Lucia Brabante and Ser Richard Armitage . . .
Whilst you all know me as Mesmered, for the night of the Ball you may call me Lucia Brabante and until today, I was excited to be attending. I was sure Ser Richard Armitage, an entrancing visitor to Veniche, would ask to escort me.
This morning I was Receiving, and fully expected him to call. My toilette and coiffure were painstaking and I wore my favourite gown, my riding habit. Aine knows one never rides a horse in Veniche unless it’s a water-horse and if one knows anything of their nature, one knows one wouldn’t be alive to tell the tale. But my riding habit is slick and well-cut and damnably seductive and just to make sure, I wore a divine bodice underneath, with the first three buttons of the jacket undone to display it.
My riding habit is the colour of fresh damson plums and I believe it becomes me on a good day.
But . . . and aren’t there always damnable buts . . . Ser Richard didn’t call and sadly I believe he may be escorting someone-else, some lucky woman I don’t even know.
I tell you I despaired, and resolved to spend the rest of my life solitary and writing, even though it is considered a hobby by my lady friends. All my emotions must surely make good reading for the adventure-starved of Eirie!
My lady friends came, sipped tea, ate cake and gossiped and nary a full-blooded male crossed my threshold. I almost threw the women onto their gondolas at the end, so despairing was I.
I climbed the stair to my chamber, RIPPED, yes, RIPPED my riding habit off my body and slipped into a white and blue striped silk day-gown, tucking in a lace fichu at my neck. But I quailed at the presumed propriety and tore it away, undoing my hair from its chignon so that it was wild. And I began to write. Furiously.
That is how my maid found me. ‘Lady Lucia. Ser Niccolo de Fleury has called. He apologises for his tardiness but his ship docked less than an hour since. He begs that you attend him. He said please.’
‘Ser Niccolo de Fleury! I know him.’ My spirits began to rise. Ah, I thought. A merchant, a fighter, a spy, an intellect to defy most in Veniche, a banker, a lover of women. And unlike Ser Richard whom we all know is Other, untouchable and utterly immortal,
Ser Niccolo is mortal and very touchable and perhaps more my cup of tea. ‘Tell Ser Niccolo I shall be down forthwith.’
And that is how I, Lucia Brabante, writer of books of strange and wondrous fantasy, came to be attending the approaching Masked Ball with a man whose life, I tell you, could fill eight books.
More on Ser Niccolo and Ser Richard anon . . .