So, what I did not mention in the last edition, was that this series is an exercise in different genres. Using the dynamic of mine and my friend’s D&D characters as a basis, each week I will experiment with a different format but in the same setting with the same pair of lovely ladies.
This week the genre is epistolary – or letters, in easier terms.
17th Of Iunius, 1782
My dearest Xenokliea,
Pleased to say guard patrols are thin. Don’t know why you were insistent I keep an eye on them, they’re here to protect us after all.
Neremes is a port city you know, all sorts of ruffians disembark, make a nuisance of themselves. A lady my age really shouldn’t venture out alone. Wish you would accompany me, would get this business of transport sorted quicker. Besides, a woman such as yourself should be seen, not hiding at an inn on the outskirts of the city.
Found my way down to the harbourside this evening, that very helpful young man we met – oh, what was his name? Jared? – showed me to the charterhouse. Don’t know about his prospects, but you really should speak to him more often.
Spoke to the harbourmaster as you asked. Older gentleman, unfortunate crop of beard, counted three black teeth; clearly a veteran I think.
Observed well-meaning niceties, offered tea. Declined. Stomach wasn’t in best health to accept any traffic, due to usual harbourside smells wafting about. Know how prissy you can be, so I advise keeping a kerchief to hand when you eventually join us.
Gentleman said only smaller vessels were currently at anchor for public transport. Laughed when I said we needed to cross the ocean, but could not specify a port. My dear, could you please illustrate an exact port in your next letter? Afraid I know nothing of the the geography on the other side of the pond.
Left his office, thought to see the ships myself. Could have spoken to the captains.
Lunch time crept up on me. Found a cosy building with outside seating where we sojourned for an hour; digestion isn’t what it used to be. Ordered crab, assured it was freshly caught that morning.
Charming staff, conversed of the ships.
Jared ordered a beer, spoke with the locals. As we left, said he’d acquired some information on a larger ship we could charter. Insisted he escort me back to the Dozy Merman. Said the lower docks were no place for a woman.
Spent the rest of the day browsing Merchant’s way. Bought you something, enclosed with this letter.
In my experience, one can never have enough of these!
The Dozy Merman
19th Of Iunious, 1782
Couldn’t say what perturbs me more; that you somehow know my sizes, or that you still try to buy my undergarments. Besides the cut is all wrong, material is coarse. Thank you all the same, Grandmother.
His name was Jason. Will not speak to him more than necessary, ghastly taste in cologne. Not sure he even has one. Please stop insinuating Grandmother. Intelligent he may be, has his uses, but that is all.
Thought you would have known at least one of the parallel ports. Ask for Nicator next time. Will not be subject to cramped conditions aboard a tiny ship, Jason’s lead better go somewhere.
Hope staff are more couth at your inn, those here are positively brutish. Harridan ogre of a host thought I was insulting her when I asked for the Maitre d’. Swear her little brat is baiting me, deliberately ignoring my orders in favour of others.
Most of this afternoon was spent changing after her latest clumsy escapade across the warped flooring resulted in a stained frock. Demanded recompense for the expensive cloth, host said she would wash it! Explained red wine does not simply wash out but she was obdurate. Probably to save face.
Host returned with my frock this very morning, can still see the shadow of the stain. Didn’t say anything, was sure she neither would be inclined towards paying compensation nor could she afford it.
Currently using it as a blind; those leery builders are still loitering on the roof across the pass.
Did not ask you to accompany me, was your incorrigible notion. A lady your age shouldn’t be travelling at all. Since you’re tagging along, may as well risk as little exposure as I can. Believe me, would vacate these premises in a heartbeat otherwise.
Send for me soon.