The Funeral: A Roseman Tale

rosemen cover

It looked like every Watchman in the capital was on duty on the day.  It was four days since the explosion at The Anvil, and Spellman and Goodfellow were going to be laid to rest.  Notice had been made that the families wished that the funerals only be attended by the near and dear, and the appropriate representation from The Service.  To insure this, the funeral route was lined with Rosemen, and a cordon was established at the cemetery as the Watch was honouring their own.

Andy Binman stood at attention as part of the Ninth’s delegation.  As his fellow Rosies stood at parade in their freshly oiled jerkins, and black crepe tied around their arms, he noticed the evidence of the risks taken daily by a Watchman.  There stood Sergeant Lifson with a golden rose, and two bronze hearts upon his breast.  Next to him was Senior Constable Fuller with his bronze heart.  Gus Gates, the custody sergeant, and Sergeant Schribner each bore the old bronze dragon decoration for wounds received in their time on the streets in the Crestmen days.

At the grave sides, a lone hurdy gurdy-man, in his traditional harlequin pantaloons, played a sorrowful rendition of Amazing Grace.   Superintendent Magononni then presented Rob Goodfellow’s widow Sprite, and Tom Spellman’s mother folded purple rose flags.

Attached to each flag was a letter of condolence and a personal apology from King Hector.  While there should be no surprise as to the reason of condolences, the apology had to do with conduct of the memorial itself.   In order to preserve the fiction that the catastrophe was the result of a still explosion, The Service could not give the two officer’s the appropriate recognition at this time.  Therefore, it was Magononni rather than Lord Oldbridge that presented the flags.  The women would also find folded within the flags, hidden from view by prying eyes, a silver heart medal.  The king again apologised for this deception, and promised that their loss and sacrifice would be publicly acknowledged one the case was concluded.

The concerns and precautions on the part of the Service were well founded.  Two journalists had been detained, one wearing a dated Crestman’s jerkin with a hastily stitched “Rose Crest” upon it.  He was subsequently charged with “impersonating a watchmen” to set an example.  The other had been found in a tree canopy, notebook in hand, during a pre-funeral sweep by members of the Third.

These were far from the most worrying breeches, however.  To the south of the cemetery there was a black coach which loitered just beyond the line of watchmen.  It was drawn by four black horses, and had smoked windows.  When members of the watch went to move the coachman on, the vehicle sped off at speed nearly trampling two members of the “Roadies.”  Reports suggested that the same coach was seen twenty minutes later on the north of the memorial gardens.

Interestingly, no two Rosies gave the same description of the driver.  Even details of his dress varied widely among the nine watchmen that filed reports.

Padre

 

 

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