“Done?” Ronaldo, the large guard, asked as Douglas opened the door. He nodded and held up the dress, showing off the repair. “Fine. You’re coming with me.”
Douglas was really hoping to get paid and leave, but Ronaldo didn’t seem like he had the money with him. At least Ronaldo kept the shopkeeper standing at a respectable distance as they walked out.
Ronaldo seemed to be able to read, but Douglas couldn’t exactly have a conversation with him as they walked along. Douglas began to think about how he might get away. Maybe nothing bad would happen to him, but he couldn’t exactly explain that he could do magic. Not to people he didn’t trust, anyway. If word got out to the wrong sort of people, he might find himself in trouble. It had been so easy for the citizens of Pendle to just do nothing as the soldiers came to kill his father and take his sister away, and he thought they had been good people for the most part.
They walked through town, moving from the solid brick and stone construction of the area around the tailor into an area of town with plastered walls that may still have had brick underneath. However, they did not stop, but continued walking. Douglas wondered if there had been a carriage waiting for the lady. There must have been- no way she would have walked all this way. Not that he knew much about nobles of any sort, but if he had the sort of money they did then after he bought all the books he desire- if he ever reached that point- he would no longer have to walk from place to place. In fact, he might even be willing to give up some books at the current time, having had to walk from city to city.
They arrived at the end of the road, where Douglas expected to turn to the left or the right… but instead they continued straightforward onto the large estate in front of them.
“Morning Ronaldo,” said one of the guards standing at the gate.
“Good morning. The countess has requested this young man’s presence,” Ronaldo gestured to Douglas. Douglas half nodded, half bowed to the guard.
“Ah, no need to be so polite to me, young man. Though it would be good to do so for the countess.”
A countess she was then… that implied she ruled this city, and perhaps some around it. It was possible she had a husband, but from what Douglas had seen the countess was likely the one running everything if so. Even if her husband officially did, she was the sort to get what she wanted.
As they approached the door- not a particularly short walk- a butler came out and looked over the two of them. Douglas felt underdressed in his once decent clothes that were dirty and mudstained from travel. He had washed as well as he could- and his hands were clean as he held the dress away from his clothes. The butler tsked, handing the dress to a maid behind him and then pulling out a brush, starting Douglas’ clothes, then switching to another for his shoes and the guard’s boots. “The roads are terribly dusty, aren’t they?” Douglas wasn’t sure if he was talking about the roads in Irieby, but if so Douglas hardly agreed. The streets were quite clean, nothing compared to the dirt roads between cities. “Well… this is good enough for now. The duchess is waiting in her study.”
“And a good afternoon to you too, Gerald,” Ronaldo nodded. “Let’s go kid.”
Douglas didn’t think he was quite young enough to merit being called kid still, but he didn’t really have a convenient way to protest, instead following after Ronaldo as quickly as he could. They passed by a pair of very large doors, instead going down a side corridor- which still had a nice carpet lining the middle- before arriving at what must have been the Duchess’ study.
Upon the doors opening, Douglas decided it was more like a small house. It was missing beds, of course, but there were a handful of comfy chairs about he would have been fine sleeping in… especially compared to the ground. The room was probably the same size as several of the floors in his home tower put together, and it contained as many bookshelves as well as ample space to move around, as well as a large desk. Behind said desk in a leather covered chair was the duchess.
“Duchess Irieby,” Ronaldo bowed. Douglas followed suit, though he could not speak.
“Good, you’re back. If you would wait just outside, Ronaldo.” Ronaldo moved out promptly, shutting the door, and Duchess Irieby- who with that name most definitely ran things- gestured for Douglas to take a seat in a slightly less comfortable looking chair in front of her desk. In fact, though it had no padding, the wood was well conforming in its construction. Douglas sat and waited, holding his slate to be ready to write if he needed to. “I have seen your work on the dress. Or perhaps it is more correct to say I did not see it. There are no traces of either piece of damage. As promised, here is your payment.” She gestured to four stacks of silver coins on the desk next to her, something Douglas hadn’t noticed among the ink well and papers and various other things sitting on it. “Go on, take it.” Douglas carefully picked up each stack and poured them into his pouch. “Not going to count them?”
Douglas stopped before picking up the last stack. “40.” He held up the final stack, looking to her.
“Oh? You count quite quickly. Yes, there is four gold worth total for you as the work was quite excellent. In relation to that, I would like to ask you to stay here to work for me.” Douglas hesitated, trying to keep his face neutral… but failing. “I see you are not pleased with that idea. Why is that?”
Douglas wrote on his slate, clutching carefully with his right hand as his left moved what chalk he had left. “I need to go to Vospia.”
“Is that so?” Duchess Irieby looked at Douglas, “Do you have a specific time you need to arrive? No? How about speaking the language?” Douglas shook his head at the second question. Not that he could speak at all, but understanding the language would be important too. Reading as well. “In that case… why don’t you stay here for some time? I have a number of old dresses that have some form of rip or tear, and I just can’t bear to throw them out. Not that I’d wear them to another ball, but someone would love to have them. I can hire some tutors in sp- the verbal language of Vospia as well as the writing. You would also receive pay to spend on whatever you please… though not so much as today.” Douglas hesitated, and Duchess Irieby smiled, “Or you can just go, and see how you do in Vospia.”
Douglas signed slightly, then nodded. It wouldn’t hurt to remain around for a time… though he would have to be careful not to get found out. There was nothing wrong with being able to do magic- but having something only he could do wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing for him. He did briefly wonder why she didn’t already have a wizard she actually knew about on staff to repair things- certainly there must have been another in the region.