Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 10
“Where to, now?” Leonard asked, reaching Wilhelmina’s shoulder and falling into step beside her.
“First my chambers to leave our weapons with our packs, then I’ll take you to find some better suited clothing for journeying. My chambers have suitable room for the rest of our planning and packing, so we’ll reconvene there when you’ve finished,” Wilhelmina answered, turning down a set of halls with a rich crimson carpet covering the middle of the corridor.
Leonard stared at each ornate door they passed. Doors flanked both sides of the extensive hallway. Leonard was up to seven on each side when Wilhelmina changed course and headed to the right. Wilhelmina turned and pushed her shoulder against the door, a wooden clunking sound of her staff meeting the carved wood as it gave in to her pressure.
Leonard followed Wilhelmina into the room and found himself in yet another sizable chamber with another door leading to the left. He figured it was most likely the entrance to Wilhelmina’s actual bedroom area, whereas this chamber looked like another study or office area.
Looking around, Leonard saw more overloaded bookcases scattered around the room, taking up wall space not inhabited by various paintings. Leonard briefly wondered if Wilhelmina had made them. Something about the swirling colors and, in some cases, design, reminded him of her; he could imagine her producing the carefully crafted brushstrokes.
Masha stood up from the chair stationed behind the desk opposite the entrance from the hallway. The stack of material lay waiting on the flat surface in front of her. She still looked uncharacteristically pale to Leonard, except for the slightly rosy splotches accentuating her cheeks.
Wilhelmina nodded to the younger woman as she unburdened herself of her roll of weaponry and disengaged herself from the strap of her staff. She propped the staff against the desk and glanced over the stack of material waiting in front of her.
“Thank you, Masha,” Wilhelmina said warmly with a smile before turning to Leonard. “You can leave those here, and I’ll take you to find some clothing,” she gestured to the area of the desk next to her staff before sweeping past Leonard, waiting for him at the threshold of the doorway.
Leonard propped the bow, his bow, against the desk before untangling himself from the straps of quiver and sword with far less proficiency and grace than Wilhelmina. He nodded at Masha as he deposited his weapons then retraced Wilhelmina’s steps to the door.
As he neared her, Wilhelmina turned away from Leonard and reentered the hallway, turning to the right and continuing down the hall. They didn’t go far, turning to the left-side door when they reached the next set lining the hallway.
Leonard followed her through the doorway and into a chamber as richly furnished as the others Leonard had seen, though this one included a large bed. Wilhelmina barely glanced at the room, instead heading directly to an aged but stately wardrobe on the opposite side. She opened the doors and gestured to the items contained.
“You’re welcome to anything in here. There are boots on the floor. Grab what you may need for a few days and then return to my chambers.” Wilhelmina had already stepped around Leonard and through the doorway and disappeared around the corner before he’d even had a chance to see what was in the wardrobe, or even thank her.
Leonard shrugged and supposed that she wanted to get back to planning the trip to Krosis, or perhaps further harnessing the anxiety that he occasional saw flitting across her face and turning down the corners of her lips.
He tried not to imagine how strained his own face appeared, in between his bursts of childish excitement, and turned his focus to the wardrobe. For the first time, Leonard was feeling a little silly in his mail attire. He felt a rush of gratitude of something more suitable being at hand.
Peering into the wardrobe, Leonard saw pairs of pants and light, button up shirts aplenty to select from. The general style of the clothes looked vaguely Victorian. There were vests tucked in between every few shirts. Leonard ran his hands along the clothes and started making selections.
He decided on a pair brown pants that fit him best and seemed most comfortable for a trek, putting aside two more pairs of similarly cut trousers to put in his pack. Both a deep blue and a black shirt made their way onto the pack pile, leaving a long-sleeved white one for Leonard to change into.
Leonard slipped off his shoes and pulled on the clothes from the wardrobe. They fit him well and were absurdly comfortable. They were made of no material he had ever felt before. Leonard rubbed the fabric of the shirt between his fingers. He suddenly felt like he was in the Twilight Zone, suspended between a game or a dream, and a fantastical reality with all too real consequences that he could not afford to forget.
Shaking his head, Leonard returned to the wardrobe and felt towards the bottom for a pair of boots. His hands clumsily found their way to two pairs. Uncertain if they were the same size, or if either would fit him, Leonard pulled them both out and sat on a nearby cushioned bench.
One pair looked mostly new, barely looking broken in. The second pair were well worn and weathered, having seen long and possibly even reckless use. Like a shockwave, it struck Leonard that the worn boots most likely belonged to his own father, as did the clothes he was wearing. Last worn, last touched by that same man. Without another thought, Leonard replaced the well-used pair at the bottom of the wardrobe and began pulling on the newer boots.
Leonard took a couple of steadying breaths before getting to his feet and gathering his bundle of clothes, including his uniform. On the threshold, Leonard gazed around the chamber sadly for moment before pulling the door shut and making his way back to Wilhelmina’s chambers. He hadn’t even reached the door when he heard raised voices.
Click here for Part 12!