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22:21, 17th June 2024 (GMT+0)

05 - A White Horizon.

Posted by The LensFor group 0
Henrietta Dowling
player, 106 posts
Thu 14 Dec 2023
at 18:10
  • msg #6

05 - A White Horizon

She was sneaking around. In her own place! Well, it wasn't the first time and probably wouldn't be the last but it felt less like her choice this time. Hetty moved with deliberate, agonizing slowness up to the kitchen window, pausing to take in the scene.

She smiled to herself when she saw that Matthew had set out some bread for Pest. It made her like him even more. Hetty observed him for a moment more. No sense in delaying it any longer. She slipped into the cottage. "Good morning."

[[GM edit: moving Hetty from lighthouse to kitchen at less than lightspeed.]]
This message was last edited by the GM at 19:46, Thu 14 Dec 2023.
NPC, 20 posts
Tame Seagull
Sat 16 Dec 2023
at 20:31
  • msg #7

05 - A White Horizon

Pest left off struggling with a long bit of crust and pattered up to the table edge nearest Hetty, standing perplexed a moment: clearly Hetty was awake, and didn't need waking up, and they were on the same side of the door now, so she didn't need to be alerted to open it, and there was even already food on the table. There was a sense of gears turning in the seagull's little feathered head, looking at her friend, then to the window, then to Hetty again.

The gears engaged: clearly, the next task was to scream the sun up whilst Hetty did the magic thing with the pile of white powder and the new fellow filled up a bucket of wash for the panes and prepared to take the morning's tea and dawn snack up to Captain Dowling. Pest raised her head with a will and made a hearty start.

Matthew Hall
player, 119 posts
Sat 23 Dec 2023
at 06:19
  • msg #8

05 - A White Horizon

”Good morning, Miss Dowling,” Hall said, a smile coming to his face. ”I thought everyone could benefit from some tea.” He nodded toward Pest. ”The other resident of the lighthouse was quite eager to come inside.”

“How did you…”
His question was drowned by Pest’s sudden burst of vocalizations. Although weariness still clung to him, the seagull’s antics prompted him to laugh. Even with the ear splitting volume, he couldn’t help but find the bird’s antics amusing, though he wasn’t certain the Captain would share that sentiment.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 107 posts
Tue 26 Dec 2023
at 21:28
  • msg #9

05 - A White Horizon

Hetty was reassured by Matthew's mundane greeting. She returned his smile and some of the tension left her body. "Too right!" she agreed, a gleam in her eyes as she looked towards the kettle. Tea sounded absolutely wonderful. So did breakfast...

She jumped at Pest's raucous call to the sun. "Pest!" she exclaimed, though there was no genuine rancor in her voice. Hetty couldn't help joining Matthew's laughter, pressing one hand to her stomach while the other covered her mouth. She couldn't help herself and she didn't want to. At that moment, the laughter was the release she needed.
NPC, 21 posts
Tame Seagull
Tue 26 Dec 2023
at 22:19
  • msg #10

05 - A White Horizon

Encouraged by the humans' evident attempts to join the dawn chorus, Pest pattered rapidly down the table and demonstrated proper form in sun-yelling to Matt, then pattered back up to Hetty's end to yell there, in case Hetty was going to lapse in duty. Satisfied that attempts were being made on the young woman's part, Pest was about to scurry down the table again to supervise Mr. Hall when she noticed an unattended crust - the one she'd dropped at Hetty's entrance - and interrupted herself to fall upon it.

Matthew Hall
player, 120 posts
Sun 7 Jan 2024
at 04:38
  • msg #11

05 - A White Horizon

When Pest’s vocalizations paused, Hall’s laughter subsided, though an amused smile remained on his face. ”Bread! Food! We need more of it if we want to keep our hearing!” He scanned the somewhat unfamiliar cupboards and surfaces of the kitchen, hoping to find something else that was an eligible treat for the seagull.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 109 posts
Fri 19 Jan 2024
at 03:40
  • msg #12

05 - A White Horizon

Hetty gave a long-suffering sigh and shook her head, though she was trembling with restrained laughter. "We really shouldn't be encouraging such behaviors," she warned. It was bad enough already! Yet she couldn't find it in her to do anything that might upset Pest. She looked down. This time the shudder had nothing to do with restraining laughter. No, she didn't want the bird out of her sight just yet.

"Do you reckon we have enough milk left for porridge? I know we have enough oats. I could get started on that and keep an eye on it- with Pest's help of course- while you go see the Captain and start cleaning the panes," she suggested. Ah, it felt so good, so natural and wholesome, to be talking about such mundane things. The rhythms of island life that had bored her before were suddenly very welcome. No doubt she'd be chafing at them in her way soon enough but for now she was prepared to throw herself into her chores and helping her uncle and new friend with a grateful, eager heart.
Matthew Hall
player, 121 posts
Sat 27 Jan 2024
at 15:42
  • msg #13

05 - A White Horizon

”I believe there is enough. Porridge would be nice on scold morning such as this,” Hall answered with a nod, ”I will go check on the Captain and see to the glass.”

Still smiling about Pest’s behavior, he moved out into the salty, crisp morning air, hastening to the tower. Entering it, the stairs only gave him a momentary pause, Kirkness’ admonition to always climb upward briefly invading his thoughts. Doing his utmost to push the nightmarish memories to one side, until he had time to properly consider them, he moved up the steps at a quick pace.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 110 posts
Thu 1 Feb 2024
at 00:15
  • msg #14

05 - A White Horizon

She nodded and smiled as she waved him away. It always took a little bit but eventually life settled down into a comfortable routine. A chill ran up her spine as she thought of what had happened in the night. Once everything was taken care of, she'd give her room a proper search. There was porridge to make for starters! "Now Pest, really, you know you can't be squawking in here like that!" she chided, continuing to lecture the bird as she focused her mind and hands on the task at hand.

Had either her uncle or Matthew had an experience similar to hers last night? What had hers meant? Hetty paused, losing herself into her thoughts until another squawk from Pest brought her back. It set her into another fit of hysterical laughter again, though the tears running down her cheeks and her open mouth made it hard to gauge how much mirth was contained in the sound. There certainly wasn't much in the expression itself.
NPC, 22 posts
Tame Seagull
Thu 1 Feb 2024
at 20:48
  • msg #15

05 - A White Horizon

Pest quieted briefly when Hetty's bend at the waist was joined by a sudden slump at the knees: seeing Hetty gently sink to the floor, she flew down and stood beside her on the flags with the perplexed air of a creature that knows something is wrong but lacks the comprehension to fathom what. It was not in the way of seagulls to fix the sick, rejuvenate competition or risk infection and the teeth and beaks of predators that might close fatally on the slow.

Still, she tilts her head, patters behind Hetty to see if she is stuck in some netting or old tin can, and having determined she is not, comes back to peck at the porridge-spoon. At length she just joins in the loud noise, to keep her company.

Captain Dowling
NPC, 17 posts
Experienced Wickie
Sat 3 Feb 2024
at 23:42
  • msg #16

05 - A White Horizon

The lighthouse remained proportioned as it should be, the predawn blue-grey that filtered down around the tower diffuse with clouds without.  Everything still felt real underfoot and to the hand, even if his body insisted he'd slept long enough for it to be well past dawn.

Captain Dowling heartily welcomed the advent of tea, toast, and warm wash, easing himself up from his post to help distribute what was carried to stairs and desk. On coming close he gave the new man some moments of scrutiny, noting the shadows of a poor night and the swelling that lingered yet about the eyes and not hiding that he did so. "Hrmm...homesickness?"
Matthew Hall
player, 122 posts
Mon 12 Feb 2024
at 04:11
  • msg #17

05 - A White Horizon

”I believe just a bit of unsettledness at sleeping in an unfamiliar place, sir,” Hall offered with a wan smile, ”I’m certain I’ll adjust soon. The sound of the sea is just as it was back in Maine.”

He hated telling the Captain a lie, but the truth would have him sent out on the next boat, likely with a letter suggesting that he was an irresponsible young drunkard. The hope he expressed in his words was genuine. Perhaps he would be able to solve the riddle of Harkness’ terrible Night Floors, find a way to close the doors which led to them forever. To make the island safe from that haunted place. Until then, he would have to muster all the strength he could find, as sleep would largely be a stranger to him.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 111 posts
Sun 18 Feb 2024
at 01:37
  • msg #18

05 - A White Horizon

Hetty paused, resting one hand on her stomach, though it was more her sides and cheeks that were aching from the laughter. She caught her breath and wiped her eyes, leaving a streak of something across her cheek. "Really, bird, that's enough now," she said firmly as Pest continued to squawk. There wasn't much force behind it, though.

The sound was so full of life and all that was familiar she almost didn't want it to stop. Yet she knew she really couldn't indulge such behavior or her uncle would make good on the threats to banish the young bird from the indoors.
When Hetty had finished, she started to clear up, debating going to see her uncle to make sure he was all right and reassure herself.
NPC, 23 posts
Tame Seagull
Sun 3 Mar 2024
at 19:13
  • msg #19

05 - A White Horizon

Pest 'helped' Hetty keep an eye on the porridge and set up the bread, willing, as ever, to sieze a stray a worm of dough, and as ever entirely disgusted by it. Making her way down the table and from there to Hetty's shoulder, she decided to help her friend be smooth, poking her beak in amongst Hetty's hair to tuck in stray strands, if somewhat haphazardly. As far as seagulls were concerned, it was probably something close to a hug.
Captain Dowling
NPC, 18 posts
Experienced Wickie
Sun 3 Mar 2024
at 20:06
  • msg #20

05 - A White Horizon

Matthew Hall:
”I believe just a bit of unsettledness at sleeping in an unfamiliar place, sir,” Hall offered with a wan smile, ”I’m certain I’ll adjust soon. The sound of the sea is just as it was back in Maine.”

He hated telling the Captain a lie, but the truth would have him sent out on the next boat, likely with a letter suggesting that he was an irresponsible young drunkard. The hope he expressed in his words was genuine. Perhaps he would be able to solve the riddle of Kirkness’ terrible Night Floors, find a way to close the doors which led to them forever. To make the island safe from that haunted place. Until then, he would have to muster all the strength he could find, as sleep would largely be a stranger to him.

The Captain looked a moment harder and longer into his face. "...well, I'll keep an eye on ye, Mister Hall. It's an odd rhythm of life t'get used to, sure, but I can't have a man who's sleep-deprived on watch, whether he sees things, forgets things, or plain conks out asleep. So. Nothing personal, but if we can work this out the faster, that's for the best."

He took a pause to fall ravenously on his piece of toast and get some tea in him, a pause for Matt to do likewise, if he wished. "...there a girl ye've left, in Maine?" he asked as they ascended to cleaning every bright surface, blunting the pointedness of the question and unsaid observation (you're grieving something, not just lacking sleep) with the observation: "Looks like a heavy fog rolling in: we'll get the horn going an' re-light 'er when it hits."
Henrietta Dowling
player, 112 posts
Fri 8 Mar 2024
at 02:41
  • msg #21

05 - A White Horizon

Henrietta narrated everything she was doing to Pest. The sound of her voice and the sounds that came from her chores were welcome after... last night. It helped keep her mind focused and alert too. And from focusing too much on the scent of the porridge and dough. She had slaked her thirst but she was so hungry! But it didn't seem right to eat without her uncle. And Matt, of course.

Did Pest sense something? The way the bird hopped to her shoulder and began to tuck away stray strands of hair. She subtly moved her head, as if to encourage the gesture. Pest was just a bird but she couldn't help seeing it as a tender gesture. Her running commentary trailed off as she strained to hear any sign of Matthew or the Captain approaching.
Matthew Hall
player, 123 posts
Wed 13 Mar 2024
at 13:52
  • msg #22

05 - A White Horizon

”No, sir. No one. No one at all,” Hall responded, the desolate truth of the answer seeming sharper when actually given voice. It was something that he studiously avoided giving much contemplation to: the reality that he had nothing to return to and no destination which anticipated his arrival. His life had taken on the characteristics of the sea he felt such kinship with: ever shifting.

”I’ll be sure to get the rest I need, sir. I’m not usually given to sleeplessness,” he told the Captain. As he cleaned, he glanced over his shoulder at the rocky shoreline. ”The fog. Is it a frequent concern here?”
Captain Dowling
NPC, 19 posts
Experienced Wickie
Sun 24 Mar 2024
at 02:04
  • msg #23

05 - A White Horizon

The waves below came and went like white lace drawn over deep grey silk, a warning boiling roil in the eddies that spoke of currents stirred and pulling hard below. Grey sea, a near-white sky and white birds turned suddenly dark against the light, lifting to the sky. Fog lay low out at sea, smudging the horizon and rolling with the wind. The Captain considered those answers, working, but did not pry further in so blunt a way.

"Not often so thick this early in the season," he answered, casting a wary eye back on it. Matt picked up some tension in the older man's frame, but whether it pertained to the weather or something else was as obscure as all within the white.

Taken through the technicalities of heat and steam and pressure once the lens and panes were washed, Matt was set some minutes of furnace-feeding whilst the Captain went to greet his niece and update Hetty on the imminence of a hard fog. The increasing heat dried his skin and prickled fine grains of salt in the corners of his eyes, so different to the temperature outside that when the elder Dowling returned again it was a relief to see the door opened on the same space it had left. The Captain inspected the gauges and let Matt spin up the mechanisim that caused the foghorn to pull 'breath' like a live thing and bellow out across the water, audible even through two feet of concrete and stone.


The two hastened in to breakfast between blasts, meeting a smug seagull still in the kitchen and a Hetty with porridge ready and tea and toast to hand. Their conversation had to fit itself around the blares outside, the windows beginning to mist just faintly with approaching damp.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 113 posts
Sun 24 Mar 2024
at 20:29
  • msg #24

05 - A White Horizon

Henrietta wasn't necessarily the best housekeeper most of the time, though she did try. Most of the time. That day though she had attended to the preparation and cooking with extra diligence. Though she was unapologetic as ever for Pest's continued presence in the kitchen. She seemed genuinely pleased to be there doing exactly what she was doing and where she was doing it. Her typical restlessness seemed to have ebbed. Temporarily at least.

"The fog is thick this morning," she remarked after the most recent blast from the foghorn. "Anything I can do to make things easier for you?" she asked. While she was looking at her uncle, her eyes did flick momentarily to Matt. She broke off a small piece of toast and offered it to Pest before taking another bite. That day she'd managed to toast the bread fairly evenly, giving it a satisfying crunch and golden-brown color.
Matthew Hall
player, 125 posts
Mon 25 Mar 2024
at 22:48
  • msg #25

05 - A White Horizon

Although Hall was mentally prepared for the power of the foghorn, even his mental conception didn’t match the volume at which it roared, sending its necessary warning to vessels pressing through the unyielding fog.

He brushed salt from the corners of his eyes as he stepped inside, unable to hold back a smile as he saw that Pest was still present within the kitchen. He endeavored to remain quiet, however, mindful that the Captain was the one in authority, and that he and Miss Dowling knew far more of the necessities of this life than Hall did. There might be a time, months hence, when he could offer his thoughts, but not now.

”Thank you kindly, Miss Dowling,” were the only words he spoke when the foghorn allowed, though they were certainly heartfelt. He was genuinely grateful for the food, only able to recall a handful of times in recent memory when the fare he had partaken of hadn’t been prepared by his own hands.
Captain Dowling
NPC, 20 posts
Experienced Wickie
Mon 15 Apr 2024
at 00:45
  • msg #26

05 - A White Horizon

The Captain appreciated the toast and porridge more than the addition of a screaming seagull to the table. "Get her down, Hetty!"

Pest and her toast quickly swept onto Hetty's lap, he continued, fitting his words around foghorn blasts: "It's as well for ye to keep-

-Mr. Hall reminded of when the pressure for the horn will need attended to - should be on the hour, with as much coal as we got-

-going in there. Make sure there's oil handy for if the Light needs to stay on all day, and see if there's any sea-coal or salvage come up on the near beach, wind's right for it."

Matthew Hall
player, 127 posts
Thu 25 Apr 2024
at 20:43
  • msg #27

05 - A White Horizon

Like Captain Dowling, Hall timed his comments to fall between the blasts of the powerful horn.

”I will make certain to keep bringing coal throughout the day, Captain,” Hall said, thankful for the forthcoming hard work and the distraction it would provide.

”I can looks for salvage along the shore between trips, sir.”
The Lens
GM, 199 posts
Thy focus of
the Light
Sat 11 May 2024
at 22:27
  • msg #28

05 - A White Horizon

The new man's willing got a 'hmph' of agreement from the Captain and an instruction to wake him if anything went severely wrong, loath as he was to miss decent sleep. Captain Dowling did linger slightly after breakfast, taking a look in the long drawer under the kitchen table as the others set to washing up. He left them with the suggestion that they might poke about in the back of it, as he thought there might be old implements suited to someone with culinary skills long lost in the depths somewhere. The tension of things slightly askew and all unsaid lingered after him.

Bread set to baking, the young people decided to check on the Light then take a quick look at the near beach, setting out into a damp and rushing space suddenly strange in the mist. The foghorn yelled out its warning as visibility failed, the depths of its thunder felt in the chest. Entering the lighthouse felt like a sudden clarity of vision, as though the shapes of familiar things were slightly luminous, or seen whilst in some sharp peril of death. The stairs wound upward to a space still bright, both with the white blur of daylight and their own lens' light.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 116 posts
Fri 31 May 2024
at 03:00
  • msg #29

05 - A White Horizon

The way her uncle and Matt had to pause as the foghorn blared its warning made Hetty giggle, though her gaze was clear as she nodded. In that moment, her soft expression was unguarded. Might her mother have stayed if she was better behaved? If she was quieter, gentler, her father might not have gone off to look for her. She didn't want to find out if she had it in her to somehow drive her uncle away too.

Hetty was quick to get up and start cleaning and putting things away as needed. Chores were the perfect outlet and she wanted to make her uncle and Matt's duties as easy as possible. She tried not to look at Matt too much. How had his night been?  Surely it couldn't have been as eventful as hers. Could she possibly talk to her uncle about what had happened?

It was something worth considering. Just like the contents of the drawer. There was a feverish gleam in her eyes for a moment as she looked at it before turning to watch her uncle go. Once they had finished, they headed up to check on the Light first. It was the center of all they did on the island and maintaining it was nothing short of a sacred duty.

She felt solemn as they approached, one step at a time. Eyes wide, she just stared up, up, up. It was as if Matt wasn't there. As if nothing but the Light was there, the foghorn its siren call.
Matthew Hall
player, 131 posts
Mon 17 Jun 2024
at 03:19
  • msg #30

05 - A White Horizon

Hall was reminded of Captain Dowling’s former profession at the older man’s terse acknowledgment of his willingness to see to the differing duties of the day. On Deer Island, he’d had the opportunity to see ship captains interact with their crewmen and most seemed slow to offer praise. It was only through action, though work and reliability, that a sailor earned the respect of such men. It was, however, a respect worth gaining, because it was a true recognition of your worth as a seaman. It was something that Hall genuinely craved.

His thoughts couldn’t resist going to Miss Dowling once the Captain departed. He could see that she was entirely focused on necessary tasks with no time for idle chatter. For a moment, after Captain Dowling left, he had felt a temptation to ask her about the island, to inquire if she had ever experienced anything strange, unusual, or frightening in the years she had dwelt here. The desire was short lived, halted by the memory of Kirkness’ hollow stare as he sat on the rocky shore, waiting to depart. Asking such questions was how others came to judge you as mad, no matter how certain you were of what you had experienced.

Although the collecting coal and salvage meant walking the shoreline and recalling how fearful a place it could be when swallowed in shadow, Hall honestly preferred those chores, if only to be able to look on the sea as he knew it should be, and to breathe the untainted salt air. The light had to be seen to though. Cleaning the lens was one of the tasks that ensured the safety of those who traveled the water. It had to be done.

Nonetheless, he could not suppress a shiver as he began the climb up the tower, recalling the emptiness he had stumbled into last night, and Kirkness’ written warnings of the dangers that haunted the vacant corridors. His predecessor’s admonishment had been to always go up. Climb at every opportunity. So it would seem that the top of the lighthouse should offer some sense of safety. Yet, he had no sense of it as he traversed the stairs, feeling compelled to reach out and touch the wall from time to time, to assure himself of its solidity. That it did, in fact, exist just as it appeared to his weary eyes.
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