Archivist note: This article is from an older recovered archive and might be obsolete or in need of updating.
Most recent revision is shown below, by Galactic Baroque.
Samuel Loosestrife, also known as the Man in the Red Room, is the spiritual master and teacher of Mr. Underby. He is a tall thin man with disturbingly large eyes and a has a magnetic presence. He disappeared from public view after Stargirl MacBain told him to “go to your room, and stay there” during his attempted wedding ceremony with her.
When he first came to New Babbage, it was to see his former student, Mr. Underby. He commanded Underby to obtain suitable land and have a house built, and that Mr. Tenk would have to build the house himself. Underby won a lot occupied by a obsolete pumping station from Mr. Tenk in a poker game, which became a public house known as the, as well as Tenk’s services to build a house next to it, which Tenk did grudgingly.
Underby turned out to be a finicky customer, constantly demanding changes to the house as it was built. Tenk used the finest materials available, and was particularly proud of the inlaid woodwork he did in the topmost room, which Underby then demanded be painted red, including the inside of the windows. Loosestrife took residence in the room and became an unseen presence to the property.
Underby left town during a riot at the Bucket of Blood, which he believes Loosestrife to have psychically instigated. There was no stick of furniture left standing in the Bucket the next morning.
He struck up a relationship with Stargirl MacBain, causing her mental condition to deteriorate rapidly until all thought her a madwoman. Meanwhile, in the fae realm, Loosestrife made a bet with Pocket String that MacBain would willingly give him her kisses. Pocket was so sure that MacBain would do no such thing, that a wager was made of a year of service for every kiss she gave Loosestrife. Loosestrife lured Pocket onto his hearthstones, then opened a passage to MacBain’s hearth so Pocket could watch from a distance, while Loosestrife returned to the real world and MacBain’s apartment above the Gangplank. For every kiss she gave, a metal bracelet appeared on Pocket’s arms to mark the years of service he would owe.
Loosestrife, acknowledging it was a dirty wager, granted Pocket 3 chances to go and warn MacBain of the danger to her person. Pocket appeared as an apparition sitting in the fire of the Gangplank hearth, but as a further trick, he could only speak in is native language. Only on the third visit was anyone there to hear him that could understand. Tenk translated what Pocket said, especially the secret that Loosestrife held a jewel under his tongue, which, if possessed by another, he would be bound to grant a boon. Loosestrife soon appeared and ordered Tenk to marry him to MacBain. Tenk went thorough the ceremony, but allowed the bride to be kissed before the pronouncement of marriage, then refused complete the ceremony. MacBain, who had agily sucked the jewel from under Loosestrife’s tongue, ordered him to go to his room, and stay there, but not before Kaylee got a few kicks in with her metal leg.
Tenk was concerned that Loosestrife would use Pocket to carry out his will while he was confined. He bolted an iron plate to the back of the Gangplank hearth and placed Pocket’s sleeping body in a cabinet in Maggie’s sheep wagon, then told her to go away and not tell him where, so he would not be able to say where it was.
At 12th Night, Tenk engineered some men, carefully selected from the public works department, into performing an ancient yule log charm against mischief. He gave the largest remnant of the log to MacBain’s bartender, who secretly had it made into a pegleg to replace the metal leg that Kaylee had thrown out of the window to try and chase Loosestrife off. The rest of the log was hidden in the Bucket of Blood and Loosestrife’s house.
Tenk knew the charm would fail on the next Christmas Eve, and worried much on the situation over the next year.
During the following Christmastide, Tenk and Underby devised a plan to rid New Babbage of Loosestrife’s presence. A broom that Tenk made while they made preparations in Falun hangs in the Bucket of Blood as a souvenir of the adventure.
Blog: An Unusual Delivery
Forum: Gathering up the Yule Log
Image: What Dreams May Come
Image: The Man in the Red Room
Image: The Red Room