by Ian Ironwood
Chapter One: The Blind Lady Of Tudley House
Edward did not like the looks of the old country manor, no matter which angle he saw it. It was dark and dreary, and it had been years—decades!—since anyone had maintained the place. A Tudor style, two-story affair, the decrepit pile of bricks was covered in vines and dirt. The lawn had not been tended, the windows were caked with coal soot from the Bloomfeld plant a mile away, and the once-stately slate roof looked like the hide of a dragon after a particularly rowdy fight with a vengeful knight. There was an air of misfortune and misery that hung over the place, as if great misdeeds and missed opportunities had accumulated over the years in layers as thick as the dust.
Edward should have had a home like this himself, he thought with a sigh. Only not so dreary. His college friends, the cream of the realm’s aristocracy, had such places to spare: the accumulated inheritance of generations. This home could have been magnificent under his care, he knew, a worthy estate for a country gentleman or industrious peer. It was precisely the sort of thing he aspired to—had aspired to for years, actually. Only Edward Lane was without inheritance of any significance.