The Duchess observed the consort closely, with interest but not without sympathy, when she noted the young woman's shoulders tense at the King's kiss - she hadn't wanted it, and the diplomatic smile on Francesca's face soured until Philip released her. Her distaste of the action might have been jealousy, or perhaps not, but either way, it was fleeting.
Sarnai: "That is kind of you, m'lady," "This man has an impressive talent, though. I'm sure any of the duchies would be pleased to have him." "My King, I would prefer he stay nearby, so I could easily commission him again . . ."
The dismissal of Francesca's offer was not insignificant, and the Duchess's head tilted in annoyance when she was leveled with the other Dukes and Duchesses, none of whom bothered to make themselves available when a king's request was made…
Servant: "If it pleases the consort and His Majesty," "There's a carpenter's workshop in the Artisan's District that… closed recently, due to failure to pay taxes. I believe His Majesty has the deed on his desk and could sign it over now, to give this talented craftsman a place to work a mere stroll from the castle walls."
Philip: "An excellent idea." "You know where to find this deed, yes?" "Take me to it. I shall sign it immediately, for the one who has brought the brightest smile to my consort's face today,"
When Philip dipped to give his consort another kiss before his departure, Francesca cringed. Poor thing. If the King spared Francesca a glance upon his departure, she returned it only with a judgmental half-glare.
In Philip's absence, Francesca approached Sarnai, pausing several paces back to offer a low, slow curtsy in the traditional formality. "Your majesty," she greeted, her term of address assuming royalty of the consort before it had been officially declared. Her ensuing words had every air of calculation, but even so, they were wholly authentic. "You could not be lovelier. How is the child?"