- So, mister Cathal... I almost feel like I should not ask...
- You want to ask me, how am I going to help young Frances.
- And do I really need to know her past.
- I ... heard about ... the methods you and your kind are using. Never actually had to deal with any of your kind before. You understand I am understandably curious.
- What did they tell you about me ? What did you hear about ... as you say that ... 'my kind' ?
- You heal emotional damage, that's what they said. I heard stories about others of your kind, resorting to ... even killing their subjects sometimes...
- Only if there is nothing else to be done. The damage here is severe but I don't think we have to resort to ... ultimate solutions - he said the last two words very, very slowly.
- ... ok, good. So what are you going to do ? What are you planning ? What resources, people, what are you going to need ?
- As of now, I think, I'm grand. A place to stay within the building where she normally sleeps, minimum required staff and service, that's what you have in place right now. All i have to do now, is spend some time with her, gradually increasing exposure. All the while I will be keeping a journal, hidden in a secret compartment in my book bag...
- A journal?
- Yes, a part of straightening ones emotions may require, that a book is created, that contains them. But sometimes the journey is hard, and can emotionally wreck me too. This is why I don't take such assignments too often.
- Who will be creating the book ?
- Sometimes. If a case is straightforward, the amount of unwinding emotions is not too overwhelming, and does not require a neutral narrator to be introduced. I write them myself then. I'm good at it too. Sometimes, a case can involve a ghost writer. Rarely, a case can involve an entire committee of creative individuals. I do not know much of her history, so I can not tell you which one will it be.
- I ... i only know, that she was in hospital for a long time. Her family would not tell me why. But I remember her, visiting this estate, several years ago - I was a young deputy governor here then. I had lots to learn, about estate management. We... you know, this place is pretty remote. It takes days to travel here by land. Sea route is useable in good weather only, or if you are really determined. Rumours and news rarely reach us intact. So when she arrived here I must say I was ... shocked.
- I understand, she wasn't herself ?
- Physically, no, nothing changed since I saw her last - maybe that she grew up - after all I haven't seen her for a good while. They said, she was recovering, that the doctors told them, to keep her away from people for a while. I did not believe at first...
- But then ?
- But then, a young maid who has been assigned as her servant, went back to her family on Mothers' Day, and next thing we knew, they sent a message back, that she won't be coming back to us, and told our messengers to stay away from their village, or else. Frances' family took care of that one actually later. There were others who would not say to us here, what was going on, but have been handing their notices in and went away never to return.
- Until the Keepers appeared?
- Yes. The Keepers make up most of the service staff now. But the effect they have on Frances, you have seen yourself. It was the doctor, that actually suggested hiring them.
- I see. You really don't know anything else about young Frances?
- No, master Cathal.
- Ok. I guess I need now to go and see the doctor. Thank you governor. For the tale.
* * *
I have a bad feeling about this.
It's not what they are saying, or doing.
They are trying hard to make me feel, like everything is going to be well.
All of them. The Keepers, Doctor, Master Cathal.
They seem genuinely interested in her well-being, so much that I am forced to send enthusiastic reports back to her family.
Master Cathal is a very skilled soul-doctor, it seems. As skilled, as the Doctor is bringing her body back to life.
This should give me all the warm feelings... but I can remember, what was she like, back then, years ago. I briefly saw that character, just after she arrived, and actually saw me for the first time in years. He face lit up briefly when she looked into my eyes, then sulked back to grim when her posse has noticed.
I have not seen it since.
It's like that personality is, what is injured. Her character.
But Cathal's, Doctors and Keepers' effort look like they are creating something completely different.
People in my position, a governor of a large country estate in the middle of nowhere, have to hide their feelings a lot.
Even if I have forest fires, I have to be able to report, that I am doing everything to contain them.
Even if I have pirates attacking my coast side villages, I have to be able to report, that I know everything about them.
Even if I have a band of highwaymen ransacking the goods off my wagons, I have to be able to report that they are actually caught already.
Maybe because of that, neither of the body and soul doctors are able to tell what I really feel.
And I, I have a bad feeling about Frances.
Neither Doctor or Cathal, are answering any of my inquiries about her past, before she was sent here.
They come up with scene changes and excuses, slip out like eels. But they can't deceive a human manager like me.
They are hiding something, and I am going to find out, what it is.
I have to.
Even though I am alone. They got rid of all my staff, replaced them all with the faceless Keepers.
I have to find out what this is about.
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