An Acolyte's Tale, it's not all space marines and psychers.
Driving winds and rain again, with a touch of sleet for variety. Didn't he just get the good roll of the dice, Brynden grumbled to himself. Rapping on the oak and steel double doors set into the curtain wall he tried to take what shelter he could in the recessed granite archway as a gusting wind drove stinging sleet into his back. A narrow shutter slid open and he quickly pulled down the neck of his oilskin, showing the bronze and iron chain he wore as a bonded servant of one of the nobility. The wicket door swung open after a series of solid thunks and he slid inside to the shelter of the gatehouse passage, shaking off the worst of the rain.
Young Erik was on door duty again, the slim youth wrapped in a homespun wool cloak while the rest of the men-at-arms kept an eye on goings on outside the gate through the arrow slit windows in the guardroom, close to the hearth and kettle.
''Evenin' Mr Geltz. Thought you might not be coming back tonight,'' he commented, marking the time onto Dieter's pass with a small stamp and hammer. ''Err...Ms Beth from the kitchens been by,'' the youth shifted uncomfortably as he passed the leather sheet back, ''and eh, she says to tell you, 'if he's going to be out galavantin' till all hours he shouldn't be comin' round lookin' for anythin' when he gets back.' A slight smirk broke out as he looked over his shoulder, ''then Karl asked if he could come round instead and she clouted him round the ear.''
''Ha, sounds like her. I'll stick my head round the door and see if she doesn't bite it off. Might get some sympathy for having to go out in weather like that, heh?''
Erik nodded slowly but his face didn't hold much hope. Yeah, probably not.
- - - - - - - - - -
The sprawling fortified manor at the heart of Neuburg was the ancestral seat of the Governor, their extended family and branches of every other noble line with with thoughts of playing the great game of politics. The outer wall served to keep the estate separate from the common masses and undesirables of the city.
One set of apartments, offices and staterooms had been granted to Lady Kirsa Stromm, dowager aunt to an Elector from one or another city-state along the northern fjordlands. She and her entourage had moved in and gently insinuated themselves into the social fabric of the place. He exchanged nods with a pair of Stromm guards at the hall door liveried in blue and green, and again at the entrance to his mistress's rooms. One of the squires that came to meet him at the door handed Dieter a towel in return for a pile of half sodden clothes, the other caught a leather folio for the Lady's secretary. Mixed tittering and tutting from the handmaidens accompanied his genuflect to her ladyship before he turned into the servant's rooms at the back, shivering slightly as he passed through the auspex shroud's static membrane.
''You took your time.'' The twin of Lady Stromm sat behind a dataslate strewn desk, glancing up as he entered. ''And put some proper clothes on, that chain makes you look like a brothelboy.''
''Apologies Ma'am, on both counts. And I'll happily lose the chain at the earliest convenience, keep waking up thinking I'm about to be strangled.'' Pulling open a folding screen next to a large trunk, he continued his report while dressing. ''It's surprisingly hard at times to find a dishonest man when you need one. But perseverance paid off, everything's arranged at this end now. We can bring down whatever we want through the spaceport and it'll be forgotten as soon as seen. They're expecting regular payments but that's only a problem if you plan on extending the investigation.''
''Good, the Grace of Gold is due to reach orbit in another week. By then we'll should have a finished picture of the situation here and know what we need smuggled down. The Troupe tell me they're certain they have the full scope of the places plots and schemes mapped out, usual highborn antics for the most part. If we didn't know what to look for I'd have said our informant was getting paranoid.''
Brynden Raine stepped back into sight wearing fatigues and boots, mech.inf/u-camo Munitorum standard issue, devoid of regiment or rank details. Stopping at the table he picked up one of the slates, turning it over in scarred hands, ''I'll check over the Administratum reports for today before turning in Ma'am, make sure nothing new has come up on that front. Emperor willing we can snuff this out before it has a chance to sink more hooks in.''
''The Emperor protects, Brynden.''
''He does indeed Ma'am.''
Last edited by HarlequinR; 09-09-17 at 01:09 PM.