Category: Charity


A Charitable Heart

I have endured a certain degree of fame for the rather humiliating story of heartbreak that led to my entering into the service of the Kingdom.

But that was neither the first, nor the worst.

Actually, they say the first is automatically the worst, do they not? That first wrenching twist that makes the heart realize that all those dreams of happily-ever-after are just that… dreams. Not real. Unrequited love is an evil unknown to a young heart who has experienced nothing but unbridled affection for all its life.

I was ten and a half. For those of you on Earth, that’s about the same age as a thirteen-year-old girl. His name was Roth, and he was exactly one day older than I.

Roth was not the handsomest or most popular boy, but I thought he was perfect. We had several classes together at school, and spent every free moment together.

…at school.

Of course, when I went home each evening, it was to the county seat, as my parents are the Counts and Contessas of Finborough. That didn’t mean I was completely sheltered… just… very sheltered. My social life consisted of events, with chaperones and schedules and a strict curfew. But when it was a school related event, Roth was there.

And then came my eleventh birthday. I was going to be allowed, for the first time, to have a separate party with the extended family, and then a smaller, more intimate party with just my friends. I wanted a small group. My addled adolescent brain thought it would be nice to have four boys and four girls; a perfect eight, exactly like an ideal marriage.

Looking back now, that was a very, very bad idea. A couple of my friends thought it was a terribly romantic gesture, and RSVP’d enthusiastically. But I found out later that others thought I was a pretentious brat, creating her own marriageable group.

I can’t say they were wrong. I did pick out friends whom I thought would make an ideal marriage of eight. I even did a little fantasizing about what it would be like when we all grew up and got married.

Roth didn’t turn down the invitation. He just avoided me. I’m not sure what happened when my parents’ scheduler contacted his parents and asked about whether or not he would attend, but my eleventh birthday turned into me and four friends (two of whom I almost did marry, but that’s the other story) having a nice fancy dinner, spending the evening talking about how horrid all the others were, and speculating about why they decided not to come.

It wasn’t long after that Roth became involved with an older boy and a couple of girls I didn’t know. It was like he was purposely removing himself from my company, making a point to create a public display of affection in his happy little foursome whenever I was near. I wish we’d had some real understanding, that he had viciously dumped me in a passionate display of anger. But all I had was a broken idea… a happily ever after that had apparently just been in my own mind.

This story was written for the Write On Edge prompt:

This week we’d like you to explore romantic heartbreak. For you fiction writers, here’s a chance to really delve into the psyche of your character. For you non-fiction folk, well, maybe it’s into your psyche you must delve. We all remember that first love, just like we all remember when our hearts broke for the first time.

Write a piece – 600 word limit – about the first heartbreak your character or you experienced.

This story isn’t related to any of my others. I often use Charity Kochsato, the Violet Duchess of Drakeshead, when I have a prompt like this.

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-8s

Worldbuilding literally and figuratively. The globe of Kingdom Come is almost done...

This one was written for the Write On Edge Prompt “A Season of Change”.

I decided to write it as if Charity (a character I frequently use) was writing a memoir, knowing full well that the audience reading that memoir would be a bunch of 21st century Earth people (us!)

My apologies for not being able to do as many comments on other participants blog’s as I usually do… I’m doing the 3DayNovel challenge this weekend!

Our seasons on Kingdom Come are longer than yours on Earth. I know that different countries in your era handle school semesters in different ways, but Kingdom Come is a unified planet and all the duchies handle school seasons, or quarters, the same way. We have four school quarters every year, and they match the seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

I apologize. AmyBeth would call what I just did there an “info dump.” But, I am not a writer, I am a Duchess.  However I will tell you about one very important season in my life.

It is our custom that, when a young person is an adolescent (not a teenager… a thirteen-year-old on Earth would only be ten counted in our years) they take a season or two off from school and do a sabbatical. These are usually highly organized, and may resemble your summer camp on Earth. The purpose is not only to let the young people take a break from their regular routine to experience something that interests them, but also to concentrate on social skills and form relationships.

I was a good student, and I was able to take my first sabbatical season when I was still quite young, just barely ten years old. All the girls talked about how wonderful it was to work with the norses at one particular camp, so I chose to go there even though the beasts scare… well, perhaps not scare, but they intimidate me. You see, norses are like horses (we have both) but much bigger. They can easily carry two full grown passengers, or pull loads that are much too heavy for a horse.

They really are beautiful, majestic creatures. When we first went into the barn to meet the norses, I fed a sugar cube to one they said was a very sweet natured mare. But when I didn’t have a second sugar cube, she planted her head against my chest and shoved… hard. I was momentarily lifted off the ground, then I stumbled backwards before falling on my rear end.

At camp, no one cared that I was the daughter of the Counts and Contessas of the County Finborough in the Duchy of Fallcastle. They might know, but they didn’t care. I was just one of the girls. But they helped me up anyway, and asked me if I was all right. It wasn’t the learned politeness I’d grown to expect; it was genuine concern not just for the bruises on my behind, but for the fact that I was quite embarrassed.

It was camaraderie.

It felt good.

I was not the first girl to get up and ride one of the things. In fact, the only times I ever rode at all were with an experienced rider in front of me holding the reins. I found other ways to participate. Did we forget the blankets? I’d go get them. Did someone get hurt and need a friend to take them to the nurse? I’d be the one to go.

I never felt put-upon by any of this. Just the opposite. I felt fulfilled. I had a gift for helping people, a gift that I eventually turned into a profession.

I did two more sabbaticals before graduation, and they were all quite different. But one thing remained the same, no matter what group I was in…

I help people. It is what I was meant to do.

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-7W

Focus

Alyssa Campanella as Charity Kochsato (via GlamGalz)

This story was written for The Red Dress Club prompt “Let’s get all steamy up in here and write about sex. But you know us. There’s a twist. You can’t write about the act. I don’t want to read about any heaving bosoms or girded manhood (please tell me someone else giggled besides me). There are so many other possibilities. And I hope you have fun finding them. Limit is 600 words. It can be fiction or non-fiction. Come back here and link up Friday!!”

I love to write about Charity Kochsato, the Violet Duchess of Drakeshead. Most of her life’s story is running around in my head, but it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a book so I use her for numerous short stories. This one takes place during her engagement.

Charity had no idea why Royal kissed her. There was nothing inappropriate about the gesture; after all they were engaged to be married.

But the timing was not exactly convenient. What she had anticipated as a simple peck, a goodbye after the conversation they’d shared had momentarily turned just a bit…

“…and of course there are contingencies in place for these circumstances, but I’m sure you’ve already been thinking of that.” said the White Queen, sipping delicately from a small china cup.

No, your highness, I’m wondering what your daughter will look like naked…

“Yes your highness. Of course. I’ve been looking at what the neighboring duchies have in place, and we should be able to integrate seamlessly with them.”

“Oh, good then…”

What had Royal said about our other fiancees?

Charity inwardly shook her head, trying to clear her head of amorous thoughts, though outwardly she simply sipped her tea while keeping her attention focused on the Queen, the ruler who had arranged her marriage as well as the appointment of nobility that went with it. But her mind kept slipping back to that kiss, and to the wonderful, giggly conversation they’d shared.

Charity had met Royal on numerous occasions throughout their childhoods. As they were both daughters of nobility, the children were frequently thrown together while their parents talked business and politics. Charity had always been just a bit in awe of the beautiful princess, and when she received the offer of the duchy she had been glad to see at least one familiar face amongst her betrotheds.

When Charity traveled to Skytower to officially meet the Kings and Queens as a Duchess in Waiting, Royal welcomed her with an enthusiastic embrace. It was far different from every previous meeting where Charity had simply been one of many companions for the day. Royal had invited her into her own private quarters, which were already being packed away in anticipation of their upcoming nuptials. They talked and giggled and gossiped about the other Dukes and Duchesses in Waiting.

What had Royal said about the Dukes?

One was so far on the homosexual end of the spectrum, it was unlikely he’d enjoy being with any of the wives sexually. Two others had no real indication of having romantic entanglements at all… what kind of sex life were they all going to have? At least Royal seemed to be balanced. That kiss…

“…which of course isn’t always true, but in this case I believe it is.” continued the Queen. Charity managed to nod and make appropriate noises. She was relieved when the Queen simply continued on, because Charity was so busy wondering about her future husbands’ amorous intentions she had completely missed everything Royal’s mother was saying.

Charity rededicated herself to taking in everything the Queen was telling her.

And one of the other Duchesses is far on the heterosexual end of the spectrum?

Charity hadn’t been in an intimate relationship since that horrible, embarrassing realization that the relationship she thought she had really didn’t exist at all. It had been too long. But when she dedicated herself to her true calling, she had avoided having any kind of romantic entanglements at all.

She missed sex.

She thought about that kiss… that first real kiss with a woman who would soon be her wife. It was such a lovely kiss, full of so much promise…

“…of course I won’t share the details with you now, I want that to be a surprise.”

Charity smiled and laughed, which must have been appropriate enough because the Queen smiled back and extended both her hands out. Charity took the Queen’s hands, and received a kiss on both cheeks from the woman who was her ruler, and would soon be her mother-in-law.

Charity just hoped there would be some kind of official transcript of the meeting she could refer to later.

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-79

One of favorite inspirations... I've always seen Forrest as looking like Christian Slater.

I wrote this for The Red Dress Club:

This week’s prompt asked you to have you or your character find a forgotten letter or card from someone important in your life – whether good or bad. What does it say? How does it affect you or your character? What is done with it?

I have posted several short stories featuring Charity Kochsato, the Violet Duchess of Drakeshead before. Please don’t feel obligated to go looking for the previous thread… there is none! I have most of Charity’s life floating around in my brain, and I often use her experiences to fill the various prompts or story ideas I have. My hope is that each piece will stand on its own enough that the reader can understand and enjoy the story without feeling like they are missing some important backstory. Sometimes the story is from the beginning of her marriage, sometimes it is in later years. It’s not always apparent exactly when in her life the story takes place.

The Duchess sifted through the family’s messages, deciding which should be filed away and which could be discarded. Sometimes, several messages became stuck together, which was odd for a virtual box with no physicality, but sticky was still the best word for finding one message added onto the end of another for no apparent reason.

With eight spouses comprising the noble Duchy of Drakeshead, communication could be complicated. As the Violet Duchess, Charity’s load was currently the lightest, allowing her the flexibility to assist her husbands and wives when they were overloaded. She took it on herself to take care of some of the more mundane tasks, like cleaning out old messages.

I must attend the Serog-Hope Benefit Auction and Forwarding Ceremony on the eighteenth. Please oh please do not make me go alone! Is there anyone who can accompany me that night? Wrote Lawson, the Black Duke. She had answered that message weeks ago and attended the event on her husband’s arm. But as she was about to send the message into virtual nothingness, she noticed that there was another stuck to it.

Sweet Charity, it began. She saw that it was from Forrest, the Green Duke, dated shortly after their wedding. After our first day together as husband and wife, I thought I had married a truly evil woman. She giggled at that. After discovering that Redford and Braunwyn did not care for women sexually, she had been feeling insecure about her new marriage’s romantic side. Poor Forrest had endured her testing as they were closed together in a sky glider for the day, seeing their new duchy from the air. She sat between his legs, and kept finding excuses to lean forward or squirm with her derrière pressed against his groin. She wanted to arouse him. She wanted the reassurance that she would not be disappointed that night.

Charity smiled at the memory. Her new husband had confronted her privately when they stopped for lunch. Although initially angry, he listened patiently to her rather absurd explanation. He assured her that he appreciated women’s bodies enthusiastically, and then she proved to him that she was not a tease.

Funny how their attendants all seemed to know when to make themselves scarce.

But after our honeymoon night together, I began to appreciate just how sweet and loving you are. You are giving and gracious and beautiful and I am more grateful than I can ever express that you are now my wife.

Charity read the rest of her husband’s sweet words, and felt a flutter deep inside her. Examining the message tags, she figured that he had never actually sent it, and she wondered why.

The corners of her mouth crept upwards, as they had ever since she had come from her doctor’s visit a few hours before. She would have to ask Forrest about it later that night. She had some good news to share, and he would be the perfect husband to celebrate with.

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-5e

Charity: Being Wanted

This story is another glimpse in the life of Charity Kochsato, the Violet Duchess of Drakeshead. I actually wrote this years ago, but tonight I was strangely moved to re-write it from memory. This is one of those scenes that I know happens in her life, but I’m not sure if I can ever fit all the individual scenes into a manageable story format. So, fine. I’ll tell bits and pieces as I feel moved. Perhaps that is the way it was all meant to be after all.

Charity felt immense satisfaction and wonder as he filled her and then began to move inside her with a motion she found intensely pleasurable.

Wonder… because Redford, the husband whom all four wives clearly understood did not care to have a naked woman in his bed, who only participated in conjugal relations because it was his duty as a husband and a duke to be a father to their children in both flesh and spirit, and because he considered it his personal responsibility as a husband to pay attention to his spouses both in and out of the bedroom…

Redford wanted her.

She suspected it had something to do with the letter he had received that evening.

She knew it had everything to do with the fact that she was the only spouse at home when he received it.

She wondered if it had anything to do with his old lover, the one who was dying.

The man who had left him, without telling Redford he was dying.

Charity clung to her husband, wanting him in every way, wanting to revel in this brief moment of being wanted.

Charity needed to be wanted.

She was also adept at figuring out what other people wanted and needed and then filling that need. She was a Violet Duchess. That was practically her job description.

Redford’s lips grazed her neck as as his hard, masculine hips drove against her yielding feminine curves. For a man who did not particularly care for women in a sexual way, he certainly did know what they liked. And it was not a generic know it all skill that he had, but rather a particular, logical figuring out of exactly what each of his spouses needed and wanted in bed. Logical almost to the point of being impersonal; ironic for such a personal subject.

Royal had been the first wife to feel the snub. It was not so much that he ignored her; he didn’t. He was very polite and solicitous. But as soon as they discovered that he had impregnated Royal on the very first night of their honeymoon, it was as if he checked her off his to-do list. Royal, a daughter of the Kings and Queens and Princess of the Kingdom and now the White Duchess of Drakeshead, was used to people fawning over her. She was not at all accustomed to the polite indifference he showed her, especially when she carried his offspring within her.

Half of Charity’s mind sighed with the pleasure of the strokes and caresses Redford was giving her. The other half of her mind sought an answer to what the enigma that was her husband wanted. The Red Duke was difficult in that he made very few demands of his spouses. He was one of them, and yet he moved at a distance as if keeping some sacred part of himself private and separate.

It had been with great reluctance that he finally shared with his new spouses the simple fact of his previous relationship. The other seven in the duchy had been willing or even eager to trade stories of their past loves and losses, but not Redford. Although they did not pressure him, he did eventually let it be known that he had been in a very loving and committed relationship with a man for a number of years. And then one day, his lover left him. There had been some kind of feeble excuse about Redford being too controlling or working too many hours, but that was not the real reason for the downfall of the relationship.

Redford reached just the right rhythm and Charity keened a low moan of pleasure. “Charity…” he whispered, and it was the first word he had spoken that evening. When she had approached him in their private quarters, cautious because he seemed to be lost in his own thoughts after receiving a letter on actual paper by special courier, he had not said a word. He had simply shoved the letter inside his suit jacket, stood, and kissed her hard. Charity, ever eager to please, had responded instantly. She sensed he did not want to talk. He craved a physical connection, and she gave of herself gladly.

Even in his sudden need, the foreplay had been thorough. Solicitous, always solicitous. Polite and considerate. That was Redford. The oldest of the eight spouses, the one who never needed anything from anyone. Charity strove to figure out what it was he needed, even in the midst of making love. At a time when she would usually lose herself in the abandonment of sex, she strove to be solicitous in a different way.

His only word had been spoken when she had expressed genuine pleasure at what he was doing. That was the key… Redford had to know he was pleasing her.

Charity let go a little more, not having to fake the sounds that told her husband she was enjoying his touch. She freely expressed every shiver of delight, taking what he was giving and happily giving of herself.

The back of her mind dwelt on the question…

If his long hours at work or his controlling personality had not been the downfall of the relationship, then what had?

Sex?

Was it that his lover had been dissatisfied with their sexual relationship, and left him for that reason alone?

Charity shuddered and for a moment all logical thought was gone as she felt her body glide swiftly up towards the climax she knew and loved. Without an ounce of pretense, she arched and gasped and chanted “My husband, my love…” as he emptied himself into her. In all the times they had ever made love, she had never felt such a release from him. It was as if he was letting go of something, releasing in a literal sense some thought or feeling he had been holding on to. He had thought it was a lifeline, when instead it was something dragging him down.

His solicitous self returned almost immediately. He held her, stroked her hair, and kissed her gently as they lay in post-coital bliss. She wished desperately he would share with her what it was he had to let go, but she knew if she spoke, she risked ruining any chance of him opening up on his own.

She fell asleep, but woke when she realized he was crying. But he must have realized she was awake, because he immediately stifled himself. They still lay entwined. The stickiness was becoming uncomfortable, but Charity didn’t care. He needed her. She could not bear to pull away in either body or spirit when what she’d been hoping for ever since the day of their wedding was finally happening.

He needed her…

He actually needed her.

When daylight reached the bed, she woke to find him still near her, although he was freshly showered and wearing a comfortable robe.

“I loved him too much. That’s why he left me.” he said quietly.

Charity blinked.

The letter lay on the bed, exactly halfway between them.

She reached for it, looking to him for approval as her fingers touched the paper.

He gave it.

The words were poetic and long winded, but they boiled down to one hard truth.

Redford had loved him too much.

When his lover discovered the fact of his disease, the fact that he would soon die regardless of any medical intervention, he had kept that fact from Redford. He knew that Redford, the doctor, the healer, the fixer-of-all-that-is-wrong would stop at nothing to extend his life in any way possible.

Redford’s lover had wanted a more peaceful ending.

He had not wanted to fight.

…and he had known that Redford would never, ever accept such a surrender.

So he left.

Charity curled up in her husband’s capable, healing embrace. She let his spirit take care of hers, and with neither words nor outright action, she affirmed what they had found to be true.

He needed to love.

She needed to be loved.

They were meant to be.

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-4J

This short story takes place on Kingdom Come. It’s not directly related to the novels; it is just another little glimpse into the life of Charity Kochsato, the Violet Duchess of Drakeshead.

Charity held Royal’s hair back as the small breakfast she’d tried to eat came right back up. They’d both put on some weight since the wedding, but whereas it turned out the Princess’ extra kilos came from pregnancy, Charity was simply getting fat.

“Charity…” Royal whispered after spitting out all she could. “Would you come back to bed with me?”

Charity looked up at the two maids who were hovering near. One for her, one for her wife. “Ari, please bring us each some ginger ale and some dry toast. Sorcha, please tell Rondelle and Patricia that both Royal and I will be indisposed for the morning.”

The maids scurried off, and Charity helped her nauseated wife rinse her mouth. They went to Royal’s bedchamber instead of the large group master bedroom. It was smaller, and more intimate, and Royal had her own bathroom close by.

Charity held her wife gently. She knew that Royal hated for anyone to see her like this, but she made exceptions for those closest to her. Especially Charity. When Royal was tired of putting on the show that was The White Duchess of Drakeshead, Princess of the Kingdom, it was Charity she hid behind.

Charity didn’t mind. In fact, she loved the fact that Royal wanted her. As children, they had met several times whenever Charity’s parents, who were the County of Finborough in the Duchy of Fallcastle, had business in the capitol. Royal, as the daughter of the Kingdom, led a rather sheltered and pampered life. Charity had been ecstatic the first time the princess singled her out. Charity was just a few years older, and Royal had asked her to reach some toy on a shelf that was just out of reach. It was a small gesture, but Charity had been warned to be on her very best behavior while visiting the royal family, and she was eager to please in any way she could.

When they were both older, Charity had been honored to be selected as the counselor assigned to work with the group of girls that included the young princess. Royal had chosen to do a sabbatical semester in Fallcastle, at a camp that specialized in the history of the Kingdom. It was the perfectly appropriate kind of camp for a princess to choose, especially a princess who was looking at a career in politics, following in the footsteps of her mother, the White Queen. Charity had kept an eye out for the younger girl during the semester. She did not ignore her other charges, but she understood that, as a princess, Royal had to live up to certain expectations, and a higher level of scrutiny.

Charity had always admired how well Royal bore that scrutiny. She was the ideal White Duchess, able to hold her composure under the harshest pressure.

Royal didn’t look very composed at the moment. She was a mess. She was snuggled against Charity’s breast, trying to breathe evenly and settle her queasy stomach. Charity was able to coax her to take just a little ginger ale and dry toast, and soon Royal was sleeping again.

The Black Duke snuck into the bedroom, and Charity looked up at their husband with a smile. He smiled back, and waved Charity’s link in the air as if to say she was needed elsewhere. He mouthed the words “I’ve got her” and blew a kiss to Charity as she quietly padded out of the room.

After dressing as quickly as she could and still be recognizably noble, she met with Patricia, her assistant. Together with Rondelle, Royal’s assistant, they figured out which duties could be shuffled around between the duchesses. Given her position as the Violet Duchess, her schedule was much more flexible than her spouses’. Royal had a series of outings planned to meet with the county nobility of the neighboring duchy, as well as visits to their own counties. Those, Charity could do for her. They were mostly meet and greets, and one duchess was as good as another. Of course, Royal would have been scouting candidates to fill the upcoming seats in their own counties, but Charity could fill her in on everyone she met each night.

Royal expressed immense relief and appreciation that Charity was taking over the tour for her.

And for Charity, she found an unexpected benefit. With all the walking, touring, and talking instead of eating at all the formal functions, the weight she had put on since the wedding slowly started to melt away again.

The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1rMYd-4D