Crafting the Letters

The first step of Edmund’s plan was the letters. He knew he couldn’t simply scrawl out invitations–Wislydale had been very clear during his lessons. There was protocol to follow, or else Edmund would never be taken seriously.

Thankfully, finding the right kind of letter was easy. The sheer volume of correspondence that was stored in the library and various studies throughout Moulde Hall made it simple to find an appropriate invitation from generations ago, and then copy out the appropriate language.

Tayatra’s desk was surprisingly helpful, holding samples of letters she had obviously written out for Plinkerton and Rotchild. Edmund carefully copied the style of the letters, pausing only to refill the pen from the glass eye-dropper. He did his best to match the flowery handwriting, flowing language, and formal tone. He found Matron’s signature at the end of an old letter from when she was young, and he copied the name as exactingly as he could.

Deciding who to send the letters to was harder. Tayatra was of no small help here, as she remembered rumors and gossip that had been muttered in the study from long ago, and could still rattle off some of the more memorable conflicts between the founding families. Eventually, Edmund decided on Matron Scower, Patron Vanndegaar, and Matron Cromley.

Matron Cromley was an easy choice. According to one of the up-to-date heraldry books in the sitting room, she had grown up with Matron when they were little girls; and if Tayatra was right, while there was no love lost between the Cromleys and the Mouldes, they had never fought each other. At least, not outright.

Patron Vanndegaar was riskier. The Vanndegaars and the Mouldes had struggled quite publicly over transportation rights to the mined coal generations ago, and according to Tayatra, the wounds had never truly healed over. The Vanndegaars were on mostly fair terms with the Bonnes however, and that was important for Edmund’s plan.

Matron Scower was the wild card. The Scowers were considered pragmatists and not given to sentimentality or loyalty. It would be quite difficult to do so, but if Edmund could win her over then it would say much to the other families, and give him a weight he would not have otherwise. It was far from a sure thing, however, as Matron Scower had a reputation of being very hard to convince of anything.

All three of the families were quite wealthy, and while none were exactly warm to the Mouldes, they had not recently opposed them either. If Edmund was being honest with himself, he had to admit this was probably because they didn’t think the Mouldes needed any help wasting away, but regardless it seemed the best arrangement of families that would be useful, while also being likely to come in the first place.

Sending the letters turned out to be simpler than Edmund had feared. Matron rarely wrote any letters at all, but Mrs. Kippling was constantly keeping in touch with old friends and acquaintances, and the cousins tended to write to business associates or political allies at least three times a week. It wasn’t difficult at all to slip his own three letters into the post box, unseen.

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