Friday, May 29

Original Fiction by Xan (Part 8) "Pirates and washtubs…"

“Mr. Dyse!” A woman called up the stairs of the mansion. “Mr. Dyse, if you please?”

A tall slender construct clothed in elegant silks and immaculately shined boots made its way to the handrail. “Yes, Lady Weatherly? How can I be of service?”

“Mr. Dyse, it is your duty to look after the children while Master Weatherly and I go into town.” The portly woman spoke with an air of authority. “I want them bathed, brushed and ready for the party this evening. Is that understood?”

“By your words, m’lady,” Mayvn bowed. “It shall be done.”

The heavyset woman turned on her heels and walked under the landing and out of sight. Mayvn shook his head and turned back towards the nursery where the children lay in bed still sleeping the morning away.

“I wish she would treat me as a member of her staff, not just like another mindless construct.” Mayvn mumbled under his breath. “Oh! I should not speak ill of the lady of the house.” He shook is head. “But it does befit one to think himself independent and paid for a job well done.”

Mayvn reached the doorway to the nursery, pausing a moment to enjoy the beautiful carvings on the doorway depicting great children’s stories. Painted carvings of pirates and sailors, wizards and dragons, as well as gladiators and kings. He would smile if he could. He thought of adventure and then looked to his silken clothing.

“I had better get my head out of the clouds. I could not wear such fine things while adventuring.” He tapped lightly on the door of the nursery and then stepped in. He walked across the room, gingerly stepping around toys lying strewn all over the floor. He navigated his way in the dimly lit room past a large dollhouse and to the window. He took the two gilded golden ropes in his hands and chuckled to himself at the start this would give the children.

“Wake up my little ones!” Mayvn said with a gentle but urgent voice as he pulled the thick velvet drapes open. “We have pirates invading! We must hurry!”

The children all jumped from their beds. Used to this type of game, they were ever ready to play with their construct ‘nanny.’ The sunlight bathed the room in a warm yellow glow. Toys were covering nearly every inch of the room.

“PIRATES!” Came a shout from one of the boys as he reached to his nightstand for his spectacles.

“Yes, Caleb.” Mayvn spoke to the ten-year-old boy in a hushed tone. “Pirates have been seen off the coast. These pirates are looking for children who are not bathed and whose rooms are not kept.”

“Oh my!” Came a feigned gasp from one of the girls. “Real pirates?”

“Real enough.” Mayvn walked over to Shelbi’s bed. The young girl, all of about twelve pulled the blankets up to her chin. “Real enough that I would not want them to find my children not clean and their room not tidy.”

The two smallest children, Avery and Zach, darted from their beds and began to heft armfuls of toys into their toy chests. These two, who were five and three years old, took to Mayvn’s stories like they were in real live adventures.

“Hurry Shelbi!” Avery huffed as she dumped another pile of stuffed animals into her toy chest at the foot of her bed. “We don’t want the pirates to get us!”
“Bad pie-rats!” Zach managed to get out, as he picked up a handful of toy soldiers and placed them neatly in the box made to hold and keep them safe. They were, after all, his favorite toys.

“That’s right!” Mayvn said to the two youngest. “Very good! You are sure to be safe from those pie-rats.” He said as he looked to the small boy trying so hard to make his bed on his own. Mayvn would have smiled again had he been given the capability to do so. He helped the small one tidy up his bed and clean up the rest of the toys surrounding his bed.

“Hurry Shelbi!” Avery shouted again as she ran over to Shelbi’s bed and tore the blankets off the bed to reveal the young girl in her nightgown.

Shelbi gasped and tried hopelessly to cover herself. “What are you doing? It’s only a game!”

“We don’t have much time before the pirates will get us and take us away!” Avery continued playfully.

Mayvn walked over to Avery's bed and gave her a beckoning wave. “Come child; let us tidy your bed.”

By this time Caleb had rolled out of his bed and walked like a zombie into the washroom and closed the door behind him. Then a splash as he flopped down into the warm foaming water of the bathtub. Shelbi shot out of bed at the sound of the water and began pounding on the door.

“Caleb!” She continued to hammer on the door with her fists. “You had better not take too long; some of us would like a hot bath too!”

“Mayvn has coals under the tub!” Caleb yelled from inside the washroom. “The water will be plenty warm for you!”

“Well I don’t want your boy dirt all over in my clean water either, Caleb!” Shelbi banged on the door once more for good measure as she went back to her bed and began tidying up her corner of the nursery.

As Mayvn finished helping Avery with her bed and giving it a nice inspection. He tidied up Zach’s bed and then proceeded over to assist Shelbi with her bedding.

“Don’t worry Miss Shelbi; there will be clean water for all.” Mayvn tried to ease her temper. “Besides, pirates don’t wait around for boys who soak in tubs either.”

“ACK!” Caleb could be heard splashing around as he fell from the tub.

“It sounds like poor Master Caleb found the water too hot for his liking.” Mayvn just laughed a bit as he looked to the other children who were all snickering at the prank Ol’ Mayvn had played on one of his watch’s. “I had a spell prepared that made the metal washtub heat up after a few minutes. Pity Master Caleb was sitting on the metal washtub when it heated up.”

“Not funny, Mayvn!” Caleb shouted as he walked out of the washroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. “You knew I would be the first one in there.”

“Actually, Master Caleb,” Mayvn spoke with a smug reply. “I knew how long before the washtub would heat up again. That way I could get you children bathed and done before it heated up again.”

“Besides, Caleb.” Shelbi spoke up as she finished tucking her blankets under her mattress. “We had to hurry to avoid pirates, remember?” She winked at Mayvn, and Mayvn let out a soft giggle.

“That’s right!” Mayvn jumped to his feet. “Avery and Zach, come with me, you two will bathe together. Master Caleb and Miss Shelbi, please attend to the rest of the room, pick up all the remaining toys and pick out your clothes for the party this evening.”

“Yessir!” They both joked back to Mayvn in unison as Mayvn closed the washroom door to start to bathe the little ones.

They emerged a few minutes later, the two children running out of the washroom like wild Indians. Naked and screaming they ran around the room while Mayvn tried to chase them down with a towel. Shelbi made her way into the washroom with her towel and a small bag containing girl things such as make up and powder.

“How long do I have before the washtub heats up, Mayvn?” Shelbi asked playfully.

“Oh, Miss Shelbi,” Mayvn stopped after he had Avery wrapped up in a towel. “It should have just finished warming the water for the last time. You should be good to finish.”

After she had closed the door, the three others got dressed in their Sunday best. Mayvn too disappeared for a moment and returned in finer clothing. “Now children, the pirates will pass by this house nicely.” Mayvn cleared his throat, as long as we remain clean until this evening.” He flopped down on a rocking chair near the bay window and slowly began to rock back and fourth.

“Mayvn, can you tell us another story?” The small blue-eyed Avery climbed up onto her ‘nanny’s’ lap and looked at him with childish puppy dog like eyes. How could anyone say no to a child that looked like that?

“All right, my dear child,” Mayvn let out a small sigh. “Let me tell you a story of the ancient world...”

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