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Young Writers Society
Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:01 am
Leslie Badger, Elliot Inn
Leslie was washing some glasses in the sink behind the bar, when she heard a voice from behind. ''Hey, Lessie!'' She turned to see Octavia standing there.
''Oh, Miss De Laar. What can I get you?''
''A can of oil, if you have any.'' she smiled brightly.
''Oil.'' Leslie blinked, and screwed up her face in thought for a moment.
''Yes, I've got some. But don't you usually have a can with you?''
She bent down to open the second drawer in the bar cupboard. There was an oilcan in there for the inn's automatons.
''It ran out. I had to give some to the trog at the bridge so I could pass.''
Leslie came up with the can. ''Don't you mean a troll?''
''No, I mean a trog. Only babies believe in trolls.''
Leslie shrugged, and smiled. ''Sure, why not.'' she handed over the can.
''Try not to use it all. What're you workin' on?''
Octavia took the can, and brought out a clockwork mouse from her bag.
''I found him broken in the street. Sad thing.''
Then she took the mouse and the can, and scurried off to find a corner.
Leslie found her again, still there, just half an hour before closing time. The inn's bar was almost completely deserted. ''Hullo, how's the little fella doing?''
Octavia was sitting at a table in the corner. The mouse was on the table, fixed and then forgotten. She was now playing with a little music box, about the size of a tobacco tin. It was painted maroon, with swirly vines painted over it.
On closer inspection of the box, it was actually a real tobacco tin that was repurposed into a music box.
Octavia looked back up at Leslie. ''He's fine. And his name is Otto. Otto McCaliber Deveraux Samson Au Cavalier. But he doesn't like the formality of the whole thing, so he's just Otto.''
Leslie smiled one of her crooked smiles. ''I like that name.'' she paused.
''Say, is that song- Blimey, I can't remember what it was called- it was some old cabaret song my mum used to sing.''
Octavia lit up. ''Piracy and Prejudice. I've seen it onstage. The song was 'Old Bonnie Bonebreaker.' I loved the dance that they did with it. I could teach it to you.''
Leslie's smile became a little nervous. ''Gee, that would be sweet, but it's almost closing time now. Why don't you catch me on a Sunday, then we'll talk.''
Chasing the coattails of Saint Lennox.
Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:38 pm
Admiral Dunagan Cornelius Pentecost
As night settled over the inn, Admiral Dunagan felt an uneasiness settle in his gut. Or perhaps it was the red liquid, though alcohol usually did nothing more than fire up his endless bounds of energy and cheerful sense of duty to his God. Whatever it was, Dunagan found that sleep would not come and so he stole out of his lodgings and down the staircase, not making any attempt to hide the clomping of his feet on the steps.
The world was too still; what he wouldn't give for a deck below his boots and a sea breeze in the air. It felt
for the Elliot Inn to be so calm only days after the incident and Dunagan couldn't push away a moment's doubt as to his continued interest in the place. Why hadn't he found other lodgings? Did staying here harm his political position? Should he in fact be distancing himself from the murder and resisting the urge to revel in its chaotic path? Except it was hard to see the chaos in the stillness of the night and Dunagan worried - not for the first time - that he was far better suited to the upheaval of disaster than he was the calm sense of order which his religion insisted was their primary goal. Was he unworthy of Mortem's favour? No. He was but an instrument and if he was required to be an instrument of war then so be it; through chaos he would cleanse this world and perhaps that would mean cleansing himself as well, eventually.
Without even meaning to, Dunagan found himself in front of the door to the cellar - the door which was open but barred by a thick line of rope, the kind of rope which said only law people should be standing on the other side, but only lawful people bothered to abide by such nonsense.
Dunagan lifted the rope with his mechanical arm and ducked under but apparently he wasn't the only sleepless inhabitant of the inn tonight - or the only unlawful one. Standing at the bottom of the cellar stairs was Leslie the Bartender.
"Well, they do say that criminals always return to the scene of the crime," Dunagan called out in a rather jovial tone. The small girl jumped and spun around, lifting a candle higher into the air to get a better look at him. Dunagan shielded his eyes against the light and only then realised that he'd made his way down the stairs in the dark and probably looked very intimidating standing at the top of the stairs with his mechanical arm and no light source of his own.
"Oh- Admiral. Blimey, ya gave me a fright. I was just- just checking the ale we have in storage." Leslie laughed nervously and Dunagan wondered if it was him making her nervous or something more, something like the obvious lie she'd just told.
"Of course," Dunagan replied dryly. "Me too. I got thirsty so I thought I'd inspect your ale."
Leslie's eyes narrowed slightly and her brow wrinkled in thought - he could practically see the cogs turning in her head as she asked herself what he was really doing down here. Why had he crossed the rope? Why was he not acting guilty? Dunagan found her expression quite delightful though he no more knew the answers to those questions than she did.
"Why don't you roll one of those barrels up here and we can have a toast to good fortune and not talk about why we both find ourselves with wandering feet." The Admiral turned away from the entrance to the cellar and ducked back under the rope as he retreated to a seat at the now empty bar.
The light shines brightest in the darkest places.
If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.
— W. Edwards Deming
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