|Norah Klyne (little_tigress) wrote in deadofnightic,|
@ 2016-08-23 18:46:00
|Will was led by one of the supervisors to a side room. She opened the door and gestured for him to go in, but she stayed outside. Somehow that made Will all the more nervous. Still, the order was clear, so he went inside. His head was held low, though his eyes were darting around trying to take in the room and its single occupant as quickly as possible. He stopped in the middle of the room, facing the man, and ducked his head in greeting. He was slouching slightly, trying to compensate for his height, wishing he could be smaller. Will briefly wondered if he should drop to his knees or not. Some masters would appreciate it, but others were annoyed by it. He decided to stay standing by sheer virtue of it being the thing he was already doing.|
Nic had read the case report carefully when it had been brought to his attention. All in all, Art Cameron had been in possession of more than a handful of helots. Being an official, it was his job to undersea the fair treatment of helots. On occasion, certain cases caught his attention more than others.
William Emmerson caught his attention for a handful of reasons. He was deaf, but he could speak according to his medical records. The fact he did not lend to the theory he had been mistreated to some degree and so, naturally, Nic wanted to know more. Seeing the way the William withdrew gave him the idea to purchase, though, rather than see the boy off to mandatory therapy. There was nothing in the halfway home that could repair what had been done, and though he had no immediate assignment in mind, he had already put the payment down and held the title to the boy tucked in a folder beneath his arm.
“My name is Nicholas Edding… I will be your new Master now… Hold your head up, let me get a look at you.”
Will kept his eyes up enough to watch the man’s lips. It was hard to make out the man’s last name… Eddy? Etty? Something like that. But the rest of it was easy to understand. New Master. Will tensed. He couldn’t help it. But he didn’t want to give the wrong impression, not on the very first day. He lifted his head as he was told, straightening out a little bit, though it showed off how thin he was when he wasn’t slouching. He tugged nervously on the hem of his shirt, making sure it didn’t ride up.
While he was looking up, Will took the opportunity to look over his new Master. The man didn’t look mean or cruel, but Will knew by now that looks could be deceiving. It didn’t mean that the man wouldn’t change when they got home. Will wanted to ask why Master Nicholas even wanted him, but he didn’t have a way to do it. He had been given some paper at one point, so he could communicate by writing, but he’d left it under his bed upstairs when the supervisor retrieved him. Theoretically he could try signing, but most people didn’t know any ASL. So, as the seconds stretched on glacially, Will forced himself to stay still. It took effort to keep himself from ducking his head again, instinctively trying to look small. He managed, though.
Nic only knew a small handful of ASL but would have to learn more if William would be staying with him. When the boy straightened himself out, he took a good look at him before nodding his head. He stood nearly his same height but was thin by comparison. “It says on your chart you read lips, is this right?” He had waited for some show of acknowledgment before he gestured to the paperwork in his hand. “If you have any belongings upstairs, please collect them… I would like to get you home and settled for the evening… I think you’ve been through enough.”
He glanced toward the door and waited for the supervisor to come and let William out. These interactions weren’t typical for him. Most of the slaves he owned had been under his family’s care to some extent or another for years. Bringing new slaves in posed a subtle risk, but there was no reason Nic could see to be overly concerned at the moment.
While he waited, he signed off on some final paperwork and checked in on some others before making his way to the car outside where he knew they would usher William out to. With a quick call to the house, he spoke with the primary housekeeper to ensure space was being made for him and that Norah was to be dressed and present in his study when they arrived home.
Will nodded his head quickly, eager to appear submissive, willing to cooperate. His hands continued to fidget with the hem of his shirt, and after a second he dropped his head down again, unable to resist the urge to try to seem subordinate. It had be drilled and beaten into him, it kept him alive. It was a powerful instinct after all this time.
Nodding again at the instruction, Will headed to the door. He didn’t know what to make of the last part, though. He’d been through enough? What was that supposed to mean? He hadn’t done much of anything today. The supervisors at the halfway house had been giving him half as many chores as everyone else, since apparently he was supposed to be resting, or at least that’s what he’d been told. All he’d done today was a couple of hours of washing dishes. His hands were pruny afterwards, but that was all. It hadn’t exactly been an ordeal.
But Will knew better than to question, even if he’d had the means to. He went quickly up to the dormitories, down the hall and into the third door on the right, into one of many rooms in the halfway house that had eight identical beds and little else. His was the second from the left. He went to it quickly and pulled out a cardboard box from underneath it. Inside was a sweatshirt, which he left on the bed, since it wasn’t his. It belonged to the halfway house. Under that was a pen and a loose stack of papers. He shoved the pen into the pocket of his sweatpants and shuffled the papers to straighten them up before folding them in half. Some of them were still blank, but others had drawings or things he’d written. He’d only had them since he got here, and he didn’t know what use he had for his mediocre drawings in his new home, but he didn’t want to leave them if he didn’t have to. It was nice to have something to take with him.
Will stood up and started to go, but then stopped. He fished the pen out of his pocket and pulled out one of his blank sheets of paper. He went over to the wall to have something hard to write on and jotted a quick note. He read it again, didn’t find anything wrong with it, and headed back downstairs.
By the time he got back to the side room where his Master was waiting for him, Will was fidgeting with the papers, nervously folding and unfolding one corner. He hesitated, glancing up at Nicholas, careful for any sign of displeasure, and moved closer to the man, holding out the note he’d written. I can sign ASL and write, Master. I’m sorry I am difficult. He backed away again once Nicholas had taken the note.
Drawing the phone away from his face, Nicholas turned his attention to William when he returned and began to thumb through the papers. He would have to get him a proper pad to carry around in time. Smiling gently at the gesture he shook his head. “You're not difficult.” He saw value in helots who knew their place, but he did not enjoy the disparaging mentality that could come with years worth of questionable treatment. Even while Norah enjoyed some different treatment than the bulk of his household, none of them feared to speak to him or even express difficulties they were having with a command.
“I am still learning ASL, be patient with me.”
Raising his hand up, he gestured for the other to follow him out of the halfway house down to a black car with equally tinted windows. Opening the door to the back seat, he let William get in before he moved around to the other side to sit as well. The driver knew to take them back to the property, so he gave no further instruction. “You’re tall. We will have to get you properly fitted for some more clothing over the next couple of days. Your space is being set. You will have a bed and dresser, mirror and wash basin… Everything else is in the common area. There are about fifty helots who work on the property, but I would like you to serve as a personal assistant, so you’d be coming into the city with me from time to time.
Will’s expression perked a little. His Master was learning ASL? He’d never been able to actually sign with one of his masters before. That would be incredible. “Thank you,” he signed quickly, still watching Nicholas with surprise and gratitude in his eyes.
He followed Master Nicholas out to the car, staying a step behind the man and to the left. He got in the car when directed, put on his seat belt, and then did his best to sit quietly, hands in his lap, taking up as little space as possible. Not that it did much, because he was too tall to ever really be small or out of the way. He watched his Master carefully out of the corner of his eye and turned his head toward the man a little more once Nicholas started to speak. He didn’t want to accidentally miss anything. He’d learned long ago that masters hated repeating themselves.
Despite his close attention, Will didn’t understand everything Nicholas said. Or, at least, he thought he understood the words, but maybe he was wrong, because some of it didn’t make a lot of sense. Was Nicholas implying that Will was going to have his own room? With… what could a helot need with a mirror? Will had only had his own room once, and he didn’t really count it, because it was more of a cell than a room. It wasn’t even big enough for him to stretch out, he had to sleep curled up, and it certainly hadn’t had a bed. Most other places he’d been, he’d had a bed, but always in a room he shared with other helots. The idea of having his own space was… foreign. What would he do with it? He wouldn’t be in there except to sleep, anyway, right? Surely he would have work to do the rest of the time.
The idea of being a personal assistant made him nervous, since he’d never done something like that before. He didn’t know what would be expected of him, and he was scared he would disappoint his new Master. But, well, being a personal assistant sounded a hell of a lot better than Master Cameron’s brothel, and from the way Nicholas was talking, it seemed like he planned on treating Will more gently than he was used to. He knew better than to get his hopes up, but it sounded promising. He nodded to show he understood, and even tried for a bit of a smile. It was threadbare but it was visible at least.
Nicholas picked up his phone following the short conversation, his eyes scanning the screen as he went through his schedule to ensure there was nothing he had forgotten that day. The truth was that having a personal assistant would help him a good deal regarding keeping track of his schedule, and it would also allow him to work closely with Will as he started to adjust to a lifestyle outside of a brothel. When the car finally slowed, they had driven into a beautiful neighborhood with fenced yards and easily several yards between each lot.
The car turned into a driveway that drove up to a large main door, and it was evident from the size and the style of the home, Nicholas did not hunger for much in his life. Pocketing his phone he waited until the car came to a full stop before he slid out and walked around to stand beside the door for Will. “This is the main house; there is a smaller property in the back for the slave quarters… but let me show you around here first and introduce you to some of the others you’ll be working with once you’ve settled.”
Nicholas walked his way up the stairs and into the main foyer only to be greeted by a housekeeper. He gestured toward Will after he said his hello to her and introduced him before another slight of a woman came up. She was dressed in a simple but well-tailored dress and greeted him as Master before taking his coat and offering a smile with a small nod. “Maria, this is Will… He’ll be staying with you and the others in the slave quarters.”
She smiled up at the taller boy and offered another bow of her head before she made her way out of the foyer. Out of his coat, it was easier to take in Nicholas’ build. He was as tall as William, but his muscles were more defined. He walked a little further in before gesturing toward his office off to the side and every room that came along the way. He only paused on his tour when Norah came into sight. She was dressed the same as the other helots who were working around the house, but the expression in Nicholas’ eyes was far different as he slid a palm behind her back to draw her over.
“Norah, this is Will… He will be staying with us, and I will need you to teach him the ropes.”
Norah was eagerly awaiting Nicholas’ return to the house, as she always did. As all the slaves Nicholas Edding employed she was well taken care of. However, unlike the rest, she was particularly devoted to him. In fact she was in love with her MAster, though she would never dare to voice such a thing. It wasn’t her place to, but she felt the strong attachment all the same.
She’d been planning on a little surprise for her Master to come home to that would, no doubt, generate a delicious little bit of punishment. Those plans came to a halt when Nicholas called home to have a message passed to her. She was curious as to what kind of slave her Master was bringing home needing her particular attention. So she was ready and left them alone to a short time, watching before approaching. She looked up at her MAster with an adoring expression on her face, a ready smile on her lips.
“Welcome home, Master,” she said brightly before lifting up on her toes to kiss his cheek, an action reminiscent from her youth. A time when she, as a well behaved little girl, had first caught her master’s attention in a more innocent and platonic fashion.
“Of course, Master. I would be happy to.” Norah then turned to Will, giving him a welcoming smile as she stepped forward and reached out her hand toward him. “Hello, Will. I’m Norah Klyne. I hope we get to be great friends.” Norah was a short thing, only five feet and four inched if that. Slender and pale from the Irish, or Scottish, heritage that likely colored her family so strongly on her mother’s side.
Will watched out the window with interest as they pulled up to the house. It was obviously a wealthy home, but he knew as much already, given the number of slaves Nicholas owned. He got out when the car stopped and followed his Master closely, sticking to his left and a step behind him, careful to be both within reach and out of the way. He watched the introductions, filing away the names of the two women. He nodded to both of them, clearly somewhat shy even with other helots, but not actively afraid.
After following Nicholas to his office, Will managed to send Norah a small smile in return. It was easy to see the dynamic between her and their Master. She seemed friendly, which was good for him. So was Nicholas’ decision to have her show him around. Being in the good graces of the Master’s favorite was always a good thing. Will knew enough to see opportunities to try to stay safe in a new household. He took her hand and gave another soft smile, then moved back again and glanced at Nicholas, hoping for approval or instruction.
When Norah lifted herself onto her toes to press a kiss to his cheek, Nicholas closed his eyes quietly a moment to savor her affection. He always had. He had known her since she was so small she hardly knew her place in the household, and his treatment toward her had likely done little to dissolve that illusion. She was a helot, to be sure, but she was his helot and he’d yet to assign her any task outside of being at his beckon call, regardless of day or night.
When her attention drew back to Will, though, his arm faded from her side. “I want you to show him to the slave quarters; he has his own room space on the top floor that Maggie should have set up for him. Show him the entire housing space, where he can socialize and find fresh towels…Tell Maggie to make an appointment for the tailor to come him and get him fitted.” Pausing after a moment, he turned his attention back to Will solely.
“Once Norah has shown you around come back to see me in my office. I will discuss with you what your responsibilities will be before you go get some dinner.”
Nodding his head to both of them, Nicholas made his way down the hall after that. He wanted to get some wine and change out of his work clothes, but there was a time and place for everything it seemed.
Norah listened to Nicholas as he instructed her, her attention returning to her Master for the moment. She gave a nod of her head even as she vocalized. “Yes, sir.” She said, making a mental list of all that would need to be done with the timeline they had available before dinner. Finally deciding that, yes, it would be doable.
“We will take our leave then, Master. So I can get him back to you quickly.” She said with a bright, cheery smile. Then, because she was indeed excited to meet someone new who was close to her age within the household, he turned to Will and held out her hand to him.
“Come along, then. We will have fun going around everywhere.”
Will tried to keep track as his master gave Norah instructions, but he was speaking quickly and Will didn’t quite catch all of it. There was something about an appointment to get him fitted, which confused him for a second. Fitted for what? But then he realized that the other two slaves he’d seen seemed to have custom clothing, high quality, if still simple. He must be being given the same thing. It seemed like an unnecessary luxury to be given to helots, but he wasn’t so rude as to question his master’s wishes. If Master Nicholas wanted him in tailored clothing, that was what he would wear.
He pulled his attention back to Nicholas a second later when the older man address him. He nodded quickly and bowed his head to Nicholas before hesitantly taking Norah’s hand and allowing her to lead him out into the hall. He send her a small, careful smile once they were alone.
Norah gave her Master a smile as she lead Will away, a silent ‘goodbye’ to him before her attention was averted. Will then had her full attention. She held onto his hand in what she hoped was a comforting fashion. She then made a concentrated effort to speak slowly, having been informed with her Master’s call ahead what to expect with this new Helot.
“I don’t know sign, but if you will teach me I would love to learn it. For now let’s stop by one of the little slave offices and get you a little pad and pencil, yes?” She smiled warmly as she lead him to one of the areas that held various little things for the slaves to slip into and grab for various functions. Like note taking. “There are these little storage areas around the house, you’ll learn where they are.” She said as she ducked into the nearest and quickly reappeared with a little pad and pencil, handing them over.
Will sent Nora another smile, still small but not as cautious. He nodded easily. He could teach her some, at least. Even a little would be nice. He hadn’t signed to anyone in years but it still came naturally to him. And anyway, he liked the idea of having something to write with. It would make things quite a bit easier. He was a little bit astounded by how many things were just freely available to them in Nicholas’ household. He had never in his life been allowed to just take things like that without worry of repercussions. He took the notepad from Norah with something akin to wonder. He turned it over in his hand, then took the pencil and wrote quickly, Thank you.
Norah was really one quick with a smile, which Will would come to learn easily. Especially as he gifted him another kind smile as she read the words he wrote. "You don't need to thank me for this." She moved to walk at his side, head turned slightly to make sure he could see her lips as she spoke.
"I was born and raised in Master's house, the only child to be. I've never known any life but this one, but I know from school not all Master's are kind and caring like mine. He is stern and stoic. He has rules and he will punish us if we do wrong and misbehave. He's an important man with a reputation to maintain. So we have to behave. If we do so then we will be happy and well taken care of. He provides for us." Reaching out she wrapped an arm around Will's shoulders and gave him a little hug. "You're in a good place. I promise."