Closed Misplaced in the Manor
#1
CW: Ableism

Of course Gordon had known going into the job that [Lord] Madswitte was something of a recluse, but he had assumed this was due to being of a nervous temperament. Or at least disposed more to quiet and solitude, which suited Gordon quite well, as his previous employer had been happy to spend his evenings in front of the fireplace, with his books and antiquities, rather than gad about to the clubs and parties.

What Gordon had not expected, what he suspected someone had purposefully neglected to mention to him, was that his lordship was completely barmy. He had not been at the manor for more than a few days, when Madswitte complained of a ghost making a racket somewhere above him, and sent Gordon to go tell it to be quiet.

Certain that the culprit (Gordon hadn't actually even heard the noise) was naught but the wind or perhaps some vermin in the walls, he had gone out to hunt them out and if nothing else, alert the Butler or Housekeeper that they'd need to set out traps or poison.

Instead, Gordon had found himself lost somewhere in the passageways in the upper floors of the Manor. Retracing his steps hadn't helped; he was beginning to think that a wrong turn while doing so was in fact to blame for his current predicament.
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#2
Florian came from the parlour, holding the tray with remains of the ladies’ tea, some friends if Lady Muzuran. He saw a strange man in the hallway, and he hid behind a flower pot. Oh, wasn’t that the new valet? He stayed hiding anyway; hiding from embarrassment about hiding.

Surely he had been seen, or now heard, as the cups on the tray clinked together and scraped against the wall. He cleared his throat and shuffled back into the middle of the corridor.

“Good afternoon.” He’d also forgotten his name. Sigh
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#3
While he knew that there had to be a way back, since he'd wandered this way in the first place, Gordon was beginning to worry that he'd be wandering all night.

A hint of movement at the corner of his eye, and he stopped, waiting. Hearing the sound of items rattling together. Then, out from behind one of the large flower pots, emerged one of the Footmen. What was his name? Lucien? Dorian? No, that was some lurid novel...

"Good afternoon;" Gordon attempted to make his tone casual, as if he hadn't been growing desperate over the past hour or so. He wasn't entirely sure if he'd succeeded. "Er, I'm sorry I startled you."
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#4
“Not at all, sir.” He tried to sound like it was true. “Do you- require any assistance?” He then used both hands to grip the tray. There. No spills. He was improving?
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#5
Sir? Oh no.

"Please, just Brandt is perfectly fine. Or Gordon," he said. "There's no need to call me 'Sir,' I'm not a lord. I'm not even a Butler."

Now, how to let the man know he was lost without actually saying he was lost. "I was trying to find my way to the rooms above His Lordship's chambers..."
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#6
“Yes right! Brandt.” Being too polite. It’s own faux pas. “Above? It’s not far from here. But it isn’t so much a room as.. the hall. There is a servant passage, er, an alcove...” he started toward it, trying to think of what His Lordship might mean. It was the hall to the left, with a notable burnt area in a corner. No one knew why it was there or why it hadn’t been repaired.
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#7
It seemed there might not be any need to mention that he had been lost. Only that he was unfamiliar with where his destination might be. Gordon began to follow the other man, still considering what his name might be.

Orrin? Ian? Owen?

"I hope I'm not keeping you from your duties," Gordon said. "Florian."

He really hoped that he had actually remembered the man's name.
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#8
He was flattered, being remembered. And guilty, for not remembering. "No, but I'm sure Her Ladyship will ring for something or other in due time." He stood in the next hall and put the tray on the table inside the alcove. "Why here?"
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#9
Judging from the other man's tone, Gordon suspected that he referred to Lady Violetta and not the Marchioness. Though he did deserve to be commended, he'd heard others refer to Lady Violetta with far less decorum.

Gordon looked around the alcove, eyeing the burnt spot and frowning slightly. There was, of course, no sign of a ghost. No sign of any vermin or anything else that could explain the sounds that troubled his Lordship so.

"His Lordship heard... some noise," Gordon wondered how much the other servants knew about the Marquess' peculiarities. "He requested I deal with it."
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#10
"Hmh." He frowned, "I hope it's not rats. Is it rats?" It best not be. His true nemesis would always be whoever killed his aunt Alberta, but rats were running for second place. With that in mind...

"I say, perchance you know any Madswitte history?" It didn't make much sense to ask a newcomer, but an outsider's perspective might drudge up something new to lead him forward if he did.
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#11
He scanned the floor for any signs of rats. No droppings, nothing that appeared notably chewed into... Gordon had grown used to rats years past, though that didn't mean he was fond of them.

"Hm?" he turned to the other man. "I'm afraid I don't know that much. It's quite old, been in the family for awhile..." Gordon hesitated a moment before adding; "I did hear a bit of talk from some of the younger staff, of strange happenings. Wilkie Collins sort of stuff, nothing to take seriously."
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#12
“Strange. Yes.” To put it mildly. It was then that the little corner with the burnt crown molding caught his eye. He went to it. “Perhaps a candle dropped here...” But he didn’t sound like he believed it. It was the most likely answer, but the air felt chilled as he put his foot on the black spot.

“Did His Lordship say it sounded like anything in particular?”
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#13
[Earlier]

“My word, Brandt! How can you suffer that awful racket without batting an eye?” Kelvin looked about, head cocking like an inquisitive bird as Brandt dressed him. “It’s scratching. Pawing? It is a clatter and a clang. Won’t you see to it?” He pulled away, now frightened. “Go upstairs and tell it to mind where it steps.” Turning to look out his window at the grounds, the shivering of a reflection, a boy’s woeful eyes, stared back at him. “Don’t be scared, Brandt will take care of it.”
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#14
"Some sort of animal," Gordon shook his head. "Clawing, scratching. Probably just one of the younger servants having a lark. Or maybe that girl... I beg your pardon. Miss Julienne, playing in the hallway." Gordon wasn't sure how much he believed this.

The burn made him think of some sensationalist story he had heard once, of a man burning up entirely and leaving nothing but a bit of ash and burnt flooring. "Yes..." Gordon glanced around, not sure he cared for this hallway much. "Well, there doesn't seem to be anything here at present."
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#15
The Phantom Dog was excited to be mentioned, he hopped on the burnt carpet happily.

Florian knelt by the spot and felt the floor rattle, just a little.

"A board is loose..." He guessed, pressing down on the carpet with his hand. It was very cold to the touch. "Do you feel that?"
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