The Munson Estate is a jewel of elegance and finery in an otherwise harsh and unforgiving desert. It's a place built on obscene wealth that wants people to know how much richer it's occupants are compared to everyone else. The anywhere room door opens into the parlor, where elegant furniture add a touch of class to the place, and a sideboard sporting several fine liquors offers refreshment. Outside the window, the sky is grey and dismal. Once fine rosebushes are scraggly and barren.
The youth at Dare's side is thin and somewhat sallow, with fine and haunted features. They look fragile. Clean shaven, with short hair left long on top. He's dressed fine in a brown suit and paisley waistcoat. He looks at date with quiet reserve, and says, "What can I get you to drink?"
The Martyr lets go Briar's hand when they cross the threshold, just in case, but doesn't move away. He turns to look at Martin, dark eyes serious and intent. His outfit has transformed enough to add a frock coat and make the cut and fabric of his trousers blend better. The purple ruffled shirt is fully buttoned, but still purple and dandified. His hat has a matching band as does his neatly folded handkerchief, poking out of a pocket. His gloves are black. "I'll have whatever you are having, Martin." He peers around a little wide eyed as he tries to get his bearings.
Being back in the house is enough to drudge up a lot of Martin's life for the Addict. The familiar scents, the trappings, and the way that stiff shirt collar and cravat compelled one to hold one's head up high. It's habit, avoiding eye contact. A dandy in purple would've been... well, it would have been something.
"I think I'll have some Tennessee whiskey," he says, and he steps over to the sideboard to pour a few fingers into two glasses. He then gestures toward a pair of chairs with a side table between them, and he offers the drink across. The glasses are fine crystal, probably impossible to replace as far west as they are, at least without a lot of trouble.
The Martyr takes his glass and settles, removing his hat and looking around for somewhere to set it. He sits awkwardly, all knees and elbows, more disoriented by the change in Briar. He starts to say several things and disguards them in favour of, "Thank you. That sounds lovely."
The Addict on the other hand moves with precision and poise. They smile a little, remembering themselves despite how easy it is for this place to throw them into confusion. "Oz from Beaver Lake was my other cousin here, and we would spend time in the parlor drinking and talking." They take a sip of whiskey, polite and sparing. It's Danny who was a drinking pro. "I spent the first few days not leaving my room once I got here. I was afraid to touch anything. And of course I was terrified of our grandmother."
The Martyr is still collecting peices, "Oz and Bastian, am I remembering right?" He ends up tucking the hat on the floor out of the way of his feet. He takes a careful sip himself. This new body of his is not as bad at drinking as his old one, but the habit of carefulness dies hard. "Your Granmother? Anyone I know?"
The Addict nods and says, "Yes, they were Isaac and Sebastian Munson. I was Martin Munson, of course. Our grandmother was in league with a demon we called Giles. It wasn't wise to speak their actual names." And it's still something Martin won't do. "She wasn't anyone you would know. She was terrible, though. Kind to my face, but she made bad bargains. The founding families of Prosperity made deals with these demons, and our family's was Giles. The gist of it was that we would have prosperity, but every year there would be a reaping. Two children from each family, their name written in the family's ledger.
"My imperfect understanding is that, at one point, our grandmother wrote the names of other people's children, condeming them to Hell instead of us, and when she got caught, the rule was changed, and my father's entire generation was forfeit. It was just us grandchildren, and we didn't know whose names were written. It didn't come to that. We all challenged the demons to be freed from the bargain."
The Martyr's eyes go wide, "That's..." He takes a deep breath and a sip of whiskey, "The number of things wrong with that entire senario are so huge I'm left speechless. I am so sorry that.... Wow." He says more calmly, "But you survived? You beat them?"
"There's a reason the people in town didn't care much for us," Briar-turned-Martin says. "But the maneuver did shore up a lot of wealth for the family, and we were feared, if not loved." They take a drink of whiskey and sigh softly. "We did, but it cost us. Colorado died. I was crippled in one hand and cursed that everything would taste like ashes, and I got off light. Llesenia died, you would've known her as Misty. So many of us were maimed and crippled. So many killed. But we did it. We freed ourselves from the bargain, and we all left this place, because it became a barren wasteland without the demons supplying the ore to the mines or grazing for the cattle."
The Martyr murmurs, "We have always lived in the castle." He blinks a few times, "I think prosperty or not, this place must have always been ashes and blight in the ways that mattered. Things like that leave a mark." He sighs and sips, "The old making the oung pay for their short sightedness. Too often the way of the world." His head is facing the window, but he is watching out of the corner of his eyes, "May I ask, or would you prefer not to talk about your wife?" He adds quickly, "I don't mind at all if you don't want to talk about it." This place is weighing on him even without demons and evil Grandmothers.
The Addict smiles and gives Dare's gloved hand a gentle squeeze before returning to his prim poise. "Her name was Fleur. She was well off, and a friend of Miss Angeline. Who you would've known as Danica. I was such a novice when she found me." Their cheeks color a touch. "She took me aside and made a man out of me. I fell in love. I fell in love with Arthur, too, and she was very understanding. She didn't mind what we got up to. Oh, Dare, she was lovely and sweet and bold. When we left Prosperity, we went to her house in New Orleans. It was her, me, Miss Angeline, Isaac, and a few others. We lived for about a year there before I woke up in the Facility. The memories are so vague now, but I know we had a daughter. We named her Llesenia."
The Martyr looks at the hand and then quickly up as it's withdrawn. "Oh!" And he can see it. Not visually, but the peices fall into place and he can really understand it now on a more viceral level. "I... I'm so sorry she didn't... I'm sorry." And he is. He really is. So terribly terribly sorry. He wriggles, wanting to comfort and not knowing how to do it in this place.
The Addict's smile is brittle, and they lower their gaze as they say, "I like to think she woke up elsewhere, and is happy and healthy. Or, if she didn't, her history unfolded without undue distress. I can't think of them as simply gone, as if they never existed. It's just too bleak."
They take another drink of whiskey. "It was a dark time in a bad place, but it brought out the absolute best in us, I think. We stepped up and did what had to be done. I was a bit of an outsider looking in, but that was my impression."
It's the Martyr's turn to lightly touch the back of the Addict's hand, "I hope it's like that, I really do. That the world goes on and it's just us who are pulled back out of the stream."
The Addict smiles at the touch. "I suppose we'll never know," they say. The lift their head to look out the window, and hte smile fades. "I never saw this place when it was beautiful. I came just as the Reaping started. The weather was grey and murky, the rain had turned the streets to sludge, and there was the constant threat of mudpeople to pull you into the muck with them. I don't know how the other people felt about Prosperity, but I never loved it. I was all too happy to leave."
The Martyr says, “We might on the day we don't return, but I admit, I like the certainty of this better than the uncertainty of not returning. Wait, Mudpeople?"”
"I never encountered mudpeople," 'Martin' says, "but I was warned about them. I tended to stay indoors anyway because of my health." They finish their drink and set down the glass. "There were other things, too. I think they called them the wendigo. The Reaping was dangerous even if your name wasn't in the ledger." They rise to their feet and offer a hand to Dare. "Maybe we can come back later, but the dreariness is getting to me."
The Martyr sets his glass aside, only the few sips taken and takes the offered hand, a little hesitant again. He gives them a shy smile, "It is making me itch all over, Love. I'm sorry."
The Addict tugs The Martyr toward the door. "That's what it feels like inside my mind," they say. "Itchy all over. At least you've seen it, now, and we didn't run into anyone. God, what if Grandmother were around?" That seems to seal the deal for The Addict, and they all but pull Dare out the door.