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Topic: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour (Read 159 times) previous topic - next topic

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1847: A Gentleman's Honour

WHAT IF LIAM HERROLD WAS HAVING TROUBLES WITH HIS GELDING INSTEAD OF HIS VALRAVN FIGHTERS?


[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

The whole estate was in turmoil. You wouldn't know it to look at it, of course: that was the point, to make every luxury look effortless. But from the heights of the head butler and housekeeper all the way down to the lowliest scullery maid and stable boy, every servant had been working round the clock in preparation to host the master's guests.

The guests, when they had arrived, had mostly passed Morgan by. They'd arrived on Friday in the early evening and quickly been ushered inside the house; the majority of them had come by carriage, and so Morgan had little to do with them. The few who had brought their own horses he had been briefly introduced to before overseeing the stabling of their mounts, but even then it had been little more than a cursory exchange of nods before the gentlemen had been on their way. Since then, he'd only seen the guests from afar as they toured the estate, or briefly through a window when they came close to survey the grounds.

He'd liked it this way, honestly. He knew his way around a stable, always had, but he'd just be a fish out of water if they'd called him into the house. He could only talk to Sir Stanley because he'd known the man his whole life; if any of his fancy guests wanted to speak to him he wouldn't know what to do with himself.

The day of the hunt was first approaching -- the main event, and the reason for all this trouble in the first place -- and so far Morgan's luck had held. Today, Sir Stanley and his gentlemen guests had set out on a short ride to familiarise themselves with the terrain and their mounts: most of the party were being loaned animals from among Sir Stanley's own stock, and though all the horses were well-trained (Morgan had seen to that), horse and rider would still need time to get used to one another.

Morgan had been up since before dawn making preparations, ensuring all the animals were groomed and tacked properly so as to look their best. The few horses brought by the guests had taken longer to prepare than Sir Stanley's, as their tack and character were still unfamiliar, and Morgan had assigned those creatures to himself so as not to overburden his stablehands. His promotion to this position was still new enough that he felt his duty to do well more keenly than most, and he was determined not to let Sir Stanley down. Everything had to be perfect.

He thought it'd gone well. Sir Stanley had shown off his horses without needing much input from Morgan, and he'd been happy to fade into the background. In the end, all the gentlemen had seemed pleased with their mounts, and they'd been out riding for a good few hours before returning ruddy and energetic, in high spirits all around. Morgan had been relieved that none of them stopped to say much of anything to him before heading back to the house and an apparently well-earned supper.

That had been several hours ago. Morgan had sent his stablehands to bed early as thanks for their work, and was now working alone as it grew later. There had been a couple of small jobs to mop up -- Third Degree had a loose buckle on his saddle, Lady's Man had managed to catch a pebble in his shoe -- but if he was honest, he'd mostly stayed to groom the dappled grey Holsteiner one of the gentlemen had brought with him. A stunning and powerful stallion, it was more wilful than Sir Stanley liked his horses, and there was something about that very fact that drew Morgan to it.

He was brushing down the creature when a noise from the main stable caught his attention. He'd sent everyone else to bed, who... ? He stepped out of the horse's stall, shirtsleeves rolled to the elbow and a little disheveled from work, only to find one of Sir Stanley's gentleman guests had finally decided they wanted to talk to him.

Darn it all. It had been going so well.
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
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Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #1
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall

When the fresh air hit his face, the young Lord Herrold took a deep breath, as to rinse his lungs from the stuffy atmosphere in the salon. Perhaps it wasn't so much the air as it was the company, and the poorly veiled attempts to make him fancy either of the present daughters in the Manor. Like breeding stock, they were ushered forth to him, as if he was some kind of animal. Compared to the awkwardness of those conversations, the regurgitated stories of Sir Stanley and the other low nobility ware preferable.

It had been seven years since the attempted assassination of the Queen Victoria, and still they went on about it. What may have happened and what wouldn't have since then. Then of course there were the current exploits of the Queen, frequenting France of all places to improve relations at the expense of her own people, and they spoke of her as if she was their neighbour. When Liam was near, there was talk of Baron Harris - of course - and how he had shipped off to Trinidad to be governor, leaving Belmont House to the Harris family and it's off-shot bloodline of Herrolds. Liam being a 'Lord' was merely a courtesy title, but as far as Sir Stanley and his ilk were concerned in marrying off their corset-strangled daughters, he was the bloody heir of George Harris and due to be a Baron himself! As a change of pace, the Belmont House had been lauded for it walled garden, the orangery with its exotic trees from all over the world, and of course the architecture. Oh, the architecture! How could one spend ten minutes talking about methods of masonry without Liam offering one word in return? The whole affair was an endless, dreary repetition of monologues.

As Liam adjusted the sleeves of his laced linen shirt, which surely had retreated underneath his dark blue frock coat out of boredom, he took a slow stroll down the garden path. In the cool air of the late evening, the vest he wore over his frock coat - embroidered with a set of silver wings - made more sense than the insides of the stuffy salon, and without having to look proper any more, he tore off his cravat and pocketed it in his breeches. He had forgotten his top hat in the antechamber, but it wasn't like he was about the return anytime soon now that he'd tasted the fresh air Kent's countryside.

The day before, he had arrived by carriage - the Belmont House not being too far - and the height of the day had been the ride through the countryside. He'd had some trouble with his borrowed mount, unfortunately, and he'd yet to learn what had happened since Sir Stanley had led them back to the Penhurst Manor right away. He'd been given a large gelding, but it had been ill at ease with the ride, as if there had been something bothering him. Liam decided that he might investigate it, since he was due to ride out hunting on the morrow with this mount named Lady's Man. The stables weren't too far, and slowly, the sounds of string music faded behind him.

Upon arrival, the stables stood open, and Liam looked around to find anyone still there. He could hear sounds inside that didn't belong to the horses. Politely, he cleared his throat... which summoned a very tall man. Liam's eyes widened momentarily, the sight rare in regard to more than his impressive height. The man was of Asian heritage, and if Liam were to guess, the man was likely there because of the East India Company, or perhaps the man's mother was an ayah, a servant of some wealthy family, who accompanied their employers back to Britain when their stay in Asia came to an end. It was growing to become a more common sight, seeing Asian people in the countryside, and as far as Liam was concerned he certainly didn't mind, especially when encountering a gentleman as exotic as the one before him.

"Good evening," he said, finding himself at a loss of words or address. He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck before smiling to the man. He could but imagine how Sir Stanley would bristle if seeing Liam being awkward in front of the exotic male beauty before him instead of all those daughters back in the manor. "I was wondering if I could speak with someone concerning the horse I will be borrowing for the hunt tomorrow. Are you by any chance the stablemaster?"

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #2
[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Morgan took the space of a few seconds to panic quickly, just a little. He'd thought he was safe! He'd thought he'd made it through the day! Sir Stanley had whisked all his guests away and should have been entertaining them even still, why had this gentleman gone astray and decided to seek out Morgan of all people? He should be sitting in the parlour smoking, or playing billiards, or whatever it was rich folk did after supper, Morgan actually had no idea.

He'd only had to interact with the guests twice so far, and both times it was Sir Stanley who had, in fact, done most of the talking. It wasn't that he couldn't talk to gentlemen, just that, well, he'd never really had to. He'd known the promotion would come with these kinds of duties, but it was recent enough that he'd been able to escape them so far. And goodness, he was so sure to say something improper -- look at him, only half dressed! While the gentleman cut such a fine figure in his handsome waistscoat.

Although, actually, as the gentleman spoke Morgan couldn't help wondering whether the man was just as ill at ease with the situation as Morgan himself. The gentleman's words were slightly faltering, perhaps even uncertain -- impossible, of course, but Morgan could've sworn he was... Well. Almost bashful. Between the lack of orders or demands in his speech and the awkwardness of his smile, the gentleman seemed equally out of his depth, for whatever unknown reason.

With this realisation, the brief flare of panic subsided, and Morgan began to unstick his tongue from the roof of its mouth whither it had retreated. The man only wanted to talk about horses, after all; that was something Morgan could comfortably do.

'Good evening, sir,' he said with a respectful nod. Now he was thinking more clearly he recognised the gentleman as the rider of Lady's Man -- one of the younger of Sir Stanley's guests, and strikingly well-formed. Rider and horse had made quite the handsome pair: if Morgan could be so bold, they had put the other gentlemen and their steeds to shame. What had his name been? The introductions had been brief and one-sided, and Morgan had only half-successfully tried to pick up names from context. Was this maybe a Mr Harold? Goodness only knew the man's title. Morgan hoped he wasn't anyone important. It'd be just his luck to accidentally offend a lord.

'I'm in charge of the stable here, yes, Stablemaster Song -- Morgan Song.' Already a mess, goodness, and barely a sentence in! He ploughed on: 'It was Lady's Man you rode?'

At the gentleman's assent, Morgan led him to the stall that housed the horse in question. Lady's Man came over as they approached, snorting curiously, and Morgan patted down his neck with a 'shh, good boy'. The horse was a beautiful creature, a gorgeous bay Arabian with black mane and tail -- and he knew it too, he'd prance and preen with the best of them. Needless to say he'd been well broken in and trained but he still retained his spirit, to say nothing of his stubbornness. He was generally the troublemaker of the stable -- if any other horse had caused as much difficulty as Lady's Man they would have been sold on, but Sir Stanley had something of a soft spot for the Arabian, and Morgan couldn't say he blamed him. This Sir Harold was both blessed and cursed to saddle the creature.

'Did he give you any trouble? He caught a pebble in his shoe during the ride, I hope that didn't bother you. He's a good horse: he can be headstrong but his stamina and endurance make up for that. Although, if you'd prefer something else, Sir Stanley has spares...' He trailed off, realising he had nothing else to say and in any case he should really be quiet and let the gentleman speak.
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #3
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall

Given the.... ideas of a certain nature that the sight of Stablemaster Song had summoned, the words out of the man's mouth made the ghost of an embarrassed smile pass over Lord Herrold's face. It just so happened that, despite the stigma attached to it, he had ridden a Lady's man, and not just once. The difference was merely equestrian.

"Why yes, that's correct." After he said this, he was led to the mount in question, and he had the pleasure of seeing the tall, exotic man at work - handling the horse while trying to learn what had been amiss. The news about the irksome pebble in the mount's shoe almost seemed a banality of a problem, and Liam was already shaking his head when Stablemaster Soong. "Oh, no, thank you, because instead of gambling with the hunt on the morrow with a completely unknown mount, I'd rather have a Lady's Man, since I've had him before. I'm sure that he and I will get along just fine if it was naught more than the pebble that had made him so agitated."

After settling that business, Liam changed topic, leaning a little against the wall of the stall in question - the distraction that Song represented making Liam forget about his rather expensive clothing. His light blue eyes remained on Song, and he wasn't too late in changing topic. "I'm surprised I didn't find you at the manor this evening. I can tell you, it's quite a dreary affair, but it could use with some more interesting company, that's an absolute certainty."

A casual compliment wasn't too amiss, was it? Surely it wasn't.

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #4
[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

'He's a good horse,' Morgan said again, agreeing with the gentleman as he turned back to look at the creature. 'Proud, too. He's been broken of course, and I trained him to be obedient and strong, but he's still a mind of his own. He's too smart to be any other way; work with him and he'll serve you like no other.'

A thought occurred to him, and he looked back to Sir Harold. 'Maybe he just needs time to get used to you. Here, let him see you, and give him a pat, firmly. If he lets you stroke his nose you'll know you've won him over. Give it a try,' he remembered himself, 'if it pleases you, of course.'

The gentleman's change of tack briefly unseated him; he continued to pat Lady's Man, glancing up at Mr Harold over the horse's neck with badly-concealed surprise, and more than a little curiosity. Morgan -- a dishevelled stablemaster with his shirtsleeves rolled to the elbow and straw stuck to his boots with horse shit -- it was he this gentleman considered interesting company? Rather than all Sir Stanley's offerings as host to divert and entertain, it was a jumped-up horse hand that beguiled such a refined palate?

He felt a little warm under the man's gaze, and ducked his head to smile at Lady's Man like a girlish maid. He wasn't a fool, some servant with ideas above his station, nor one who idolised the gentry under which they served; he knew his place, and he was content with it, content to do a good job and let that be the end of it. Of course, he would enjoy any scraps of praise Sir Stanley might mete out, but these were few enough he knew not to rely on them for his happiness. No, he had his duty, and he took pleasure in its mere performance. Let the world of gentlemen be as alien to him as his was to them; he had no need of it.

And yet. No gentleman had ever sought him out like this, nor been willing to make conversation. Sir Harold's interest seemed genuine, or at least, he didn't seem hurried to leave. And he didn't speak imperiously like Morgan was used to -- he sounded almost normal, like a real person rather than the regal, well-dressed statues the gentry often seemed like to him.

In all, now it was he who was interested in the gentleman who had come to call.

'The others should be glad of it,' he said. 'I have little that can be of interest, I'm sure.' He caught the gentleman's gaze almost by accident. '
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #5
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall

"Oh, I think you are underselling yourself Master Song," Liam and cleared his throat, feeling how the stables were getting rather warm despite the late evening. He raked his fingers though his short hair and did as earlier suggested, stepping into the stall that housed Lady's Man. While he was attentive to the horse and patting it, letting it scent his hand, his eyes kept returning to the stablemaster on the other side of the mount.

Belatedly, realising he couldn't just stop talking after giving the man a compliment, he added. "I oft find that men of practical trades know far more than they let on, whereas the common guests at these events are too preoccupied speaking of themselves or their kin, trying to boast of accomplishments of little consequence. They wouldn't know how to properly care for their stables or their households on their own. It begs the question of how dependant they are on their staff, but more importantly... how they treat their staff."

Lord Herrold smiled and shrugged, stepping out of the stall and waited for Master Song to follow. "I might even ask you this. Do you feel appreciated and well treated here?" he asked with a smile, and while he was not conspiring to hire the man and ask him to work a Belmont House instead, he found himself quite empathic towards the exotic man. Perhaps it was just personal chemistry... but that would just be a roundabout way of his real feelings towards the stablemaster. Premature, perhaps, since they just met... but first impressions lasted.

When Song eventually left Lady's Man's stall, Liam looked around the stable wondering how he might find more excuses to avoid the manor and stay in the far more welcome company of Master Song. "I feel like I haven't got any proper exercise today, so perhaps you might be inclined to help me?" he asked, not even realising how that might sound. His addendum would clarify his intention. "Do you need help with anything here in the stables? I would enjoy conversing further, if you don't mind? If you've already finished with the chores here... perhaps I might interest you in a walk instead?"

Liam felt entirely too bold in making the suggestion, but after what he'd suffered through prior to coming to the stables, he knew he was enjoying himself far more in present company.

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #6
[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

If Morgan didn't know any better, he might have thought the golden-haired, rakishly touselled gentleman had appeared out of the night with designs on Morgan's virtue. He smiled down at Lady's Man, stealing a glance over the stallion's neck as the gentleman duly introduced himself to the horse. It was a ridiculous thought -- this was a member of the gentry, however he might behave -- and a man at that. While it was one thing for some field hand or stable boy to fumble about with another man in secret, Morgan knew enough of the upper classes to know it was quite another thing for them. Morgan only had to answer to God and his master; a gentleman must answer to the whole of society.

Almost as if he could feel Morgan's gaze on him, Herrold glanced up, sending Morgan's eyes skittering away like he'd been caught peeping through a keyhole. The gentleman couldn't mean anything by it, surely; if Morgan made that gamble and was wrong, he'd likely be dismissed or arrested or worse. This was just another example of how out of touch Morgan was with a gentleman's world -- for all he knew, this sort of behaviour was completely normal for them.

He had just managed to steel himself once more when Herrold spoke again. The comment about Sir Stanley's treatment of Morgan was so unexpected he found himself laughing in surprise; he quickly stifled it as best he could, although he couldn't quite pull the twinkle from his eye. It wasn't Herrold he laughed at, not really: the man's kind naivete, his genuine concern... it was sweet more than it was anything else. Morgan laughed from surprise and something else he couldn't name.

'Do you mean to rescue me, sir?' he asked, amused though not unkind. 'I doubt I would make much of a damsel if you are of that mind.'

Goodness, so brazen! What on earth had posessed him? Suddenly mortified with his own behaviour, he looked away, although he couldn't quite hide the smile still playing about his lips. 'I apologise, I do not mean to be rude. I appreciate your concern but you needn't worry; I am well-appointed,' he said, genuine. And then, because he was unable to hold his own tongue: 'Besides, I consider myself lucky I am afforded opportunities such as this.'

He followed Herrold out of the stall, turning briefly to close it up and secure the latches properly. With Morgan's thoughts trending in the direction they were, he almost caught his own thumb in the bolt when the gentleman expressed a desire for exercise -- goodness, Song, you forget yourself! -- but he played it off as casually as he could, and by the time he turned back to face Herrold he'd schooled his expression into something carefully and politely neutral.

Really, he should have taken his leave, thanking the gentleman for his company but impressing on him the fact that Morgan really wasn't very interesting at all, and that the hosts in the mansion would surely be missing his company. He couldn't very well ask a gentleman to help him shovel manure and sweep up hay, after all.

Perhaps a walk? It would be unorthodox, certainly, but it was the gentleman who had asked, and Morgan couldn't very well refuse. It might not have been phrased as an order but surely it had been intended as one? Perhaps that would make a robust enough excuse, certainly. A safe enough gamble.

'I... I am familiar enough with the grounds, if you wanted to familiarise yourself,' he said, uncertain. 'The lake is quite something by moonlight.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #7
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall

"Splendid!" Hearing that Master Song was able to accompany him on a walk on the premises, Liam was just as elated for that as he was pleased to hear that the owners of the Penhurst Manor treated the man well. The mentioning of Morgan being a damsel in distress had made Liam think thoughts not entirely proper, and as he slowly stepped towards the exit from whence he'd come, waiting for Morgan to get ready, he cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck. A moonlit walk by the lake surely was a setting that sparked Liam's imagination... and it was taking him places where none of the gentry would admit to.

"Thank you for letting me see the Penhurst premises in the moonlight," he said to the man when they left the stables behind, making light conversation. "I feel like I've been granted a rare treat bereft of the other guests, being allowed to appreciate all that the grounds can offer. It may have been the dreary affair of the current hour that drew me out here, but I am glad I stepped outside, so that I might enjoy present sights."

It just so happened that Liam wasn't looking at the vista of the rolling hills, but the way in which Song's hair looked like in the twilight whilst walking next to Liam, and the way the texture of his skin was lit by the reflection off the distant water - catching the nigh full moon as it did. Of course, he caught himself giving the man furtive glances, and did not wish to intimidate him, so he tried to return his attention to the path ahead.

After listening to the man's tour for a short while, and they drew closer to the lake, Liam found himself asking "Pray tell, is there any chance one might bathe in this lake? I don't care if the gentry don't frequent the lake in such a fashion, but I do wish to rinse myself from the stuffy air of the salon." Liam ran a hand through his own hair and scented his fingers. "I can't stand those pipe-smoking gentlemen. Surely it can't be healthy? It's like breathing tar whilst in their company. The smell gets everywhere too."

Listening to the answer about the bathing opportunities available, Liam was pleased and began to casually unbutton his attire from the chest down while they made their way there. "Do you mind if I take a swim then? It would rinse the smoke out of my hair and give me the chance to exert myself a bit as well. Of course, I would hate to ask you to stay and wait for me..."

Should he make the brazen proposition? Perhaps he just might, and doing so, he could but hope for the best. He looked over at Song while he pulled back his waistcoat from his shoulders. "...so if you were so inclined, it would be my honour if you cared to join me. I might even challenge you a swimming competition, to see who might reach the far shore first."

Liam was not going to point out the obvious, that his finery was not made to swim in. Hopefully, the man might catch on to the implications unsaid - this growing tension in the air what Liam found himself to revel in. Hoping, against all odds, that the man was likeminded.

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #8
[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

If Morgan had been concerned he had been too forward, he soon saw he needn't have worried. Where he had been barely above tentative, Mr Herrold was truly brazen in a way that had Morgan giddy. He felt the man's eyes on him as they left the stables, and even as Morgan dutifully pointed out the more picturesque scenes before them he caught Herrold looking at him rather than the landscape he complimented. If Morgan had been given to blushing he might have done so now; luckily in the darkness it was unlikely that Herrold might see anything unusual.

Even this could have been waved away, though, if necessary. What truly tipped the scales was Herrold's comment as they approached the lake -- bathing! Truly his intent could not have been more obvious, and yet Morgan still found himself delightfully scandalised.

'The water is clean and safe for bathing,' Morgan replied almost by rote. Sir Stanley used to take a dip quite frequently during the summer months, and more than one brave scullery maid had been bedded in the reeds; but more recently it had stood pretty but unused. Herrold lost no time in changing that, beginning to unbutton his waistcoat even before they had reached the shore, commenting on the smokiness of his scent. Morgan could only watch as he ran his hand through his hair once more -- quite unfairly, to be honest, with Morgan unable to follow with his own hand where Herrold's had left off. But then, the lake was secluded and quite hidden from view unless you stood on the shore, and the night was dark enough that even then it might be a struggle to see details of any swimmers...

The invitation to join Herrold was somehow both unexpected and unsurprising; they'd both known where this train of thought had been headed and yet to hear it expressed so openly was thrilling. Morgan grinned in the dark as they reached the shore, crouching to unlace his shoes and looking up at Herrold from a very particular angle.

'I imagine it would be rude to decline such a gracious invitation,' he said, made bold by the sheer wonderful absurdity of the evening. 'Although I wouldn't have minded playing audience.'

They were unlikely to be disturbed, but Morgan still cast one last look around to check their privacy before following the gentleman's lead and beginning to strip in earnest. He had to go slowly to match Herrold's pace, the other man clad in significantly more items of clothing and ones that were more complicated to remove. He didn't mind hanging back, though, getting the opportunity to 'play audience' as he'd said. His previous experience was mostly limited to a quick affair in a cupboard; getting the chance to just look -- and be looked at in turn -- was new. And, he decided as teased off his britches, hyper-aware of the other man's gaze caught on his movements, it was something he liked very much indeed.
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer [Show/Hide]

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #9
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall
 
As the progress of undressing began, the tangible tension in the twilight air grew - this unsaid anticipation rising by the moment.

Layer by layer, Liam shed his finery, and put it all across a low hawthorn branch near the shore of the lake. Master Song followed suit, and there was certainly no disappointment in what the moonlight revealed - shimmering across the exotic man's tall body in reflection from the water. Removing all of his clothes, numerous as the garments were, was an altogether vexing affair - prolonged even more by the distraction of the stablemaster. Liam found himself clearing his throat and bridging a sudden awkwardness with idle conversation. Or at least he tried to converse, which just ended with him just saying what was at the top of his mind.

"At the risk of incurring your displeasure, I feel compelled to express - with all deference - the need become better acquainted with you," he said with a smile, his awkwardness making him more formal than he normally was. Still, he stepped closer, bared completely before the man. "I confess that you have inspired feelings quite warmer than those a mere acquaintance might warrant."

Stepping so close to Master Song, less than an arms-length separated them. "I hope you don't find this amiss?" he said quietly over the warm evening breeze, the plain confession baring his wishes as plainly as he had bared himself. If the other man rather wished to compete in a swim across the lake, Liam would certainly not object, but as it were, the bared presence of Song was an utter distraction from any such endeavours. "Shall we?"

The question, as quiet as a mere breath, might allude to any activity. Especially considering how close they were, and how Liam couldn't quite resist looking at his mouth...
  • Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 03:05:05 PM by Auctor Lucan

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #10
[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

Morgan was so caught up with the act of witnessing that he almost found himself distracted from his own purpose, his hands stilling on the hem of his shirt as he watched the gentleman disrobe. He tangled his fingers in the loose material, catching them there so they wouldn't be tempted to wander, to explore the planes of moonlit flesh as they were revealed. Herrold was blessed with a handsome face and flaxen hair, Morgan had known that already, but that wasn't all he boasted. His body was strong and lithe, not the pampered white pudding of most nobles but practical and powerful and... Well. Morgan wanted.

He was getting ahead of himself. All the same, as he busied his hands with removing the last of his clothing, the chill that brushed his bared skin was not entirely down to the evening air.

And then they were both bared, and for a moment they stood in quiet, just looking at one another. It lasted just long enough for Morgan to become conscious of himself -- the awkwardness of his height, his coltish lankiness which he'd never quite grown out of, all the little imperfections he tried to ignore in every day life making themselves known as he stood there, vulnerable beneath Herrold's gaze. What was he doing? This was a gentleman, the most handsome Morgan had ever seen! He shifted his weight nervously, suddenly feeling skittish, as though he might bolt from under the gentleman's gaze.

Herrold stepped forwards, and Morgan might have shrunk from him if it hadn't been for the sheer awkwardness of the man's address, his genuine well-meaning shining through the fumbling formality of his words. Morgan found himself returning the man's smile as Herrold came to a stop in front of him, his golden hair glinting in the silver moonlight.

'There was no risk,' Morgan said, truthfully. He had found himself warming towards Herrold pretty much from the moment they met, and everything the man had done since had only served to strengthen that. He hadn't dared hope that the warmth might be returned -- but now look at them! There was no more ambiguity here, how could there be? Naked as babes, standing only a few short feet apart, Herrold confessing his attraction almost nervously.

Morgan grinned like an idiot, and kissed him.

The short distance between them was crossed in an instant, and then they were together, breath coming hot in his throat, hands reaching up to catch his waist, beard tickling the soft skin of his lips. It lasted a long moment, their bodies warm and close, and Morgan found himself smiling again even before they pulled apart.

'I hope that wasn't amiss.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
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Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #11
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall

When Master Song kissed Liam, the surprise was acute but short-lived, with the small sound escaping from his throat muffled by the stablemaster's warm mouth.

Yet in the duration of it, Liam found his eyes drifting shut, and he slowly relaxed into it. He could feel those large, calloused hands on his hips, and he found himself running one of his behind the exotic man's neck - as if preventing him from having a change of hearts. His other hand seized the upper arm of the tall man, finding the roped muscles of physical trade and skills. Heady with the intimacy, of the sensation of their bodies brought together, Liam had no mind to end it anytime soon. He felt his heart racing, the beating in his ears a staccato that marked the passing of time. His breathing grew shallow as well, equally from the lack of breath as well as the rising anticipation.

Had he known what he'd find if he left the salon of the Penhurst Manor, he'd have been gone before the appetiser. For the taste of Morgan Song was like an opiate that put his mind in a daze, and his body wanting more.

When their lips parted at last, it was far too soon.

'I hope that wasn't amiss.'

"Oh, it most certainly was not." said Liam and chuckled, before he leaned in to continue, tilting his head in the other direction.

This time, Liam couldn't help but let his hands wander more, as if he was of Morgan's trade and took stock of the physical attributes of a prize stallion. Yet such a comparison felt crude, because Morgan was most certainly not livestock. Then again... when his hand happened to brush between their bodies, Liam almost made a quip about how the stablemaster was hung like a horse. Too bold. Far too bold. Jesting opportunity lost as it might be, Liam did not loose touch of Morgan's endowment, however. He lavished it with his hand, since his mouth was still preoccupied with Morgan's.

Only later would Liam pull back, and look the stablemaster in his dark eye...

...before he sunk to his knees there on the shore of the lake.

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #12
[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

He had been right. He'd been right, and this was right, this felt right, from the small, soft noise of surprise that escaped Herrold's throat to the man's hand finding the back of his neck, his fingers catching on Morgan's arm, pulling him in closer. And Morgan found himself smiling against the other man's lips with the sheer giddy wildness of it all, the breaking of tension like a wave upon the rocks, the gentleman's body pressed close to his own, soft and smooth and firm by turns.

It was pure cheekiness, really, that made him pull away; as if he could be in any doubt of Herrold's reciprocation, entwined as they were already. Perhaps he just wanted to see the man's face, to grin at him like the cat with the cream. He wanted to press kisses along the man's jaw, down his neck to the hollow of his throat and below, but he had barely a moment before Herrold caught his mouth once more -- not that Morgan could complain, leaning in close and feeling Herrold trace his body, allowing his own hands to wander in turn, trailing the length of the man's flank even as the other tangled fingers in Herrold's hair.

A single touch, feather-light, sent him gasping slightly into Herrold's mouth, his fingers grasping at the man's flesh in surprise. His body sang at Herrold's touch, it burned, it brimmed with want; he crushed them closer, wrapping the gentleman in his own fingers. He'd been wrong, before; the tension hadn't broken, it had heightened, and the anticipation informed his every movement, his every breath, wiping his mind of every thought but those of the man before him, around him.

When Herrold pulled away, Morgan found himself bereft; a slight mewl of disappointment escaped him as he tried to chase the man's lips with his own.

But Herrold had another purpose for them.

Morgan would never have thought... He'd assumed if any it would be him who... But there was little space for thought. He was almost afraid to touch at first, as if he might break the spell; but then-- then. And he wasn't afraid anymore, he was only need -- the need to run his hands through Herrold's hair, to grasp his strong shoulders, to--

In time, he would look back with a delightful mortification; he had lost himself on the shores of that lake, for a time, as a gentleman guest went to his knees for him, the light from the great house almost visible where the festivities continued, Morgan's work clothes on the ground by the reeds, the lake waters dark beside them. But in this moment there were none of those thoughts; there was only the nothing, and everything.

When it was over, and he was spent, he found himself cradling Herrold's head in his hands, tired and euphoric and gentle, almost doubled over that he could press kisses into the man's hairline.

'That was...' he said, when he found his voice. 'Thank you.' And then, pulling away to run his hands over the man once more, he offered a grin that glittered in the moonlight. 'My turn.'
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
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Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #13
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall

The act had been one of mixed feelings, split between the excitement of how forbidden such was in the eyes of society, and in generous desire for this exotic man he'd encountered  - by pure happenstance no less. In wish to please him, and enjoy the almost enchanted evening by the shore to its fullest, he'd continued until the man was spent, and ingested everything he had to offer.

As he did it, he couldn't help but enjoy the notion of what his family at the Belmont house would think of him. How it would irk them to no end if they knew which liberties he were taking with his desires that night, and even though they might never learn how he had enjoyed himself, the notion made this encounter all the more exiting. So, when it was done, he could but grin up at Master Morgan, enjoying how he stroked his hair with his calloused hands. He received kisses against the top of his forehead, in a cursory offer of gratitude no doubt, but it was the stablemaster's words that prompted Liam to speak at last.

"The pleasure was mine as well," he said, but when Morgan said it was his turn, he had to make an amendment. "Oh, well, I guess there might be more of that in store for me then."

With a slightly awkward laugh, and leaning up to kiss the man, he soon accommodated what Morgan wished to do, and did so by lying down upon the ground, making himself comfortable in the scarce moonlight. He had no inkling what the other man fancied to do, certainly not expecting him to enjoy intercourse per anum so soon after just meeting, rather expecting fellatio over anything else. Either way, the anticipation made his heart beat in his ears, and he couldn't tear his eyes away from Morgan - this unexpected lover.

"I think I may have to come visit the Penhurt Manor on a regular basis," he breathed, reaching for Morgan and running his hands over him as best as he might from his prone position. "I definitely have reason now..."

Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #14
[ Stablemaster Morgan Song | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847, late evening ] attn: @Auctor Lucan

The gentleman's wordplay had Morgan laughing -- at the wit of the man, at the ridiculousness of their circumstances, at the pure contendedness of the moment. He was not so foolish as to consider this courtship, but he had never been wooed, and this light flirtation was likely the closest he would come. It was deliciously unexpected, like everything else this evening had brought him.

'I think there'll pleasure enough for us both, before the night is out,' he said, breathy, and Herrold caught the words with his own lips on Morgan's.

He sank to the ground beside Herrold, not breaking the connection of skin on skin until Herrold lay back in the grass, looking up at Morgan with such an expression that it made his pulse quicken once more. The gentleman splayed out before him, beautiful and sultry as a highborn maiden with his hair softly falling about his face. That he could claim such a sight was madness; that he could claim touch, sensation, so much more than sight... it was beyond madness, it was miraculous.

He moved his way up the gentleman's body, skimming fingers over skin, marvelling at the muscles beneath his hands, the planes of strength, the dips and curves of softness... He brought his lips down to kiss at the man's neck, his shoulder, the base of his jaw, till they found Herrold's own lips and he lost himself in the man once more.

The kiss finally broken, Morgan sat back to look at Herrold. 'The estate is certainly beautiful,' he said slyly, 'and my master an excellent host.' The thought of Herrold returning to Penhurst Manor, of the chance to see him again, to... He hadn't dared hope for something like this even once, let alone... It made him foolish and warm.

His hands found the softness of the man's thighs, trailed upwards to take Herrold in hand once more, finally giving the gentleman the attention he deserved.

'Besides,' he said, looking over to grin at Herrold, 'if you don't return, Ladies' Man might miss you.'

With that he leant down, and took Herrold into his mouth.
CPO Morgan Song - Engineering - Chief of Maintenance (V2) [Show/Hide]
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Re: 1847: A Gentleman's Honour
Reply #15
[ Lord Liam Herrold of Belmont House | Penhurst Manor | Kent, England | March 23rd 1847 | Late Evening ] @fiendfall

"T-The horse?" Liam exclaimed with a laugh, before his mind went blank from what Morgan was doing to him. He stifled an ugly but honest sound coming out of his throat, but he could only speak after he'd swallowed and recompiled his wits from that initial touch. "I would hope there was someone else missing me as well... Someone who'd even challenge the horse when it came to endowment."

Liam did believe they were past the point of such compliments being too brazen by then, given the fact that he was on the ground and Morgan was making him squirm and arch his back in breathless yearning for more. He ran his hands through his strong lover's hair and over his shoulders, delirious with a mix of gratitude and greed - his body speaking even more plainly than he could phrase himself. It was in equal measure the sensations as the atmosphere, the scenery and the company, that made Liam convinced that he'd return to the Penhurst Manor. This was no mere frivolous exploit, but a truly remarkable experience.

One he had to hide, and never speak of again, yet he didn't mind. As long as he'd have a chance to meet Master Song once more, he was content with the secrecy.

As much as he wished for it, he couldn't last for long either. With the amount of anticipation they had built together, and the way the moonlight shimmered across his exotic lover, there was nothing that could make him linger in perpetual bliss. The culmination made him bit down on a cry of release - euphoria seizing him - and it lasted for quite some time before he settled down in the grass.

Breath still shallow, he urged Morgan to join him on the ground, and wrapped an arm around him in an intimate embrace - the aftershocks still running through his bare frame where he laid. He kissed the stablemaster while he revelled in the experience, hoping that they could remain there at the shore indefinitely. The night was still young, and there were more adventures to be had before Liam had to leave. Perhaps even in the morning, before the wagon would leave the estates.

"As a guest," he said against Morgan's lips with a grin, "I laud the hospitality of this manor..."

- FIN