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Sir Geoffrey Reflects on the Royal “Request”

user image 2014-09-10
By: Serenek Timeless
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If Sir Percival Timeless were still alive he would know exactly what to do. Geoffrey often missed the sane, sensible approach his late business partner took to decision making and as much as his companionship. Come to think of it, he also missed Sir Percival's ability to judge character and understand the motivations of the people they dealt with. And Sir Percival's late wife, Elizabeth, however blunt and outspoken she had been, could manage property and oversee construction like no man he had ever met. Their daughter, Sere, had certainly inherited all of their better qualities. How sensible and able she was. It was no wonder that he had been able to leave her to manage this beautiful little island in the Bay of Naples and have things come out well. Too well, perhaps.

One thing was for certain - and he made a particular note to speak to Sere about this - she was not a girl anymore and was much too old to be calling him Uncle Geoffrey. That was cute enough when she was little and needed a name by which to address her father's business partner. But he was not her biological uncle. And she was not even his legal ward any longer because she had reached the age of majority. Legally she was his business partner, for heaven's sake. And that made it an additional bother to try to find her a husband among the noble houses of Europe - someone who would come into possession of half the firm of Edwardstone and Timeless; someone he could work with; someone who Sere would agree to marry. It was easy enough to generate interest in her since if her money was not enough her looks always did the trick. She had turned into a very pretty young woman, and was delightful company. She understood the family business. But she was damnably stubborn about who she would consider marrying and had more than once turned her back on a potential suitor he had chosen. This issue was simply too complex to think about so he put that it aside for now because it was giving him a headache. He would speak to her only about not calling him "Uncle Geoffrey."


An early morning walk around the Rocca Sorrentina would clear his mind and let him see, first-hand and undisturbed, how things had fared in his absence. When he had first invested in the island, the young Elswit ruler had come to him wanting funding to refurbish the Villa and construct the magnificent series of waterfalls and pools that had become the island's signature. He understood from Sere that it had been necessary for her and the Professore to oversee some reconstruction recently to correct a few design flaws, but really the whole thing was quite spectacular.


He found the Professore's assistant, Don Alfonso, in the Accademia sorting records. He was a quiet fellow and spoke English with a liberal sprinkling of Italian thrown in, but could wax eloquent on the most abstruse topics if asked the right question. Certainly nothing on the island escaped Don Alfonso's careful eye and record keeping.


Don Alfonso had nothing but good to say about the workings of the Council of Magistrates: how they had carefully nurtured the island's tourist and commercial trades and expanded the vineyards and honey businesses. Indeed Sir Geoffrey's own observations confirmed the commercial success of the island.


Tiring a bit from his walk, Sir Geoffrey sat down to review the sequence of events for the umpteenth time in his own mind. The firm of Edwardstone and Timeless was now the legal owner of Rocca Sorrentina. The documents he and Sere had presented to King Ferdinand and Queen Marie Carolina had secured the royal deed of ownership. But the question of how to handle the governorship of the island arose at the very first dinner he and Sere had at the palace. Sir Geoffrey was not sure it had been wise of Sere to blurt out that no one on the island, and certainly not the Council of Magistrates, had so much as set eyes on Colonello Pompeo Vecchio who had been the putative Royal Governor for several years. A few days later, after some inquiries, which included a personal visit by Prime Minister Sir John Acton to the old Colonello himself, it became clear that the redoubtable Pompeo Vecchio, hero of numerous battles in the past, was descending into his senile dotage and had altogether forgotten that he had been appointed governor of Rocca Sorrentina.

It had been quite a surprise to Sir Geoffrey to be summoned before the Queen and told that he, Geoffrey Edwardstone, loyal subject of King George III of England, would be appointed Royal Governor of Rocca Sorrentina. The queen, it seemed, was much interested and a bit amused by this new idea that regions could be adequately administered by a Council of Magistrates composed of ordinary people rather than by a nobleman. It was, she said, a personal request of him to act as governor, and she made it clear how terribly useful it would be to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily to have Sir Geoffrey close at hand. Sere had been delighted with all this, though he himself had not been pleased at all.

What the Queen means, Sir Geoffrey had groused to Sir John later, is that it will be terribly useful to have the financial resources of Edwardstone and Timeless close at hand. I dont see how I can continue to do business elsewhere if I am stuck on a little island in the Bay of Naples all the time.

In reply, Sir John Action had put it all in perspective, "Well you own it, why not govern it too? You can't turn down the Queen. And anyhow, old Pompeo Vecchio has conclusively demonstrated that Rocca Sorrentinas governor need not actually be there to govern it, hasnt he? Just let things continue as they have been."

Perhaps Sir John was right. There would have to be one more trip back to Naples to receive the sash and the Royal Governor's Seal. There would be a proclamation of appointment and some celebratory folderol, and then Sir Geoffrey could come and go as he pleased. Of course he would have to leave Sere on the island indefinitely to continue to work with the other magistrates. This thought made him frown. Their just-concluded business trip reminded him that she was wonderful company and had good business judgment, both quite valuable in a traveling companion and business partner. He could certainly use her skills in other ventures. What's more, it would really be so much easier to find her a husband if he could take her with him. Now his headache was starting to come back, which made him very cross.

There must be something quite magical about the ocean breeze on a warm summer day on a little island in the Bay of Naples because, suddenly, the perfect solution came to him. Yes! That's exactly what he would do assuming Sere was agreeable.

Candace Ducatillon
10 Sep 2014 10:33:48AM @candace-ducatillon:

A most captivating read, and wonderfully illustrated ~ the anticipation builds for the next chapter.

Stephanie Mesler
11 Sep 2014 07:21:00AM @stephanie-mesler:

Perhaps Lady Sere will be interested in governing the island herself? She certainly has the skills and talent. How could she make that happen, I wonder?

Lady Leena Fandango
11 Sep 2014 09:56:44AM @lady-leena-fandango:

Brilliant post Lady Sere, I look forward to more! :))

Tiamat Windstorm von Hirvi
12 Sep 2014 11:11:33AM @tiamat-windstorm-von-hirvi:

Hm...considering the politics of Naaples and Sicily, this appointment could post Sir Geoffrey a more cumbersome range of challenges than those presented merely by La Rocca. His suspicions about the convenience of his corporate resources might be only the beginning of it.

Tiamat Windstorm von Hirvi
12 Sep 2014 03:28:53PM @tiamat-windstorm-von-hirvi:

And please ignore the two glaring typos in my previous post!