Chapter 1 of a new story. Fantasy.
Gideon Streets walked down the stone hallway, leather soles making soft whup, whup sounds, the dark red cloak of his Security Office billowing behind. To be summoned by his Liege at any hour was not unusual. But what set his hackles to attention was the summoning had been presented by Lemuel, the Liege's personal valet. Lemuel had stood outside Streets' suite and quivered, the glass casing of the hurricane lantern he carried rattling in its casing and dimples of sweat beading his upper lip. Upon receiving confirmation of Streets' urgent pending arrival, he set off at a run, returning to the Liege's quarters.
Flickering candles set in sconces every 10 or 15 feet left wavering shadows. Narrow flat openings sat high in the tall grey stone walls evenly spaced between these light sources. These windows allowed little light even during the day and offered nothing more than a haven for high flying birds and their nests. This late, nothing cawed or cooed from their shadowy depths and no breeze stirred the stagnant air. Gideon wondered what the fat prick wanted now. Then chastised himself as he'd done a thousand times before. That is not what Orianna would want. He stomped on those thoughts before they could spiral but was not entirely successful...again. He could hear her lilting voice as if she were hanging on his arm.
"It's not Gregory's fault Gideon. He never achieved the level of training as you. His skills went another route." Her hazel eyes drilled into his green ones.
"BUT HE COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING!" Gideon railed in his head. He paused before he rounded the last corner to the Baron's suite and pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes. "Can't change it now."
Gideon pasted on a placid expression and continued to the center tower of Castle Galsparth. A door opened with a slight creak as he approached. He didn't slow. The large guard holding the door greeted Streets with a "Brother" and stood at attention. Streets nodded a return greeting and kept moving. A second door opened after he passed through the first. The guard at the second door pulled it closed behind him, enclosing Streets inside the room with one other person.
Streets stood in the dark red robe of his office and lowered his hood. He nodded his head at the Baron. "My Liege, at your request." Gideon congratulated himself on keeping the sneer from his voice.
Seated at his desk on the raised dais Baron Galsparth fumed inwardly. He pasted on his own blank expression and stifled his frustration as he raised his head and peered at Gideon. "No salute to your betters Gideon?"
Gideon smoldered inwardly but only allowed smirk to cross his face. "Betters? Once I have a better seated at that desk", he narrowed his eyes, "then shall I salute."
Baron Galsparth responded through gritted teeth "Your impertinence will only get you so far Gideon. One day you will find yourself beneath my heel."
Gideon smiled at the threat. "Gregory. The day you find yourself alone in a room with me and no guards within earshot," Gideon took one step forward and allowed a smidge of his fury to slip through, "your heel will be the last thing you need to worry about."
The baron felt sweat break out in the thick folds of his skin. A drop slipped from his temple and left a cold trail down his round cheek. He could not stop the quaver in his voice. "We have..." he coughed and started again. "We have an unknown visitor as of supper time. I expect him to attend High Court. Observe and report."
"I will need more than 'unknown visitor' in order to accommodate your wishes, My Liege." The last two words were redolent with sarcasm.
"You will recognize this visitor when you see him." The Baron slapped the surface of the desk with one meaty palm, his frustration growing. "Now be gone with you."
Gideon smirked again and inclined his head. "Yes, my Liege. Will that be all?"
The baron made a shooing gesture with his hand and returned his attention to the paperwork on his desk. As Streets turned toward the door the Baron glanced up through his bushy eyebrows and watched him depart, his shoulders slumping in relief when the heavy door thumped closed with Streets on the other side.
Gregory piled his hands on his desk and laid his broad forehead upon them and thought back to Orianna's dark hazel eyes and sighed. "If you had done your job Gideon, she would still be alive."