For my Sonne, Rotchild Moulde

It was too much, he realized. There were bits of the machine he couldn’t see, buried deep in the statue somewhere. He would never be able to make the statue move on his own, he needed help. Instructions perhaps, or a blueprint of some kind to give him guidance.

Where would a blueprint for such a magnificent device be? Somewhere close, Edmund reasoned. Paper could rot or crumble with age, and if this statue was supposed to survive for a long time, it would need to have instructions that lasted as long.

Written in stone? Edmund glanced around at the inner walls of the statue before he remembered the cover, and picked up the slim stone. The outside of the cover was bare, and the inside was almost completely clean except for the bottom left corner. Carved there, in small crisp letters as clear and precise as calligraphy, was: ‘For my sonne, Rotchild Moulde.’

The signature was subtle, but somehow confident. If a painter had signed his masterpiece, the signature could not have looked so firm and steady. The name Rotchild sounded somewhat familiar. If Rotchild’s father was the creator of this statue, Edmund reasoned, then perhaps he had left behind some notes on how to fix it.

Edmund carefully rested the stone back in place, and crawled back out into the study. Dashing to the thick chair, he shuffled through the stack of books he had left at its side until he found the History of Moulde Hall, and flipped back in time to the earlier patrons of the family.

Sure enough, Matron Moulde’s great-great-great-grandfather was Patron Rotchild Moulde, son of the infamous Plinkerton Moulde, and from all accounts he was a madman. When the family underwent the major financial and legal trouble brought about by his father, he signed large amounts of land and several buildings over to the banks for quick and easy capital, regaining some financial liquidity by ultimately crippling the family’s holdings. Afterward, he took most of the family’s remaining funds and invested in short term businesses that failed almost immediately.

He was cruel to everyone, incurably paranoid, and seemed to care only for hording his own personal fortune, which, while sizable, was nowhere near as large as it could have been. The only thing he was remembered fondly for was not being Isaybel Moulde, his daughter, who became Matron after Rotchild died in a horse-riding accident, and was by all accounts worse.

Edmund set the book down and sat back on his heels to think. A cruel and unstable man? He supposed he was in no position to judge, but it seemed odd a cruel and unstable man would appreciate something of such wonder and beauty as the statue. Perhaps he didn’t like it? Edmund could easily imagine a cruel Patron covering the perceived eyesore of a gift with the tapestry, and locking the door to keep the offending object as far away as possible.

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