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    Mark Arbour
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Odyssey - 75. Chapter 75

An update: I expect there to be two more chapters. The next one is partially written, but it could take a few weeks before it hits.

December 20, 1798

Portland Place, London

 

Granger stood in front of the mirror as Winkler helped him dress for his sojourn to Carlton House. The uniforms that he’d had made in Paris were of excellent quality, and superbly tailored, but they were slightly different than those he’d had crafted here in England. Even though they were in good shape, he resolved to get new ones, so as to look similar to his fellow naval officers.

Caroline breezed into the room and smiled at him. She was glowing; they were both glowing, after their sexual extravaganza in the baths. “You have always been the most handsome officer in the Navy,” she said.

“You are suggesting there are military officers who are more handsome than me?” Granger teased.

“Perhaps,” she said, making him laugh. Winkler made sure that his ribbon and star from his knighthood were affixed correctly, and then pulled out a box with a medal.

“And what is this?” Granger asked, even as he looked at it. It was a beautiful gold medal, probably a little less than two inches wide, hanging from a white ribbon with dark blue edges. On one side was the figure of Victory, standing on the prow of an antique galley and placing a wreath of laurel to Britannia, who wore a helmet and stood on the galley, having at her side an oval shield charged with the crosses of the Union Flag. Britannia's right foot rested on a helmet and she held a spear in her left hand. Granger flipped it over and looked at the reverse side, which bore a wreath of oak and laurel, and an engraving which read: George, Viscount Granger; Captain of HMS Belvidera on 14th Feb MDCCXCVII.

“His Majesty chose to strike a medal to reward the flag officers and captains who fought at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent,” Caroline said. “Initially, only the captains of ships of the line were to be honored with such a medal. I am not sure why that was changed, but it arrived from the Palace some months back.”

Granger stood still as Winkler pinned the medal to his chest, feeling very proud of his achievements in that battle, but also a little self-conscious with such a bauble. “It is quite nice,” he allowed.

Winkler smirked, and Caroline chuckled. “It is. And rumor has it there is to be another one for the Nile, so you will have an additional bauble, only this one will go around your neck.”

Granger frowned. “I am beginning to look more like a Russian general than a Royal Navy captain.”

“It is an outward sign of your success, and I think it is well-deserved,” Caroline insisted. “I fear that when we are ultimately at peace with Spain again, and when you wear your collar, you will look quite ostentatious.”

She was teasing him, but he frowned at her anyway. The collar of the order of Charles III was a beautiful but gaudy thing, and it would most likely clash with the award he would receive for the Nile. “Perhaps I will just melt them down instead,” he joked, knowing he would do nothing of the kind.

“Are you ready, or are there any more medallions we must attach to you?” she teased.

“Not for me,” Granger said mysteriously. He went over to his dispatch bag and pulled out a case, and handed it to Caroline.

“What is this?”

“It would be easier for you to just open it,” Granger said, smiling. “I went shopping for you when I was in Paris.”

Caroline opened the case, and found a dazzling set of earrings and a matching necklace. They were large sapphires, and while they were set with diamonds, those stones paled in comparison to their large, blue counterparts. “George! These are exquisite! Where on earth did you find them?”

“I purchased them from an old countess who is a member of the du Plessis family, of which the duc de Richelieu is the nominal head. The duc de Richelieu is an émigré, serving in the Royalist armies in Russia. I promised to transfer money to him, in exchange for these jewels. They have purportedly been in their family for generations, but they are in danger of being discovered, and Monsieur de Richelieu is in need of additional funds,” Granger explained. Granger had been flattered that the old countess had given him the jewels with just his pledge to transfer the funds. His time when he’d been upset with Eastwyck and had gone shopping instead had paid off handsomely, as it was through those merchants that he was introduced to the countess.

“It appears you will be spending some time with our bankers,” she said, smiling at him. “Thank you so much. They are beautiful!”

“I am glad you like them,” Granger said. “You must put them on.” And so Granger helped Caroline replace the diamonds she was wearing, with the sapphires he’d bought in Paris. She gazed at herself in the mirror, admiring the jewels, and admiring what a handsome couple they made.

“You are fortunate that I opted to wear a blue gown tonight,” she teased. “What if I would have worn red?”

“Then I would have had to conjure up some rubies,” Granger joked. He turned her so she was facing him, and kissed her gently. “They are beautiful gems, but not as beautiful as you.”

“And did you use those same charms on all the ladies in Paris?” Caroline asked, teasing him.

“I did not. I have not violated my pledge to you,” Granger said seriously.

“I was teasing you,” she said. “I have never worried about you breaking your word. I suspect you were sorely tempted.”

“I would think it is more accurate to say I was diligently pursued. Society in Paris now is quite gauche, much as one finds merchants in London who have grown rich and believe it has made them aristocrats. It was as if by bedding me, these women would legitimize their claim to ascendency in their society,” Granger mused philosophically.

“You make them sound like whores,” Caroline joked.

“I did not say that,” he said, smiling. “But I could have.” They laughed together, and descended the stairs. Granger paused to tell Cheevers that Eastwyck would most likely be staying with them, and was about to exit their home when he encountered Andrews and Jackson, who were just arriving.

“My lord,” Jackson exclaimed. “Welcome home! I trust you were healthy for your return trip?”

“I was, although I feigned illness in Paris to induce the Directory to send me home,” Granger said. “Your excellent care has eradicated the fever from my body.”

“I wish that were true, my lord, but you must take care, as it is known to reappear,” Jackson cautioned. Granger refused to let Jackson’s dire warnings ruin his good spirits.

“Well, it has not done so this evening, so I am going to enjoy myself and not let it worry me,” Granger said, then turned to Andrews. “I am wondering if I may impose upon you to assist me.”

“Of course, my lord,” Andrews said.

“I returned home on board a French brig, the Corneille. She is commanded by Captain Guebertin, and moored in the mouth of the Thames. She is carrying some of my personal possessions.” Granger explained the arrangement he’d made with Talleyrand to Andrews, who smiled at the crafty French foreign minister, and the even craftier French merchant captain.

“I will proceed to the Corneille and ensure that your goods are brought here, my lord,” Andrews pronounced.

Granger excused himself briefly to go back upstairs, where he’d left his dispatch bag, and extracted the copy of his manifest, the list of goods he’d brought back. He took it back into the foyer and handed it to Andrews. “I am most obliged. And I would ask that you ensure that I am alerted as to the duties that are due on the goods being delivered ashore, not just on those on my list, but on all of them.”

“Those would be due to His Majesty,” Andrews mused.

“Precisely,” Granger agreed. “I would like to avoid vexing him by neglecting to pay him his rightful fees.”

“Of course, my lord,” Andrews said.

“We can talk about the Abbey, and the men there, in the next few days. I appreciate your help in this matter,” Granger said.

“It is my pleasure, my lord,” Andrews said.

And with that, Granger and Caroline exited their home, entering the carriage for the brief drive to Carlton House. As they drove up, Granger noticed that it was as brightly lit up as usual. He strode up to the door and was received by the Prince of Wales’ chamberlain, who greeted him warmly. “The Right Honorable Viscount and Viscountess Granger,” the herald boomed. Granger had expected that news of his arrival would have spread through London society at a rapid clip, and that he would receive the normal attitude of disregard when his name was announced, so he was surprised when it drew the attention of most of the people there.

He noticed that it was not as crowded tonight as he would have expected, but that only helped his purpose, making it easier for him to navigate through the people there to approach the Prince of Wales. He was gambling, but had stopped and watched as Granger approached him, bowing just as he’d done to the King. “Granger! You’re back! How splendid!”

Granger smiled. “It is good to be back, and to see Your Royal Highness again.”

“Your exploits on this voyage made for good reading. You handled yourself masterfully,” the Prince of Wales said.

“I had only to consider what Your Royal Highness would have done in my place, and use that to guide my actions,” Granger said, pouring on the flattery, something the Prince thrived on.

He laughed. “You are good company, Granger.”

“Your Royal Highness, I learned today of my appointment as Governor and Constable of Windsor, and of my appointment as a Colonel of Marines. I know it is to you that I owe these honors, and I am truly grateful for them,” Granger said.

“You’ve earned them,” he said with a smile. “Let’s see if you thank me after you spend a few months at Windsor.”

Granger chuckled. “I will still appreciate them, Your Royal Highness, although perhaps not as much.”

The Prince laughed at that, and then turned his attention to Caroline. “And you brought your lovely lady with you. It is good to see you, Caroline.”

“It is always a pleasure to spend time with Your Royal Highness,” Caroline said, being slightly coquettish.

“Do you still remember how to play Hazard?” The Prince asked Granger.

“I am sure that His Grace will help refresh my memory,” Granger said, smiling at the Duke of Portland. He usually won when he played Hazard with the Duke.

“With you back, Granger, I’ll have to visit my bankers,” Portland said, making them laugh. “It is worth it to have you home.”

“Thank you,” Granger said, truly touched by the Duke’s sincere words.

“I will leave you to your dice,” Caroline said, and went off to chat with the ladies.

“Granger, I owe you a debt of gratitude,” Lord Fitzwilliam said. “I don’t know how you managed to track down my son in the bowels of Chile and spirit him back here, but you did it.”

“Lord Milton is a remarkable young man,” Granger exaggerated, using Fitzwilliam’s title in such company. The man he was speaking to was the Earl Fitzwilliam, while his son was styled as Viscount Milton. “I trust he is well?”

“He is,” Fitzwilliam confirmed. “He has been posted to the Channel Fleet, so he is nearer to home. I will make sure that he calls on you when he is next in London.”

“I will look forward to that,” Granger said. He enjoyed himself immensely, and was lucky, winning five thousand pounds from the gentlemen at the table, enough to pay for his board at Talleyrand’s house.

“Gads, Granger,” the Prince of Wales noted. “You’re as good at making money as you are at winning battles.”

“Perhaps I should consider becoming a merchant, Your Royal Highness,” Granger joked.

“You’re a bit too honest for that, Granger,” Lord Windham said, making them chuckle. Granger spent more time at the tables than he had before, and even though he was thoroughly enjoying himself, he did it because he felt welcome amongst these titans of the realm. Before, he had felt comfortable at Carlton House, as it was almost his right, due to his station, to be here. But this time, things felt different. It was as if he were truly welcomed here. Perhaps, with this latest trip, and these latest successes, he had earned his place amongst these great men. In essence, he was not just a charming novelty to pop in and pay his respects, he belonged there.

Granger ultimately excused himself, and looked for Caroline. It had been a long and eventful day, and the fatigue was beginning to make itself felt. As he circulated, he felt eyes on him, and looked up to see Arthur Teasdale across the room, staring at him. Their eyes met, and both of them broke into broad grins. Granger hurried over to see him.

“Arthur! How fabulous to see you!” Granger said, as he took his friend’s hands in his. Arthur had been through much, and it was starting to show even on his young face. There were lines around his eyes that gave evidence of the emotional torment he’d suffered when Jardines had left. But he greeted Granger warmly, and seemed to be in good enough spirits.

“I had heard you were back, and had resolved to call on you tomorrow if I did not see you tonight,” Arthur said.

“You are welcome to call on me any time,” Granger said, even as he guided Arthur off to an alcove, the closest thing to privacy they could find here at Carlton House. “How have you been?”

“I have been good, very good. There are challenges in life, and politics is not always fun, nor is it easy, but you have helped me find a way to keep my life stable,” Arthur said.

“So Holmquist is still in your service?” Granger asked with a grin.

“He is,” Arthur said.

Granger hesitated, but then drove ahead with the topic he knew he must at least broach with Arthur. “I returned to the Mediterranean through Egypt.”

“I heard of your trek. It sounded absolutely dreadful,” Arthur sympathized.

“It was,” Granger said. He described the miserable passage through the Wadi, and made Arthur laugh when he told him he’d been disguised as a woman.

“I cannot see you passing as one who is feminine,” Arthur observed, letting himself lust at Granger openly for a few seconds.

“I am not,” Granger said, and then leaned in to whisper in Arthur’s ear. “And if I am not mistaken, you were going to ask for approval so I could prove that to you.”

Arthur giggled and even blushed. “I will have to check into that.”

“You will never guess who my guide through Egypt was,” Granger said. Arthur looked at him curiously. “Major Jardines.”

Granger watched as Arthur’s emotions roiled, and could see the turmoil just the mention of Jardines’ name caused in him. “I am fearful, because you were quite determined to fight a duel with him the last time we spoke of Jardines.”

“You are worried that I killed him?” Granger asked, not to taunt Arthur, but to try to evaluate how he felt about Jardines.

“Since that was your plan, and since you are alive and well, standing in front of me, I think it is a reasonable concern,” Arthur snapped, losing his battle to keep his emotions reigned in.

“We did not fight a duel, although that was my original plan, and it was something we agreed to do initially,” Granger noted.

“But you did not?”

“No, we did not. I spent a lot of time with him, and got a clear understanding of why he behaved as he did when he was in England,” Granger said, his voice lowered to ensure no one else could hear. “I forgave him for what he did to John Travers, and I think that has helped him to heal his wounds.”

“His wounds?” Arthur asked, getting a little irate. “He was not the only one wounded!”

“He was not,” Granger insisted, “but I think he was the one who was most wounded. He was spending his time when he was not on duty, drowning his sorrows in opium dens. It is an insidious drug, one that would undoubtedly have destroyed him.”

“He is not the only one who has done that,” Arthur said, and that truly shocked Granger. And then Granger thought back to some of Arthur’s more erratic behaviors, and to how he’d become so agitated, and it made sense.

“I did not think opium was available in England,” Granger said naively.

Arthur rolled his eyes at Granger. “Anything is available, for a price.”

“You were able to break yourself away from it?” Granger asked.

“I was. That is why I leaned so heavily on Cavendish and Kerry,” he said. “And then on Holmquist.” Granger knew that was not the only reason, but it made sense that it would have been a contributing factor.

“Did they know of your use of opium?”

“They did not,” Arthur snapped. He was clearly annoyed that he’d let it slip that he’d had such an issue with the narcotic.

“I hope you will pardon my observation, and not think me patronizing, when I tell you how proud I am of you, and how you have recovered from the ending of your relationship with Jardines, and your severance from the use of that drug.”

“It was not the ending of my relationship with Jardines…” Arthur began. He was clearly lying, so Granger stopped him.

“Arthur, he told me about it. It is not wrong to be upset when you lose someone you love.”

“Is it wrong to not realize you love them until you lose them?” he demanded.

“It is not wrong, it is stupid,” Granger said, then smiled to show Arthur he was joking.

“You’re an ass, George,” Arthur said, but with a certain amount of love.

“I did not raise this issue to disturb you, but I fear that I have,” Granger said.

“Then why did you raise it?” Arthur challenged.

“So you would know that Jardines did love you, very much in fact, and that losing you tormented him greatly. And so you would know that I told him you were as saddened by losing him as he was of losing you, but that when I told him you had finally moved on, and found another to satisfy you, he was happy for you.”

Arthur stared at him, blinking in shock, but his emotions were quite disturbed, enough that one of the blinks forced a tear down his cheek, something he quickly wiped away. “You helped him find peace, just as you helped me?”

Granger thought about his sexual experiences with Jardines and smiled. “In just that way.”

Arthur smiled, a serene smile, and he put his hand on Granger’s arm. “Thank you, George. In those moments when I was not selfishly focused on my own pain, I worried about him very much. You have put those fears to rest.”

“I am glad,” Granger said, and then brought up the next topic. “I feel bad for him, as he is stuck in an awful part of the globe, with deserts and dust and heat. I told him I would petition His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence for a pardon, such that he be allowed to move elsewhere.”

“Would he be allowed to return to England?” Arthur asked, with both concern and a little excitement.

“I am not sure that would be a good thing,” Granger said, studying Arthur to see his reaction.

“Neither am I,” Arthur agreed. “Although I would enjoy seeing him at least one more time, so we could personally put some of these matters to rest.” Arthur paused to think about that. “On second thought, I think you have probably done that for us.”

“He requested a posting to Canada or Ireland, places where it is green,” Granger said. They both chuckled at that.

“I shouldn’t wonder,” Arthur said. “If you approach His Royal Highness on the matter, please tell him that you have my full support.”

“Thank you, Arthur,” Granger said.

“We will speak again, and soon, as we have other things to discuss,” Arthur said mysteriously. He liked to do that; it was his Machiavellian side coming home to roost.

“I would imagine that we do,” Granger said. “Seeing you has brightened my whole evening.”

“Not as much as you have brightened mine,” Arthur said. And with that, he turned and walked toward the doors of the Palace, with Granger staring after him as he left.

“That looked like an interesting conversation,” Cavendish said, surprising Granger with his sudden appearance.

“It was,” Granger said, smiling at him. “You were watching me?”

“Of course,” Cavendish said. “I must be careful not to stare.”

“While there is much we have to talk about, perhaps you can satisfy one bit of curiosity for me,” Granger said.

“I will do my best to satisfy you however I can,” Cavendish said, making Granger chuckle.

“Now that is exciting,” Granger said, and then got serious. “How is it that I got this medal?” Granger gestured to the St. Vincent battle medal he’d just received.

“Originally, the government had planned to award them only to captains of ships of the line,” Cavendish said, grinning. “I think they were urged on in the belief that the battleships were the only ones fighting that day by Captain Calder.”

“I shouldn’t wonder,” Granger said. Poor Calder. He thought that he deserved ample credit for that victory, yet Nelson’s public relations machine had ripped it right out of his hands.

“Lord St. Vincent wouldn’t hear of it. He raised hell with Spencer, and used you as an example. He said that but for your splitting the fleet in two the night before the battle, there is no assurance victory would have been won. He said it was unfair to punish captains of lesser vessels, when they were of great assistance.”

Granger smiled. “I wonder how the grizzled old battleship captains reacted to that.”

“I doubt they cared overmuch. They got their medal, and they know what you and the other frigates did,” Cavendish said. “You’ll get two medals for the Nile.”

“Why would I get two medals?” Granger asked, confused.

“Not only is The Crown issuing medals for that battle, but Alexander Davison is purportedly striking a medal as well.”

“Davison is Nelson’s prize agent, if I recall,” Granger observed.

“Precisely,” Cavendish said. “He’s paying for them out of his own purse, so he must truly appreciate his position as Nelson’s prize agent.”

That made Granger chuckle. “So I’ll have two more medals, but fortunately I won’t have to wear Davison’s medal. I don’t want to look as decorated as the Sultan.”

“Ah, but you will be quite ostentatious, because your medal for the Nile will be larger.”

“And why is that?” Granger asked. Caroline had alluded to the same thing.

“Flag officers will receive a bigger medal, and since you were Captain of the Fleet, you will be included in that category.” Granger stared at him, totally surprised. “You ended up with a significantly smaller portion of the prize money, so this will help balance things out.”

“I was only there because they plucked me out of an American merchant vessel,” Granger said, annoyed that he’d end up with more fame, and annoy his fellow captains.

“Nelson doesn’t agree, and was most descriptive of how helpful you were prior to, during, and especially after the battle,” Cavendish said.

“Kind of him to say,” Granger said.

“There you are, dear,” Caroline said, joining them. “I am wondering if you are ready to return home.”

“I am,” Granger said, and then turned to Cavendish. “I am fancying another bath, so happy am I to be home and enjoy them. I realize it is late, but would you care to join me? You can hopefully prepare me for what Spencer is planning tomorrow.” He looked to Caroline, to see if that had bothered her, but it did not seem to.

“If it does not inconvenience Your Ladyship,” Cavendish said smoothly.

“Of course not,” Caroline said. And so Granger took his leave of the Prince and the others, and they took Cavendish home in their carriage. “I received several compliments on my sapphires.”

“They are beautiful,” Cavendish allowed.

“George saved them from the clutches of the Directory women,” she joked. They arrived home, and Granger gave orders for the baths to be readied. Granger led Cavendish upstairs to change out of their formal court clothing, then with only robes on, they descended the stairs to the pools.

“I continue to be amazed at how well you do without your leg,” Granger said. He could have said nothing, but sensed that some praise would not go amiss.

“Yet it is still gone,” he said morosely. They got to the baths and entered them, glad to find they’d warmed up enough to be enjoyable. Cavendish had to unstrap his fake leg first, and looked annoyed as he did, but then they were in the water, where it was less of a disability.

“It is a badge of courage,” Granger said. He moved close to Cavendish, his erection rising quickly in proportion to the diminishing distance. “I have missed you.”

Cavendish smiled weakly. “I have missed you too.” And then they kissed, and Granger remembered why kissing Cavendish was the best of anyone. There was something about him, the way he moved his lips, the way he used his tongue that all but cemented the bond between them.

Granger picked him up and carried him out of the water like a bridegroom carrying his bride across the threshold, but Cavendish was a man now, and much thicker than he used to be, so Granger had to put him down when they were out of the pool and help him walk to the bathing pool instead. “You are too heavy for me to carry.”

“I have grown fat,” Cavendish grumbled.

Granger laughed, even as he ran his hand across Cavendish’s smooth, flat abdomen. “You are nothing of the sort. You have become a man, with bigger shoulders, and bigger muscles.”

They climbed into the bathing pool, and through their fumbling Cavendish ended up on the bottom. Granger sat in his lap and kissed him again, then rose to guide his cock toward his own hole. He gently sat down again, taking Cavendish’s dick as he lowered himself, relishing the feeling of being stretched out by this man that he loved, and using that to ignore the pain from this sudden, unprepared penetration. “God, that’s good,” Cavendish said.

“I agree,” Granger cooed, and then they quit talking and made love, a long arduous session, and only when they were sated and back in the main pool did they resume their conversation.

“You have nothing to worry about tomorrow,” Cavendish said. “Spencer has been raving about you to His Majesty, and your achievements on this voyage have made you quite popular.”

“But not with everyone,” Granger said. “Surely those men who plotted with Maidstone, the ones who would have capitalized on Bertie’s stolen correspondence, are not happy with me.”

“No, they are not, but they are neutered, at least temporarily,” Cavendish said. “Things did not play out as they wanted, but they avoided a major scandal. So they have drawn their claws in.”

“For how long?” Granger asked. “And will they target me again?”

“I don’t know the answer to either of those questions,” Cavendish said. “You must understand how politics works. This is not a situation where you can achieve victory, vanquish your foe, and then live happily ever after.”

Granger realized he was being naïve, so he smiled. “That is very disappointing.” They laughed together.

“What you must do is make sure you are strong enough, powerful enough, so they do not want to tackle you again. If you become weak, they will pounce, much as scavengers seek to feast on the carcass of a wounded animal.”

“This place truly is a jungle,” Granger said wryly.

“It is,” Cavendish agreed. “And it is normally a calm place, where people know whom they can tangle with, and whom they cannot.”

“What sparked this latest round, where I ended up being sent off to the Indies?” Granger asked.

Cavendish swallowed hard. “You were vulnerable, or perceived to be, because you and Caroline were not on the best of terms. And Bertie is always an easy target. Your father has been incredibly loyal to the King, but has not received many rewards for it. They took that as a sign of weakness as well. So if I were to put myself in their minds, I would suggest that they thought it would be easy to dispatch you, and as the most formidable member of the family due to your fame and popularity, it would thus be easier to sideline your father and your wife. And by sending you out to deal with Bertie, it was just possible that he’d end up tarnishing you with his reputation, instead of the other way around.”

“They underestimated us,” Granger concluded. “And they did so because of our own internal conflicts.”

“Yes,” Cavendish agreed. “And I did not even factor in Davina and your brother. They are unreliable at best, and their antics would seem to create an even better opportunity.”

“What was the prize?” Granger asked.

“If their plans had succeeded, Bertie would have been removed; Maidstone would have converted Amboyna into a fully integrated part of East India Company, but one that enriched not the company, but the pockets of the men who set this scheme into motion. You encountered their plan in Brazil, and wisely left that alone. They would have been fabulously wealthy, and Bertie would be disgraced, taking with him possibly your father, and maybe even the rest of your family.”

“Even me?” Granger asked.

“I think most of them concluded it was unlikely you would have survived the voyage,” Cavendish said sadly. “If Maidstone had been in charge of Amboyna when you arrived, as they’d originally planned, it is possible that you would not have left the island alive.”

“They would murder a King’s officer, and a peer of the realm?” Granger asked, outraged.

“When there is money and power on the line, I suspect they would,” Cavendish said soberly. “Personally, I am quite happy they did not succeed.”

“And who are these people?” Granger asked.

“The Guild,” Cavendish replied mysteriously.

Copyright © 2014 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

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Wow a twofer!

Another amazing chapter! Granger's luck this time in London seems much different than the last time. And now we have the "Guild" to wonder about.

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Thanks Mark for another wonderful installment of Granger and company.

 

I love this story. Today we get some insight into the politics and scheming that goes on behind the scenes, so to speak.

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On 01/15/2014 03:49 AM, Daddydavek said:
Wow a twofer!

Another amazing chapter! Granger's luck this time in London seems much different than the last time. And now we have the "Guild" to wonder about.

I think we can credit Caroline for that. She's evidently adamant that he receive a nice reception this time around. :-)
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On 01/15/2014 04:20 AM, JimCarter said:
Thanks Mark for another wonderful installment of Granger and company.

 

I love this story. Today we get some insight into the politics and scheming that goes on behind the scenes, so to speak.

I'm so glad you liked it. This really was a team effort!
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You are filling in the gaps and answering the questions we had, most pleasing (really, really), just don't stop. Arthurs' mysterious comment of meeting soon with other things to discuss, hmm? Then Cavendishs' last words 'The Guild', what does he know, who does he know of? These are things George really needs to find out about to be able to defend himself and his family. A truly grand chapter, thank you. Sadly you have given us a timing for the end (2 chapters). Thinking positively, this just means looking forward to a book 7 in the Bridgemont series. Thanks again.

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Such a contrast between this homecoming and the last one, but so goes life...

I'm savoring this version.

 

Then you go and throw a snake in it!

-What's this Guild?

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The twists and turns of 18th century politics make todays childish weeners look truly amateurish. Granger, while so good at the deringdo of the high seas and foreign ports is lucky to have such a useful coterie to look after him and his interests during his absences. Mark, i thoroghly enjoy the plots and characters of this story and look forward to the updates. Personally, while 911 is as well written as any story on this site, the characters just dont grab me like your Odyssey chraracters do. I suppose this could reflect more on me than you; is it suprising that haveing reached my 50'sI find the exploits of an all round (gay) masculine hero far more satisfying than the snivellings of spoilt 20 somethings!

That said, i am always up for a well written story and you have not failed me there yet!

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Aaaahh nice chapter... for it opens up a lot of possibilities for future chapters.

Mark... I was not really disappointed with your last chapters of Odyssey ... but... the character of George, his friends, his lovers and officers ...

in my opinion you usually make them much more alive when something... worthwhile/deep/threatening/exciting goes on.

Please do not see my reaction as being bored... But I think your writing gets better as you make it more complex. I think you can masterly shape characters and combine the conficts and longings...

Arthurs and Cavendish comments ...hmm... I think I see a beautifull future for some exiting new stories....

So now ... this Guild thing may be I hope will be a trigger for ....

As always keep writing

love H&M

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On 01/15/2014 05:19 AM, sandrewn said:
You are filling in the gaps and answering the questions we had, most pleasing (really, really), just don't stop. Arthurs' mysterious comment of meeting soon with other things to discuss, hmm? Then Cavendishs' last words 'The Guild', what does he know, who does he know of? These are things George really needs to find out about to be able to defend himself and his family. A truly grand chapter, thank you. Sadly you have given us a timing for the end (2 chapters). Thinking positively, this just means looking forward to a book 7 in the Bridgemont series. Thanks again.
Thanks for the review. I've thought about the book 7 scenario in my mind, but right now I'm trying to tie up loose ends.
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On 01/15/2014 06:01 AM, Stephen said:
Such a contrast between this homecoming and the last one, but so goes life...

I'm savoring this version.

 

Then you go and throw a snake in it!

-What's this Guild?

Hiss!!!

 

We find out about the Guild in the next chapter. I think Caroline gets credit for making sure this homecoming is much nicer than the last.

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On 01/15/2014 08:59 AM, Northern Dutch Guy said:
Aaaahh nice chapter... for it opens up a lot of possibilities for future chapters.

Mark... I was not really disappointed with your last chapters of Odyssey ... but... the character of George, his friends, his lovers and officers ...

in my opinion you usually make them much more alive when something... worthwhile/deep/threatening/exciting goes on.

Please do not see my reaction as being bored... But I think your writing gets better as you make it more complex. I think you can masterly shape characters and combine the conficts and longings...

Arthurs and Cavendish comments ...hmm... I think I see a beautifull future for some exiting new stories....

So now ... this Guild thing may be I hope will be a trigger for ....

As always keep writing

love H&M

Andy,

 

I think you're actually spot on with your analysis of the action easing up, but then again, this is the denouement of the story, so it's supposed to be that way. It's a winding down of a very long book, and a very long trip. But I'll try to toss in some excitement here at the end!

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Looks like Granger is giving up the battlefield of the seas for the battlefields of London politics. Hopefully Cavendish, Caroline and his father can give him the guidance needed.

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An Excellent Chapter. Of course aren't they all? And the formation of a new story arc is slowly appearing. And with it new intrigue. Now off to the forum to weave new questions and discuss the subtle nudges noted.

And I read through it 3 times because there was so much meat to be tasted.

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This is just the best story online period. I think the writing and plotting and storytelling is beyond first rate. The way Mark is able to draw us into the story and to care so much about each and every person in the saga is amazing.

 

I think George is just about as interesting and well rounded person as you can find in any story anywhere. He understands himself and those around him but he still knows that he needs to be able to rely on those that understand the actions going on to help him succeed. I have to say that he just continues to grow in interest the longer this story and saga goes on.

 

Caroline and George make a formidable couple not just because of George but maybe more so because of Caroline. She loves Granger and will do anything to protect him and his interest. She learns from her mistakes and rarely ever makes a misstep. Caroline knows what needs to be done and understands the machinations of not only the family and society but the navy and the other powerful interest as well.

 

Arthur and George are old friends and always will be. I am glad that they were able to have the conversation and do hope that Arthur continues to make his way in the world. I hope that he is able to hold onto Holmquist and can keep helping George and the others. His ability to overcome the opium usage without anyone helping him says a lot about his inner strength.

 

Cavendish is so much like Granger in some ways, just a little softer and a little more political. I hope they continue to delve into each others lives. I don't see Cavendish ever really being the one man in Granger's life but he will always be important to George.

 

I would be happy to have this story in the saga go to 100 chapters but Mark is always moving the story forward. Can't wait to see what happens next...

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At the beginning of this saga we had young Granger battle of Wilcox family because of Bertie. Now a more powerful foe is out there, the Guild. they thought George and his family were an easy target, however they were wrong. As we have seen George and his family are not without powerful friends, from the King on down. Hopefully they will go on to easier targets,who knows. This homecoming is so different. From Arthur to Winkler, Freddie to Caroline, the king to the Prince of Wales all happy to see the hero return. Well I must say Lord Arbor has done it up well too, as always. Thanks Mark.

 

 

PS My favorite part in this homecoming is the reaction between George and his faithful servent.It was so touching, and reminds us all that sometime the simple things, a hand or a hug can man so much.

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On 01/15/2014 10:04 AM, Kookie said:
Looks like Granger is giving up the battlefield of the seas for the battlefields of London politics. Hopefully Cavendish, Caroline and his father can give him the guidance needed.
You have to give George credit: he's a pretty trusting soul when it comes to those three. And they're pretty tuned in.
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On 01/15/2014 12:11 PM, ricky said:
An Excellent Chapter. Of course aren't they all? And the formation of a new story arc is slowly appearing. And with it new intrigue. Now off to the forum to weave new questions and discuss the subtle nudges noted.

And I read through it 3 times because there was so much meat to be tasted.

And we all know how much you like your meat. (SMILE)

 

Thanks for the review. I'm interested to see where this story arc takes me. Sometimes I feel like I'm just along for the ride.

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On 01/15/2014 12:32 PM, centexhairysub said:
This is just the best story online period. I think the writing and plotting and storytelling is beyond first rate. The way Mark is able to draw us into the story and to care so much about each and every person in the saga is amazing.

 

I think George is just about as interesting and well rounded person as you can find in any story anywhere. He understands himself and those around him but he still knows that he needs to be able to rely on those that understand the actions going on to help him succeed. I have to say that he just continues to grow in interest the longer this story and saga goes on.

 

Caroline and George make a formidable couple not just because of George but maybe more so because of Caroline. She loves Granger and will do anything to protect him and his interest. She learns from her mistakes and rarely ever makes a misstep. Caroline knows what needs to be done and understands the machinations of not only the family and society but the navy and the other powerful interest as well.

 

Arthur and George are old friends and always will be. I am glad that they were able to have the conversation and do hope that Arthur continues to make his way in the world. I hope that he is able to hold onto Holmquist and can keep helping George and the others. His ability to overcome the opium usage without anyone helping him says a lot about his inner strength.

 

Cavendish is so much like Granger in some ways, just a little softer and a little more political. I hope they continue to delve into each others lives. I don't see Cavendish ever really being the one man in Granger's life but he will always be important to George.

 

I would be happy to have this story in the saga go to 100 chapters but Mark is always moving the story forward. Can't wait to see what happens next...

Wow. Two great reviews in one day! You're on a roll. I really like how you contrast Cavendish with Granger. I think that's pretty accurate, but I think that Cavendish is also a little more fun and playful.

 

George is well-rounded. Sometimes I worry that he is too well-adjusted, almost too perfect, but he does have some quirks, some flaws.

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Great chapter. I love Freddie and George :lmao:. Aside from my glee over the two love birds Carlton House dynamics were particularly interesting. Glad to see George finally accepting/acknowledging his place amount his peers. Could this mysterious Guild be fodder to continue this tale or will it be fodder for the next book?

 

Continued praise for your excellent work, thanks.

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On 01/15/2014 06:27 PM, Miles Long said:
Great chapter. I love Freddie and George :lmao:. Aside from my glee over the two love birds Carlton House dynamics were particularly interesting. Glad to see George finally accepting/acknowledging his place amount his peers. Could this mysterious Guild be fodder to continue this tale or will it be fodder for the next book?

 

Continued praise for your excellent work, thanks.

Fodder for the next book
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How bittersweet that Odyssey is drawing to a close! Since it's going to take a couple of weeks for the next chapter to come out, I'm going to have to read the book again from the beginning! Thanks for this wonderful installment in the Bridgemont Series, Mark! It was truly good watching George develop and mature as a person. I think your line about how he feels like he belongs at Carlton House in his own right as opposed to mere toleration due to his station is revealing. I can't wait to read what adventures lie ahead for George & company.

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On 01/16/2014 11:03 AM, Rosicky said:
How bittersweet that Odyssey is drawing to a close! Since it's going to take a couple of weeks for the next chapter to come out, I'm going to have to read the book again from the beginning! Thanks for this wonderful installment in the Bridgemont Series, Mark! It was truly good watching George develop and mature as a person. I think your line about how he feels like he belongs at Carlton House in his own right as opposed to mere toleration due to his station is revealing. I can't wait to read what adventures lie ahead for George & company.
I'm glad you liked the chapter. I think George's feelings when he's at Carlton House are a sign of how much he's matured, since he really never "didn't belong" there.
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