FINALLY! Day 2 is done! (BWAHAHAHAHA!!!)
“Miss Kairi… Miss Kairi…” Kairi groaned as the warm sunlight fell across her bed. “Wake up Miss Kairi.” It had to be Harriet. She had a soft grandmotherly voice. And she had to have brought…
“Kairi, a lady does not shout.” This voice was cool, used to commanding.
“Con- Miss Hatchaway?” Kairi peered through half open lids as the sun blinded her. “What time is it?”
“8 AM. Get up. We will get started as soon as you are ready.” Constance walked out, her black silk quietly swishing behind her.
“Harriet, what’s that about?”
“Your Finishing training, Miss Kairi. Eat quickly. Today is when Miss Hatchaway is seeing how ladylike you are already. Do you know your utensils?”
“Yeah, forks, spoons, and knives.” Harriet’s chest heaved under a sigh. “What?”
“Do you know your specific forks, spoons, and knives?”
“What?” Kairi then gave a small shriek. She had been stripping of her creamy shift and now several other female servants came in. One carried a white vest that appeared to have ribs in it. Another carried a peach dress with ruffles and bows. A third carried a hat box and a shoe box complete with stockings lying on top.
“Any other languages? French maybe?” Harriet asked hopefully. Kairi noticed now the wrinkles folding Harriet’s skin. Her hands were cracked too. How hard did she work?”
“By the saints.” A strawberry blond whispered. “Miss Hatchaway has a lot of work to do.”
“Who are you?” Kairi asked curiously, but it did come out a little hostile. The lady bowed.
“Mary Cressida. My sister Kate is Miss Hatchaway’s lady companion.” She gave a small bow, as to not upset the boxes. Kairi grinned.
“Miss Kairi!” Harriet said, bringing the red head back to her senses. “Take a deep breath. If it’s not too bold, can I ask if you wore a corset before?”
“It’s not and I haven’t.” Kairi took her place in front of the mirror, and saw Harriet sink onto her bed with a quiet groan.
Riku half stumbled to the breakfast table, fighting with Rolly over wearing the overcoat or not.
“Coffee?” A maid asked, and he accepted. The hallway was still there. Or was he just insane? Riku proceeded to slather jam on his toast as Sora came in looking like a little gentleman.
“Morning!” Sora said cheerfully, as Riku grunted in response. “Sleep well?”
“Well enough considering my craziness doesn’t extend to my room.”
“Come on Riku, I seriously doubt…”
“George’s painting still lacks a head” Riku went back to his toast and ate while Constance walked down to her seat. Wesley appeared from thin air and gave her a newspaper. She opened it to the first page and sipped her tea. Claude then swooped out of nowhere, stole a piece of Riku’s toast, dropped it on a plate and landed on a chair. Madame Leota followed and ate the toast that Claude stole.
“Any bad dreams, Riku…” She gave a smile that was anything but friendly. Riku hmphed and attacked his sausage. Sora started to look at Constance again, not noticing he was close to putting his elbow in some cream.
“Sora?” It was Kairi. “What do you think?” Sora jerked himself out of his crush stare long enough to look at Kairi.
“Wow. That looks beautiful.” Sora said, Kairi blushed and twirled. The peach dress was cut so as to accentuate her bosom without showing it. The dress had a large white bow in the back with little bows and ruffles on the sleeve, chest area, and skirt. As she finished turning though, she saw Sora staring at Constance again.
“Eyes up” Riku muttered to Sora. Sora started and pulled his eye line up to Constance’s face. Kairi huffed and sat down to eat.
“Wesley. Only give some light food to Miss Damati. We are starting finishing training today.” Constance grinned at the girl’s shocked face. “We ALL need to lose some weight.” And she bit into an egg.
Riku was the first to finish.
“Do you know of anything for me to do today, Miss Hatchaway?” Riku asked Constance. She gave a small smile.
“We have a library. Maybe you would like to read it.” She gave directions and Riku left.
It wasn’t a BAD library. It was filled with books on many subjects. Oddly, there was an entire shelf devoted to ghost stories, but other than that it was a respectable collection. Some classics, some law, some medicine. A small amount of books on the occult… Riku picked a classic called “Les Miserables” first and began to read. He got through a half an hour before he found himself unable to concentrate. He could hear pages turning and books moving. Only a few books, but it was enough to distract him. He pulled himself out of the high backed maroon chair and turned around. No one was there except the busts lining the walls. He went back to reading, but he still could not concentrate. He jumped up again and searched for a vent or hole of some sort that would cause the wind. There wasn’t one. Not only that, Riku suddenly realized something about the busts. They were watching him wherever he went through the room.
“FINE!” He shouted. “KEEP THIS ROOM!” He grabbed a few books and stomped out.
Sora stared at the two women on the front lawn. Constance was still wearing black. Kairi had a board on her back and a book on her head. She was supposed to walk across the lawn without the book falling. Sora decided to stare some more at Constance.
bang Riku stomped onto the porch, slamming the door behind him.
“I see you found the widow’s walk” Riku muttered. He picked up a book and began to read it again. “And just a tip. Girls get offended when you stare at their breasts.”
“Sora, do you get a bad vibe from this place?”
“Nope.” Sora responded. He wasn’t really listening again. But he hadn’t picked anything up anyway. Other than a vibe that Constance MIGHT be interested in him. And she… she was beautiful. She was really the most beautiful women he had ever seen. She had been so sweet to take them in too. He ran his hand through his spiky brown hair as he watched Constance some more.
Kairi had been through pain and torture before. She had been kidnapped several times and her heart had been taken out of her. But Constance was still a hard taskmaster. Kairi’s back hurt, she had a headache, the corset was making things hard to breathe. She was hungry, she was sweaty, and Constance kept on demanding more. Eventually they did end up taking a break. Kairi tried to collapse into the shade of a tree, but Constance yelled at her, and the board was still on her back, so she ended up leaning up against a nearby willow.
“Your posture is horrible” Constance said. “And stop panting. You look like some dog. Straighten up. Now let’s get to utensils…” Kairi tried to leave, but couldn’t.
“Kairi, come on.”
“My foot’s stuck.” The mud under the grass sucked at her shoe.
“Wathel!” Constance shouted. A man ran over from the garden. He was very muscular, and tanned from working outside. With a quick swoop the black haired man caught Kairi under her knees then pulled her up and out of the mud.
“Thank you.” Kairi said breathlessly, the corset was still restricting her breathing, and as Wathel set her down she heard footsteps behind her and saw Riku and Sora running over to her.
“How’d you get down?” She asked, as Sora doubled over to catch his breath.
“Sora jumped off the Widow’s Walk.” Riku supplied, though his eyes flickered over to Constance. Kairi turned around to see that Constance was watching everyone coolly, not betraying any emotion. Then, Constance cracked a small smile.
“How about that lunch? Wathel, can you let Mary know about how we are having lunch out here?”
“Yes Ma’am.” The man with curly black hair gave a small bow and hurried off to the Mansion. Soon several servants came out and pulled chairs and a table over. Mary and Rolly came out next, holding a large basket and a pitcher of Iced Tea.
“May I join you?” Kairi held down chuckle as Riku jumped, Madame Leota had arrived silently and surprised Riku by speaking from above him. The black haired gypsy swooshed around before Constance could say anything and sat next to Sora.
“Constance?” Kairi said tentatively. “What about Ambrose?”
“It is a gruesome tale, to be sure.” Constance stopped buttering her bread and set her knife down. “Are you sure you want to hear it?” Sora nodded with enthusiasm. She sighed and rested her head in her left hand, a very unlady like gesture. “Ambrose was a farmer, and the sun of farmers. It was fall you see, and Ambrose was helping his family cut down the grain with a scythe. They were supposed to be a certain distance apart but Ambrose and his brother” She started to stutter and get choked up “were in adjoining rows and they didn’t realize they were too close together and….”She began to cry. The tears trickled down her cheeks while Sora jumped up and ran over to pat her on the back, though it was awkward. He had never comforted a widow before. She gave Sora a brief smile through her tears. Kairi moved her gaze back to Madame Leota. She had a distasteful look on her face.
“I must go somewhere right now, Miss Hatchaway” Madame Leota butted in. “I will need to bring Riku along while Sora comforts you over your beheaded husband.” With that Madame Leota got up and somewhat flounced off. Everyone stared after her in astonishment. She had a lot of guts… “Riku!”
“Fine.” Kairi heard Riku grumble and watched Riku slouched off after Madame Leota.
“Miss Kairi… I think we have done enough for today….” Constance said through her tears. Kairi nodded and decided to head to the back porch. She needed to distract herself from the images that Constance’s Story had left her.
“So, tell me Mr. Soulstice… what did you think?” Riku started from his drowsy state. The cart like carriage Rolly had set up for Madam Leota had the unfortunate tendency to lull him to sleep. Claude cawed next to Riku, so Riku began to run his hands over the bird as he tried to calm down. This whole thing was so weird. Madame Leota had taken an odd shine to him and it was kind of creepy. It was even creepier that she was driving it while he had to sit in the bed of the cart. “Mr. Soulstice”
“About what?” Riku muttered.
“Miss Hatchaway’s story of course!” She said, abounding with fake cheer.
“I don’t know anything about farming, but it seems a little fishy. If they were farmers they would have noticed a difference between wheat and … human flesh.” Madam Leota gave a rare, quiet, smile and pulled a bag from her pack. She tossed the small sack to Riku, who opened it to find it filled with birdseed.
“Claude doesn’t like to travel. Can you bribe him?” Riku obliged and allowed Claude to peck at his hands while trying to eat the birdseed. They didn’t talk for a bit. Riku just listened to the creak of the wooden cart and watched the scenery grow increasingly wild. The smell of fresh cut grass gave away to the putridness of swamplands.
“Where are we going?” The shadows played over her face for a second.
“People do not believe things unless they have proof. I often have to prove my trade.”
“I KNEW IT!” Riku shouted, only to have Claude deliberately peck at his fingers. “OW! Claude, stop.”
“CLAUDE!.” Leota commanded, and Claude calmed down then ruffled his feathers. “Yes, Riku, I fake some of it. But not everything.” Madame Leota brushed her black hair out of her face before continuing. “I have crystal balls that open and tables that float with magnets. Possession is not one of them.” She looked back at Riku for a second. “I do talk to ghosts. And I do see the future. The ghosts do not use me as a medium like that.” She looked back towards the road. “That is why I am visiting an old friend. She is also a seer, but while I am a Gypsy, she’s… more from this area.”
Soon, they pulled up infront of house above a marsh.
“I knew you would come, Leota.” A deep voice with a heavy accent called out. A women rose from her seat in front of the house.
“Oona!” Leota called out. “I need to talk to you for a second.” Leota clambered out of the carriage and walked up through the marsh to the house. Riku slid out of the back while Claude flew up to Leota’s shoulder. As the two women exchanged conversation, Riku evalulated them. They looked so different. Leota was of average height, with a skeleton like structure. Her pale skin was weather beaten and showed of long times of travel weariness. He had seen dark circles under her dead green eyes, she must had been pacing earlier. Everything else about bespoke of a wild, almost crazy, personality. Her dress was ecletic, with various fabrics and colors cut and sewed into a dress where nothing fit correctly and her hair was pitch black and held in odd ponytails around her neck.
This new women, Oona, was completely different. She was a short women with dark skin. Not as dark as Rolly, but dark none the less. Her hair was brownish black and very coarse. Her dress was made of a light cotton and a few bits of gold decorated her hair. Her bright dark eyes sparkled as she saw Leota and Claude. “Really, Leota, it’s been too long. I thought you would have returned here AGES ago. Why did you stay away from the center of the world so long?” Oona’s warmth spread through her voice, infecting both Leota and Riku with a smile.
“Just because New Orleans is a heavy trading area doesn’t make it the center of the world. I was having a magician in London teach me a few tricks before I returned. And I had to find out where everyone else was. I can’t very well show up in the same circle as another seer. Bad taste you know.” Riku was halfway up the steps by now, watching the two women interact. They were sitting at a table, with Tarot cards on it.
“So, who is this handsome young man?”
“he’s staying at the Gracey manor… and seeing some unexplainable things.” Oona laughed in response to this, but a tinge of worry flickered across her face.
“Do you think?”
“It is possible. He could be…”
“Not enough time. He hasn’t gotten to know him well enough. We just arrived last night. Our carriage broke in front of the Gracey’s house.”
“How is George? He used to come to me with advice for his trips. And Emily?”
“His Widow’s name is Constance, not Emily.” Oona’s already intense gaze tightened.
“Really… I didn’t forsee that… And this boy’s name?”
“Alright, Riku. Can you come up here?” Oona requested.
“Sure” he replied and hurried up the last few stairs. What had they been talking about? Leota and Oona looked frightened about something, and it had to do with him. As he arrived at the top, Oona was shuffling a deck of cards.
“Have you ever had your fortune told?” Oona asked as Riku stood the side.
“No.” He admitted. Maleficent had hinted she had divined his future once, but refused to tell. She might have been lying anyway, she did do that. Leota’s profile twisted in throught for a second, then she stood up and offered Riku her seat.
“If you are going to have your fortune told, it is better if you sit across the seer.” She advised. Her look clearly said “Sit.” Oona had finished shuffling the cards and began to lay them on the table. One card in front of Riku, one card in front of Oona, three cards across the middle.
“The Past” Oona announced, and flipped over the card on Riku’s right. A creature with horns and a snout sat on a throne, a disgusting figure to be sure. “The Devil. You gave your will away in the past and allowed others to have sway over you.” Riku frowned. He HAD allowed others to hold sway, but she couldn’t know that. Could she? “The Present” Oona continued turning over the middle card. It revealed a women taming a lion. “Strength. You have mastered your emotions and now consist of courage and patience. You rise over obstacles now by waiting and facing them.” He had. He now walked the path to the dawn by fighting through the darkness. “The future.” Oona continued, Riku jumped slightly he had forgotten she was there. She flipped over the last card to reveal a skeleton riding a horse on a battlefield. “Death.” Riku held down his gasp better than Leota’s. “Do you fear death, Riku?”
“Not really. It’s just a surprise to see it.” Oona gave a small smile.
“Do not fear Death Riku, this card does not always refer to physical death, but can also refer to the death of your current self. You will leave this self behind in the future and find a new one.” She looked up at Riku and her eyes focused on him. “You must have had an interesting life, Riku. Your cards speak of troubles not easily removed.” Riku just nodded, still focused on the death card. He tried to tell himself that it wasn’t true, but this had to be. Leota was here, and he knew he didn’t imagine her. He started as Oona put a cup of tea in front of him. “Drink.” She commanded. “It’s to help you calm down. You look spooked.” He was in a bit of shock and thirsty too… He took a few sips of the tea while he listened to the two Seers talk dissolve into murmured and indistinct babble. Before he realized it the world faded to black.
He woke up to a certain raven pecking at his ears.
“CLAUDE!” He shouted, trying to brush him off.
“Sorry about that Riku. I didn’t realize Oona had drugged the tea.”
“She did?” Why had she done that? It had left him with a slight headache.
“Headache? Lights too bright? Carriage too loud?” Leota asked. Riku could only nod as the headache increased. “Yeah, I think she dumped whiskey into the tea. I’m sorry.”
“What did I miss?” he groaned.
“Us talking about Seer things that don’t concern you.” Riku closed his eyes and tried to lay down. “You can sleep it off when we get back. It was a relief to talk to another seer for once. I haven’t seen anyone in a long time.”
“You had said she wasn’t a gypsy, but how is she a Seer?” Riku groaned. The sunlight grew brighter as the trees began to thin. They were returning to the city proper now.
“Voodoo priestess. She specializes in Tarot cards and bone augury.” He could hear Leota settle down in her seat. “Now shh for a second I have to get back into the right frame of mind.”
“Why? Why are you different in front of me?”
“I said Shh. But the reason why is that you see what others lack. You don’t need a show to be convinced that something strange is happening.”
“And why are you so sure something strange is happening?”
“I don’t do possessions. I don’t have that power and after my mother was run out of town after trying to fake one I don’t want to risk it. Ambrose… he shouldn’t have possessed me last night.”
“So, Something is up?” Riku asked as the cart drew up to the Gracey Mansion.
“Something is up.” Leota agreed. Claude cawed ominously as Rolly walked over to take the horses away.
3 Imagineers this time. I'll give you Oona, Her full name is Oona Lind and she is the voice and old face of Madame Leota and little Melanie in Phantom Manor.
Second Imagineer is mentioned but does not appear (technically not an imagineer but is a heavy influence on the ride) and the third well... I'll let you figure it out.
I know nothing about Tarot cards, but I'm pretty sure that's how it works. (a little googling at 1 AM)
Oona is a voodoo pristess because the Creole people have a link to France and Oona is French....
As always, at least one thing you liked, at least one thing you didn't like, and what do you think will happen!