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Saturday, 08 October 2005
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The Tale of Sir Robert, chapter v. Across the Empire
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The words of Sir Orin echoed in his ears, "Go now before the trail is cold. I believe he will head north". Sir Robert knew that Marc de Swandle would be heading for the docks, to take ship up the Talabec and he rode as fast as he knew how through the crowded streets of Altdorf to intercept him before he sailed. Yet more than once we was forced to a complete halt, unable to make way through the great press of humanity that filled the roads. Finally he reached the dock gates, to find that a witch hunter had reached there before him. He recognised him as Karl Waltdorf, one of those who had been at the palace earlier, although not in the audience chamber itself.

"Sir Robert, you do not yet know the best ways through our fine city it appears. Never mind, our quarry has fled - it appears he had a boat of which we knew nothing."

"Have we a ship?" Sir Robert asked, "We must be after him as soon as possible."

The witch hunter shrugged. "I agree. I have put in a requisition order for a ship from the Imperial Navy. I should imagine that in a week or two they'll be able to find something for us. Possibly sooner if I start investigating the Port Admiral - or possibly longer depending on how he takes it."

"Can't we hire one?"

"There's not that many captains willing to get involved in the pursuit of witches, for some reason, particularly when we don't know where he's going. And what's this 'we'? I work alone."

Sir Robert did not quite know how to respond to this. However as he stood wondering, his squire, Donal, rode up, accompanied by Johannes Kirchwald,, a cadet with the Order of the Blazing Son with whom Sir Robert had formed a friendship.

Donal addressed Sir Robert in Bretonnian, his command of Reikspiel not being great, "I bear a scroll from Sir Orin, with the Emperor's personal seal. It commands all who owe him loyalty to deliver you what aide they can with all possible dispatch. He said he believed it would be of some use to us."

Sir Robert smiled and took the scroll with a word of thanks. He turned back to the witch hunter. "Where was this Port Admiral you were talking about?"

A couple of hours later they were on a ship of the Imperial Navy (which the naval-types insisted was a brigantine, not a ship, although Sir Robert failed to see the difference), casting off from the docks of Altdorf. All four were on board, and sharing the captain’s cabin while he moved in with the lieutenant. Sir Robert had not been keen on taking Waltdorf, but the witch hunter had pointed out that he was required by the Emperor's own orders to assist Sir Robert - whether Sir Robert wished it or not.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 October 2005 )
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