What exactly IS The Emerald House?

Drutherstone’s Circus is a legal entity comprising four acres of hilly grasslands that — before it was cleared — was part of a thick, deciduous forest. Further north, the forest is called Herder Wood though it’s difficult to say where the boundary is between the wilderness parts, the village’s complement, and that which spills over into the circus’s backyard. From a topographical perspective, the circus is always going down hill. The highest point is the hill, upon which The Emerald House sits like a star on a solstice tree. From there, the circus slopes down into a valley which contains the crab infested lake. The lake, in turn, contains the lagoon which is always filling up with ooze.

The circus also comprises eleven circus rides (none of them recently inspected), a mess hall, three separate animal enclosures, and over 200 laboring bodies and their necessary barracks and facilities. Many of these workers tend to double up on themselves, performing both their circus tricks and odd jobs, trading their shifts and cigarettes away in exchange for gambling debts and booze. There’s a veritable shadow economy of shift hours and gambling dues, the former usually keeping at pace with the latter in terms of raw, measurable value. Rustia tends to be a controlling hub of these commodities and services. Goren Hargus also controls a substantial share though he would argue, of course, that his is a stabilizing presence and wholly necessary to peaceful operation of the circus’s financial underpinnings.

In terms of the circus’s other material assets, there is — of course — the big top and its attendant basements and galleries. The subterranean elements of the big top were installed by joint effort between Lindsey Drutherstone and Janus Tewditch when the two of them were still partnered up and running things together. Ungulen was the main foreman on that project and acquitted himself well both in terms of works accomplished and identifying competent outsource for the more complicated tasks. They had just been on the cusp of electrifying the main stage when Janus and Lindsey suddenly exploded into a lovers’ quarrel that overtook the circus like ravenous fire on a windy night. Bridges were — literally and figuratively — burned that day. Many of the circus’s employees took sides. This was one of many incidents that has depleted the circus’s staff in the past few decades.

But one place stands above all of this. Its presence precedes the circus, precedes Drutherstone and Janus. It is not clear if it existed even before the clearing of the land to sell it for a commercial bit of property. This is, of course, The Emerald House.

The Emerald House has been on that hill for as long as anyone can remember but all would be hard pressed to say who was living in it prior to the circus moving into town. The carnies all call it “The Emerald House” on account of the locals who named it that most probably because of the deep, seafoam patina of the glass roof tiles. No one knows why the roof of a building should be tiled in glass but there it was all the same. The interior rooms were once upholstered in mesmerizing hues of greens, teals, and gold trim but that’s all been cleared out over the years as occupant after occupant has taken a souvenir to their next dwelling or abode.

Marrionetta lived in The Emerald House for about a year before Lorelei came to town. She kept it clean, if cluttered. She used to walk on the roof tiles in the middle of the day, the scalding heat would send a thrill up her wooden legs.

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