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Author Topic: Household (1968-1969)  (Read 1404 times)

Offline Myroria

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Household (1968-1969)
« on: November 30, 2014, 01:02:44 AM »
The day was frigid, even for October in Pelagis; though the mercury read only 20 degrees, the wind was blowing so steadily over the moors it felt as if the temperature was only in the single digits.

Gothren shivered and walked to the thermostat on the other side of the room. His office, smaller than the one he enjoyed while Imperial Chamberlain, heated unevenly, though the 'Q' Club it was housed above always seemed to have a room temperature so steady one could conduct laboratory experiments in it. The room's wooden floors; cold, unpolished and dinged, didn't help to conduct heat upwards from the bar. As a result, he was forced to wear about five layers of clothing all winter just to be comfortable in his own workplace.

Oh, how he missed his home in Novrith! That city of lights! Novrith was so far north, the sun seemed to be up for sixteen hours every day all summer. Even during the darkest days of December the lights of the arts district brought a warmth to the cold sea port that couldn't be matched by the combined wattage of Ozi'pol, Carcossa, and Annuminas!

Pelagis, on the other hand, had been as it was for the past two thousand years: drafty as an Bennish fall, cold as a Hemlander winter, and grey as a Letonnese summer. The arts district here was filled not with theatres and cabarets, but choirs and church bells. The summer nights, with their abandoned streets and austere apartments, seemed longer than those of the December solstice in Novrith. The winter nights were so long it seemed as if they would never end.

The office thermostat was set at 78. The temperature read 62. Gothren cursed silently and walked to his chair to get his coat. It was 3:30 in the afternoon, the light filtering through the window was turning orange, and it was time for a drink. As he turned the lock on the office door and prepared to leave, the phone on his desk rang. Pausing and holding the door open, he waited for it to ring again. When the high-pitched bells inevitably jingled, he bit his lip. As they rang a third time he sighed heavily and shut the door, throwing his coat onto the rack by the door. He winced as his hand grasped the cold metal of the handset.

"Hello?" Gothren asked, careful not to touch the phone to his ear.

"Yes, is this Gothren Quarrith?"

"Yes it is."

"Sera, this is Serjo Marcica Quarrovth. I'm calling from the Imperial Residence."

"Yes, there's no need for introductions, Marcica."

"I- I just wanted to make sure you knew who it was, Gothren." Marcica stammered.

"Well I do. Can I help you with something?"
 
"Her Majesty has something that needs to be done."

"She couldn't tell me herself?"

"She's... " Marcica trailed off. Glass could be heard shattering on the other line, followed by raucous laughter. "preoccupied. But she wants you and I to meet as soon as is convenient to discuss this."

"Maybe you should let her sober up before you drag me across the city to fetch a pack of cigarettes."

"No!" Marcica exclaimed. "She promised she wouldn't make me make you do that again."

Gothren sighed and grasped the bridge of his nose.

"This is serious. I can assure you, Gothren." Marcica said, half-pleading. Gothren remained silent. "It'll get you out of Pelagis for the winter."

Gothren's eyebrows raised. "Let's meet at the Blue Sky. That bar on the corner of Berenguela and 14th. In an hour."
Myroria

Offline Myroria

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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2014, 08:51:44 PM »
The Blue Sky, despite its prominent position on the first floor of a high rise building on the corner of two busy streets in Pelagis, was nondescript and almost easily missed. Owned by two transplanted Novrithis like himself, the Blue Sky was Gothren's favorite place in Pelagis to get a drink. A decent ape of a genuine Novrith cabaret, it was the crown jewel of Myroria's capital - though if you were to transport it to a streetcorner in Novrith, it would seem like a cheap rhinestone.

It was attached to an old hotel - to enter one had to open a door across from the concierge's desk and walk down a flight of stairs, taking care not to bump one's head on the low ceiling. It opened up into a small foyer, where presently Gothren stood. He walked to a bulletin board on one wall and a poster just barely to the right of center caught his eye.

Printed on thick cardstock, it stood out among the sea of thin paper around it. In the center was an illustration of the face of a Hemlander, face contorted into what very well may have been a smile. Below it read, "'DA VOLFMAN' AND HIS THREE TRUMPET BAND - FRIDAY ONLY". Gothren smirked at the pun and wondered how a Hemlander would play the trumpet.

"Sera!" exclaimed a voice from behind him. Gothren turned to see Marcica pacing towards him.

"Hello, Marcica." Gothren said with a sigh.

"I hope I wasn't interrupting anything." Marcica said.

"Of course not," Gothren fibbed, looking behind his shoulder at the poster on the bulletin board.

"We should get a seat," Marcica whined, scratching his head. "The place is filling up." He stood on his tiptoes, trying to look over the half-wall separating the foyer from the cabaret's main room.

"Yes, yes," Gothren said, walking past Marcica. "I can get us a seat. We might be stuck at the bar,"

"That should be fine. I've never been here before!"

"You sound like you're my date," Gothren said with another sigh. "Oh, there's a table."

Gothren made a beeline for the tiny wooden table, and Marcica followed soon behind. "You never did explain what Her Majesty wanted me to do. Or why she couldn't wait until tomorrow to do it."

"Well," Marcica grasped, sitting down at the table.

"Oh no," Gothren said. "She's on another bender?"

"No, no, it's not that! Its just... " Gothren leaned forward in his chair, partly to listen to Marcica and partly to let a couple walk by behind him.

"I'd better start from the top." Marcica said.

"I always worry about jobs that require that."

Marcica smirked sympathetically. "There are two families on the Council of Great Houses. They're both firm Quarrovth but they hate each other."

"All the families on the Council hate each other," Gothren said.

"But these two..." Marcica said, taking a deep breath. "They invented the feud." Gothren chuckled.

"What are their names? Where do they live?"

"They both live in the woods outside Fellowmoor."

"The woods?" Gothren asked, the way someone might ask "I have to choose the gallows or the guillotine?"

"Not literally the woods. A town of about three hundred called 'Resaroth'. The..." Marcica rummaged through his pocket for a notepad and opened it. "the Sarerovths, who live on the north end of the town, have been there for hundreds of years. The Giriths, on the south end, showed up later. They've been fighting ever since."

Gothren leaned forward in his chair. "I'm still not following."

"Her Majesty needs your assistance. As long as they're both on the Council one will never vote the same way as the other. That's three or four votes Quarrovth will never have."

"How am I supposed to fix this?"

"We need a mediator. Darvam, the patriarch of the Girith clan, came to us. His grandniece is in love with a Sarerovth boy. He's willing to negotiate an end to this feud but he wants an outsider to moderate it."

"I'm not a mediator. And I have little interest in spending a winter in the middle of nowhere."

"You're the best we've got. And the pay is good. There's an old house in town Quarrovth would rent for you."

"How much is the pay?" Gothren asked, thinking that at least the snow out there would be white instead of car-exhaust gray.

Marcica ripped a piece of paper out of his notepad and slid it across the table. Gothren raised his eyebrows.

"I can be out there next week."

"Ah, well," Marcica started. "That won't work."

"Why not?"

"They don't plow the road that leads to the town. And a storm is coming down from the north. It'll be impassable by tomorrow afternoon."

"Which is why Her Majesty sent you instead of waiting until tomorrow."

"Yeah."

"Goddammit," Gothren cursed.

"It'll get you out of Pelagis for the winter. And once the snow melts you can take a few weeks off. Spend them at home in Novrith."

Gothren sighed and thumbed the paper describing his salary for the job. He stayed silent before opening his mouth.

"Listen, Marcica, you know I would give my life for this House, and that I'd walk to Funkadelia if Her Majesty asked me to,"

"But?" Marcica asked.

"But - " Gothren was cut off by a soft tapping noise. Looking towards the stage he saw a Hemlander standing at the microphone, tapping the end with his finger.

"Good evening," said the figure in a gravelly, accented voice. "My name is Sejm Obraska, but you can call me 'Da Volfman'. We're going to play a few songs for you tonight, but I'd like to start with one I wrote while living in Novajot, right after I was offered my first record deal. It's called 'Take a Chance', and I hope you all enjoy it."

As the band began to play a jazzy number, Gothren watched for a moment, sighed, and turned back to Marcica.

"I'll pack tonight."
Myroria

Offline Myroria

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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2014, 01:38:55 AM »
"Just a few more miles..." Gothren whispered to himself. He looked sternly at the temperature gauge on his dashboard; the needle was perched at "H" and looked as if it'd snap off if it went any hotter.

Gothren reached down to turn the heat up, but found it was already at full blast. Taking his glove off with his teeth, he hurriedly placed his hand on the vent to his right. It blew only cold air. Gothren cursed.

"The thermostat, maybe?" he thought. He sighed aloud and made a silent prayer that there was a garage in town. As he took his foot off the gas, trying to coast as much as he could, he almost didn't notice a small wooden sign on the side of the road.

"ENTERING RESAROTH
COUNTY PELAGIS
SERBANK WARD"

"Yes!" Gothren exclaimed. He was rarely this excited, especially about entering a town squarely in the middle of nowhere. He settled back in his seat and reached for a cigarette but was startled by the engine beginning to sputter.

"Goddammit," he muttered. He barely made it to the side of the road before the engine stopped completely. Sighing heavily, he slipped his glove back on, popped the hood, and stepped out of the car.

Throwing the hood open, he swore. A small amount of steam was rising from the engine block. He walked to the passenger side and grabbed the "Pelagis and environs" atlas from his glovebox. A cursory look confirmed his worst suspicions: there was no garage in town. Gothren threw the map on the ground and looked down the road. A blanket of clouds, the color of slate that could only mean they were full of snow, was approaching.

Hearing a faint rumbling behind him, he turned and saw a truck emerging from the trees. A smile crept onto Gothren's face and he began to wave his arms. The truck approached but began to slow, pulling to a stop near Gothren.

"What 'appened here?" the driver asked with a smirk, rolling down his window.

"Overheated, I think."

"Over'eated? In weather like this? Good thing we'd come by, those clouds look like 'ell."

"Do you know where the nearest garage is?"

"Garage? Ieh, probably a good twenty or thirty miles behind me. The di'ection youse was going."

"Twenty or thirty miles? Dammit," Gothren said.

"Youse not from around 'ere, ieh?"

"No," Gothren replied. "From Pelagis."

"Pelagis!" the driver exclaimed. "What's a city man like you doing out 'ere?"

"I'm here on business."

"Business? Youse here on business?"

"Something like that," Gothren said. Suddenly a lightbulb went off. "My employers are actually putting me up in a house in Resaroth. Could you drive me there so I could call a tow truck?" Gothren reached inside his coat and removed a slip of paper. "This is the address,"

The driver took the slip of paper from Gothren's hair and examined it.

"Well shit," he said. "Youse the guy the 'ouse sent?"

"I - " Gothren began.

"You're lucky I'm the one who found you. Direr Girith. I'm Darvam's brother, the one who called youse people. If one of those Sarerovths found you... who knows what'd they do!"

"Oh my," Gothren said. "Uh," he paused, remembering his manners. "Gothren Quarrith."

"Well, get in. I'll drive you to where you'll be stayin'. You'd better get used to our town, because once that snow starts the only way in or out is by plane."

"Plane?" Gothren asked, baffled the town had an airstrip.

"Water plane!" Direr exclaimed. "Even a city boy like you's gotta know the Ser's too big to freeze over."

"Oh," Gothren said, getting into the truck. "I guess you're right."
Myroria

Offline Myroria

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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2015, 02:26:04 AM »
Gothren sat in Direr's truck at the end of the driveway, eyeing his new home for the winter.

"This wasn't exactly what I expected," he remarked dryly to Direr. A single-story unit with clapboard siding, it matched the other houses in the village but looked about as drafty as his office back home.

"Ieh, well, this is what we got 'ere in 'esaroth. It'll serve you well, no matter 'ow it looks."

"Well, thank you for the ride," Gothren said.

"Much obliged," Direr replied, putting a deerskin-gloved hand out. Gothren grabbed it carefully and opened the truck door.

"Oh!" he exclaimed. "I don't suppose you have a recommendation for a garage in town?"

Direr looked puzzled. "Well, there's only one. My cousin Ferunen runs it."

Gothren nodded his head. Was everyone in this town related?

"Let me give you the phone number," Direr said, reaching into his glovebox for a pen and paper. He scrawled a number down, ripped the page from the notepad, and handed it to Gothren. "e'll take care of yah. Just tell 'im I sent yah."

"Well," Gothren said, taken aback by the friendliness. He had only heard bad things about the Myrorian hinterlands. "Thank you for everything, Direr." Gothren reached into his pocket to get his wallet.

"Now don't you go giving me any money!" Direr exclaimed. Gothren took his hand out of his pocket and raised his eyebrows. "You're my neighbor now, at least for the winter. I won't be 'aving none of your money."

"I - " Gothren said. "Well, thank you for everything."

Direr nodded and threw the truck into reverse.

"I'll be seeing yah around, sera. I 'ope the 'ouse treats you well. Stay warm tonight." Direr looked at the sky.  The snow would start any minute. He nodded slowly and backed out of the driveway.

Gothren watched the truck pull away and dug his feet into the gravel beneath him. He sighed and turned towards the house, stepping carefully on the stairs leading to the front door. With their cracked wood, they looked as if they'd give out any moment. He stood on the porch for a moment and gazed at the front door. Its center window, made of fogged glass, sat inside a wooden frame that seemed heavier than the stairs, though just as old. Gothren reached inside his jacket pocket for the keys to the house.

He slid the key into the lock and turned, swinging the door open slowly. The inside of the house was well-lit despite its rugged exterior, and was surprisingly clean. Gothren stepped forward and felt the crunching of paper beneath his feet. He stepped back and looked down to find an envelope on the floor, now with a footprint marked across it. Kneeling down and picking it up, he could tell by the fine make of the paper and the large seal that it was an official correspondence from the Doge.

He stood up and threw his keys onto the kitchen counter beside him, examining the envelope as he walked to the refrigerator. Gothren stood with one hand on the fridge handle, opening the envelope coarsely with the other. He shook the folded paper open and adjusted his glasses.

Quote
Gothren

Thank you for taking this job on such short notice. Your expertise in situations like this is invaluable to House Quarrovth. If the Giriths and Sarerovths solve this feud that will be at least two votes on the Council in our hands.  I've heard rumors there are Moomintroth-pledged relatives up in Sadryn's Gore and T16R9 WOP that will jump ship to our side if the Resaroth War ends.

Talk to Darvam Girith as soon as you are able. He will give you the whole story.

You'll get your four weeks off at home if this ends well.

Freddie

Gothren pondered how this letter arrived here before he did. A quick glance at the postmark answered his question: October 24. The doge had sent it two days before he even heard of the job.

Gothren sighed and opened the refrigerator, grabbing a jug of orange juice on the top shelf.
Myroria

Offline Myroria

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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 09:38:02 PM »
"I'm glad you were able to meet with me on such short notice, sera." Gothren said, shaking Darvam's hand and adjusting in a seat across from him. The pair sat in Darvam's living room; the largest room in the small two-storey farmhouse he lived in with his wife and twenty-year-old son Drathyn. His two daughters, Dratha and Direnu, had long since been married and moved out - Dratha to Fellowmoor and Direnu to the other side of Resaroth.

Drathyn, was a tall, lanky man with a duck's ass haircut - with several teeth missing from fights, gingivitis, or both, he looked like a backwoods version of Serjo Marcica Quarrovth. Gothren had met him and his bullmastiff, Mora, on the porch outside moments ago. He followed Gothren somewhat ominously into the house and was presently leaning on the doorjamb between the living room and kitchen, Mora sitting nearby in front of her food dish. In school, Drathyn got the name "Dra-dra" because of the peculiar way in which he spoke -

"Wh-wh-why are you h-h-here?" he asked Gothren. Darvam didn't seem to mind his son's intrusion on the conversation - in fact, by the look in his eyes, he seemed proud.

"Well," Gothren began as he turned in his chair to face Drathyn. The chairs in the room were set up so that he couldn't look at Darvam and his son simultaneously - and Gothren couldn't help but feel the design choice was intentional. "Leading members of the House sent me to inquire about the... disagreement between your family and the Sarerovths. We would like all Quarrovth-affiliated members of the Council to be on the same side."

"Th-th-th-th-this is our b-b-business, ssssera."

Gothren looked at Mora. She let her tongue hang out of her mouth, exposing her teeth. Gothren turned back to Darvam.

"I was just told you seek you out, sera. You were the one who - "

"Yes, yes," Darvam said finally. "Would you and Mora leave us, Drathyn?"

"I'll b-b-be-be outside if you n-n-need me, F-F-F-Fa',"

Gothren and Darvam sat as the chain linking Mora to her owner jingled and a pair of footsteps walked away. The storm door slammed and Darvam spoke once again.

"Ginadura may just be my grandniece, but she's like a daughter to me. She says she's in love with Bevadar Sarerovth. He's the heir to their whole... " Darvam paused and grimaced. "throne. I 'ate the Sarerovths with all my blood, but I love Ginadura more. Do you 'ave a daughter, sera?"

Gothren pursed his lips and wanted to sigh. He knew his answer,

"No."

and he knew Darvam's response,

"Then you don't know what I mean."

"I love my wife very much," Gothren said, looking for shared interests with the Girith patriarch. "I'd do anything for her."

Darvam remained silent.

"How did this feud start?" Gothren asked. "That would certainly help us try to fix it."

"My great-great-great-great grand-aunt had her..." Darvam looked at his boots. "innocence stolen by one of the Sarerovth boys. In the traditional Myrorian style, we avenged her. And they avenged their's. It's been going on like that for, oh, an 'undred years now.

"A hundred years?" Gothren said incredulously. He cursed the dogaressa's name under his breath. She did not warn him of a feud this entrenched.

"To end the violence... uni'aterally would be to renounce our 'onor."

Gothren leaned back in our chair.

"How many people have died?"

"There's a cemetery up on Girith Ridge... that's ours and it must have at least thirty graves in it that the Sarerovths dug."

"Thirty of your family members?"

"Ieh," Darvam said. He looked at his boots again.

"Who was the last one to die?"

"Oh, that'd be... Dather, my nephew. He died back in '65."

"How?" Gothren asked. As he leaned forward in his chair Darvam seemed to lean back.



Dather sped through the thick Resaroth woods on his snowmobile, trying to escape the mad yelps from the three people following behind him on their own snowmobiles. He felt bullets whizz past his ear and several times had to put his hand up to shield his face from the splinters of wood flying off trees that had been hit.

"Why are you running, Dather?!" came a high-pitched shriek of a man over the loud roar of the snowmobile engine. "Mondros didn't run when you shot him!"

Dather pushed the throttle as far as it would go and narrowly missed a tall birch. Up ahead he could see the trees thin. Beyond them was Oramyn's Pond. He slowly turned the front skis, hoping to avoid the pond entirely. It was too early in the season for it to be frozen thick enough for a snowmobile.

"Just like a Girith to run away!" came another voice from behind him, this one deeper. Dather felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and heard a gunshot. Before he knew it the snowmobile had hit another tall birch tree and his body was thrown from the vehicle, hitting the ice on Oramyn's Pond. Dather felt a crack below him and the ice gave way.



Darvam looked back up with red eyes.

"What they did to Dather was unforgivable. And I cant imagine what they would do to my little Ginadura if they found out what was happening with her and one of their sons." Gothren looked carefully at Darvam's face and pursed his lips.

"Her Majesty will have my undying loyalty if you end this. It's gone on too long for us to do it ourselves."

Gothren sighed deeply.

"I'll try my best, sera."


 
Myroria

Offline Myroria

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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2015, 04:41:00 PM »
"You're lucky you didn't do any serious damage to y'ur engine," Ferunen Girith said. Ferunen, Direr's cousin, was a Girith man to the bone and ran the only garage in town. Most of the Sarerovths had therefore learned to fix their own trucks, but Ferunen made a decent living from Girith money and from selling furs in Andarenborough to the south, a city of about 10,000 and the largest settlement until you hit Fellowmoor, two hours south of that.

"What's the problem, then?" Gothren said. He scrunched his toes, his feet wet due to the heavy snow and his woefully under-waterproofed boots.

"Just a torn 'ose," Ferunen said. "Your engine stalled because of the 'eat but it doesn't look like any serious damage was done." He wiped the grease off his hands and stepped away from the hydraulic lift, an old model that was a mess of hanging hoses and wires.

"How much will it be?"

"Oh, about fifty guildens for the 'ose. I've gotta get that in from Andarenbro'. Then it'll be about four hours of labor. I charge 45 guildens an hour."

"Do you take checks?" Gothren said, reaching into his jacket pocket.

"Ieh," Ferunen said. "But 'old off on writing one just yet. I don't charge 'til the job's done."

"Ah," Gothren said, taking his hand from his jacket. "Is there a place I can buy groceries here?"

"There's Elmussa's store down in Resaroth Village, 'bout a mile down Route 17 here." Ferunen replied, gesturing to the road outside his garage. Gothren glanced out the open door and sighed quietly, anticipating another mile-long walk in wet socks. His self-pity was distracted though, when he saw a red pickup truck pull up to the building.

"Ah, that's Direr." Ferunen said. He threw the cloth he was using to wipe his hands on a nearby table and strode towards the vehicle. Direr, dressed in a red chamois, blue jeans, and brown corduroy field hat, stepped out of the old pickup and shook his cousin's hand.

"Mr. Quarrith!" Direr yelled, waving his hand. "'ow's the car coming?"

"Oh, better news than I expected," Gothren said, stepping towards the mechanic and his cousin. He paused when he saw that they were whispering to each other. Hanging back, he leaned on the wall under the open garage door and decided to practice his eavesdropping skills, which hadn't gotten any use since he left the capital.

"Over by Oramyn's Pond," he heard Ferunen say. Direr whispered back something he couldn't understand and Ferunen glanced at Gothren, breaking from the conversation to walk over to his customer.

"Direr and I have some business to take care of, sera. I'll start on your car as soon as we get back."

"Oh, of course." Gothren said, hiding his curiosity. Ferunen eyed him for a second.

"Where do you need to go?" Direr yelled from his position across the driveway.

"Well, if you're offering," Gothren said, clearing his throat. "The grocery store. The one that uh,"

"Elmussa," Ferunen said.

"Elmussa owns."

"Well, get in," Direr yelled. "Ferunen will ride in the back."

Ferunen, about 45 but still spry, jumped in the back of the pickup as Gothren barely managed to get himself in the cab. The ride to the store was a short one, but felt like an eternity with Direr sitting in silence, only taking his eyes away from the road to in the rear-view mirror at his hunting rifle, mounted on the cab's back window.

"Thanks for the ride," Gothren mumbled once the pickup truck pulled into the dirt parking lot outside Elmussa's store. Direr mumbled affirmation and Gothren stepped out. Like a bat out of Hell, Direr threw the truck into reverse as soon as Gothren was clear and pulled into the road, throwing it into drive just as aggressively and speeding off.

"Where do you think they're going?" a high-pitched voice said from behind Gothren. He turned his torso to see a young girl of perhaps 15 leaning against the clapboard siding of Elmussa's store. She was dressed in a wool duffel coat and blue jeans, a worn cotton blouse peeking out from an opening in the coat's high collar.

"Uh," Gothren said. He slowly turned the rest of his body so that he wasn't standing half-cocked, with his chest facing one direction and his feet the other. "Didn't tell me."

"Must be serious. Direr tells everyone everything," she said.

"I - " Gothren said.

"You must be the one the 'ouse sent." The girl said, interrupting. She pushed a lock of dark hair out of her face and stepped forward, her hands in her coat pockets.

"Yes," Gothren replied tersely.

"I'd get out of 'ere while you can," the girl said with a straight face. "The longer you stay 'ere the longer it takes to get out." she continued, smirking this time. She walked past Gothren and circled behind him.

"Well," Gothren said sardonically. "My car is in the shop so it looks like I won't be able to take your advice."

The girl laughed loudly and walked back to Gothren's front.

"You city folk are a real 'augh riot."

"Well," Gothren said, trying to break the conversation. "I should - "

"Tell me about Pelagis."

"I hate it." Gothren said.

"I guess everyone 'ates where they're from," the girl said with a frown.

"I'm not from Pelagis."

"Where are you from?"

"Novrith."

"Novrith!" the girl exclaimed, her face lighting up. Her smile exposed a row of teeth, the first complete set Gothren had seen since he arrived. "Tell me about Novrith."

"I really just need some gro - "

"I guess you city folk don't know what it's like to have time on your 'ands."

"Do you work here?" Gothren asked.

"No. I just don't like being in the 'ouse."

"You prefer to stand in a parking lot?"

"Elmussa doesn't mind."

Gothren ran his hands through his hair, a mat of white that normally was well-coiffed and oiled, but today appeared to be a fluffy dog sitting on his hair.

"My uncle has a barbershop down the road if you need an 'aircut."

"I just need some groceries," Gothren said.

"The groceries will still be there in a few minutes. Tell me about Novrith." the girl said, pleading.

"There are a lot of lights."

"You're not a very good storyteller."

"There are cars everywhere," Gothren said. "And cabarets."

"What's that?"

"What's what?"

"A cabaret."

"It's like a theater."

The girl looked puzzled and thought for a second, the first silent moment Gothren had enjoyed since Direr's truck pulled away.

"I'd like to see a cabaret, I think."

"Go to Novrith."

"I was going to go to Pelagis, though. That was my plan."

Gothren sighed.

"Plan? How old are you, girl?"

"15."

"You're too young for plans."

"How old are you, man?"

"57."

"People your age let other people make plans for them."

Gothren was taken aback.

"I don't know what you mean."

"You have a boss, don't you? 'oo told you to come to 'esaroth? Don't tell me you wanted to come here."

"Well, yes, but that doesn't mean - "

"At least I want to go to Pelagis."

Gothren sighed.

"I just want some groceries."

"Fine," the girl said. "You'll be seeing more of me anyway. What's your name?"

"My name is Gothren."

"Ginadura," the girl said, putting out a hand. "It's a pleasure."
Myroria

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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 02:54:49 AM »
"She's a spitfire, eh?" Elmussa said to Gothren as he put his groceries on the counter. An older woman, perhaps 65, Elmussa ran the only grocery store in town with an iron fist. It was a small storefront, with a few aisles of canned goods, a single freezer and refrigerator, and a small shelf with miscellaneous items - motor oil, windshield washer fluid, gloves, and the like. Despite her frail size and gray, thinning hair, Elmussa kept the floors well-swept and the windows shining.

"Who's this, now?" Gothren said, putting a new pair of more robust boots on the counter.

"Gina out there," Elmussa replied. She looked out a window perpendicular to the end of the counter. Ginadura was in the parking lot, kicking at gravel.

"Oh, well," Gothren began, reaching into his handbasket for a can of NOVRITH CHIEF ALL-GREEN FANCY PEAS. "she certainly is."

"Took it hard when her parents died."

"I imagine," Gothren said. His small-talk skills got far more practice here than in the city, but the small talk he did make seemed to involve a lot more death than he thought it would.

"Mmhmm," Elmussa said, punching some numbers into the register.

"How do you stay out of it?" Gothren asked.

"Stay out of what?"

"Their arguing."

"Oh," Elmussa began. She sighed and stopped hitting buttons on the cash register for a moment. "The Sarerovths and Giriths both know that I'm the only one in town who will sell them any food. And I don't allow any fighting in my store."

"How do you stop it?"

"I don't know what you mean," Elmussa said.

"How do you stop them from fighting? They don't seem like they'd be very reasonable when they're upset."

"I guess they just always listened to me."

Gothren looked into Elmussa's eyes for a brief moment. He had been in politics far too long to miss when someone was concealing the truth. Elmussa looked away from her patron and continued punching numbers into the register.

"65 guilden and 11 cents."

Gothren reached into his pocket.

"Do you take checks?"

"Ieh," Elmussa said. Gothren saw Elmussa look out the window as he placed his checkbook on the counter and bent down to write.

"Oh, shit," Elmussa said. Gothren looked up to see Elmussa striding towards the window. Contorting his body over the counter to get a better look, he saw a black pickup truck with at least two flat tires following Direr's vehicle. As Direr's truck rounded the corner that Elmussa's store sat on, the black pickup following lost speed and was unable to regain it with its blown wheels. The truck skidded into a ditch with a loud thud and three men poured out of the cab, their faces red.

"Oh, shit," Elmussa repeated, reaching under the counter. Practically resting his entire torso on the counter, Gothren looked confused.

"Who's that?" he asked, as the three men paced towards Ginadura, yelling.

"Oh, shit," Elmussa said, taking her hand from under the counter to reveal a shotgun. She paced for the door. Gothren, abandoning his check halfway through, followed close behind, but stood in the doorjamb as Elmussa walked into the parking lot.

"You know there's no fighting here, Manat!" Elmussa yelled across the parking lot as the three men paced quickly towards Ginadura. Ginadura slowly stepped backwards until she bumped into Elmussa. Gothren could not see the look on her face, but he could see her hands trembling even from this distance.

"Those Giriths attacked us up by Oramyn's Pond!" a man, presumably Manat Sarerovth, yelled. He stood at the front of the three men, but was the shortest and smallest. Gothren counted one pistol in his hand, and a rifle in the hands of the man to his left.

"I don't care what dispute you boys have, but it stays out of here!" Elmussa yelled. She held her shotgun loosely in one hand, as if not expecting to have to use it.

"You got into this mess, woman, as soon as you let that Girith slut hang around here!"

"I'm not going to ask again, Manat!" Elmussa yelled. Gothren was struck by the booming voice coming out of the thin woman.

Manat took another step towards Ginadura. Gothren could see Ginadura's feet move, as if to walk backwards again, but Elmussa wouldn't budge. She put her arm across the girl's chest.

"Give her to us!" yelled the man to Manat's left, holding a hunting rifle. His dark hair was ruffled and blowing in the breeze, and his gabardine coat was stained with motor oil, blood, or something else entirely. "It's an eye for an eye!"

"I don't see anything hurt here but you boys' pride!" Elmussa yelled. Manat took another step forward.

"I'm not going to ask again, woman." Manat said, softer this time but still audible to Gothren across the small parking lot. Manat raised his pistol.

"Put the gun down, Manat." Elmussa said. "I don't want anyone to get hurt."

"There's only one way to make that happen," he said. He put his hand out, asking for a human life in the way one might ask for a set of car keys. Elmussa loosened her grip on Ginadura and raised her shotgun to her shoulder. It sat inches away from the teenager's left ear.

"You boys put a spare tire on your truck and go home."

Manat took another step forward, and the man to his left raised his rifle.

"Give her to me!"

Elmussa said nothing. The parking lot was silent for what felt like minutes. Manat contorted his face.

"Woman!" he yelled. Elmussa remained silent. Manat slowly lowered his hand and whispered something to his kin behind him. The three of them sulked back to the truck. As soon as they were clear, Ginadura ran past Gothren into the shop, still reeking of fear, or perhaps urine. Elmussa shuffled back to the door.

"You'd better get home," she said to Gothren. She either didn't notice or didn't comment on the look of shock on his face. "Looks like more snow."
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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2015, 01:46:50 AM »
"Can I get you anythin'?" Darvam asked Gothren. He held the screen door to his house open for him; Gothren squeezed through a narrow pathway through the snow piled on the porch and scooted into the kitchen.

"Uh, no," he replied, brushing snowflakes off his mat of gray hair. "I'm fine, thank you."

The sun was beginning to go down, and despite the gray clouds shedding snow, the house had a bit of the familiar orange glow of sunset.

"Thank you for agreeing to see me on such short notice, Darvam."

"Ieh, it's alright." he said, walking to the coffee maker. "I shouldn't be drinking coffee this late,"

"Where's, um,"

"Drathyn ran to Elmussa's to get some dog food before she closed."

"I meant Ginadura."

"Oh, Gina?" Darvam said, pouring coffee. "She came home a few hours ago but ran to her room. You know those teenagers."

Gothren nodded slowly. All Darvam needed was a pink apron.

"May I sit?" Gothren asked.

"A'course," Darvam said.

Gothren pulled out one of the thin antique chairs from the pine table set in the corner of the kitchen and sat. He watched snow drift across the small back yard while Darvam poured two sugars into his coffee. The man set his mug on the table and removed his chamois-cloth shirt, draping it over the back of the chair he was about to sit in.

"Uh," Gothren began. He always tried his hardest not to pause in his speech, but was unsure how to begin.

"A few of the Girith - " Gothren paused again and cursed to himself in his thoughts. "fellows attacked some Sarerovths over by, uh,"

"Oramyn's Pond," Darvam said. "I know."

Gothren looked incredulous.

"I - " he tapped his fingers on the table. "It would make it a lot easier to mediate this conflict if violence wasn't ongoing. The Sarerovths are going to have a hard time believing your feelings are genu - "

"We were enacting our revenge for what they did to Dather. They shoulda' knew this was coming."

Gothren looked at Darvam for a moment.

"But now they will seek revenge for what you did to them."

"If they do that that's their own choice." Darvam sipped from his mug gingerly. Gothren sat straighter.

"Did you order this?"

"No. But I knew it would happen."

"I just don't understand why you would allow this to happen when you told me you're trying to mediate this."

Darvam looked offended.

"It's your job to get them to give up, not mine."

"Darvam," Gothren sighed. "My job isn't to get them to give up; it's to get you both to come to an agreement. But if you continue this violence they'll find your intentions - " Gothren searched for a word and chose what was probably not the best one. "perfidious."

"What did you just say?"

"I apologize if I offended you."

"I won't have my family lose face to those Sarerovth pigs!" Darvam exclaimed. "And you say I'm perfidious?" Darvam slammed his wrinkled hand on the table, causing droplets of coffee to leave the cup and splatter on the pine surface. Gothren heard Mora begin to bark outside. He tapped his foot on the ground.

"Darvam, I'm just trying to do my job here. Your words don't match your actions. You can't say you want peace and then wage war."

Darvam stared half into his coffee and half at the table. He stood up with a start.

"I should clean that coffee before it sticks," he said, as a door down the hall unlatched. Ginadura, dressed in a tee-shirt and sweat pants, stepped into the kitchen with red eyes.

"It's okay, pumpkin!" Darvam exclaimed slightly too loudly to be reassuring. "Gothren and I are just discussing some things. Ginadura looked at Gothren briefly before turning away. "You can go back in your room."

She nodded, but didn't say anything. She shuffled back down the hall and the door relatched. Darvam walked back to the table with a rag and wiped up the coffee. Gothren watched the cloth move for a few moments before speaking.

"The Sarerovth fellows nearly killed her today." he said, still looking at Darvam's hand. It suddenly released the cloth. Gothren's eyes followed Darvam's arm back up to his face.

"What do you mean?" the old man asked.

"Their truck broke down in front of Elmussa's. I was getting groceries. They got out and found her in the parking lot. If Elmussa didn't come out they would have shot her."

Darvam sunk into the chair.

"She can't stay out of this violence forever," Gothren said. Darvam sighed deeply, and his hand shook slightly. He stopped it by grabbing his mug of coffee.

"Ask the Sarerovths what they want to end this." he said quickly. Gothren stood and rebuttoned his wool coat.

"I'll need a car to get to the other side of town."

"I'll talk to Ferunen tomorrow," Darvam said softly. "You'll get it by the end of the day."

Gothren nodded and walked for the door.
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Re: Household (1968-1969)
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2015, 11:53:13 PM »
"No," Ginadura said, her voice filled with the peculiar sort of frustration one only feels when they're having fun. She kept one eye on the deer standing amidst the trees, about 45 yards ahead of her, and helped Bevadar fit his gloved index finger around the trigger of the rifle. "No one ever taught you how to shoot a gun?"

Bevadar laughed nervously. "I'm just not used to this model of rifle," he said, blushing.

"Well, he's gonna get away," she replied, referencing the deer just visible through the fall foilage.

"Is this legal? I think we're on Elmussa's property. And is it deer season?"

"He's gonna get away if you keep yapping."

Bevadar breathed in and put the rifle to his shoulder. He licked his lips and closed one eye, the better to aim at the buck. He pullled the trigger, but the shot went high - over the deer's back, and into a tree behind it. Small pieces of bark were kicked up into the air, and the animal ran.

"I missed." Bevadar said, embarrassed. Ginadura forced a smile, but her face was red - either from anger or the cold autumn air. Ginadura breathed in to begin speaking, but was cut off by a bang coming from behind the pair.

"Another gunshot!" Bevadar said, nearly dropping the rifle in his hands. Ginadura sighed, knowing better.

"It's a door." she whispered. She crouched and motioned for Bevadar to do the same. Leaves and sticks crinkled beneath them as they lowered their bodies. The woods were silent except for the sounds of a few birds - stragglers, sticking around before their migrations to the south of Ozia.

"I told you kids!" came a woman's voice in the distance. "I told you kids not to go playin' around in my backyard!"

"It's Elmussa!" Ginadura said. She was an old woman, but spry, and knew the woods behind her house well. If they got caught, she'd make them scrub the floors in her store until sundown.

"Run!" she continued. Ginadura grabbed the gun from Bevadar's hands, knowing she could run faster with it than he could.

The birds lifted themselves from the trees as the pair ran past them, leaves and sticks breaking underneath their boots. Bevadar, though slow to start, quickly caught up to Ginadura and nearly passed her.

"We've got to get to the river!" she said in hastened breaths. "Elmussa doesn't like the mud!"

Bevadar looked puzzled - that the woman he had been led to believe moments before was on a murderous rampage didn't want to get her shoes stuck in mud. Nonetheless, he took Ginadura's word for it. She stuck around the old lady's store so much she knew more about Elmussa than anyone else in town. "Okay!" he responded, short of breath himself. It was about 70 more yards to the river, and he felt confident he could make it despite the cramping in his abdomen.

Within a few moments, the pair felt their boots sinking slightly with each step. The river had flooded recently, and the waterlogged ground reached nearly to the treeline. They both got to the shore and stood, Ginadura looking around and Bevadar with his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath. Besides some sweat dripping from her brow, Ginadura seemed none the worse for wear after their little sprint. She slung the rifle over her shoulder and tightened the strap.

"Over there," she said to Bevadar, pointing in the distance. It was an ice fishing shack - Odaishaw's, by the looks of it, resting on the ground waiting for winter.

"I thought you said," Bevadar began through deep breaths, "that we were safe once we got to the river."

"We can't risk it," she replied. "Come on!"

Ginadura grabbed his gloved hand and led him through the mud towards the shack. When they got inside, Ginadura took the rifle off her shoulder and leaned it against the wall. It was dark inside, with just a bit of afternoon sun filtering through the cracks in the shack's clapboard siding.

"Do you hear that?" Bevadar whispered. A ray of sunlight was illuminating a small vertical strip on his red face.

Ginadura nodded and held her breath.

"Damn kids," Elmussa's crackly voice said. "I'll never get the mud off my boots."

Bevadar held his breath too. The voice got closer.

"There's probably a line at the store," she muttered. "I'll make them man the register until closing time." Elmussa spit in the river and the trudging footsteps stopped. She was feet from the shack now. A few tense moments passed. This time the forest was silent - not even the sound of a crow could be heard. Elmussa spit again. She lit a match, presumably for her twelvth cigarette today.

"Damn kids," she said, turning and trudging back to the store.

The footsteps receded, and Bevadar let out his breath. Even he wasn't sure how long he had been holding it.

"I think she's gone," he said to Ginadura. Ginadura grabbed his head and kissed him roughly.



Gothren cursed to himself. Ferunen had fixed his car alright, but not before filling it with the pungent smell of cigar smoke. The little vehicle - nearly 20 years old by this point - trudged across town down Route 17 to the Sarerovth house. It was located at the far end of a lumber yard, several acres in size, that nearly the entire clan worked at. He passed Elmussa's store, which Darvam had told him was about halfway between the Girith residence and the Sarerovth lumber stand.

Gothren leaned forward in his seat and looked up at the sky. It was a sheet of gray, which meant that yet more snow was sure to come. Novrith was further north than Resaroth, but had drier air. The snow here was nearly unbearable in its intensity and sheer, unceasing regularity. He sighed and sat back in his seat.

He turned his blinker on and began to make a turn down the long road that would lead him to the lumber yard, but a boy aged about 16 walked out in the street from the adjacent woods. Gothren's city-man instincts kicking in, he slammed on the brakes and laid on the horn. The boy, a clueless-looking type, turned and walked towards the car, oblivious towards Gothren's anger. Gothren rolled down his window as the teenager approached.

"Hey!" he exclaimed. "What the hell do you think you're doing? You can't just - "

As the teenager got closer, Gothren felt reticent to begin a five-minute-long, Novrith-style road rage assault towards him.

"You can't just walk into traffic like that," he said more softly. "You'll get hurt."

"Sorry, sera." the boy said. "But I saw your car coming and had to stop you before you got up this road. You're the Novrith guy, eh? Fa's real mad at you. Wants your head."

"Wants my head?" Gothren said. He lowered his window the rest of the way and put an arm on the frame of the door.

"Iyeh, he saw you with, ah," the boy paused, as if unsure for words. "That Girith girl and decided you're not, ah, impartial."

"I am totally impartial!" Gothren began, exasperated. "Before my work with Her Majesty I had a very profitable business as one of Novrith's lawyers."

"You're a lawyer?" the boy said. "Eesh, Fa' would like you even less."

Gothren gazed at the boy for a minute. The teenager held a gloved hand out. "Bevadar Sarerovth," he said. Gothren hesistated for a moment, then picked his hand up off the doorframe and shook his hand.

"Gothren Quarrith,"

"It's nice to meet you. I think I can get you in with Fa', but we need somewhere we can discuss things."

Gothren reached into the center console of his car for a cigarette. He wasn't used to 'discussing things' with children, but since his arrival in Resaroth it felt like it was all he was doing.

"There's a diner just across the town line, right before where we stop plowing the roads."

"Well," Gothren said. "Get in, I guess."

"I don't have any money."

Gothren frowned.

"I have some cash."
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