[ORP] Whitwater Estate

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Bridget
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[ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Bridget » Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:00 pm

Whitwater Estate was located in the northeast of Widu. The clliffside estate was situated atop a quiet inlet overlooking the sea. The road leading up to the manor was winding and lush with mature trees that formed a natural archway. A stone pathway wound down from the back of the property to the beach area below. The sea here was generally calm and still; too cold for bathing, it provided a quiet area for reflection and meditation.

Though the manor house itself was fairly modest, as estate homes go, it was still a little too much for Bridget, who was used to her cozy cottage nearer to town. She had resisted living in the castle in Kiene and only stayed there out of necessity. She far preferred life in the caravan or even sleeping under the stars when she could. But she knew the great honour it was to be offered an estate and land within the Kingdom, so she planned to show her appreciation to the King by doing her absolute best for the creatures of Whitwater County – and the first step was preparing her new home for visitors.

Where the rooms seemed hollow and cavernous, Bridget did what she could to bring light and warmth within: rich fabrics and candles and portraits of Widu in all her beauty. She had more space than she’d ever know what to do with, so she hoped to make the place welcoming to guests.

What Bridget liked the most about Whitwater was the sprawling grounds of the estate. A large, already established and cared for garden blended seamlessly into the surrounding forest, with walking paths that merged with hiking trails towards the mountains to the northwest. She hoped that many creatures from Widu and Fenia would visit and explore. Bridget had a smaller plot at the southeast corner of the manor that she had designated her own private garden. Secluded within the tall hedges, here she planned to keep herbs and vegetables and a small rose garden. The first thing she’d had brought in was a hammock for studying and a small seating area should she ever have reason to entertain on a more intimate scale.

Mostly settled, Bridget officially opened the gates outside Whitwater Estate, ready to welcome friend and traveler alike.
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Bridget
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Bridget » Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:35 pm

It started with the click of the lock on the door and then he was coming toward her; sneering, greasy. The scream was guttural and intense. It seemed distant at first but then it filled the room. She didn’t realize the sound was coming from her own lips until it was suddenly muffled by the rough, callused hand clasped over her mouth. The smell of tobacco and tar and alcohol filled her nostrils as she gasped for breath.

--------

It was 3am and once again Bridget was laying wide-eyed in bed, watching the shadows dance across the ceiling. Plagued once again by nightmares, was it the new surroundings or some other change in her life that was causing her past to re-surface? Since her near-death last year, everything was different. Her injuries weren’t healing as quickly, the magic in her not flowing as easily, and the nightmares… the blasted nightmares had returned. Most nights she found herself wandering the manor or the estate grounds in the quiet dark, counting down the minutes until the sun would rise. Exhausted, when it finally did.

She felt like a zombie while lecturing at the university and had trouble focusing on her duties at town hall, struggling to stay awake. Once safely tucked into her bed though, what sleep she got was fitful and broken. She’d awaken in terror and pain, and momentarily confused by these new, unfamiliar surroundings.

Perhaps it was time, once and for all, to slay those demons that still haunted her dreams? Though she wasn’t sure where to begin, nor if she could even manage it alone.

Tomorrow she would take the day off and stay at Whitwater – she still had work to do on her garden in the event she’d entertain in the near future – and consider her options.
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Mantas
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Mantas » Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:00 pm

Mantas was excited as he approached Whitwater. He had been kept busy planning and building his life since his arrival in Secfenia. He hardly took time off to socialize. He first met Bridget at the chapel when he attended one of her sermons. Later he had asked her to help with the last bit of his training. While they communicated fairly often with letters this would be the first time he saw her in person simple to relax and have a pleasant conversation.

As the manor came into view Mantas was drawn to the garden. Based off of what he knew about Bridget he wasn't the least surprised to find such a plentiful and beautiful garden. Before arriving in Secfenia Mantas never used to enjoy such things. Over the winter he had lead a group of peasants to the construction site of the Widu gardens. Because of that experience gardens now represented resilience and when he admired the growing flowers he reflected upon how he himself had grown since his arrival in Secfenia.

After Mantas finished admiring the garden he intended on making his way to the manor and making his presence known. Perhaps a knock on the door would be the first thing the residents of Whitwater would hear. Maybe Bridget or one of her servants noticed his arrival already and would meet him in the garden.

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Bridget
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Bridget » Thu Jun 11, 2020 10:03 am

Bridget awoke to a gentle voice and nudging, “Bridget, there’s a gentleman in the garden. Shall I send him away?” Nia’s voice was a soft whisper as she stroked Bridget’s arm.

Bridget stretched and rubbed her eyes. It took her a moment to recognize her surroundings – the sun breaking through the tree canopy overhead, the lilting birdsong. The last thing she recalled she’d decided to take a quick break from her town council files and enjoy the late-morning sun.
“Don’t be silly. I’ve opened the estate to visitors, I shouldn’t be sleeping in the middle of the day anyhow. Would you kindly have some food brought out in case our guest wishes to visit?” Nia gave her an exasperated look before she nodded and headed back inside the manor. Though Bridget hadn’t told her friend of her troubles, Nia had been around long enough to know that something wasn’t right.

Bridget pulled herself out of her hammock and straighten her skirt before heading out through the iron gate to the main the garden. She was somewhat disheveled – her hair coming loose from its clasp and her dress slightly wrinkled from her unintentional nap – she was not looking as a Countess probably should.

It took her a moment to recognize the man as he headed toward the front door. He carried himself differently – more confidently perhaps – than the last time she’d met with him on the training ground. His clothes were finer and his manner seemed more self-assured. She supposed a lordship would do that.

She called out to him before he reached the door,
“Lord Mantas, welcome to Whitwater! What a lovely surprise. Won’t you join me in the private courtyard for a drink?”
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Mantas
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Mantas » Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:06 pm

Bridget first called out from a distance. Mantas knew she took pride in her new role as Countess but had already told him she wished to be called by her name unless the situation required the use of the title. That is why he was sure to bow low to hide his grin as he responded to her greeting. "Countess." His grin broke into a mild laughter as he stood straight up. His laughter faded and his playful demeanor shifted to a more serious tone as he closed the distance and was able to notice Bridget's slightly disheveled appearance.

"My apologies. I should have sent word informing you of my arrival. Normally I would dismiss myself and come back another time but I think that drink is just what you need right now. We can discuss what troubles you and hopefully find a solution or we could talk about something else to give you a break from your worries." On the walk to the courtyard Mantas produced some strawberries from his pack. "I've recently made it back from a trip to Bravia. I hope you like them."

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Bridget
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Bridget » Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:37 pm

Bridget laughed softly and shook her head at Mantas’ over-done bow. She knew he was just poking fun and it was nice to be in the presence of someone who was willing to be playful around her. She frowned though at his sudden seriousness and apology.

“Nonsense. My home is open to any and all creatures of Widu to enjoy… well, the gardens at least. It is I who must apologize for my current state!” She smiled warmly and then broke eye contact as she continued, “How could one have troubles on such a beautiful day?” Hopefully he wasn’t one of those who were tuned in to every emotion…

She fixed her hair as she led Mantas around the side of the manor, cursing herself for being so visibly unprepared for a social visit.

Her private courtyard garden was partially hidden, the gate itself under an archway of foliage that one had to almost crouch under to pass through. Enclosed by a grove of blossoming orange trees to one side and the ivy-covered stone of the manor to the other, it provided Bridget with a much-needed sanctuary. Her extensive herb garden and a small gazing pool beneath the orange trees were essential additions.

She smiled and accepted the berries as she led Mantas to the small table of iron and glass that had been laid with an assortment of cheeses, fruit, salt meat, and bread.
”How kind of you. We don’t get a lot of berries in Widu.” Bridget added the strawberries to the wooden board and motioned for her guest to sit. Popping the cork from a bottle of fire whiskey, she offered him a glass, “Too early for a drink of this sort? I recall that you prefer it - there’s no pretense here.” She grinned and winked. “But I can get you tea or water should you choose.” Sitting down across from Mantas, picked up a berry and nibbled it – she’d slept right through lunch and knew drinking on an empty stomach would not be wise. ”So tell me, what brings you to Whitwater today?”
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Mantas
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Mantas » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:17 pm

Mantas put no more thought into Bridget's appearance. He assumed he had caught her in the middle of some work or some other matter not to be concerned about. He made a sandwich out of the bread, meat and cheese. He accepted the glass of fire whiskey with a smile. "I certainly didn't come here for water." He sat in silence sipping his drink and taking in the garden before answering why he had came. "I've finished all the planning for my estate and the restoration is under way. There is little my presence will do at this point so I thought it would be a good day to see how Whitwater was now that you've finished with the preparations. You said in a letter that you might tell me about Widu's past and your involvement in it. Perhaps today would be a good day for the tale?

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Bridget
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Bridget » Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:22 pm

Bridget played with the rim of her glass, tracing her finger over the fine crystal, while she watched him eat. “I’m glad to hear your estate is coming together. I’m really happy that you’re finding your place here in Fenia, and in Widu, especially. It means a lot to me to watch her people grow and prosper.” The past year had been particularly turbulent for Bridget. She had spent much time isolated and alone with her thoughts – both as she recovered from her nearly fatal wounds and as she considered her place in this new reality.

She chuckled softly and took a sip of her whiskey as Mantas reminded her of her promise to share Widu’s history. Where to start? She topped up her glass, offered her guest a refill, and then studied him silently as she gathered her thoughts.

“Forgive me… I’m wondering how to begin and how much you really wish to hear?” Bridget leaned back in her chair and smiled slightly – most of Widu’s history would be available in the libraries though she supposed most materials would be from a slightly different perspective from her own. “I was not around at the time the volcano destroyed Spirus of Kiene. Kiene was destroyed, but many Kienians were able to flee, with most refugees choosing Widu, which was under the jurisdiction of Fenia at the time. And while I had fled my own past and settled in Widu shortly after this time, I can’t speak to the political state. I was…” Bridget paused and looked off over Mantas’ shoulder while she considered her words, “…unable to spend much time in the town itself and actively avoided being seen if I could help it. But from what I learned later, many of the creatures of Widu were unhappy under Fenian rule and longed for their homeland... After a brief war, and with the help of some of the creatures of Bravia, the flag of Kiene waved once again, but this time over Widu.”

She looked at Mantas, “For a time, we prospered. I spent many years as Vicereine and heir to the throne of Kiene.” She smiled wistfully and looked down into her lap as she continued, “But times got rough – too many jobs for so few willing to do them – and many began feeling alienated and unheard, and rightfully so. Apathy reigned. I did what I could, but it was not enough, and I didn’t have enough fight left in me. I resigned when I realized that my voice – and my heart – were no longer strong enough…”

Bridget quickly downed the rest of her whiskey. She twirled a loose strand of her fiery hair in her finger and studied Mantas’ face. While she wondered on his desire to learn this history from her, she was most happy for the company. She had abandoned hope of friendship in recent times.

She smiled contentedly at her guest and leaned forward in her chair,
”Do you have any questions? I haven’t even touched on the Battle for Widu yet, if you’re into war stories.”

*edited for spelling/clarification
Last edited by Bridget on Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mantas
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Mantas » Fri Jun 19, 2020 6:06 pm

Mantas listened to the story with interest. As Bridget listed the reasons that lead to her decision to resign from her position in Kiene Mantas thought about the similarities to his own decision to seek out new lands. While it wasn't an exact match his reasons for traveling to Secfenia were also a result of hopelessness in the situation. You could see it plainly written on his face that Bridget's words had moved him.

Mantas was the one to reach for the bottle to refill them this time. "I've heard enough war stories and I'm sure it isn't something you wish ponder on any more. While I am interested in learning about the history here I was more interested in learning about you today. Clearly this conversation is bringing up bad memories and I think you've shared enough for now." Mantas stared at his drink for a few moments before looking at Bridget and continuing the conversation. "You once asked me why I chose to settle in Widu. While this isn't something I would openly admit I'm sure news will reach you soon enough anyway and so it would be best to hear it from me. I learned at a young age that simply taking what you want is sometimes the most lucrative way to form an income. Most creatures call this dishonest. I always hated it being put that way. I don't like to lie. I try to be straight forward whenever possible. I came to Secfenia with the intentions of being loyal to Fenia. With Widu being on the border those laws only have to be obeyed a short distance from my new home. If this upsets you I can take my leave. First I would like you to know that I do care about Widu and I won't cause any trouble here. I don't expect you to like this but I knew it would better for you to here it from me. Mantas sat uneasy in his seat wondering if he was going to be asked to leave. He enjoyed Bridget's company but had decided it would be best to share this news early on.

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Bridget
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Re: [ORP] Whitwater Estate

Post by Bridget » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:59 pm

She watched Mantas closely as he poured them each another round. He seemed thoughtful, perhaps a bit on edge. Bridget took a small sip – she’d have to slow down as she was already feeling slightly disoriented from the mid-day nap and the heavy subject matter.

She shook her head,
“Oh, I wasn’t intending to dampen the mood. I have many good memories of my past life, don’t get me wrong. Just looking back, I wish I’d done a few things differently.” She shrugged and smiled.

She was eager to learn what had brought this man to Widu, and to her doorstep today. She tilted her head and frowned slightly as he told her of his ways. She didn’t quite truly understand what he was saying – theft or something more felonious? She sat quietly as he finished speaking and weighed her thoughts carefully. She felt he had a kind heart and she hoped she hadn’t misjudged him completely.

“Look Mantas, I appreciate your honesty.” She sighed. “I have spent a good many years atoning for my past and I plan to continue along the path of lawfulness until the day I die. What you do is between you and the mages.” She paused and took in his apparent unease. She wanted to reach out, but hesitated – her first reaction was always to provide comfort but she was having a hard time reading Mantas this day. “I believe you when you say you won’t harm Widu, and that’s what matters most to me. I don’t want you to leave.”
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