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20:52, 21st May 2024 (GMT+0)

01 - The Arrival.

Posted by The LensFor group 0
Matthew Hall
player, 13 posts
Sat 10 Apr 2021
at 00:28
  • msg #22

01 - The Arrival

Hall frowned. He looked at the door that he and Miss Dowling had entered from, then turned his attention to the window in the back. Wouldn’t the Captain have come in through the same door they had used? And it didn’t stand to reason that he had reached the lighthouse so quickly. Hall had seen no one else, and barren Merigg Island was not rife with spots where an errant soul might conceal themselves.

Feeling a quiver of uncertainty in his stomach, he started toward the rear window. Keeping his voice level, he asked, ”Miss Dowling, was there someone else here on the island?”
Henrietta Dowling
player, 14 posts
Thu 15 Apr 2021
at 03:06
  • msg #23

01 - The Arrival

Hetty gave a firm nod of approval as she looked at him appraisingly. He wasn't green to the life at least. Though she doubted he'd ever had a posting quite like this one. And the timing of everything was very coincidental. That was all it could be, right?

She was about to respond when there was a tapping at the window. She knew that tapping all too well. Rolling her eyes, she gave a heavy sigh, though it wasn't directed at Matt. Even though she uttered a word in Gaelic that would have turned most sailor's ears red, she was reaching into a open tin of biscuits to break off a couple pieces. She offered one to Matt as she moved past him to open the window.

"Prepare to meet the most unrelenting, noisy, bothersome creature on the island," she warned. Despite that, there was a degree of fondness in her voice as she began to open the window. "Hush, Pest! The ship just came in today with new supplies and hopefully a new friend, surely your bottomless stomach can wait!"

The window opened to reveal... a young blackheaded gull. Hetty stretched her palm out with the bit of biscuit. "This is Pest. Yes, that's her name. Pest, this is Mr. Matthew Hall. He's got something for you too but mind you be neat!"
Pest
NPC, 1 post
Tame Seagull
Thu 15 Apr 2021
at 06:07
  • msg #24

01 - The Arrival

A few more urgent taps and a flailing flutter of fawn-flecked white heralded the morsel being plucked off Hetty's hand as soon as one Miss Pestilence could squeeze under the sash. *SKÉA-SKÉA-SKÉA-hanomnom-SKÉA!*

It was debatable as to whether the food even touched the sides of Pest's still fledgling-orange mouth before the pretty double-handful of bird had beat the air and all comers to alight on Hetty's shoulder. Her webbed feet, slightly ridiculous in context, slithered and slid on the cloth, but she found balance with a quiet *kiiii-kiiiiihh* to Hetty to prove she was clearly a poor lost baby bird no-one had ever loved or fed in her life, certainly not this morning. She folded her wings to give Matt the typical thuggish stare of seagulls. If her light little body contained a soul lost at sea, it could be assumed it was that of a very hungry person.

*SKÉA!* she announced.
Matthew Hall
player, 14 posts
Thu 22 Apr 2021
at 01:59
  • msg #25

01 - The Arrival

Hall couldn’t help but smile. He’d been long accustomed to the presence of gulls, especially when he worked in the shipyards, but he couldn’t recall encountering one quite as bold as Pest. He’d certainly never witnessed a seagull perch on someone’s shoulder before.

He took an instant liking to the bird.

Approaching the gull, he offered her the piece of biscuit Miss Dowling had provided. ”A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Pest.”
Pest
NPC, 2 posts
Tame Seagull
Thu 22 Apr 2021
at 19:18
  • msg #26

01 - The Arrival

Pest looked at Matthew, then at the proffered food, then gave a twitch of her wings like a hefty longshoreman adjusting a coat to intimidate a challenger. She looked at him again, looked at the food, then feinted right, snatched and gobbled down the morsel before the man could even think about flinching from that beak near his fingers.

*hgnomnom*

Eyeing him for a bit to see no more food was immediately on offer, Pest fluffed and shook herself out and delved under her breastfeathers for some errant scrap of down, the picture of serenity. The little gull smoothed herself down, quiet and soft as a dove until Hetty next drew a breath to speak.

*SKÉA-SKÉA-SKÉAAAAAAAUUUU!* Pest announced, and launched herself to go patter around the table and see if anything was for her, i.e. not tinned, nailed down or otherwise guarded and seagull-proof.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 18 posts
Sun 25 Apr 2021
at 17:12
  • msg #27

01 - The Arrival

Hetty drew her in breath and was about to say something before Pest's raucous cry, so close to her ear, made her flinch from the sheer volume. Her uncle would not be happy if he knew she'd let the bird in. Again. But he would never have to know, right?


"You say that now," Hetty said wryly. Even so, she was breaking off another piece of biscuit and handed half to Matt idly. She turned to watch the young bird patter across the table. "She's loud and gets into everything, especially if she thinks there's food involved, and won't stop hassling you for it. Even if you just fed her."

Hetty gave a long suffering sigh. "I couldn't just leave her to get eaten though," she admitted softly. "And truly I have no regrets about it. Despite the fuss" For all the noise and bother, Pest made an excellent confidant.
Pest
NPC, 3 posts
Tame Seagull
Mon 26 Apr 2021
at 16:02
  • msg #28

01 - The Arrival

Pest, who could probably catch the sound of a breaking biscuit in a force 9 gale, left off picking at string and tin lids to patter at speed to the corner of the table nearest Hetty. She hunched herself low and tipped her beak up to indicate that was where the food should go, please please pretty please.

*kii...kii...kiiii...kiiii*
Matthew Hall
player, 15 posts
Fri 30 Apr 2021
at 15:06
  • msg #29

01 - The Arrival

Hall offered the piece of biscuit Miss Dowling had given him to the murmuring bird. Not knowing Miss Dowling well, he felt that he couldn’t express how much he empathized with her decision to rescue Pest. His own experiences had made him acutely mindful of how important animal companions were, having rescued a pair of stray dogs when he lived on Deer Island, the first when he was just a boy. Squall and Conch had been more than pets, they had been dear friends. Sometimes, along with prayer, they had been his only hedge against loneliness.

He glanced around the room, suddenly struck by the realization that this would serve as his home, quite possibly for a very long time. He found the thought oddly difficult to process. In his last years on Deer Island, he had begun to feel strangely disconnected from the world around him; pressed into the role of an observer with nowhere to belong. This vacant rock, at least for now, seemed to deepen that perception. Perhaps it was normal. Something that many who were forced to wander contended with for a time before they found a genuine home. It might be that his waited for him out on the water.

His attention returned to the seagull. ”I’m glad that you saved her,” he said. He glanced up at the ceiling. “I assume I’ll bunk where Mr. Kirkness was staying. I’m sorry he left, even though it proved an opportunity for me. I know it must be difficult to lose someone who had learned their job well, who was practiced in their duties.”
This message was last edited by the player at 15:44, Fri 30 Apr 2021.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 19 posts
Sun 2 May 2021
at 19:47
  • msg #30

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Henrietta dropped the pieces of biscuit down that gaping mouth with practiced precision. When Matthew said he was glad that she had saved her, she smiled as she continued to watch the little bird. "Thank you. So am, I really," she said. "But she can never know that I said that!"

Pest's visit was well-timed. The little bird made a welcome distraction from wondering and worrying about what was going on on the shore. Was her uncle all right? She raised a hand to smooth her hair, a seemingly idle gesture that served to cover her face as the smile faded and her brow furrowed.

"Wasn't right for him," she said with a shrug. "This kind of life, this place, not right for many. What makes you right for it?" she asked as she started to move around the table, occasionally dropping a piece of biscuit so that Pest would follow her closer to Matt where he too could feed the eternally hungry bird.
Pest
NPC, 4 posts
Tame Seagull
Mon 3 May 2021
at 01:27
  • msg #31

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Pest was briefly distracted by the offer of food from Matt, but snapped back to begging attention as soon as Hetty's hand hovered over her. The food vanished into what might as well be a bottomless pit as soon as her beak could catch it.

She hop-scuttle-fluttered over the things on the table with alarcity as Hetty led her, darting skillfully after each morsel and pattering to a halt under Matt's hand, still a bit unsure about the new human. She eyed him warily, then eyed the food, then of a sudden launched herself at Matt's face in a flurry of pale limbs and pointed beak.

Before his instinctive flinch had completed Matt felt his fingers relieved of their biscuit; the strong light sliding of a whitish feather arced across his cheek and just a moment of contact struck, the bird pushing off his shoulder to switch direction and vanish onto one of the higher shelves in the alcove. To vanish, at least, precisely as long as it would take to swallow a fragment of biscuit, since after that a little fawn-and-white head poked out from around a can of stock powder to peer at the room from her advantagious position and declare:

*SKI-SKIÁAAAR!*

The seagull cocked her head a moment, then settled to simply looking pleased with herself for this great feat of daring. Although the room was not excessively large or particularly airy, Matt's sea-kit of belongings - few, but his - seemed very small nestled against the table leg.
Matthew Hall
player, 16 posts
Mon 3 May 2021
at 20:32
  • msg #32

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Hall blinked, briefly peering up at Pest on her newfound perch. ”She certainly doesn’t lack for boldness, does she?”

He didn’t require any time to find an answer to Miss Dowling’s question. He knew it without the need for soul searching. ”It doesn’t bother me to be alone. I suppose it’s fair to say that I’ve spent a good portion of my life, maybe even the majority of it, by myself. Somewhere along the way I became mostly numb to loneliness.”

His gaze returned to his sea-kit. There was so little to it. Not even enough for someone to suspect his ghost was afoot, were he to suddenly vanish. But surely it was the same for many whose livelihood came from the water; to leave little to no marks behind them.

”Would you mind if I had a look at my quarters, ma’am?” he asked. As he did, his attention drifted to the door where they had entered, becoming suddenly mindful of Captain Dowling’s continued absence. ”Unless...you think the Captain might need some assistance?”
Henrietta Dowling
player, 21 posts
Thu 13 May 2021
at 00:48
  • msg #33

Re: 01 - The Arrival

"Whatever else she lacks- restraint, self-sufficiency, brains-" though actually Hetty felt Pest was quite smart as far as birds went but she'd never tell the thing that- "-boldness is certainly not it. May it serve her well." Hetty watched the bird, turning her head slightly to look at Matt as he answered quickly.

"Who said it's about being lonely?" Though for many that would be a chink in the armor that undid them. She looked about to say something else when she paused at about the same time Pest found a new perch to enjoy the spoils of her "hunt." Her eyes rolled upwards and her lips drew together slightly.

"He might but orders are orders," she said idly, mind clearly wherever her gaze was. "I'll show you quarters and then if you'd kindly come with me upstairs?" She turned her gaze to him, assessing once again. Hadn't he heard it too?
The Lens
GM, 31 posts
Thy focus of
the Light
Thu 13 May 2021
at 23:53
  • msg #34

Re: 01 - The Arrival

To Matt, the cottage made the noises such a dwelling might be expected to make as Hetty's gaze finally let him be and turned to the inward door: the sounds of wind against glass and wall and roof, more a texture of silence than something heard; the minute muffled crack of upstairs floorboards settling how they would with the day's humidity; a clock ticking in the parlour as they passed into the hall and the sighing creak of old stairs. The whisper of Pest's wings might be unexpected, but it soon ceased as the bird ghosted past Matt's ear to land on Hetty's upraised wrist like a noble falcon and hop from there to her shoulder.

She faced backwards and watched the newcomer with blockheaded seagull confidence as Hetty led upstairs, swaying slightly with the young woman's movements until some small noise caught her attention upstairs. Pest launched herself up and around to vanish into the room above: there was a scuffling and a shrill *SKI-SKIÁAAAR!!* shortly followed by a vexed *SKI-SKI-SKI!*




The humans came up to see the top room quiet, a few dust motes drifting in the sun streaming in from small high windows set into the roof. The near bed set against the left-hand wall was stripped, new linens on the foot where Hetty had placed them this morning, and beyond it was the sound of seagull feet somewhere on the floor out of sight and then a chest of drawers with washbasin, flannel and jug perched on top, effectively dividing the space. Beyond those, a made-up bed with a rumpled nightgown shoved under the pillow sat nestled into the corner of the right and far walls, an empty glass catching the light on the bedside cabinet that separated the bed from a large ironbound chest.

Each bed had a rather faded little rag rug to its effects, and there was a hint of a chair behind the drawers. In the free space at the far end, a mobile made from driftwood, string and beach oddments swung slowly, showing the sun its collection of  holed shells and pale feathers, tied seaglass and delicate bone.
Matthew Hall
player, 17 posts
Fri 14 May 2021
at 01:25
  • msg #35

Re: 01 - The Arrival

”Marine and Fisheries...well, they somewhat blunt about the job, ma’am. Told me that I’d be performing most of my duties alone,” Hall answered, ”It’s one reason I didn’t hesitate when it was offered. I knew that I was accustomed to such.”

He looked back at the entrance with a frown, unable to rid himself of nagging concern for the Captain. What had that sound been? And why had it inspired such sudden caution? Was there something here to fear?

He returned his attention to Miss Dowling. She was correct. Orders were to be followed. Of those here, he was the least experienced. Practically, he knew very little of the island’s hardships. It was his place to prove himself reliable, and to obey. Not to ask questions.

”Yes, ma’am. Thank you,” he replied, moving to follow her.


He couldn’t help but be amusedly distracted by Pest as they ascended, firmly convinced that the bird regarded herself as the queen of the lighthouse.

In the top room, he found his eyes briefly drawn to the mobile, momentarily transfixed by its slow movement, wondering at the story behind the collection of objects that comprised it. From the mobile, his gaze shifted upward to the high windows and the sunlight that they admitted.

He stepped over to the unmade bed and looked about, feeling an immediate gratitude. He had imagined far less than this and had been entirely content with what he had pictured. ”It’s very generous, ma’am,” he told Miss Dowling, ”I’ll make certain to keep it tidy. You have my word.”
Pest
NPC, 5 posts
Tame Seagull
Sat 15 May 2021
at 22:09
  • msg #36

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Leaning to set his kit down near the head of the bed, Matt could see Pest's feathers settling down to a smooth outline. Whatever bug or settling sound that had riled her seemed to have slipped under the skirting or into some other miniscule gap, since the seagull was standing to attention pointed at blank wall.
Pest gave a full-body bird shrug and fluttered onto the bed to inspect it and generally get in Matt's way, in case anything he was doing might involve food. She flared off and pretended to be minding her own buisness for all of a few seconds whenever Matt's hands moved sharply or he looked at her too long, giving him suspicious looks to remind him he was a New Thing and she didn't trust him yet.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 23 posts
Sun 16 May 2021
at 22:44
  • msg #37

Re: 01 - The Arrival


Hetty watched Matt as he took in the surroundings. It warmed her that the mobile caught his attention. She'd made it so long ago! She wished she'd gotten to tell her mom that she was glad she had kept it around after all and hadn't changed a thing about it. For a moment she too appeared transfixed by her creation. A series of memories played themselves in her mind from where she'd found each of the pieces. There was evident thoughtfulness and fondness in the piece.

She didn't respond to his comment. It wasn't about the loneliness. Every wickie's lot was a lonely one. She watched as Pest fluttered about. She didn't want to alarm Matt but she couldn't get the sound she'd heard. Combined with the captain's order and the departure and arrival....

Hetty watched Pest as she stared at the wall and frowned but she too seemed to relax. Maybe whatever it was was gone? A rodent or something or just the natural shifting and settling of things. "Thought I'd heard something coming up here," she admitted. "May have been the wind or something. But glad all is in order! We work hard to keep it that way," she said proudly.

She raised a hand to brush it through her hair as she surveyed the room. "Do you need anything to make it more comfortable for you here?"
Matthew Hall
player, 18 posts
Sun 23 May 2021
at 02:07
  • msg #38

Re: 01 - The Arrival

”No, ma’am. Nothing,” he answered, a earnest smile overtaking his features, ”It’s really very nice. Honestly far nicer than what I’ve grown accustomed to.”

His eyes narrowed as something on the bed caught his attention. A scrap of paper...or something wrapped in paper, stuck between the mattress and bed frame. Kneeling, he tried to tug it free without damaging it, mindful of the mistrustful seagull who continued to monitor his every move. As he did, he spoke again, ”If I may ask, Miss Dowling, did you build the mobile? It’s lovely. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.”
The Lens
GM, 32 posts
Thy focus of
the Light
Sun 23 May 2021
at 13:57
  • msg #39

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Pest came and observed Matt's efforts for a bit, just in case they turned out to produce food. Hetty hadn't noticed anything in the area holding Matt's interest when setting out the new linens after Kirkness was taken down to head towards the shore; perhaps Matt setting his kit down had jostled it from somewhere.
Matthew Hall
player, 19 posts
Sun 23 May 2021
at 16:50
  • msg #40

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Hall gazed silently at the key that had fallen from the folded note into his palm. With his thumb, he rubbed its smooth dark surface. The key to here from the night floors. The note’s words brought a surge of questions to his mind. Their meaning eluded him, but carried with it a vague, unmistakable dread. His stomach fluttered, a jolt of the instinct that had steered him away from treacherous stretches of shore and from sailors whose drink had tipped them towards violence. A recognition of danger. The warm feeling of having found a welcoming home faded suddenly, a Fata Morgana, a passing image seen one moment then gone the next.

And who was she? And why, as he was unmarried, would she seek to drown him?

Frowning, he slipped both key and note into his pocket.
Noises off
Sun 23 May 2021
at 17:28
  • msg #41

Re: 01 - The Arrival


Downstairs, there came the muffled thump of the kitchen door closing, more felt than heard. The mobile swung, gently, glass winking in the light.
Henrietta Dowling
player, 24 posts
Sun 23 May 2021
at 23:13
  • msg #42

Re: 01 - The Arrival

He had a rather endearing smile and was so earnest! It was refreshing. She shifted a bit as he moved towards the bed to set his stuff down. Her glittering eyes were fixed on his bag before he complimented her mobile. Wait, had he just--? Something must have just jostled out of his bag or something.

Or could it be--? But how? It made no sense. There, a natural thing to look away and focus on that... "Thank you! And yes, I did make that," she declared. There was more than a hint of pride in her voice and she even stood up a bit straighter. "All with things I found on this is-"

Her shoulders relaxed. That had to be her uncle coming in! "That must be my uncle, perhaps now we can see about helping!" she said brightly as she practically dashed down the stairs. She had shut the door behind them firmly enough right?
Pest
NPC, 6 posts
Tame Seagull
Sun 23 May 2021
at 23:54
  • msg #43

Re: 01 - The Arrival

*SKI-SKI-SKI-SKIÁAAAR!* Pest joined in beside Matt, since loudness seemed to be the fashion. *SKI-SKI-SSKIÁAAAAAAR!*

She looked at the newcomer and spread her wings a bit, unsure whether to leave Matt and any hypothetical biscuits he might have in his kit behind her.
Captain Dowling
NPC, 3 posts
Experienced Wickie
Sun 23 May 2021
at 23:55
  • msg #44

Re: 01 - The Arrival


Downstairs, Captain Dowling acknowledged Hetty bowling into the kitchen whilst he was reaching up to the nook beside the chimney with a nod and a questioning reach to shift the kettle on if she wanted once he'd brought the bottle down. His eyes narrowed at the muffled sound of a seagull in the house but he didn't even try to remonstrate, his manner unusually withdrawn and flat. Hetty had never seen her uncle shaken, but this was close.

He set the bottle of peatreek down on the table, taking off the meat to set it away. [Language unknown: "Ee utolsase ad o ticcomart?"] he asked.
Matthew Hall
player, 20 posts
Mon 24 May 2021
at 00:39
  • msg #45

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Patting his pocket to ensure the key was secure, Hall moved to follow Miss Dowling downstairs. His strange discovery made him feel a sudden relief at the Captain’s return, his uncertainty about what he had heard outside deepening. Pushing his errant thoughts aside, he took the stairs quickly, making ready to assist in whatever capacity was required.
The Lens
GM, 33 posts
Thy focus of
the Light
Tue 25 May 2021
at 12:45
  • msg #46

Re: 01 - The Arrival

Captain Dowling looked up at Matt's clattering descent, meeting his gaze when he entered. He nodded to the new man in passing and on second thought fetched out another earthenware tumbler from the sideboard beside the door, setting both out on the table. He poured out two measures and drew in a breath that took in the normality of the kitchen as much as the aroma of the liquor.

"Welcome to the Merigg post, Mr. Hall," he said over Pest being declarative elsewhere in the house, gesturing that Matt should take the closer dram. "-may it prove to your liking."
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