A Silent Game of Spies

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Rojimar studied the leaf a little a longer, then twirled it between his fingers and wondered what was delaying his source. Tardiness as a rule was not an acceptable working quality of a spy. It caused wrinkles of unknown proportions in others’ missions, such as his own, and he was beginning to get restless. He would stay another fifteen minutes and then, though he hated to leave without word of any sort, he would leave.

Rojimar flung the leaf away. At least he wouldn’t be discovered in his position here in this simple little sunlit farmer’s field. He leaned his elbows on his knees with impatience. He took pride in the network of spies that he had created. Like ivy, it had trailers in directions even Rojimar was now unsure of, but the information was pure. But if one root died, an entire branch could die.

Rojimar cared for his network and if any of them needed anything at all, he provided it if he could. After all, he reported to the highest authority in the realm. It would not do to have no information, or worse, deliver false information. Lives depended on what his sources reported.

If Rojimar was proud of anything, he was proud of his BridgeMaster. Rojimar had never been so surprised than when he’d seen Durain’s tall frame in his doorway, but when Durain explained why, Rojimar was immediately taken with the idea. He’d not seen Durain for near a decade, but it had been good to see him as a freestanding entity and not part of the Ericorian unit.

It had been clear, Rojimar mused, even as children that Durain’s chance to serve Clemongard lay through his strength. Rojimar grew up two doors away and was a year older but Durain towered over all the children more and more the older they grew. As an Ericorian, he more than met the height requirement. A shame, Rojimar thought, for the smiles he remembered on Durain’s face as a boy were now replaced by a stern and solemn countenance, typical of the Ericorian. Rojimar, as a businessman, knew everyone in Woodhill, and so was able to serve Clemongard in a different capacity. Where his old friend had the brawn, Rojimar liked to think he had a bit of brain.

He wished Durain would tell him the story of Queen Selby when she’d nearly cut off old Lord Wharfstead’s fingers, since it was all anyone talked of, but he knew Durain would never speak a word of it. Ha. The Cleaver Queen. So much better than the Ice Queen. Rojimar chuckled a bit where he sprawled in the grass. Queens were getting feisty these days.

Rojimar shifted his weight. He’d give it another minute or two. He just couldn’t wait, whether he wanted to or not.

Millick whistled behind him. Rojimar nearly startled from his skin. Sneaky bastard had snuck up on him.

Millick sat down on the other side of the tree. “Sorry for the delay.”

Rojimar rose an eyebrow. “What kept you?”

“Well… it was worth it. But I was recognized.” He frowned. “Think I need to lay low for a bit. Or maybe relocate.” He gave a shrug of indifference. Then Millick withdrew a rolled-up parchment from his tunic and handed it to Rojimar.

Rojimar accepted it but paused.

Millick rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know. Perfume oil. Belongs to the madam who recognized me. May my wife forgive me,” and he looked skyward for forgiveness.

Rojimar did not laugh, for Millick’s wife had passed on some years ago. “So what is this?” He unrolled the parchment.

“Well, you were right about Rockdale in terms of numbers. But that’s a list of the men who have family on the other side. Might be best to weed them out. Don’t need men passing along our numbers and sensitive information and such through the pass to the Ambsellon border. I wrote that list myself. I wouldn’t have gotten caught otherwise.”

“What’s done is done, and this makes up for it,” Rojimar told him. “You go home and rest up. I’ll decide on a new destination to relocate you in the meanwhile. Watch out for yourself… things are going to heat up quick.”

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