Ragtag Daily Prompt: Bubbles

The Queen’s bedchamber had been quickly changed into a sick room. Heavy tapestries covered all the windows. Wax candles provided flickering glimmers of light, but it was difficult for one to focus their vision on anything more than a few feet away. The rose and jasmine incense that fill the room made it feel stuffy and closed in.

After leaving the ball, Lady Abigail undressed Pirouette and put her under a pile of covers. “If she gets much hotter, we will have to soak her in cold water to bring down the fever.” The doctor on duty stroked his beard and shook his head. “Clearly this is a case that requires bleeding.” Tata Sous-sus chimed in with an approving “um-huh!”

Pirouette, who was covered with sweat began to mutter nonsense. “Don’t touch me!” She said. “My lords, it pleases us to see you jump into the river.” It was as though her thoughts were little bubbles popping out of her head and bursting into nonsensical words.

“Bring the Queen’s tub in here and fill it with cold water. Find some ice in the kitchens and have it brought forthwith.” Abby spoke with authority. Grabbing the physician by the shoulder, she pushed him toward the doors of the bedchamber. Clutching the box that held his wares: knives, twine, a jar of live leeches, and even a sleeping sponge, to his chest, the old man tried to protest. Several other of the ladies joined in, shoving the the man in his black, woolen robes from the room.

“Guards!” Shouted Lady Abigail. “Remove this man from the palace!”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Carved

Detail of fountain at Dupont Circle, Washington, DC

The ball was in full swing. General Montclair was dancing with one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting. Even as he held the beautiful young woman in his arms, he found it difficult not to look at Queen Pirouette. As for Her Majesty, she could barely hear the music because of the pounding in her ears. She took Abigail’s hand and pressed the back of it against her cheek.

“My Queen!” Exclaimed Abigail. “You are burning up! You need to retire!”

“What rubbish,” replied Pirouette in a deadpan voice. “I never get sick.”

“When are you going to accept the fact that you are not carved from stone?” Said Lady Abigail. “I’m extremely worried about you, Pirouette!” As a rule, even in private, Lady Abigail sought to observe all court etiquette, even though she and the Queen were childhood friends. She chose the informal address in order to underscore her concern.

Pirouette was on the verge of countering Abby with a witty repartee, but suddenly, out of the blue, she felt all of her strength drain from her body, as if it were some liquid spilling on the marble floor. Still holding Abby’s hand, Pirouette leaned in and said, “You’re right. Help me to my rooms. I don’t want to make a fuss in front of all these people.” Then the Queen promptly fainted.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Part Time

Despite the repeated entreaties of Lady Abigail and the other women of Queen Pirouette’s suite, Her Majesty insisted on attending the Thursday Night Ball. Applying her cosmetics alone was a nightmare for the ladies of the Queen’s bedchamber. She’d already chosen and rejected a dozen gowns.

“The ball is supposed to begin no later than 9 in the evening, and here it is, ten minutes away!” Moaned Tata Sous-sus, never one to suffer in silence.

“The ball begins when I say it begins,” snapped Pirouette. She normally wasn’t cranky, but she had a splitting headache which made it hard to be patient with anybody, least of all cousin Tata Sous-sus.

It was well after nine thirty when Pirouette made her entrance into the Grand Ballroom. All the attendees were curtsies and bows. Holding Abigail by the arm, the two women performed the first waltz together, much to the delight of everyone present. Soon, others were joining in, some emulating their Queen; that is, men danced with men and women danced with women.

Pirouette noticed the dashing young general looking at her, and for some reason, his gaze embarrassed her. Covering her face with her fan, she leaned into Lady Abigail and asked, “Who is that dashing, young general with the temerity to look at me so directly?” She asked Abigail.

“He’s General Montclair. He’s just returning from an extremely successful campaign in the south,” answered Abby in a waggish tone of voice.

“Watch your step, Abby,” said the Queen. “If you’re not careful, you may find yourself working part-time as a laundress for the entire court.”

Lady Abigail stifled a giggle. This was an ongoing joke between just the two of them. One day, Abigail would usurp Pirouette’s throne and force her to marry some minor prince from the Empire, while, she Lady Abigail, would be coronated in her place, in order to set the ship of state on the correct course.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Louche

After the death of his third and final wife, the old King observed the most perfunctory period of mourning, and then turned himself in the direction of pleasure. He ate and drank whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. He took a string of mistresses, both high- and low-born. Despite this apparent devotion to debauchery, His Majesty’s health held up admirably. A notorious wag at court referred to the old King as His Louche Majesty, much to the amusement of others in the court some of whom took their King’s behavior as cart blanche to behave in the same way.

Last on the Card: July 2022

Thank you to Bushboy’s World for sponsoring this really cool challenge. I haven’t participated in a while because I’ve been using my iPhone so much lately. I made a decision to start carrying my Cannon with me wherever I go, so this paid off in spades for this challenge.