The Cyneweard

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Part I - Bringer of Storms :: 19

Parton woke from a deep slumber. He sat up in his bed and turned his head to look out the window. The sun was setting, its purplish-orange hue spreading long shadows across the landscape.

"Sir,"

"What," he asked, turning his head to the voice that had called him. His secretary smiled back at him.

"I hope you're feeling ok."

"How long this time?"

"A few hours," she said, frowning.

"The boy."

"Excuse me," she asked, tilting her head.

"At the funeral. The boy."

"Ah," she replied. "I'm afraid he has died of his wounds."

Parton nodded. "Compensate the mother."

"The usual fee?"

"Quadruple it. No sense in punishing them for his own stupidity."

She nodded.

"Where's Calor?" he asked.

"He's," she hesitated and took a look at a parchment in her hand.

"He's what? Dead? Out with it."

"No, not dead. Injured. Being tended by healers at the moment."

"What happened?"

"We haven't gotten word out of him yet. We have only talked with the two guards that found him."

"And?"

She sighed. "They passed an injured bale worker who claimed he and Calor had been attacked by the Union. When they entered the office, the door was locked behind them and barred with a broken key."

"Idiots," Parton growled. "The injured worker was the attacker."

"That's what they suspect, yes sir."

He rolled his eyes and motioned for her to continue with a roll of his hand.

"We have descriptions of the injured worker. We had guards track him as far as we could. We searched the alleys and back streets and the House and Temple. We did not find anyone matching the descriptions from the guards."

Parton sighed. "He's -it's a he right?"

She nodded.

"He's either dead or good at this. I'm going to guess the latter. Put a Sigil office visit on my itinerary for tomorrow."

She nodded and began writing on the parchment.

"Public reaction to the boy?" he asked.

The secretary's frown grew more exaggerated. "I'm afraid the protest numbers have tripled. We have had to pull in a quarter of the work force from untraineds."

The skin on Parton's face reddened. He grunted and slammed a fist against his own thigh. "Damnit I am tired of these people not appreciating what we do for them. It's time to end this nonsense. I will not negotiate." He turned to face her, throwing a pointed finger in her direction. "Let it be known that all protesters are henceforth relieved of their jobs. They are relived of their rights to protest. And by Humbolt they are relieved of any thought that they will be safe as they sit there and curse our name. We brought them out from under the tyranny and I will not have them shitting all over that honor.

"Inform the guards and foreman that protestors are all fair game for physrical encouragement to cease their activities."

She nodded and continued to write, ink splashing her white blouse.

He waited for her to finish before adding, "Any means. Any. I have too much to worry about without having to worry about this."

She nodded.

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