The Black Sleeves

a story
2014-05-05 12:12:52,
2014-06-01 11:23:43
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Page 1

A fox’s tail twitched to the sound of clockwork chimes marking the early morning hour. The Baron of Argenstrath turned his eyes from the crackling fireplace as a familiar face walked in through the broad parlor doors. Nester would raise the folded slip of parchment to Clay as he approached the baron’s chair.

Jonathan Clay, Steward to the House Delgado, took the page and slipped into the high-back chair opposite the baron. His eyes carefully examined over the words before folding the page again and placing it on the small table between them.

As the baron’s chief advisor began to speak, orange eyes cut through him with a stern gaze.The whole house had been on edge since the incidents at the masquerade. There was rumor of the technocracy tightening its grip, which meant certain freedoms could soon be restricted. 

“I understand my baron,” Clay offered. “I’m just as concerned as you are.”

The baron relaxed his shoulders and turned his eyes back towards the flame, his tail idly flipping against the Gelvin rug his ancestors once brought back with them from the Eastern Sun Empire. Jonathan wondered briefly if the Gelvin monks ever imagined a mechanical tail like the baron’s. After all the stories Clay had heard of the once great civilization, something like the sight before him might not have gone amiss.

“But I can assure you Nester that this room and the others have been thoroughly inspected several times by our top men. There are no ears on the estate that we do not already know about. I even checked this room personally, twice.”

The baron nodded briefly, picked up the folded slip of paper, and began to run his fingers against the edges. He looked to Clay once more before tossing the page into the open flame, the paper immediately burst into ash.

“If only they knew.”