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    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2008 edited
    The door swung gently open and the maid stepped in. "If you please, sir, there's a lady and a gentleman waiting for you in the parlor." Mackail took a moment to study the girl. Yes, she was certainly one of his servants, he remembered the face. "Step inside and close the door," he ordered. The maid did as she was told, though she looked slightly bemused. Mackail was fairly certain that all the servants thought him on the insane side, a fact which in general did not disturb him, so long as it did not interfere with any of his plans. She had stepped inside readily enough and was now standing and awaiting further instruction. Certainly no signs of coercion, and unless she was working willingly with a group, Mackail could consider her message legitimate. Seeing as he had conducted thorough research on each and every servant hired, the outside change that she had suddenly become a radical bent on destroying the aristocracy was slim, and he allowed himself to treat the situation as it appeared. Mackail rolled his eyes.

    "What are your instructions regarding visitors?" He asked, sternly.

    "If you please sir," the maid bobbed a quick curtsy, drew a deep breath, and plunged ahead. "No visitors who are within an hour's ride of their home are to be admitted. Visitors who are within a daylight ride of home may be invited in and given refreshment, but you are out and do not know when you will be back. If the visitor will not be able to reach home before dark falls or the weather is particularly inclement, shelter for the night may be offered. The visitor is not to roam the house at any time. You are to be informed immediately of their presence. The Dioran family is not to be admitted under any conditions. If any messengers arrive bearing cards with your full title included, they are to be shown up instantly. Visitors are not allowed to wait on your return. Any visitors who wish to be shown around the house are to be denied. Under no circumstances are guests allowed in the library, with the exception of Master Wolcombe. If Master Wolcombe calls, we are to see if you are in, and allow Master Wolcombe to wait in the library."

    "Quite correct. Now would you care to explain how I happen to have two visitors awaiting me in the parlor?"

    "The lady and the gentleman are in from town, sir. I thought it better to see if you were in. They sent cards up, sir." The maid advanced, extending the salver she carried."
    Mackail reached for the cards, then hesitated and looked up at the maid.

    "Did they come by carriage or horseback?"

    "Horseback, sir"

    "Have you handled these?"

    The maid shook her head. "No, sir"

    "Don't touch them, but read them aloud to me."

    Obediently, the maid rotated the platter and read, "Lord Viscount Donovan Curtmantle, Mistress Alisande Dabney."

    With a frown, Mackail lent back and steepled his fingers. "Dispose of the cards without touching them. Inform Lord Curtmantle and the lady that I do not appear to be in, but you trust I will be back by the dinner hour, if they would care to wait."

    "Yes, sir," the maid said, bobbing again and turning to go out. Mackail stifled a grin at the odd look she gave the calling cards. "You are to be commended," he added, as she began pulling the door to. "For recognizing the oddity and inquiring for further instruction."

    "Thank you, sir." The maid pulled the door closed without further comment passing between them.

    "Bother Lord Curtmantle." Mackail got out of his chair and stretched. "Now I have to go out riding. Why does that man keep getting in the way? And who, in this frozen blizzard of countryside, is Alisande Dabney?"
    Thankful People: Curly Que
    • CommentTimeNov 12th 2008
    Dabney looked up at the walls of the parlor and shook her head. "Seems a bit stark, if I were to tell the truth." Lord Curtmantle looked amused.

    "It is a bit stark. But you wanted to know where I found that lock. I am showing you."

    "Lord Catsnose." Dabney wrinkled her own nose. "He sounds an odd character."

    "I'm very curious about Lord Catsnose. I ran into him at Lady Quiera's ball, after he had left town for the season."

    "Isn't Lady Quiera the woman who's had the reward posted for the recovery of her lap dog? With additional money to the man who can bring whoever caused the poor animal such pain and suffering to justice?"

    "You have it. I didn't think you paid attention to such things, Dabney."

    She grimaced. "Well, if I hadn't run into the footman posting the reward notices, and spilled them all over the street. I couldn't help reading the information while I helped him re-stack."

    Lord Curtmantle made a sympathetic noise, as he continued his inspection of the room. In certain spots, he stopped and tapped the walls with the handle of his riding crop.

    A loud creak from the door made them both turn. The maid who had escorted them to the parlor stepped just inside the door, curtsied, spewed out a sentence, and fled, pulling the door shut so quickly behind herself that the echo reverberated inside the bare parlor.

    Dabney cocked her head. "That was odd."

    "Indeed. But we do have what we wanted."

    "Do we? I don't think I actually caught what she said."

    Lord Curtmantle repeated the brief message. "'Lord Catsnose is out at the moment, but if we would care to wait and join him for dinner, he should be back by then.' I believe our acquiescence to this plan has been assumed. Fortunately, the assumption is correct."

    Dabney shivered. "Do you suppose they'll build a fire in here between now and dinner?"

    Lord Curtmantle looked at her in concern. "I doubt the chimney will draw. From the sound of the door, Lord Catsnose doesn't entertain very often. Just a moment, we'll try to find a warmer room to wait on the gentleman."

    He rang the bell and they waited. The door was pushed open and after a long pause, a younger maid, who looked like she had been scrubbing pots, came into the room as though she herself had been pushed.

    "The lady is cold," Lord Curtmantle explained. "Is there perhaps a heated room where we could wait for dinner?"

    "The library, sir." The girl gave a small, unpracticed, curtsy. "The master always has a fire lit in the library first thing."

    "Library?" Dabney inquired, her face lighting up.

    "The library would be excellent." Lord Curtmantle answered the scullery maid. "Would you be so kind as to show us the way?"

    So ... they were in the parlor.  And they're going to go to the library.  And Mackail is going to kill the poor girl.  *is sad* 

    Hey, it's Sandy!  Hi, Sandy.  :-D

    Auspicious Anemone

    who's Sandy?
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2008
    You remember Connecticut Yankee? The girl in there is named Alisande, but Hank calls her Sandy.
    Oh, that Sandy.

    Who are you calling Sandy in this story? The main characteristic that I remember about Sandy was that she never stopped talking.
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2008 edited
    In Hanks narration, she never stopped talking. I think she was just a dedicated storyteller. Who's at Mackail's house with Lord Curtmantle? According to the cards read to Mackail by the maid.
    OK OK I see it. Sandy my foot!

    I doubt that she lets anyone call her that. Well, most anyone.
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2008
    Sandy gave a low exclamation. "How many books do you suppose are in here?" She rotated slowly around the room and gave a low, wondering, laugh. "Look, even the door has shelves."

    Lord Curtmantle, who appeared to be studying the carpet, looked up. "Hmmm? Oh, yes, indeed." He returned his gaze to the floor. "Come, Dabney, you can pick a pretty lock, let's see you read a room."

    "Just the room?" Dabney asked. "I thought it was Lord Catsnose that you wanted to figure out."

    Lord Curtmantle laid his hands behind his back and studied the room briefly. "I would ask that if I thought it possible. Why do you suppose I don't?"

    Dabney followed his glance around the room and her brow furrowed. "I suppose... it might be that there's no telling who has been leaving marks on this room. I mean to say, who collected the books, who directs the cleaning, who does the organizing. It could be Lord Catsnose, but it is certainly doubtful whether or not he performs all of those functions. Any of the staff would be able to come in and dust or read or reshelve, since there is no lock on the door."

    "Trust you to take note of the locks," Lord Curtmantle shook his head. "But what you say is quite true, though not the aspect of the matter that I was considering. I would say that reading habits are quite capable of concealing as much or more than they reveal."

    "Surely you will concede that whoever collection this many books must have loved to read."

    "No, indeed, for the costliness of books makes the ownership of many cause for boasting. A rich lord or lady, hoping to impress their peers ... after the fashion of Lady Dupeiry's draperies."

    "You seem to have a low opinion of your fellow lords, sir. I am quite certain that many of them are sensible folk. But surely you must admit that collecting books is not the first thing to appeal to a non-reader. And, beside, would they not try to show their acquisitions off? For I see only a very plain room here, papered with books. You would suppose trophies would be exhibited more grandly. And by the time you have a person who loves the beauty of books and considers them enough for the room, you have a reader who buys books not merely for the illumination."

    "That's true enough of this room, but as you yourself pointed out, Sandy, who organizes the decorating? If they are old trophies, perhaps it isn't quite so odd that they be sent away to a corner. Though the fire being lit in here each morning either proves Lord Catsnose is slowly burning away his books, one at a time, or that he does enjoy being around books, implying that he enjoys reading. At any rate, without worrying about whether or not it is Lord Catsnose who enters this room, what can you tell me about whoever does?"
    Thankful People: Dynamic Juggernaut
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2008
    The break room isn't the most conducive place to writing that I've ever found, but when I forget my book, the above sometimes happens.

    I'm going to start hiding your books.  In with the centipedes.

    I must say that I am already enjoying this story very much. I wish that I had it in written form such that I could continue to read it at my leisure.

    Excellent work!

    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2009
    You all posted .... but no one wrote any more story. I feel galvanized.
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2009 edited
    "Well, no matter your thoughts," Dabney began. "I seriously doubt Lord Catsnose has been holding bookburnings in here. The shelves are so full, there couldn't possibly be room for another book." She began to look around the room, frowned, and walked over to the door. The was silence in the room, occasional popping from the fireplace the only sound as she surveyed the ceiling, the floor, the walls. "I don't see anything useful on the ceiling. There are three visible paths in the carpeting."
    "And so? What would you do next, if you wished to find out more about the frequenters of this room?"
    "I would follow the tracks." Dabney shrugged. "Deepest one first, lightest one last. The first one leads here ...." She walked forward carefully, stopped when she reached the bookshelves and began reading out titles to Lord Curtmantle. "Tactics of the Roran Empire. A History of the Western Islands. Wars of the Tlumme Paeskes'. A Complete History of the Battles of the Southern Continent. " There was a pause and she looked at Lord Curtmantle.
    "So," he replied. "History, but overwhelmingly military history." Dabney nodded and returned to her starting place by the door.
    "The next trail leads to .... "Taxation and Toll Roads. Why Not Anarchy? Commerce and Barter in the Roran Empire. Currencies of the World. Trade Routes of the Ancients. The King's Tax - A Defense." Her lips quirked. "I've read most of these. Excellent books, the lot of them. I've been wanting to find a copy of 'Trade Routes of the Ancients' , but no luck. This shelf would seem to be trade and finance, wouldn't you agree?"
    Lord Curtmantle nodded his approval of her analysis. "And the last trail?"
    Dabney walked over to the door once more. "This one is quite faint. I almost wouldn't call it a trail at all. It's there though, somehow. Maybe a better angle would help." She knelt down and tilted her head to watch the light catch in the patterns of the rug.
    Lord Curtmantle made an inarticulate noise and Dabney quickly twisted her head to look up at him, just as the door being flung open behind her caught her between the shoulders and stretched her out full length on the carpeting.
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2009
    Mackail entered the house in a black mood. He would have stayed out longer, not only to improve the quality of his deception, but to avoid his guests, but the spaces between the freezing gusts of snow were shrinking and for safety's sake, he had had to ride back to the house. Even though his riding gear was of the highest quality, he felt stiff and frozen already. Upon entering the house, he made straight for the library, knowing that it was the closest room guaranteed to hold a fire. Shaking snow off his back as he traveled through the halls, he gave the library door a shove. Better to vent some of his frustration now on the inanimate furniture, than to appear irritated in front of Lord Curtmantle. That man could read people far too well. Mackail was in excellent shape and climbing walls did quite a bit for the arm muscles. Since he was going to shove the door, he shoved hard, channeling as much of his distress into the force as he could. Just after he pushed the door, his brain registered the slight noise he had heard ... and the unexplained resistance that kept the door from banging into the wall, as Mackail would have thought and sent it rebounding slightly back towards him, blocking his view of whatever had just happened and whomever had invaded his library.

    Dear me.  I'm still surprised that maid didn't get in worse trouble for letting someone into his library.  But perhaps that will happen yet.  Surely there was some small parlor, or sitting room they could snipple around in instead of being trusted with Mackail's treasured airplane-making materials??

    Aerial Anemone

    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    It wasn't the real maid, though, it was the scullery maid. And you heard Dabney say that he doesn't regularly burn books.

    Why in the world is the scullery maid answering the door and showing people into libraries????  And she sure seemed to know the rules ... hmm ... *suspicious*  I sure hope we find out, this sounds interesting!

    Besides, I'd hardly call Dabney an expert on Mackail's behaviour, especially as it seems we've already killed her off by breaking her back.  My oh my, isn't Mackail going to be sore at having killed a guest -- that'll teach him to control his temper!

    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2009
    Tsk, tsk. This comment sadly reveals a lack of attention to details earlier in the story. Perhaps you need to re-read?

    *affronted Anemone*

    Surely it is the author's job to ensure that the details in a story do not confuse a reader, and that the proper information is in its place?


    (It's been a while since this started, though, so perhaps I do need to review!)

    I reread. . . . and I'm still not sure where it says there is another maid somewhere. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting your comment/reply. Still =D I'm greatly looking forward to what happens next!
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2009
    He rang the bell and they waited. The door was pushed open and after a long pause, a younger maid, who looked like she had been scrubbing pots, came into the room as though she herself had been pushed.

    Take note.
      CommentAuthorNylad Mazzic
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2009 edited
    Aha! I must admit that I had forgotten that bit of information...

    Negligent Nylad
    *Declines to comment*

    But the maid who first talked to Mackail told him they were in the library before the above-mentioned pushing ever took place!  Is that an error, was she supposed to say parlor?


    *bemused anemone*

    Suuuure. That's what they all say!!!
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2009
    THANK you, D.J.
    Welks :)
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2009
    Despite his anger he did not wish to accidentally cause further harm, so he eased himself carefully into the library between the door and the frame. He was quite shocked to see Lord Curtmantle assisting a young woman to her feet. After half a breath's pause, Mackail stepped forward and offered his arm as well. When the lady was once again upon her feet, he swept a brief bow.

    "My lady Dabney, I am most appalled and if I have injured you, I beg you give me leave to call a physician, for I will not allow you to think me such an unkind host as I seem intent on proving myself. And if you are too sore injured I beg you do not strain yourself to ride back to town, but accept the hospitality of my roof as long as needs be, without feeling yourself to be a hindrance, for I must needs confess the fault entire mine. "

    While he spoke, he whisked a chair over from near the fireplace and presented it to Dabney, who gratefully lowered herself down into it, with a small sigh. She still appeared dazed and did not respond to him audibly. Mackail did not much mind, for though he was embarrassed by his error and indeed, apologetic, he was capable of saying so in a more concise fashion. In fact, he was feeling off balance on his own ground and was giving his mind time to catch up.

    "And Lord Curtmantle, I cannot imagine what you may be thinking of me. I was informed of your presence, but was under the misapprehension that you had been shown to the parlor?"

    Lord Curtmantle, who had been bending over Sandy, straightened up to reply to the question.

    "Indeed, Lord Catsnose, do not be so hard upon yourself. Mistress Dabney assures me that she is not ill hurt. We were at first shown into the parlor, but the lady grew cold and the maid suggested the library would perhaps be warmer. I beg you do not put yourself out over this, certainly I doubt you would get far seraching for a doctor in this weather. We would not have you lost in a blizzard. You even now look half-frozen, you must be brave indeed to take out riding in this snow!"

    Mackail lifted one eyebrow as he stepped nearer to the fire.
    "Or simply bored, my lord. I find I cannot stay constantly entertained in my library, like it though I may... I trust the lady is warm enough now?"

    Dabney looked up at the young lord in front of the sparking fire, who was quickly exchanging verbosities with her escort, while pulling off his snow stiffened riding gloves and looking at her keenly. She found her voice.

    "Indeed, Lord Catsnose, my embarrassment has given me warmth. You could certainly not have expected to find me on the floor, but I was exploring your books and found that I could not see everything while standing. It is I who ought to apologize, but I doubt you would accept, therefore I will not trouble the conversation with it."

    The room fell silent. Lord Curtmantle kept his eyes on Mackail. Mackail continued to watch Dabney and Sandy flashed her gaze uneasily towards Lord Curtmantle.
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2009 edited
    Mackail watched her face deepened to a scarlet red as the silence continued. Not a society lady then. They trained themselves to blush, true, but not that color. The mystery nagged at Mackail and he broke the silence in the interest of discovering more about this stranger.

    "Would you care to join me for some dinner, then? It should be served shortly. I will make sure that the kitchen knows I have guests." He pulled the bell rope. "In the meantime, I will have the maid show you to the dining room. I will be with you shortly."

    The parlor maid appeared at the pull of the bell, face pinched from nervousness and she nearly sighed from relief when Mackail simply told her to escort the guests to the dining room. Dabney frowned at the frightened look on the girl's face, but rose from her chair without comment. Lord Curtmantle bowed to Mackail and left with the women.

    After the door shut behind the small group, Mackail knelt down to the carpet. "What is it that so interests our not-so-much lady?" He asked himself. Quickly, he scanned the books on the lower level of the shelf.

    "'Descendants of the High Kings', 'Am I Royalty' 'A Genealogy of King Petrach and His Brothers.'" Mackail sighed and stood up. "A social climber? Pity, I thought there might be more to it than that. And not something I took Lord Curtmantle to foster. What is his game?"
    Thankful People: Dynamic Juggernaut
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2009 edited
    They had been neatly deposited at their destination by a very silent maid. She had replied in faint monosyllables when Dabney had inquired about some of the decorations on the walls and Sandy had quickly given up on engaging her at all. When they were again alone, this time in the antechambers to the dining room, Sandy turned upon Lord Curtmantle.

    "Who is this person - other than the 'friend' who got you my lock? He reads military history, you both pretend to be silly fools each to the other, and the servants are either terrified or insane. And I want to know..."

    Mackail stepped into the room. His eyebrow rose in bland inquiry. "Am I disturbing you?"

    "No, indeed," Lord Curtmantle gestured him forward. "Mistress Dabney found a book in your library that she has been searching for and is desirous of knowing where you could have found it. "

    Mackail gave Sandy another bow. "If my lady will tell me what it is, I would gladly make you a gift of it, in reparation for the ill I have done you."

    Sandy, who had been studying the floor with very red cheeks since he had entered, looked up sharply. "Truly milord?" She dropped the stricter town accent she had been speaking with and lapsed into a more northern tone. "That would be so much appreciated. I do not know if I could accept."

    "No, I insist. What book?" Mackail was now curious, for none of the books on the lower shelf were oddities, indeed, quite the opposite, bookshops teemed with books for those who wished to connect themselves to the royal family in one manner or another.

    "'Trade routes of the ancients?'" Dabney looked hesitant. "I know it is quite rare, milord, I would take no offense if you were unwilling to part with such a valuable item. Especially as I feel the entire affair was my fault."

    Mackail bit his tongue, hard, to keep his face expressionless. "If it is 'Trade routes' you desire, it is 'Trade routes' you shall have and I will gladly part with it if I have found someone who appreciates the volume. But you must discuss it with me sometime..."

    "I am always more than happy to discuss, as Lord Curtmantle could have warned you." Sandy said.

    Lord Curtmantle nodded a silent agreement.

    Sandy laughed at the expression on her escort's face, which was now turned away from their host. "Perhaps I'll bring my brother, Lord Catsnose. That way, you're sure to lose all the arguments."

    Yay!! good job. 

    I'm certain that you, of all people, will provide every detail about the food? ; )

    I LOVE your book titles!!! Most excellent. Admirational Anemone
      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2010
    Now that I'm caught up can we have more?
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2010 edited
    "You will not," Mackail's cook was saying, quite firmly "ever, foist your duties off on Elle again."

    The maid she was confronting gave a squeak of dismay.

    "They kept asking question..."

    "Which is your problem, not Elle's!" The cook shook a whisk in the maid's face. The maid squeaked again and the cook sighed, regarding her outstretched whisk and the blanching maid.

    "Come ask me, Sylphie, next time you don't know what to do," she said, lowering the whisk. The maid nodded.

    "Pen," she said, timidly, as the cook began pulling ingredients onto the counter.

    The cook raised an eyebrow.

    "Lord Catsnose bid me tell you that he will have two guests for dinner."

    Temperance Larcon dropped the egg she was holding. "Guests? Two guests. For dinner?"

    The maid nodded. "The lady and gentleman that I showed in. I gave their cards to Livva, like you said I ought to." Here, her eyes widened. "Livva said the cards were poisoned. When she took them up to Lord Catsnose, he wouldn't touch them. And now he's having them to dinner!" Her voice rose steadily throughout the rushed review of the morning's events.

    Pen lifted one corner of her mouth. "I'll wager Livva told you all about the 'poisoned cards' just before the bell rang?"

    Sylphie hesitated, then nodded.

    Pen laughed. "Well, while I clean up this mess, you find Livva, Kirsten and the rest of your compatriots and ask them to come see me."

    Sylphie nodded eagerly, but didn't budge. "Comp what?" she asked.

    "All the maids," Temperance clarified. "Hurry now!"

    Very nice!

      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2010
    Beth how can you leave me hanging like this, All The Time?
    Very nice, very nice.

    Oh wait, Bree just said that...
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2010 edited
    Temperance caught herself glancing wildly around the kitchen once Sylphie had vanished. Setting the whisk with careful precision on the counter, she pulled a rag from the stack near the sink, dampened it in the soap bucket and forced herself to kneel and clean up the splattered mess of egg on the floor. Two additional guests weren't so bad, after all. The torte from yesterday would serve as dessert, as long as she whipped some fresh cream and, if there was time, added a hot caramel sauce. Bread from breakfast with the tapenade in the cold box - if she toasted it with sweet butter and spread the cold olives thinly it would make an attractive appetizer. There would need to be a cheese plate before -- Livva, second only to Temperance and the housekeeper in the ranks of the household, burst onto the edge of the cook's thoughts.

    "Lord Catsnose says that we shall be having two guests for the night and that I should inform Mrs. Emerson to prepare rooms for them. So I thought I should ask you your thoughts, and then I'll fetch Kirsten to help air the bedding and I'll need Elle to set the fires --"

    "First," Temperance broke in, grabbing hold of the counter and hoisting herself to her feet, "first of all things I must feed them dinner. You may consider yourself a newly hired kitchen maid until I begin sending courses out. Then I'll need Kirsten and Sylphie and Gretchen to serve, but Elle can begin on the rooms at least. Once dessert goes out, you can take everyone to make up the beds and I will serve the port."

    Pulling an apron from a cupboard shelf, she tossed it to a quieted Livva.

    "Slice up this bread," Temperance spun around the room, setting a narrow loaf, a ripple edged knife and a crock of butter on the wooden slab of the center kitchen table. "Thinly, mind you, and angle the cuts a bit." She watched the first slice, nodded approvingly and turned to the newly arrived group of maids in the wide doorway.

    "There you are. Sylphie, whisk this, don't even think of stopping. Kirsten, fatch me six potatoes and two onions from the cellar. Oh! And grab up that jar of olive spread and hand it to Livva. Elle, I need the copper pots from the hall closet, all of them, and the string press. Gretchen, run down to the stables and ask Tellon to dress me a chicken. Amiee, set some water to boil and everyone, put aprons on. The last thing we need is for you to look like food yourselves when you start serving the dinner."
    Thankful People: Anemone Flynn, Nylad Mazzic
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2010 edited
    A small girl, solemnly bearing a plate with a silver bell centered upon it, marched into the dining room, startling Sandy out of her conversation with Lord Catsnose. The conversation had begun with small talk, a few comments about persons and parties, a few comments about the fashions of the fall, but with steady progression had changed into a discussion on the economy of the southern sea route versus the western land routes. Lord Catsnose had seemed taken aback that she actually knew where silk for gowns came from. He would most likely be flabbergasted to learn that she had never actually owned silk. Or perhaps not. He seemed a difficult person to knock off balance.

    Now the girl was setting the bell on the table, carefully wrapping her hands around it to muffle any chimes. Lord Curtmantle studied this event as he had been studying everything since Lord Catsnose had rejoined them in the dining room. Carefully, intensely, and silently. Sandy, feeling awkward at the sudden break in conversation and sensing a rush of returning curiosity as to the reasons from this strange visit, also stared at the bell. Silver, with careful etchings along the rim and a pale green ribbon drooping from the handle. Lord Catsnose picked the bell up and rang it sharply before Sandy could notice what the etchings consisted of and her attention was distracted as three maids, neatly dressed, entered, each bearing a small plate of appetizers. The noise from the bell had barely faded before they had vanished again, leaving a plate at each table setting.
    Thankful People: Anemone Flynn
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2010
    I was stuck in line at One Stop yesterday. This happened to happen.
    Awesome! Great job, as always!
      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2010
    Excellent! I was beginning to lose hope that anyone would ever write again!
    Yay! Great job with the kitchen scene, it really came to life for me. I'm loving the little details you throw in there. :-) Lovingable Anemone
      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2010 edited
    and since she's loving and able maybe Neeme can help next time Pen needs help in the kitchen. :-P

    I agree with Anemone. =) your kitchen scene is great. you must be a Culinary Arts major.. ;)

    • CommentTimeMay 13th 2011 edited
    Unsure of how to restart the conversation, Sandy stretched her fingers toward the bell.

    "I couldn't make out the etchings, Lord Catsnose. Are they of any significance?"

    Picking up the bell so that it didn't even vibrate, Lord Catsnose pinched the tongue between his fingers and laid the dainty instrument on the tablecloth beside her plate.

    "I never dictate significance in art," he warned. "But they should at least amuse you."

    Sandy nodded vaguely in acknowledgment of his comment, before bending over the bell. She tried to inspect it carefully, while listening to Lord Curtmantle's renewed entry into conversation with his host.

    "You are familiar with art, Lord Catsnose? A collector perhaps?"

    "Not as such. I retain what might cross my path, bu the effort some are willing to pour into hunting down individual pieces has never come to me."

    "Oh. How clever!" Sandy allowed her admiration of the bell's artwork to become obvious, since Lord Curtmantle seemed disinclined to respond promptly to this last comment.

    "Mice!" She drew a finger around the bell, following the pattern of figures. "Dancing, eating, playing cards. Oh." She laughed, addressing Lord Catsnose more directly. "They're playing under the cat's nose, am I right?"

    Lord Catsnose grinned briefly, the first unmodulated expression Sandy had seen on his face.

    "Yes. I did not inherit the title, you know, so the heraldry and names are all my own invention."

    "Catsnose is not your original name, then?"

    "Mmm. No. But I rather like it."

    Lord Curtmantle made a politely curious sound, then said,

    "You don't find that it makes people distrust you? Cats haven't the most savory reputation, you know."

    The look of horror that briefly spread across Lord Catsnose's face, followed by his shocked, "Really?" and Sandy nearly lost her composure entirely. Then she recovered control of her senses and began trying to think as if she were Lord Curtmantle. Was this sudden show humor? Or meant to imply a heretofore unhinted level of density? Perhaps the tone the had struck her as combative was simply formality, made more pronounced by her odd accident. Then again, the shift of tone had distracted her completely from the subject of the conversation... maybe that was the purpose of the out-of-place action. But the conversation had moved on again while she was processing.

    "I can see that in order to prove that not all of us cats are unsavory, I must have you and Miss Dabney spend the night."
      CommentAuthorCurly Que
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2011
    I agree with Catsnose's idea of collecting art. At least so far in my life. :P
    Haha, I would have snorted the coffee through my nose, probably. Then regretted it. But still, the deed would have been done.