An American's Arrival
About a week before the ball would open on the historic Thames River, a single ship would slowly appear from the mists of the Thames Estuary, having traveled many a mile across the ocean. The heavy frigate ACS Union
would fire off a saluting cannon on its approach to the Estuary, saluting the fortifications certainly guarding such an important waterway, having already signaled its status as a ship of friendly intent. The three-masted frigate was the typical kind of vessel for the Americas, able to be easily crewed by a smaller amount of men, but able to swing much higher above her actual naval rating. Like all ships of that day, it was a masterpiece of naval construction and engineering, and one that had also received a new coat of paint before her voyage, and a few touch-ups while on its voyage across the stormy Atlantic to Britannia.
Built not so long ago, the heavy frigate was well constructed out of southern live oak, harvested from the coastline of Georgia, and shipped north to the great shipyards of Boston, Massachusetts, where the Confederacy's Yankee shipbuilders set to work with their well-learned craft, hardy work ethic, and devotion to minute details. Long on her keel, but narrow a beam, with a diagonal ribbing scheme, the vessel, and those built like her were built to be fast, well-armed, and good sea keepers. The Union
would overtake the Estuary, flying her naval ensign (a simple navy blue flag with a circle of stars, one for each state in the Confederacy) below the large national standard that flew from her stern, the bright yellow flag of the Atlantic Confederacy, depicting a snake rearing itself protectively and the finely embroidered lettering of "Don't Tread on Me" emblazoned below it. The impressive vessel, its crews in their cleanest and most presentable uniforms, would make their final destination the port of Gravesend to deliver their cargo; the delegation destined for the Queen's victory celebration which would be held up the river in London.
The quiet arrival of the Union
would signal the arrival of the New World to this gathering of nations, once docked in Gravesend, the young Vice President Marcelus Pitt, a dashing gentleman who was chosen to complement the experienced demeanor and guile of Martin Gibbs would depart his temporary home of wood and sail for London, along with a small group of other officials from the Confederacy's goverment. Marcelus was a quiet figure, a polite gentleman of New England society, who associated himself prominently with the intelligentsia of the Confederacy in various salons and academies that dotted the cities and countryside of the country. Having arranged their own transport to London astride a herd of horses, with a couple of rented wagons dragging their traveling trunks along behind them, they would make for London at a slow and calculated pace.
"Strangers in a strange land," quipped one of Marcelus' compatriots, an Atlantician Army officer as they left Gravesend on the backs of a multi-colored array of steeds.
"I do feel a certain air of sophistication that one does not get in the backwoods right outside of Boston town," retorted Marcelus, as he gently urged his dappled mellow, and benign mare along at a steady trot. The horse seemed to approve of the Atlantician's words, with a grunt of approval as it kept a steady pace.
"One cannot simply avoid the blasted mud, it seems, though," commented the same compatriot, noting that a recent rain had moistened the wide dirt track that they were now taking, and had turned it into a rutted sea of mud and organic matter.
"It helps add a quality of home to a place of certainly much more higher society," responded Marcelus, turning to the military officer. "Calm yourself, Colonel Bawdrey, you will soon be in London town, and we will be able to enjoy the comforts of a warm bed and a floor that does not rock with the whims of the waves that bore us here." Bawdrey was known for his love of urban life, a military staff officer who was never at home in the extensive wilds of the Confederacy, the Colonel enjoyed womanizing and chasing petticoats throughout Savannah and Charleston. He was certainly not an officer of the famous rangers, and probably would not even find a field commission in a line infantry regiment to his liking either. Marcelus was not a man of the military, but despite the posh circles he associated with, he enjoyed being one with nature, enjoying the rustic nature of the Confederacy.
But this was certainly not going to be a place of rustic quality, and Marcelus, despite his traveling amongst the circles of Boston's high society, this was an entirely different game of dice that he was stepping into. But he was determined to enjoy it immensely...
After a week of settling into their temporary home on the Thames, having elected to stay in a well-managed and well-kept Inn on the outskirts of London, run by a lovely older couple, Marcelus Pitt and his delegation would find themselves thrust onto the celebration barges that now plied the calm waters of the Thames. Upon having arrived on the barges, the delegation would go its separate ways, Marcelus being left to his own devices quickly as his companions scattered to enjoy the delights of this huge celebration. The dashing young Vice President, his short brown hair askew tastefully, and his attire befitting those around him, would find himself turning this way and that, observing various prominent figures from many a country occupying the barge, before finally finding himself looking towards the throne itself as Queen Jane opened the ceremony with a tastefully short speech of her own. Grabbing a flute of fine red wine, he would raise his glass in a silent respectful salute to her Majesty's speech.
His purpose was not only to be there to congratulate the Queen on her victory, nor just to take part in merryment for his country's benefit and seemingly hope to gain something from simple small talk. No, he knew of the other reasons why he had been dispatched to this victory gala affair, and he would approach the throne in a seemingly comfortable stride, polite to a fault, he would wait until the Tianxian dignataries moved off to approach the throne, and with a deep bow.
"Your Majesty, as Vice President of the Atlantic Confederacy, I wish to bring you wishes of good health as well as congratulations in your victory over your rebellious countrymen, restoring good order and levelheadedness throughout your realm. Thank you for dispatching the invitation to our government, I have looked forward to this affair since setting out from Boston nearly a month ago," said Marcelus, his voice level, and tone respectful and friendly, he wore a polite smile, and would maintain eye contact after raising himself from his bow, to add sincerity to his entire demeanor as he addressed the seated monarch.