Brash Young Fools
After careful consideration I have decided that in spite of impeccable breeding and substantial wealth, Rickard Aschaffenberg is both an arse and dangerous company to boot; perhaps even more dangerous than Boris, who has at least now managed to drive a coach without crashing it. I can barely credit the notion that such a buffoon should harbour political aspirations, but apparently the oaf does.
What kind of fool, on discovering that he has been harbouring a chaos cult among his household staff, immediately approaches the nearest witch finder to report the fact? Moreover, what level of ingratitude must it take to allow said witch finder’s brutes to ransack the personal luggage of a man currently in possession of proscribed literature. One might almost think he is trying to get me killed!
Anyway, credit to Karl for having the sense and skill to remove said items of luggage from the carriage before it was search, and for indirectly preserving my finer outfits from the grubby fists of the aforementioned thugs. Not that a swift and public execution was on the cards had the books been discovered – I had already convinced the dim witted Krieger that I fully intended to hand in any such items that might be discovered. As it happens he overlooked the fact that no such books were discovered on this occasion, but it later occurred to me that the stage is set to set to remove an obstacles in the future should such literature be found in the possession of anyone who might be subject to suspicion and/or execution. As an aside, such creative disposal seems to be the best means to profit from the damn things as there is certainly nowhere local to sell them.
On which note, Aschaffenburg’s man, Vern Hendrick, was rather too dismissive for my tastes. Yet as a man with direct access to Aschaffenburg, and more significantly Aschaffenburg’s purse, he is in a somewhat enviable position. I discussed with Karl and Victor the possibility of leaving the books in Hendrick’s possession and then alerting Krieger to the fact, leaving his post open for a more trustworthy man, but in practice this proved a rather complex endeavour. It would involve an attempt to ‘break and enter’ which I gather is a form of criminal activity, and while no one doubts Boris’ ability to break, there was some concern than Karl was not up to the task of entering. Bored of such trivialities I decided to file the idea away for now and revisit in the future should a more suitable candidate not appear in the short term.
Karl suggested a game of cards to pass the time while Victor was off doing whatever he does and Boris was busy doing whoever he does. Initially I objected on the grounds that Karl is known to cheat at cards (as I discovered on our first encounter), but when he suggested that we might combine our skills to profit at the expense of other, less adept players it seemed churlish to refuse him. We donned our finest (it transpires that Karl’s tailor is almost as good as my own) and set off to find a suitable table at the highly reputed Emperor’s Rest.
As it happens, the Rest is a perfectly acceptable establishment with a token two gold cover charge to ensure that the riffraff are excluded. I spent the time to locate a suitable opponent – being a man of breeding so good it displayed evidence of inbreeding, and a purse so heavy he would not miss the loss of a gold coin or twelve – and proceeded to play the series of strong hands which Karl fortunately dealt me. Our financial profit was supplemented by the rumour that a certain Baron Manfred von Holzenaur has recently arrived in town and is making a political play of his own. Manfred is apparently a man of good birth but limited fortune and being such myself I immediately saw the scope for fruitful cooperation.
The following afternoon I took it upon myself to introduce myself to von Halzenaur, and also to put in a word for Karl and the others. Manfred was every bit as accommodating as I had hoped having heard of my recent exploits against the forces of chaos while a guest of Aschaffenburg. He insisted on hearing the full story and then prceeded to invite me to his forthcoming masquerade ball. Evidently a man with the common touch, he condescended to extend the invitation to Karl, Victor, and even to Boris, who I assume will come with a mask in the style of a pig in deference to his mother.
P.S. it seems that the locals are all stirred up the appearance of Morrslieb in the daytime sky. It’s a silly peasant superstition, of course, and naturally both Victor and Boris have been on edge ever since they saw it on the carriage ride into town. Needless to say I was travelling inside the carriage at the time and saw nothing, which I assume leaves me safe from whatever nonsense the sight portends. Just to be on the safe side, I have decided not to look at the thing any more than absolutely necessary.