…a private discussion…
Merri flies up into her private sitting room, calling out for Esther to prepare fresh tea for Ms. Scarlet’s impending visit. She tears down the pages of notes on the Correspondence and tucks them into a folio so that they should be safely out of sight — not that she doesn’t trust Scarlet, for of course she must, they are having tea in her private sanctum, after all — for to those with no experience or training, attempting to read the Correspondence can be deadly indeed. There have been enough accidents and mishaps, of late. Enough stupid mis-steps. Enough pain.
Esther is through the door with the tea service when they both hear the bell downstairs. Merri takes the tray, shoo’s Esther back downstairs, then attempts to smooth her hair back up into its bun.
When Esther answers the door, she takes whatever outerwear of which Scarlet might wish to divest herself, then shows her up the stairs, rather than into the downstairs parlour. “Lady Fawkes has requested you join her in her private sitting room,” the housekeeper says by way of explanation, her pinched and sallow face attempting something of a smile. “This way, if you please, madam.”
The stairwell lets out onto the hallway on the second floor; there are no fresh flowers as there would have been, had this place been in the world above. But there are rather artful arrangements of mushrooms and some sculptures in obsidian and glim that are pleasing to the eye. She leads her to one of the doors down the hall which lets them into a very intimate sitting room — Merri’s private space, clearly, for there is her writing desk with letters stacked neatly upon it, a comfortably upholstered chair and settee with matching divan, a low table with a large book upon it (she recognizes the copy of On The Maladies of Goats of course), all decorated in subtly feminine colors and trimmed here and there in lace and ribbons. Propped up against one wall is a rather large, partially covered frame. The part which can be seen is clearly a portrait of Merri, herself.
“Oh, do come in, thank you so much, Scarlet,” Merri breathes, turning to take her friends hands. “And thank you Esther, that will be all for now.”
[[Cue the daring, delicious Scarlet!]]