Dave Freer posting.
Sunday is snippet day... come on all...
This is first draft, raw off the head....
They walked through the enormous height of the vaulted hall as a trio of musicians played stoically above the noise, and out of a small far door. "Leads to the gaderobes," said Finn. "But there used to be a door here... Ah, just behind that planter. It’ll be locked, but I can deal with that."
He did, with a wiggle and a sharp cracking of wood. They stepped through into the passage beyond, closing the broken door behind them. The passage was a narrow one, and obviously not intened for the social butterflies out there. The one servant they met looked puzzled to see them there. Puzzled, but respectful. Certainly not about to raise a hue and cry, or even ask what they were doing here. Meb decided it must be the angle of Finn’s nose. It was enough to make her want to apologise for being there.
They walked out of the narrow passage and back onto more more plausible places for noble Alvar to be -- into a large gallery in which many portraits hung. "The rogues gallery," said Finn, with some amusement. "Look there, scrap. That is the current master of this pile. Prince Gwyndar."
Meb looked up at the cold Alvar face. "He looks like he had some bad fish for breakfast."
That Finn made laugh, as he led her off into a different passage. It was still the kind of passage that you might find nobles in -- if they were the sort of noble that actually worked in the royal establishment. It was high and well lit, but simply utilitarian. It led down. Down, down into the depth of palace. To a place that was important enough to be guarded.
"Halt!" said one of the guards.
Finn looked down the length of his nose. Meb just kept on juggling, adding a few double-throws because they were standing still.
"What is your purpose here, My lord?" asked the taller of the two guards, both of who still stood, watchfully, in front of the locked door.
"I’ve come to rob the royal treasury," said Finn, with a yawn. "What does it look like, sirrah?"
The guard blinked. "Er. No disrespect intended, my lord. But you need special permission to go into the treasury."
Finn drew a large key from a pocket. "Having the key would seem reasonable permission to me. Do you know who I am?"
The one guard stood hastily aside. But the other was made of sterner stuff. "I am sorry, my lord, I don’t."
"Well," said Finn, frostily, stepping forward and putting the key into the lock. "You’d better see that you do something about that." He waved his free hand at the guard who had stood aside. "March him off to see Commander Pencival, and ask him to explain who the new high magician is."
"Er. We can’t leave the place unguarded, Sir, " said the guard.
Finn nodded. "True. Very well. I should not be long. And I’ll need someone to carry things up to my chambers in the east tower. He can accompany me, and talk to the Commander." He jiggled the key slightly and the heavy metal-barred and studded door swung open. "Come little one," he said to Meb. "Let us go and loot the royal treasury," he said, with a toothy smile at the guards.
"We didn’t know, m’lord," said the one who had been doubtful at first. "No one ever tells us ordinary soldiers anything."
"Ah," said Finn, as he closed the door behind him. "You can’t say I didn’t. And most of it the absolute truth too. Unfortunately, people usually hear what they want hear. Come on, scrap. It’s not every day you get to loot an ancient Alvar treasure house. And I missed an important bit last time, because it wasn’t in here. But it is this time. I made sure. Now we just have to find it."
Dave Freer (from WIP -DRAGONS RING)