SPOT Fans: Today, it’s a holiday double-post! Enjoy part one of today’s story, and keep a lookout for part two, coming later today!
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It was a fairly easy thing, far easier than Edward expected, to stray out from under his mother’s roof in the early morning hours. Of his family, only Sarah was a light sleeper, and the servants’ quarters were in a different part of the house entirely than the family’s bedrooms. The only tricky parts of his plan involved being awake before the servants began their morning chores—easy enough when one is excited—and finding a way out of the house that wouldn’t immediately give him away.
The back door, facing their lawn as it did, allowed him a discreet exit towards the hedges that separated them from their neighbors. He put the strap of his satchel across his body and over one shoulder, balancing its precious cargo on his hip: bread, apples, his father’s silver flask filled with water, and most importantly, a picture of his sister and five schen, saved up from assorted holiday gifts, to pay for information on her whereabouts. He remembered when father’s hunting dog, Waldo, had been lost, and he’d offered a reward for its return, and decided there was no reason a sister could not be similarly reunited with the family.
No matter what, he promised himself, I will bring my sister home. He thought of his mother’s crying, his sisters’ fighting, and the tense cloud of sorrow that had hovered over their home since their father’s death and then Eudora’s departure. I’m going to make it better, he told all of them in his mind.
Edward opened the back door and started when it gave a creak. Did anyone hear that? he wondered. Frozen in place, he waited a few long moments, but when he heard no movement from upstairs, he continued, closing the door carefully behind him. Then it was into the yard, through the thin spot in the hedge, and onto the neighbor’s lawn. Edward had often come this way to play with the Victrolsy children, or at least, he did before Mother forbade him and his sisters to leave the family’s own property. Now, he used it to be sure he wouldn’t be seen by any early risers in his own home.
He hadn’t, however, given any thought to early risers in the Victrolsy home. A servant was on their back porch, enjoying a few minutes of pre-dawn peace before beginning his work for the day. He stared at Edward and seemed about to speak. Edward smiled, waved, and dashed out the garden gate.
“Children these days,” the servant muttered to himself. “Shut the gate!” he called to Edward.
Edward turned back and shut the gate, then raced across their front lawn and out to the street…and stopped.
Now where do I go? he thought, looking from right to left. He had no idea where Eudora might have gone.
Maybe to the market? he wondered. The servants often spoke of going to the market. But he had no idea where it might be. Giving it a guess, he set out to the left and started walking.
He walked for some time and eventually pulled out an apple to eat as he went along. There wasn’t much of anyone up and about yet, so there was no one he could show the picture of his sister to. Edward meandered along. It’s quite nice to be on an adventure, he thought, reminded of a storybook he’d read with his tutor, where a noble prince set out to rescue a fair maiden locked away in a tower. He found himself feeling quite brave
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That’s all for part one of today’s story, but be sure to come back later today for part two of our holiday double-post!