Meanwhile, in the halls of the Brass Embassy....

Author: Ama /

A young lady navigated the baroque and twisted halls of the Brass Embassy, her heels traced echoes off the black polished marble. She ignored the screams reverberating from behind the opulent doors in the next hallway as she clutched the folder tightly against her. She lifted her gaze to the the frescoes of imps gleefully torturing the damned on the vaulted ceiling as she passed the two young succubi from the secretarial pool gossiping in the corner. The two fell in a hush as she hurried by.

She knew she'd be the next subject of conjecture for an hour or two. As the result of endless taunts and worse for features being neither flawlessly devilish nor passably human in her youth, she'd come to expect the worst in all sentients. She smiled as approached room #413, and waited just outside as her mentor argued in his office with two junior devils.

"Listen you two," Bloodwing bellowed as he jabbed a black fingernail into an elongated stretch of parchment on his desk choked with lines of red ink, "I argued this clause for four days and four nights with an angel without pause in the Negev before either of you were conceived!"

Mister Bloodwing stood head-and shoulders over his visitors. He must have been quite annoyed to rise from his favorite chair, she thought. Like most devils, he wore fashions that were as striking as they were scandalous, at least for the souls outside the Embassy's majestic gates. His suit was charcoal black, with shining brass cufflinks ending in spikes that appeared ready for double duty for some more sinister purpose. His shirt beneath was as scarlet as his hair. The long flat necktie...the piece de resistance... was a surprising shade of deep, shimmering violet.

"And guess what?" he snarled as he leaned over the desk, laying his large yet supple hands on their shoulders. "I WON."

Bloodwing was proud of his luxuriant crimson hair, and tied it back while in the office. His face was pale as opposed to the pink complexion of most of the Embassy staff, not a lifeless pallor like the groaning Drowned that clogged the Stolen River, but the austere pale of a marble statue recovered from one of the more decadent reigns of Ancient Rome. Along with the curious outward twist of his horns, nearly twice the length of most devils his rank, it lead many in the Embassy to speculate he was the stock of vanquished royalty from some obscure infernal kingdom annexed before history from the far borders of what is present-day simply known as Hell.

The visitors gulped and nodded. One of them swallowed, and built up the courage to reply. "Yes Sir. We'll...we'll amend this and all future contracts accordingly."

Bloodwing withdrew his hands to cross them over his chest. "Resolved. And one more thing...

She could not hear the rest of the argument, but considering the incidents over the last week, she thought she knew what the topic could be... herself. Mr Bloodwing had a habit of letting juniors know that she was his protege, and insults to her were considered insults to him. It could be a dangerous stance in these halls, where blackmail and secrets were heavy coin in themselves.

Her superior had treated her oddly since she had been recruited for the Embassy. Many devils knew her to be an outsider, raised in the morals of London before the Neath. She had been a foundling, raised by a kind doctor who himself was a transplant to London. Mr Bloodwing treated her with an odd sort of kindness, a confusing attitude. Those who were not in their department assumed he was seducing her, the way he seemed to flirt with her. Indeed, there were tales of how some of his other proteges, her predecessors, had either gone on to be great courtesans or gone mad, sometimes both.

She sighed inwardly as the rumblings inside the office continued. No, Mr Bloodwing had never gone that route with her. She was relieved and puzzled, for she did feel affinity for him, but it was much as she felt for her adopted father.

She frowned, thinking of the contents of the folder she had... retrieved from the court records office. The charges against Father were false, blatantly so, to the point one could calculate the amount and distribution of the bribes in the testimony. She clutched the folder a little tighter as the noises inside her mentor's office indicated the interview was concluding.


Post a Comment