Friday, April 13, 2012

Day One-Eighty-Five: So much for that murderer thing

Welp, that's it, diary. I am spy no more. And for once, I'm the one who quit. Go figure, eh?

I had trouble sleeping last night 'cause I felt bad about reading that letter. I couldn't get it outta my head. And after Libby beat me for flopping around so much and I passed out from sheer pain, I had nightmares. Nightmares filled with nonsense words like 'wakka wakka'.

(They were also accompanied by visions of bears with hats. Don't… don't get that.)

As soon as I woke up, I knew what I had to do. I had to give up the job. I couldn't keep going with this spy business. I mean, I know it's important, but I don't have the conscience for it. Or I have too much of a conscience for it. Or something like that. Conscience bad here, ya? Ya. No conscience for spy.

Surprisingly - perhaps not that surprisingly, he's such a pleasant chap - The Baron didn't seem to mind.

"That's fine, Dragomir," he said, chewing on his breakfast tart as he spoke. "You can go back to guarding if you wish. I should have known you were too honest a man to maintain your cover for too long."

I sagged in relief. I'd been prepared for The Baron to chew me out. "T… thank you, m'lord. I thought you might be… upset. With me."

He laughed. "No, no. I'd been thinking it was time to end my little lie anyway. We couldn't have us nobles hiding from a fictitious criminal forever."

I blinked. I distinctly remember blinking. "Fictitious, m'lord?"

"Casimiro the Butcher. Remember?" The Baron pointed at the Wanted poster on his wall. "I suppose it's not fair to say that he was fictitious, since he is a real man, but - "

"Wait wait wait." I held out my arms as though a pair of stagecoaches was passing through The Baron's office, and I desperately needed 'em both to stop. "Fic… you mean to say… do… " Waver. "You… what do you mean to say, exactly?"

The Baron leaned back in his chair and rubbed his belly, smiling. "He was never here, Dragomir. I simply used the news to get you close to Driscol for a while. This whole affair was smoke and mirrors… albeit minus both smoke and mirrors."

My jaw dropped. "No mirrors?!"

"No…" The Baron scratched his chin. "Yeah, sure, no mirrors. You do get what I mean, don't you?"

I did. Of course I did. It meant, diary, that The Baron had ordered somebody to attack a noble. On purpose! And that wasn't cool with me, and I told him so on the spot!

The Baron tried to placate me. "Pfft, Leonard the Noble is a whiner. I made certain that he wasn't hurt. He got knocked down and threatened with a knife. Big deal. It happens all the time to commoners. Only fair one of us faces the music for once."

I could appreciate that. But… "But you messed up the castle! For days! Everybody's been afraid, 'cause… 'cause… and you…"

The Baron stood, swept around his table, and grabbed me by the shoulders. "Calm down, my boy, calm down. Yes, I scraped the bottom of the moralistic barrel on this, but it was for the good of the castle. We need to stop Driscol. He could destroy us. I can't let that happen, you understand? I will do what's necessary to prevent that. Even if it means…"

He glanced at one of his walls. "… cavorting with less-than-pleasurable types."

I got suspicious there. "Like… like who, m'lord?"

"Oh." The Baron backed off a bit, one hand still on my shoulder. "You… you know. Vermin. Criminals. That sort of thing. Sometimes loyalty demands talking to the wrong kinds of folk, yes? Low folk. It's all for the good of the castle, however, I assure you."

I wasn't very assured, diary. Not a bit. Hard to trust a liar. (And shut up, I know I've lied.)

"Anyway!" The Baron went back to his desk and plopped down in front of some reports. "I shall have to straighten this all out. Casimiro will escape to fight for another day, though he will, verifiably, have left the castle. Everything should calm down, and you can go back to guarding. Will that satisfy your guilty conscience, Dragomir?"

"N… not really, m'lord. It's just another lie."

The Baron shrugged. "Lies make the world spin, my boy. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have correspondence to write." He flicked his wrist to dismiss me.

I wanted to complain. I wanted to bitch about The Baron having put everyone in danger, even if it was illusory danger. He's been so nice to me, though, that I could only get out one thing: "Was there anything important in that letter, m'lord?"

"Hm? Which letter?"

"The one I gave you. Yesterday."

"Oh!" The Baron pulled the letter out of one of his drawers and waved it around. "This? The one from Driscol? I'll… have to analyze it. Give it to a code breaker or something. Decyphering will take time, I'm sure."

"Does it make any sense to you at all, though?"

The Baron looked at the letter. Back to me. Back to the letter. Down at his desk. Then he shook his head. "No, I'm afraid not. It's a bundle of gibberish. For all we know, Driscol was just using it to test your trustworthiness. All the more reason to stop the royal guard charade."

"Oh." I saluted. "'kay. Guess… guess that's all, then. Bye, m'lord. Pleasure workin' for you."

He smiled. "Pleasure having you around, Dragomir. I'm sure we'll cross professional paths again in the future. I still need your help with Driscol, after all."

I left. Took the day off, spent it in bed, stewing over what'd happened. After long consideration, two things stuck out - beyond, y'know, the whole 'The Baron faked news of a murderer' thing:

- 'Vermin'. He works with 'vermin'. And he looked at the wall. The rats? Seems likely.

- He paused over knowing what the letter said. Was he lying about that? Did The Baron see something in those nonsense words that I didn't?

Bugger. This is all too complicated.

I sure hope we go back to normal, zany antics next week. Political shite makes my head hurt.


Dragomir the Guard

1 comment:

  1. I geez, I hope to Science that the Baron isn't gonna end up being a douche (since Driscol has that honor).