BNN: In the Shadow of Virtue - Lost and Found Part 3
April 30, 2010
Private Crag was proud of himself. He had made the big time. No more pickpocket nonsense for me. No more back alley dice games to make ends meet. I’ve finally got a legitimate job. Crag watched from his post at the door of the dimly lit room. There were only two people in this room besides himself and they were way above his pay scale. Yep, this is the big time.
In the center of the room a glowing orb cast a faint blue light on a man in uniform and a woman dressed in an unusual outfit that was both revealing and intimidating. The man was a high ranking officer in the faction, Lieutenant Toadstone; the woman was no other than the dark mistress herself, Minax.
Lieutenant Toadstone broke the silence, “See my mistress? It is as I told you. That which was lost has been found.” He smiled a cloying smile.
In the glowing crystal ball, Minax watched Queen Dawn, Dexter, Avery and Sherry the mouse as they discussed the discovery of Lord British’s vault a few weeks ago.
“Toadstone, you have done well….” Minax picked up the ball from its stand and gripped it tightly. “Soon I will have my lost crystal again, and with Lord British gone there will be no one to stop me from ruling all of Trammel!” She let out a haughty laugh as she stared up at the tiny images.
From his post at the doorway, Crag was impressed by the appropriateness of her laugh after making such a statement. This was exactly the kind of stuff he signed up for. “Now that we know where it is, how will we get it, my queen?” said Lieutenant Toadstone bowing.
A blast of lightning threw Toadstone against the wall. “That is the wrong question, Toadstone!” Minax screeched. She immediately resumed her usual alluring posture and turned away coyly to put the crystal ball back on the stand. “Now, try again.”
There was no answer. Then there was a thud.
Minax turned back toward Toadstone sharply. He was lying face down on the floor in the shadow by one of the doors. Minax rolled her eyes, “Really, Toadstone, there is no reason to keep groveling. The correct question is, “YOU will get it for me.”
Toadstone didn’t move.
Crag watched Minax cross the room and as she bent over Toadstone he thought to himself, Being ignored has its privileges. Then the seriousness of the situation struck him and his attention snapped back to the moment. Minax was examining something. It looked like the peg of the coat rack had broken off the wall and was sticking out of the Lieutenant’s back. Minax pulled her hand back quickly and curled her lip in disgust. The disgust quickly turned to annoyance. She stood up and looked around to see if anyone had noticed what happened.
The lone witness was Crag.
As she stood over Toadstone’s body looking at Private Crag though her thick mascara, Minax smiled at Crag the way a swamp dragon smiles at a bogling. “What is your name, guard?”
“Crag, mistress.” Private Crag knew what being the lone witness to an embarrassing situation could mean and was trying to decide if he could run fast enough to escape Toadstone’s fate.
“Lieutenant Toadstone just left for Magincia to spy on the Council of Mages; he won’t be back for several days…. Do we have an understanding?”
“Yes mistress. Would you like me to dispose of the body?”
Minax smiled a big red smile, her large teeth glistening. “You are doing well in your new position as Lieutenant... but no.” With a casual gesture, Minax opened a rune gate and with another blast of lightning she sent the late Lieutenant Toadstone flying through it.
Crag gulped. “Would you like me to find out how to get your crystal back?”
“An excellent idea, Lieutenant Crag. How do you plan on doing that?” Minax was now standing right in front of him and her strange perfume was muddling his mind.
Crag’s years in the back streets of Britain made him good on his feet. Hopefully, they made him good enough to survive his new promotion. “Umm… I was planning to go to the port of Cove… and err… buy some information.”
Minax stared him in the eyes for a moment as if she were searching for something. Then she straightened her back, winked at Crag, and turned away to leave. “Do you need money, Lieutenant?”
Crag was relieved that his first meeting with Minax was going so well and that it was ending, but it was not over yet, her spell casting hand was still glowing. He quickly checked to see that the wall behind him was flat and smooth. “No mistress, I was planning to steal something for bribes.”
Minax stopped, turned to Crag with a big, dangerous smile. “Good answer, Lieutenant. I knew I picked the right man for the job.” She winked again, “Now, if you really want to impress me, steal the chest Sir Geoffrey was using a few weeks ago to bribe those mercenaries in Britain. That will show these do-gooders.”
“Yes ma’am.” Crag watched breathlessly as Minax passed the doorway, turned, and disappeared down the hall. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly to make sure she wouldn’t hear. Well, he thought, it looks like being lieutenant is going to be a whole lot like being a kid in Buc’s Den. That’s fine; field work suits me better anyway. These stone floors in Minax’s secret fortress are killing my back.