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Henry Stanford

"Emotionless people are not emotionless from the beginning...they are just disappointed and hurt very strongly by the ones they love."

0 · 449 views · located in Seabel

a character in “Forged: Blood and Steel”, as played by Scarlet Loup

Description

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"Emotionless people are not emotionless from the beginning...they are just disappointed and hurt very strongly by the ones they love."




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Role: Earl of Briar and the father of both Queens

Gender: Male

Age: Fifty

Nicknames: Henry's youth brought about nicknames such as Harry and Hal, but they are hardly used at all now, for he is a man of authority and comes off as very stoical now. Given his title, he is referred to in conversation as Lord Stanford.

House: House Stanford, and he sides with the Rayleigh cause.



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Height: Five feet, nine inches

Build: Henry Stanford was once one of the strongest men in Seabel. In his youth, he was built very strongly with generous muscle. Today, he still retains his old, strong and robust appearance, but he is slightly not as muscular as he once was.

Hair Color: His hair, once dark brown is now graying due not only to his age, but also to the stress that he has had placed on him over the past few years. Not only has he lost two children, but he has truly entered Charles's court and helps the monarch.

Eye Color: He has dark green eyes similar to an emerald color.

Scars?: Henry Stanford has his fair share of scars, if not more than the average man. He was always more of a fist fighter or a sword fighter and so he constantly sported bruises and scraps, cuts and scabs in his teenage years and early adulthood.

Brief Written Description: Upon first glance, Henry Stanford is seen as an intimidating man, built well and very robustly. Of course, who wouldn't assume this? He stands at a tall 5'10" (or, tall for the time period) and has retained his thick, solid build throughout his teenage years and even into his fifties, where he is now. Compared to his youth, he has lost muscle mass, of course, for he is not constantly out in the courtyards practicing his swordsmanship. His dark brown hair, which his son George inherited, has grayed over the years with the increased stress of losing not only his daughter, but also his heir. His hardened spirit has added numerous creases to his face, adding age to his appearance and weariness to his eyes. Such assumptions should not be taken as the truth, though, for Henry Stanford's emerald eyes will still flash with rage when he is angered or his family is threatened. He sports numerous scars, too, and it isn't common for him to be seen limping subtly from his old, sustained injuries. Still, he can fight extremely well and makes a valuable ally in combat.






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Skills:
  • Since his youth, Henry Stanford has always been an expert swordsman. His ability has even managed to rival that of Charles Rayleigh at points, which, in turn, usually angers the young king.
  • Along with his swordsmanship, he is also very strong and, despite his aging, is able to fight like a man in his mid or late thirties, due to an active youth which has left him quite healthy overall.
  • Though not as skilled as the King himself, Henry is a well-taught, successful strategist. His political insight makes him a valuable member of Charles's court.
  • He tends to grow angry in a way that convinces and stays frighteningly calm with a low tone, something Harriet appears to have picked up.
  • Though not as much anymore with his unwillingness to speak much to most people, Henry is (or, rather, was) very charismatic. He was known for his jokes and laughter, but also for sweet talking others to join his "side".

Quirks:
  • He's usually frowning, or his brow is creased in worry.
  • When alone, he looks like he is unfocused. Usually, he is thinking about his children.
  • Sometimes, he'll walk with pain or a slight limp. This is usually just psychosomatic, though, brought on by high stress levels.
  • Tends to fiddle with any weapons he has on or near him as if he doesn't trust anybody, which he really doesn't. The exception is his family.

Likes:
  • Swordfighting
  • Sparring
  • Family
  • His children
  • His wife
  • Quiet, peace
  • Being correct, especially against Charles for, despite his love for the man, he enjoys showing the younger man he isn't always right
  • His opinion being considered
  • Hunting, sports

Dislikes:
  • Horseback riding
  • Being alone too long
  • Large numbers of people
  • Being asked questions regarding his alliance (Rayleigh vs. Lancaster)
  • Loud noises
  • Inflated egos
  • Those who threaten his family

Fears:
  • Being accused of treason for missing his children who fled North with James Lancaster
  • Losing his wife or any of his children
  • He's actually very afraid of riding horse back, after a bad fall a year or so back.

Written Description: There is nothing worse than to watch ones family fall to pieces. To Henry Stanford, his life has fallen to bits. There is only so much one man can face in his lifetime and he has almost faced it all. Many will tell you that Henry was always a lively man, full of spirit and willing to chat and hunt and do everything a man his age and status would. He's a family man, one who would put his life on the line to protect those closest to him. And yet, he's a broken man, shattered the bits by the rift that splits his family into two halves. When his daughter and son left after the Rayleigh success, he was devastated. For weeks, he was inconsolable and no one would see him in said time period except his wife.

In a way, he felt betrayed and used. What had he done wrong? He had given everything for his children, and yet they still ran off North with his "son-in-law's" family. By the time he finally rejoined the court, Henry had become a new man. Gone was the lively gaze, his jokes, his laughter. Now, he is nothing more than an empty shell of his former self who, though still passionate about politics, seems to wander with a bit of a vacant expression at times, no doubt worrying over his "disowned children". Despite this though, he loves them both dearly, as he loves Harriet and George. Unlike his wife, though, he dares not write them and be accused of treason. He would like to forget about his ties to Eleanor and Jon, but he simply can not for a parent's love is eternal and breaks all barriers, literal and figurative.







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Family:
Annabelle Stanford || Wife
Jon Stanford || "Disowned" Son
George Stanford || Son

Harriet Rayleigh || Daughter
Charles Rayleigh || Son-in-Law
Lizzie Rayleigh || Granddaughter (deceased)
Cecily Rayleigh || Granddaughter

Eleanor Lancaster || "Disowned" Daughter
James Lancaster || Son-in-Law


Theme Song:
My Little Girl || Tim McGraw
Gotta hold on easy as I let you go
Gonna tell you how much I love you
Though you think you already know

I remember I thought you looked like an angel
Wrapped in pink, so soft and warm
You've had me wrapped around your finger
Since the day you were born

You beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl

When you were in trouble that crooked little smile
Could melt my heart of stone
Now look at you, I've turned around
And you've almost grown

Sometimes you're asleep I whisper 'I love you'
In the moonlight at your door
As I walk away, I hear you say
"Daddy, love you more"

You beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl

Someday, some boy will come
And ask me for your hand
But I won't say yes to him unless I know
He's the half that makes you whole

He has a poet's soul, and the heart of a man's man
I know he'll say that he's in love
But between you and me
He won't be good enough

You beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That'll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl


So begins...

Henry Stanford's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harriet Rayleigh Character Portrait: Charles Rayleigh Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh Character Portrait: Henry Stanford

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"For Lizzie...and for you." Charles wiped at his eyes roughly, trying in vain to clear them of tears, though they were replaced by new ones as a fresh wave of sobs prevented him from speaking.

"T-thank you..." he whispered, given he wasn't able to produce much louder sound without breaking down. Not only was his daughter gone, but his wife had left him and he knew the Lancaster's were brewing some sort of trouble up North. For once, despite his mother's presence, he felt utterly alone. "I...I am not sure I would make it too far without you here." He paced the room quickly, feeling his achieve solace only if he kept moving and didn't allow the grief to ensnare him. It was a futile attempt, but it was an attempt none the less and he certainly felt better moving around rather than sitting like his mother had.

"Life certainly has a way of rising you up before things come crashing down, but you must be strong, now more than ever. If there are pieces that have fallen, then they must be picked up and treasured, held together." Charles let out a sharp laugh, shaking his head quickly as if denying her words.

"Life has given me much hope, Mother. After Father died, I thought I would not make it through the night. Yet, I rose above it and I healed...but, this is much different. She was my daughter, Mother...my first born child and I lost her." He placed a fist against his mouth quickly, hoping to choke back more tears. "I could not even protect my own child...how am I to be entrusted with an entire kingdom, Mother? I am nothing but a failure." Mary Rayleigh stood, letting go of Lizzie's limp, ashen hand.

"Harriet is....facing...challenges..of her own right now. These are hard times, but you must endure." Charles tensed and looked as if he were ready to snap again. But, Mary reached and placed her hand on his arm, so he decided to hold himself back for her sake. "These are hard times, but you must endure. If anyone can hold strong in the face of adversity, it is a Rayleigh!" He sighed and looked at her sadly.

"Mother...Harriet and I both lost our daughter," he replied, fighting to stay calm. "Her challenges are my challenges...and, yet, she has gone ahead and ignored me." She didn't reply and, perhaps, he was glad she didn't, for Mary Rayleigh always made a good argument and Charles knew that either he would have to give into her or the two would simply be locked in a stubborn face-off, neither one budging. In a way, that's how it seemed between himself and Harriet, for they both had the same problems, yet they would not go to each other now for console.

"You warriors stand tall on the battlefield, but it is time to go to a different plane, to be..a prayer warrior, for on our knees, we are stronger than trees, which is the only chance I get at being taller than you." He let out a gentle laugh, forcing a smile to briefly cross his lips. "Will you join me?"

"It is certainly Father who I can thank for my height," he quipped. "For if I had inherited your stature, I would hardly come up to James Lancaster's shoulder." He grew solemn at her suggestion and slowly crossed the room with his mother. The two slowly knelt beside the bed where Lizzie lay and Charles clasped his hands together, head bowing in solemn prayer. The minutes seemed to drag long as he prayed for his daughter's soul. Finally, though, he raised his head of auburn hair and looked once more at his child before uttering the end of his prayer. "Amen, my darling."



"Amen to that, my friend!"

It had been two days seen Harriet Rayleigh had last been seen in Briar. In fact, despite this lengthy period, Charles hadn't seemed to notice at all that his wife was no longer roaming the halls. Then again, after their daughter's funeral, she hadn't even left her chambers. So, in fact, Charles hadn't seen his wife for weeks. Even Cecily seemed distant to him, but so did everyone these days as he'd blocked just about everyone and everything from his mind with a shroud of alcohol-induced ignorance.

After the funeral, his wife had simply gone ahead and locked herself away. At first, Charles approached with a calm, friendly tone. It only lasted a few days, though, for he soon found himself at her door shouting and cursing bloody murder and her. He knew that she wouldn't respond to such force, but he didn't really care either. The anger was his way of coping. No one in the castle, in fact, was safe from his wrath. By the time the second week had begun, Charles gave up trying to convince his wife. The last interaction he remembered involving his wife was the slamming of his fist against her door before storming away.
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He wanted to pretend that his life was the same before the death, that it had resumed a sense of normality. For less than a day, he kept this lie going and continued to feed it to himself. Yet, everywhere he looked, there was some noble shooting him a gaze full of pity and sadness. They were trying to show pity to their king. No, he did not need their pity. He would show them he was fine, that he was strong and stable.

And so, he had begun to drink, trying to push himself into a happier state. Yet, his court still pitied him, threw him quick glances or a short "I'm so sorry, Your Highness" as he passed in the halls of his palace. At first it began to annoy him and he snapped. He yelled, he snarled, and he simply tried to take his anger out on someone for the grief he'd been dealt. By the time Harriet left, the court seemed to finally be learning that pity was met with violence and so they'd stopped all together, except for the tradition black clothing which even Charles still wore, though he wished only to discard the somber tones and return to his usual clothing which he viewed as more fit for a monarch.

Despite this facade, though, he was far from stable. There were nights in which his sobs echoed through the castle and he was forced the wander sleeplessly until morning light filtered through the widows. He tried to refuse food at first, but he finally decided to accept it when he realized the refusal made him simply look weaker. On top of the alcohol, he'd surrounded himself with pastimes and hobbies, trying to keep the stress of running a kingdom as far away as possible for as long as possible.

"Oh, Lord! That story gets me every time, I swear!" His throne room had almost emptied by that afternoon. The chatter came from only Charles and his most trusted group of men, including both Harold Pierrepont and Henry Stanford, though the latter was as reserved as ever and simply looked at Charles every once and a while with an expression that conveyed both disgust and pity, although most nobles had abandoned the pitying expressions. Charles's laughter rang out in the room, echoing off of the high rafters in an odd manner. It certainly seemed out of place for the king for be laughing so loudly despite the situation he was in. Even the man who had told the story was quiet and looked uneasily around.

"It reminds of that bitch of a wife I have..." he muttered, a smirk still on his lips despite the uneasy glances being cast around. A bit of movement caught Charles's eye and he looked to Henry who had shuffled awkwardly, trying to keep himself from speaking up against his king. "Lord Stanford, come here!" The older man's fists clenched behind his back, but he obediently moved forward and bowed quickly before the throne.

"My King?" Henry asked, his normal monotonous voice silencing the others as they turned to look at the two. Charles stood from his throne and started down toward Henry until the two stood only a foot or so apart. Looking down at his elder with a bemused expression, Charles let out a chuckle. He obviously had no common sense about him, else he would have held his tongue around the man who was much stronger than him both physically and perhaps mentally.

"You have been quiet this entire time, Lord Stanford..." he said, clasping his hands before himself. "What is your opinion? Is my mother-in-law the same way towards you? Does she treat you in the same way mine does? Is she unresponsive? Disrespectful?" Henry looked up at Charles with a blank gaze.

"No, of course not," he said simply. "For my wife still has respect for me."
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"Is that so?" Charles said carefully, nodding his head slowly as he thought these words over. "I had assumed all Stanford women were raised to treat their husbands like scum." Henry could have suffered in silence under most circumstances, but there was one thing that tended to push him over the edge. This, of course, was when his family was threatened.

"That is where you are wrong, Your Highness," he stated defiantly. "My wife and daughters know how to treat men, I assure you. But, you're not much of a man these days, are you? Have you even read the letter she left you? She's done this for your own good." Charles had turned a bright shade of some red by then, looking as if he were ready to let loose and throw a punch at Henry.

"Done what, pray tell?" he managed to snarl out.

"She's left for Pendlebury with your daughter and my wife," Henry continued. His voice remained monotonous, but that only seemed to amplify the effect his words held. "You've gone ahead and chased her away." The words came as a slap to the face for Charles who managed a look of pure shock and then of despair as if finally coming to after all this time.

"No...she would not leave me..." he whispered. "Harriet would never leave me, you fool!" A voice sounded over his shoulder and Charles turned, coming face to face with Pierrepont as the man held out a piece of paper.

"Your Highness...I had almost forgotten to give you this. The Queen left it with me before she and her mother disembarked." Charles looked to the man with desperation and then disbelief. How had they forgotten to tell him this?! His own wife had left him and he had not the slightest clue! His eyes scanned over the words as Henry further insulted him and chided him. They came as figurative slaps to the face to Charles who had, of course, been trying to ignore things like this up unlike now.

"A real man would mount his horse and ride out to Pendlebury now." Henry glared daggers at Charles with his dark green eyes. "Tell me, Charles, are you a real man?" Slowly, Charles turned to face Pierrepont, his face void of expression while his mind raced like it hadn't since the death of his daughter.

"Tell the stable boys to ready my horse, Pierrepont...I will leave for Pendlebury in a quarter-hour."




Charles certainly could not remember the last time he had ridden so quickly. Pendlebury was usually a day's ride away but he found himself nearing the home in hours. Then again, he'd kept his horse in a quick canter or a gallop for most of the ride. His agitation seemed to spark the horse forward and so she raced along, her hooves smacking the dirt pathway with every step.
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Charles seemed to have sobered completely, for his mind was no longer muddled with drink or ignorance. Instead, the sharp reality of Harriet leaving Briar, even for just a period, made him uneasy. It pierced through the foggy daze he created and threatened to tear him apart. The letter had said she was preparing to stay there to give birth to their child which, he knew, was still months away. Had he really pushed her so far away she was willing to have their child somewhere away from him? He'd been present at the birth of both of his children and he certainly wouldn't miss this one, given it was hopefully the birth of his heir.

The prospect of losing Harriet was killing him, though. He'd seen marriages where both spouses looked as if they wished to kill each other. Before, he and his wife had laughed at them but, now he worried that they would become them. Suddenly, he spurred his horse on and into the courtyard of Pendlebury with a few guards behind him, simply to make sure their monarch was not in harm's way.

In a fluid motion, he slid from his horse's back and hurried toward the doors of Pendlebury. Servants quickly opened them for him, though they were obviously shocked by his abrupt and disheveled appearance as Charles rushed forward into the estate. It was late. So late, in fact, that he assumed Harriet must have gone to bed along with Cecily and most of the servants. Yet, that still didn't stop him from crying out to his wife.

Harriet!" he called, his voice echoing loudly back at him. Harriet, come here, please!" Though he still refrained from using their usual terms of endearment, he couldn't help but sound as if he were pleading with her to come back to him. Chest rising and falling rapidly, he waited, praying she'd come. If she didn't...well, he had not a clue what he would do.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh Character Portrait: Henry Stanford

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#, as written by S1mon
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"Wolves and hill tribes are the least of your concerns....You mess with my family, you mess with me"


Regardless of the situation they faced, it was imperative that one remains strong, even in the most trying of times and especially in the face of adversity. When Francis died, it seemed that part of herself had died along with him, never forgetting that day when her beloved departed from the cruel fates of this world and left her behind. Recalling that day, there had been a part of her that wanted to be by her husband's side so they could remain together, but what kept Mary going was her love for her children, her flesh and blood, those who needed her regardless of age as she comforted Charles but it seemed that her words would not be enough.

Mary was indeed coping now, like Charles she rose above it, but Charles was right, losing his first born was much different than losing his father and she understood that completely, for it was why she cared for Charles so much and wished to help her son as much as she could. Afterall, there was only so many burdens that she could carry, but it was her breaking point that she feared the most. The only way her family can be safe, the only way Seabel can truly live in peace, is if House Lancaster no longer remained and she would fight for such as long as there are breath in her lungs.

Charles clearly was not of the right state of mind, but there was only so much that she could do as she prayed with him for Lizzie as she too departed from the cruel fates of this world as Francis did, leaving those behind to become stronger. There was not a day that went by that Mary did not think about Francis and what he would of done in her shoes, but now she had much to worry about as the minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days and days into weeks with Charles' descending back into his old ways with nothing that she could do. As she recalled his old ways, she did remember how his change begun when he married Harriet, so no doubt his descent into his old ways were no doubt as a result of Harriet's influence no longer present, which suggested that Charles was under such influence and yet Harriet was now leaving him to continue alone when her place was at his side 'for better for worse'.

Mary was not only concerned about Charles but also Kingdom Affairs also, working with her younger brother Karlon Knee in keeping track of any movement made by the Lancasters who may take advantage of this mourning period which Mary wouldn't put past them if they were so heartless and quick to kill her husband. It was due to Mary's increased involvement that led her to finding out about a confrontation Henry Stanford had with Charles and how Charles was now off to Pendlebury. The report displeased Mary greatly that she immediately made her way to confront Henry on his inappropriate and disrespectful behaviour that he shown against her son, his son-in-law. It was even more frustrating with how much he 'supposedly' supported his family and seeing the way he treated Charles as his son-in-law and most important his King was appalling.

Growing up as a young lady in the Knee Household, she was taught proper etiquette with how to address one self and how to conduct one self. Afterall, House Knee were from a royal line, but clearly the tainted line from House Stanford knew not how to conduct themselves properly when the Head of the family speaks against his King, his eldest offspring standing with the Lancaster's and Harriet making Charles' pain even greater by not supporting him and not yet producing a male heir. However, Mary was trying her best to dismiss such thoughts seeing that this arrangement was what Francis wanted and that Harriet was now a Rayleigh, she only hoped that things will get better, but Henry made things much harder.

The question however was how to approach it, whether to immediately begin with the scolding of his unbecoming conduct or start with an innocent facade and proceed from there, the latter being the option Mary took as she approached her target, "Lord Stanford". Following her introduction she gave a gesture of respect to essentially show Henry how to act, before adding, "How are things on your end?", curious what he felt about the situation between Charles and Harriet and also to see if he dared speak out against her. Unlike Charles however, she was of a sound mind and with Charles off to Pendlebury, it left her in charge of things in the capital so he better watch it.....

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh Character Portrait: Henry Stanford

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In the pique of his life, Henry Stanford had always been a vivacious man. His passion and his courage was hardly rivaled and his gung-ho ways were unmatched by the men who surrounded him. But, now Lord Stanford had lost his will, his spirit. The loss of two of his children had certainly changed the man. Gone now were his youthful ways, hid broad grin. They had been replaced with a vacant sort of stare, a blank slate of a face that failed to capture the pain he felt behind it.

His confrontation of the young king had silenced the throne room in an eerie manner that had, surprisingly, hardly phased his father-in-law. Henry Stanford knew what he had done, what he had said, had all been just. Charles had been slandering his flesh and blood and, if there was one thing to note about Henry, it was that he took such words to heart. Already he had had two disgraces in the family. He did not need the king declaring his wife another one, especially so soon after they'd lost Lizzie. The death had seemed to pass uneventfully over Henry. This was, however, certainly not the case. The robust man, though powerful in physical appearance, had wept too for the loss of his first grandchild. But, his grieving did not last as long as the others. Perhaps it was because he was already numb to the pains of loss. Either way, he had missed his granddaughter greatly, but that did not shed any light on Charles's use of "bitch" and "whore" to describe Harriet. His Harriet, his little girl...Henry had managed to keep his anger at a minimum. In fact, he hardly ever got fired up over anything nowadays. He was much more docile, though certainly not submissive.
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As Charles rode away, murmuring had begun at a dull roar in the throne room as the gathered men slowly dispersed, all shooting glances at Lord Stanford. Surely, their king would do something about the man, said some of the whispers. Henry had by then however, tuned out the comments and had moved into the hallway.

Without his wife or his daughter or the court assembled, he truly didn't have anything to occupy himself. Therefore, he took to aimlessly wandering the long hallways while he let his mind wander. Not once, in those hours between the departure of Charles and the present, did his mind slow at least once. Instead, it raced wildly, thinking of, well, everything. In fact, his mind was still racing when Mary Rayleigh approached him. Perhaps he would not have noticed her if she hadn't gestured respectfully toward him and caused him to blink quickly.

"How are thing on your end?" he managed to catch as he he turned his attention to her.

"Duchess Rayleigh," he returned, bowing down at the waist before her. "Forgive me, I hadn't heard you approach me..." He had never been a fan of the woman. In fact, his dislike for her ran strong and deep. Yet, he knew the woman would not approve of him using a tone with her or speaking disrespectfully toward her. Mary Rayleigh, unfortunately, possessed a higher rank than him. Words could not even begin to describe the annoyance this created for Henry. And yet, even though he should not have spoken out in front of her, he still felt the need to instigate her. "I do hope His Majesty was not too upset before he left. You understand, don't you? Protecting ones family from harm, both physical and verbal, is a priority, no?" He had clapsed his hands neatly before himself, head tilted slightly to prompt her as he waited for a response.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh Character Portrait: Henry Stanford

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#, as written by S1mon
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"Wolves and hill tribes are the least of your concerns....You mess with my family, you mess with me"


Marriage was sacred. A husband must honor their wife, a wife must honor their husband and both should honor their vows 'for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part', yet there were those without honor. Even beyond the grave, Mary held strong to the vows she made to Francis, both the vows she made at the altar and that of the vows she made at his death to give her all to ensuring the future of House Rayleigh. There was bound to be disagreements between husband and wife like the arrangement for Charles to marry Harriet Stanford which Mary was opposed to, but in the end she accepted her husband's wisdom, even if it meant not only accepting Harriet, but also House Stanford itself, seeing as marriage was more than just the joining of hands but the joining of Houses also.

The question then to be asked, is what the definition of honor is? such being the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right, embodying honesty, morality, uprightness, right-mindedness, principle, nobility and noble-mindedness. No doubt the latter two had fallen short on the Stanfords by not being of royal blood, yet suppose their efforts should be admired to try, even if it was a case of a mule trying to pull a carriage better than horses can. However, what made it hard to accept the Stanfords in their entirety was Henry Stanford, especially how he treats her son, his son-in-law, his King. It was disgraceful and dishonorable.

"Duchess Rayleigh...Forgive me, I hadn't heard you approach me", he replied with a bow. For a man that was supposed to be fully aware of his surroundings as a strategist, he clearly was doing a poor job when not on the field and was clearly ignorant to not hear her approach when she had made her presence clear by calling his name before approaching her. Yet despite how she felt towards 'Lord' Stanford, she retained her integrity and presented herself humbly by asking how he was dealing with things on his end, seeing that he was part of the family and he was, despite his arrogance and clearly disruptive and impertinent manner, a valued member of the court. However, instead of returning the courtesy which Mary had shown, he dismisses her comment just as he had dismissed her appearance to instead showcase his prized moment, "I do hope His Majesty was not too upset before he left. You understand, don't you? Protecting ones family from harm, both physical and verbal, is a priority, no?"

Though Mary was reluctant to accept the Stanfords, she tried to for Francis' sake and in recent years for Charles' sake, but Henry continued over and over again to make it more challenging than it could be, not to mention his daughter who does a runner on Charles when he needed her most. Was her lips pursed and her fingers secretly crossed when she vowed 'for better for worse'? Was it the same for the father when he swore his loyalty yet marries his other daughter to bed James Lancaster. Her suspiciousness was certainly growing, even further in recent tidings which was not helped by Henry verbally attacking her son their King after his daughter done an adequate job in breaking him much to Mary's dismay, especially seeing as she had not seen much of her son as a result, but the important part was that he was safe.

(Key: [emphasis])

"Too...upset?", she repeated in a dismissive tone, blinking a few times as if in disbelief or shock, though of course she did such for a reason. She then raised her tone to repeat once again, "[Too] upset?!......Such words remind me of those said locally in the chantry schools, how old [are] you Stanford?!", she replied callously in response with a hint of sympathy as if she felt sorry for him. Afterall, upper class children tended to be privately tutored much like what she was, while middle class boys were educated in local grammer schools with severe discipline to keep them in line, while others are taught in chantry skills where a priest would educate local children when not praying, clearly suggesting his lack of discipline and reminding him of his place and class. No one, absolutely no one, freely slandered her family without repercussion.

Mary had attempted to speak to Stanford politely, but in insinuating that her son was not a man in his statement and saying such infront of her, Mary would not back down. There was truth in the mumble that came out his mouth about 'protecting ones family', hence why she had decided to confront Stanford, seeing that he was her son's father-in-law, and therefore was part of the family, the 'black sheep' of the family at least. Henry had much to learn, though thankfully for him, Mary would provide, "[You] are Earl of Briar. My [son] is your sovereign, [King] of Seabel and [your] son-in-law, such that you should respect. You should hold your [tongue] and know your place. You can hardly protect your family if you slander and mock them in council, such that I do not condone", reinforcing the fact that Charles is part of his family also. However, with Charles not present in the capital and Mary now free to do as she pleases, Henry better take her advice and hold his tongue, for she was only just warming up....

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mary Raleigh Character Portrait: Henry Stanford

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Henry watched the woman closely, studying her features for any sign of weakness of anger to his response. It was childish, perhaps, to instigate the king's mother this way, but he could hardly contain himself. It brought him great joy to boil the Rayleigh blood that coursed through her veins. For some reason she had decided he was not worthy of being an equal to her. Was it because he did not possess her "high pedigree"? The idea caused him to almost chuckle, but he decided it wasn't such a good idea because she did not seem in the mood for joking around. Then again, she never really did.
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"Too...upset? Too upset?! Such words remind me of those said locally in the chantry schools. How old are you, Stanford?!" she exclaimed, taking his words a bit too seriously, even by her own standards.

"Aye..." he replied under his breath. "That is what I said..." He cleared his throat and spoke in at a normal volume again. "Fifty years old, Duchess. Though, I shan't ask you your age because I still possess some courtesy." Yes, he would most likely regret answering that rhetorical question in such a manner. Mary would most likely take poorly to it, too. Well, it was enjoyable while it lasted. A smile lingered on his lips and he clasped his hands behind his back like a sheepish school boy which, he admitted, he was certainly acting a lot like.

Her fake sympathy edged with sarcasm would have normally caused him to anger quickly or grow morose. But, feeling as if he had gained the upper hand with his previous response, Henry Stanford merely smirked back at her with as much faux sincerity as he could muster.

"If you do not mind, Duchess, do save me the sympathy," he said, face twisting into a sickeningly sweet grin. "I am certain you do not care at all for me and I am certain you know this, too."
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"You are Earl of Briar. My son is your sovereign, King of Seabel and your son-in-law, such that you should respect. You should hold your tongue and know your place. You can hardly protect your family if you slander and mock them in council, such that I do not condone." While his face held its usual poker face, Henry felt his temper rising. How dare this woman speak to him in such a way? Though she held a higher rank than him, he was still her family too, was he not? They were in-laws because her husband had decided to wed Charles to Harriet. While he loved the young monarch, even Mary would have to admit he had not been himself since the death of Lizzie.

"I am aware of my title, Duchess Rayleigh, and I am aware of my relationship with your son," he said simply, his voice remaining in a monotone despite the temper that boiled inside of him. Then again, he'd grown used to hiding his temper since Eleanor had run off up North. He thought of his other daughter far too often that it could be considered unhealthy. It would be treason to write to her and so he simply waited and prayed for her safety. "Yet, if you ask His Majesty yourself, I do believe you would find he has no ill feelings toward me." One of many traits I am thankful he did not inherit from you... he thought, though he dare not say it aloud. "My place is in His Majesty's court and I know that. You must know that he has not been himself since the loss of our granddaughter. It was necessary that I push him to make amends with my daughter." He paused, building up a dramatic effect. "You and I both know that he requires an heir as soon as possible." Henry drew the cloak he wore a bit tighter around himself, eyeing Mary in a way that seemed to convey his lack of trust for the woman along with a hint of pondering.

"Do not forget that my daughter is family to you, also. She is family to you just as much as she is family to me. Yet, I do not feel you show her the respect she deserves either. Do remember that she outranks you as Queen, Duchess Rayleigh." A quick smile flashed upon his features, pleasant in a way that was taunting toward her. It was gone just as quickly as it had appeared.