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Catherine Smith for Percival Adlard Jr..
The peppiest of widows~
This would have been very disturbing anyway but then Pet's eye popped out and started rolling along the bottom of the boat. Great. Maybe she would be so fortunate as to have a kraken surface nearby and pluck her off the ship with one of its tentacles and kindly drown her. Petra Sleptova in Land, Ho!
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Raise Your Spirits
8th February, 1890 — Some Tea Party, Bartonburg
@Allegra Clearwater
A neighbour had invited half of Bartonburg, it seemed, but their glass-domed conservatory at the back of their house did not feel fit to bursting; the work of a clever extension charm, Elias presumed. He had joined them for tea and cakes obligingly enough, although now he was here and had mingled with everyone he was supposed to, milling around here felt like a grand old waste of an afternoon.

Bright sunlight was streaming through the glass windows and ceiling, almost impossibly bright for Scotland at this time of year - had they added some meteorological spells to make it feel more like the height of spring already, some attempt to banish the winter blues? - but, illusion or otherwise, Elias was itching to be out of there, and go for a fly if it were that nice outdoors. Something to wash down that slice of sponge cake, and then he’d be off, he promised himself, wandering over to the refreshment table. Amongst the glasses of gillywater and pumpkin juice was a pitcher of some drink he didn’t recognise, an inviting yellow in colour, and curiously sweet-smelling too. 

Couldn’t hurt, he supposed. He reached for the pitcher and glass, realising a fraction too late that he’d cut off a young lady who’d been hovering nearby. “Sorry!” Elias exclaimed, pushing the first glass towards her in apology and filling a second cup for himself instead. “Please, after you.”

Delilah nuzzled into the space between neck and shoulder as Allegra took in the glass-domed conservatory. It was, the healer thought, very well-appointed, and the charmwork that had been done to ensure the guests would be comfortable was tidy and not at all intrusive. This, she thought, was a far cry from the teas her mother often tried to drag her to—instead of some equally busy body with an eligible son or twelve, the Clearwaters' companions here seemed to be much of the neighbourhood, making it far easier for Allegra to remain relatively anonymous and feel far more at home.

Even though the event was ostensibly a tea party, there were a number of other beverages available as well. Allegra herself had been making free with the gillywater, finding it to be both refreshing and unobtrusive—not to mention a deal more portable than a hot beverage might have been (seats were scarce, it seemed; the majority of the guests were on their feet as they might be at a ball).

Finding her glass empty, the witch returned to the nearest refreshments table, though her progress was hindered by a gentleman Allegra concluded must have been eager indeed to fetch a beverage. Swiftly, though, he seemed to take note of her presence (and his own error), offering her an apology and the glass he had just fetched for himself.

Gillywater it was not, but she thought it might come across as impolite (at best; spiteful at worst) to decline, and so she accepted the sunshine-yellow nectar with a kind smile.

"Honestly, it's little trouble," she reassured the wizard. Perfunctorily, she raised the glass in a small salute before taking a sip of the beverage, which felt strangely like a bright summer's day as it rolled down her throat. Allegra smiled again to punctuate her reassurance, more brightly this time.
— @Elias Grimstone

graphics by mj ❤ —
“I apologise nevertheless,” Elias insisted, though he was relieved she had not (outwardly) taken his pushing-in as sheer rudeness. Neglecting to notice things was perhaps too deeply ingrained a flaw to overcome, though he suspected he should try a little harder, at least at occasions of a social nature.

Just in case, he mimicked her little toast while taking brief stock of her, lest she was someone he was already acquainted with, and had simply forgotten. But no, he did not know altogether too many young ladies, even in Bartonburg, so he was safe, he thought, from offending further.

Keen as he had been to slake his thirst, he did lift his own glass to his mouth with just a touch of gingerness, curiosity getting the better of him in the end. Besides, others in the room had washed down their tea and cake with it already, and seemed to be enjoying themselves; and this young lady’s smile had the same reassuring effect. He took a draught, and beamed back.

“Lemonade, that is not,” Elias added aloud, surprised but not at all hostile to this drink’s sweet flavour that didn’t taste of any citrus fruit he’d expected. “Have you ever had this before?” It must also be stronger than any of the teas that had been offered, because there was something instantly refreshing about it, so much so that Elias had quite forgotten his previous urge to leave the party.

Maybe it was the dash of peppermint, somehow?

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