(121-05-27) Corpses Of Course
Corpses of Course
Summary: Samael receives a response to an ad posted and left to decay months ago.
Date: 27/05/2014
Related: None specifically; Reeda's

Lower Garden - The Hightower

Battle Island

The bottom two levels, giving some forty-five feet of height to the tower, are below, and the next tier of the white stone structure looms above. The second tier is narrower than the first, and the roof-space left behind supports this garden. It's a large ring, some twenty-five feet from the wall to the interior of the tower to the battlements at the roof edge. There's a paved walk along those crenellations, but the rest of the space has been floored in rich deep soil.

The garden has two winding path around the rings, twisting among beds of flowers and blossoming shrubs. They bloom profusely, and in every colour. A few small fountains are nestled amid the plants. The soil is not deep enough for large trees, so there are canopies of colourful fabric to create the shady spots. White stone benches and tables grace the shaded areas. Still, the rich earth is deep enough for small trees, and little plum trees and spreading berry bushes offer their sweets on some months.

There's a games court on the western side of the ring.

It's am impressive sight, a garden up in the air, though even the impressive becomes mundane when one has lived among it long enough. Lord Samael Hightower has carved out a corner for himself in this circular garden, and there is a small plot of land, glorious flowers to the left and to the right, that grows, instead, herbs, weeds, and strange plants from distant shores. He's crouched there, now, sleeves rolled up, fingers dirty, considering a small, thorny fine with stumpy little roots, either waiting to be planted or just recently pulled free of the dirt. Any who might be seeking this strange fellow would be led up to the gardens and left to it.

Once left to her own devices, the figure who edges her way into the winding Hightower garden is out of place. Instantly, incredibly: a visitor, and an unusual one besides. The tall, long-limbed woman does not look her noble standing; wouldn't, even if she were scrubbed clean and placed in a dress that was not torn and unlaced. It's the way she stands, walks; the quiet glower to her viciously freckled face and the way her eyes avoid luring anyone's, even the other figure's in the garden. As long but shuffling strides take her along the path, she searches, instead, for Samael from the ground up — such as it is. Ground in the sky.

When Reeda reaches the man digging in the dirt, she's suddenly a little less out of place.

"Lord Samael." The woman's voice - low, and deep, and rough — is scarce on greeting. It's more a flat definition. Defined: Lord Samael. Found him. A tattered, yellowing advertisement flutters in her hand, affront the odd, bruised leather apron she wears over her brown dress. 'Seeking assistant in studies alchemical and biological. Interesting work, irregular hours, adequate pay, room and board possible. Must be able to write legibly, must not mind the smell of preservative or the occasional dissection of corpses (primarily animal). Knowledge of herbs, alchemy or the systems of living beings preferable but not required. Occasional travel. Must enjoy outdoor work despite inclement weather. If interested, enquire with Lord Samael Hightower.' …

It takes a moment for Samael to realize his name was spoken by somebody not inside his own head. He blinks, looking up and resting a hand over his eyes to keep out the glare of the sun. Squinting over at Reeda, he gently sets his plant down and stands, brushing off his dirty hands so they're no longer dirty. Well, less dirty. Well, the same dirty, but he tried. "I am," he agrees as he considers the young woman standing before him. "How can I help you, mistress?"

Reeda scratches along the watermarked paper — her ticket to the Hightower — with one of her long, short-nailed, and frankly also dirty thumb. She tried to polish up before her visit, but it doesn't exactly show, and when she's called 'mistress' there's a faint twitch at the corner of her mouth that could be amused. Or it could be a tic. She looks glances slightly sideways, meeting Samael's gaze only in speedy intervals. "Are you still looking for an assistant," she inquires. If she's excited about the prospect, her sentiment shows about as much as her effort to be clean. "— 'Cause if you are." Well, here she is.

A what. Samael blinks at Reeda in silent confusion for a long moment before his attention falls on the weathered bit of parchment in her hands. Leaning forward a little to read it (upside down), he laughs softly. "Stranger take me, but I put that up months ago." He looks from the advertisement to the girl. "I hadn't thought… that is. Well. You're very…" he frowns. "You understand I sometimes open up dead things and poke around their insides? And that I might need you to, say, weigh a heart or a kidney or a liver? Females seem to be particularly squeamish about such things."

"Liver's the heaviest. People might expect the kidney to be heavier than the heart, but they're lighter than the heart, one by one. Heart of a horse is four mark below six stone, average-like," Reeda states in a matter-of-fact manner that just has the slightest edge of defensiveness. The narrowed slits of her dark eyes force up — then down, as she is taller than the man — to look upon him determinedly, though it seems to cause her a measure of discomfort to do so. "I know my way around a corpse. I figured out on my own the way to fill the veins with wax to preserve the route of the blood." The Riverlander shifts a thin shoulder. The strap of her pack, slung to hang behind her so as to be out of the way, indents it. It's heavy. A traveller. She's her own pack horse. "I know my plants. I can read and write and work. Do you need an assistant or not." A reluctant pause. "My lord."

Samael is quiet for a moment considering all that. Those words, that toughness, the line of the strap down the young woman's shoulder. "Yes. I do. What is your name, mistress?"

Reeda stands a bit taller for that, though her posture remains decidedly, slouchingly imperfect. "Reeda." For the second part — and the press of her mouth states there is a second part — she first glances surrepitiously to the side. It's as if she's expecting someone else to materialize from behind a fine patch of flowering shrubbery — and preparing to aggress this nonexistent threat, rather than flee. The coast's clear. She juts her chin at Samael and, for a second, reconsiders. Oh well: "Bracken."

"Bracken?" Samael repeats, his eyes widening a little. "But you look like…" a hobo. "Um. That is, I would not have thought… Ah. You are very far from the Riverlands, my lady."

To that, all Reeda has is a subtle, so-what, what-can-ya-do shrug of the shoulder unburdened by the strap, unconcerned. "So when can I start."

"Your family won't protest?" Samael asks with a small frown, looking the girl over again. "Are they aware you are in Oldtown?"

"They're the ones sent me south," Reeda answers — plenty of space for omission, but she answers with the same brand of concise as every answer. "No place for me there." Her brows set into a bit of a further defined glower, and her large lips press, but altogether she appears vaguely impatient with Samael more than distraught by whatever conflict has sent her to Oldtown. "Won't bring trouble. Just want to work." There's no place for her back there, but there is here, isn't there. She waits.

Samael is thoughtful for another beat. "All right," he replies. "You can start as soon as you're settled. The work is varied, I tend to jump from project to project, but hopefully it will keep you interested." He considers the heavy bag over her shoulder again. "Will you require a room?"

After a nod, agreeing, Reeda follows Samael's attention to her pack, looking over her shoulder at the hefty thing. She reaches around to shove the advertisement, its job done, into one of the side pouches. The worn-out paper practically disintigrates. She considers; squints into the distance; decides. "No. I've a cousin."

"All right," Samael agrees. "Then come back tomorrow morning, nine o'clock. I'll show you where I do the majority of my work and we'll begin."

"Right, then, Lord Samael." That's that; and that's as close to a thank-you as seems to be in Reeda's present vocabulary. There's a growing focus about her, attuned to nine o'clock, tomorrow morning. She'll be there. For now, all she does is turn right around in his face and stalk off along the winding path exactly the way she came in.

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