The Minstrel and the Lady
Disclaimer: I do not own the character's from Glee.
AN: Right, so… ensemble piece, with the centre of attention being Will/Quinn because there just isn't enough Quill in the world and I can't help but write them.
OOC, AU, set in something kind of like Elizabethan England (the 16th Century?) mixed with a bit of the end of the 18th century, but with some features of other eras thrown in just for fun and games. (And bear in mind I know nothing about history, so will be using limited research and artistic license to get over some hurdles in the writing process!).
So really, really AU, with a made up time period and everything :D
Also, in fitting with the times, some names are changed (if it's not obvious, please ask).
If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and comments are very very welcome!
Chapter 1: Duke Carlos is the occasion
"Ma'am, if I may be so bold?"
"I wish you wouldn't say that Emma", Quinn chided, frowning at her maid, "I asked for your opinion, therefore I wish to hear your opinion… I am not going to have you beheaded".
Emma's eyes widened for a brief second.
"I did not wish to offend you ma'am", she courtseyed slightly.
Quinn rolled her eyes.
"So?" She prompted, twirling once more, so that the skirts of her dress lifted, floating around her.
"It's a beautiful dress", Emma said sincerely, "And you look very becoming… I should think that your cousin Carlos will be very pleased he accepted your mother's invitation as soon as he sees you".
"Now that is too bold", Quinn said quickly, narrowing her eyes.
Emma dipped her head.
"Anyone would think you were jealous", Quinn added, and the sudden blush that coloured her maid's neck was a good indication that she was right.
"No! Of course not! Carlos is a very sensible match for yourself… a little older perhaps, but a fine gentleman, some defined European features, and a fantastic infirmary of his own…"
"Emma!" Quinn snapped, letting her hair out of the rag that tied it up off her neck. "I have no interest in the man. Now stop wittering and go change! I have arranged for you to wait on his very table tonight, so be sure to look your best".
Emma blushed again, and nodded profusely, courtseyed once, and left Quinn's bedchamber.
"To a good show tonight!" Will lifted a foaming tankard and grinned round at the assorted collection of his fellow performers.
"Even if it is our last", Rachel said darkly, taking a large swig from her own tankard and passing it to Arthur.
Arthur glared at her and struck her leg with his crutch.
"If I had never ridden that damn horse, I would carry you outside to think about what you have just said", he declared.
"Every damn sentence of your starts with- 'if I had never ridden that damn horse'" Finley groaned, pausing in carving some sort of mythical beast into the wood of the table.
"Don't wave that knife at me, good sir!" Arthur cried, holding up one hand in the air. "I don't think you have any right to…"
"Gentlemen, gentlemen…." Will began, interrupted by a sharp nudge and a glare from Rachel.
"Fine! Gentlemen, and lady… Let us not bicker now… We need to save our energy for our performance! We must be at our best if we so desire to be invited back for future occasions".
With a grumbling, the three quietened.
"I just don't understand how you think we can possibly be our best when our arrangements are much better suited to a larger chorus, with at least 3 or 4 times as many singers as we have".
Rachel was ignored.
She pouted and rolled her eyes to no avail.
"What is the occasion anyway?" Arthur asked Will, seeing the pained expression on his friend's face.
They may have been just some struggling minstrels, but this really meant a lot to every one of them, and Will most of all.
"Duke Carlos is visiting the Fabray family at the manor", Will replied, idly drawing patterns in the foam of his ale.
"This ale is foul", Finley reported, wincing as he took a large sip.
"When we have performances every night, we can buy the best ale in the whole of Leigh-Mere", Will said grandly, as he always did, and the group laughed, as they always did, because such a dream only existed in fantasy.
"Miss Fabray!" Emma gasped, shocked to see the blonde enter the kitchens by the back entrance. "What are you doing in here? If your father caught you…"
"My father is not going to catch me", Quinn said pertly.
"Have you seen Mercy?"
"I believe she is assisting the cook", Emma replied, knowing it was pointless trying to persuade the young lady to leave. She still feared for that beautiful dress…
"Duke Carlos will soon be taking his seat in the dining hall", Emma soothed her.
"I am bored", Quinn huffed.
Her eyes gleamed suddenly.
"Is there anything I could do to help?"
"Gosh no!" Emma squeaked, imagining the repercussions of her sitting aside and watching Quinn instead carry out her cleaning duties.
Quinn gave a heavy sigh.
"It is just so dull", she said, mournfully.
"I do not care for my mother and father's important acquaintances, or their important events, and excessive dinners…"
"What do you care for?" Emma asked gently, because she hated seeing her young friend looking so woebegone.
"I enjoy singing", Quinn admitted, "I enjoy the freedom of music…I…"
"The Duke!" Someone cried, rushing into the kitchen, and suddenly everywhere was a flurry of activity, platters and goblets and steaming pots being rushed here there and everywhere.
When Quinn looked round again, Emma had been swallowed up in the chaos, and so she set her jaw and slipped out into the dining hall from behind the heavy curtain.
"Are we all ready?" Will asked anxiously, plucking the strings on his lute absentmindedly.
Finley tapped his Tabor drum in response and Rachel nodded.
Arthur retrieved his bell from the cold stone floor.
"Let's show these lords and ladies a thing or two about the glee of music!"
Please review :)
( AN: what do you reckon?- should I continue it?)