Letters (An experimental Tale)

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Letters (An experimental Tale)

Post  Naitachel on Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:13 am

(OOC--This is an experimental RP of sorts, in the form of letters as posts, correspondence if you will between characters. Soraya and I got the idea from the books by Patricia Wrede's "Sorcery and Cecelia" series. It's really funny, and you can't help but want more... though it takes forever to write. So, here we go...)

Finewinds Manor, Brunswick
Haverthorn Kingdom



Dearest sister,

As your adopted brother, I have been reminded of late of my negligence in corresponding and my duties as your male kin. Of course, that is because the one who told me so was Uncle Henrick, and possibly because I think he was trying to find a way to retaliate after I accidentally racked up a bill in trying to get to my assigned post. I cannot help but feel a bit guilty about that, but a newly assigned rural mage has to keep up appearances on arrival at least, and try to impress those he's assigned, and so I had to conserve what energy I could during the journey. I try not to be a burden, but that meant I had to hire a coach the whole way, and of course Aunt Faraday absolutely refused to let me go without taking half the house. Whatever I will do with all the furnishings and items she insisted I remove with myself, I have no idea. However, I and all the house's accountrements have finally arrived, in what pieces we were originally intended to be in... for me to find that my assigned lodgings are more of a simple country manor of much smaller proportions. So much remains still packed in the wagon in the barn. Of course, this racked up a bill such as to make even my eyes wide, and Uncle Henrick, being of the more diplomatic approach with his admonishments especially in writing, simply called me a negligent brother and told me to finally resume touch with you and the rest of our family.

So, now, I firmly vow I will try better to be a good brother once more, adopted or not, if you forgive my being so quiet these past few months of chaos. Besides which, perhaps you have some ideas for how I might dispose of all those extras in the barn without undue disapproval from or offense to Aunt Faraday. You were always the more clever of the two of us, I thought, though I never had enough of a build to be the "brawn" when we worked together in our various adventures. At least I think you were better at reading people. I am far more content to be soon immersing myself in reading nature, playing with weather, and encouraging local crops to be productive.

Well, eventually I may get to that.

As soon as I and my man Jusin arrived, almost before we could finish unpacking and introductions with the maid and cook (I believe they are called Linnet and Lona, respectively, being daughter and mother and a rather sweet pair, though I could see Jusin has hopes to impress young Linnet as soon as he laid eyes on her), we had callers. The neighbor to our south, Lord Victor Pendrake, as well as the village Mayor, Master Kerry Jemsworth of the Goldsmiths, both came to offer their welcomes. It rather caught me off guard, I must say. I had not yet even changed from my travel-robes, and was still helping carry our chests and furniture within with the aid of the coachmen when their horses arrived. So I could hardly offer the impressive look of Brunswick's newly assigned mage, at least not as I intended to.

I was just emerging for a fifth load (I think, as I lost count after the first two trips within), when I saw Jusin taking the bridles of their horses, a dappled grey and red roan. Impressive creatures, really, and so I stopped in my tracks. I admit that changes to plan and more chaos amid the current mess had not left me to the best of moods, not even for well-meaning visitors, yet I did my best.

Lord Pendrake is a wry-featured fellow, perhaps not so very far off in age from myself, though for the life of me I cannot guess which of us may be the elder or younger. His hair, cut to a modest length in whatever that latest fashion your lady-friends seem to enjoy of late, had gone grey at a young age, that was clear, yet perhaps that is why it is so difficult to guess his age, with it giving him a distinguished and strong aire of authority. He is a man of activity and speed, and has the sharp grey eyes of a stormbird, though he seemed rather unhappy with our state of affairs when he saw us hauling our loads within. Perhaps I was not alone in my moodiness at the time, then?

His associate, Mayor Jemsworth, was far more than he seemed at first glance. While a bit on the heavyset and rugged side, it is not from mere indulgences as much of it was clearly the heavy muscles of one who enjoyed his forge-work. I would never have guessed him so much for a Mayor, actually, but a miller with that build and his heavy but powerful tread--luckily his fine clothing gave away his position, as did the town's emblem sewn to the shoulder of his fine coat. His eyes were a darker and almost black shade, his hair a bit longer and of a matching deep brown color, reminding one of the dark shadows of the smithy. But his firm and solid advance towards our bustling activity spoke of an unquestionable authority, despite his rogue looks.

"What is going on here?" Jemsworth demanded of us, with looks fit to knock a man backwards as solidly as his fists surely wished to. "Who gave you leave to move in here? This is town property!"

Lord Pendrake stayed back by Jusin, and seemed content in holding his peace and merely frowning at the lot of us, not inclined to add his two cents worth until he determined more about this situation we had created, no doubt. So I took command as the responsability was truly mine for this confusion.

"Pardon, mister...?" I tried wiping the dust off my hands onto my travel-robes as casually as I could as I walked up to intercept him. He was about to halt one of the coachmen with the heavy desk Uncle Henrick had given me (and at which I currently write this), and I knew that once they set it down only a fool would ever try raising it again unless it is with necromancy to re-create a tree in its place.

"Kerry Jemsworth--I'm Mayor of Brunswick," he grumbled, a low rumble much like that of a disgruntled pit bull. "And you are?"

I tried to ignore his rude tone and disparraging look--I know I hardly looked very impressive, being rather slim and having tied my hair back into a ponytail for simplicity's sake in this task, and of course in what Aunt Faraday so disgustedly calls my "shapeless uniform" robes. Yet before I could push aside what offense I felt, Lord Pendrake finally stepped up to add his voice to our conversation.

"Madam, forgive his tone, but we were not informed about anyone moving into the Mage's Manor at this time." At least he had a civil tongue, though one almost had to strain to hear him.

I admit I must have colored fit to set fire to my new home. It took me a minute to open my mouth and be able to correct them both. "My name, sir, is Laurel Saint-Anthony, and I am the new earth-mage from Kindleton City... and I am no 'madam', if you will. Did not Master Fidelus of the Guild send a letter? He promised he did..."

At least Lord Pendrake had the kindness to look almost mortally embarrassed, and even the Mayor could not meet my eyes. While Lord Pendrake tried to murmur some kind of nearly inaudible apology, Jemsworth's anger had clearly cooled to a more friendly tone. "Well... ah... in that case, our mistake. But no, no letter arrived--at least to me," the Mayor informed me, looking at Pendrake.

"Ah, no, I received nothing, either," Pendrake answered, shaking his head. I began to feel a bit sorry for him, over that mistake. After all, you know he is hardly the first to make that assumption regarding myself and I rather wonder who, if anyone, might be the last. "You are--the Baron's adopted son, out of wedlock?"

Well, you and I know that there is much to that which the rumor-mill had distilled to an ungodly liquor by now, so I thought it best to leave any lengthy explanations for another day, and perhaps several cups of mead with it.

"Yes," I answered, offering a bit of a bow as was polite to company--at least, now that we were on better terms and my moving in was less likely to be hindered by their officious intentions. "And you are...?"

He bowed back while the Mayor offered a more kindly if belated nod of his own, "Lord Victor Pendrake, if you will. My sincerest apologies..."

I am certain he would have tried to go on along those veins, but I had no time to spare, not with the coachmen starting to reach for the boxes of table-china and my own profession's effects. Besides which, his earlier embarrassed expression rather mollified my own feelings in the matter, and I hoped to bypass that topic as past--and as far past as possible as soon as possible. It felt more kindly to spare him the further embarrassment of discussing it anyway.

"My own apologies, gentlemen, for the lack of warning and tramping this entourage through the town's serenity. And again, as I fear I must see to our settling in. There are some rather more delicate items of my trade, you understand--so while it is an honor to meet you both, I cannot offer my company much longer..." I hoped they might understand my reasoning, at least.

Pendrake caught on the fastest, and nodded, backing up a bit towards his horse. Though perhaps my earlier revealation of being male still unnerved him some. "Yes, well, if it is all right with you, we might call on you at a better time?" he offered.

"If you need help, I could find a few of my own household to..." the Mayor began, but at Pendrake's glare, he set his jaw, frowning back. What lay between them, I am not certain. Jemsworth turned back to myself, and actually smiled, a rather warming expression that complimented his slightly-rouge-ish looks in a way I have seen female colleagues swoon over. "Well, in any case, if you need assistance, send someone to my house. It is my duty to support our new mage, after all, and help you settle into our town. Besides, I am certain we can become good friends given a chance... despite this rather rough initial meeting."

I cannot be certain why, but I felt rather uncomfortable with the pair of them at that moment, and wished for the solace of my study back home. But I bowed again, to see them off. "Another day, if you will, we might re-start our acquaintances? I do apologize again..."

"Forgiven, but only if you forgive us in return," Pendrake laughed.

"Done, then!" I was hardly about to let them change their minds. I need to remain on good terms with the locals, after all, unsettling as some of them appear to be at times.

The Mayor chuckled, and turned to get on his horse. "In a couple days time, then! Good-bye!"

I waved to them both as they rode off back towards the town itself. Luckily, I turned back in time to rescue my scrying-bowl from mishap, and the move continued with much industry and no damages. We are a bit on the outskirts, our manor house and coach house, with a barn and a few beasts inherited from the previous owner, I gather. Best we are out here rather than in the town itself, as with magical work a bit of privacy is both safer and more ideal for keeping one's concentration on the more delicate workings. It is a comfortable home, with a few bedrooms available for overnight guests or clients who need extensive magical aide, the upper floor with space for a whole bushel of servants, and the kitchens and other facilities below. We rather rattle about, I fear. Perhaps I may need to hire some further help, though I believe most our extraneous needs can be easily met by merely sending Linnet or Jusin to town for anything we need. My pay should comfortably cover such costs with room to spare.

Well, it is time for a spot of tea, and after finally everything settling in, I admit to be looking forward to it. Miss Linnet is much like her name, a little bird of a girl and shy, at least as far as I have seen around myself and Jusin, and she has called me to the parlor for my refreshment. Perhaps while I enjoy it, I might pick her brains about how to go about introducing myself to the townsfolk. Unless you have suggestions? I admit, my skills in society are rather limping at best, and probably worse now without Father and Aunt Faraday to sweep me through the correct motions. Perhaps my time away learning from the Mage's Guild has made it all the more rusty. I rather dread to think what sort of fool I may end up looking as before the townfolk, but I suppose they had best see me as I am, and the sooner they see that the less embarrassment for us all.

How are things in my absence, sister-mine? Last I heard you had that young duke hounding your heels, though I hope it is not because he had merely a fancy for how your shoemaker shod you. He seemed nice enough to me. Then again, I tend to be a bit oblivious at times, and I had not the courage to ask in front of Father or Aunt Minerva lest the rumor-mill go wild.

I will do my best to maintain my vow of being a good brother and sending more, if you do not mind my rambling. In that stead, I must hurry of before the tea grows cold, and ask what questions I can.

Yours truly,
Laurel Saint-Anthony


Last edited by Naitachel on Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:01 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Letters (An experimental Tale)

Post  Naitachel on Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:14 am

Liraline Mansion, Westchester
Haverthorn Kingdom



Dear Laurel,

Indeed, there is no need to apologize for your lack of contact. I expect that, given the current cost of borrowing a falcon, sending more letters home while traveling would have made Uncle Henrick throw an ever greater fit by increasing the total bill (and be glad you were not actually party to his tirade regarding the ridiculousness of travel costs and how you could have done with a few less luxuries, you apparent ingrate, you. He went on about all through dinner, and we all found our appetites quite diminished because of it).

I am glad to hear that you have reached your post safely, even if your welcome was rather a bit abrupt. I have no doubts, however, that you will win them over quickly when they see your skills with magic. As for the social graces, well, I fear I have little more to offer you than I have before, though perhaps a repetition of my previous advice will suffice: Do not stare too intently into people’s eyes, as you sometimes do when your mind begins to wander on a topic tangential to the conversation, and try not to lose sight of the fact that your listeners sometimes are not as well-versed or interested in your weather-pattern change spells, even if you do always find yourself a riveted listener in this sister of yours. It sounds as though you have a strong ally in your maid. Listen closely to what she has to say about those you encounter, and use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, a good cook should know whether a guest prefers sweets or salty food, and you can give one what they enjoy or dislike, depending on what you wish to accomplish with the visit.

Oh, and please, for the sake of all that is good and bountiful, throw away that old coat of yours. I have told you time and again that though it is comfortable and remains your favorite, it does nothing for your complexion, and its tattered state rather gives you the air of a mad wizard.

Forgive me. Reading back, that comment seems rather biting, though not intentionally so.

What am I writing? Of course you, of all people, know my sarcasm and good-natured jabs run away with me sometimes. Perhaps you find it comforting to know that some things do not change.

At the end of your last letter, you mentioned the Duke of Northshire, that unpleasant man. Indeed, he has been hounding father for a chance to court me despite my best efforts to dissuade him. Unfortunately, father is starting to lecture in turn regarding my, “Being of the age where matrimony should seriously be considered.”

Pah!

I do not want to get married! I want to go to the institute and learn herbology and healing arts. I want to go off on adventure, such as you have. I cannot begin to express how deeply envious I am of your freedom in that regard. As a legitimately born daughter, the only one amongst two brothers, I am expected to do my proper duty as a young lady of breeding.

And, apparently, my proper duty as a young lady of breeding is to marry in a way that would be profitable and augmenting to the family, then to remain swollen with child after child for my next two decades.

No thank you.

Particularly not with the Duke of Northshire. The man is insufferable. He has a face like a fox and the small squinty eyes of a pig that constantly roll from one person to the other, as though he is suspicious of one and all. Of course, I cannot help but ask, why would one be suspicious of the world if one were of decent character? In my experience, the only ones who treat the world as such as dangerous place are the ones who make the world unpleasant. I do not trust him.

During his last visit three days ago, we sat at tea and he had the gall to ask me in that whiny little voice of his, “So, Fay,” for he even has the nerve to call me by the nickname only my family has ever used, “You must be excited for your debut this season and for the chance to find a suitable husband.”

Did he genuinely think he was being subtle?

“Yes, well, I admit such a search would be difficult,” I answered in as bored a tone as I could manage, trying to keep my irritation from showing (lest I send Aunt Faraday into a fit and, later, another lecture). “I am, admittedly,” I continued, “not in a rush to make a match. I feel as though such things take time.”

I was trying to be good, I swear I was. Then, of course, Northshire had to keep pressing, “But, of course, sometimes the best matches do not require such caution. In fact, sometimes those more quickly made have the greatest of passion, and no greater passion can be said to be had than those of a man who is willing to throw himself upon his knees before the woman he wants even before the rest of the suitors have arrived, as desperate an act as it may seem.” I could see his eyes, piggish as they were, and his sneer as he watched me intently.

I even glanced at Aunt Faraday, expecting her to speak up regarding the man’s forwardness, though she seemed somewhat enthralled by him, despite his obvious lack of manners and social proprieties. Why is it that I seem to be the only one who sees that there is something untoward about his behavior and character?

“Yes, well, passion may burn brightly,” I rejoined, “but it also burns quickly. And desperation is, as you say, unbecoming. Besides,” I said, feeling Aunt Faraday stiffen next to me as I spoke, “None of those who would have lain themselves at my feet have I yet found to be suitable matches.”

There. I did not know how much more bluntly I could have put my complete lack of interest in this… thing.

He, of course bristled, though admittedly I cannot blame his reaction. “Well, then,” he sputtered, nearly spilling his tea, though he never quite finished his response. Instead, he changed tactics to outright insults. “They say that a woman who does not know how to hold her tongue is the worst sort of dog to bet on in a race.”

Aunt Faraday turned red at that. Before she could say anything, however, Northshire was up and storming out of the room, head held high in an attempt to maintain whatever pride he felt he still had.

Of course, she then launched in on me the moment he was gone about how it was too early to throw away potentially advantageous matches, and how the Duke would be a fine husband and was I really trying to ruin my chances of ever finding a husband by treating such a prominent man this way? This was a grand lecture, one that lasted several hours over, and not once did she mention the Duke's own distasteful behavior. I was, furthermore, told I will not be allowed to join the picnic to which I was invited with Brindy Mayhill (who, by the way, sends her regards. She still blushes when I bring you up).

Oh well, the loss, I admit, though grievous, was worth it if it means that Northshire will now leave me alone.

Listen to me blather on. I am sorry, brother. I am sure my social misdeeds are rather boring for you to read (it is boring enough being forced to actually live through them), and you likely have more important things to do.

I hope you are settling in well there, and I do look forward to hearing about how things are going out your way. I am sending this by the fastest falcon I have at my disposal, Link. Please tend to him when he arrives, as, though he remains my favorite, he is getting on in years and tends to overexert himself.

With deep affection,
Felicia James

P.S. I have enclosed a small pouch of coins that was left behind in your room. I admit to having opened it to ensure it was something worth sending. The nature of the coins left me somewhat confused – I have never seen them before. Perhaps you could tell me about them in your next letter?
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Re: Letters (An experimental Tale)

Post  Naitachel on Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:56 am

Finewinds Manor, Brunswick
Haverthorn Kingdom



Link has arrived in good time and is convalescing from his journey comfortably currently beside me in the stables. The falcon is a bit weary but none the worse for his unknown trials on his adventure here, and he makes quite pleasant company for me while I write this, dead rabbit notwithstanding. It seems the mews are one of the few places I might go where Jusin can pretend not to find me, being the least likely place for me to hide, and perhaps the best place to be undisturbed despite the discomfiture of having to write on a wobbly table with a broken leg while sitting on a bale of hay. It seems with the Mayor's departure, word spread like the plague about my arrival and I have been having social callers of the older female variety trooping to my door en masse to lay siege. Linnet politely informed me during my questioning that eligible bachelors or position and means in towns such as this tended to be eaten up in short order unless made of stern determination to stay bachelors, or having some nasty sort of transmittable disease. I am strongly considering the latter at the moment if I might find one not too inconvenient yet still formidable in name enough to make them scurry off at the mere mention. Unfortunately, neither of the two evils appear very appealing at the moment and making myself scarce has been the most pleasant option available. With luck this will settle down in a few days' time, or once duties arise to keep me too busy for social pleasantries, at least of this scale. Jusin and Linnet assured me that they have establishing my household well in hand, and from the look on my man's face, likely are making a more efficient job of doing so without me underfoot and in the way much of the time. So I shall endeavor to please.

I must admit to still be blushing whenever the subject of Miss Mayhill comes up, myself. Something to do with an incident regarding apricot trees, wind spells, and springtime that I shall never forget as a good reason to stay indoors whenever females decide to wander orchards. Something is always amiss when people wander in orchards and are not attempting to harvest the fruit specifically, as that is the true intended purpose of orchards. I should extol the reasons behind this theory some other time however. Please pass her my (rather reserved, if you will) regards, though, when you next see her. I am sorry you will be missing her picnic, though considering her rather odd brother Carl's tastes, trust me, it is likely for the best. I suspect my theory regarding the above-mentioned factors applies to him and females much as it otherwise applies to the two sexes intermingling at the time, regardless of his curious proclativities.

(TBC)
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