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The Ninth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four

It would seem that I am destined to be held in a near constant state of barely controlled fury. Whatever God, Spirit, or Demon that has designed this, I would kindly ask that they let loose your talons and depart before I raze my lands, salt the earth, and walk naked into the sea.

Two days ago a woman appeared on my doorstep as if spun up from the ether. She claims to be my aunt, I have never met her nor even heard of her. A woman named Cossett, that is not a family name and is no where in Father’s records as a name from either branch. Uncle has not questioned her and acts as if she is in fact a relation. He has even gone so far to give her leave to utilize Mother’s Bower. He hasn’t even allowed me in the Bower let alone a servant to dust and air the room. If it were my choice this woman would be gone. Actually, no, that is a lie. Given half a chance I would take her before a firing squad of no less than ten men.

I am sure that sounds like an exceptionally severe response but this woman is acting above her station and violating my house. I might have be dissuaded from my intense ire had she been more respectful to the possessions that were once my Mothers enjoyment. The action that pushed me from bare annoyance to a hair’s breadth from white eyed frenzy was when she was removing articles from the bower. I awoke to the crashing sound of a gilt porcelain ballerina being hurled with grotesque force from the bower to impact the far wall of the solar. A porcelain figurine worth ten or twelve times that of the gown she wore no doubt.

I must assume that Cossett had no malicious intent in her actions but the detritus littering the floor of the solar from her onslaught was uncalled for. She is a guest, one I have now found will be staying here in my house indefinitely. I can scarcely remember Mother’s and Father’s faces, I was under the assumption that all of the painting were locked up in the attic; I now know that to be yet another expeditious lie that has fallen from Uncle’s silver tongue. Sitting buried beneath a newly stained gown was a painting. The broken remains of a bottle of perfume lay across a large tear that split the canvas in two, the couple torn asunder by this careless woman. The oils of the perfume eroded at the paint causing the image to blur with each passing moment. I was six when it was painted, Mother and Father sat for days while the painter worked. Mother talked about how I would be old enough to join them in the next painting. It was started a week before Father fell ill, a month later and he was dead.

It has been my “responsibility” to see to our guest. I have spent the better portion of the last few days attending to her and keeping her entertained. I have spent the greater portion of yesterday keeping her busy. That involved drinking the atrocious tea she’d brought with her, she claims that the tea is made from an exotic flower that blooms once every six years, and I can speak with the dead. How is it possible for something to taste bitter and sour and as if it was steeped in sea water? Whilst drinking this “exotic” brew we sat in the parlour and played game after game of Lady’s Keep as she nattered on about nothing of actual substance. So far the most interesting thing about her is the set of cards she insisted on using for Lady’s Keep they were hand painted with gilded edges, she claims they are from yet another exotic country she couldn’t pronounce.

Cossett really is terrible at the game, she’s only won three hands and each of those are the tea boy’s fault. He kept spilling the tea, not actually his fault if I were to be completely honest. Her skirts and train were extremely long, anyone would trip over them. Hell, I’ve tripped over them twice and I was walking beside her at the time. He is only twelve and has only recently been sent to work here. As a distraction I would allow her to win, each instance gave the boy enough time to make an attempt at cleaning the mess and to disappear while she gloated over her win.

It appears that she will be here for quite a while. Tomorrow a whole host of servants are scheduled to arrive sometime in the midmorning. A housekeeper, Mrs. Argall has been acting as one after Uncle fired the last; Three lady’s maids, four footmen, three chambermaids, two parlor maids, three laundry maids, and half dozen house maids. Why she requires such a tremendous staff is beyond me. Our house staff is quite sizable, numbering twenty-four, I could understand a lady’s maid or two and a laundry maid. The circus she brings will nearly double our staff, no doubt they will be paid with Father’s money. No one person requires twenty-one people to see to their needs. Honestly we could probably make due with a fourth of our staff if hard pressed, sure some rooms would be left to gather dust but Uncle and I only use a small portion of the estate.

Old oil paintings and devilish perfume. What is it that dances beneath the moon?