The crescent moon rose over the long lake but the Commander could find no pleasure or comfort in it. These exotic shores held no magic or fascination for him anymore: in fact, the faster they departed, the happier he would be. But there were still a number of things needed doing. None felt right in consideration of what he was already doing to the woman he was tasked with protecting. A task at which he had failed spectacularly.
He felt like a jailer and it wasn’t a sensation he enjoyed: it was one thing to imprison a traitor to the Crown or an enemy, but it was quite another to quarter a sick young lady in a locked room forbidding her to come out under any pretext. She had demanded an explanation and he remembered cringing at her tone. She barely recalled the two weeks she’d spent in a delirious state. But he was unlikely to forget the unholy noise that had escaped her lips when the obeah priestess finally banished whatever had made her sick. He’d merely answered with as much patience as he had that she wasn’t entirely safe from the sickness. That he wouldn’t want her to get ill again. All of that was true: her pasty complexion was a testament to her weak health, but it was incomplete. He had to filter the information; she was in a fragile state and needed reassurance.
The truth was that he hadn’t come to terms with all of it either. He wasn’t a superstitious man. He was a man of actions, whose choices were determined by logic and a sound strategy. Even now, choosing what to tell Lady Wellingham was a matter of strategy. The witch had been clear; until an emerald strong enough to protect her Ladyship from the demons, which would possess her again, she couldn’t venture outside past sundown. And avoid it during the day until she was stronger. Lord Worthington wouldn’t have believed the crone if he hadn’t seen the dark ghostlike figure that was banished from the Lady’s body. He’d been terrified; this was something he couldn’t fight with sword and weapons. And relieved when her Ladyship moaned in her own voice for the first time in weeks.
“My Lord you haven’t eaten your stew.”
He noticed his midshipman had come in. He must have been real tired for not hearing the door.
“Indeed I haven’t. Have you come to chide me Quaker?”
The man smiled, his crooked teeth turning the grin into something almost frightening.
“No my Lord. We found an emerald. The crone said it would do.”
His man seemed ill at ease for an instant.
“Yes but Sir…”
Lord Worthington was a man known for his longanimity – it was this patience that made him a formidable enemy both on shore and at sea – but not this day. He wanted to be done with this, reembark on his ship and be gone from these forsaken lands.
“Well see the emerald it’s mounted on a ring…”
And? Oh… yes.
“We shall think of something.”
His man proffered a beautiful gem of such quality that even he knew it must have no equal. And he wasn’t a man fond or knowledgeable of luxuries. The setting itself was simple yet beautiful.
“Will the witch present it to her Ladyship?” He asked. The man looked away. “Quaker!”
“Well no Sir. She said, beg your pardon, that only her protector could proffer the gem for its magic to work. She seemed to mean you Sir.”
Of course. And what poor protector he’d been. He was in dire need of an aflatus. He couldn’t offer a gem so beautiful without the Lady thinking… no! He couldn’t allow himself to think of this. Maybe he would have to tell her the truth.
“Sir. Beg your pardon but you and her Ladyship, you could.”
He threw a hard glance at his man silencing him. He wasn’t worthy of her Ladyship: he might be carrying the title of Lord but he had none of the attributes. He’d spent his life at sea with sailors, and had no idea what so called gentlemen were expected to do. He also wasn’t as cultured as her Ladyship. What use would she have for a suitor who swore and knew almost nothing of what was discussed in Parliament. No. He had to tell her the truth, as outlandish as it would seem to her.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Wordle prompt #145.
1. Crescent 2. Exotic 3. Ledge 4. Longanimity ((n.) patient endurance of hardship, injuries, or offense; forbearance.) 5. Filter 6. Stew 7. Pasty 8. Afflatus ((n.) inspiration; an impelling mental force acting from within. Divine communication of knowledge.) 9. Emerald 10. Jailer 11. Cringe 12. Noise
Use at least 10 of the words to create a story or poem
The words can appear in an alternate form