[ORP] Firestorm Manor

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Nikola
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[ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Nikola » Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:54 pm

Firestorm Manor is located on a large private estate on the eastern shore of Lake Fenia. The centerpiece of the estate is a large manor house nestled within a rich woodland area. The home stands sentinel over its acreage from a perch atop a knoll where it overlooks the cascading lands that spread eastward from the lake and westward across the water to the land beyond. The way leading to the manor is a gently winding path that veers from the main road as it nears the lake. The path is wide enough for two carriages to pass safely, if the drivers are skilled, without one having to veer off the path.

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The manor boasts seven guest suites in addition to the generously appointed master suite. There are several sitting rooms throughout the home, a formal dining area where the Lady of the manor may entertain guests, and a less formal dining and sitting room combination that is used when formal guests are not in residence. The Lady has a large study where she tends to matters involving the estate and other official matters when she is in residence. The manor has many windows that allow in the light of the sun, making the interior bright and airy. On warmer days, many of these windows can be opened to allow for air flow to keep the internal temperature of the home comfortable.

Attached to the rear of the manor house is a lanai that overlooks a tributary of Lake Fenia that flows through the property. This tributary opens into the lake just beyond sight as it curves around a small wooded area that remains separated from the estate grounds but is part of the property. There is a large grassy clearing there between the lanai and the water’s edge which allows dragons and other flying creatures a safe and uncluttered area upon which to land. When not being used as a landing zone, the lush carpet of grass becomes the playground for three dogs and any children who come to visit to run and play to their heart’s content. It is also useful as a comfortable place in which to bask in the sun or gaze at the starts on a clear Fenian night.

Visitors are welcome any time the Lady is in residence. Family and friends are welcome to pass the night even if she is not in residence should they be known to her steward, Iris.
Last edited by Nikola on Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Nikola
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Nikola » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:09 pm

Her duties kept her locked away in the castle far longer than she had anticipated. The King had kindly allowed her with a guest suite of rooms in which to live whenever she needed to work late in her role as Finance Minister and these had been her residence since arriving in Fenia. This would never be home, however convenient it might be to remain at the castle, but it was certainly a more comfortable alternative to living in an Inn. The King had granted her an estate to oversee in addition to her Council duties, but getting a handle on things in the Finance Ministry had taken all of her time and energy in the early days so she had sent Iris on ahead to get the house in order. The steward had communicated through daily messages the state of affairs at Firestorm Manor. Her reports were concise yet detailed. Nikola knew Iris well enough to know that the more cryptic messages indicated the steward’s unhappiness with certain aspects and she had written back giving the steward full authority to make whatever personnel changes she deemed appropriate. Nikola trusted Iris explicitly in this. The woman had served her for years, inserting her expertise at the castle in Bravia when Nikola had served as Vicerine, and again at Grimstad House when she had been forced to leave her own comfortable home in Paz and move into the family estate.

Now she was finally on her way to her new home. It would be the first time she had ever seen the estate or the house that would become her home. She could have taken a carriage, but preferred to ride her faithful mare, Starr, as this allowed her to enjoy the Fenian countryside however leisurely she desired rather than being confined to a carriage driven by someone else. Her two retrievers and their new collie companion trotted along the path beside her. The dogs amused her and she found she enjoyed their company. She scanned the woods and fields she passed along the path, smiling as the dogs scared up a rabbit and later a squirrel to chase. Fortunately for the smaller animals, the dogs were not focused on the hunt today and so their prey easily escaped.

The day was warm, but a gentle breeze kept it from being uncomfortably hot and she wore a wide brimmed hat to shade her face from the rays of the sun. She had left the castle later than she had anticipated and as Starr moved down the lane at a leisurely stroll, she saw that the sun was well on its way to meet the horizon. Iris had given her several landmarks to watch for so she knew she was close. She urged Starr into an easy canter, the mare’s fluid motions making the ride pure pleasure for the young woman, blonde hair flowing freely behind her as the wind generated by the ride swept it from her face.

At last they came to the turnoff and left the main road, veering onto a well maintained path that swung to the right away from the road and led toward the lake. They path almost immediately turned into the woodlands that had bordered the road for some miles. The canopy of leaves blocked the heat of the sun and the temperature cooled noticeably here. She loved the closeness to the earth she felt whenever she was around trees and she silently thanked the Viceroy for choosing this particular estate as the one granted her by the King.

The path wound through the trees, but she could see enough of the sky through the canopy of leaves to know that the sun would have touched the horizon by now. The scattering of clouds that had drifted lazily across the late afternoon sky when she left the city had increased and were becoming grayer as the day waned, hinting of a coming storm. Movement at treetop level told her the wind was picking up as well and she hoped she would make it home before the storm broke if it did not simply blow itself out. The path turned to the right and she was out of the trees as suddenly as she had entered the woods. She reined Starr in and allowed her to rest as she surveyed the scene in front of her.

The manor was large, much larger than she had anticipated. Ivy had been allowed to take root among the stones of the front of the manor, lending it a weathered yet comfortable appearance. The front lawn was filled with shrubs and the pathway leading from the small road to the house was paved with the same stone used to build the house. The house was beautiful, but that was not what took her breath away.

The sun had kissed the horizon to the west behind the house. It’s dying rays reflected off the water of the lake and lit the clouds gathering in force in such a cacophony of reds, oranges and yellows that it appeared at first glance that the manor itself was on fire. Firestorm Manor was well named, she observed as she took in the scene, searing it into her growing memories as a new thing and something to be treasured.

Barking finally drew her attention from the scene to realize that Iris was striding out of the house to greet her, a line of people following her that she assumed would be the manor staff. Nikola smiled to herself and touched her heels lightly to Starr’s side, urging the mare into motion. By the time they had rounded the circular drive and reached the front of the manor, Iris had everyone lined up and ready to greet her. A man approached and reached for Starr’s bridle, but the mare tossed her head and danced back a few steps. Nikola stopped her and patted her neck, soothing the horse before dismounting. She spoke softly to the mare, knowing that she had been on edge since the move from Bravia. Much had changed and her horse had not adjusted as well as she would have liked, but she had no doubt that would resolve itself once Starr settled in.

When the mare had settled, Nikola handed the reins to the waiting groomsman.
“She is a bit antsy of late, so be gentle with her. She means the world to me,” she told him and he bowed as he took the reins and led Starr off to the stables to get her settled in. The dogs had greeted Iris enthusiastically, jumping on her to demand her attention. The woman was trying to shoo them away, but the canines were having none of it. Nikola realized the woman was trying to be formal in front of the staff and already a couple of the maids had hands cupped over their mouths, probably giggling at the steward’s antics.

Nikola’s eyebrows arched in amusement before calling the dogs to heel. They immediately left Iris to come and stand at her side. She smiled down at them and gave them each a pat on the head before focusing on the group gathered in front of her, giving Iris a nod that indicated the steward was free to make introductions as she deemed proper.
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Iris
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Iris » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:14 pm

The blasted beasts just had to attack her right in front of the staff! She secretly adored the dogs, but it just would not do to be overcome by their enthusiasm and so she was grateful with her mistress called them back to her. Iris hastily smoothed her skirts and wipe dog kisses from her face while her Lady calmed the dogs. When Nikola gave her the cue, Iris stepped forward and announced the Lady of the House.

“You all know who would be coming. Now you see her. This is Lady Nikola Ballintyne. You are in her employ. Do your jobs well and you may get time off when she is away from us.”

The staff’s collective gaze was fixed on the Lady and Iris was gratified to see that Nikola bore herself more like the Lady she was than the common girl she once believed herself to be.

The Lady said a few words and Iris dismissed the staff to go about their duties. She nodded appreciatively as they bowed or bobbed curtsies as they left. She had not had much time to train them, but here in Fenia, people seemed much more accustomed to courtesies due to one’s station than had been the case in Bravia.

Iris led her mistress into the house and gave her a brief tour of the manor before showing her to her room to change and refresh herself. Sometime later Nikola had emerged, freshly bathed and dressed in a gown of sky blue, interlocking knots woven in silver thread along the neckline and hem and along the edges of her sleeves. The matching bodice bore the embroidered image of an oak tree surrounded by the same interlocking knotwork. Her hair had been pinned back away from her face, and allowed to hang freely down her back. Iris approved, but of course she would. She had laid out the gown for Nikola to wear.

Her smile faded slightly as she considered how her lady had changed since the cleansing. The woman still gave no indication that the emotions locked away inside her had been released, yet the absence of her former joy made her seem sad, albeit in a different way than the intense grief that had so recently threatened to destroy her. Iris worried about this change. Worried about what might happen should Nikki never regain the fire of life that made her who she was. She owed Vaelen her obedience, yet the Lady had earned her allegiance and Iris was determined to keep her safe and, if possible, find a way to release that fire again.

Shaking out of her reverie, Iris bustled about, barking orders at the staff to bring the Lady the meal prepared for her. She might not know how to reverse a magick she did not understand, but she did know how to run a household. This was what she was good at.
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Nikola
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Nikola » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:31 pm

The dogs always warmed Nikola’s heart, their antics making her smile when she wasn’t laughing or growling in frustration at them. They lived in the moment with everything that they did. Playing fetch was life’s greatest pleasure for them, as was catching fish or going for a walk or taking a nap. She often thought how simple life would be if her existence more closely reflected that of the dogs. But she was no canine. She was not even sure what she was anymore.

She spent most of her time at the manor these days, going to the castle to do her job in the Finance Ministry when she could not work from home, but little else. Evenings were spent in the taverns, hoping to make new connections or build on old ones, seeking a reason to be here. Most of her time was spent with the dogs now, training them, playing with them, and wandering the woods around the estate with them. Their playful, yet gentle, spirits seemed to make the days more bearable and she looked forward to the cold noses and warm tongues waking her up each morning.

Today she was outside watching them play on the clearing between the lanai and the lake. The sun was warm, but not uncomfortably so, and she was taking a break from playing fetch and training. She was seated on the ground, leaning against the trunk of her favorite oak, absent-mindedly playing with a leaf that had fallen into her lap moments before. A gentle breeze causes the leaves to rustle as they dance in the wind above her and she relaxes. Trees, the nearby lake and the presence of her increasingly beloved dogs all serve to bring her a momentary peace.
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Iris
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Iris » Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:03 am

Muttering to herself, Iris bustled out to the lanai, stopping to catch her breath as she looked about for her mistress. The green of the Lady’s dress blended in with the grass she was sitting on and Iris might have missed her altogether if not for her golden hair and the fact that the collie trotted over to Nikola just as Iris was looking toward the oak tree. As Iris started down the steps to the lawn, first one then the other of the retrievers came bounding toward her.

“Don’t you dare…” The warning fell on deaf, or perhaps uncaring, ears as both dogs greeted her by jumping up on her, tails wagging and tongues licking at her face. She brushed them away, huffing at them as she did. Secretly she adored them and loved their adoration of her. This may account for why they continued to accost her in this manner day after day, but she did not want to let on to anyone how much she enjoyed the pups.

“Really, My Lady,” she chided her mistress as she approached the tree, the collie now joining in the furry love fest. “Surely you can train them not to be so enthusiastic!”

Nikola’s eyes sparkled and it did Iris’ heart good to hear a hint of laughter in her lady’s voice as she called the dogs to heel and then threw sticks to send all three hurtling across the lawn to fetch them back.

“Thank you,” she said simply before saying what she had come out to tell Nikola. “The curtains have been aired, ironed and hung as you instructed. Most of them look quite lovely but those dragon ones…” she stopped short at the sight of Nikola’s raised eyebrow. She knew why they had been made, but she didn’t have to like the aesthetics. “Well you know what I think. It’s all well and good that you have dragons in your family tree. But decorating the lanai with them?”

Her protests trailed off as her mistress smiled and rose to her feet. The dogs chose that moment to return. The collie and one of the retrievers both had the sticks. The second retriever was still attempting to wrestle the first for the stick. As they drew near, the one without a stick of its own appeared to give up on the stick and instead bounded to Iris.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Iris wailed as the young dog leapt up to greet her enthusiastically.
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Nikola
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Nikola » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:16 am

Nikola watched in amusement as the dogs lavished affection on her steward. They did seem to love overwhelming the poor woman, but Nikola suspected that Iris enjoyed their attention a lot more than she let on. She called the dogs to heel when Iris chided her for their behavior and they obeyed. As a reward she tossed sticks out onto the lawn for them to fetch.

Iris’ objections about the dragon images had been duly noted. On a whim, Nikola had asked a local artist to paint dragons on the fabric to be used for curtains on the windows facing out to the lanai. Iris had not liked them at all and there had been a … discussion. Nikola actually did not disagree with the steward’s assessment of the curtains. The paintings had turned out less than she had expected, but the artist had been so excited about the project that she had not had the heart to tell him they were…well, not precisely what she’d had in mind. They would be fixed, in time…replaced with a much nicer dragon theme, but in the meantime…just in case her cousin did decide to visit…she wanted him to know that she was thinking of him when she had the curtains hung there.


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She rose to her feet just as one of the dogs returned and decided to gift her steward with another enthusiastic greeting. Nikola stifled a laugh as the other two dogs decided to join in the fun. She called them to heel again and followed the steward inside after she had dusted herself off and glared at the dogs who panted happily back at her. “They do love you, Iris,” she commented as they all headed back into the house for a curtain tour.
Last edited by Nikola on Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Faranni
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Faranni » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:10 pm

The season changed and the first snow had already fallen when a pale figure was spotted one evening wandering up the path to the manor. Anyone could easily have missed it had it not been for the large wooden cart it were dragging behind itself.

According to Nikola's directions this was the right house. Overlooking the lake where Faranni sometimes spent her evenings fishing in the summer time. She smiled at the lake that had a special place in her heart. That night when the moon was so full. The night they shared on the Azure Dreams. Her heart fluttered and sent a warm feeling through her body.

She had seen the manor from afar numerous time but never thought all to much on who it could belong to. She had assumed it would be someone in high standing as it was with most human nobles and their customs of large homes. Someone pompous, ugly and ill willing. Not at all like the lady she had met in the tavern earlier in the day. Lady Nikola was beautiful and kind, having offered her a warm shelter under her roof from the icy winter standing at the doorstep.
"Speak to Iris, mention my name..." Faranni mumbled the instructions repeatedly to herself as she was nearing the entrance door.

"Speak to Iris, mention my name...she'll be expecting me" she whispered under her breath, nervously knocking on the front door. She took a heavy breath.

There was at first a deafening silence. The only sound seemed to come from the hard poundings of her own heart echoing in her ears. "Speak to Iris, mention my name...she'll be expecting me" she whispered trying to calm herself before there was a loud sound of barkings and scraping of claws. Faranni swallowed hard. There lived at least two dogs here what she could make out from their voices. Rapid and determined footsteps from a two legged creature came towards her and with a click and screech the door opened half way with a woman appearing in its opening.

"Hello...I'm looking for Iris? I'm Faranni..the elf...Lady Nikola should have sent word of my arrival..."
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Iris
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Iris » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:11 pm

The woman who answered the door was a plump older woman in her middle years, hair pulled up in a soft bun atop her head with a few stray ringlets of curls framing her face. The face was smiling and friendly and bore no wrinkle despite her apparent age. She beamed at the young elf standing on the doorstep and motioned for her to enter as she pulled the door wide and stepped out of the way.

“You must be Faranni! Come in, come in! You two, back off the poor girl!” The first was said in greeting to the elf still standing on the doorstep. The last bit was to the rambunctious dogs who appeared ready to knock the poor girl down in their efforts to sniff her and greet her with enthusiastically wagging tails and doggy kisses.

“I am Iris, and the Lady Nikola did indeed warn of your coming. Bless me, child, come on in out of the cold! My word, you look near frozen, girl! Ben! Thomas! Come help our guest with her things! Quickly now so the heat doesn’t all escape the house!”

Iris began bustling Faranni into the house and barking orders at the staff all while shooing the dogs away from the girl. Ben appeared first, a gangly teenaged human boy who skidded around the corner to bob a quick bow at the visitor and then rushed past her to get to her cart. Thomas, a mature human in appearance, although his age was nearly impossible to guess, made a more sedate entry, coming down the hall at a more measured pace as if to counter the younger boy’s enthusiasm.

“Take her things up to her room,” Iris ordered and took Faranni gently by the arm. “Let’s get you by the fire and get something warm into you before I take you to your room, Miss,” she told the girl as she began to lead her into the house away from the door.
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Faranni
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Faranni » Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:49 pm

Like a whirlwind she was swept inside and ushered around as the serving men passed her in the halls, swiftly enough to be out of sight before she even managed to greet them back. The dogs kept excitedly running around them and Faranni felt the wetness of their tongues on her hands whenever they managed to get close enough.

Her head kept turning as they walked. She was in awe all that she saw. All the rooms they passed seemed bright and airy with a fire seemingly burning in every fireplace. Hints of gold and shades of pearl. Faranni had never been inside a castle but she imagined it would probably look something similar to this. Before she knew it she was sitting in a large and comfy armchair in front of a roaring fire. She enjoyed fires like these having been spoiled rotten by the fires at the Tavern where she'd spent most days during the fall to gain body heat. This level of warmth and toastiness had never been an option living out in the enchanted forest nor in her current camp that had been closer to the lake.

She must have dozed off as she awoke from the faint knocking on the door post. It was Iris again, standing in the opening while balancing a silver tray in her hands, smiling almost motherly back at her. Faranni eyed the treats she had brought her. A bowl of fragrant smelling soup, biscuits and a shining pitcher with something that had a spicy smell to it. Wine maybe?
Faranni smiled gratefully mustered up a "thank you" to the kind woman as she placed the tray on a table inside the room not to far from the fireplace.

She thought if this was a taste of what living here this winter were going to be like they would probably spoil her. But she would remember to help out as much as she could at the manor and she had promised the lady she would help out with herbal remedies and other potions and poultices that could come in handy. Placing herself she grabbed a spoon, also made of silver with floral decorations on its grip, and began eating.
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Nikola
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Re: [ORP] Firestorm Manor

Post by Nikola » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:46 pm

Nikola had stayed longer at the castle than she had planned. She always seemed to find “just one more” thing that needed her attention as Finance Minister. She was finally home now, though, and she handed Starr over to the stable master with a smile. She had gotten to know him and seen the care and attention that he gave to Starr and, indeed, all the animals in his care and now trusted him totally. He informed her that a guest had arrived earlier and she brightened, hoping that meant that Faranni had made it at last.

Once inside the house, she was directed to the sitting room where Iris was taking excellent care of Firestorm Manor’s newest resident. Upon entering the room she smiled a greeting to Iris as she walked over to greet Faranni.


“Faranni! I am so glad you found the place. I was a little worried, especially with the new snow and all, but you are here now. Welcome!”

She took note of the soup, biscuits and hot spiced wine that Iris had brought to the girl and nodded her approval. “I see you have met my steward, Iris, and that she is taking very good care of you. Have you seen your room yet?”
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