when he pulled away from his bench for the evening to secure a shot of brandy.
Taking the cream cardstock, he rifled through contacts he knew would send out a correspondence to him at such a late hour. Most had been quiet in the last couple of weeks since his meeting at the Universite. Pulling off his cravat and slouching into his preferred armchair, he set his glass on the stand next to him to consider the letter.
His name was carefully scrawled on the envelope. Starts and stops in the ink told him whoever wrote the contents was not entirely familiar with him. He turned the paper over to study the white wax and small seal on the back while Leonheart saw himself out of Deryk’s private workroom. In the low lamplight, he did not recognize the crest. The creatures on either side of the shield were not of his Queen’s lands.
Breaking the seal, Deryk pulled out the page and set aside the envelope. Taking a sip of his thimble’s worth of brandy, he twitched through the formality of address before coming to Albrecht’s name above the date. Rising from his seat, he went to his door and threw the lock. He returned to his chair and twisted the knob on his lamp to light the space better.
To Mister Deryk Goldsman,
I thank you for meeting with me. The opportunity to show you my work was unexpected. You were correct. I have had a few other meetings. None have asked to see my glasswork. That is why I thought you would be a good patron. Forgive me while I take the year with the Universite. My writing is poor. I speak Cramitia more than I read or write it. I will work on improving my script by then.
Thank you for the gift. Your precision is beautiful. Headmaster directed me to speak with the Universite medical department about them. A little painful at first, but I am pleased with how they look.
The Universite will have the annual Harvest Masquerade four weeks after opening ceremony next week. The theme this year is legends. Would you be interested in joining with me for it?
I am looking forward to this partnership. Do not hesitate to contact me.
-Albrecht Van DerMarch
Deryk swallowed. The man was too honest. Not able to write well? Albrecht was fluent enough to leave him in a current predicament. He folded the letter back into its envelope and slid the package into his trouser pocket.
Taking another moment, he contemplated his brandy and the piece he had been fiddling with on his workbench. He had no idea if it would fit. Having measurements was essential. He resigned himself to the fact it would be something he would reserve for later. Finish, but reserve.
A masquerade? It could be an interesting event. Now that he was paying for the year at the university, he might as well see how his Designer was doing at any opportunity he was given. Deryk enjoyed the concept of courtship but never saw the advantage of time. This, however, was expedient. A series of viewings through the year, but otherwise, Albrecht was left to learn the ins and outs of being a Designer and becoming a partner an elite of society could be proud to have at hand.
Time spent thinking had brought Deryk’s head out of the clouds; that or the brandy was taking the edge off. He rose and unlocked the door to his workroom. Leonheart regarded him, a subtle raise of an eyebrow the only hint to his butler’s curiosity. “What are your thoughts on legends, Rick?”
“Legends, sir?” Leonheart’s maintained a bland disposition and followed his employer into the workroom.
Deryk shifted his equipment, clearing his table and putting away his tools for the late evening. It would be another week before he had time like this to work on the gold bobble. “Legends.”
“They can be revelatory or cautious, sir.” He provided a neutral answer.
“For a masquerade, what would be better then?” Deryk led the way from the workroom back to his dressing room.
“Who would you be talking to?” Leonheart helped him out of his working garments.
Deryk pondered the question. Dove deeper. It was not a face-value line. Leonheart was not known for asking face-value questions.
“Would I be considered a rake by polite society?” Deryk slipped on his bedclothes.
“Do you want to be seen as one?” Leonheart pulled the red house robe over Deryk’s shoulders.
“Respectable, preferred. Not a person playing the field. Maybe a bit of dash and daring for one.” Deryk sank into the armchair next to the fireplace in his bedroom beyond the dressing room.
Leonheart contemplated Deryk’s musings. “What about the count and the apple maiden?”
Deryk ran a hand over the stubble of his jaw. He snorted. Rising, he clapped Leonheart on the shoulder. “And this is why I would be at a disadvantage if you ever left me to my own devices, Leo.”
“Any time, sir.” Leonheart left his employer to turn in.
Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.
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