I am removed." Trempwick's eyes narrowed fractionally. "Yourself?"

    Still Fulk waited.

    The former spymaster shifted so he was no longer kneeling upright, resting his weight on his heels. "Then I shall tell you. Were I younger I would try my hand. Alas that I am past the point where I care to concern myself over rivals. She is lonely, starved of affection, made to doubt her worth, craving simple human contact, longing for an equal to spend time with. Her status isolates her. With most people she must hide the power she possesses. Those trusted few who know the truth of her are servants and she the master, no matter how close the friendship that is true and always there in the background. Isolated by the stigma of marrying you, and also of you leaving her. I would try my hand, knowing that I would be refused and still compelled to attempt to rescue her from the mess you have made. Because, caring for her as I do, how could I not? That is what you wished to hear, is it not?"

    Fulk inclined his head. Who better than Trempwick to give him an accurate description of Eleanor's state? A rod to beat himself with. A view of what he needed to mend.

    "Quite a mess indeed, Fulk." After a heartbeat the man added, "But the doing is not all yours."

    "That is remarkably generous of you." By now his knees were screaming in protest. Fulk rose, and moved to sit at the base of a nearby column, leaning his back against the carved stonework. He rested his arm on an upraised knee, looking at his wedding ring as the gold gleamed in the dull light.

    "Oh, an impartial view is not so hard. To ignore half of the blame is to ignore half of the solution. If one truly wishes to help then one must know the depth of the problem." Trempwick resumed his prayers.

    Fulk watched. When the other man left he would recommence his own prayers, it was too distracting having another nearby.

    A while later Trempwick said, "The resemblance is uncanny, is it not?"

    He could only be referring to Adele. "Yes. Eleanor, but more ..." Fulk shrugged, it didn't need saying.

    "Yes. And so very needy, too." Trempwick glanced back over his shoulder, his expression wry. "You cannot imagine what I have suffered! The woman I thought to marry, all but crying out for some love - in a very tasteful and quiet manner which few will notice, I hasten to add. And her prettier sister, the same minus the subtlety."

    Fulk snorted. "A thirsty man betwixt two ale flagons, indeed."

    "I must be getting old. All I wanted to do was make them stop bleeding hurt at me."

    After a bit Fulk declared, "Strange how things work."

    Trempwick tilted his head in askance.

    "Adele is more beautiful, there is no question or doubt about it. Knows how to use that too."

    "In a faintly deranged fashion, yes."

    "She's the one to gaze at, enjoy, and to consider what bedding her might be like. A sort of speculative interest, nothing unique or personal, the same you do with most attractive women."

    "Quite."

    "But it's strange how things work, the things you find attractive in a woman. One or two details about her which fire the blood. The graceful line of a neck, or a dainty ankle, or ..."

    "The lobe of an ear," Trempwick suggested.

    "Or a scowl which feels as though it will char."

    Trempwick raised his eyebrows. "It is an odd one, I will admit."

    "It's the way she does it. Something about the attitude, and the shape her eyebrows take, and the fact she's too short and ends up menacing my collar bone." Fulk basked in the memory of that very scowl, one he'd been enjoying for nearly four years. "Adele can't scowl, not like that."

    "Whatever works, works, I suppose." Trempwick eased himself to his feet, his joints clearly stiff. "I made enquiries into your background when Nell brought you to Woburn."

    "I know. You made no secret of it." Had, in fact, thrown certain dubious acts in Fulk's face.

    "Everything that could be found. The full weight of my network brought to bear to determine the threat you posed. Amongst many other things, every relationship you had was investigated, however brief. All of them as far as I can tell."

    Fulk's heart sped; Trempwick knew, he had to know. If he'd been as thorough as he claimed then he couldn't fail to see. Cold blooded bastard that he was, Trempwick was certain to use it to the full. He rose, needing to be on equal footing now. "I have made no secret of anything I did before I met Eleanor."

    "No, you have not," Trempwick agreed mildly. He spread his hands. "Nor did my investigation reveal anything you are unaware of. You left no children behind."

    That bald statement crushed a hope Fulk had not known he possessed. His muscles were so taut with strain that his neck and shoulders and lower back ached. "Get to your point."

    "That is my point. Fulk." The former spymaster folded his arms and tucked his hands inside the loose sleeves of his monkish garb. "To ensure that you are aware. What it means and how it is used, that is yours to determine." Trempwick began to turn away. "There is too much missing for me to make any but the wildest of guesses ..." At the church door he looked back. "If that guess is accurate then it is past time you told her, for she will not heed it from any other."

    Fulk remained as he was for a long time after Trempwick left, unable to believe that the other man had not voiced his guess, let alone used it as a weapon.

    "I did tell her," he informed the empty building. More than once. Fulk combed his hair hack from his face with his fingers and sighed. She would not follow the path to the next step, and the Lord knew he hadn't managed to force the words out.

    He knelt once again in prayer.









    Memory aid: the "dubious acts thrown in Fulk's face" are from quite early on in the original story. He told Nell that he was betrothed to be married to someone he loved, slept with her, and then shortly after abandoned her because he made a terrible mistake in his first battle, leading to his father's death, his own near-death, and lots of general humiliation which he felt he could not face. Early Fulk was quite self centred, concerned with preserving his fragile ego and gaining some status better than 'base born bastard man at arms', simultaneously struggling with the awareness that he was not the honourable person he dearly wanted - and claimed - to be. Very important scene for his character: before telling the story he had begun to act with the honour he claimed to possess, because he realised that the act was close to becoming reality if only he stuck to it, and breaking his oath of loyalty to Nell would be another of those acts for which he would never forgive himself. Trempy found out via his network's investigations into the bothersome man at arms' past, and later threw it him during one of their quiet battles of will.


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    Frogbeastegg's Guide to Total War: Shogun II. Please note that the guide is not up-to-date for the latest patch.


  7. #1057

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    The dialogue from Trempwick's, "The resemblance is uncanny, is it not?" to his, "It is an odd one, I will admit." is wonderful!

  8. #1058
    Grand Patron's Banner Bearer Senior Member Peasant Phill's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Glad there's another chapter added to this epic story.
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    Someone has to watch over the wheat.
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    We've made our walls sufficiently thick that we don't even hear the wet thuds of them bashing their brains against the outer wall and falling as lifeless corpses into our bottomless moat.

  9. #1059

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    "Highness." Trempwick went down onto one knee as the bedchamber door closed behind him. "If I might, I would claim the reward you promised in return for my aid."

    "Reward?" One boot on and reaching for the other, Fulk froze. "You promised him a reward?"

    It was going to be one of those days, Eleanor could tell. "I agreed to listen to a request and give it fair consideration. No more."

    Jamming his boot onto his foot, Fulk declared, "He owes you his life, swears fealty to you, and in general owes you the greatest of debts in return for what he's done to your family." He fastened the leather thong which kept the boot tight at the ankle with a decidedly ungentle yank. "He should be grateful for any chance to set foot outside his prison - never mind asking for more."

    Trempwick's kneeling pose dragged his priestly robe askew, leaving his trailing leg half exposed. Lacking secular hose, his limb was bare and prickled with gooseflesh in the early morning chill. It made him seem oddly vulnerable; ordinarily he was so meticulous. Eleanor's eyes narrowed; was it a conscious addition to his pose? As quickly as the thought came she dismissed it - there was such a thing as too much paranoia. "True," she admitted. "And yet any leader worth a grain of salt knows that reward is half of what keeps men loyal."

    Dressed, Fulk stood and shook his tunic to ensure it hung evenly. With a pointed look at Trempwick he reached for his sword belt. "That one had rewards and enough from your father. Didn't stop him rebelling."

    Very mildly, Trempwick said, "Fulk, might I suggest you attend to matters more important than lecturing your wife? Or, at least one presumes you do not wish anyone to know you slept on the floor last night. In which case it would be advisable to finish concealing the evidence." The former spymaster pointed at the spot on the floor where Fulk had slept bundled up in his cloak. "The rushes are still slightly disturbed, as if they have been quickly kicked about to cover a disruption. And I can see a few bits clinging to the cloak you have so casually thrown over that stool."

    "It was my own choice." Fulk drew his dagger and began to check the edge. "Decency. You wouldn't understand."

    Truth be told, Eleanor hadn't made much sense of his jumbled declaration that she'd be sleeping alone until he'd said whatever it was he intended to. Something about temptation and making things still more difficult than they already were.

    Trempwick did not know that checking his weapons was part of Fulk's morning ritual, and plainly took it for a threat. "I will not bandy words with you, half-man."

    Fulk's hand slipped and he gashed his thumb. With stilted deliberateness he lowered the weapon to his side. "You were named nithing by our king for your treachery. A half-man is still half more than you."

    Time to take control of the situation. Outside the room, the household was preparing for the day's travel. Hugh's court was but a half day's ride away, and Eleanor was determined to reach it today. "As amusing as this sparring is - and in all honesty it is not remotely so - my maids have still to attend to my hair, and I should like to eat before we ride out. Time is limited."

    Fulk shrugged, and turned his attention to testing his sword's edge. Trempwick bowed his head in mute acceptance.

    She addressed Trempwick, "Make your request."

    Trempwick nodded curtly. He took a moment, then dampened his lips with the tip of his tongue. "I know I must go back to my imprisonment at Repton. I accept that. Almost I welcome it - I have seen what you intended me to see. I was a lord and am now nothing; the world have moved on and I am left behind, despised. There is no place left for me, none that I care for." For several heartbeats he went silent, unfocused and seeming lost. Then he gathered himself. "I have tried many variations, many different words and sets of words. None felt quite satisfactory and yet there was a certain pleasure in the exercise. I find that ..." Again he halted, shaking his head. "You do not wish to hear my ramblings." Under his breath he told himself, "Concision." Trempwick shifted, lowering his other knee to the ground in the humblest pose a petitioner could adopt. "Highness, by your request I wrote for you a life of your father. Were you displeased with it?"

    Surprised, it took Eleanor a beat to answer. "No, I was not. It seemed a fair and balanced view of the man and his works." In truth the chronicle deserved a more appreciatory verdict; in reading it she had finally begun to understand the man who had been her father, seeing him as something more than the tyrant she had known. "Would that you had shown the man in life the care which was plain in the written words."

    Trempwick's smile was a sad one. "Would that he had remained the man I had that care for." He filled his lungs with a deep, slow breath. "And my second work? My 'Princess'?"

    The treatise he had taken it into his head to write for her on leading men, ruling, and sitting at the centre of a web. "Presumptuous." With a scowl Eleanor relented. "Useful."

    "And the parts you have read of my current incomplete work?"

    "Reasonable enough if one cares to read the history of my family." Feeling the pressure of time, Eleanor seated herself on the bed with her ribbons in easy reach, and began to work her hair into a single long braid. "Do these questions have some point?"

    "I wish to write," Trempwick blurted. "To dedicate myself to it."

    The rasp of Fulk's whetstone fell silent and Eleanor's hands fell still; both stared at the former spymaster.

    Amazingly he blushed - there was no dressing it up with other, more generous descriptions. Eleanor could hardly remember seeing him so discomforted. Trempwick pursed his lips and hunched his shoulders a bit. "What? You make it feel so unreasonable!"

    "It is so ..." Eleanor foundered. It was like hearing he had ambition to become a travelling minstrel.

    "Unlikely," Fulk filled in for her. He ticked points off on his fingers. "Man enjoys intrigue. Man tries to take control of kingdom. Man fails and takes up scribbling with a quill instead." He closed his fist and winced as it placed pressure on his cut thumb. "Not the most natural of progressions, you must admit."

    Trempwick cleared his throat with a dry little cough. "On the contrary, history has long interested me. Nell, you know that to be true. How many times did I try to instil the same love in you? It has much to teach people like us."

    Eleanor admitted the truth of that with a nod and then wished she hadn't as it dragged her partially formed braid awry.

    "For the writing itself, I admit I discovered that only because I had no recourse other than to sink myself into it. I found that ... Words are - I can play with them." Trempwick raised his hands as if weighing something in his palms, curled his fingers around the imaginary contents. "I can play with them, arrange and rearrange each time subtly changing what I am imparting, and find better ways to phrase the same, and - and there is a flow when I have the right words, this amazing feeling that ..." He looked down and then swiftly back up, meeting Eleanor's eyes with naked sincerity. "I have used this talent to manipulate, control, to apply my will, and it destroyed me. Now I have discovered a restorative use for them, and it - it makes my soul glad," he concluded simply. "No, it makes my soul sing."

    Eleanor waited until she had completed her braid and tied it off. "I almost believe you are sincere."

    "Highness, send me back to my prison, only let me have some works to research from. I have exhausted Repton's small library. Let me compose my histories and submit them to you for approval as I have thus far, and then should you find them worthy let them be copied and released so others can read them. Do me the honour of being my patron, and allow me to dedicate them to you."

    Try as she might, Eleanor could not find a hidden dagger in this request. Everything he did would be closely vetted; there would be no danger of him sending messages or spreading poison to undermine Hugh's status. Should she feel like it, she could lie and tell him his work was in circulation when it ended up in a fire. A hand settled on her shoulder and interrupted her musing; she looked up to see Fulk standing at her side.

    "Should this be agreed, I will be your patron," he stated. "Unless this is displeasing to my wife."

    Eleanor cocked an eyebrow in askance.

    "The full I will tell you later, as promised. For the sake of my soul, I intend to found a religious house." Fulk gave a crooked smile. "Thought we might as well get some worldly use out of it, so I'm intending to have a sizable school included. Locate and train the intelligent boys and then put them to use. Becoming a patron would tie into that very well."

    "Your soul?" Eleanor enquired.

    "Yours too, if you wish. I didn't wish to imply anything, oh gooseberry mine."

    Eleanor snorted in amusement, and leaned against him. The contact felt so good. She said to Trempwick, "And the matter of Spain?"

    Trempwick's face set and his voice resumed the controlled spymaster's tones. "I will render every assistance, whether you grant my plea or refuse it in entire. Despite how things fell out, I always strove to be a good friend to William and a loyal servant to your family. Vengeance is demanded and I would be most remiss if I failed to lend myself to your efforts."

    The faint beat of hooves drifted in through the shuttered window; the grooms were beginning to saddle the horses and lead them out. Time was all but gone. Eleanor stood. "Raoul, you will not come with me to court. Today we part ways. Your disguise will not pass muster amongst people who knew you. Fulk, I must ask you to escort him safely to Woburn. Wait for me there."

    "Had enough of being at court to last me for a while," Fulk said, touching his black eye.

    Trempwick asked, "And my request?"

    Eleanor retrieved her knife from the bedside and began to strap it into place on her forearm. "Will I find a dagger concealed in this request of yours?"

    "You shall not, Nell."

    Eleanor slanted him a look and pulled the second set of fastenings tight. "Naturally, I do not trust you."

    "You trust me sufficiently to make use of me."

    "Incorrect: there is no trust involved. It is a calculated risk." She drew the knife, checked the edges, and slammed it back home into its sheath. "I am what you made me."

    "I have made you into a fine spymaster."

    "And a more mistrustful, calculating, cynical person than you ever were."

    Trempwick inclined his head. "But not so heartless, I believe."

    Eleanor strapped on her second knife, checked the blade on it. "Books you may have, and write you may. Circulation, if you produce something worthy of it, though I will only permit that if you use a false name. I doubt my lord husband wishes to be seen as the patron of a traitor who abducted his wife."

    "I don't," Fulk affirmed.

    "And I will not allow people to think of you as something other than a failed traitor."

    Trempwick knelt and bowed his head. "My most heartfelt thanks, your Highness. You will not regret this."

    "If I do, I shall ensure you regret it far more," Eleanor assured him. She gave her husband a kiss, and left the bedchamber.

    The man she needed to speak to was controlling access to Adele's chamber, ostensibly an honour guard. She gave Peter a tap on the shoulder and he obligingly leaned down so she could whisper her instructions into his ear. "You are to ride ahead at full speed. You will request audience with Hugh; make sure it is granted swiftly but do not cause a scene or allow any to form the impression that something out of the ordinary is occurring. You will inform my brother that Adele is potentially dangerous to us. That her imprisonment and poor treatment has broken her mind, rendering her unpredictable. That one minute she may seem perfectly normal, and the next she has screaming fits or makes wild accusations or threatens to weep. Tell him that I must speak to him before he sees her, and that is of the greatest urgency. Adele must be moved to a safe location as soon as she arrives, with companions who will not repeat what she says. I suggest she is sent to visit Constance with much declaration about the Queen being eager to meet her sister-by-law; that will appear perfectly normal. Tell him that she is planning something and I cannot be certain what, so she should be given as little chance to act as possible. Go, now."







    The court was but a morning's travel away. So close. Adele's stomach refused to settle. Anticipation; nerves. The time was almost at hand. She'd never understood the way men restlessly checked and re-checked their weapons before entering a tournament - until now. "Eleanor?"

    "Yes?"

    "Hugh is very honourable, is he not?"

    "He is."

    "Deeply so?"

    "Yes. You have nothing to worry about, he will do his duty by you and ensure you have a living."

    Adele returned her sister's vapid smile. "It is so nice to know that someone will be concerned about my honour, after so long being scorned and slandered." He wouldn't have a choice, she would ensure that. Vengeance.

    She would kneel before him, or perhaps they would embrace warmly. Yes, the latter. Then, as they parted she would say how pleased she was to be home after her trials. It would be good to talk about her brother's strength as a king and high honour. When the moment was right, a touch to that pit she kept sealed in her heart and the tears would begin to flow. Then she would declare that she wished to take the veil because ...

    Adele smiled and began to hum, a lively tune which had been amongst her favourites in Spain.

    "You sound happy, sister."

    Adele laughed. "Oh! I am, dear Eleanor. I am! I am coming home and my brother is waiting. An honourable man so very different to our father, and he will make me welcome, and at long last the wheel of fortune turns so I rise after my fall." She laughed again. "Yes, today feels like a new beginning."

    She remembered the smile when he tore her apart, would never forget it. Adele fought to keep her smile from revealing her upper teeth; even Eleanor would notice a feral snarl. She remembered his smile, and soon would return it with her own. England could not muster a thousand ships. A pity. A modern day Helen of Troy should be more impressive.










    It's been that long? Gah! I've been working on a project dedicated to the memory of a friend who died and it's eaten up most of my writing time.

    And so some mysteries are revealed, and some more hints delivered on other mysteries. Big hints, one of which surely has to give away the answer to its mystery. The other is pretty darn blatant if you are looking, and will give the strongest evidence yet for something which has been hinted at throughout the story.

    Two more updates should finish this story off.
    Frogbeastegg's Guide to Total War: Shogun II. Please note that the guide is not up-to-date for the latest patch.


  10. #1060
    Grand Patron's Banner Bearer Senior Member Peasant Phill's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    My lady Frog, where do you find the time?
    I'm eagerly awaiting the big finale.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drone
    Someone has to watch over the wheat.
    Quote Originally Posted by TinCow
    We've made our walls sufficiently thick that we don't even hear the wet thuds of them bashing their brains against the outer wall and falling as lifeless corpses into our bottomless moat.

  11. #1061

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Considering how long it is since the last part, I guess the answer to that is "I don't."
    Frogbeastegg's Guide to Total War: Shogun II. Please note that the guide is not up-to-date for the latest patch.


  12. #1062

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Well, I was a latecomer here, but still, what's it been? Well over four years? Yes, WELL over.

    Then there were all the wonderful Froggy posts and stuff about Shogun whateveritsincarnation was.

    It feels as if we've seen Ms. Frog grow up in more ways than one. (Note: "as if" not "like")

    That is to say, not only have we seen her writing mature and expand in depth and character; she, too, has undergone the trials and . . . er . . . expansions? . . . of aging.

    What saddens me is that the joy, spontaneity and sheer volume of her writing has diminished so.

    These are probably more reflections upon my own aging and passing than those of the person who coined the term "Frogbeastegg." After all, consider: Frog? Ok. Egg? Well, maybe. Beast? Wha?

    "Frogbeastegg?" Come on. You've got to be young or perspicacious or devil-may-care and pretty darned confident to choose an online name like that. (Or tormented by demons I don't even want to consider.)

    Be that as it may, we're witnessing the passing of a fellow gamer and writer from adolescence to maturity. And sadly, we're seeing her youthful exuberant posts and fiction give way to the real-world pressures of job, boy-friend, apartment and weight of aging.

    I could be wrong, of course. The persona we know as "Frogbeastegg" could be dancing around Trafalgar Square and blowing bubbles from a pipe shaped in the fashion of the Golden Hind even as I write this. . . and leading a young, smiling waif into thralls of medieval and future tales of love, adventure, heroism and passion.

    But I doubt that.

    I wish it was only a shortcoming of mine that gives voice to that doubt. Unfortunately, I've seen it echoed far too often in people my own age and those younger and older.

    DEAR Ms. Frog: Please know that your writing, and your comments on it - and your other posts here over the years - have evoked my emotions, whetted my wonder, pricked my passion and made me look forward to logging in. I thank you humbly and truly.

    It's the wrong metaphor, but in the words of CINCPAC to Rockwell Torrey in "In Harm's Way," . . . "May success follow your flag."

    And may you always find compulsion, compassion and comfort in writing. (Yes, I just made that up. It's yours.)

    furball - Tim

  13. #1063

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Quote Originally Posted by furball View Post
    Well, I was a latecomer here, but still, what's it been? Well over four years? Yes, WELL over.

    Then there were all the wonderful Froggy posts and stuff about Shogun whateveritsincarnation was.

    It feels as if we've seen Ms. Frog grow up in more ways than one. (Note: "as if" not "like")

    That is to say, not only have we seen her writing mature and expand in depth and character; she, too, has undergone the trials and . . . er . . . expansions? . . . of aging.

    What saddens me is that the joy, spontaneity and sheer volume of her writing has diminished so.

    These are probably more reflections upon my own aging and passing than those of the person who coined the term "Frogbeastegg." After all, consider: Frog? Ok. Egg? Well, maybe. Beast? Wha?

    "Frogbeastegg?" Come on. You've got to be young or perspicacious or devil-may-care and pretty darned confident to choose an online name like that. (Or tormented by demons I don't even want to consider.)

    Be that as it may, we're witnessing the passing of a fellow gamer and writer from adolescence to maturity. And sadly, we're seeing her youthful exuberant posts and fiction give way to the real-world pressures of job, boy-friend, apartment and weight of aging.

    I could be wrong, of course. The persona we know as "Frogbeastegg" could be dancing around Trafalgar Square and blowing bubbles from a pipe shaped in the fashion of the Golden Hind even as I write this. . . and leading a young, smiling waif into thralls of medieval and future tales of love, adventure, heroism and passion.

    But I doubt that.

    I wish it was only a shortcoming of mine that gives voice to that doubt. Unfortunately, I've seen it echoed far too often in people my own age and those younger and older.

    DEAR Ms. Frog: Please know that your writing, and your comments on it - and your other posts here over the years - have evoked my emotions, whetted my wonder, pricked my passion and made me look forward to logging in. I thank you humbly and truly.

    It's the wrong metaphor, but in the words of CINCPAC to Rockwell Torrey in "In Harm's Way," . . . "May success follow your flag."

    And may you always find compulsion, compassion and comfort in writing. (Yes, I just made that up. It's yours.)

    furball - Tim
    That was...different.
    Im going to be watching this thread now just to see how this relationship develops ;-)

  14. #1064
    Grand Patron's Banner Bearer Senior Member Peasant Phill's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Don't just watch this thread, read the story. It's well worth it.
    You can grab the designated eye drops at the bar.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drone
    Someone has to watch over the wheat.
    Quote Originally Posted by TinCow
    We've made our walls sufficiently thick that we don't even hear the wet thuds of them bashing their brains against the outer wall and falling as lifeless corpses into our bottomless moat.

  15. #1065

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Night, I've already fallen all over myself in an earlier post to Ms. Frog. Hopefully this one won't weird her out too much.

    (Though why did someone have to repost the entire thing so that if I reconsidered and wanted to erase it, I couldn't?)

  16. #1066

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Quote Originally Posted by furball View Post
    Night, I've already fallen all over myself in an earlier post to Ms. Frog. Hopefully this one won't weird her out too much.

    (Though why did someone have to repost the entire thing so that if I reconsidered and wanted to erase it, I couldn't?)
    Sorry dude. I cant edit it out if you like :-(


    lol likely not. It was nicely-said, tasteful and intelligent :-)

    @Peasant Phil
    Ill need those. My eyes are already dry enough. ;-)

  17. #1067
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    It's been quite a while since someone posted in here but I will do so, in the spirit of keeping this wonderful piece of work available for everyone - I have stickied this post so any future visitors can easily see the marvel of the Adventures of Princess Eleanor.

    Thank you dear Froggy for your fabulous work!
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

    Proud

    Been to: :

    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

  18. #1068

    Default Re: The Machiavellian Adventures of Princess Eleanor

    Quote Originally Posted by edyzmedieval View Post
    It's been quite a while since someone posted in here but I will do so, in the spirit of keeping this wonderful piece of work available for everyone - I have stickied this post so any future visitors can easily see the marvel of the Adventures of Princess Eleanor.

    Thank you dear Froggy for your fabulous work!
    Thank you for everything you have done for us.

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