Gower, The Apprentice Scrivener

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Notorious Marauder



"He was slightly less unfun"

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Basic Sentence Structure: Additive Sentences
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Tally Ho, Chapter Three on 9/21/2019 2:46:30 PM

"One does not share stories about one's employers."

"Oh. I understand," says Valentine. "You don't trust me yet. Of course. We've only just met. I shouldn't have asked."

"Not at all. It's a question of keeping confidences, not my trust in you," you say, but you can tell Valentine doesn't quite believe you.

Aunt Primrose's estate is surrounded by massive oak trees dressed in vivid lemon yellows, with just a few red-brown oak leaves dotting the ground to mildly suggest that this beauty might come to an end someday, but not soon.

The cab stops at the green gates announcing that this is Ritornello, where two servants bar the way. They examine the cab carefully, presumably ensuring that Figs is not hiding in the back seat, and then wave you through. The cab curves around the great circular driveway with a white marble statue in the center of it in the shape of the goddess Minerva emerging from Jupiter's forehead. You pay the fellow over Valentine's objections, and are about to collect the luggage when you hear someone running from behind you, and then the world goes dark.

"Guess who!" calls a high-pitched and giggling voice. "Guess, Pennyworth!"

1. "Mrs. Patterson, is that you?"

2. "Mr. Wintermint, I believe?"

3. "Col. Firesnuff, is that you?"

4. "Mopsie?"

5. "Helen of Troy?"



Tally Ho, Chapter Three on 9/21/2019 6:17:58 AM

"Learning how to educate and shape your employer."

"I have heard of such things."

"Yes. You see, while we are hired by our employer in order to do various household tasks, what we are really hired for is to transform him or her into a more ideal individual."

"But how so?"

"Through thousands of small, subtle nudges throughout the day. A lifted eyebrow. A nearly imperceptible shift of one's tone of voice. Soon, your employer will learn taste and proper judgment. Their life will be enriched."

"Are…larger nudges ever required?"

"Oh my, yes," you say. "It happens frequently. It is at those times that you must make a stronger correction, taking action to ensure that our employer does not do something that they will later regret."

"Tell me! When have you ever had to do that?"

What do you respond?

1. "Listen carefully, then, and I shall tell you an illustrative tale about Mr. Wintermint."

2. "One does not share stories about one's employers."

3. "I cannot tell you anything specific, but I will give you the broad outlines," I say, knowing that it may be somewhat more difficult to either amuse or instruct Valentine in that way.

Immortal means Immortal on 9/20/2019 10:08:35 PM

Next time, I'm going to send you one of these stories *first* so that we can present art and prose together for maximum effect. 

I like the cricket on the shelf with the other trophies.

Tally Ho, Chapter Three on 9/20/2019 8:21:50 PM

"I think it would be tidier to eat that later, don't you?"

"Oohh," says Valentine. "Tidier. Yes."

"And, possibly, the aroma—though delightful—might not be welcome when we arrive."

"I hadn't thought of that."

"Remember this lesson for the future," you say.

"I just wanted to bring you something nice."

"It is appreciated."

But Valentine doesn't look so sure.

As you ride along, you talk with Valentine, learning a bit about her. She speaks at length about her six brothers, and the Cotswolds, where she grew up. It was expected that Valentine would work at her parents' sweet shop.

However, after her parents' illness, Valentine had to provide for the family, and found her way to the city, taking on a few temporary, short-term positions to learn the trade, and joining the Junior Cadbury Club, where she was nominated as "Most Promising."

As you talk, Valentine turns her face up to you, looking into your eyes artlessly.

"I wanted to apologize if I'm mucking things up, Pennyworth. I'm a little flustered, and I'm not sure what I'm doing."

"There is no need for apology," you say.

"Well, good," Valentine says. "Good, good, good. I'm very excited to start, you know."

"That is obvious."

Twenty minutes later, you approach the grounds of Ritornello, and the world becomes filled with color, as you take in the astonishing palette that autumn has painted the world with: dark plum, fiery orange, and scarlet, everywhere, dotted here and there with russets, pumpkin pie orange-brown, and a deeper gingerbread brown. Even from inside the cab, you fancy that you can hear the rustling of the leaves, all dancing slightly with the wind.

Valentine sits next to you, studying your posture, and trying to mimic the way you are sitting. She straightens up and folds her hands in her lap.

"I was just wondering," Valentine says. "What would you say the most important part of being a good valet is, for you? I mean, what's the most important thing for me to work on?"

"An excellent question. I would say the most important thing is…"

1. "Listening to one's employer's orders and not deviating."

2. "Solving problems on your own without bothering your employer."

3. "Learning how to educate and shape your employer."

Defeat my Students! on 9/20/2019 7:26:13 PM

Like I tell my students, this stuff isn't important because of the table manners aspect--showing that you understand which fork/semicolon to you, but because it gives you tools to use as a writer.

They dragged the river.  We have some bad news for you.

They dragged the river, and we have some bad news for you.

They dragged the river; we have some bad news for you.

They dragged the river; unfortunately, we have some bad news for you.


I like having the different rhythms available.  To lots of people, that's like an artist goobing out over having this yellow and cadmium yellow and canary yellow (I know nothing about pigments).  But here where we all love to write, this stuff is important.  At least, that's what I hope my students gather from my lengthy diatribes.

Defeat my Students! on 9/20/2019 6:43:33 PM

Jodithewitch received a very respectable 9.5/10, I am pleased to report.

Immortal means Immortal on 9/20/2019 5:20:19 PM

This is the sort of fiction that will be lost utterly if the orders are shuffled.  I have a detailed and elaborate notion of the aristocracy and power structures of this world in my head.


Gower smiled.  It was not the smile of fresh-faced young Marauder who had been conscripted into that band many months ago.  It was a practiced smile, a smile that betrayed nothing.  He did not know why he, a bard and scholar, had been passed over by the Sages and the Architects, more natural fits for his talents.

But Endmaster (Immortal and Exemplar) has his reasons.  And so, for months, he smiled and served.

The Marauders' inner circle, the Twenty, seemed to hold a good deal of power.  Perhaps that the route.  The route to seize the mantle for himself.  No one would expect it.  But the Inner Circle was strong and secretive and--wait a second.  Serpent?  Shouja?  Zikara?  Who is Zikara?  Huh.

After a bit of thought, Gower realized that the Twenty seemed--penetrable.   In a matter of months, with commendable behavior, Gower had assassinated his way up the ranks.  Had he been a Warden, he would nearly have been Sovereign.  He wiped his eyes as he considered this amusing and pointless prospect.  "Sovereign of what?" he wondered, not for the first time.

Before long, Gower had achieved something of a reputation, while still keeping as low a profile as possible, taking his place among Endmaster's Notorious Four.  The exiled gladiator Avery; the ravishing Wibn.  Sabley, marital artist, known for her death blows.  And now Gower, mild-mannered, but no less notorious.

Soon, sooner than he could have expected, he became Endmaster's second.  No words were spoken.  No words needed to be spoken.  Closest to the throne.  One heartbeat away from power, if Endmaster's withered heart ever beat, which it did not.

Gower considered.  At his current rate of power gain, in only four--five--perhaps six months, he might--no, he *would* have enough strength to topple the dark god from his throne and become Immortal himself.  And then--well, immortality was its own reward, wasn't it?  Already he had helped the Marauders overtake the Architects.  Gower fondly thought of the day those smarmy Sages would be overtaken as well.

Yes, soon.  So soon, he...

Oh.  What?  Oh, now Endmaster had just doubled in power.  Just--instantly.  Just like that.  He didn't appear to lift a finger.  It just--happened.  As if all of Endmaster's past creations had suddenly empowered him more, surrounding him with a further miasma of black lightning and ashen veil.  Ten times more powerful than the Notorious Gower, and with every chance of being further empowered, Gower gnashed his teeth and wailed into the storm.

And then, as if to rub in the blow, like a crab apple falling off a tree and hitting a dying soldier on the head, Endmaster plucked forth for himself the noble title "Of Avon" and appended it to his own long list of titles.  It was meaningless to him.

"That should...have been mine," Gower said.  "I earned it...I earned...that pointless title."

Endmaster looked around.  He thought he heard something, shrugged, and went about his day.  The world had changed for many that day, but not for him. 


Tally Ho, Chapter Three on 9/20/2019 3:00:14 PM

Note that we have a new stat:  Invitation.  This stat measures our likelihood of being invited to join the Inner Circle.

Tally Ho, Chapter Three on 9/20/2019 2:58:17 PM

"Go and wash your hands while I hire a cab. Your hands are sure to be sticky."

"Oh, of course. I'm sorry. That was careless of me."

Valentine rushes into the station and emerges shortly after, looking a little abashed, but no less eager.

You, meanwhile, have already hired a cab and loaded the bags into it.

"Don't forget your picnic basket," you say, pointing.

"Oh yes! I nearly forgot." Valentine heaves it into the back seat of the cab, saying "Upsie-daisy!"

"Don't say 'upsie-daisy.'"

"Whoops. Sorry."

You and Valentine slide into the back of the cab, with the picnic basket between you.

"I packed us a lunch," Valentine says. "I wanted to bring you something to thank you in advance for taking me under your wing. I know it's awkward. I don't know what kind of food you like, so I packed a bit of everything."

You watch as Valentine opens the basket and points out the various lunch items in it. "I packed lots of finger sandwiches, and pickled vegetables, and charred peppers stuffed with buttered bread crumbs, and some hard cheese, and a bottle of cider. Do you like marinated eggplant? I also have some of that, and some baguette and jam, and for dessert—you're going to really like this—some lovely cream puffs. I suppose we can just feast here in the cab."

It looks extraordinarily delicious, but it also looks rather messy and potentially the sort of food that might leave a lingering aroma.

She tries to judge from your expression whether or not you are pleased.

1. "I think it would be tidier to eat that later, don't you?"

2. "It looks so lovely, Valentine. I'm afraid I ate on the train."

3. "I can't wait to eat this charming picnic. I'll start with some of those pickles."


Tally Ho, Chapter Three on 9/20/2019 11:42:12 AM

I look Valentine up and down critically. "I…am to be…your mentor?"

"Y-yes," says Valentine. "I hope you don't find me objectionable. I try very hard."

"It just seems like a difficult assignment when I am here attempting to provide for Mr. Wintermint's needs whilst he is here."

"That's what I told them. I said, 'Can't it just wait until Pennyworth returns home?' But they said they always start the mentoring examination on the third Thursday of the month."

"I don't know…"

"I will work night and day to follow your every instruction. I know I don't have a lot of experience, but I want to learn. Becoming a lady's maid is my dream, and I'm going to keep at it until I succeed. It's all I ever wanted in life."

You pace around for a moment, then turn back to Valentine. "But why on earth would they send a woman, just learning how to be a downstairs maid, and aspiring to become a lady's maid, to me? Why wouldn't they send you to a proper lady's maid?"

"I don't know the answer to that, and it's a question that perplexes me as well."

"There's a great deal of specific knowledge involved in tending to the needs of a lady, as you know. Issues of fashionable dress, and hair, and cosmetics, and so forth. At present I serve a gentleman. I can hardly advise you on these matters."

"I am at a loss. Oh! Right. Maybe this would help?"

She hands you an envelope, sealed with wax and bearing the crest of your club: The Cadbury Club For Those Who Serve.

"It's my letter of introduction."

You open the letter, and on official Cadbury Club stationery, you read a missive confirming that Valentine has indeed been sent by the Inner Circle to test you. Valentine is described as a promising young woman who needs guidance and a role model. The letter stresses that you will be evaluated following Valentine's apprenticeship to you, which will last for one month. The letter further notes that Valentine is to be instructed in whatever you deem most important for a servant to be trained in.

"Well, everything here seems to be in order."

"What do you want me to do first?" Valentine says, throwing the pear core away. "I'm ready."

1. "Go and wash your hands while I hire a cab. Your hands are sure to be sticky."

2. "Gather up the suitcases and follow me."

3. "I'll take the suitcases; follow me."