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[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] “Oh, you wish.” She responded with a smirk at his request to be his date for the night. As far as she was concerned he was likely only joking.
“This way it goes underground.” Serafina followed. It was dark and cramped, but she solved the former by holding up her hand to light a little fire in her palm. It was enough to let them see a little. “The other way leads to a bedroom. Informally called the mistresses room. We’ll just leave that room empty for now, shall we?”
Serafina gave his hair a gentle tug at the bottom of the stairs and leaned in to say in a low tone at the back of his neck,”You don’t have anyone you’d want there yet anyway.”
Then she looked ahead at the dark passage in front of them,”There will be a couple of branches. One goes to the stables, the other farther from the castle. A basement by the groundskeepers cottage.”
He would smile. “They are good people and have very good songs from all over. I always wanted to travel like they do but was never able to. Other had to take care of the farm and will now I got this job.” He would nod. “Thank you they don’t need much just make sure we got food and a warm bed for them. The best alcohol that we got as well as thanks for them coming out this way.”
“That good I probably put in a few orders as I'm missing a lot of clothes that I need.” He would wrap around her shoulder as they walked pulling her close. “So how about you wanna be my date for the night.” He asked letting go a few feet later before they got to the stairs. As they entered the master bedroom he looked around. He been in here one but could get over how big and open it was.
He followed her around the room and let her show off the parts that she wanted. “It nice and all yet this room bigger them my last home and there nothing here. I can't get over how lonely and boring that is. Sure, if I had someone to share it with then I be more open to it.” He almost shivered at the idea of having to live lone in something like this alone. It didn’t just sit right with him at all. Nothing should be this big and empty. He then looked down the staired and started walking down it. “Where does it lead?” He asked taking it all the way down. If he was going to ever need it he best learn how it worked and how it open up into another area.
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] Serafina nodded,”It will be nice to meet them. I’ll make sure a room is ready for them. Until there’s a full staff I’ll be taking over certain duties.” Better to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
With a little smirk she looked him up and down,”I know someone who can sew well and fast. You’ll have your outfit for the festival. As for a woman… I suppose we’ll see.”
A window would be easy enough. Serafina guided them upstairs,”It doesn’t need to be that one though. To make space for the servants faster it may be better I take another room that’s actually available. I’ll start making lists and appointments for you then. Now, the master room.”
That seemed a good place to start. She opened the door to the master bedroom suite, which was more than one room really. There was a sitting room, a bedroom, and even a private bathroom that made up the sleeping quarters of the lord. Serafina walked in, the place was a little dusty but otherwise kept in decent shape. She led the way back into the bedroom,”There is a reason this would be better for you. Here. Let me show you.”
Inside the bedroom, against a wall and behind a tapestry, Serafina pushed a section of the wall in to reveal a hidden passage. She stepped into the dark, narrow passage and motioned for Anderson to follow,”No one else would know these are here.”
Off to one side the passage descended down a tight spiral staircase, while the other followed along the wall a ways and into darkness.
Anderson would nod stopping by a guard as they walked around. “Have Devin send a message to me the bard Travis and Stasy Haven. Last, I hear they were visiting in the capital.” The guard would nod before running off to complete his task. Turning bac to Serafina he smiled. “They are a very talented couple that traveled around the kingdom. I made good friends with them when they came to my village and they often stayed at my home.” He then followed her as she moved along.
He took time to think about it and what he still had and what he would need to get. “I see well then I will have to call for the local tailor as I don’t believe I have anything matching that at the moment. I had to leave a lot behind when I left. So, once we are done with the tour I send you off to go fetch them.” He said smiling at that last part. “Maybe then I can find a woman who can handle me.” He winked.
They started off with most of the stuff he had already seen or dealt with the basic room. “Seems easy enough to get a new window.” It was most likely already on order after the last few day of damage control. “Yes, another thing we will have to start doing. I start with needing them soon so we need to set a day apart for looking sevenths in town. I would personally like to screen anyone under me as I need to be able to trust the people that I'll be working with.” He then started to point the downstair then work their way up. “Lead on”
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] “Then I’ll take care of the decorations. As for music, there are a few people who know how to play instruments decently well.” She shrugged,”Not very well, so feel free to send for a bard you like, but if not we’ll manage and people will have a nice time.” As she spoke she wandered along the edge of the courtyard, making her way deliberately in the general direction of the living spaces to show him the castle.
Serafina stopped and turned to him with a smile,”For men? Light colors. The fabric shouldn’t be too heavy either. It is a spring festival, but if warmer spring weather drags its feet like it sort of is this year you’ll spend the evening close to a fire to keep warm. We may want more fires, come to think of it. As for the women, you’ll see.”
At that she smirked and poked at his forehead,”Now, for the castle tour. Most of the area around the courtyard is meant for storage, or barracks. This way is the main living quarters, with most of the bedrooms upstairs. You obviously know the great hall, and probably most of the smaller rooms for entertaining guests or studying, so we’ll go upstairs. By the way, at some point soon I ought to move there. There’s a room meant for mages, but the window is broken. My mother moved us down where I am, but that’s actually a sort of common room or dining room for the servants, and they’ll want that space once you start getting more servants living here.”
She kept moving while she talked, leading them inside and up the closest set of stairs. If he wanted they could continue downstairs there, or she could show him a few other things.
He would laugh at he as flicked her forehead. “You wish all I’m doing the next today is relaxing and whatever I want to do.” It was mostly a lie he was tired but he most like work out and enjoy the days outside instead of bed he couldn’t be lazy for long as it always itched at his skin if he did nothing for too long. Follow her into the grand Hall he would walk around with his hand in his pockets. He would only nod as he never really planned for an event so leaving it to her was fine with him. Plus, she would know better as she problely dreamed of something like this as a kid.
“Sounds easy enough and simple for the young one.” He agreed. “I'm sure the cook could wipe up some cookies to pay them with. We need to also barrow some of the town supply like tables. The castle is lacking most of it old Funiture and what remains will most like fall apart under any amount of weight.” Fire wood would be easy he could get some of the guards to help him with it and make even a little game out of it so he could learn more about them.
“I will have to leave that to you as I have little eyes for that kind of thing.” He had no idea how you would even do that so he assumed that she would and she could handle it. He nodded to the rest of her plans at it all made sense. “Who is coming to play the music? I know a few bards myself but I would need to send a message out quick if I wanted to get them here.” He didn’t know what they normally used for music. “Also, what Is the normal dress attar?”
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] “Two day break. I’ll put you to work then.” Serafina teased. She stood from the table and stepped up closer to him,”We’ll have that festival planned in that time.”
She turned to take her papers on the festival plans, then motioned for him to follow. She led him out of the great hall and toward the main courtyard, which wasn’t far from the main gate. It was large enough to serve as a market, though a little overgrown and in need of some attention it could be a grand space. “I suggest having the main part of the festivities here. It’ll need weeding, but you can have children help with that pretty easily. I’ll make some sweets and pay them that way, they’ll be happy, and the parents will be glad they’re busy while they work on actual repairs. Bonfires will keep things warm and lit into the night. We’ll need to put tables up for food and drinks. If you have plenty of table space and a warm fire, I think I can convince the town to bring the food and drinks. I have a list. For a spring festival colors and flowers should be bright and abundant.”
Serafina stood next to him and pointed out the columns supporting the structure and exterior hallway that wrapped around most of the courtyard,”I’d advise flowers there, with garlands and colorful ribbons draped between. Torches to light the walkways, in addition to the couple of bonfires in the courtyard. The food should be near the edge so we can move it under shelter if it rains. Which isn’t very likely, but it’s happened before. What do you think so far?”
It seemed like Serafina had already given the plans a fair amount of thought. In some ways it was pretty simple, provide food or places for food, warmth, light, and space for dancing and a festival could practically take care of itself.
Devin would thank her as he took his seat and also listen in. Anderson would fall along best he could but over the last few day he was burn out on studying and listening to other tell him about stuff he only half cared about. Still he gave her the best attain he could.
He would scot about the woods being cursed. His own people had stories like that but he never believed in them. A tail to scare children into behaving. Devin would look over at that and smile. “You should take head there always some truth to a story like that.” He said once Serafina had finshed.
“Nothing but superstation.” He said rolling his eyes. “Back in my town people swore that a house was hunted after a fire had killed the last family. Turn out all it was racoons living in the addic. Ghost story don’t scare me.”
Laughing again Devin stood slowly up and dusted off his robes. “Still an interesting story Miss Serafina. I do agree I think we overload or lord anyways so why don’t we take the next two day to relax and we come back after that. No need to rush as we have plenty of time before the king would expect anything form us.” Bowing to both he would excuse himself leaving them by themselves.
Rolling his eyes again Anderson would stand up and crack his knuckles. “For once I’m happy with that he has decided.” He didn’t hate the old mad just find a lot of his headache belonged with what he stood for in his new life. “Now then.” He said turning to her. “Lead the way as you know what is best to do here. I'm just the mussel.
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] Serafina smiled at that and stood up the stretch herself,”Mm, I think you’ll be the one feeling cold. You’re not used to how chilly it can get here yet.”
She followed him to the door, looking pretty pleased,”I’m glad to help. Good night.”
He tried not to let on too much that he enjoyed it, but she could tell. The fact that he was trying not to though, that was fun itself. Serafina busied herself for a little bit cleaning up, then went to bed.
For the morning, without any real chores to do she spent the time wandering from room to room. She examined walls, windows, fireplaces, anywhere she could think to look. To anyone else it might seem like she was checking for more damage, but that wasn’t it. Her mother hinted that the things she needed to know were here in the castle, and she’d be shown in time. Time her mother hadn’t had.
When it was finally near time for the meeting Serafina wandered back to the great hall, as early and nicely dressed as before. Anderson was later this time, but that didn’t matter much. What did matter was that with lists of names Serafina was able to provide they were able to do more than talk and plan, and could go out to find men to start doing the work.
That left Anderson to his lessons. At the mention of her name Serafina looked up from a list she was working on, one about food, and tilted her head,”Hm? Oh, of course, if you like. The books don’t have everything.”
The books was still where she started, opening them up along with maps and going over some of the areas and their history. She would lean over and point out places on the map she was talking about so he knew where they were in relation to them, and maybe to see if his eyes wandered. She had plenty to add to keep things from being dull, things no one would bother to write down but people around here still talked about. Which mines had reputations for miners going missing, including one that was supposedly haunted, who owned what farms now and what they generally grew, as well as some stories about some of the more colorful farmers and things that happened when they came into town to buy and sell,”And of course the haunted woods nearby. Supposedly many years ago some lord sent his eldest son and many troops through as a shortcut to go attack his neighbor over something or other. I think the neighbor insulted the lords daughter or wife or both somehow… But no one who went in came out, because no one who ever goes in deep enough returns. The lord gave up his revenge after that. You’ll find plenty of places for wood elsewhere, but no one local will go get or even buy wood from there, so it’s not worth it. They’ll swear up and down it’s cursed.”
With that she shut the book,”How about we end there, and start on festival preparations, then I’ll give you the promised tour of the castle.” Serafina stacked the book with the others and sat down on the edge of the table right next to where Anderson was sitting.
He could feel her lying across his body and it sent tingles up his spine. He never had a woman a that tasted him in the way she did. He wished it could have lasted longer as he could almost feel her curse on his back. ‘Dam it all’ He cursed to himself knowing she would have him eating out of her hands if he wasn’t carefully. She had he fingure almost wrap around him and he knew it. Hopefully she didn’t notice it but she was smart so that was unlikely.
Anderson would yawn as he stood up and stretched. He let out a few grunts as he did showing that he had enjoyed their time together and the relief in his back. “And here I thought you wanted me to stay around and keep you warm.” He teased putting his shirt back on and rolling is neck to pop one last time. “Anyway, thank you for that I need it been a while since my back felt this good.” Starting to the door he would nod one last time. “Understood I cut my classes off early tomorrow to make sure we have enough time. Goodnight” With that he would leave her softly closing the door behind him.
Letting out a heavy sigh he would shake his head and return to his room to rest. Like the other night it was quick and no enough thought he did feel a lot better than he had in a while. Waking up early he would meet to duel and practice his swordsmen ship. He was slowly getting batter but it would take a long time before he could best Fredrick or even half the guards. He took a bit of time to clean up after that and instead of getting dressed up fansy he would show up in work cloths. When he was late to his meeting, he would explain why he was and why he was dressed so casual.
“I see my lord that good.” Devin would say smiling as he passed him a new book. “Then I think for today we will mostly force on this area today instead of overall lore. Miss Serafina would you please lead us as I'm sure your knowledge then myself or any book.”
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] “Not the lazy sort of lord then. Very well, tomorrow afternoon we’ll start with plans. And those rumors.” Serafina paused, her irritation clear in her tone,”The gossip will die down eventually. They’re probably bored waiting for the festival.”
Serafina leaned forward again until she was whispering in his ear, and practically laying on him. She could probably plausibly still call this a massage, but it was more about flirting and teasing him,”Once they see how we work together all this kidnap nonsense will be forgotten.”
She sat up again and slid off him, sitting down on the floor next to him. “I can’t have you falling asleep on my floor. Off to bed. And remember, tomorrow afternoon after lessons we’re taking a look at festival preparations and I’ll show you a few things about the castle. Things no one else can.”
See if she could get him to change his mind about the master room after showing him the escape route, maybe. That was her plan at least.
Anderson would just lay there his eyes closed as he felt her work on his muscles. His thoughts were drawn to home and all the festivals he had attended. He would miss it more than anything about it. The food, people and most of all the booze. With it being all, he ever knew he was a bit biased toward the food and drink but he wasn't above trying new things. “We shall see. He said smiling as he felt her hair tickle around his back and check. He could smell her scent with her being so close and it made him grown. ‘Such a tease.’ He thought to himself as he just let her have her fun.
“It should be interesting. I would like it to go well so the people understand that I not moving in to be a tyrant. I want them to understand that I here to help and guild them to help make their life better and everyone else's around them.” He feared being hated the most by the people around him as he knew that having an oppressive ruler was not the best thing. It caused to much trouble.
Yawning loudly, he had to fight the need to fall asleep right there. “That sounds fine to me but not doing anything is not my style. We will work out a day to start figuring out how we should start setting everything up. You can walk me around and tell me how best to set up and we will work together to make it a good first impression on the people outside of them thinking I kidnap you.” His guard had been talking about it when he was walking past. It was something of a rumor in town. He did much like it but hell what could he do about it.
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] “I could.” It would be easy enough to bring tea up to his room. She’d just leave when she wanted.
“That sounds about like what we have here. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one quite a lot.” She was leaned over him so close her hair fell around his head. Sure she was still working to help him relax, but she [i did] enjoy teasing him. “There will be lovely decorations, dancing, and of course plenty to eat and drink.”
Getting closer, then pulling away. She leaned back and worked lower along his back, scooting back to get his lower back. There would be some tension there too, even if he didn’t feel it yet. Often in her experience when one part of the back was sore, the whole back was out of alignment and tense. “What do you say to me arranging the festival to happen here? You’d barely need to lift a finger, just show up and be seen.”
He would do as she commanded and lie on the floor crossing his arms and laying his head against them. The ground was hard but luckily warm. “Well then next time you can come to my room and do it on my bed. A lot more room for active and such.” He teased as he felt her moving around him. Goose bumps would run all along his back and arms as she ran her hands down his spine.
He tensed and gasp at how cold her hand and the oil was against his back but he quickly relaxed as the warmed up as it moved along his back. It felt nice as she worked out knots out of his back. It been a long time since he had someone do this so it felt amazing as he just laid there and hummed in satisfaction. He then felt her sit on his lower back and felt her back pop nicely as he let out a low moan feeling some of the pain go away.
He almost didn’t hear her as he was lost in bliss. “We have quite a few. Every year we have one at the end of the harvest called the harvest festival and then we got a maker Festival and a spring Festival. Each are pretty large so I don’t think it won't be something I haven't seen before. But relaxing partying and drinking are always nice so I’m looking forward to it.” It been a while since his last one so it was true. He need a way to get the people to know his so this would be the best way.
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/w3Wj8wg.jpg?1]] He had an intense sort of look, one she didn’t shy away from. “It’s simple. I want to stay in my home, and I think you want what’s best for the people here too.”
These people were her friends and neighbors, she’d been caring for them since she was a child herself. She’d have fought more against a lord that she believed would harm them, despite any potential gain for herself.
“I think I’ll have you on the floor tonight.” Serafina teased back, running her hand down along his spine. She had a soft, gentle touch, and she knew the spine was usually very sensitive, even if the rest of the back wasn’t.
While he laid down she went to fetch something off a shelf. When she opened it and rubbed a little on her hands the room filled with the herbal smell,”A little oil. Your skin is a bit dry.”
She sat down next to him and started to work. She had soft hands, but was surprisingly strong. The work she did built up strength, dexterity, and endurance, though it didn’t necessarily show by looking at her. She worked until she climbed to sit nestled on his lower back, leaning her weight down to release tension in his upper back and shoulders,”I do hope you enjoy the spring festival at least. Do they have such a thing in the south? It probably isn’t as good as ours.”
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