Discussions of Reality

JP with mdman and Cindy

May 11th, 1889
Late morning

In the library of Elizabeth's home, was a separate area with shorter shelves and dozens of children's books. Some in English, some in French, some in Russian. There were books that were English on one line and one of the other languages on the other. About five were Latin. There were books on all sorts of topics, and several storybooks. Elizabeth and her parents, fortunately, had never thought to get rid of them. The other fortunate thing was someone, Elizabeth suspected Harold, had thought to bring out of the attic, Elizabeth’s old children's table and chairs and clean them up. Which were just the right size for Maria.

Maria ran over to some of the French storybooks and soon enough was engrossed in a literary world of her own, Elizabeth mentioned she would be in her office if the girl needed her. It was met with a wave, Maria's head never lifting up from the book.

On her way out she ran into Harold, who bowed upon greeting her.

"Thank you for setting up the table and chairs for the children." Elizabeth voice was spoke. "Maria is engrossed, already."

"Head in a book, reminds me very much of a six year old I used to know." Harold smiled.

"Yes, I did spend a lot of time with my head in books." Elizabeth smiled as well. "Could check on her in a while. Make sure she eats lunch."

"Of course, Lady Elizabeth." Harold nodded.

"I am going to my office. Please send one of the servants to fetch Mr. Cronk." Elizabeth said. "Also, I left two books on the main table for Miss Ipsum, please make sure she gets them."

"Of course," with a bow, Harold headed off.

Elizabeth made it to her office and sat down behind her desk, as her mind tried to come up with the best way to approach the subject of his designs on Lorem with the Orc.

When the maid came for Cronk, the irc was sitting in the high-back chair in his room, glancing at pictures of Paris inside a periodical. The Eiffel Tower seemed tall, even for Cronk. He wondered how Lorem must feel standing below it.

Ah, Lorem! Cronk’s Pretty Flower. Soon Cronk would be back at the expo, tracking down Lorem’s father to formally request to court Pretty Flower. Just the thought brought a peaceful smile to Cronk’s face. He truly was content. Not only was he on a team, but Cronk was heart-struck.

“Monsieur Cronk…” the maid said as she knocked and opened the door.

“Just Cronk,” the Orc insisted. He wasn’t much higher in status than the maid. He already acknowledged to Lady Elizabeth that he’d most likely be in the streets if it was not for her generosity.

“Oui!” the maid acknowledged. “Lady Elizabeth requests an audience with you in her office.”

“Thank you,” Cronk affirmed. As the maid began to back out, Cronk held out a massive hand. “Wait!” he insisted. “What Cronk call you?”

The maid hesitated. It wasn’t necessary for a servant to be called by name. She simply shook her head and Cronk furrowed his brow. As she saw the serious look, she bowed.

“I am Camille,” she meekly stated.

“No bow,” Cronk insisted. “Cronk thank Cam…” Cronk couldn’t remember how to pronounce the rest of her name. He started to become frustrated.

She looked up and smiled. “Cam is fine, Cronk.”

Cronk’s frustration turned to a chuckle. He nodded and Camille exited, closing my the door behind her.

Cronk stood from the chair, wondering what task the Lady Elizabeth had for him. Perhaps he could work going to the expo along the way.

Hurriedly, Cronk walked to the office. The door was slightly open, so Cronk looked inside and asked, “The Lady Boss want Cronk?”

Elizabeth met Cronk with a soft smile. "Yes, Cronk," trying very hard to not call him Mr. Cronk as per his wishes. "Please close the door behind you and have a seat, if you wish." Elizabeth gestured to a new chair in her office much more accommodating to an Orc size. If Cronk noticed there was also now a small step stool to make it easier for Lorem to get into one of the chairs. "There is something we need to discuss."

Cronk’s eyes followed Lady Elizabeth’s hand to see a seat made specifically for him. He nodded and walked to the chair. Passing the small step-stool, Cronk smiled, realizing whom it was for.

Cronk sat in the chair. Taking a cue from other men, such as the Good Doctor and Frenchie, he had witness, Cronk attempted to cross his legs. His knee stuck out in a right ankle, bumping the glass window of a hutch, breaking it.

Cronk pulled his knee from the hole in the glass. He gave a sheepish smile. “Cronk sorry!”

Elizabeth closed her eyes for a moment,took a deep breath. "It was an accident. It is alright. There was nothing of value in that hutch." Taking a mental note to move the hutch and replace the window.

"Now, Cronk. It has been brought to my attention that you have certain - feelings - towards Miss Ipsum." Elizabeth’s voice was gentle, but her tone rather serious. In no way was she being dismissive of Cronk’s feelings, but the matter had to be addressed. "Is that correct?"

She certainly believed Lorem regarding the matter but she did want to hear Cronk’s side of things.

Cronk’s grin turned to a broad smile. “Cronk really like Pretty Flower. She let Cronk blow up things. Pretty Flower gave Cronk toy flower. Toy remind Cronk of Pretty Flower. Cronk go to expo to ask Pretty Flower father?”

He was certain this was a good idea. Pretty Flower must like Cronk as much as he did her.

Elizabeth saw the smile on Cronk's face and her heart sank a little for the Orc. She had to be direct but it was difficult. "Do you understand the purpose of courting? You know it's to lead to marriage and children?" She was not that familiar with Orc culture so just trying to make sure their ideas were the same

Cronk placed a forefinger to his chin as he thought. Cronk hadn’t thought of marriage. He had wanted to spend as much time as he could with Pretty Flower. If the love blossomed, then yes, marriage would be next, he assumed.

“Orcs not used to court. They announce intent and marry,” Cronk admitted. “Cronk want be right. Don’t want wrong.”

"I see, in most other races, courting is to lead to marriage." Elizabeth got up and walked to the front of her desk so she was closer to Cronk. "For this reason the Order has strict rules about such things. It is part of the reason most Order members are not married."

Cronk looked very thoughtful. He thought of the members. None appeared to be married. Of course, most were young. Could it be that have not met the one for them?

Quinn wasn’t married. This was mostly because Quinn said he “didn’t want to settle down.” Cronk thought it would be nice to have someone beside of him for the rest of his life. If both were on the team, that would be good, wouldn’t it?

“Both on team,” Cronk began. “So good, right?”

Elizabeth sighed, "No, unfortunately it is not that simple. You need permission, from the Baron, because we work under him. And as much as I hate to mention this, an Orc and Gnome courting would draw a lot of attention because it is not common in society. The Baron would never approve it. Dating outside of one's own race is not that common in general, in the Order its practically unheard of." Elizabeth was sympathetic towards Cronk.

Cronk hadn’t thought that because they were different races, people would not agree that it was appropriate. He thought a moment, the gears within his mind churning.

“It not matter to Cronk,” he replied. “Many think Cronk not belong away from home. Would say Orc not belong on team. The Lady Elizabeth too good to Orc. But Lady Elizabeth stand for good.”

In his mind, Cronk knew what he was saying. It didn’t matter to him what others thought. Many people thought orcs didn’t belong in a cultured society. However, Lady Elizabeth was generous enough to accept Cronk for who he was.

Elizabeth had really wanted Cronk to just accept that the Baron wouldn't approve and move on, she should have known better. Apparently, this was going to be far more difficult, so time to be less discreet about the matter. "It matters though. Maybe, not to you. But it matters to the Order. It likely is going to matter to Lorem's father. It will matter to every person you pass on the street." Elizabeth was just telling the truth. "And what happens - courting, marriage. - do you have any idea how difficult it is for a female gnome to have the child of an Orc. Actually, all the cases I have read have been of a male gnome and female Orc and even those are rare because it's difficult. I would imagine it might be dangerous for a female gnome." Because Elizabeth didn't know of any female gnomes having the child of an Orc, she really didn't know but it was a guess. "You need to consider every aspect of this. Courting is serious business."

Cronk took some time to think. He had weighed 1.78 stone at birth. He wasn’t sure how much Lorem weighed. He often thought it was wrong to ask a lady her weight. He had, of course, lifted Lorem. As he thought, Cronk assumed she most likely weighed less than 5 stone. This meant that if Lorem had been with child carrying Cronk, she’d be carrying a third of her weight. Would she be able to deliver someone like Cronk?

Cronk sighed at the realization. He doubted if even an Eldren or human, much less a gnome could carry an orc child.

“What Cronk to do?” Cronk sincerely asked.

"Frankly? You drop the idea of courting Lorem." Elizabeth paused. "We have only been a team for a few days. You have not even known each other that long. Get to know Lorem as a friend and teammate. If the gods deem it to be, no matter what it will but courting now, is just not what can happen."

Cronk quickly stated, “Cronk not want to hurt Pretty Flower.”

Again, Cronk thought. What was he to do? Cronk had gotten used to intimacy with females when he worked with Quinn. Cronk thought it would be nice to be with one whom he really liked instead of those people tended to frown upon. Besides, Cronk had already determined where he would be directing his earnings. It wasn’t for intimacy. He’d provide things for the poor.

Maybe there was someone out there for him. Maybe not. But Cronk couldn’t let this keep him from doing what was right. Cronk would prevail in this and come out on top. Like he always did.

He stood, then bowed, “Cronk thank Lady Boss!”

Elizabeth suddenly realized he called her "Lady Boss" instead of Lady Elizabeth and it made her smile. She had been the only one without a nickname, which she didn't understand. Sometimes she felt like a part of the team, other times it was clear she was separated from them by her rank, but not because she wanted to be, it was just the way things were. "You are quite welcomed, Cronk."

Cronk didn’t know what more to say. He had wondered why Lady Elizabeth was not courting. She was as beautiful as the next Eldren. Sasha and Lily too. However, those may be a handful for a man of their own kind. There was something about the Young One. Cronk couldn’t put his finger on it. Of course, if Cronk were to put his finger on anything, he may risk smashing it.

“That all?” Cronk innocently asked. He knew there would be bottle of whiskey and possibly a cigar or two awaiting him in his room. Cronk could easily become spoiled living in this way, even with the melés with the enemy.

"Yes, that was all. You are dismissed." She waited until he left before she sat back behind her desk, glad things hadn't gone horribly bad

Cronk was sorrowful that he couldn’t have a growing relationship with Lorem. He’d be fine in a few hours, after drinking some whiskey. However, Cronk didn’t know how he’d be once the drink wore off.

He sighed again. Sometimes, even with a whole team around you, one could be lonely. He hoped he didn’t discouraged Lorem. They seemed to enjoy some of the same things. Cronk hoped to still be able to share those experiences.

In his room, Cronk opened the bottle and took a healthy swig. Some might say a swig wasn’t healthy, especially the size that Cronk took. He opened a window, struck a match, and began to take some deep draws on the cigar. They truly were fine. Yes, he was getting spoiled here. Cronk would ensure it wouldn’t make him soft though. He’d begin by awaking tomorrow morning, lifting and carrying some of the huge rocks decorating the garden. Of course, Cronk would need to replace them back from where they came. He’d allow the spoiling, but would stay hard.

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