Lords of Being
Chapter 27: A Sensitive Topic
Hellgrammite receives an email from The Deck asking where he’ll be available to meet. Decker and Dealer arrive at the appointed place and time with his copy of The Deck. It has four suits of cards, and some number of trumps. Each of the trumps has a picture of some individual on them. They appear to be people who can be contacted. The suits are Wards, Wings, Cats and Crowns. Each suit has 15 cards, one to ten, castle, knight, bishop, king and queen. Each of these cards has some symbol, picture or description for someone who’s accessible to deck holds, like we were summoned to Botswana by (the late) Saul Mokoti.
A few days later, Mabel gets a call from Tim, the manager of her kennel. He sounds stressed, worried and apologetic. “Roper has gone missing.” Roper is Mabel’s Rhodesian Ridgeback stud, and is one of Mabel’s favorites. She’s bred them to be larger than usual; Roper stands about 3 feet high at the shoulder. “He’s been missing at least several hours. We’ve looked all over the farm. We don’t know how he could have gotten out. We are discreetly starting to search the area beyond the farm.”
“Has anything unusual happened in the past day or two? Or any visitors?”
“Lady Delia was by to ask your opinion on her foxhounds, but that’s about it. Roper was on the grounds then, since I made sure he didn’t meet Lady Delia. I’m sure he was there last night. He was missing in the morning.”
“I understand. Widen your search.”
“Do you want us to put a notice in the local papers?”
“Alert the local vet, animal control officer and constabulary.”
“Yes ma’am. I’ve taken the liberty of notifying Mr. Willet.”
After Tim rings off, Mabel explains the situation to the others, concluding with, “I should go home.”
Glass notes, “Since we don’t know where in the world we need to go next, starting from somewhere near your home in Totleigh is as good as any place else.”
There’s general agreement to relocate to Barsetshire. There’s a regional airport at Barsetshire which should do nicely for a place to land.
Hellgrammite makes a quick trip to his house to check on a few things, and we depart.
Once on our way, Neville asks Rosamund to give him the ability to sense Asiras. Or any Courtier.
Rosamund promises to think about it, and consults with the other Courtiers on board. Hellgrammite thinks he can build a device to locate Asirus, but Rosamund is worried about Neville losing a physical device and it getting found by our adversaries. Mabel suggests making it keyed to Neville in some way. When the idea of a physical device doesn’t fly, Hellgrammite suggests that Peggy and Terry (another team of Courtiers – one of Order and one of Chaos) might be able to train Neville to sense Courtiers. They’re in Chicago which is almost on our way. Rosamund is very put off by the idea of training a mortal to sense Courtiers.
Rosamund also considers making a cutting from herself which she could imbue with life-sense. Picking up Mabel’s idea, she may be able to key it to Neville. As we fly towards the North Atlantic, Rosamund is fussing with a pot with a little sprout in the kitchen. She doesn’t tell anyone what she’s doing.
Last Updated: Dec 11, 2009
©2009 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved