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Scelt is a Territory in turmoil and peace is tenuously held together by the Sceltic Queens. Rivalry between the Clans errupted into horror for the Territory that resulted in many dead, on both sides, and culimated in Clan Sheane being outlawed in the Territory. Further troubles plague the Territory in a variety of manners - Landen villages are raided, Courts are attacked, and no one seems to be safe.
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Author Topic: Follow Suit  (Read 837 times)

Description: tag: Desmond Clery

Offline Mason Collins

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Follow Suit
« on: Oct 26, 17, 05:33:51 PM »
Mason Collins was not a politician.  He knew that he needed to be better about that sort of thing, but he would never be his Father, nor his Queen, nor any of the other Lads in his Circle that were good for such things.  He was too forthright, and preferred others that were as well.  It was not that he could not spot politicking when he saw it, but rather that he misliked it.  it smacked of lies and treachery, even though it was only charm and guile sometimes.  Mason preferred honest discourse, with words if it coul be managed, with fists if it came to it.  HIs preference for honest was well known, and it was one of the reasons, he believed, that he was made First Escort.  He counself his Queen with truth, blunt and honest, coupled with his best advice, if he had any.

Despite this, he kept being given the duty of greeting visiting dignitaries and suitors.  Mason could tolerate the former, but he had little in the way of patience for the latter.  To say that he disliked dealing with Males arrivin to look at his Queen as though she were  a prize heifer to be purchased or won rankled him in ways he could not easily confess.  He was beginning to suspect that his compatriots, for their own amusement, kept making certain he received these duties while the Queen was busy with other work.  Mason would typically always be by her side, but there was more than one Male in a Circle so that duties could be roted, and he was not the Master of the Guard or the Steward.  One would keep her safe, and one would help her with the politics that Mason largely disdained.  He grumbled, and walked across the courtyard to the warriors by the gate.

"Who comes?"  Mason asked in his typical manner, clapping the guardsman on the shoulder.

The man turned to him, "The scouts say it's Clerymen, by the tartans."

Mason tried to dredge up what he remembered abyt the Clerys.  He knew who their Laird was, and knew that the Laird's son, Desmond he believed the name was, was a navy man trained by folk beyond the Territory.  The Collins Warlord Prince figured that was probably a good thing.  Why send a good Scelt Lad beyond the borders for training if it was not worth their while?  Mason was not, in his own opinion, a navy man.  He prefered to keep the land under his boots, and armor on his chest.  Armor and the sea did not mix too terribly well.  Clery could be coming for any number of reasons, but only two really bubbled up to the surface of Mason's regard.  He was coming to play politics, or he was coming to press his suit.  He grumbled under his breath, and then breathed a tension relieving sigh.

"I will meet them by the gates, let's not be rude.  Let 'em make their call, an' open the gates to welcome them.  Send a runner to the kitchens, and bring up extra barrels of ale.  We'll have to break bread with 'em an' play the host."  Mason nodded, and waited for the procession to arrive.

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #1 on: Oct 28, 17, 11:36:22 AM »
Desmond Clery brought his horse to the gates of the Keep, readying himself to deal with yet another member of Taryn’s Circles. After his father’s passing, the Clan Laird of the Clerys had spent much of his time in Wexol Province attempting to press his clan’s claim as the new ruling clan of District. The fall of the Sheanes, while tragic, was an opportunity beyond measure. Desmond had been successful at getting many of his people into place, but locating a Queen who could rule the District was an unexpected challenge. Desmond didn’t shy away from it, but he recognized that his entire plan would fall apart the moment that one of the other clans in Wexol produced a worthy Queen.

That lead him back to the Province Court of Denford to visit Lady Kerry. He needed more time to find a Queen. The Province Court required Wexol’s tithes. Spending a few minutes alone with Taryn was a great bonus, one that Desmond indulged in every time he came to visit. He hoped that Lord Rhyne was available today. Desmond liked the young man and he was an excellent source of information about Taryn’s likes and dislikes. The word about the Queen’s search for a Consort was out for some time and the Province Court was being extremely selective about who made the cut.

While Desmond was interested, he also never came to Court with the express purpose of seeing Lady Kerry. He built relationships. He took the time to meet the men and women who served in her Circles. He’d had a few of them out to Wexol for dinner with the family, and Desmond had reason to be encouraged. The more people in Lady Clery’s trust who spoke his name, the faster his competition would fall by the wayside.

He stopped his brown mare at the gate and announced himself, waiting to see who’d turn out to meet him. He saw activity behind the gate, but the male who greeted him wasn’t one he’d seen on his past visits. This male stood deeper in the Abyss than Desmond, but one thing was unmistakable: the scent of Warlord Prince.

His expression grew more placid, nearing the edge of distaste. Warlord Princes were never a good start to any discussion.

Greetings, Prince. I’m Laird Desmond Clery of the Wexol Clerys. I’ve come to deliver the quarter’s tithes to Lady Kerry, along with sad news. May I be admitted?” he said to the guards at the gate.


Offline Mason Collins

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #2 on: Oct 28, 17, 08:39:31 PM »
Mason waited until the last moment, and when the Clery man reined in, he gestured for the gates to be opened.  He raised a hand in greeting, and at the other man’s words, tilted his head slightly.  He was given to believe that the Laird of Clery was an older fellow, someone closer to his own Father’s age, rather than close to his own.  Bright ice blue eyes regarded the unexpected Laird in front of him, and his eyebrows rose slightly, not because he was a Warlord or because there was a turn to his expression that he was not sure he liked, but because he realized that this man’s Father was probably did.  A Laird might defer his seat to his Son, but that was a declaration of infirmity that most did not make.  A shame that.  The loss of a Laird was never a good thing, no matter how they fell.

He gestured, ”Yes, of course.  We saw ye were comin’ aways of, an’ recognized your colors.”  Mason gestured for one of the lads to take care of the Clery horses.  ”I had a meal prepared, and some ale brought up.  The road always makes me parched, an’ a little food never goes wrong after a bit of a ride.”  He had the gates opened a bit wider to admit Desmond and anyone that might be with him, and then he gave the nod to close the gates behind them.  Mason waited for Desmond to join him, and then led the way across the courtyard.  ”I hope ye do not come in haste, my Queen and her Steward, I believe, are dealing with weighty matters of state.”

Mason continued to walk, and debated the asking, but it seemed impolite not to at least acknowledge what he had surmised in some small way.  ”So, Laird Clery, what news do ye bring?”  He continued to walk beside the man, occasionally acknowledging calls of his name with a nod or a wave.  Then he barked a laugh, ”I’m Prince Mason Collins, First Escort to Queen Taryn Kerry…I should have said so at the gates.  Let my thoughts get the better of me.  I’ll make it up with an extra drink.”

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #3 on: Nov 03, 17, 10:14:33 PM »
Desmond was surprised, in turn, that Lady Kerry’s First Escort was so close to him in age. Rather than take any chances, Desmond tapped into his jewels and brought forth the cool, cold calm that every Warlord innately possessed. He projected it outward, allowing to envelop him and Prince Collins as Desmond slid down from his horse and let the Kerry handlers take her away. The measure was perhaps premature, but there was no such thing as too much preparation where Warlord Princes were concerned, especially ones who stood deeper in the Abyss than himself.

He offered the other man an appropriate bow, leaning on Protocol to aid his Craft in keeping this Mason Collins from wanting reach over and rip his head off for no reason.

I’d be happy to share a meal and a drink with you, Prince Collins.” Desmond said, the tell-tale brogue of Wexol District nearly absent from the Warlord’s voice. Years in Dhemlan taught him to minimize his accent, though he’d never completely abandoned it. His father hated how “Dhemlanese” he’d become, but Desmond preferred to be taken at his worth, rather than as some kind of bumpkin who’d never been to Court before.

I’m happy to wait on Lady Kerry’s pleasure, Prince Collins. We’ve not met during my previous trips here to Court. I’d like to get to know you, especially if we end up spending a lot more time in each other’s company.” Desmond said, following Prince Collins at a leisurely pace. Despite his natural issues with Warlord Princes, Desmond recognized that the other man outranked him in the Court. Did he know that he’d be replaced once Taryn chose a husband?

Well, Prince Collins, I’m here to advise Lady Kerry that my father, the Warlord Prince Nolan Clery, former Laird of Clan Clery, has returned to the Darkness this past Winsol. He used to handle delivering the tithes, but that’s fallen to me now. My brother, Drummond, has been here a few times as well.” Desmond said, slipping his hands into his pockets. He spared a glance at the other man.

Did you ever meet my father? He was fond of Lady Kerry and always wanted to forge closer ties between our clans.” Desmond said.


Offline Mason Collins

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #4 on: Nov 12, 17, 01:39:42 PM »
Mason felt the cool demeanor and power of their newly arrived guest.  He was not one to allow his own power to weigh heavily on others.  His Father used to tell that not only was it impolite, it was poor tactics, and more than just poor form.  It was akin to bullying.  Only boys immediately attempt to measure their cocks to see whose is largest, Men should not have to.  It was not that he took Desmond’s stance as offensive, or even aggressive,  it was more that he was not certain what the Warlord meant to convey by it.  Protocol was followed, deference already implied, if not given.  Mason was not an uncontrollable animal, well, at least not right then.  The First Escort had to concede that his was not a smooth charm, and perhaps that was all there was too it.

He nodded when the man accepted his invitation.  The courtesy of host and guest was as old as Scelt, and necessary when belligerent clans had to get together to talk out their differences, preferably before blood was spilled, but not always.  Mason made the offer on behalf of the Court, if not entirely on his own behalf.  It was always good to get the measure of a man, Laird or not, before he let that same man walk into the presence of his Queen.  ”I had heard that you were educated abroad, I can hear it in your words.  It must have felt good to return home.”  Mason led the Cleryman to one of the long halls that the guards and other men used to eat.  It was kept neat and tidy enough, their Master of the Guard saw to that, but it was also where anyone off duty might come in for a meal.  A table was set for them, food and drink already on the table waiting.  ”Here we are.”

Mason was very proud of himself.  Desmond’s turn of phrase did not make him snarl, and that was a good thing.  It showed progress.  At the news, however, Mason bowed his head slightly, and offered the other man his open hand.  ”I did get to meet your Father.  His loss will be felt by all of us, but by no one more keenly than his sons.  You have my condolences, Laird, you and your Clan both do.”  When they had exchanged grips, if the Laird chose to, Mason sat with Desmond at the table, sitting across from him.  ”I am not called upon to deal with tithes and finances too terribly often.  Your kin would know the Steward better, but I know your brother by name and by sight, though I’ve not spent much time in his company.”

He nodded, filling a mug for Desmond from a pitcher left at the table.  ”Your Father I knew only a little better, but yes, I did meet him and speak with him from time to time.”  Mason paused a moment to consider his memories.  ”I rather liked him.”  He smiled and lifted his ale, ”To absent friends, and to new ones.”  Death was not something to longer on.  The Elder Laird Clery had led a good life, and worked for the betterment of Scelt, that was a life to be remembered and honored, not cried over.

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #5 on: Nov 12, 17, 03:55:10 PM »
Yeah, Dhemlan’s a nice place but it’s not very forgiving. Anything that makes a person really stand out can be a bane as much as a boon. Most people couldn’t understand me when I spoke. Really had to work at it. But you’re right, though. It really was nice to get home and not worry about it.” Desmond said, trying to keep the discussion easy and light. Warlord Princes ran the gamut from controlled and thoughtful to engines of murder with barely any self-control. Prince Collins seemed like he was closer to the former, but he knew from personal experience that Warlord Princes could turn on a dime.

But Mason offered his condolences and a his hand, and Desmond took the sentiment in the spirit it was intended. He shook Mason’s hand. “Thank you, Prince Collins. Truly, thank you.” Desmond said, before sitting down at the table with the other man. Food was prepared and the customs of hospitality were important to their culture. Rather than dwell on what might happen, Desmond stayed in the moment.

To absent friends, and to new ones.” Desmond said, clinking glasses with Mason. He took a slow, steady sip, considering what to say. This man had Taryn’s ear and her confidence. Desmond had a fine line to walk, even without the possibility that this man could feel something other than the bond toward his Queen.

Tell me, Prince Collins, how are things around here these days? How is Lady Kerry doing? I like to come and see her when I can, but our schedules are busy.” Desmond said.

Prince Noland was fond of Lady Kerry. He always said we’d make a good match, based on what he knew of us. I didn’t really believe him or know what to make of that. I mean, how do you take something like that, right?” Desmond asked, offering a laugh.

But just spending time around here with the members of the Court, spending time with her has really opened my eyes to the woman she is. She’s strong. Fierce. Easy to talk to.” Desmond said, taking another sip of his drink. He kept an eye on Mason, trying to gauge the other man’s response to his words. He needed to know more about their relationship, especially once things got into full swing.


Offline Mason Collins

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #6 on: Nov 12, 17, 08:20:56 PM »
 Mason listened to the other man’s description of Dhemlan, and briefly wondered what that would have been like for him.  He was not sure that he could have come to the same compromise that Desmond had, even in his tender youth.  He had never been terribly compromising, in fact, that was a skill he was exercising more and more, but he would have had to admit it was a weak muscle.  Mason had mixed feelings about the idea, if he were being honest with himself.  On the one hand, new skills were necessary for Scelt to grow and improve, and on the other, Mason was stubborn enough to believe that Scelt did not need any more foreign ideas.  For all they knew, foreign ideas had already upset things in Scelt—or they had not, and they had no one to blame but themselves.

”I fear I am not well-traveled.  I’ve learned prettier speech, to be sure, but it still feels sorta knew to my mouth.”  He half-smiled, ”To be honest, I’m thinkin’ I’m probably not fit for travelin’ to foreign lands, like as not, I’d dig my feet in an’ no one would understand why.”  Mason shrugged, and sobered at the man’s acceptance of his sincere condolences.  His own Father was getting on in years, and he did not want to look head to that inevitable time when he would have to say goodbye.  He nodded at the thanks, and smiled a bit more brightly when Desmond joined in on the toast.  Perhaps this Laird Clery was not a bad fellow after all.  Taryn had to get visitors from such from time to time, it did not mean they were all after her hand and her skirts.

Mason drank more ale, and wiped his mouth and beard with the back of his hand.  ”Things are well enough.  Largely settled.  Hardly a blade drawn or blood shed save for a few wee bands of outliers that are easy enough to handle."  He considered the other part of the question, ”My Queen is doing very well, indeed.  I daresay that her Province blossoms ‘neath her touch, as does she under the burden of leadership.”  He hid a brief scowl with the handily available mug of ale.  Mason did not recall the fellow visiting at all, but it is entirely possible there were reasons for that.  He was not always so tightly bound to the Court.  ”Prince Noland said that now did he?  Huh.  He was always a kindly fellow.”  He tilted his head slight, unwilling to say anything untoward of the dead and a man he had, in truth, liked.   ”Oh, I’d not take such things too seriously.  Queens ain’t country lasses after all.”

So much for prettier speech, Mason thought.  ”Aye, the Queen is all of those things.”  He almost added, that she was also headstrong, willful, uncontrollable and too beautiful for anyone to ever really deserve, but he was rather pleased that he kept that to himself.  That was, however, all that he said, before he drank more ale.

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #7 on: Dec 10, 17, 02:32:34 PM »
Mason Collins was a Warlord Prince and a coarser man than Desmond usually dealt with, but Desmond understood the man’s charm. Desmond didn’t consider him a bad guy at all. There was much to like about him, objectively. He could carry a conversation, he was a hospitable and he was forthright without being sour or disagreeable. Those were life skills in Dhemlan, where people had hundreds, if not thousands of years, to nurse a grudge. Desmond took the lessons he’d learned across the water and simply adapted them to most of his countrymen. Some possessed a low cunning, enough to get over during a sheep raid but not enough to handle a long-term plan. Desmond sipped his drink while Mason spoke.

Mason Collins wasn’t his enemy. He was merely an impediment to getting what he wanted.

Desmond was already considering what it would take to neutralize that threat.

No, they are not country lasses. On that, we agree. Actually, when I last spoke with Lady Kerry, she was considering an idea I proposed. It was an idea that I noted in Dhemlan, actually, that I think would help us here. It’s not going to be popular but it’s something we’ll have to do if we want to stay competitive on the seas.” he said.

He leaned back in his chair.

Do you know that the rest of Kaeleer doesn’t hold our views on Black Widows?” Desmond asked. The man had just admitted not to being well-traveled, so Desmond would assume that he’d heard no outside news until otherwise corrected.

Dhemlan, for example, uses them on ships to predict ill-weather patterns. Since my family’s in the shipbuilding business, it made me sit up and take notice. Nolan would never have gone for it. It’s been tough to get people to even hear me out on the idea.

I’m just trying to think about the future before it gets here, you know? Lady Kerry heard me out, though. She may not agree with me in the end and, if that’s the case, I understand.

But it meant something that she didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand, even if she’s just being a good listener.
” Desmond said.

What do you think, Prince Collins?


Offline Mason Collins

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #8 on: Dec 13, 17, 08:02:43 PM »
Mason Collins was not a sapling.  The times where he, even as a Warlord Prince, let the hounds of his rage slip over some unknowing comment, or even a knowing one, were behind him.  He would dishonor himself, his Clan, and his Queen.  He would do none of those things, but there was something that this fellow was after.  He did not distrust Desmond Clery, and he had known the man’s Father, and liked him, but the Father was not the Son, and the Son was not the Father.  There was something here that he did not like, but Mason understood that he had a particular problem, and always would when some Male came about, sniffing after the trail of his Queen like a tomcat in a back alley.  He allowed for the fact that his own prejudices might be coloring his perspective, but that did not banish that perspective.  Logic and emotion never played well together.

”New ideas are ne’er popular.”  Mason allowed, drinking more from his mug.  ”If it were, it wouldnae be a bloody new idea, would it?”  He smiled a bit, and restrained the obvious question, sensing that the new Laird was about to press on.  The Sapphire Warlord Prince listened, and his eyebrows rose slightly.  ”No, not really…I mean, I am aware that Black Widows elsewhere arenae Queen killn’ houris, if that’s what ye’re after knowin’.”  He paused and shrugged, ”Other than that?”  He spread his hands to further indicate his lack of knowledge in that regard.

Mason was quiet for a moment, and took the time to explore his own bigotry.  Thankfully, it was not a terribly long path to take before he got to an answer.  He was, at the end of the day, a fairly simple man.  ”I think a man or woman should be judged by their actions, not their Castes.  We’re all of us bloody well dangerous, some more than most, but I dinnae think it serves us to cleave to ways that might no longer be needed.  I imagine some of these spiders can be fine women, but they’ll be pushin’ uphill to prove it.”  Mason finished his ale, ”With the exception of the Sheanes, I confess, I do nae make it a habit o’ dismissin’ someone cuz of ol’ prejudices.  We’re supposed to help each other, Landen are the base of the pillar that we’re meant to build on, for example.  We forgot that somewhere along the way.  It’s fair thinkin, Laird.”

He poured more ale, ”As for what my Queen might be thinkin’, I willnae claim to know, but Lady Kerry is good at listenin’, an’ if she listens, it’s cuz she thinks it’s worth hearin’.”

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #9 on: Jan 24, 18, 12:01:00 AM »
Desmond nodded when Mason referred to the relationship between the Landen and the Blood. He agreed with the Warlord Prince on that score. The Lande were resourceful and thoughtful in ways that most Blood never managed. The sheer lack of ambition that some Blood exhibited shamed their entire people. Meanwhile, a Landen with no Caste or Jewels spent his or her days trying to build a legacy that would live beyond their time and influence generations. Desmond respected that drive, that fire, and sought to kindle it where possible.

I agree with you, Prince Collins. The Landen do so much without half the tools available to the Blood, but rarely do they ever get the respect they truly deserve for it. It’s a damned shame, I think.” Desmond said, raising his newly-filled glass for another sip of ale. Desmond liked the bite of the ale. He wondered if this one was Taryn’s favorite, or another.

You’re also right about a man or woman being judged on what they do, rather than their Caste or Jewels. You know, I know it, Mother Night knows it. But we both know that isn’t how the world works. I do think it’s time that we started rethinking a lot of our old prejudices and deeply held beliefs. Otherwise, we’re letting valuable resources slip through our fingers. And for what? A grudge that most of the Black Widows of today had no hand in?” Desmond suggested.

I wish more people were at least willing to consider the idea, Prince Collins. As long as people are thinking about it and not reacting solely from ingrained behavior, we can find a path forward.” Desmond said.

Desmond drank his ale, letting that part of the conversation die down unless Mason chose to speak up again. If he did not, they’d sit in companionable silence for a little while. Desmond wasn’t in a hurry to speak up again, so he waited to see which way Mason would take their conversation.


Offline Mason Collins

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #10 on: Jan 31, 18, 02:11:39 PM »
Mason was not terribly shy about his opinions.  He knew that Court was not the best place to make them known, but outside of that proper need, he could be easily broached on all manner of subjects.  He was, he thought, essentially what he appeared to be.  A warrior, the Queen's man, and Clan Collins.  He had been fighting for the changes that had hapened, and just because he was on the winning side, that did not mean that he was going to stop fighting for what he thought was right.  Mason had been fortunate with his Queen and her Court, and he had been fortunate in the battles he had lived through along with his Laid and his Clan.  He had recognized long ago that Scelt would not have a future, if everyone was not pulling in the same direction.

"They innovate because they must, we have too many tools to do otherwise, but that's beside the point."    He nodded at Desmond's assessment, "If we could encourage half of that drive in the Blood, we could solve anything, I wager."  He hald smiled, and drank more ale.  Mason was glad that Desmond thought he was right, approval had not been something he needed, but it told him a bit about the man he as speaking to.  Information he could carry to his Queen.  "I dinnae necessarily disagree, but you hafta remember, the reason.  It started somewhere, an' it ain't gonna unravel, because you an' I said so.  We have to give the people examples to see, show how our way is better."

Mason nodded, "Some things are easier to let go than others.  I'd like to see us move forward, I'd like to see Scelt peacecul again. beat our swords into ploughshares an' all that."  He shrugged, "I dinnae expect to see it in my lifetime, but maybe we can make it better for those that come after us, Aye?"  If he had anyone come after.  He thought of his Queen instantly, and drank more ale on the heels of it.  Desmond was not an unpleasant fellow at the end of the day, but the Warlord Prince was more than just bonded to his Qeen.  Logic was not always a welcomed friend in his mind, and never in his heart.

Offline Desmond Clery

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Re: Follow Suit
« Reply #11 on: Oct 16, 18, 11:57:45 PM »

Desmond understood the wisdom in not advertising his beliefs. Like Mason, he wasn’t shy about sharing them, but Scelt was still a very traditional society, filled with traditional people. Black Widows had done something, in the past, to receive the treatment that they currently received. That did not make it right, but it was ingrained in their psyche of their people. Desmond couldn’t just go changing things and forcing people to live with it. Or, he could do that, but his tenure as Clan Laird would be woefully short, probably followed by his life.

Mason Collins carried himself better than most Warlord Princes that Desmond had met, forcing the Warlord to consider him. He’d thought that it would be a reasonably straight path into Taryn’s heart, followed by her bed, but this man would be an issue for him. He was bound to her and served as her First Escort. Desmond couldn’t tell if he had feelings for her or, worse, if she had feelings for him. Desmond prayed that it wasn’t so. Those feelings could ruin his plans to elevate his family. Clan Collins was sworn to the Kerrys, making them a consideration in any plan to get close to the Queen. Having Mason think positively of him would pay dividends later.

Really, that’s what life is about. Yeah, you get your chances to live, to love, and to be remembered, but everything we do is really for the people who come after us. If we’re not working for them, then whom?” Desmond asked, the question rhetorical. Desmond wanted his own prestige and recognition. Being the Consort of Denford’s ruler would give him that. But he had bigger plans and Mason Collins simply didn’t factor into them. That was a sad thing.

He actually did like him, just a bit.

~The End~