Excerpt from The Price of Power

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This is a freshly written rough draft excerpt


Grace, Secundus Goronos has been assassinated! I need you to start immediately!

The message from Yeriala broke me out of concentrating on a request for a large restaurant space with a view. It was two-twentyfive, three days before I was schedule to begin my appointment as an investigator. I don't know if Amras has the ghost he's going to train me with created, but I'll give it my best shot. I do need the official contract, though. Otherwise, I'm just a private citizen.

It should be in your queue. I've already been confirmed by Tertius Howsoff.

Yes, it was in my queue, ready for my agreement. I accepted it and sent it back to her while telling Imre an emergency had arisen. It appears that Yeriala's predecessor has been assassinated and I need to start immediately. I'll try to get back to helping you when I can, but I think this has a higher claim upon my attention?

Agreed, Grace. I think I'm ready to create another splinter anyway. I presume you have complete notes in the files? As soon as I indicated that I had, he said, I will handle it and broke off the link.

Before I could even consider my next move - which was to find or create an Imperial uniform - Amras contacted me. The ghost that will train you is at your outer door.

Thank you! How do I find it?

He will find you. If he was detectable by others, that would defeat the purpose. Just make sure you walk out your front door before you teleport out.

Any hints to start out with?

You might begin by checking if Goronos was officially a Quintus-in-rank.

Yeah, that might be smart. For one thing, it would determine whether we were potentially looking for a murderer or if the case didn't belong in the justice system at all. I sent a query with my datalink and it came back while he had the service points for Quintus-in-rank, he had only accepted Quartius-in-rank thus far. So if he had been murdered, it was in fact criminal murder, not political rivalry.

About that time I grabbed one of my old military uniforms and moved the white staff private's pips to the breast, between my golden triangles - the one with the stick figure that announced my status as a Second Order Guardian (officially) being junior to it, while the small unadorned golden triangle denoting that I was a Secundus-in-rank was the seniormost. On my epaulets went a larger golden triangle with crossed swords embossed, indicating that I was acting as the agent for a Secundus-in-fact. It was derivative authority - Yeriala could withdraw it at any time, for any reason or none. But it was Imperial authority, and I was suddenly feeling inadequate for the trust being placed in me - or at least doubtful of my ability. I was not responsible for judgment - but I was responsible for the findings of fact the judges would use to make their judgments. I thought it a good time for a quick prayer, O lord of hosts, guide me to truth and justice! Amen, before I walked out my front door.

Shield yourself even during prayers, I was told, the divine will hear regardless. Your enemies could use it against you.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on September 27, 2018 7:06 PM.

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