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LoaMR: Ch.VI: The Du Murnaux Family 2

by MailicedeNamedy


Claire had a bad night.

Emma was still asleep with her head sunk in between her arms when Claire went outside. The small toilet at the end of the corridor was occupied. Waiting, she paled at the door. After washing a little bit, she staggered back to her compartment. Her friend had just woken up and was stretching her arms.

"You look as white as a sheet," Emma said.

"I'm fine."

It immediately occurred to her.

"You haven't eaten since yesterday!"

"Emma, please. There's nothing wrong with me!"

Before she could continue, her friend hurried out. Claire closed her eyes. Angry at her, she mumbled incomprehensibly to herself.

If I say I'm fine, I'm fine. Why should I lie to myself?

Are you really, all right? You'd rather get more attention. You want Emma to take care of you more.

No.

But she is your little doll with whom you can do anything. You see, she came back after you exposed her like that.

Because of Léonard. Not because of me. Actually, she hates me from the bottom of her heart.

Emma had the train conductor with her.

"How is your well-being, young lady? Take a sip of water."

Mechanically, she accepted the carafe and the glass. The cool water froze her throat. She felt it rush down from her mouth to her stomach.

"Thank you," she replied meekly.

"Train journeys are arduous. I'll bring you an apple. It will make you fit again.”

"When did you eat last? Yesterday at noon?" Emma wanted to know after the man with glasses and moustache had left.

Claire did not speak.

She strictly refused help. Her eyes followed the distance. Trees lived between hills, pines on the mountains, fields in the foreground. The former border was behind them.

The man brought her and Emma an apple. The silent nod remained in her conscience. He had done nothing to her. Why did she act so cold? The dream returned. The vacuum grew and sucked up everything inside her. Hollow and surrounded by indestructible rock, she resembled a statue. Why her of all people?

Emma failed to put her in a better mood. Claire desperately rummaged for something in her suitcase and delved into its emptiness. The fruit was on the little table by the window.

***

The train reached Pfalzburg main station at 8.30 a.m.

The train attendant paced along the corridors and informed the passengers of their arrival. Claire showed that she was not completely made of stone. Carefully, she grasped it and took a big bite out of the apple.

"May I know what's going on?"

Tentatively, Emma felt her way towards her. More pieces were bitten off.

"Léonard can tell right away that something is wrong with you."

"Haven't slept."

Emma smiled contentedly. At last, she heard the usual monotone voice. Her naïve behaviour delighted Claire.

"At Léonard´s place, you will sleep first of all."

The passengers left the carriages. Claire fled from the compartment.

"What are his friends' names again?" Emma threw after her.

"Karoline and Stephan."

She could best avoid direct eye contact in the narrow hallway. Since she had lied to her friend, she had more sleepless nights ahead of her. She lied to her all the time about how she was feeling.

She almost caught her dress on the door when a selfless conductor came to her rescue.

Embarrassed, she thanked him.

Actually, you're not such a pessimist. You see the world from your point of view. It's the experiences you're missing. Maybe it's better to sleep a little.

The sun's rays had blinded them.

"Where will Léonard be? And those two? Karoline and Stephan?" mumbled Emma when she had caught up with Claire. She wasn't listening.

After waking up, the world looks different. It's like a game. You could have slept for an hour or a week and everything would have changed except you.

"I know,” Claire said aloud.

The bustle of activity did not allow her to think.

A wide variety of people waited and lingered, waded and wandered across the platform towards the entrance hall.

"Do you see Léonard anywhere?"

Emma was worried. At the same time, Claire liked how helpless she sounded. The schadenfreude greeted her with a guilty conscience.

"Let's go to the hall!”

***

It had an incredibly high ceiling. Small shops fought for the big turnover. There was movement everywhere, whether it was people or animals. The WA with their navy-blue leather coats and shako chased the guests accompanied by their shepherd dogs.

Claire didn't manage to count them all as they suddenly picked out random people they didn't like from the crowd and asked for the papers. Then the colourful window mosaic caught her attention.

The sun's rays glued the sounds to the people and the ground. The oversized picture showed a town on the left, connected by a vermilion bridge to the mountains. A bell tower rose among houses and trees. The colours, as they sparkled in the glow and shone brighter and darker, had the effect of a theatre play on Claire. It was fragile and intoxicating, a vulnerable yet comfortable something that carried her away. The enchanting play caused a change in her mind. The artist stood beside her in her mind and felt honoured. He truly must have been a magician, a dishevelled old man with snow-white hair. Claire was under the spell of the glass ornament.

Emma, meanwhile, had disappeared.

Admiring the window in the centre of the room, travellers stumbled and pushed past her bag. She was not sorry to be an obstacle. Some approached her, others ignored her with a scowl.

Only when approached by a brown-haired young man did she respond.

"Excuse me, are you Claire Silberlilie?"

"Pardon me?"

She turned to him. A dull thud and both cried out a loud ouch at the same time.

"This only happens to you! Fool!"

A woman ran to them. She looked older than him.

"Forgive me, I don't know how this could have happened..." he apologised.

"I'm Claire." she introduced herself, her hands continuing to rest on her forehead.

"We have found you!" he cheered. ”My name is Stephan du Murnaux. She is my sister, Karoline."

"Where is your friend?" she asked kindly.

Claire looked around. She inspected the siblings from top to bottom.

Karoline had peanut-brown, long hair. It was pretty and well-groomed, complementing the narrow-oval face that hung on the long neck. The eyes remained subtle, mingling with the few freckles she had from her grandfather. She was of medium height, she appeared smaller as she was a little fuller.

Her younger brother, Stephan, on the other hand, had wispy brown hair. His freckles were a great garden on his circular, plump head. His gaze betrayed excitement and nervousness. He looked like an oversized child with protruding ears and a long neck. He had chubby limbs and a small burn on his right hand that reminded him of a lifetime spent playing with fire.

These are friends of Léonard?

"I don't know."

"Isn't she that?"

Emma came running to them.

"Claire where have you been? I was standing outside, and you were gone! I almost got stopped by one of the WA! “

"I'm here, all right," she grumbled.

"What's wrong?" Emma asked.

"I rammed her head," Stephan introduced himself, "I'm sorry for that..."

"Already forgotten."

Dumbfounded, Emma gaped at the siblings. On tiptoe, she searched for Léonard while they introduced themselves one more time.

"Is Léonard waiting in the car?"

"I'm afraid he's indisposed," Karoline confessed tersely.

"Why?"

"He received a telegram. He won't be gone long, he promised."

Emma was disappointed. Karoline understood her longing and knew immediately that he had given her false illusions.

"Shall we get going? It's a short distance to Weymouth."

"I'll take the luggage," Stephan volunteered.

"I'll be fine," Claire said, clasping her hands tightly around the handle.

"She could do with something to eat."

"Emma, not now!"

She chortled.

"And sleep. You look better than before, but I can tell you're tired."

"It's a violet," she whispered.

"I think I hit your forehead," Stephan reported.

"Everything is prepared in our house," the eldest interrupted the discussion.

Together they left the station. Claire took one last look at the window before following the three of them with a queasy stomach.

***

The journey to Weymouth remained uneventful.

Claire's thoughts continued to circle around the mosaic. It had not been built for her; she knew that. But she felt very much addressed by it. It was something that attracted her. Just as bees were attracted to flowers by the smell of pollen, it was the same with Claire. She felt a deep connection that she couldn't back up, that seemed to make her feel uniquely level-headed. She would have loved to talk to everyone about it and share her cagey euphoria for the window. But she held back into smiling silence.

It took twenty minutes for Pfalzburg to hide behind the hills. The area was shaped by agriculture. Farmers and cattle frequented the many fields and pastures. Scattered barns and farms rose among the flat land. Behind them, trees emerged. With their lush green leaves and the brisk wind, the hills around this valley grew like a gigantic creature sleeping over the land, like turtles that had come to their stop. The rustling of the leaves could be heard from almost everywhere in the valley.

"You come from Sehlingen? Where is that?" Karoline inquired.

"Not far from Lödingen. My father comes from Sehlingen, my mother from Regenschloss. During the holidays I move in with my grandpa - dad died in the war. I am an illegitimate child."

"Really?"

Stephan was momentarily thrown off. Claire just wondered why Emma answered like that. Was it to spite Claire since she was the only one with a Sagauvelian passport?

"You don't hear that very often," he said in response.

"It's not so bad," smiled Emma, her cheeks flushed, "I see my mum and grandpa regularly."

“Well…” murmured Karoline.

"What about you, Claire?”

Stephan asked the question.

She listened and smiled. With meticulously chosen words, she answered the question within one sentence. Stephan continued to speak and bombarded her with enquiries. Hoping to end the conversation as quickly as possible, Claire did not succeed. Emma helped out by asking about Léonard and the journey became more centred again, leaving Claire to return to her mosaic.

The estate was already in sight when they drove past the playground. Stephan kept a watchful eye on the frolicking children on the street.

"Léonard is coming tomorrow, isn't he?" repeated Emma.

The automobile stopped. They got out and admired the dead-looking property.

"We don't know. He either calls us or Albert," Stephan explained.

"Who?"

"Albert Reck is our guardian. He is the headmaster of the big school where we drove by."

The large house was in partial shade. The interior was gloomy and cool. A chest of drawers made of pear wood was the only thing in the entrance area.

Claire felt as if this place had been abandoned for many years. Even through her ankle boots, she felt the cold of the floor.

"You have your guest rooms upstairs," Karoline enlightened the two, "I'll show you."

***

Claire eventually woke up on her own. She felt hungry and crept downstairs at a very slow pace when she suddenly heard a voice she didn't recognise. It had to be that Albert Reck the siblings had been talking about. With her stomach rumbling, she heard Emma laughing and Claire made her way back to her room. With frustrated thoughts, she lay down under the covers and asked herself why she hadn't just gone to the others.

***

The living room had a wooden-framed door with very thin glass. It shook with every breath of wind from outside. The historian Albert Reck was sitting in front of the old, period oak table. Parchments lay before him. It was one of the few rooms with some life. A mighty cupboard took up the entire wall and was filled with figurines, books, relics, empty picture frames and fine cutlery. After washing up, Karoline and Stephan came in and disturbed the candlelight with a breeze.

"Miss Silberlilie and Miss Malven have arrived," the historian reported liberated, "I hope they have settled in quickly."

"You could see Emma's disappointment because Léonard is not present," Karoline added to her guardian.

"Léonard will be back the day after tomorrow at the latest. He promised me."

"Really? Where did he disappear to?"

"He has his reasons for not talking about the trip," the old man sighed.

Stephan sat next to his sister and yawned. Too tired to talk much, he ignored the discussion. Curiosity had long since ceased to keep him awake.

"Does it have something to do with the nameless people?"

Albert Reck looked up. His old eyes seemed dull. Blurredly, he perceived his counterpart. He didn't have to think long before he understood how she knew.

"Did Léonard tell you more about it?"

"I overheard you. Four years ago. That conversation was probably the most exciting thing I've experienced in my life. Who are they?" she evaded.

"They are the reason why Léonard is travelling. That's all I can say. It's already late-"

"I may have seen one of those people," she interrupted, "One person was watching us yesterday. After the telegram arrived."

Albert Reck put the pages back into the mighty cupboard.

"It may be..." he reflected, "It may be that he has not become more experienced."

He turned to her.

"You know more than just that term, don't you? You want to know more."

"They call themselves Mönchsberg Abbey," she nodded distinguishably, "I heard Julius talking about it all the time as if it were... as if it were a woman he liked very much. So full of passion. “

Shivering with awe, he trembled. As a historian, he was no stranger to the abbey.

"You don't know the circumstances under which I met Léonard and Julius," he murmured, "Mönchsberg Abbey is full of cruel people. Leave them alone. I do not want you to put yourselves in danger. The two were young and did not believe in miracles or fairy tales. Death brought them back to reality. Whoever messes with the abbey will regret it."

"About Julius' sister…" Karoline was startled.

"The murder was just another proof. The victims are the ignorant ones."

She was on the verge of tears.

"That means... they put her at risk? Did they know it from the start? “

Reck stood next to the table. How he wished he weren’t here.

"He suffers a lot since her death. It was through her death that Julius came to understand Léonard better."

"And yet he is so stupid as to stay with him? He sacrifices..."

"Julius knows more about him than we do. He's the only one Léonard has to make him see reason."

"What has Kapellengarten got to do with it? Isn't it a coincidence that he, of all people, received an invitation? And now he's throwing Claire and Emma into the pot?” Karoline said in shock. "Surely he doesn't want to sacrifice them too?"

"No. Certainly not," lied the historian, "I could tell you more if I knew what is going on in his head.”

"Those two know nothing! Why did they accept Léonard's offer?" Stephan interfered.

"Léonard beguiled her."

"What? That's impossible!” her brother interjected.

"Karoline is right. He put wrong things in their heads."

A pause arose. The old man began to get nervous. The candles flickered back and forth. Outside, darkness was at home. Dimly he recognised the beech trees in the garden, blowing about in the wind. In the distance, lights stared at him like menacing eyes.

"Léonard is sure of himself," she said worriedly.

Her guardian smiled at her sheepishly.

"After Kapellengarten he will have to tell us all the truth," Stephan interjected.

Albert Reck stepped to the door.

"There's nothing else you want to talk about, is there?"

"Yes... no, it's all right," Karoline returned sheepishly.

"Please remember to extinguish the candles when you go to sleep. Pleasant rest."

He moved into his bedroom.

Claire had been lucky not to have been caught when Albert stepped out of the salon. She had been lurking on the steps and so could hear everything. Actually, she was on her way to the bathroom. Now she had heard what she wanted to hear. She had confirmation that Léonard intended more than a little celebration with his invitation. Had they now been so stupid as to trust a stranger?

To Chapter VI.3.


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HarryHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Hmm...I liked this chapter. It has its flaws..but when you've got a part that's nearly 3000 words for a first draft, that's inevitable, but uhh...I'm loving the direction this plot is going in. I have hope once more after the great textbook situation. ;)

Anyway let's get right to it,

Claire had a bad night.

Emma was still asleep with her head sunk in between her arms when Claire went outside. The small toilet at the end of the corridor was occupied. Waiting, she paled at the door. After washing a little bit, she staggered back to her compartment. Her friend had just woken up and was stretching her arms.

"You look as white as a sheet," Emma said.

"I'm fine."

It immediately occurred to her.

"You haven't eaten since yesterday!"

"Emma, please. There's nothing wrong with me!"


Hmmm...well it looks like we're getting to see things from Emma's perspective for a bit and this is very interesting. We're seeing almost no thoughts whatsoever about what happened earlier...it looks like she's completely forgotten the incident entirely...hmm. At any rate, she does appear to quickly be able to tell Claire is not taking care of herself...so that's an interesting move there.

Before she could continue, her friend hurried out. Claire closed her eyes. Angry at her, she mumbled incomprehensibly to herself.

If I say I'm fine, I'm fine. Why should I lie to myself?

Are you really, all right? You'd rather get more attention. You want Emma to take care of you more.

No.

But she is your little doll with whom you can do anything. You see, she came back after you exposed her like that.

Because of Léonard. Not because of me. Actually, she hates me from the bottom of her heart.

Emma had the train conductor with her.


Okayy...bit of a confusing medley of emotions there. On one hand, it sounds like a potential explanation for Emma's current friendliness dismissing of the earlier situation...but the also the way Claire describes Emma is a little odd to me. I really find myself wandering where this friendship is going here. Also Emma fetching the train conductor of all people is an interesting move.

"When did you eat last? Yesterday at noon?" Emma wanted to know after the man with glasses and moustache had left.

Claire did not speak.

She strictly refused help. Her eyes followed the distance. Trees lived between hills, pines on the mountains, fields in the foreground. The former border was behind them.

The man brought her and Emma an apple. The silent nod remained in her conscience. He had done nothing to her. Why did she act so cold? The dream returned. The vacuum grew and sucked up everything inside her. Hollow and surrounded by indestructible rock, she resembled a statue. Why her of all people?


Well...it looks like at least the man seemed concerned for his passengers and provided something for them. Claire's thoughts again get a touch confusing, is she thinking about her dream or did she drift in and out of sleep somehow...its a bit hard to tell.

The train reached Pfalzburg main station at 8.30 a.m.

The train attendant paced along the corridors and informed the passengers of their arrival. Claire showed that she was not completely made of stone. Carefully, she grasped it and took a big bite out of the apple.

"May I know what's going on?"

Tentatively, Emma felt her way towards her. More pieces were bitten off.

"Léonard can tell right away that something is wrong with you."

"Haven't slept."


Hmm...well this is just an bit of an odd conversation there. I don't know. It just doesn't quite strike me as natural. I think maybe that's the effect you were going for. Claire clearly doesn't wish to be having any conversation and Emma is just kind of half distracted herself.

Actually, you're not such a pessimist. You see the world from your point of view. It's the experiences you're missing. Maybe it's better to sleep a little.

The sun's rays had blinded them.

"Where will Léonard be? And those two? Karoline and Stephan?" mumbled Emma when she had caught up with Claire. She wasn't listening.

After waking up, the world looks different. It's like a game. You could have slept for an hour or a week and everything would have changed except you.

"I know,” Claire said aloud.

The bustle of activity did not allow her to think.


Hmm...this is creating an interesting effect her to have Claire focus so much on her thoughts and only distractedly and half heartedly reply to Emma's questions. On one hand, it sounds a little odd, but I think you're nailing the kind of headspace that Claire finds herself in and well, it's bound to get interesting soon when they meet the duo that they came to meet.

It had an incredibly high ceiling. Small shops fought for the big turnover. There was movement everywhere, whether it was people or animals. The WA with their navy-blue leather coats and shako chased the guests accompanied by their shepherd dogs.

Claire didn't manage to count them all as they suddenly picked out random people they didn't like from the crowd and asked for the papers. Then the colourful window mosaic caught her attention.

The sun's rays glued the sounds to the people and the ground. The oversized picture showed a town on the left, connected by a vermilion bridge to the mountains. A bell tower rose among houses and trees. The colours, as they sparkled in the glow and shone brighter and darker, had the effect of a theatre play on Claire. It was fragile and intoxicating, a vulnerable yet comfortable something that carried her away. The enchanting play caused a change in her mind. The artist stood beside her in her mind and felt honoured. He truly must have been a magician, a dishevelled old man with snow-white hair. Claire was under the spell of the glass ornament.


Okay...some more relaxed descriptions going on I see...okay, it looks like despite being lost in thought, Claire is taking the time to observe her surroundings a little and get a sense for where she is..and as a bonus the readers get to do the same as we wait for something to finally happen here.

Only when approached by a brown-haired young man did she respond.

"Excuse me, are you Claire Silberlilie?"

"Pardon me?"

She turned to him. A dull thud and both cried out a loud ouch at the same time.

"This only happens to you! Fool!"

A woman ran to them. She looked older than him.

"Forgive me, I don't know how this could have happened..." he apologised.

"I'm Claire." she introduced herself, her hands continuing to rest on her forehead.

"We have found you!" he cheered. ”My name is Stephan du Murnaux. She is my sister, Karoline."

"Where is your friend?" she asked kindly.

Claire looked around. She inspected the siblings from top to bottom.


Well Emma has managed to pull a nice and very thorough disappearing act I see...that's fun, I wonder what became of her...I suppose she is rather determined to find Léonard for some reason...that obsession is never going to fully make sense to me. ANd so we also finally meet the Du Murnaux folks....

"Claire where have you been? I was standing outside, and you were gone! I almost got stopped by one of the WA! “

"I'm here, all right," she grumbled.

"What's wrong?" Emma asked.

"I rammed her head," Stephan introduced himself, "I'm sorry for that..."

"Already forgotten."

Dumbfounded, Emma gaped at the siblings. On tiptoe, she searched for Léonard while they introduced themselves one more time.


Hmm, I don't know what Claire means there with her reaction, but judging by this sudden rush of dialogue between the four of them, the siblings are proving to be relatively normal so far, they don't seem to be immediately trying to get the two girls to trust them and are just making regular conversation.

Emma was disappointed. Karoline understood her longing and knew immediately that he had given her false illusions.

"Shall we get going? It's a short distance to Weymouth."

"I'll take the luggage," Stephan volunteered.

"I'll be fine," Claire said, clasping her hands tightly around the handle.

"She could do with something to eat."

"Emma, not now!"

She chortled.

"And sleep. You look better than before, but I can tell you're tired."

"It's a violet," she whispered.

"I think I hit your forehead," Stephan reported.


Stephan's two random proclamations of hitting her head are kind of that....random...I feel like either he shut put that sort of thing in a bit more context so it doesn't sound so out of place or he could consider just not talking about hitting people on the head. At any rate, Karoline's line of thought there is a very interesting one. So far the siblings seem to be fairly normal people that maybe don't manipulate others for their own benefit..but well...you can never tell can you?

It took twenty minutes for Pfalzburg to hide behind the hills. The area was shaped by agriculture. Farmers and cattle frequented the many fields and pastures. Scattered barns and farms rose among the flat land. Behind them, trees emerged. With their lush green leaves and the brisk wind, the hills around this valley grew like a gigantic creature sleeping over the land, like turtles that had come to their stop. The rustling of the leaves could be heard from almost everywhere in the valley.


These chunks of description are quite fun to read. I find myself enjoying these little glimpses of occasional clarity we get. These work out a lot better than the massive descriptions I've seen in some of the other introductions to places.

"You come from Sehlingen? Where is that?" Karoline inquired.

"Not far from Lödingen. My father comes from Sehlingen, my mother from Regenschloss. During the holidays I move in with my grandpa - dad died in the war. I am an illegitimate child."

"Really?"

Stephan was momentarily thrown off. Claire just wondered why Emma answered like that. Was it to spite Claire since she was the only one with a Sagauvelian passport?


Yeah that's a bit of a concerning statement to be airing out to strangers that she literally just met. I have no idea what she's planning to gain with any of this conversation that's currently going on...but we can see that she's just being a bit foolish here and revealing all manner of personal information to these two...and well it looks like they don't even really need to try to manipulate her if she's just going to be like this.

She listened and smiled. With meticulously chosen words, she answered the question within one sentence. Stephan continued to speak and bombarded her with enquiries. Hoping to end the conversation as quickly as possible, Claire did not succeed. Emma helped out by asking about Léonard and the journey became more centred again, leaving Claire to return to her mosaic.

The estate was already in sight when they drove past the playground. Stephan kept a watchful eye on the frolicking children on the street.


Ohh...that's an interesting move...these two clearly want to know about the girls in a bit more detail than is perhaps normal for two complete strangers. I also think ahhh it would've been nice to see that conversation with Claire trying not to reveal too much, if one of the conversation had to be sacrificed in the name of length, Emma's reveal of too much information is probably the one to be cut..at least in my opinion, cause I think Claire's would be far more interesting.

"Léonard is coming tomorrow, isn't he?" repeated Emma.

The automobile stopped. They got out and admired the dead-looking property.

"We don't know. He either calls us or Albert," Stephan explained.

"Who?"

"Albert Reck is our guardian. He is the headmaster of the big school where we drove by."

The large house was in partial shade. The interior was gloomy and cool. A chest of drawers made of pear wood was the only thing in the entrance area.

Claire felt as if this place had been abandoned for many years. Even through her ankle boots, she felt the cold of the floor.

"You have your guest rooms upstairs," Karoline enlightened the two, "I'll show you."


I feel like maybe we were just given some important information here but I don't quite remember enough details to fully place this piece into the position its supposed to go in this puzzle.

The living room had a wooden-framed door with very thin glass. It shook with every breath of wind from outside. The historian Albert Reck was sitting in front of the old, period oak table. Parchments lay before him. It was one of the few rooms with some life. A mighty cupboard took up the entire wall and was filled with figurines, books, relics, empty picture frames and fine cutlery. After washing up, Karoline and Stephan came in and disturbed the candlelight with a breeze.

"Miss Silberlilie and Miss Malven have arrived," the historian reported liberated, "I hope they have settled in quickly."

"You could see Emma's disappointment because Léonard is not present," Karoline added to her guardian.


Okay...so we're switching to this now I see. Definitely interesting that this conversation is happening mostly under wraps as far as the two girls are concerned and Claire only sort of overheard Albert making his way home.

"Léonard will be back the day after tomorrow at the latest. He promised me."

"Really? Where did he disappear to?"

"He has his reasons for not talking about the trip," the old man sighed.

Stephan sat next to his sister and yawned. Too tired to talk much, he ignored the discussion. Curiosity had long since ceased to keep him awake.

"Does it have something to do with the nameless people?"


Why?? Léonard please come up with a name that sounds a bit more scaring...nameless people just doesn't have the right ring to it. Joking aside, this is an interesting development here...perhaps this conversation will tell us more about the situation these people are all tangled in.

Albert Reck looked up. His old eyes seemed dull. Blurredly, he perceived his counterpart. He didn't have to think long before he understood how she knew.

"Did Léonard tell you more about it?"

"I overheard you. Four years ago. That conversation was probably the most exciting thing I've experienced in my life. Who are they?" she evaded.

"They are the reason why Léonard is travelling. That's all I can say. It's already late-"

"I may have seen one of those people," she interrupted, "One person was watching us yesterday. After the telegram arrived."

Albert Reck put the pages back into the mighty cupboard.


Ohhh...that feels like Karoline is calling Albert out on something here....and maybe either Albert knows more than he's letting on or vise versa...at any rate, I think my suspicion that conversation will be interesting just got confirmed.

"It may be..." he reflected, "It may be that he has not become more experienced."

He turned to her.

"You know more than just that term, don't you? You want to know more."

"They call themselves Mönchsberg Abbey," she nodded distinguishably, "I heard Julius talking about it all the time as if it were... as if it were a woman he liked very much. So full of passion. “

Shivering with awe, he trembled. As a historian, he was no stranger to the abbey.

"You don't know the circumstances under which I met Léonard and Julius," he murmured, "Mönchsberg Abbey is full of cruel people. Leave them alone. I do not want you to put yourselves in danger. The two were young and did not believe in miracles or fairy tales. Death brought them back to reality. Whoever messes with the abbey will regret it."


Oooooooooooooooooooh. That's about all I have to say on that one. I love myself a good mysterious and very deadly secret organization....soo...this is already turning into perhaps one of my favorite exchanges here. Of course it leaves us none the wise compared to what we already knew...but it does help deepen this mystery quite nicely.

"About Julius' sister…" Karoline was startled.

"The murder was just another proof. The victims are the ignorant ones."

She was on the verge of tears.

"That means... they put her at risk? Did they know it from the start? “

Reck stood next to the table. How he wished he weren’t here.

"He suffers a lot since her death. It was through her death that Julius came to understand Léonard better."

"And yet he is so stupid as to stay with him? He sacrifices..."


Okay...even more things that we don't have enough context to fully understand and appreciate the depth of but there's enough that we do know about what's happening that we can reliable judge that something crazy is going down somewhere.

"No. Certainly not," lied the historian, "I could tell you more if I knew what is going on in his head.”

"Those two know nothing! Why did they accept Léonard's offer?" Stephan interfered.

"Léonard beguiled her."

"What? That's impossible!” her brother interjected.

"Karoline is right. He put wrong things in their heads."


Well on the bright side, it looks like these folks at the very least know of Léonard's less savory qualities and just maybe at least the two siblings don't fully approve and although Albert looks to be more at peace with it, he seems slightly disturbed and perhaps is trying to convince himself everything is fine...but I think maybe he doesn't like it either.

A pause arose. The old man began to get nervous. The candles flickered back and forth. Outside, darkness was at home. Dimly he recognised the beech trees in the garden, blowing about in the wind. In the distance, lights stared at him like menacing eyes.

"Léonard is sure of himself," she said worriedly.

Her guardian smiled at her sheepishly.

"After Kapellengarten he will have to tell us all the truth," Stephan interjected.

Albert Reck stepped to the door.

"There's nothing else you want to talk about, is there?"

"Yes... no, it's all right," Karoline returned sheepishly.

"Please remember to extinguish the candles when you go to sleep. Pleasant rest."

He moved into his bedroom.


Well that was a properly mysterious ending there...and this is what I came to see with this story and I am happy to see this continuing in this manner. This conversation is doing wonders towards making me really want to find out more here.

Claire had been lucky not to have been caught when Albert stepped out of the salon. She had been lurking on the steps and so could hear everything. Actually, she was on her way to the bathroom. Now she had heard what she wanted to hear. She had confirmation that Léonard intended more than a little celebration with his invitation. Had they now been so stupid as to trust a stranger?


Well hello there Claire, good that you were awake at the time eh? Emma's not going to believe a word Claire says of course, but at the very least Claire's doubts have been confirmed and she can kind of know to expect what's in store for her in the coming few days.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall, I think this was a good chapter. It does a very good job of adding some extra spice into this story. We had a almost regrouping ish chapter earlier with Claire's thoughts and now the plot is getting a nice boost to start flowing properly and I am excited to see where this train takes us :D

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Harry






Okay...even more things that we don't have enough context to fully understand and appreciate the depth of but there's enough that we do know about what's happening that we can reliable judge that something crazy is going down somewhere.

Here we have another one of those little details, like in chapter 1 where Martha is in the library and stumbles across a book by an author called Seven Feather whose sister he supposedly killed and another time in chapter 5 where he has published another book under a (poorly chosen) pseudonym. I don't know if this is generally becoming comprehensible or if it's still a bit muddled for the reader.

Thank you for your review! :D



HarryHardy says...


Hmm...interesting. I can't immediately think of a connection there. I think it is still a muddle, a good muddle, a mysterious muddle of the sort that makes you want to read more to solve said muddle, but a muddle nonetheless. At least for me. I think the clues are a bit too subtle for me to remember. I wouldn't make that connection at all unless I was actively trying to solve the puzzle. The details are too fine to remember in something that's this massive :D Or maybe I just have a bad memory...xD





Thank you for the feedback. I think I might have to change something or make it more obvious, but maybe it helps to realise that every detail counts and comes to a common denominator. I don't expect anyone to read a story a second time and realise how early some things are revealed, but I think that's what I was going for when I wrote the story. :D I want to give the reader two stories, one that has more impact on the first reading and one that goes deeper between the lines the second time. But of course I can also give an explanation if towards the end, some questions remain unanswered. (At least the questions I want to answer. :D)



HarryHardy says...


Hmm, well its up to you!! As long as the ending is satisfying in its own way, people will still enjoy whether they analyze it or not, and the ones who like to do that sort of thing will try to analyze it in more detail. :D



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Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:54 am
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ForeverYoung299 wrote a review...



Heyy!!Forever here with a review!

First and foremost, something which I wonder about is if these parts can be developed into individual chapters. There is no rule about the word count of a chapter but internet suggests it's better to keep it within 5000 words. The rest is upto you. It's the story that matters the most, after all.

And we are back to the mystery again. I really liked this chapter, it intrigues the readers to read the next chapter as soon as they finish this chapter. Claire is being uncertain about a lot of things here. Even their friendship. She can't trust Emma and her care towards her. We can assume that whatever she assumes Emma's attitude to be towards her is actually her attitude towards Emma. I wonder if Emma knows anything about the problem between Claire and her father. I suppose they don't because Claire is not the person to open up to anyone except herself and sometimes not even herself. We can see this when she tries to convince herself that she is fine despite knowing she isn't. I hope Emma will be able to see inside Claire and help her out. We also got to know about Emma's dad's death in the war. She must hate the war then.

Now these Murnaux siblings and Albert. They also don't knoe fully about Leonard. The only person to know about him in a detailed manner is Julius, his friend. I am quite eager to knoe where Julius lives and more about him. So, Leonard didn't completely lie as we can see from their conversation. Seems like he told the truth from the very beginning but all he told are small parts of the truth and not the exact truth. He has gone somewhere for some reason, to deal with the abbey and I hope that will turn out good. And also his sister, she died... If I am not wrong, it was not at all intentional of Leonard to sacrifice his sister. We saw it from Leonard's POV that he loved his sister and misses her. I wonder what Claire is gonna do after this. I guess she thinks they are in potential danger.

I will get to the next part soon. :D

Keep Writing!!

~Forever






Thank you for your review! :D



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Wed Sep 08, 2021 1:15 pm
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RandomTalks wrote a review...



Hey Mailice!

Before I started with this chapter, I knew I should have stayed away. Now I just know that I am going to read this until the end and my exam can simply wait.

I really, really liked this chapter and how you have built it up. We started at the train with Claire. Her moodiness in this chapter did not actually surprise me. I can feel this resentment and loneliness in her as she talks with Emma or even as she tiptoes back to her room although she wished to join the others during the night. I think these feelings have something to do with how her life has spinned out of control overnight. She was the kind of person who took comfort in routines and yet longed to be free of them. And now she has lied, she has escaped, and she has undertaken a blind journey that can lead her anywhere and she still won't be able to do anything. Maybe that is where her frustration rises from. She looks at Emma and she is always happy, always smiling, always oblivious and always talking about Leonard. When I really think about it now, Claire does not eat and loses her sleep by keeping things inside because she does not know how to express them and the people in her life have never showed her or given her the space to express them. Maybe that is why she snaps at people and feels guilty or isolates herself even though she longs for company.

It immediately occurred to her.

"You haven't eaten since yesterday!"

Similarly, Emma did not surprise me either in this chapter. She is a little whimsical and the fact that she did not notice that her friend and companion had not eaten anything since the previous day just proves how little she notices. I feel like I cannot blame or accuse her though. She is who she is - childish, slightly immature and gullible and with the attention span of a small child. But she has a good heart as is proved by how she quickly gets the train attendant to make sure that Claire eats something.

Then the colourful window mosaic caught her attention.

I really loved this part. Your descriptions were beautiful and mesmerizing, but it also felt like a single moment of peace in Claire's mind where she was free from the constant turmoil of her thoughts. I feel like after the train ride she really needed this moment and I like how it still stays with her after she has met with the siblings and is departing from that place.

Karoline understood her longing and knew immediately that he had given her false illusions.


It is interesting how almost everybody recognizes Emma's longing for Leonard and his subtle use of her, except for Emma herself. It also puts Karoline's relationship with Leonard in a new light with the use of the word 'understood'. We already know that she had feelings for him previously, but know it seems like she has recognized him and made peace with the fact that Leonard cares about no one without a reason or purpose, maybe except his sister and probably Julius.

He's the only one Léonard has to make him see reason.

I had already guessed that Julius plays a big role in the story, but I had not anticipated that he plays such a big role in Leonard's life as well. When I think about how often their names have been associated with each other, it kind of makes sense. But now I am only more curios about him. He is probably the only person who is not family but still seems to ground Leonard and have an impact on his decisions. The fact that his sister died as a repercussion to their involvement with the alley just made the whole story a lot more serious.

"Surely he doesn't want to sacrifice them too?"

"No. Certainly not," lied the historian,

This entire conversation has made me more wary of these people. I have always known that Leonard wants something from the girls, and it is not just their friendship that makes him reach out to them again and again. While the siblings seem like good people who are quite experienced with him, Albert Reck seems to have a deeper understanding of Leonard and an inkling about what he intends to do, but I just know he is not going to interfere. Already there were so many revelations in this entire conversation, that the fact that Claire witnessed all of it just completely threw me off. I wonder what she is going to do now and how this is going to affect the overall plot of the story. Something has changed with this chapter and I can't wait to find out what. Things just got so much more interesting.

Tiny nitpicks:

After washing a little bit, she staggered back to her compartment.

Instead of 'washing a little bit', 'cleaning up' sounds better to me.

"Isn't she that?"

This question can be better framed as "Isn't that her?"

That's all.

See you in the next chapter!






Have I told you before that I like reading your interpretations and insights? Thank you very, very much! :D




I'm not so good with the advice... Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?
— Chandler Bing