Thursday, November 6, 2008

The dark seas swell and the thunder rolls

I turned the collar up on my ulster as I waited impatiently for the trolley to arrive. "That blessed thing is always running you over when you don't want it, but never around when you do!" I mumbled. The rain continued to pour, undeterred by the evil look CHED gave it or my grumblings.

I had been out in Caledon doing various shopping that needed to be attended to, and while Edward had been able to give me a ride to Victoria City in the Parsival, he had his own business to see to in Babbage and could not give me a lift home. Finally, the trolley rumbled into sight and I hopped on and burrowed as best I could into my coat on the trip back to Victoria City. I was thoroughly sick and tired of this unseasonable and unusual weather and relished the thought of the warm fires back at Primbroke Manor...not to mention my bathtub filled with steaming hot water.

Finally, after a trolley, train and boat travel, my feet were planted firmly on Argylle. Clutching my basket of purchases, I stumbled up the hill to the manor, my wet hems clutching my ankles and tripping me. Water dripped from the brim of my hat and trickled down the back of my neck. It truly was not a day fit for man nor beast.

Mr. Gears met me at the door and relieved me of my purchases. He also managed to catch me as I tripped on the carpet, and being hobbled by my wet skirts nearly fell. Nell Humphreys, the maid, came and took my drenched coat, hat and gloves and murmured sympathetic musings about the horrid weather. I smiled softly and started to contemplate the joys of my hot bath when the front door loudly banged shut and Edward blew in.

"By the gods it's a wretched night out there!" he exclaimed as he allowed Mr. Gears to remove his coat and hat. "I'm glad I had the Parsival, even though the lightning made piloting her a bit of a task. Getting from the mooring towers to wherever I needed to be was the tricky part." He looked over at me in my disheveled state and said "I see you made it home too my love. I was wondering if you were going to make it home. I did pass by the shop in Victoria City, but I didn't see you there, so I assumed you had made it home on your own muster."

I smiled "I just made it home actually, and am thankful to be here. It's nights like these that make you appreciate the comforts of your own hearthside."

As the servants hustled off to their various duties, Edward drew me into a warm embrace. I returned his hug, allowing myself to relax in his arms, the ticking of his mechanical arm a familiar and comforting sound and combining with the beat of his heart it soothed me to no end. After a few moments he quietly said "My love, I'm afraid I've got some very terrible news."

I pulled away slightly and looked at him fully in the face, trying to read his expression. "Are you alright?" I asked, wondering if he'd be injured during his travels.

"I'm quite well, my dearest but I'm afraid I've got some very dire news regarding our island and what is going to become of it. The Linden Government has issued their decree, which is not as hopeful as we had hoped it might be."

"Oh wonderful! I'm shocked no one has yet successfully managed a military coup on these dear Lindens," I groused. "I'm sure if we used Tensai's technical know-how and gathered Des, Lunar and the leaders of other lands together, a better and less stupid government could be achieved. They are so complacent that we are just going to sit and suffer and not go where they cannot control us that they think they can issue what they want without recourse."

Edward listened to me rant on for awhile longer before gently placing his fingertip on my lips and smiling at me sadly. "I know it's upsetting, but I'm afraid at this time there's not much we can do but comply with their edicts" he said.

"So, what might these new laws be?" I asked with ill humour.

"First, Argylle as we know it will be no longer. They are implementing new laws that will only allow 10 persons at most onto private islands like Argylle and their surrounding waters. As well, they are not allowing construction, they want these areas to remain wild and uninhabited. I have no idea why anyone would want to pay tax on such an area, but possibly some people will. They have also created a 'Homestead Act' where people may purchase an area of land similar in size to Argylle but will be severely curtailed in settling it. As an additional deterrant, owners are not allowed to have groups of more than 20 persons at any one time on these Homesteads. I am not sure if this is to discourage rebellious crowds from forming or what their reasons are, but that limit is in their rules. The third option is one that is quite complex and would require Guv'nah Desmond's authority to do. Of course, turning one's back on it all has always been an option, but one I'm not willing to look at" he said sternly.

I quietly mulled this over in my mind, looking at each option in turn. I took a deep breath and looked around the hall of Primbroke Manor, where Edward and I had worked diligently turning it from an abandoned manor house to a home. I thought of the hours spent pruning and gardening, of the amount of labour Edward invested to build the underwater observatory. I also thought of my fellow Dukes and Duchesses, the community events that they've held, which gave Caledon it's particular zest and acted hubs for the community as a whole. I was thankful that the first Duke of Greystoke was not around to see this day, where he would not have been able to host a zoo, a winter wonderland and so many other wonderful events at Greystoke. I was certain Caledon would survive, but how many other places would not?

We heard Mr. Gears approach us, to announce that dinner was served. I gave Edward a small smile and we proceeded to the diningroom to eat.

2 comments:

Edward Pearse, Duke of Argylle said...

Once I get this story of mine together I think I shall have to definitely pick your brains as an editor. I'm enjoying these little snippets of life even if the content is so annoying.

Christine McAllister Pearse said...

I shall gladly serve as your sounding board my dear, as well as having my brain picked.

With my little story, it's either get it out or scream in utter frustration at the Lindens. I don't think they realize (nor care) what they've done. I'm to the point where I'm wishing all those working on alternate games Godspeed and great success.

Anyhow, let me know when you start on your story!