Take two

Re: Take two

Postby Io Ono » Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:13 pm

There was warmth here, there was genuine good here, a real chance at a fresh start. There was so much yet to be unsure of, but at least for a little while, there was promise. There would be difficulties, to be certain. The most average did have down times after all. Most importantly, at least in her mind, there was understanding...of the mutual kind.

“Io should not trust Miss Gloria, but does. Miss Gloria is kind if she wants it or not, so Io trusts. Io has no answers for anyone Miss Gloria does not trust. And if it pleases Miss Gloria, Io will be Marion outside. Marion...” She paced a bit, seemingly lost in thought. It had been a while since she had a second name, and her own did not come to her very often. Of course, even if she did remember, at the moment it was probably wise to avoid that one as well.

“Marion Nisem. That is who I will be. Marion Nisem who has seen 17 winters, and serves as Miss Gloria’s scribe. Though, I fear I may need more training with letters. Io...euhh, Marion’s letters are not so neat.” It was the best she could come up with at the moment, the best part that she could convincingly play, considering her appearance and talents. “I came about your service in Wrexham, euhh...this winter past, but could not make the journey for a fever. Yes. Marion Nisem.” She nodded twice, matter of factly, in an attempt to convince herself of this new truth.

Was she worried? Sure. She had difficulties with deception of words, and she’d only known one identity. She hadn’t spent much time outdoors, not during the day amongst waking crowds. But, it was still safer than the alternative. Besides, not all of the tale was false. She did travel from Derry, this winter past. So far, as well, she was Marion on the streets. Of course, the brand on her neck gave away most of the truth to the trained eye, but Io did look like ten since the letters were of the same size after all, and as far as the other name...Pratt...well, for that she had nothing.

Since she was to wait, she decided to wait in the most comfortable manner possible, and had already a chosen location. Kittenishly, she curled under the supper table, and yawned a wide yawn. It’d felt an eternity since she’d rested on anything but earth, and hard as they were, the floorboards were at least dry, and dry went a long way in her book. Besides, worn as it was, the floor, and especially under the supper table, seemed to hold the bulk of the homey smell she’d found so pleasing, perhaps because all things came to settle there. So, she did the same, since she was to wait anyway.
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Re: Take two

Postby Rance » Thu Apr 09, 2020 4:28 am

"Menna Nisem, it is a pleasure to meet you here; I am so glad you've come all this way, and in good health, to fulfill your duties."

Gloria's dry lips knitted into a tight, toothless smile, and on her left cheek, a lone dimple pressed inward. Complicit. Gloria quite liked stories. Sometimes stories were better. Sometimes stories were kinder.

The supper table, as it were, was but one decoration in this scant office, and upon it rested ledgers, files, all manners of strange and peculiar accoutrements gathered in a skirt-pocket and discarded there with some lingering desire to one day be put in a proper place. No supper had been taken here in months, and the desk — piled with all manners of half-melted candles, their tears forming a greasy frame around the edges — might as well have been an extension of the same restlessness. In the corner, the rope-bed, sagging low beneath the weight of a hay-stuffed tick, took all Gloria's attention. She drew back a crisp, wool blanket, brushed debris away from the dressing, and frowned in disgrace at the state of it.

The tiny bed, for it had been Gloria's for longer than anyone else's, wore the marks of her strange body: namely, a map of black stains from her sweat, and coils of black-and-ash hair that had, as all hair eventually did, shaken free from her scalp. Almost feverishly, she turned the ticking, offering the kindness of its underside.

You're a poor host, Glour'eya.

While Io shrunk herself down to fit beneath the table (and Gloria, while she wanted to ask, did not, not yet, a girl deserved her eccentricities; a girl deserved simply to be, and not always explain, explain, explain) Gloria shuffled about upon her bureau for some objects of interest.

When she found them, she sat upon the dusty floor beside the table, peering into Io's new shelter, and offering—

A tiny, leather-bound journal, tightly tied by sinew, its loose pages sticking out like tongues.

"For questions you simply must have asked. A safe place for them. To — to show whenever you must."

Beneath it was another book, well-worn, its pages brown-edged, its leather cover illuminated so long ago that it had lost most of its color. Tiny black finger spots had never been washed away, and Gloria's fingers tried in vain to cover them. Abbe Braunwyn's Letter Lessons for Little People. A child's tome.

"I grow tired of thinking I will one day give it to someone."
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Re: Take two

Postby Io Ono » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:48 am

A kingly gift, at least to her eyes and as she clutched the two bindings in her hands, she stared at them, eyes wide as saucers. There was an innocence to her visage, akin to one who has never seen a thing before, which, was not the case, but, there was a first to be had. These, she did not steal, swipe, or borrow. These were given, entrusted, and that made them unique. A treasure.

Treasures required troves, or hoards, or caches, or any other general form of ‘secret’ hiding place, and naturally, she had just the place in mind. Peering over the edge of the table, in feigned stealth, she pried a remnant of candle, with barely enough wick to light, let alone sustain, from the surface of the wood, and with all three, she slithered her way toward the bed, and ultimately...underneath it. It was relatively low, which made the fit close, or it would have been if she were too much larger. Still, it took some effort to slide underneath.

It wasn’t that she was trying to be an ill guest, but, it was yet an unfamiliar skill, and she preferred dark places. She could see in them better than she could in the light. Besides, she never actually slept in a bed, and found the notion difficult to understand. One was clearly visible on top, and warm as they may have been, the sheets seemed more a hindrance, holding one down. It was akin to sacking one’s self, which made little sense. Considering her experience, it was a recipe for ambush. She’d seen first hand what happened to sacked persons and it was hardly pleasant, if ever. Of course, logically, underneath was little better, if one did not fit, however, at the least, one could not be readily seen, and thus had some advantage. Even moreso, if one could keep quiet, and was smart enough to store a sprung crossbow, or dagger below the frame.

Still, it was best to show some appreciation, so, she called quietly from her cozy cave. “Io is merry, Miss Gloria... Io is thankful.” Of course, a look of her face may have suggested otherwise, but, that was something she could not help, at least not at the present. In truth, it was the first gift she had received, that was intended for her and not the use on another. In the dark, her lips did curl into a subtle smile, and she hugged the leathers tightly for a brief moment.

And then, she fell silent, save for the rustling of leather, both of the covering over her diseased eye, which she flipped upwards out of the way of her vision, and of the cover of the book of letters. She was at least that considerate, to not sicken her host with her half tainted visage.
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Re: Take two

Postby Rance » Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:30 pm

"And so am I, Menna Io. Merry," she repeated, for the word was fine, "and thankful."

Stranger and stranger, this girl, scrambling as she did beneath the bed, like a crab upon the beach seeking out its shell, its — its — its—

cool body washed ashore, half-choking on foam, days gray and dead, with one flap of breast hanging free, a girl upon the ship who liked ribbons and named each rat and said she would be a dancer, and the tittering crab pried back the mouth and poured itself inside, nesting upon a leathery tongue and clattering against the teeth...

Gloria's mouth twitched, then somehow found its smile. Her lone hand rubbed against her brow, spilled down over her eyes, as if wiping away the memory. Though she could barely see the girl beneath the bed, saw but a sprawled shadow, heard the rustling, occasional shifting, it was alright, it was well; even women needed a place to hide when the world tried to roll over them. "I eat my night's meal in two hours. I would love it very much if — if you would join me. And afterwards, I enjoy a walk — a few miles, out to the long grasses and back. They needn't be lonesome times, but if lonesome times are what Io requires, then I promise I understand." When at last her smile broke, she gave out a faint breath from her nose in a soundless, satisfied chuckle. "I'll be near, tending my duties. Don't hesitate to tell me if the writing is too loud."

With a press of her knuckles to the wood, she took to her knees, then to her feet. The bureau, several feet away, was her destination. There, she loosened her bonnet, let free the knots of her black hair, and rested her brow against the crude stump where her right hand should have been. The left dipped ink, found parchment, and wrote.

A letter to the Constables, regarding an arrangement. To wash away a misunderstanding with Marion Nisem.

A handful of her ritual reminders: Be not impulsive, be not impulsive, be not impulsive scrawled upon another page until the words lost their sounds in her brain.

A calligraphy of great care, measured out with fastidious attention, sanded liberally, and rolled up in twine. She'd give it to Corm McKinnon in time.

Lastly, a bit of journaling: Today I have fount the strangest and most peculier girl.
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