From a Single Seed, a Garden

From a Single Seed, a Garden

Postby Niabh » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:23 pm

The signpainter did the best he could with the sketch old Harpen provided, and if the proportions were a little off, the whole was still identifiable. The following morning, a broadsheet bearing the image of a tall scarlet plant was affixed to Harpen’s door, its flashing colors a warning and a lure to passersby who stopped to wonder what it was about. Eventually someone read aloud the letters to a friend, and from there word spread along the lane.


There was no immediate response, save for a few mercenary souls who popped in to inquire if perhaps Harpen was offering any sort of bounty for this strange flower. He hadn’t planned to, but it seemed safe enough to add a reward of a few pence for the location of any such flowers, with the repeated warning not to meddle with it if found. This turned out to be a mistake, as now he found himself sending Dennis out once or twice a day to examine a spray of pink-needles growing wild beside some nervous nanny’s outhouse.

“What am I s’posed to do if I find some, sir?” Dennis asked. A tray awaited the trip upstairs.

Harpen carried on mashing carrots with the back of a spoon. “You won’t.”

* * *

Ten or twelve days later, well after most of the interest had waned, Harpen awoke to Dennis’s worried face looming over him. “You better come down, sir. I didn’t touch it, I swear.”

Harpen made his slow and rocking way down the narrow backstairs. Morning sunlight like a golden veil filled the shop front, and he turned the corner, blinking when it pierced his squinting eyes, otherwise he might would have seen it at once. As it was the small delay might have saved him a lethal shock. The skin of his cheeks felt cold and numb, fingertips too.

Dennis would not cross the threshold again. “Door was all locked up, sir. I checked the windows already. I ain’t did a count but it looks like nothing else was touched.”

Haven’t done” Harpen corrected absently. Second nature now. The lad was too good with his letters to go on talking like a guttersnipe.

Slowly, stunned, he tottered a complete circuit around the counter’s perimeter, his fingered lingering at his cold bottom lip. The truth did not change no matter what angle he viewed it from. Like the slender cadaver of some scarlet-clad maiden, a spray of digitalis fatum, the fairy’s foxglove, stretched across the full length of the counter. The bells were still damp from the ground, their long stems bound with butcher’s twine and their roots wrapped in a damp grainsack. The blooms’ honey scent overpowered the herbal-spicy-sulfurous odor that by now was part of the woodgrain, and their color was so vibrant he had to squint to look at them.

After a time, he muttered, “I reckon we’d better let the Inquisitory know.”
Anything can be magic if you're gullible enough.
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Re: From a Single Seed, a Garden

Postby Rance » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:47 am

Msa. Harpen,

Having read of your notice I am both entrigued and unsure how to progress. For one I am sorry for the invasion of your living quarters; I shoult like to think that vampires of myth are a far kinder sort, given that they must at first expect (or at least coerce) invitation. The fatum could not have a better home except in your capable hands but how it has come to you I can only presume the following:

ONE, for apology, that the Subject of our previous discussion has taken your posting personally and has sought to redeem their past actions by providing you ample stores;

TWO, to condesend: a matter of establishing some sense of power or primacy over you by revealing once again that it has access to your home.

And this access is what concerns me the most, the flower aside. I am currently in study on the matters of faery capability (there are frightening varieties of myth and legend that contradict and simultaneously do not inform). The possibilities I have considered:

ONE, that the being in question does not require invitation, key, or permission to enter your home, and does so by some matter of ambulasion unfamiliar to us: walking through walls, entering one realm and exiting it within your home, crossing the threshold as a spirit, etset, etset.

TWO, that this being has access to the physical closures of your home (windows, doors, etset, etset) by way of a key, a skeletin key, or any other mundane means;

THREE, that this being is being allowed access by someone familiar to you, or is manipulating the mind of someone familiar to you, OR is taking on the guise of someone familiar to you.

I am left believing that there are as many possibilities I have not considered, and assure you that while I may have no further answers I am seeking them as best as I am able. Here is the truth: I am far more capable at combatting Beings of Question than I am following their steps, though I seek to improve as much as I am able. I propose this suggestion, and hope you will agree:

ONE, modify the posting: that all of the fatum reseived by you will be rewarded (I shall remunerate you) and subsequently DESTROYED for the threat it poses;

TWO, we shall not destroy the current store of fatum. The majority of this I propose be stored in a safe locked vessell (I shall ask a local locksmith to see you) painted brightly red and stored beneath your bed;

THREE, there shall be a vessell stored upon the main counter painted brightly green, locked similarly, and with one-tenth of the current store of fatum inside it.

Both of these vessells shall be sprinkled with essence of shaved iron, which I shall deliver by hand later this afternoon.

From here we shall wait to see if there are further invasions and I hope you permit me the continued curiosity of this circumstance.

In closing, please accept my continued apology for the Instance during our first meeting; I do not wish to disturb the home of another. I have been treating my melancolea with long walks and substantial time in the sun; I have also taken to reducing my pipe use and increasing my consumption of good beer. These, I believe, will aid.

Yours in partnership,

Gloria Wynsee
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Re: From a Single Seed, a Garden

Postby Niabh » Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:24 am

Miss Wynsee,

Your delivery arrived and I have done all you requested. In addition we have taken precautions in the form of fine sharp wire strung across the windows of our living quarters and iron nails along the doorsills upstairs. At this time my wife's health is precarious and I can take no risks of her being disturbed.

Putting the matter to some thought, could it be that because this is a common shop where people are free to enter, a creature with magical prohibitions might consider it a permanently open invitation? If this is so then I am afraid I cannot think of a way around it. As for the three suggestions you put forth we will take them under serious advisement, unless you believe it best to leave them unexamined for now in hopes of tempting the creature to return.

My own concern is that it is now plain this unknown person is familiar enough with this plant that they have managed to cultivate it when it was previously thought impossible, and that they may now have an unknown quantity at their command for whatever purpose. Chiefly if this creature is a faery, as you believe it to be, this casts some light upon the provenance of the plant itself. If the common story--that the plant itself originated in faery lands--proves true, it might be reasonable that a creature of those lands would be knowledgeable of its growth and usage. Is it possible this faery's motive might be nothing more or less than proprietary?

Seeing the plant fresh and whole has revealed previously undiscovered qualities, chiefly that it emits a light that is even visible when shut into a box, though this seems to fade as the flower itself dies. This may be of use to you in seeking out caches of the plant in the wild and determining the actual article from similar ones. We have modified your instructions slightly in that we have preserved a single plant whole in hopes of keeping it alive, though I do not hold much hope for it.

Please feel no need to apologize, for you were no inconvenience at all. Or if you must make amends, do so by looking after yourself and mending your health, so that we may meet better the next time.

We will inform you immediately should anything come of this matter, which I pray it will not. If there is anything more you need, we are more than happy to oblige.

Your servant,
G. Harpen
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