From: Miss Joan McTavish
To: Miss Peggy Douglas
November the fourteenth, 1924
I am sorry to have not written sooner. I have no excuse really.
You expressed concern for my well-being at the palace... and well.... I'll admit, it has not been a perfect dream. (There's a certain member of my co-workers who insists that I should not be there because I will slow everyone down. Ha! He's forty-five! If anyone is going to slow the Security down, it's him, the bugger.)
I arrived at work on Monday, at seven-twenty-five, because I always like to be a little early for appointments and such. I was met at the front gate by Father's friend, Benedict Stewart, Chief of His Majesty's Security. Mr. Stewart is a rather stern individual of around sixty-five, with thick white hair and a mustachio to match. He is definitely ex-military and carries himself like a man in his thirties.
"Miss MacTavish?" he asked. I nodded. He introduced himself and immediately led me to the staff quarters. Apparently I am to live at the palace, as well as work there! This took me aback-- Father had certainly not mentioned anything of the sort to me, and I said so.
"Oh, indeed?" Mr. Stewart replied over his shoulder, leading me through absolute gads of hallways which were covered in lush red carpet. "Well, it's part of the position. It wouldn't help the Prince much if his security lived across town, now would it?"
I blushed and looked down. "No. I suppose not." we were silent for a bit. I did not realize the Palace was so large, you wouldn't think it to look at it, but there you go. I don't think I flatter myself when i say that I have a fairly good sense of direction, but by the time we reached my quarters, even I was completely turned around in the vast maze of hallways. Mr. Stewart indicated a stained cherry wood door, identical to the twenty others which lined either side of the long hall, save for the fact that it had J. MacTavish emblazoned at eye level. "This is your room. The lavatory is at the end of the hall, though you do have a private bath in your living space." (well, that's a relief, I must say!) "Here is your schedule," he handed me a type-written piece of paper, "You'll be expected to be prompt, you understand. Tardiness is not acceptable when the Prince's life may depend on you."
"Yes sir." I agreed.
After that, he showed me around the rest of the palace, marching quickly and pointing with his thumb. "Left is the servant's quarters. The kitchens are on the right. Linen rooms all along this corridor. Cellar's through there. Washrooms. Practice Hall for weapon's training and hand to hand combat." (I made a mental note to look in there the next chance I got.) "Down these stairs are the Royal Family's chambers, as well as the guest rooms." I looked and saw that the carpets had changed to a bluey green color, and the wood panels were darker. Art and tapestries hung from the walls. There was a massive landing edged with an oak rail. Mr. Stewart forged on, "These are all guest rooms. Near the end, those two massive sets of doors? Prince's chambers and the Royal Suite for their Majesties."
We descended another flight of stairs, these much wider and grander than those before. We were in the main part of the palace now. I saw the private dining room, the dining room for private parties, the official dining room.... as well as the several different lounges, music rooms, art rooms. They seem to have three of everything! One for the private use of the Royal Family (which I will refer to as RF from now on) another for the semi private use of the RF's closest friends, and another for the public nobility. Talk about excessive enjoyment!
Anyway. After my tour, Mr. Stewart told me that we were going to meet the men whom I would be working with, in the Practice Hall. "Any questions?" he asked while we made our way there.
"A map?" I said dryly. "It's a bit much to take in."
"Nonsense. The Palace is enchanted. Anyone who has permission to enter can find their way around without a problem. Too many maids got lost."
"Oh." I said and pondered this.
It turns out that I was not officially on duty until the next week, until then I was just shadowing a more senior member of the Prince's security detail. His name is Dominic Rolando, and he's a bit much, honestly: seems to think he knows everything there is to know about security. Oh well.
There are six members of the detail including me. The eldest retired just before I got there which is why I was hired so quickly. It wouldn't do for Prince George to be one security guard short, now would it? There's only three of us attending to the Prince at once, we rotate shifts every two days. Now that I've been here for a fortnight or so, everything's very metronomic. My schedule never changes and nothing ever happens. I just stand there... being a shadow for the Prince. (Who by the way, is the most boring young man I've ever met. He does not speak to any of us except the head of the security. [To do so would be beneath him, I suspect] He never rises until after eleven, eats his breakfast so slowly it's cold by the time he's done, and after that meanders about his duties. He's a pansy, really. Let's hope he grows up a touch before inheriting the throne.)
I do love my room though. It's quite nice. It's painted in muted tones of brown and green, which are the Royal Colors. The bed is wonderful and now that I've moved in, it is fun to be on my own.
The Practice Hall is amazing. Since the Prince doesn't rise until after eleven, and it would be inappropriate for me to be near him while he sleeps, (thank goodness. He probably drools. Ahem.) I have a few hours free time do what I want. The PH is stocked full of my favorite weapons, there's a rock wall which I climbed triumphantly, and.... well there's everything Uni had and more. And it's heaven to hack at a life sized dummy with a sword when I'm upset. Ha!
You have every right to be utterly infuriated. It was most unjust of the School Board to expel you without even considering your side of the story. Personally, I think that sounds a bit extreme. It was just one baby-grand, after all. And you did offer to replace the dratted thing. Call me suspicious, but I really think that expelling you over an instrument (baby-grand or not) is just.... excessive.
I think if I hadn't grown up in such an excitement packed environment, I could quite like living quietly in the city. You know I've always had a weakness for coffeeshops. I think it's all the warm colors and smell of coffee. I do love a cup of coffee. (that's another thing my room has. A coffee brewer! It's all pipes and valves and steams the most delightful aroma when the coffee comes down.)
Hmmmm. I've never heard of a power shift. I'll look it up. (There is also a massive library here, with an entire section dedicated to magic.)
As for the magicians and philosophers of Parliament, it's not like they can do much without the King's approval. The sillies. They think they own everything. But you're right, if someone does not put a stop to their bickering one of the councils is sure to have a casualty. I think they are upsetting His Majesty. I've never seen someone inhale Stomach Relief pills so frequently!
Right. Well. Dominic has ordered me down to the Practice Hall to see how my weapon's skills are. (As if signing my name with an M.A. wasn't enough proof that I know how to handle a revolver.) That twit will end up with my fist in his jaw if he doesn't stop giving me a hard time. I am just as good as any of his men, so there!
I do need to trot though. Cheers!
P.S. I tested the palace's enchantment. Mr. Stewart was correct. I haven't gotten lost once.