Musings over an Amuse Bouche

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Musings over an Amuse Bouche

Monsieur Dionysus Beinet sat at his desk the size of a footstool to a human, and pondered the course recent events had taken. Personal crises, imperial crises, magic gone awry. Dark things indeed.

Still, it had always been Dion’s way to light a candle, the better to be instructive about how to curse the darkness. Dear Catherine, (who appallingly insisted on that K as if she were a matchstick girl,) had through poor judgment, willful defiance, and outrage poured onto sacrilege had seemed to luck into a fine choice of mate. Msgr. Drake was a silly, insignificant fluff headed dunderblock. In short, the perfect foil for Catherine, and as good an example of the best England had to offer as one could expect. He was a fair hand with a sword, even if a bit weak for a “Doubling”, and prone to provident visions, even if far to silly to place their import into anything like proportion. His communard political bent would be much softened by exposure to the finer things his new position would allow. Rather then the willful resentment and envy of a third son, he would be landed, moneyed, and have both his arm and wallet decorated by the match. Why, he’d be fair middling as a Whig, and that’s nearly respectable. Perhaps a seat in parliament could be purchased? When he’s seasoned, jaded, and been massaged into comfortable compliance with reason.

Shaking his head, Dion admonished himself. The doubts, the barbs, the arch superiority of correcting one’s betters were for public consumption, surely? Catherine was flighty, surely, but a dear ward and loving charge? Dion considered himself more then Chef d’Maison, he was Catherine’s guardian, caretaker, and protector. Drake himself had the makings of a good man, and truly, a man who was good. They should be happy, and Drake would give Catherine the freedom and cover both so necessary for her to merely be eccentric, rather then a danger to herself. Drake would make her happy, and Catherine’s happiness was paramount.

The spy woman, (rather, women,) needed to be considered. Josephine was wild, untamed, and unbroken. But how does one handle a Wild West Bronco in one’s drawing room? Her skills and desire to succeed were to be applauded. While a tad long in tooth for a proper upbringing, her acting skills were considerable, and perhaps she will grow into the role of non-swoon inducing background color? The Bohemian, though, was another matter entirely.

The case was convoluted and resisted easy solution. The countess was Bohemian, therefore possibly an agent of Austria Hungary. From Bohemia, the only region of that empire to achieve any true development. That means she could have been after the device for use in her region’s independence, or creating wealth for the Austrians, if her loyalty lay with empire over region as so many of the Bohemian nobility did, in light of the disasters of ’48? As an agent of Austria, she could be acting for financial concerns in Prussia, the younger, stronger, angrier sibling. Gratitude in Berlin would be of value in Vienna. But the girl. The Dashwood girl, granddaughter of Fanny Dashwood of Hellfire club was the ONE of TWO that Rembecki insisted on flying off with. The Bohemian had shown herself to be of darkest stripe. Human sacrifice in a cathedral, (well, large stone place where Anglicans practice heresy,) and summoning the first circle minions of Chaos demonstrated wide practice in diabolic magic. Her mastery of thaumaturgy was without question. On the roof of the cathedral, she’d shown a fair hand with improvisational hedge magic. Drake’s vision was invaluable there. The flag would have only caused confusion without the planting of that seed.

The continent was acrawl with left over Illuminati, black friars, and Masonic offshoots who conspired to have a secret government to lead all creation into the abyss of Chaos. Whatever Rembecki’s political agenda, her true loyalty lay with one of those groups. Fielding had some reason he wouldn’t give for thinking Swiss Illuminati, or Hungarian Magyar pantheists. Neither prospect was heartening for an initiate of the outmost circle, trained in magic as a drunken dare.

Enough. The continent was a big place, that had been a swirling miasma of war and rumor of war for a very long time. It would fester long enough to deal with more important, if more mundane concerns.

The colonel had been very cross. Very cross indeed. The blame and shame rested heavy of Dion’s shoulders. “Who, I ask, can place the whirlwind in a jar? When can the flood waters fit into a snuff box? What giant, let alone a tiny joke of a failure at baking can keep Catherine from being anything but Catherine?” Still, the colonel had agreed to the far from princely sum of seven thousands per annum for Drake to take accounts. As a supplement to Catherine’s income, maintaining the couple in style and fashion would be but small challenge. Drake had signed the prenuptial agreement with no complaint or thought. Easy indeed to justify enough expenses being for maintaining the lady that both might prosper. A suitable site, and suitable guest list was of utmost importance. The wording of the announcement, delayed at the colonel’s command until return from the continent would require art and delicacy to cover it’s belated nature. Proper attire must be fitted for both, a tailor neither blind nor palsied engaged for Drake, and Drake’s man, (please, merciful heaven, let him at LEAST have a man,) must be integrated into the household, despite Justice alone knows what buggered ideals have slithered into his mind from Drake’s youthful prattle. Errantly, Dion wondered if Drake assisted his valet with dress after being dressed each morning? God’s breath, what future challenges will fate provide?

Still, the match had promise. Catherine was obviously smitten with this Drake. Never did the event occur that even her scattered thoughts didn’t bend to, “Please invite that Mr. Drake. He’s delightfully engaging to talk to about museum business with, and ever so useful to ward of prying dowager’s younger sons with!” The pretense of the dishonor and scandel made short work of peeling the scales from their eyes.

On a most pleasant note indeed, the match would mean the addition to the household of a governess. Arranging for the additional of Priscilla now that her wards had grown to tower over her was most appealing indeed.

With a shake of his head, Dion took up his hat, to go and look for the Doublings who should finally be up and about. The sound of Catherine's charming laugh came from the drawing room. With a smile that could be easily wiped away before being seen, Dion thought, “too silly to even be at table for elevensies.”

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