You’re told that an event that’s dear to your heart — an annual fair, festival, or conference — will be cancelled forever (or taken over by an evil organization). Write about it. For your twist, read your piece aloud, multiple times. Hone that voice of yours!
I am not taking this course seriously. I am going to continue the story I started yesterday on Third Time’s the Charm.
Though the letters were not in the same writing, both used the sepia ink and both writers were clearly left-handed. I looked to the signatures, and neither name was known to me. The one who called her royal was named Chresterley Ransom, while the one who called her a fraud was Mikal Oghamry. I am of course assuming that the letters were to the old lady, and not documents from or to another source.
The letter from Chresterley Ransom suggested that he was addressing an Empress, though he later called her “Peary.” He suggested that they were related to each other, that he missed her but knew she was doing very good work where she was, and that he wished she would return to her own “seat” for a visit. Mikal Oghamry, on the other hand, was either quite nasty, or teasing her unmercifully. He chastised her for her wandering ways, and claimed she rose to her high position by unethical magical means. Were this a letter in today’s society, I would have judged it a very teasing letter between friends. However in light of the sobriety in the letter from her brother, I thought this unlikely.
I returned to examine the envelopes. They were mailed from the same post office at the same time. They were postmarked Derby Line, Vermont, and the address was to our old lady. The return address was obscure, excepting the initials of the sender, PW-R R. That was the correct spacing of the initials and I have no idea to what they refer.
The final item from the envelope was the pocketknife. It did not look quite normal, as if someone had made it with only the barest idea how to do it. The blade of the knife was exceedingly sharp, as I had barely touched it to check and was bleeding profusely immediately. I wrapped my finger in two paper towels and continued my examination of the knife. It had initials carved in it, PW-R and NW-R. The address to our old lady was Mrs. N. W. Ransom. Was our old lady related to this Empress? Was she the sister of Peary? And what was the knife made of, to hold such an edge?
I gathered together all of the items and prepared to take them to my boss. The rings, coins and knife went back into the envelope, while I placed the envelopes and letters into a manila folder to avoid bending them any more than they already were. My boss welcomed me in, a look of mild interest on his face. He hrumphed and murmured, “What have we here now? What have we here?” I emptied the envelope onto his blotter, watching his eyes as I did so. They lit up at the sign of rings and coins, though his eyebrows came together as he noted the knife and the oddness of the coins. He fingered the rings, weighing them in his hands, and shying away from the odd dark ring. He looked up at me expectantly and I handed him the manila envelope. He opened it, looked at the return addresses on the thin airmail envelopes, and then at the old lady’s address on the other part. He lifted the two letters and looked beseechingly at me. I took them and read them to him, stuttering only a few times when the script got hard to read.
“I think these are the workings of a family game,” he said. “I see nothing out of the ordinary here. Fake titles, fake coins, and the rings are probably fake too.” I didn’t mention the way he avoided the dark ring. I suggested that the rings at least be evaluated by the antiquarian we regularly used as a firm. He agreed. I needn’t tell you how surprised he was to learn that the ruby was real, as was the emerald, and the amount of gold in the two rings was enough to sink at least a sailboat. But our expert had no idea about the black ring.
The material was put on the back burner because there was still the question of the heir.
To be continued….