Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day Six-Forty-Eight: The Mightiest Gesture


I was laughed at today.

I am generally and genetically apathetic towards being laughed at. So I would not normally mind.

But in this case, it stung. Just the slightest bit. Enough that, were it not grossly illegal, I might consider putting a dagger in the seargent's side.

I am sometimes vindictive. I acknowledge this.

Rodentia is as massive a city as I've ever seen. It covers almost twice as much land as Trademore, and its buildings are all substantially larger. Merchantries, banks, food courts, barracks, temples to the gods, public baths, forges, all are jammed into narrow blocks separated by narrow streets that wind and breed and seemingly never end, all ultimately mingling near the walls of Rodentia's central palace.

Yes. The palace. The home of the Imperium Republican Council. It makes my father's keep look like a slop house for egg-brokers.

The palace of Rodentia does not tower over the rest of the city, but it makes up for its lack of height with an impressive breadth. Perhaps five times larger than Castle IMissMyRoom in its entirety, walls and moat and all, the seat of the Imperium's power is an impressive, tiered fortification that looks ready to oppose a force of any size. It is a grand ziggurat, a set of five, massive steps which culminate in a huge, stone sphere at the top. It is within this sphere that the Imperium's reigning council discusses the fate of the nation, and the only higher point in the palace is the roost of the city's Micro-Dragons.

Suffice it to say that I want one.

A palace, that is. With a sphere.

Though I would not begrudge the person who presented me with a Micro-Dragon. I always believed that my father was foolish for not taking his own dragon out more often.

My ninjas, who accompanied us into the city (the gypsies are long gone, if you wondered - they do not like entering Rodentia proper), prowled the local garrisons extensively while Logan, the lesbian and I hid in the attic of a brothel. They did not return for several hours, and when they did they had only three things to tell us:

1.) There are many Wanted posters with the Dauphine's picture posted in the streets and in the garrisons, leading me to believe that our trek through the Imperium has not gone unnoticed

2.) There are many posters bearing Logan and the lesbian's faces in particular, almost as many as there are for the Dauphine - Mr. L and Ms. N are clearly still wanted fugitives

3.) The crew of the Dauphine was not to be found in any of the garrisons

My face is not known in Rodentia, nor in any other section of the Imperium - primarily because I am not an idiot, and my brother, well, I'll leave it at that - so I took to the streets personally to ask questions about a recent influx of prisoners. It didn't take me long to learn of a parade of chained humans down the main street... towards the palace.

(I learned this from an old man with a lisp. He gave me information; I gave him a donut. He tried to ask where I lived, and if I would like to go out some time; I told him my age. He apologized profusely, claiming near-blindness. I was flattered nevertheless.)

I knew I would need a plan to infiltrate the palace. It has but three entrances that are obvious, all of them heavily-guarded. There are no windows, no balconies, no sewer grates, no obvious forms of ingress. The threat of the sloth also saw a large contingent set outside the palace at all times of the day, as though mere soldiers with mere cannons and mere explosive rounds could ever stop such a beast. Nevertheless, I always believe that the obvious route should be tried first.

I traipsed up to the nearest soldier I could find on the main road leading to the palace. He was part of a lengthy blockade surrounding the building. "Hewwo?"

The seargent, his rank insignia emblazoned on his breast, raised a spear. "Halt! Back off!"

I injected fear into my eyes. "I'm sowwy, but I'm... wost. Can you hewp me?"

The seargent's grip on his spear faltered almost imperceptibly. "No one in or out of the palace during the crisis. Return to your home."

I twirled a foot in the snow and sniffed, lowering my chin. "But... but... my dawdy is in dere. " I pointed up at the enormous, spherical council chambers.

The seargent snorted. "Your 'dawdy'? Sure he is, urchin. As if a councilman would have such an ill-clothed daughter. Get lost, or I'll jab your butt with my pike."

Tears formed on my cheeks. I brushed my hair out of my face to get the full effect. "But... but... I'm... wost... dese kids, they twaded me for my dwess, my pwetty dwess, an'... an' I figgewed..."

The seargent cut me off. Stepping forward, he grabbed the collar of my ragged coat and hefted me off the ground. I was so surprised that I forgot to shank him.

"Go on, pewling scum." He pulled me close to his face. His breath smelled of oyster. How extravagent! "Tell me another one. Or is your bad acting at its limit? I'm not an idiot. I've seen enough plays to pick out a liar."

Real confusion crept into my face, and I'm pretty sure that translated to a look of disgust. I'm not sure, I didn't have a mirror on me.

"Yep, there you are." He dropped me into the snow and pointed his pike towards my posterior. "Out! Out! I have enough trouble without a blasted shyster trying to slip past my post!"

The men nearby, probably his subordinates, laughed. They laughed long, and they laughed hard, and their laughter followed me as I sprang out of the snow bank and ran. The last thing I offered the seargent was my upraised middle finger. It had no goofy accent, nor would I have used one if such things were at all possible. (They aren't.)

He was doing his job. I can appreciate that. He was within his rights to kick me out.

But I am not a bad actor. I am a good actor.

...

I dearly pray that murder is not a capital offense in Rodentia. Dearly, dearly, dearly.

I am a better actor than a stupid seargent who is apparently quite intelligent, 


Celine the Magnificent

2 comments:

  1. That guard took some PC character levels, and that is wonderful.

    ReplyDelete