Chapter One: The Arrival
Lightining danced across the night sky, but was insufficient to illuminate the interior of the swaying carriage. Daniel Taylor knew exactly what light would reveal, though. The hired conveyance was worn and showed years of hard use, but was still in relatively good condition. The dark green upholstery was faded and worn nearly smooth in places, but was clean and obviously well-tended. The carriage jolted over a particularly deep rut in the road and Danny swallowed down the spike of nausea. Though no stranger to travelling by such means, the seemingly endless journey had left him restless and exhausted.
Danny steadfastly refused to consider his nausea was due in any part to his destination. Leaving London to tutor two children in the wilds of northern England may not have been his choice, but it was his decision.
London was his home and had always been, but the situation there had become untenable. He had managed to avoid becoming a figure in the scandal, but even he knew not how. He thought he could have safely stayed in London, but the opportunity offered by Lord Malone was both timely and generous.
Though he was beginning to wonder if there was any offer generous enough to trade the relative anonymity of London for the closed society of a manor home forty miles west of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Danny shook off the unwelcome thoughts and memories and focused on the future - his future away from London and everyone there. Lightining flickered again and Danny stared out at the low, rolling hills that made up the countryside of his new home. It was too dark for the landscape to hold his attent for long, but Danny soon felt the shift that indicated the carriage had moved onto a gravel drive and he supposed he was finally nearing the end of his journey. He wished he wasn't quite this nervous, but he truly had no idea what to expect from the house and its inhabitants. His interview with Lord Malone had been perfunctory at best and he was frankly surprised to have been offered the position, but all of that was in the past now.
The storm seemed to gain intensity as the carriage slowed to a halt and Danny caught his first glimpse of Hobbes Manor.
The manor house was ... enormous. Growing up in the heart of London had inured him to impressive architecture, but Danny had never seen anything quite like Hobbes Manor. The house was sprawling in a way that was difficult to comprehend; the roofline was a discordant mixture of towers and gables, battlements and spires. Lightining lit up the stone structure and Danny saw gargoyles squatting at the feet of angels. Something about the juxtaposition caused a shiver to chase up his spine, but he shook off his foolishness and steeled himself for the short run to the door that was just now opening.
A swarm of stableboys and footmen descended on the carriage and Danny found himself swept towards the house under the dubious protection of a large umbrella. He crossed the threshold of the house only slighty damp and shook himself free of rainwater and travel weariness.
"Mr. Taylor? Follow me, please." The butler looked Danny up and down and managed to convey a vague disapproval without changing his expression.
Created and maintained by carleton97.