A Letter to the Madame
My dearest Madame Charmaine -
I am certain that you already know what this letter is regarding, and that you have already rolled your eyes and cursed my name. If it has somehow escaped your long and detailed memory, I am Corthos Tanessen and this is – once again – in regards to the debts owed by Merrigold Brownlock. I have asked you on multiple occasions to provide me an invoice of her debts to both you and to the house that owns the Lion, with the intent of resolving these debts. I have attempted to contact her sister as well, to no avail. I must ask once again that you provide me this information. I understand that you are reticent due to the fear of losing the income, however, I assure you that I would recompense you fairly.
It is not in my business interest to attempt to deprive you of income, or to ask that you release your – ugh, I am loathe to use the term – property without being treated fairly. However, I must once again ask where the ethical ideology is in presuming a person as property. I do not seek to demand her release from the Lion, only to make certain that she has the freedom to take her own options. At this time, I am prepared to offer you a sum of one hundred gold, delivered discreetly, as a down payment on her debt. If this is acceptable, respond by messenger post-haste.
Again, I must stress that I do not want to create any sort of mayhem. I would hate for this issue to become of greater urgency than it already is. I know you as an intelligent and savvy businesswoman – surely you must realize that at least discussing this with me is a good plan, a viable start to having a debt repaid quite easily. You know who I am and of the noble line I come from, and you know that I can afford to resolve this debt for you.
I implore you to act on your conscience, and to get this information to me as soon as one can. For your peace of mind, and for the sake of Merrigold. I will continue to reach out to her known family, and I expect that I will find out this debt soon enough – I ask that you do the proper thing and open the negotiation with me.
Your obedient servant,
My dear Lord Tanessen,
I thank you so much for your most gracious letter. Although her obligation to the Lion is purely a financial one, Merrigold is one of my most valued employees, and I care deeply about her well-being. It is gratifying to know that she has such a devoted friend in you.
As far as the specifics of her debt go, I’m afraid that is something that I am only at liberty to discuss with Merrigold herself. As you know, we value confidentiality and discretion very highly at the Crooked Lion, and that extends to our employees as well. Unless I were to receive explicit permission from the woman in question, it would be simply unprofessional of me to share personal details, even with such a dear friend. I can inform you, however, that although the sum of one hundred gold you have so kindly offered is a wonderful gesture, there would be a great amount still left to pay off.
I wonder – have you discussed these questions of yours with Merrigold? It seems to me that she would be quite familiar with the specifics of her contract, and I’m sure she would be happy to discuss them with you. For Merrigold to have, as you say, “the freedom to take her own options,” she must be aware of what those options entail. Additionally, to the best of my knowledge she hasn’t heard from her sister in over six months, and I know she would be ecstatic to hear that you are trying to get in contact with Primrose.
I would of course be happy to meet with Merrigold and yourself to discuss what sort of recompense might be worked out in order to resolve this situation in a way that would be favorable to all parties involved. I await any further missives with eagerness.
As always, your obedient servant,
My dearest Madame Charmaine -
I feel that I have been gracious and kind in offering a down payment towards this debt. I have never created a scene or an issue in your establishment, and I treat you with naught but respect. In fact, it is your professionalism and discretion that makes me so eager to contact you in regards to this matter. While I understand that you do not wish to break any sort of protocol, I must ask a few further questions. As we both care so deeply for Merrigold’s well-being, surely you must realize that dredging back these painful memories may be an issue for her? And if, god forbid, we were unable to resolve this issue, the disappointment would be a crushing blow. As we are both such dear friends of hers, I trust that you agree with me that she should be shielded from such a thing.
It is a great thing that she is in the care of someone that watches over her so well. In the interest of us reaching a conversation point without having to involve our dear friend, I offer you a counter point. Because you are so clearly concerned for her safety, I offer you the sum of five hundred gold pieces in a lump payment as a show of good faith. All that I ask is that we open this dialogue further without needing her involvement. I know that there are many expenses included with her existing debts, the factors of which only you will be able to provide. After all, she does know of the costs associated with your business in the same manner that you do.
I am willing to send you the money if you are willing to meet in private.
As always, I am humbled to be your obedient servant,
My dear Lord Tanessen,
I thank you for your thoughtful response. Although I believe Merrigold is somewhat less delicate than you give her credit for, I appreciate your obvious concern for her feelings. She is a lovely girl, and I would hate to cause her unnecessary distress, so I will defer to your judgment for now – you do, after all, know her quite intimately.
I would be happy to hold an initial private meeting with you to discuss the terms of Merrigold’s contract and what, exactly, would be required to release her from it. As I’m sure you are aware, there are many factors that one must take into consideration in business, and I want to take care to ensure that any action I take will be favorable to my patrons, my girls, and myself. I cannot, therefore, guarantee that you will necessarily be happy with the outcome of our discussion, but I hope that we will be able to continue in the spirit of friendship no matter our ultimate decision.
I cannot express the depth of my gratitude for your generous offer of five hundred gold. Such kindness is rare in these challenging times, and Merrigold is lucky to have such an affectionate friend. I look forward to your prompt reply.
As ever, I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
I will hand the gold to you personally, along with my assistant. Obviously discretion will be of great importance. I appreciate your willingness to listen in these trying times. I am certain that you have a figure in mind – after all, doesn’t every savvy business owner have a certain goal for their own prosperity? I aim to try and find an agreeable solution. I will come to you with no expectations, simply with the money that I have promised. In exchange, I expect the same discretion that you hold so highly to be given to this situation. Furthermore, I expect an itemized list of the cost – whether I can afford to pay it is something for my own discretion, not yours.
I would certainly hope that this is amenable. It is only out of our shared fondness for Merrigold that we are both in this situation. She cannot know about our arrangement, and I would presume that no others on your side will know more. This will be kept between you, myself, and one trusted ally on either side.
I look forward to our arrangement and meeting.
As always, I remain your humble servant.
My dear Lord Tanessen,
I will look forward to meeting with you and your assuredly charming assistant in three days’ time then, if that date is amenable to you. At our meeting, I will provide a copy of Merrigold’s initial contract, as well as an itemization of the substance of the debt. I’m so glad that you understand the importance of discretion in a line of work such as this.
Of course my greatest concern in this affair is for Merrigold – no matter what arrangement may or may not be decided on, she is the one whose life will be affected. As you have requested, I will keep this between us for now. I will await our meeting eagerly.
I remain your most humble and obedient servant,
Nothing would bring me more pleasure. I look forward to putting this issue to rest. I presume you will have a room set aside for our discussion.
-As always, your obedient servant,