Chapter Seven: Under a Different Name   Leave a comment

Engineer Fannagus could not persuade Crafter Luceta to leave the documents in the Great Library unguarded. Chastened, he persuaded her to instead see if the Engineers could reach a peaceful solution: using their vast resources to copy the documents, quickly and harmlessly. After a night of meditation, humming in time with the rhythm of machines, Luceta agreed to try.

Crafter Luceta, Engineer's Guild

Captain Manx inquired at the local Muster office to see if he could get any more documentation on the incident that Major Cassardi was using to string him up: his “misappropriation” of Muster resources two years ago on Vera Cruz. His inquiries got the attention of Captain Anne Pavretagne, a local field officer after his own heart. Pavretagne spilled out a bitter story of a recent Muster defeat: a company of mercenaries decimated and scattered by some guerillas in the mountains to the south. The local nobility had pulled the Muster back, using their forces to isolate the guerillas and protect the mining camps in the south, but Pavretagne wasn’t satisfied. She wanted to stage a punitive raid, but lacked the authorization to do it. Manx, on the other hand, was a retired Muster captain and had just the right sort of experience in putting these kind of actions together. Manx promised he could do Pavretagne a favor if she could expedite his research.

Sir Victor spent days immersing himself in the politics of the al-Malik governor’s estate on Shaprut. He realized that Count Kaldun’s daughter, Meriel, would be the key to getting the Count’s ear. Over tea one afternoon, he laid out the truth of his story: that he was an unwilling participant in these al-Malik intrigues and wanted nothing more than to continue his pilgrimage. Meriel teased him mercilessly, but reluctantly conceded (after some close verbal sparring) that Victor’s vow of convenience with Ibrahim Amarjah was worthy of an al-Malik in its intrigue. She took him for a walk around her father’s estates, flirting with him all the while. The walk ended as the sun dipped below the horizon in a shaded bower, where Victor finally succumbed to Meriel’s temptations …

Lady Meriel al-Kaldun Howeitat al-Malik

Posted January 16, 2012 by John Perich in Uncategorized

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