by Helen W

I march into the embassy, barely noticing as the cheerful greetings of the guards on the gates trail off and turn to worried stares. I stride blank-faced through the courtyard and in through the main door, and even the senior staff - young eighth- and tenth-generation d'Artois and minor de Verlays, usually quick to sneer at the “Johnny-jump-up” captain with her field commission and title-by-marriage - find their words falling silent on their lips.

I stride through the corridors of the Embassy - my home - and consider for a moment turning aside, to put off my armour, clean away the bloodstains and make myself presentable for the Ambassador. No. Orders are orders. I make straight for his offices, knock briskly on the door and enter at the command. Dos Santos looks up from his desk, frowning at my disarray. “Captain…?” “Your excellency.” I stand to attention and salute; and my eyes stare straight ahead as I unclip the rank badge from my collar, and tear the bright red cotton flash away from my belt, and set both neatly on his desk with hands that do not shake. “Captain, what…” I continue to stare straight ahead as I unsling my shield from its old accustomed place on my back, and lean it carefully against a chair. Three proud Octargents stare at me accusingly. Treachery, they whisper. My right hand is trembling, just a little. I come to attention again. “Under the personal orders of Duke Karl d'Artois, I beg leave to report that I am to be suspended from duty in the Broken Guard, effective immediately, pending resolution of the current….” I cannot keep the contempt from my voice, “situation.” Dos Santos is quick, though confused. I wonder if he's been in contact with the Duke already. The communications mirror behind his desk flexes and shimmers in the light, as if it's recently seen use. “Lady de Verlay…” I stop myself halfway through a salute, and with a tight, grim smile, give the Ambassador a bow of precisely the correct degree for a noble of my station. “At your service. Cousin.”

misc/fiction/orders.txt · Last modified: 2011/04/05 19:29 by osj01
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