A hidden door

A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:50 am

Days had passed since the Storyteller had shared her story with Dulcie, and it seemed that the innkeeper hadn't been able to shake the story that she had heard. Parts of it kept playing over again and again in her mind. The spring beneath the tavern, the love that was maybe not love at all, but most of all it was that hidden door that had Dulcie fascinated.

She was busy cleaning the tables in the tavern now, re-living the story in her mind as she hummed softly, giving the old worn wooden surface a good scrubbing. There was something cathartic about cleaning and Dulcie never minded doing it. The table was scrubbed and scrubbed until a sweat broke on the innkeepers brow. She straighted up to wipe the sweat away when she suddenly noticed a tapestry that had been hanging against the stairwall for as many years as she had been working there.

She frowned, considering the tapestry for a moment. She'd never bothered to take it off the wall. It was in one of those parts of the tavern that never seemed to get terribly dusty or dirty, but the old woman's words kept ringing in her mind. She glanced about the tavern, and assured herself that it was empty before she went over to the tapestry. Her hands traced over it's edges carefully before she finally lifted the tapestry from it's hooks and lowered it to the ground.

For many long moments Dulcie stared at the door in the wall. It was possible that if she hadn't been thinking about it she might have missed it's presence, the vertical edges of the door aligned perfectly with the panels of wood used in building the wal, but she certainly noticed the top of the door which had so easily been hidden by the tapestry.

In Myrken there was no such thing as a coincidence, and yet Dulcie pushed the door open anyhow.
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:42 pm

She knew the moment she pushed open the door that she was making a mistake. Nothing in Myrken happened by accident. There was no such thing as an old woman telling a story about a hidden door, and then suddenly happening to find one by accident. The question was, did the old woman know about this door before she told the story? Or did the story bring the door into being?

She paused to lift a lantern from the wall, careful to pull the door shut behind her once she made her way into the hidden passageway. She made it only a few steps before she discovered a staircase, this one leading down deep beneath the dagger. The parallels were eerie, the way that this place seemed to be carved out of the earth. A chill ran down her spine and those images from the tale ran over and over again in her mind.

"I should go back..." She muttered to herself. She knew that she should turn around right now, go right back up to the tavern and close the door and never think about it, and for a moment she almost did, but then she smelled lavendar. The floral scent teased at her nose and for a moment she held onto the wall of the stairway, hit not just by memories of that story, but other, stronger memories.

She inched her way down the rest of the stairs, afraid of what she'd find at the bottom. She worried about what was at the bottom of the stairs, and yet she wasn't able to stop herself from travelling down them either. At the bottom of the stairs she paused for a long moment, the lantern shaking in her hand until she turned the corner. She sucked in a breath and the sound of it bounced off the walls of the cavern as she stood there, staring at what waited in the center of the room.
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:53 pm

She stared at the large washtub in the center of the room, her fingertips pressed against her lips as her hazel eyed gaze took in every detail of the tub that came from so long ago. She could see the memory so clearly in her mind, the younger version of herself running about the tub and laughing as she splashed at the tavern guard that she barely knew. She shrieked when he almost caught her and blubbered beneath a massive splash of water when the Mul retaliated, a smile cracking on the face of a man who so rarely let others see it.

Dulcie walked over to the tub and drew her fingers away from her lips. She traced her fingers along the cracked wooden surface of the tub. She could practically hear the sound of her youthful laugh blending with the deep bold chuckle of the Mul and for a moment she smiled, though as she gazed at the water within the tub she sighed. They were moments that had come and gone, and though it was one of the moments she clung to so desperately, she knew it was one to never be returned.

She wasn't really sure what drew her to her next action. Maybe it was the old woman's story, or maybe it was the fact that the smell of lavendar scented water reminded her of another time. A time in her life when there was kindness and joy. A time when comforting arms in the night were the norm and a dinner and a quiet bath were given freely with no expectations or conditions.

"I loved you so much." She whispered to the room as she dipped her fingers into the water, finding the temperature warm and inviting. She took a deep breath then and looked about the empty hidden room. She considered for a moment that maybe it wasn't real, that maybe this was all in her head. Perhaps she had fallen asleep listening to that story. Still, she was alone and the water tempted her, calling to her with a wash of memories and sweet scents.

She slid off her shoes and unfastened her skirt, letting it fall to the ground and began her trip up to the washtub, almost ready to make her way inside when she realized that although the modesty her chemise would afford her now would do no good once it was wet. Another glance assured her she was alone and the shirt was tossed to the ground as well and Dulcie hoisted herself up and into the washtub.
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Rance » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:29 am

Broth with two cubes of sugar. She never asked how they managed to cube it, but accepted it as simple truth: that sugar should be in perfect squares, and that it should sweeten her stock just enough to satisfy her palate.

She had gotten her mug when she noticed the peculiarity. A door she had never noticed before, a crumpled tapestry unfurled across the floor like so much discarded parchment. She was always discovering new qualities of the odd tavern each day, counting ever-present bloodstains in the wood, sometimes even licking her fingertip to taste the dirt ground into the armrests of the high-backed chairs, wondering if any bit of tasted like Jernoah.

Get it out. Son's words. Advice applicable for black oil sickness and harrowing images that flickered in her head as she slept.

A little bit of adventure could help get it out, couldn't it?

With care, the seamstress -- still in her off-white night-things -- lofted her mug of broth and carefully descended the stairs. Moisture clung in the air and the earthen stone of the subterranean stairwell seemed to hum with the old whispers of the earth. She carefully stepped down them, putting her feet beside themselves on each stair before she took the next wary step. "Seventeen," she whispered, counting. "Eighteen..."

When finally the stairwell yawned open into a lonely room, what she saw before her paused her on the final landing: the forsaken clothes, the simple basin, a flickering lantern that defied the shadows of the damp cavern. And in that basin was a woman whose words still seemed to rattle in the confines of the room--

But that was an illusion. She had heard them coming down through the stairwell. I loved you so much.

She shrunk herself back against the wall and tried to diminish herself in the shadows, knowing instantly that she was intruding -- but unable, simultaneously, to find it in her simply to turn, to flee back up the stairs. Blasphemy crackled in the air, the wasting of enough precious water that could quench a thousand Jernoan thirsts.

"Who did you love?" she asked from the stairs.
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:47 pm

The water felt amazing against her sore body, as if it's warmth could heal every hurt and wash away every bit of dirt and grime from both body and soul. For a moment she had just rested there in the tub, relaxing and feeling her aches and sorrows melt away from her. She had even dipped her head below the water for a moment, letting the scented water run over her face and through her tangled hair. It was only when her ears emerged from the water again that she heard that question and she shrieked a terrified shriek, not having expected company at all.

For a moment she flailed in the water, hands instinctively reaching for weapons that weren't there, and then trying to get out of the water before bits of flesh peeked from the water and she realized that was a very bad idea as well. Eventually, after much splashing and dramatics she'd sink down into the water, her face (and really the better part of her body as well), had flushed a deep red as she swam to the edge of the tub and merely peeked her eyes up over the edge of it to regard Gloria.

"I'd appreciate a towel before you go asking questions about who I love." She'd say in a flustered tone, watching the seamstress with a deep look of embarassment.
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Rance » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:17 pm

"You could quench a thousand mouths that have a thirst you will never know in your life," she said, the hips of her night-clothes clutched in her hands, "with all the water around you."

A few wary steps carried her on bare feet from the shadows of the stairs to the lantern-lit center of the bathing-chamber. She did not know the word towel; she knew the word trowel because sand could not be eaten without one, and blood-slick fingers had lost hers almost a year ago. Surely it was crushed beneath the feet of lords and girls by now buried the wet sand in the birthing pens, a permanent part of the floor thousands of leagues away, a

thing that killed a Calamity.

The girl was young, a half-teenager with thick cheeks and size enough to her to have once -- and still -- been the aim of whispered humor. She read the embarrassment in the innkeeper's eyes and promptly looked away, offering her what modesty she could, having been an interruption. "I do not mean to ask to pry; I saw a door I'd never seen before and thought there might be casks of wine down here, or barrels of salted meat. Like a little adventure." The gray eyes turned a bit, not used to speaking without looking, a hand carefully lifting the woman's skirt and blouse from the floor to offer them, the tangled bundle of Dulcie's clothes held in a gloved hand. An apology.

"I did not expect a bath," she said. "Skin does not bother me. I have only had clothes for four years. You see?"

The words were uneasy, as smooth as jagged iron. Forced conversation. There was a jitter in her voice, an unease, the black crescents of sleeplessness under her eyes heavier than carts full of corpses. "Dulcie. Right? Dulcie," she said. "I am Gloria, and -- and now things are a little awkward. Yes?

"But this place was not here. Not before."
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:14 pm

"I didn't put it here." She said defensively when Gloria started talking about thirsty mouths. Though perhaps if she were being honest with herself she wouldn't have thought about it anyhow. Almost ten years ago she had been splashing water at Ymir without a second thought in her head about it.

"Well I guess that makes two of us. I found the door and I thought I would see what's down here. It.." She paused, considering if she should tell the girl about what the old woman had told her. "The door reminded me of a story I heard once. The tub was down here when I got here. It reminded me of someone else. I guess I was doing alot of remembering."

Gloria did Dulcie the favor of turning about and some of the heat in her cheeks began to stop burning. Gloria would hear the sounds of splashing as Dulcie pulled herself out of the water, taking the chemise from her hands. "You might not care about clothing, but I do. There are very few people in this world that have seen me without clothing and I don't have any desire to increase that amount."

Her chemise clung to her wet skin, and it would be an interesting trying to work around the parts that were becoming transclucent when she returned to the main area of the tavern. The skirt was retrieved next, and she'd continue talking as she finished fastening buttons.

"I suppose things are a little awkward Gloria, but nothing we can't manage to figure out. At least you're not a man." She said with a bit of a forced laugh. "It's alright, you can turn around now."

Dulcie frowned as she considered what Gloria said about the room. "I don't know. Maybe it's been here all along and I just never knew that it was here. The door was behind a tapestry that I don't think I've ever taken off of the wall."
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Rance » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:24 pm

She turned, her hands still gripping the skirts of her dense nightgown. It was a timid gaze -- but one equally curious -- that fell across Dulcie as the woman finished her dressing. Perhaps the angle of her eyes remained too long or became too curious. It seemed to take her several moments to find the innkeeper's face.

There was something in the water, a little whisper that murmured in the back of her head, do you see what a Myrkener is supposed to look like, Glour'eya Wynsee--

"I refuse to believe that as innkeeper, Menna Dulcie," spoke the girl with a courtesy from half-bent knees, "you would overlook a place such as this beneath the -- I think it is the word for it -- foundation. I mean that with no disrespect, of course. You know every date that board should be due; you know when the stores are low or when the tack must be baked. It is like that old saying about the backs of hands. You see?"

There was something in the water, a little whisper that murmured in the back of her head, do you see what a woman is supposed to look like, Glour'eya Wynsee--

"Sit, if you please. On the basin side." She did not know why she reached her hands out to the wall of the humid cavern, but it was as though she had been pulled toward it, like her fingers and the wet rocks were compass-stones drawn inexorably to one another. When her fingers closed, they found there a wool towel hanging from a copper hook whose shining tip had gone green long before. Had it always been there? Had the cavern known the need? A simple seamstress knew no things about woven spells, illusions, and tampering with the mind. She accepted the towel's presence and cradled it in her hands, shook it free of its dust, and added:

"I don't want to be alone right now." An admission as she approached the tub, seated herself on the edge, and motioned for the innkeeper to do the same. "Let me--"

There was something in the water, a little whisper that murmured in the back of her head, do you get jealous when you realize you will never be breath-taking, when you know you will never do anything but curl a nose, Glour'eya Wynsee--

"Let me dry your hair," she whispered, a plea in the girl's voice -- like she must, like to do anything but in that moment would have broken away whole parts of her. "I am not a man at all. Yes? So -- so maybe you can tell me all those things you remember. Who it reminded you of."
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:24 am

If Dulcie noticed the lingering look from the girl it didn't show. She fussed over buttons and trying to flap out her shirt so it didn't stick to the shape of her body that she was trying so hard to hide. For a Myrkener Dulcie was perhaps a little heavier than some. While not voluptuous, Dulcie also didn't have the thin, wan look that other women her age had from years of starvation and child baring. Dulcie had seen good fortune and a life running a tavern as popular as the dagger had brought her food to eat and pay to ensure that her family was fed as well. The years of simply having enough had given Dulcie a healthy bit of padding to her frame, and while she didn't dislike this about herself she also had a healthy dose of modesty that kept her from showing too much of it.

"Oh I don't know Gloria. This tavern is much older than I am, and it's been rebuilt mutliple times at that. It's possible this was here before this version of it was built and someone just thought to carve out a door I never noticed. Especially because doors don't just pop out of nowhere." Dulcie was a true Myrkener, skeptical and suspicious of magic. She found it hard to believe even when it's truth was staring her in the face. Perhaps that was why she couldn't hear the way the water was whispering to Gloria. The way that perhaps it should have been whispering to her.

Gloria suggested they sit and Dulcie agreed, moving over to join where Gloria had settled herself. The sudden presence of the towel confused her, but then perhaps Gloria hadn't wanted to share it earlier for some unknown reason.

"Oh, that'd be very nice, thank you. It's such a disaster when it's wet, it gets all tangled and troublesome. I usually ask the twins to brush it out for me when I go to the farm. It used to be Imogen who did it, and then it was Eleanor, but Eleanor left and Imogen has her children now.. so that leaves the twins. Not that they mind really, but I'm sure it won't be much longer until they find husbands." Family talk was easy to ramble on about and she'd turn about so that Gloria could have access to her hair. There were comments about not wanting to be alone, and wanting to hear more of her story and Dulcie sighed softly.

"I know what it's like to not want to be alone. The person this all reminded me of, he was so good to me. I was kidnapped once, holed up for days without knowing what would happen to me, and after he rescued me he came to check on me every night, and would sleep there with me in his arms, just holding me without any expectation for anything else." She paused for a moment then, looking at the wall ahead of her, grateful that she didn't have to look Gloria in the eyes. "My bed's felt empty ever since and my cottage is falling apart because I can't stand losing the parts of it that he helped me repair. Sometimes I think I should just leave it altogether and move back to the farm, or move in here. But I just can't."
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Rance » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:39 am

She listened. Jernos were good at listening. They had to be, upon penalty of derision, insult, or even death. The skill had become natural; her patience with Dulcie's words was almost palpible, less a choice and more an organic predeliction toward absoring logic.

Sometimes her drying hands underneath the towel were harsh, but she was capable at the task -- she knew to press her hand against Dulcie's scalp to keep the hair from tugging as she raked her fingers through it to break up the knots.

After all, the finest seamstress in the messa'jost was only ever as fine as Mother Sempstress allowed her to be, and to her, Glour'eya Wynsee had been nothing. Dry the sweat from my hair, child, Mother Sempstress would tell her. Feed me my sand, child, she would say before prayer services. Empty this chamber pot for me, child.

She did not bear the iron droplet like rat'vak, like a slave, but she had always done as she was asked. She had obeyed -- and above all, Gloria listened.

"You should burn that bed," she said. "You should bust out the stantions in the house and let it fall. Old memories permeate the sheets and the walls like a pox. That is why people like me eat their sand, to soak up all the ills in our heart-guts and the sins in our bellies." But she had not devoured the holy grain in almost a year, and her body felt stuffed with old regrets. Ones she tried to relieve in this moment by drying Dulcie's hair.

"It is not my place to ask how you lost him. So I will not, unless you wish to tell me, Menna Dulcie. But if ever -- if ever you need your hair tended to, like your Id-jamen and your Eleanor, I promise I will be gentle. It is beautiful. It is beautiful hair," she whispered, "and befitting. You have most of your teeth and your good health. It should not be long before another wonderful man swoops you from your feet and showers you with kisses. You see? And if I give you a Jerno braid like this..."

The smile was faint, and the laugh she gave? Dull, distracted, a balm to the moisture in her eyes.

"I hate being alone," she whispered, a hitch in her voice, her throat as tight as rawhide to keep the tears from being heard. "I am sorry to interrupt you in your bath, and to have said what I said about the water. It was rude."

There was something in the water, a little whisper that murmured in the back of her head, do you see what you will never look like, Glour'eya Wynsee--

"Dulcie," with hesitation. "Who drew this bath for you?"
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:31 am

Gloria's first few words surprised Dulcie and she blinked a few times from her shock. It was a good thing the girl's fingers were still in her hair or she might have turned around with a quick temper. As it was the gentle tugging at her hair made her think better of it.

"I can't burn it. Or the cottage. Things are better than they were, but I could never afford to replace all that I have." She listened carefully to the bits of herself that Gloria let show and she'd shake her head a little, causing a sway in the work that the other woman was doing. "I don't believe in ill-hearts or sins. I think that would mean that there was some God out there watching all this and I'm fairly sure there isn't any. No God would have given people the horrible things that we get here in Myrken all the time. No one who was raised here has been missed completely, but we're far too good and too strong for God to be punishing. Only fact is that there isn't one."

She was quite resolute in her lack of faith, and though Gloria gave her permission not to tell certain details she went ahead and told them anyhow. There was something freeing about being able to say such things when tucked away in a hidden room. "He died. At least I think he did. There was a huge fire in the town, and he went to rescue the people inside, and all that was ever found was his sword. I thought for a long time that perhaps he would come back and I would get the chance to tell him how I felt about him, but it never came to be. I buried the sword a few years ago since there wasn't a body to put on a funeral pyre." She paused then, hearing Gloria talk about the braid and she'd nod a short nod. "I'd like that. A pretty braid to keep my hair out of my face."

"My husband died too you know, almost right after I married him. Before I fell in love with Ymir of course. So I'm not quite sure meeting another man is what I should be doing. The last one who tried to court me ended up kidnapped or captured or something of the like. I'm beginning to think that I'm just bad luck and perhaps I'm better alone for the sake of everyone else."

She let Gloria's question linger for a long moment as she looked over at the innocent looking tub of lavender scented water. "I don't know. A ghost maybe? It was like that there, waiting and warm for me like I should have been here all along. It reminded me so much of the time he drew me up a warm bath that I couldn't resist trying it. Wouldn't it be nice if that were possible? If he was watching over me and I hadn't missed my chance to tell him I loved him after all?"

Another pause and she'd sigh audibly. "It's been so long since I've thought about these things. Sometimes I think they are best left buried."
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Rance » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:11 am

She never interrupted. The girl worked the braid with care -- it was not a triplet-braid, as was so common, but a doubled one, and there were several harsh tugs on the bits of hair near Dulcie's neck. She worked these into fist-sized knots, a shelf for the braid once it was finished. To secure it. To display its length but keep it away from working elbows or from brushing across hard-working shoulders.

"You assume," the girl said quietly, "that gods should care for our individual fates. To -- to have a direct connection with Them is presumptuous at best. 'We are grains of sand,'" she whispered, the voice raising a little, a song without a melody, "'and They will scatters us as They please.' There are gods, Menna Dulcie. I pray to them. I pray them to grow me better teeth. I asked them to keep P'odya Doonis from wetting her bedclothes. I whispered pleas to them to keep my number from being called for the birthing pens.

"The Nameless decide which prayers they answer," she said. "But the only thing that renders a prayer useless is -- is that it is never said at all."

She worked the hair as if it were a delicate line of stitches and seams. She did not leave a single damp hair outside of the braid. Though her hands may have been rough and her palms may have been caked with the stains of old coal, the seamstress worked with meticulous care at the innkeeper's hair.

"If it were he who came back to fill your bath, how ever could -- could you say you are bad luck? But that is not the way of Myrken Wood," said the girl, as if she'd experience enough to know the town and city like they something written into her copper skin, "nor was it the way of Jernoah, to give us what we desired. You -- you would know if this bath was his for you. Is it, Dulcie?

"Or is someone playing tricks with your mind?"
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:50 am

Religion was a topic that her mother had always taught her to steer clear of, but Dulcie was never really very good at doing exactly what was considered right and proper. When she had come to work in the Dagger there were many of the farming folks that were convinced she'd lose both her life and her soul at the tavern, but that hadn't come to be either.

"I don't mean any disrespect for your beliefs Gloria, I just can't hold them myself. If I made bits of grains of sand I'd be watching over them all to make sure I didn't lose any. And maybe one or two would slip away, but it sure wouldn't be whole piles." She shrugged a little, wincing a bit as her head and hair were tugged this way and that, but she was patient as she let the other woman work on her. It was certainly no worse than when the twins decided they wanted to help braid her hair.

"No, I don't suppose it is the way of Myrken Wood to get what you desire, but sometimes I think there's a few that might get lucky. Rhaena and Glenn maybe, Aleksei and Agnie. I'd like to see my friends get what they long for. We deserve it I think."

Gloria's last question sent chills down the innkeepers spine and that pit of wrongness that she had felt as she walked down the stairs, burned in her belly. She would know if it was his wouldn't she? It was still rolling about in her mind as she spoke quietly, without really realizing she was doing it out loud. "It just reminds me so much of him..." But she didn't feel his presence, didn't sense the Mul's bold, stoic personality.

"There was an old woman.." She said, beginning her confession. "The storyteller that the children are always talking about? She told me a story about an innkeeper and hidden room with a spring of water in it. But she couldn't have done it to play tricks on my mind. I didn't even tell her about Ymir." Still, the coincidence was eerie and as much as Dulcie didn't want to admit it, some consideration was most certainly necessary.
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Rance » Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:02 am

"Would you call them lucky," she inquired, speaking over Dulcie's shoulder, "for merely having what you -- as of yet -- do not?"

It took her twenty more minutes to finish the braid. Her hands were not entirely gentle. While men had callused palms from striking anvil and heaving the hoe, she had the hands of a girl who could put her boot to a woman's spine and tighten the laces of a bodice with swift, painful tugs. Her dress often hid contours that had been primed in her pre-adolescence: muscles, hard as sandstone, less lean and more dense.

"Hold a handful of sand," she said, while she ran her fingers along the braids to be sure they all held their firm tightness. "A thousand grains will go missing without you ever realizing it; breathe wrong, and there will go a thousand more, blown off your fingers simply because you obeyed your lungs. We are not individual lives, Dulcie. Not to the Nameless.

"You did not disrespect me," said the girl quietly. "My beliefs are not yours. Never will they be. And if earlier what I spoke about burning offended you, I meant nothing of it. It would not be a smart idea to upset the woman you pay for board, would it?" There was a smile in her voice, but it was quickly gone...

She told me a story about an innkeeper and hidden room with a spring of water in it. But she couldn't have done it to play tricks on my mind...

A wishing goat.

Glenn Burnie demanding to know her story.

Shards of mirrors scattered in the mud, glinting in the sun, sharing the hopes and wants with the eyes of those who held them.

An Oracle dream.

"The old woman," she whispered, her hands falling away from Dulcie's hair. She stood, then, wringing her hands in front of her, not turning to face Dulcie -- no, not even as her hand traced along the side of the basin as if she were trying to touch a memory. The girl turned her cheek over her own shoulder and rubbed at the base of her black-stained neck with her free hand, glancing at Dulcie with a single eye.

"Coincidence. It is coincidence, I imagine, and that alone. But it might be best to draw your own baths in the future," the girl said. "Just to be safe. You see? And now--"

She turned, clutching nightgowns, her uneven smile withstanding even the quiet panic in her mind. It's all like the stories. It's all like them...

"Now you look simply fantastic."
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Re: A hidden door

Postby Dulcie » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:14 pm

"I'd call it lucky. It's not just me who hasn't had those things. It's lots of people. Happiness is rare here." She quieted down then, letting Gloria finish with the braid. She listened to what the other woman said about the grains of sands and the Gods that she believed in. It was best not to argue the point any further. Religion was just one of those topics, and no amount of reason made Dulcie feel as if she could truly believe in something that she had abandoned so long ago. There was too much pain in the world for anyone to be responsible for it.

It assured her that Gloria thought it was also a coincidence, and she nodded a little. "I can't see what harm could come of it. I feel just fine. In a place like Myrken if there was something wrong with the water it would have gobbled me up or burnt me to bits by now if there was something wrong with it. In fact, I feel better than before I took the bath."

She stood up then, touching her fingers along the braid. "Oh thank you so much, it feels absolutely beautiful." She gave Gloria a big grin then, and a hug if the other woman would let her.

"I should probably be getting back to my work. It was nice spending time with you Gloria."
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