"As I've said, my contract cannot be altered." Seraph told him. "And I will go to lengths to prevent you from trying. Regardless, my family hasn't actually shown our contract in decades. We memorize it and recite it, but never show it. It is...important to protect it." She explained. "I did prepare everything for you though. The list..." She pulled it out and gave it to him. And I have all the contracts sitting ready in the study."
Stark had a sort of stubborn streak to him. He frowned when she seemed to refuse to listen and give him her contract. He'd refuse to let it go. "Well since you're being very vague about all the details of this I don't care what lengths you'll go to. My morals triumph what you say so I want to see your contract." he didn't even look at the list she had or make a move to take the list as he waited for her contract.
"It's save and sound." Seraph told him, patting her bodice. "Willing to violate me in order to get it? Go right ahead. But I'll hold it against you for the rest of my life."
He frowned when she refused to give him the contract or give him good reason for why. "Fine." he snapped, suddenly very angry. "Keep your contract and don't speak to me." Stark had a way with getting angry a little too easy sometimes because so much anger was pent up inside. While Stark could be very kind and forward he could also be very angry and passive. Without another word Stark turned away from Seraph and went out to the stables to start working, not taking the list and leaving it in her hand.
Seraph sighed and gathered the contracts, taking them ousid and sitting on a bench where he was working. "Emily Jones. She's the cook. Her father borrowed money from your uncle and she serves ten years to repay it all. She has fulfilled six years thus far. She's deaf, and very poor at speaking. But she's a wonderful cook, and a sweet girl. She loves her job and has applied for life-long service with the money she earns paid to whatever family she has when she passes."
When Seraph followed him Stark frowned. "I told you I didn't want you to speak to me." his tone was cold as he lead his horses out of the stables and tied them to one of the nearby trees. "You've given me no contract and you've given me no details as to why. So I want you to go away." Stark no longer cared if he was being rude to Seraph. He was more than a little pis.sed off at this point, walking into the stables to begin his work.
Seraph sighed, putting Emily's contract to the side. "I'm sorry, but until you promise not to try to change the contract, I can't show it to you. I'm afraid, Stark. I can't aford to lose this. If you compromise the contract I lose everything, and everone here loses their jobs. You lose this place. It al...it all goes to waste."
Stark sighed in even more aggrivation. He came back out of the long line of stalls and stared at her. "I don't know what you're talking about. You're being so vague and it isn't helping me." he had his arms crossed, temper exstiguished a smidge. "Tell me what you mean. Exactly what you're talking about. Because Seraph I just want to change it to help you. You being forced to do things is unacceptable in my belief system."
"But I'm the one who willingly consented to the contract." Seraph told him softly. "I knew what I was getting into. I chose it anyway. I had plenty of chance to walk away. And technically, I'm the one who owns this mansion. I have the power to kick you out. Legally. I can call it off at any time I see fit, Stark. I just...I choose to let it contrinue. For the reward that comes with it."
"Reward..." Stark raised an eyebrow. His anger had softened even more and changed to curiousity. Stark didn't necissarily believe Seraph but he didn't disbelieve her either. "I still don't understand what you mean. What reward? Why would you willingly consent to that? And how do you own this place? It was my blood family's." he stated the obvious.
"But who gave it to them?" Seraph sighed. "There's a family secret, Stark. That's what I'm trying to hide from you. If you find out too soon, you might leave. I don't want that. None of us want that. There'd be no one to take your place. Please, just have some patience. When I believe you are ready, I'll tell you everything, I promise."
"Gave it to them." Stark sighed, irritation flaming back up a little. "When I'm ready? You're wasting my time." Stark didn't want to hear riddles and weird phrases as if he were a kid. "Just go away if you aren't going to give me answers." he told her and turned away, going back into the stables where he started his work.
Seraph whimpered, tears beginning to flow. He would ruin everything. She should have kept her mouth shut. She should have like she always had, instead of making this mess. Now she was going to lose everything. She pulled out the contract, holding it out for him. "Here..." She said through her tears. "But don't shout at me for how rediculous it might sound."
Stark was going to just ignore her until he heard her tears. Sighing he dropped what he had in his hands and turned back to see her. "Don't cry... I'm not going to ruin your contract or anything." he mumbled. He'd never dealt well with tears. Taking the contract he looked at the writing, being careful so as not to tear it or drop it.
It read the following.
I, Seraph the Immortal give my home and my fortune to the Silverroot family to use as they please and see fit. The one to live in the mansion shall have my endless service and loyalty. I shall obey every command, so long as it does not endanger me, the home, or my contract. In return, eternal companionship. And the soul of every mortal who passes through here shall be mine, to strengthen and preserve me.
It went on giving more details of the home and the fortune. Seraph had a bottomless pit of wealth. How she obtained it was unknown, but she'd never run out. The contract expired when she had one hundred souls.There were only twenty-six portraits in the hall, which meant she had a long way to go.
Stark read the contract once through. He then read it again. His eyes were stuck on one word. 'Immortal' Stark rubbed his forehead. The contract didn't really give the graphic details of her giving up her body like he thought it would... "Immortal?" Stark looked up at her, confusion in his eyes. "Like... You can't die? Then... What... Are you?" there was some doubt in his voice but there was also openess. He wasn't believing Seraph but he wasn't disbeileving either.
Seraph sighed, drawing out a knife she always kept with her and slicing hre throat. Instead of dropping dead, she choked once and the wound healed before his eyes. "Never aging nor dying. But plenty of pain." She said softly.
The act that Seraph had done was too quick for Stark to react to. He didn't know what to say when she healed before him. Some would think she was a witch and want her hanged for such an impossible act. But Stark wasn't afraid... Nor did he want her hurt. "Uh... Here." he finally said after a very long time of just staring at her. Once he'd given Seraph the contract he backed away. "I'm going to uh work now..." Stark went back into the stables for the millionth time to finally get some work done, praying the immortal being would give him some space to absorb what had just happened.
Seraph sighed and cleaned up, shuffling through the other contracts after tucking hers away. She closed her eyes, fighting back more tears. He was going to abandon her. Everything was going to end.
Stark worked for most of the day. Towards the middle he took his vest and under shirt off because the sun had risen very hot and it was uncomfortable. By the end of the day he had a considerable amount of work done. "It's not amazing but we're getting there. I'll see you two later." he told his horses when he was finished putting them away. Stark then went into his new house, shirt and vest in hand, mid section very masculine and sweaty which a few of the younger servant girls found distracting.