Introduction to The Company – The Spy

The Spy

The Lord Consul had been of ill-health of late. He had called a meeting of his Circle; the Banker, the General, the Inquisitor and of course his most trusted friend and advisor, Thomas Warcup. Thomas was still waiting for the Lord Consul to call on his son. He’d been in power for a good fifty years now, surely in his time of need he would call upon his only son to take the burden of office from him? Well, if he had thought that of his old friend, he wouldn’t have known him very well now, would he? That ruthless old tyrant would live forever and a day if he could. Damn fool. And yet he still called him friend. There was always a guilty twang in the pit of his stomach when he named the Lord Consul as a friend. It was even worse when The Lord Consul himself referred to him as a friend. His most trusted friend. Seemed a misplaced trust when you considered his true role in all of this.

The Lord Consul’s body shook violently as he was wracked with a hacking couch. Thomas felt his stomach churning. The Lord Consul was dying today and he knew it. That was the reason for this hurried meeting. Clever really. He had ordered doctors to tell his advisors that he was well on the road to recovery – he suspected a mole in his Circle. He had only told Thomas, his most trusted of friends, how sick he really was. He couldn’t have known that the mole had been standing before him at that time. But Thomas had said nothing to his contacts in the insurgence. This wasn’t about weapons or blood money or any such insidious plans; this was about a frail old man facing his final days in this world. That sort of information was of no importance to the insurgence, not where Thomas was concerned.

He felt a clawed hand grasping feebly at the jacket of his suit. The Lord Consul wished to speak with him. Thomas bent his back and the Lord Consul spoke into his ear; it was barely a whisper.

“My son…” he croaked. “Where…is my son?”

“You have not called for him, sir,” Thomas replied in muted tones.

The Lord Consul tugged weakly at Thomas’ sleeve; he looked scared, terrified even. The time was almost upon them.

“Call my son!” he rasped.

Thomas nodded and straightened his back, directing his gaze to the Consul manservant who was waiting faithfully for his master’s orders.

“Fetch the young Lord,” Thomas ordered on his friend’s behalf.

The manservant bowed and left silently. The Lord Consul then began to address his Circle starting with the fat Banker whose piggy eyes had barely left the tray of meagre morsels that the manservant had brought for the Lord Consul ten minutes earlier.

“Hackney!” the Lord Consul’s voice was grating like rust on rust. “I’ve watched you…frittering away my money, my son’s money!” he took a long and painful breath. “From now on, Thomas will double….check your books…if you are steal…stealing from my son you will have to deal with the Inquisitor.”

He coughed hard and Thomas automatically thrust a handkerchief in front of his face. The handkerchief was red with spattered blood. The Lord Consul didn’t have much time left, perhaps a few minutes at most. Where the hell was John Paul?

“Inquisitor Bradley!”

God, the Lord Consul just wouldn’t give up. Then again, he never had been one for failure.

“Your results have never disappointed me…I you to expand your offices into…Merchant territory…”

The Banker leapt to his feet with surprising agility for a man of his considerable weight. His piggy eyes were wild with fury.

“That is my land!” he roared, the flab on his face trembling with fury. “You have no right to…”

The Lord Consul raised a frail hand to silence him and inclined his head towards Thomas. Thomas stepped towards the fat man with terrifying purpose. He halted mere inches from Banker Hackney and placed his hands on the fat man’s shoulders.

“Dear Hackney,” Thomas said no hint of compassion. “The Lord Consul had every right to give any land he wishes to any of his subjects. It is, after all, his land. Perhaps you forgot; I shall help you remember.”

Thomas brought his knee up sharply into the fat man’s groin. Banker Hackney gave a high-pitched grunt and collapsed to the ground, rolling around and clutching at his balls, fat tears rolling down his flabby cheeks – served him right, thieving bastard. Thomas returned to his place at the Lord Consul’s side as though nothing had happened and the Lord Consul continued.

“General…I had plans to expand our territory in Arik…to the east…”

The Consul’s body shook violently as he coughed, and coughed blood. He grabbed Thomas’ sleeve again and stared up at him. The light was fading from his eyes but he had one last thing to say – he always had to have the last word.

“My son…” he rasped between brutal coughs. “Keep him safe…Thomas…I…trust…you…only…you. My son…”

He took one last gasping breath – the death rattle – and the light faded from his eyes. His hand fell limply from Thomas’ sleeve. He was gone. Thomas looked at each of the men before him. A gluttonous thief, a sadistic murderer and a half-wit coward. These were the people that were supposed to aids the new Consul? None of them looked the slightest bit sad at the passing of their leader. He took a deep and oddly shaky breath – has the passing of this man really hit him so hard?

“The Lord Consul is dead.”

~ by Jess Wiles on February 12, 2011.

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