Calling to Westenford

Calling to Westenford

Postby Rance » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:41 am

The letter to Mister Treadwell came as all letters do: on parchment, bearing hints of too much sand, and sealed in this case with an entirely unique seal: a dollop of cochineal wax, and printed in it, a tiny hand with not five fingers, but four. Her own seal. A woman ought to have a seal. A proper woman required one. "Wouldn't your father prefer the family crest," said the jeweler to whom she'd gone for the ring. "That'd be right, wouldn't it, then?"

But she did not listen. Because she would damn well have what she paid for.

Mister Treadwell,

I do hope this letter finds you well. I currently reside in Foggy Bottem and am yet hesitant to return to Myrken Wood for fear I have not fully set into place the nesessities of my arrival. Upon my return I will be lodging at the behest of G. Tolleson and her kindness for I have not got permanent residence since my original departure.

I write this letter in the interest of our previous corraspondense and should like to ask: would it behoove you to meet with me in Westenford. You see it is but a half-day's journey from where I now remain and I know that you regularly return to it. Whether I travel alone or you would wish I accompany you, please do instruct, but I look forward to a discussion of our business and of other topics.

Hoping this letter finds you in good health and spirits and well-warmed by a fire.

Gloria Wynsee
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Re: Calling to Westenford

Postby Treadwell » Sat Feb 23, 2019 4:21 pm

Letters are a time consuming business, especially when one is trying to keep them legible. Thus it takes a little longer, perhaps, than expected for Treadwell to reply, even if the note is brief.

= = = = =
Dearest Gloria,

A meeting in Westenford would be quite appreciated. I can be there in just a few days. Dress warmly, and meet me at my family's home. Nearly anyone in town can help you find it easily enough.

In friendship,

Aloisius
"Looks like a table to me. Do you think it could hold up someone as bulbous as Treadwell?" -- Dr. Brennan, Myrken Wood Rememdium Edificium
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Re: Calling to Westenford

Postby Rance » Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:49 am

She rented a horse from the livery in Foggy Bottom, where they wondered at her trembling hand as she put shillings into the stablemaster's palm. A Jerno on a horse! Such unlikely circumstances, however, required unlikely solutions. The stable master gave her the briefest lesson on guidance and care, and on second thought, demanded further fees for insurance: it was likely, after all, that she would lose, kill, or injure Dead Scratch well before Westenford, and recouping the price of the saddle, tack, and beast itself would be a far less painful process with additional coin in his pocket.

In hiked skirts and loose trousers, the young woman uneasily made her way toward Westenford, having but one road to follow.

Two hours after her embarkment, she hitched in Collingford for a midday meal and apologized to the tavern-keeper for smelling like so much horse's shit, and asked if he would please tell her what road would carry her to Westenford. After he did, she ate stew, refreshed her wineskin, and took once more to her rented horse.

The good news: Dead Scratch did not hate her.

The bad news: she did not like Dead Scratch very much.

Westernford, even from a distance, possessed little remark ability. And it was this quaintness that charmed her and relieved her as she neared it. Crowned by afternoon fog and smelling of woodsmoke and cooked beef, the muddy town beckoned her. She entered it and stabled her patient creature, and parted with a few more shillings to feed him fine grain, bathe him well, and my God, do oil the saddle, wouldn't you—!

Brief nervous illness waylaid her in Westenford's commons, where Gloria rented a room at the local inn and settled her day of traveling nerves and terrors with good beer and smoke of a very curious nature. That night she paid handsomely to have water drawn and boiled in a basin for cleaning. She scrubbed the tarsweat from herself with a stone until her skin gleamed almost a fine red instead of its usual warm brown. That night, by candlelight, she spent three hours' time knotting her coarse hair into proper Jerno scalpknots, six of them, each the size of a blacksmith's fist.

She looked upon her face in clouded mirrorglass: a hawk-beak nose, a mouth set in a line, gray eyes more steel than gem; cheeks thick as ham sides, her brow an endless canyon of blemish-scars and old lines.

"You are greater," she told herself, "than you presume you are. And you are better than any other soul thinks you have any right to be, Gloria Wynsee."

She woke at dawn. Bonnetless, skirts snapping, boots shaming the mud beneath them, she made her way to Treadwell's manor, and on the door, knocked three times.
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Re: Calling to Westenford

Postby Treadwell » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:10 am

A visit shortly after dawn is a visit perhaps too early for Aloisius H. Treadwell, so it is a still yawning Treadwell who plods to the front door instead of one of the house's servants. He was just now working on a bit of breakfast in the nearby dining room, and, though Alice is all the way back home in Myrken Wood with the children, he could very well hear her voice going on about how he ought not just sit there if he had things to do.

Answering the door, it seems, is a thing he can do. There Aloisius stands in the doorway wearing the burgundy robe and gold medallion that signify his role over the council in Westenford.

If there is one aggravating thing about where the Treadwell family estate is set, it's that the front door faces the sunrise. Thus, the traveling toymaker and politician and priest requires a moment to blink and squint to make out the backlit, "Gloria!"

It takes but another moment for the old fellow to wobble forward on his walking stick and move to throw big, baggy arms and voluminous sleeves around his long absent, dear friend.

"Come in the house!" he squeaks after a few wet-eyed moments of study. "There are not many of us here--Langley, my brother, mmph, accompanied me here, and there is still my butler, Gregory, and a few other maids for servants, but, well, mmph mmph, there is breakfast! This way!" A welcoming whuff and a wave of free arm indicate the way to the dining hall. A gurrrrgle in the stomach adds to the request to enter. Apparently, Mr. Treadwell wasn't quite finished with his meal.
"Looks like a table to me. Do you think it could hold up someone as bulbous as Treadwell?" -- Dr. Brennan, Myrken Wood Rememdium Edificium
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Re: Calling to Westenford

Postby Rance » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:42 pm

"Mister Treadwell," the young woman greeted from the doorway, her dark, crag-ridden face brightening and softening with familiarity. "Good morning to you."

He hugged her; it was a crushing hug, an enveloping one that all but squeezed the breath from her. In another life — and a younger one — he could have easily been a man of great brawn and dashing physical force. Her mind was, anymore, just a wild tussle of incongruent busy-ness: endless counting of invisible seams and stitches in her head, and wondering on physical altercations of the past (and of the future), as if expecting one at any moment. And she wondered, very briefly, what a challenge her old bulbous friend would be in the fighting pit. Those gentle, trembling hands of his, they could have crushed the soul out of a body, couldn't they; they could beat a man or woman to powder if they must—

Think as you should, Gloria Wynsee. Not as a brute, but as a proper being.

"It is quite good—" spoken against his collar, muffled and laughing, "—to see you too, friend."

It had been years, hadn't it? And she'd grown taller and broader and dark as the skin of a tree, and her coarse hair bore a sheen in the sun. An upturned lapel, the backturned cuffs of her dress, and a skirt gathered with a bustle almost gave her the air of a proper woman, if it weren't for the missing teeth of her genuine grin and the mapwork of scars on her skin. She entered at the behest of the the old fellow's invitation, her stubby fingers — or rather, those that remained — clutching at the kirtle of her dress in a nervous knead. Wealth surrounded her on all sides in this place, and no sooner had she entered than she heard the voice in the back of her brain: What a stain you are, Gloria. What a dirt-girl. He'll see the truth of you.

Wooden-bottomed shoes clicked on the floor as she followed him, allowing him to dictate the pace. To breakfast, then.

"I've brought you a gift, for seeing me so early, and on such short notice. As a gratitude, a ghe'doz, as Jernoans put it. But too, as an apology: I dislike poisoning friendly visits with matters of — of business, you see. So before we proceed to get to the dire inquiries, I ought to know: how is your lovely wife, and your family?"

At the feasting table, she withdrew from her satchel a tiny, aromatic bag full of damp, brownish flecks and morsels.

"Razasani smokeroot," Gloria said, "for your discerning tastes, Mister Treadwell."
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