Ryan’s words washed over Sarah as he led her about the house. It was different from the other houses she had been in, the foremost being that the outer walls were of stone not wood. The second thing she noted was that chandeliers hang from the high ceilings.
“This,” Ryan’s voice made her look right, “is the council chamber.”
She smiled as he cautiously opened the door. Sarah peeked in to see a room, dominated by a table.
“We’re not allowed to go in,” he informed her solemnly. “Not unless they call us in...”
His words continued to run as he pulled Sarah across to the left. The size of the room they entered astonished Sarah. It was easily twice the size of the dining hall at Lady Abigail’s. Here too, the ceiling boasted chandeliers. But, what impressed her most was the light, storm darkened as it was, pouring in through the windows that lined all but the wall behind them. Through the west window she could see the sun setting below the clouds, casting the Willows in a strange orange glow. They looked like they were burning without being consumed.
Ryan’s voice brought her out of her thoughts and she looked to see him at another door on the opposite side of the wall from which they’d entered.
“Have you ever seen such a big kitchen?” he asked. “And the root cellar is even bigger!”
Sarah smiled, but decided not to tell Ryan that Lady Abigail’s kitchen wasn’t that much smaller than this one. They moved between a china closet and long work table to the second door on the right wall. Sarah chuckled as she realized they were back in the foyer.
“Come on,” Ryan beckoned her.
Startled Sarah looked to see he’d taken a sharp right into a dark stair well. Now things were beginning to feel as close and dark inside as Sarah was used to seeing. One window on the east side of the house provided very minimal light to the hall in which they now stood. Ryan pointed to the stairs on the left.
“That’s where the Mistresses and Madams-to-be and Masters and Squires sleep.”
His words continued to tumble as Sarah tried to stifle a yawn. He pointed out the sitting room on the right and Madame Vivian and Sir Merlin’s room at the end of the hall and then he pulled her into the last room.
“This is where I’ve been sleeping. And you too now!” He grinned as he clambered up onto the bed by the door. “I’ve been sleeping here.”
Sarah moved to the second bed and sat down upon it. She smiled as she sank in slightly as Ryan continued chatting. If she wasn’t mistaken this might actually be a feather bed. She hadn’t even had a feather bed while sleeping at Lady Abigail’s. Commotion downstairs roused Ryan from his ramblings and he peeped out the door.
“Excuse us Goodman Ryan,” a cheerful voice spoke from the door, “I have a trunk here that needs to be delivered for the Goodwoman who’s to stay with us.”
Ryan quickly jumped back upon his bed and watched as two men entered with a heavy chest between them.
“Ooh, are those Sarah’s things?” He looked over to where Sarah had lain down upon her bed. “Did you know you had such things? I remember...”
“Ryan,” Sarah sat up with a laugh. “Can’t you be quiet for one moment?”
The men set the trunk down and turned to Sarah.
“You are not Vivian,” the man who had spoken before observed with a slight chuckle.