Watchman Wayne Winced. His Captain would not comment on the patrols of minions that enforced the new curfew. Experience had taught him that the higher ups trembled at the Alchemist’s Book of Faces and Press of Words.
His inside knowledge of their most intimate secrets bent the politicians to his will and nothing would be done. Some, if not all could very well be on his payroll. His concerns were downplayed and portrayed as paranoia and overthinking by his superiors.
Wyne’s deductions were practical;
- Lord Rainport had minions in the civil war and now the Alchemist seemed to have an abundant supply. Violet’s testimony that she had seen the Alchemist and Lord Rainport at the docks engaging in a ritual was not considered credible.
- There was no word from the king and the Alchemist was making decrees and passing judgements.
Wayne hypothesized the Alchemist was behind the attempted coup with Lord Rainport,the return of the minions signified the Alchemists’ rise to power, and the king was likely dead.
At the moment, Wayne felt like more of a criminal than a Watchman. His wife, Violet was terrified by the noises and the stench that emanated from the foul creatures.
They had kidnapped her after all, pulling her into a portal during the war. This made the minions personal to Wayne. While he could not do it officially, he had turned a blind to minions that “slipped in the docks.” Perhaps he had accidentally discharged a crossbow here and there.
Rumors abounded that the Carsiolians were invading La longi. The royals were seen heading east, and traders passing through had reported troop movement, but nothing was clear.
What was clear, and unmistakable was the smell of screaming peaches, puke, and bodily fluids that emanated from the Puking Peasant Inn. There is a beautiful science to the nose, particularly the olfactory nerves that shuts smell down when they are overloaded.
Coughing, he did his best to breathe in the environment and complete his rounds.
And there she was, the scrawny little red haired thief, standing on a pile of hosen, dagger in hand.
Wayne remained calm. “Hello, if it isn’t the local cheese thief! What are you doing with your weapon drawn? You may scare someone, hiding behind your hood like that!”
“The thief has a name!” She proclaimed. “Petra!”
“My apologies Petra, I noticed you are brandishing a weapon and standing in a pile of hosen. What happened?”
Petra pulled her hood back to reveal red hair and shrewd eyes. “ You know my routine, Watchman Wayne.”
“Your cheese or your life, sir, I declare with a flourish.”
“ None has yet to turn me down and I always receive a nibble to eat from my victims. Sometimes they offer me coin. I am so small and scrawny they either feel sorry or think I am joking! ”
She paused. “Watchmen, I assure you, I am never joking about cheese and will make good on my threat.”
Wayne was alarmed. “It is ok young lady, you need not resort to violence! I will get you some cheese from the Puking Peasant. I am sure there are plenty of patrons who would admire you sitting at their table as well.”
“Stop patronizing me and listen!” She declared. “These hooded men, they approach me and they smell of aged cheese. I demand a morsel and they say nothing. Nothing!”
“ When I poke them with my dagger, they turn into cotton hosen, and no cheese for my efforts, just a collection of 13 hosen, none of them with a mate to wear properly!”
Watchman Wayne was shocked. “Minions!” he declared.
Petra vanished in the night. There was cheese to be plundered and she did not wish to be arrested.