(1311-04-17) And A Productive Hour
Summary: The natural result of lending a bored Bryony a willing assistant.
RL Date: 21/04/2019
Related: An Unlikely Amanuensis.

The following letters, written in thick black ink in Desarae Mereliot’s ladylike hand, are sealed with a stylised sage leaf device courtesy of a seal worn on a golden chain round Garance nó Bryony’s neck and warmed by her skin even before it touches yellow wax.

The chain also holds several small keys. She twines it twice about her wrist and moves her hand to and fro as needed for her unlikely amanuensis to employ the seal, rather than letting it out of her care entirely. Desarae is moreover instructed to score heavily across empty spaces remaining on the pages, to leave no room for anything further to be added at a later time.

My dear Monsieur Duvernay,

Your name has reached me as that of one who has studied the art of lens-grinding in Angoulême, and who might be amenable to accepting a small commission from me.

I should like you to make for me a pair of circular lenses half again as large in their diameter as the size most commonly used in eyeglasses, executed in plain glass smoked till it is perfectly and evenly opaque. Ideally it should be impossible to see through them from either side.

My goldsmith, Madame Grès in the rue d'Or, will accept delivery of the lenses on my behalf and your account will reach me by name at the Dome of the Lady.

With my most sincere compliments,

Garance Lesage nó Bryony

My salutations to the illustrious Madame Grès!

I gave you my word that had I any other amusing little golden commission I should place it in no hands but your own: and now happily I may redeem that word, as soon as ever you are free to call on me at the Dome of the Lady to discuss the details. If you’ll permit me a moment’s crudity—? I find myself in a haste which I shall expect to see reflected in your account.

Yours in aesthetic admiration,

Garance Lesage nó Bryony

My esteemed Monsieur Marcotte,

I write in haste and in a hand not my own, certain that news of my misfortune must have reached you long since. You may well imagine that I find myself beset by curious exigencies which till lately I knew not of; and so I am inclined to redeem the next of my bills of exchange at a date somewhat earlier than that named thereupon.

Would you be good enough to call on me at the Dome of the Lady to discuss the discount? And would you allow me to lean upon you for one other consideration? I should like, if I may, to borrow for a few days or perhaps a week that young clerk who waited upon me when last I visited your offices. Her mind is so sharp and her smile so merry I'm sure you'll be loath to do without her — but perhaps we might agree upon a suitable daily rate for her services.

With my greatest regard always for the House of Mercury,

Garance Lesage nó Bryony

My dear Ézéchiel,

I write in haste, and in a hand not my own, because all my plans for a new life have gone hopelessly awry. I find myself trapped in a perpetual darkness, with none about me who are not strangers. Ézéchiel, I need you by my side: I’ve no one else I can trust. If ever you loved me true I beg you’ll come to me. If ever I was your fortune — let me be so again.

The bearer of this letter will arrange everything.

Please come soon, or I fear what will become of me.


My dearest, I can’t say you never warned me of the uncivilised nature of shipboard life — but even your gift of prophecy has fallen short of the truth. You’ll understand that I write in haste and in a hand not my own. I want you to find Ézéchiel Savard and give him this letter. Understand, I know all that you would have to say on this subject, and so you need not waste your good ink and parchment in relating it. You have leave to draw on my account to settle his affairs in Elua as well as to pay his expenses in traveling south, but for my sake don’t let him tarry.

The balance of this missive consists of… numbers. Groups of five digits, marching in columns across the full width of a sheet of parchment, covering it and most of a second page too.

The previous letter is wrapped up inside it: Garance folds the one around the other with her own careful hands, and keeps her thumb upon the overlap whilst her amanuensis is busy with wax and candle-flame and seal. As she explains idly, "Where possible a private task should be split between two pairs of hands. You are acquainted with my message — but you don't know the name of its recipient. Whomever I choose later to write that person's name and direction, won't know the message." And here endeth Desarae’s first lesson in Bryony arts.

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