A/N: I wrote this to tell you guys that I'm still alive but I think I would be gone for a while. I'm planning on a month-long Sabbatical from writing. I'm a tad busy looking for hospital work at the moment and well... I don't have much time to think of my stories. I promise you guys, I'm not abandoning anything.
This is one of those period fics. I was inspired by... Well, if I were honest, I was inspired by Natalie Portman. I liked her enough in the Other Boleyn Girl and I was ecstatic when she recently won the Oscars for Black Swan. So I guess the fic is dedicated to her.
I am aware there are some historical inaccuracies specially when it comes to the dates. But I don't have the time to research for this in depth but I guess, that is why it's called fiction. I still do hope that this reads as well as Other God and Sodales which, for some reason, seem like lifted from genuine Scripture and Greek myth respectively. (Yes I like the fact that I'm trying my hardest and best to make them seem authentic and I think I'm rewarded enough.)
Anyways... On with the fic... Please don't forget to review after reading. This fic is a one shot for the moment. But I already have plans for it. Possibly when I finish Other God this will be written side-by-side Sodales. And if you think that it is indeed good enough to turn into a multi-chappie please do tell me.
Warning:This was not proof-read.
Standard Disclaimer: FoR, its cast and related trademarks are owned by Anzai Nobuyuki-sama. People, places, events mentioned herein are fictitious and/or used fictionally. I do not own British history. The English do. I am not making profit for this, although I wish I were so I wouldn't have to go traipsing to find a job. *sighs*
The Court of Carnal Delights by Anne Raven
Whispers of a conspiracy.
Another charge of treason.
A queen on the way to the scaffold yet again.
The shadows lengthen and fear permeates every corner of Whitehall Palace. A boy of thirteen crept silently out of the royal nursery. Pale blue-gray eyes wide and senses alert. He was born at court; he grew up at court. Silence, secrecy, stealth – these were very important skills he had to learn, skills he had to master at an early age because they were necessary; because he needed them to survive.
Weaving in and out of exquisitely fitted passages and corridors bedecked with fine tapestries, statues of ivory and gold, he quietly entered a set of equally ornate double doors opened for him by two sentries, his head held high with all the authority of the owners of this suite of rooms whom he considers kith and kin.
"Tokiya, I had been waiting for you. Please, take a seat." A thirty-six year old man whose hair was graying prematurely but otherwise still lustrous and like silver starlight stood with the dignity of the great lords of this House and gestured to one of the lavishly upholstered chairs in the receiving room of the family chambers. Seeing that the nobleman stood still, Tokiya declined the offer. "No? Ah, well. Tell me, how is the young prince?" He asked.
"As carefree as a child of five should be, father. Prince Edward has no idea that his stepmother would be beheaded today." With as much fortitude as a boy of thirteen could possess, Tokiya replied without blinking or flinching at the word 'beheaded'.
"I wonder what Lord Thomas is thinking right now." Tokiya's father cupped his chin in the guise of deep thought. "A second failure to put a Howard heir to the Throne of England, a second Howard girl to put her head on the block, surely, it must be very demeaning. Don't you think so, son? At least we, Seymours, have little Edward." Lord Hertford concluded flashing a sly grin.
Tokiya smirked either in agreement to his father or in humor that his father could say 'little Edward' and not care that he shared the same name with the Tudor prince.
"What am I to do now, father? What is my lord's bidding?"
"For now, you are free to do as you wish. You can watch Queen Katherine's execution on Tower Hill if you want to." Lord Hertford nonchalantly said as he waved a hand and dismissed his son.
Tokiya bowed respectfully and turned his heel. Maybe he will go and watch or maybe not. It wasn't like it was the first time someone would be beheaded on Tower Hill; even if that someone was Queen of England.
Nothing was new. This is life as normal as it gets in the court of King Henry VIII.
- The Court of Carnal Delights-
Most twelve year old girls would never understand how one family can rise to power one day and fall at the next. However, Fuuko was not like most twelve year old girls. She was groomed to know the intricacies of the English court. She was a bona fide child of that court. And she understands the whims of the madman named Henry.
She was a Howard girl. She was supposed to know.
But what made her truly understand was that she was one of the very many victims of the frightening king and his highly ambitious court.
She was a Howard, yes, a family which never ran out of place at court, in or out of favor. But more than that, she was Boleyn – once the most beloved family in attendance to the king.
Although she offers her sympathies to cousin Katherine, her true motive of coming to London was to see her own mother before she could never see her again.
Aunt Mary and cousin Catherine were there to accompany her. They were Boleyn's too. They would understand.
When the axe came whistling down, Fuuko saw her mother breathe for the last time.
But Jane Boleyn never saw her only daughter, hidden as she was behind other spectators.
Father, mother, aunt, cousins… All of them died the same way – on the scaffold. How many more would follow?
With her father dead nearly half her life, her mother lately so, her brother in exile; Fuuko became the undisputed Lady Rochford. Pity, her mother managed to save the title but couldn't save her own life.
Still, life went on. She will have to return to Rochford Hall soon with Aunt Mary and cousin Catherine too now that there was no queen to serve at court.
Guuko had always lived with relatives since her father's death six years ago.. His family couldn't trust her mother to keep her father's children but it didn't bother her. Although sometimes, she wishes that her own family can live with her in their own home, her home now.
She will have to learn how to run a household. Rochford Hall was rightfully hers as George Boleyn's heir. And the management of Rochford Hall was no easy thing. Aunt Mary could be her mentor. Uncle William could manage the affairs of the estate while she is still a minor. Their children will be her friends, her playmates. They were her famile, her only family.
So depp was she in thought that she did not realize she was walking towards the back of a tall young man. She was lucky a pair of strong arms caught her before she fell.
"I would want nothing more than to berate you for being so clumsy. Thank God you have a pretty face."
Striking pale blue-gray eyes met her deep blue-violet ones. And a smirk was traced on his beautiful aristocratic face. His arms wound around her petite waist as he pressed her closer to him.
"Let go, you ruffian!" She hissed. Never mind the fact that he was too well-dressed to be called a ruffian. "Unhand me this instant! You have no right to hold me like this. Who do you think you are? You can't just…"
"You talk too much." He cut in.
He effectively silenced her by swooping down and capturing her lips in a soft kiss. Tokiya smiled at the chance to kiss such a lovely maid. Flirting, kissing, bedding – these were the pastimes of a young man at court and although he was highly experienced with the first and second, a result of his upbringing in highly sensuous court, he had yet to try the third. He would be blessed to have a girl this beautiful on his bed.
All his daydreaming halted when a loud resounding slap broke the silence of the nearly empty Tower Hill; with it, a painful sting on his left cheek. He was lucky they were well hidden else the humiliation of being slapped by a girl in public would haunt him for the rest of his life.
He glared at her then but the sight of her livid with cold contained fury had nearly disarmed him. She was indeed very beautiful.
"Fuuko… Fuuko, where are you?" A young feminine voice called.
"I am here, Catherine." Fuuko replied, still seething within the confines of Tokiya's arms.
Tokiya realized that it would not do well for them to be discovered in such a compromising position let her go, albeit rather reluctantly.
"There you are, young Lady Rochford. Mother says we have to head home now."
Catherine said as she rounded the corner. Seeing Tokiya, she curtsied and greeted him, "Lord Seymour, I see you've met my cousin."
"Well, yes, but I'm afraid I will have to go now as well." He quickly replied to Catherine and turned back to Fuuko. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Lady Rochford. I hope to see you at court someday." He said bowing in courtly fashion at the same time grabbing the same hand that slapped him and dropping a light kiss on it.
"I was hoping I would never get called to court, Lord Seymour." She said gently tugging her hand from his hold.
"The court is inevitable, my lady. One way or another, I will see you again." He confidently stated.
After one final graceful curtsy, Fuuko left with Catherine.
She was meant for the court. He thought. A family can not hide such atreasure away from the court that coveted the most beautiful things.
Tokiya knew he would never forget her, not her rare purple hair nor her soft pale hand, not her flaming blue-violet eyes or her pretty face despite the surplus in the court itself, and especially not her sweet, sweet lips.
No wonder the Howard women were so often charged with treason. Their beauty alone was treasonous enough.
Fuuko, again, was lost in thought. It was good that Catherine was there to tow her so she wouldn't collide with anyone again. But that one collision was consuming her; that man was eating her alive.
He had the palest blue-gray eyes she had ever seen, light brown shoulder-length hair that almost shined silver which he kept in a low ponytail. There was no doubt to the quality of his physical value. If only he was more of a gentleman.
It would be hard to forget him. He was her first kiss after all. Ah, so this is one of the many temptations in Henry's court. But was it worth to risk her life?
- The Court of Carnal Delights-
In August of 1546, Hampton Court became the center of music, art, dance, poetry and tournaments whilke King Henry and his then queen, Katherine Parr, entertained the French ambassador and some two hundred of his companions. Many courtiers and nobles from the country were called in attendance to court.
Seventeen year old Tokiya did not need to be called. He was always at court. The court was his life. He was the life of the court.
He was a well-eductaed man as much as his cousin Prince Edward was. He was a man of the arts. He was a premier huntsman. They say he could charm the king himself. And if he could charm Henry VIII, then he could probably charm the Devil in Hell of God in Heaven.
He was utterly proud of his accomplishments and enjoyed reiterating them to Recca who is freshly come to court from Sussex, a Howard no doubt.
"I get it, Tokiya. You're a favorite of the king. Stop rubbing it in." Recca resisted the urge to cove his ears.
"What use is it to become the king's favorite if I can not brag about it once in a while? Humor me, Recca. How about we play a game?" Tokiya suggested.
"What game do you have in mind?" Recca asked eyeing him curiously.
"How about a bet? You can decide on the terms of it." Tokiya offered.
"I bet not everyone at court likes you." Recca chided.
"I'm not sure about the men but the women adore me." Tokiya answered with a confident smirk.
Recca snorted his disbelief. "Prove that. I want you to kiss the most beautiful woman you see. If she gets angry, I win. If not, you win."
Tokiya shook his head in good humor. "You know that proposition is unfair. I'm bound to win."
The two men started panning the formal garden at Hampton Court. It was a good place to look for pretty maids for their bet. The freshly manicured lawns, bright flowers of various colors and varieties, topiaries in different shades of green and graveled or paved walkways were generously inviting and naturally attracting for leisurely walks or conversation.
"Wow! She's something…" Recca suddenly whispered.
Tokiya turned his head in time to see a young lady with light brown hair and warm brown eyes. She was beautiful indeed.
Tokiya sneered though. "That's Yanagi. She's my cousin. And I don't do Seymour cousins no matter how comely they are."
Recca flashed a cheeky grin. "I'm calling dibs."
Tokiya rolled his eyes and turned towards the garden's entryway. And there she was. Purple hair held back y a fashionable French hood with a matching gown in Tudor green hemmed with luxurious sables; blue-violet eyes brimming with mirth and a smile that rivaled the sun.
"Now, that's a beauty." Tokiya muttered when her companions left without her.
Tokiya hurried towards her in quick powerful strides leaving Recca chasing after him.
"Tokiya, wait! I don't think it's a good idea to pursue her." Recca's warning was too late.
Tokiya already held her and tipped her chin back to gain more access to her lips. He smiled at the familiar sensation of her sweet lips underneath his. He dreamed of this nearly every night for four years. The wait was bittersweet. She had come to court at last.
He instantly grabbed her hand before it landed on his cheek. He drew back and looke her in the eye.
"Not for the second time, Lady Rochford." He whispered so low she knew she was the only one who heard him.
"You haven't changed one bit, Lord Seymour. You're still as perverted as I remember you." She venomously retorted.
Fuuko knew this was not true. He changed in those four years she did not see him. His already long hair grew longer. His face was more angled losing every trace of its babyish roundness. His eyes had more depth in them. He was still as handsome as the day they met; maybe even more so. But the one thing that she thought didn't change about him was the silkiness of his lips… and the swooning sensation they left on hers.
"You know each other?" Recca butted in successfully averting their gazes from each other.
Tokiya said 'yes' and Fuuko said 'no' at the same time that Recca became confused and started scratching his head.
"Welcome to Hampton Court, Lady Rochford." Tokiya bowed in courtly fashion, remembering his manners and trying to ignore Recca's confusion.
Recca saw Fuuko clenching and unclenching her fists and decided he would mediate before something embarrassing happens. "Calm down, Fuuko. Try not to attempt hitting him again. We don't want a scandal, right? Right?"
Tokiya victoriously smirked knowing she would refrain from making a scene.
"You are lucky my cousin Is here to remind me of my manners." She growled. "Excuse me, gentlemen. I have to find Lord Thomas." She curtsied hurriedly and left in queenly fashion.
Tokiya chuckled and shook his head amusedly while Recca looked at him expectantly.
"I'm calling dibs on that one." Tokiya affirmed.
"Sure, sure…" Recca replied like it dind't matter. Then he continued, "You owe me £30."
Thirty pounds was nothing if he could have her. She was the one who commanded his entire attention, ignited his every desire. He'd be willing to risk more than thirty pounds for her.
In this court, she was his.
… Unless someone else's ambition tries to dictate otherwise.
But in truth there is a continuation on this.
A/N: I hope you liked it. Your reviews mean much to me. They keep me company when I'm down. So please do review.