The Appeal: A Roseman Tale

Image result for wigged judge

image: Quara

Alfonso Sagasius KC paced his chambers.  This was all quite wrong, he mused.  Decades on the bench and the Judge had never had a single decision challenged before.  The king himself had said that he was, what was the phrase?  That was it, “It is Sagasius who puts the just into justice.”

Now, he was being questioned – scrutinised. Why? Because I sentenced a foreigner.  The man hadn’t even been credentialed as a diplomat until the trial had begun, and then only because he was the brother-in-law to a minor nobleman. 

A pox on all politicians!


Weekend Writing Prompt #115 – Judge

Blessed of the First: A Roseman Tale

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Benedict Blessed had been a captain in the Provost Marshal’s Office during the late Dunes War.  He was tall and athletic and had a strikingly similar build and features to those of King Hector.  Because of this, he was assigned to the sovereign’s protection team.  There were several occasions in which the pair traded armour and identity when traveling through uncertain crowds.

Officially Blessed had been the king’s standard-bearer, a duty he excelled at.  He was at the king’s side in every major battle of the war, and he has impressive in his dedication to the protection of Hector’s life.

At the close of the war the Provost Corps was scaled down, but Blessed’s immaculate record recommended him to take a key role in the formation of the new Constabulary Service.  When it came time to appoint a commander for the First Precinct with its remit to protect the Palace and Parliament the only name on any officials lips was Blessed’s.

Since the formation of the service this man of duty had made the “Firsts” a showpiece organisation.  Spit and polish coupled with a reassuring air of public confidence marked his men as “elites.”

Blessed himself had grown up in the west of the kingdom, the eldest son of a country squire.  He became an able horseman, and achieved a substantial local following in swordsmanship competitions and in the joust.  All this served him well in the war, and in his later role as a Watchman.

What he had not been prepared for was the Moorland killing.  Things like that didn’t happen in his district.  He was well aware that murder and robbery were everyday occurrences in the Alleys and beyond, but not in the Parliament Square.

Though he would never admit it, he was actually relieved when the Cruikshank and his “Lasts” joined the team.  They were not what he would say “model watchmen,” but there was something about them, the way they seemed not to trust the world that made him feel they might just make a difference.

The case had begun to bog down now, and Lord Oldbridge had told him personally to distance the “Firsts” from the investigation.  He would remain officially in charge, but if it all fell apart the Commissioner assured him, the blame would fall elsewhere.  In fact, Oldridge ordered him to find an excuse to hand the case to either Magononni or Cruikshank.  This really disturbed his sense of honour, but in the end – “orders were orders.”

With all this running through his mind, Blessed spurred his horse through the gates of Gross Nordstadt.



Raiders of the Lost Art: A Roseman Tale

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“The Gallery Raid” followed shortly after the National Museum had been hit.  It was not immediately obvious that they were linked by anything other than that they were both museums.  It was only when a passer-by reported that they had seen a coach in a nearby side street which matched the one at the Rosemen’s funeral and museum job that the case was handed over to the Moorland team.

“I’m not sure I get this modern art,” Lifson observed looking at a still life which included a two eggs, a slice of toast, a sausage, two lemons, and a bottle of gin on a table with a black checked tablecloth.  “Who has lemons with their breakfast?”

“Seems a bit odd to me too, Sarge,” Fuller agreed.

The two Rosies then made their way to where Barns was taking a statement from the curator.

“Exactly what is missing again, Sir?” Barns asked, pencil poised at his notebook.

“A Buber-Zuhler painting ‘Maidens with Tambourines,’ a marble bust of Razuli the Second, and Watchman’s ‘Windmill in the Snow’,” the museum official said placing special emphasis on the artists’ names as if to highlight the gravity of the situation.

“So a Buber-Zuhler, a Watchman, and a Marblebust?  Is that correct?”

“Mable bust!  A statue,” The frustrated man corrected.

“And is there anything particularly identifiable about these missing items, Sir?” Barns asked.

The curator covered his face with both hands, shook his head in exasperation and screamed.  He then holding out his hands dismissively began to walk towards his office.

“Is there a problem, Sir?” Lifson asked as he headed the man off.

“The problem is that priceless pieces of art are missing, and you ‘gentlemen’ seem to have no idea  . . .” he began scornfully,  before trailing off.

“Sir, let me assure you that we are taking this matter extremely seriously, and we are merely trying to make sure that all the proper procedures are followed,” Lifson said diplomatically.

He then escorted the man to his office.

Meanwhile, Hugh Trixner was completing his readings.

“There is definitely residue all over this place, Sir,” he reported to Magononni.  “And there’s no sign that there was an attempt to cover it up, either.  It seems really strong by the service entrance and in the sculpture hall,  but not so much in the paintings gallery.”

“Two paintings were taken from there?”  The detective asked.

“Yes Sir, from opposite walls from each other,” Trixner said.  “But there are only faint TEM readings at either of the paintings’ mounting points.  The readings at the Razuli plinth are off the scale though.”

“Do we have a time?”  Magononni asked.

“About one in the morning.  It matches with the time Sergeant Lifson says the coach was seen,” Trixner reported.

Sergeant Lifson then returned from the curator’s office with a copy of the gallery’s catalogue.   The curator having helpfully circled the images of the missing pieces, then slammed the door behind the exiting Watchman.



Fandango’s FOWD: Scorn




Residue: A Roseman Tale

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“What are they for?” Watchman Barns asked.

“The bigger meter with the dials on it measures energy residues,” Trixner explained.

“A magic meter?”

“Sort of.  It’s a bit more complicated than that, but ‘magic meter’ is as good of an explanation as any, I guess,” Trixner conceded.

“And what is the white on for?”  Barns pressed.

“It captures samples of the aether, so I can take them to an alchemist to check out where that vanilla smell is coming from.”

Trixner began to pack up his “magic meter.”

“Aren’t you going to take more measurements?” Barns asked.

“There’s no use in trying,” Trixner lamented.  “That sweet smell is confusing the machine.”

“Does the machine ‘smell’?”

“No it ‘feels,’ the ‘magic.'” Trixner explained trying to use terms that the former farmhand would understand.

Toby Barns thought about this for a moment then said, “Back in Farmington, we would spread manure in the early autumn.  It was rather smelly work but we could put some lavender oil on a handkerchief and tie it over our noses and mouths.  It didn’t get all the smell but, it let us get the job done.”

“What does that have to do with the case?” the detection-man asked.

“Well, if the vanilla is making your meter ‘gag,’ then you could filter the air with a damp cloth,” Barns suggested.

“I guess its worth a try,” Trixner mused.

They set the meter up again and Barns dampened a handkerchief and draped it over the instrument.  While it didn’t give a definitive reading it did stop the needle on the dial from jumping erratically.

“Toby, I think you’ve done it,” Trixner said.  “There is definitely some leftover magic here.  How much, I can’t be sure, but it’s here all the same.”

The pair then took some aether samples and headed for the university, where they went directly to the Dean of  the Alchemy Department.

“Excuse me, Professor Sowser,” Trixner said sticking his head through the elderly academic’s door.  “I don’t know if you remember me.  I am Hans Trixner’s son, Hugh.”

“Hugh, my boy.  What can I do for the son of the famous Hans?”  The alchemist asked.

“Well Sir, I am here on Watch business.”

“Fascinating,” the dean said. “And what manner of business is that?”

“I can’t give you many details of the case, but I have an aether sample I need to make sense of.  It smells of vanilla, and it wreaks havoc with EDM readings.”

“All the more fascinating,” the academic said, nodding to himself and stroking his beard.  “We should crack on with it then.”

For the next two hours, Toby Barns sat on a chair outside the dean’s workshop composing a letter to Breeze Fairweather, while Sowser and Trixner analysed the aether.



Story Starter Challenge #26: “What are they for?”






Newt Wizki: A Roseman Tale

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Watchman Newton Wizakowski was known to his fellow officers as Newt Wizki, a pun based on the Eastern Province’s signature drink Witzkey.  This distilled time bomb was crystal clear, except for the small lizard at the bottom of the bottle.  Witzkey, it should be noted, delivered a 90% alcohol punch.  Newton’s eastern accent, and unfortunate given name made the nickname just too hard for the other Rosemen to pass up.

He was a well-built man of medium height, with broad shoulders and sturdy legs.  He had thick black hair and sported the walrus-like mustache popular in the East.  He also had a punch nearly as powerful as that of his namesake.

Wizakowski was a transfer from 7th precinct, where he had worked for four years in Nordland border region.  There, he had dealt with minor smuggling, and some cross-border sheep rustling, but “hard crime” was largely absent.

His family ironically were brewers and distillers, though not of the lethal Witzkey.  He grew up among the large copper stills and he had played hide-and-seek among the endless rows of aging casks.  This upbringing had given him a firm understanding of mechanical mechanisms, and an uncanny ability to always finding criminals’ hiding places.

Being a younger son, he couldn’t look forward to any important role in the family enterprise, so at eighteen he applied to become a Watchman.  He was accepted on his first try, and proved a quick study.  It was only with some reluctance that his supervisor, Inspector Imachuck signed his transfer to the capital.

On arriving in the city he was given a choice of duty stations, and he thought that a place called “The Back Lane,” sounded rather out of the way and peaceful.  It was a matter of surprise when he arrived in front of Inspector Cruikshank’s desk as an “actual volunteer.”

“Wizakowski, is it?” Cruikshank questioned looking at the paperwork.

“Yes Sir,” the officer responded.

“From the Seventh near North Town?” Cruikshank continued.

“Yes, Sir.”

“What in the hells made you volunteer for ‘The Lasts’?”

“Lasts, Sir?” Wizki questioned confusedly.

“The Lasts.  The Ninth.  Us.”

“I had come to the big city, and I wanted to get a quiet start,” the younger officer explained.

“Quiet?” Cruikshank asked.

“Yes, Back Lane sounds remote and peaceful.” Newton observed.

Shaking his head, Inspector Cruikshank handed Wizki his new warrant card and said, “Welcome to the ‘quiet’.”


“Well Hello Officers”: A Roseman Tale

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The following is a monologue in the person of Bertram Drake, Pawn-Broker:

The Interview:


(Looking up from some papers) “Well hello officers.  What can you do for me?”


“Help you with your inquiries?  Of course, of course.”


“My full name?  Bertram Drake.”


“Okay, Duckman.  Drake – Duckman – Drake? (making a balancing gesture) What difference does it make?”


“A crime?  How can it be a crime?  A duck’s a duck.”


“Okay, it’s Bertram Duckman.”


“Mis-advertising?  I am offended, I never mis-advertise!”


“The vampire ring?  Well that item is exactly as described!  This big schmuck comes in here and asks if I have anything to keep vampires away.  I say ‘like garlic, or something?” and he says ‘no, something stronger.’  So I am thinking, ‘well there’s holy water and crosses, but I don’t exactly carry those lines,’ then I look up and see the copper ring.  I say to him, ‘Have I got the thing for you.  It is absolutely guaranteed to keep away vampires, and trolls during daylight hours.’ So he buys it.”


“I absolutely stand by it.  If anyone carrying that ring is attacked by vampires or trolls in daylight, I guarantee a full refund!”


“What do you mean extortionate interest?  My fees are quite fair.”


“Gwendolyn?  She is family.   Yes 250% is more than fair, for a risky enterprise.  My people tell me that if she survives (from my lips to the god’s ears) that she is in line to make a killing.”


“Stolen goods?”  Never!  I have a no tolerance policy on stolen goods.  In fact, if anyone can bring me a numbered receipt, or other documentary evidence that an item in my shop is theirs, I will return the item to them, there and then, for a small finders and handling fee for my ‘lost and found’ services.”


“Two sets of books.  Listen constable, I think that you should leave business to businessmen.  Haven’t you ever heard of double entry accounting?”


“Two different books? No I assure you that the books are nearly identical.”


“Well they can’t be exactly the same can they?  Handwriting and such, but all the essentials are the same.”


“Intimidation? I have nothing but the greatest concern for my customers.  If they fall in arrears, I make a personal visit to check on their health, and to see if there might be anything that I might assist them with.  It is purely concern!”


“Bruno and Big Tony?  Yes they are employees.  Bullying, I am aghast at the very thought of it.  They are good-hearted lads and like me pay brief visits purely for the convenience of the customer.  After all, busy people can’t always get away to visit the shop, so as a service I send them around to make collections.


“A look around?  Yes please do, we don’t need any unpleasantness like warrants and such now, do we?”


“Ah, like that one!  No, no please feel free to open anything you would like.”


“Keys, keys? (Patting his pockets) I think Bruno, might just . . . No please not with a hammer . . . “Keys, now I remember, they must be in the office.”


“The precinct house?  Now?  But I have a business to run.”


“What do you mean ‘had’?'”



Alfonso Sagasius KC: A Rosemans Tale (Part Two – The Trial)

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Order, order!  All rise,” the clerk shouted as Lord Justice Sagasius entered the courtroom

“Be seated,” Sagasius said quietly, as he shuffled some papers before him.

“The Crown vs. Talco Remmie,” the clerk announced.

Remmie was led to the dock, and the charges including theft were read out to him.

“How do you plea?”

“Not guilty, My Lord,” Remmie responded.

“Very well,” the old judge replied.  “You may proceed.”

The clerk called out, “The Crown calls Senior Constable Fuller.”

Brian Fuller of “The Lasts,” was not very experienced in the High Court, in fact few in the Ninth Precinct had ever had to deal with much more than magistrates.”  He took the stand, and repeated the customary oath.

“Senior Constable,” a lawyer began. “How did you come to be involved with this case?”

“Well, I was . . .” Fuller began.

“Please address the bench,” the lawyer reminded.

“Sorry,” Fuller stuttered and then continued. “Well, My Lord, I was on my way from the First Precinct to the Alley House, when the lady there in black came running up to me saying she had been robbed and ruined.”

“And how did you respond?”

Fuller looked down at his notebook and read, “The lady said she had been robbed, and I asked was it her purse or something. She then said no, it was her whole life-savings, and she had been conned and swindled.  I then said to her that ‘it sounded like a civil matter to me,’ but she was hysterical, so I wrote down that it were Talco Remmie who had done it.”

“And was there any evidence that Mr. Remmie had perpetrated this so-called ‘swindle?'” the lawyer asked.

“Yes My Lord, The lady said it was so.  That’s my evidence,” Fuller replied.

“Would the Defense like to question the witness?”

“I don’t think that will be necessary, My Lord,” the other lawyer responded.

“Thank you Senior Constable?” Sagasius said.

“The Crown calls Mrs. Isabella Temple,” the clerk called.

Isabella Temple took her place and repeated the oath.

“Mrs. Temple,” the lawyer began.  “What was the nature of your relationship with the accused?”

“I thought he was my friend,” she responded.

“Was there anything romantic in this ‘friendship?'” the lawyer continued.

“No, not romance.  I enjoyed his company, and he seemed a good lunch and theatre companion.”

“Would you call it a relationship?” the lawyer asked.

“No My Lord, merely friendship.”

“How did he get access to your bank?” the lawyer asked.

“I sent a note to allow him enough to pay his back lodging fees,” she said.

“And how much did he draw from your accounts?”

“Twenty three thousand in silver, My Lord,” she said beginning to weep.

“Did you authorise such an amount?”

“No, I made it clear in the note, that it was just for the lodging fees.  Mr. Silver should have known that,” she retorted.

“Is this the note?” the lawyer asked as the clerk handed a piece of paper to Mrs. Temple.

“It’s my signature, but not my words,” she said weeping all the more heavily.

“Thank you, Mrs, Temple.”

The defense lawyer took a sheepish look up to the bench, and then said, “I have no questions, My Lord.”

And that was that.

Sagasius went to his chambers, and returned a mere twenty minutes later.

“The Defendant will rise,” the clerk called out.

Judge Sagasius cleared his throat and then began.  “Talco Remmie, In all of my years in jurisprudence, your case I found to be one of the most despicable.  You have used falsehood, and false friendship to deceive the vulnerable.  You have removed the means of an innocent with whom you had forged a trust to care for her daily needs.  You have victimised Mrs. Temple both financially and emotionally.  I therefore find you guilty of all charges.”

“Do you have a statement before your sentence is announced?” the clerk asked.

“I,  I am sorry I took so much,  Remmie said.  “I am so sorry.”

Sagasius then straightened in his seat.  “Talco Remmie, I have entered a guilty verdict, and I am also informed that you, while in Harbourhead, have attempted a similar deceit previously.  I therefore am going to give the maximum sentence permitted by the law in such cases.  You, Talco Remmie, shall be transported to New Farmington to work at hard labour for a period of no less than thirty years.  If you return to the kingdom, before the the said thirty years, your life shall be forfeit.”

All then stood as the judge returned to his chambers.

*                                  *                                 *

Later that evening Alfonso Sagasius KC sat at the dinner table of his elegant home.  Across from him sat Isabella Sagasius Temple.

“I hope you can find some comfort now that his is all over,  Little Sister.”

“Oh Alfie, I really did love him.  That’s what hurts the most.”

“I know, Issie, and I have made him pay for that.”





Alfonso Sagasius KC: A Rosemans Tale (Part One -The Remmie Case)

Fandango’s Challenge: Order


Alfonso Sagasius KC: A Rosemans Tale (Part One -The Remmie Case)

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Alfonso Sagasius had been on the bench for nearly thirty years.  He had been the youngest judge in the kingdom when he was first appointed by King Gomez.  In his entire time as a lawyer, and then as a member of the judiciary, no one had ever questioned his integrity or his judgments.  In fact, shortly after ascending to the throne, King Hector is reported to have observed that, “It is Sagasius who puts the just into justice.”

As Sagasius looked over his upcoming cases, he nodded as he saw one in particular,  The Crown vs. Remmie.

*                                    *                                    *

Talco Remmie was a dashing adventurer of about thirty.   He had a penchant for rich food, and even richer widows.  He had arrived in the capital from Harbourhead a few months before, and took lodging in an affluent boarding establishment near Parliament.

Remmie frequented the more high class salons and restaurants of the city, and after a week of so in the capital saw an attractive woman in her mid-fifties dining alone on lobster and sparkling wine.  She was dressed in black, and had the clear melancholy of one recently widowed.

“Madam, you look so sad sitting here all alone,” he said, employing his most charming  smile.  “Would you like some company, and someone to share your thoughts with?”

She, being a courteous individual, did not seem ungrateful to such a kind gesture, so motioned to the seat opposite her, which Remmie politely took.

He had an incredible ability to ingratiate himself with people, and she was soon pouring her heart out to him.   He was attentive, and looked compassionately into her tear damped eyes.  He being the gentleman slid a hand towards her arm and gently patted her sleeve.  After she seemed to have said all that was in her heart, he rose and bowed.

“Madam, I am so touched by your struggles and Mr. Temple seems to have been a wonderful man.  Which, if I can be so bold, is only befitting for such an amazing woman as yourself.”  He bowed again and departed.

Three days later, Mrs Temple returned to the same eatery, and spied Remmie sitting at a corner table.  She approached him, and with a shy smile asked if she might join him.

“Of course, Madam,”  he said rising to pull a chair out for her.  “And how have you been, Mrs. Temple?”

“I have been much the same,” she said.  “And do please call me Isabella.”

“I am so sorry to hear that you are still under a cloud,”  Remmie replied with honeyed kindness in his voice.

“I did find our previous chat uplifting,” she said.

The pair again spent an afternoon in conversation.

Their lunches together became more regular after that, and this kind handsome young man made her feel less alone.

After two months, they began to share other engagements together.  They dined in fine restaurants, and he accompanied her to both the opera and to the Theatre Royal where he shared her private box.

She felt alive, and soon began to provide him with little gifts.  She did note, however, that he seemed to only have two suits of clothes.  At one of their meetings, therefore, she announced that she would on the morrow take him to her late husband’s tailor to be fitted.

Though he feigned objections, he was provided with two of the most exquisite suits that the kingdom had to offer, and soon after their shopping excursions became more regular.

Then at one of their lunches, he sat uncharacteristically quietly.

“Whatever is the matter, dear Talco?” she asked.

“Oh Isabella,” he said despondently.  “I may soon have to leave the city.  My funds have been exhausted and my lodgings bill is past due.”

“Nonsense,” she said taking out a banker’s book from her handbag.

“No Isabella, I couldn’t,” he protested.

“How much is it that you owe?” she asked innocently.

“I really can’t say for sure,” he responded.

“Well then,” she continued scribbling on a piece of paper. “You take this note and book to the High Bank and tell Mr. Silver to take care of it.  I insist.”

That was the last she had seen of him, at least before his arrest.




Alfonso Sagasius KC: A Rosemans Tale (Part Two – The Trial)

The Exchange: A Roseman Tale

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It was another one of those odd crimes.  The Diamond Exchange in High Guilds had been burgled, but there was no sign of entry.  The door bolt was found firmly in place, and the burglary was discovered by someone who was already locked inside.

At about eight in the morning, a constable from the Third was flagged down by a frantic diamond merchant.  Normally at this hour, the exchange would be preparing to open.  But not today.  The gem merchant was just standing in the doorway,  holding a piece of scarlet cloth in one hand, and an empty box in the other.  A bewildered expression was fixed upon his face.

“Officer! Officer! Please help!” he called, as the watchman approached.  “We have been robbed.”

“What’s the trouble?” The Roseman asked, taking out his notebook.

“The Star of Illun is missing.  I came out of my chamber above the courtyard and went into the workshop, and the vault was open.  I looked and the wrapping cloth was just dangling from the gem cabinet,” he said, holding up the red cloth.

“Had you heard anything in the night?” the Rosie asked.

“Nothing out of the usual,” the agitated merchant replied.

“Are you sure everything had been locked?”

At this the man’s expression turned to anger.  “I locked the jewel cabinet in the vault myself, and then Murray and I locked the vault together about seven yesterday evening.  So yes, it was locked.”

“Sorry sir, I just need to ask for the record,” the watchman said in a conciliatory tone.  “And where is Mr. Murray?”

“I escorted him and Tibbs to the main door at about seven fifteen as usual and locked the door after they left.  And as for procedure, they gave the door a good pull from their side to double check.”

“What did you do next?  If I might ask, sir?”  the constable continued.

“I went upstairs to my chamber, had some sardines and read till about ten.  Then I went to bed,” the diamond dealer explained.

“And when exactly did you find the safe open?”

“About ten to eight.  I came downstairs to unlock the door for Tibbs, and saw that the vault was open,”  he responded.

“And Mr. Tibbs?” the constable began.

“I don’t know?  He wasn’t there, this morning.”

“And you say the door was locked?”  the Rosie prompted.

“Yes, yes.  I had to pull the bolt in order get out to find you,” the merchant snapped.

“Thank you for your account, sir.  We will get on this right away.”

The similarity to the other recent stone heists soon led to the case being handed over to the Moorland Team.  By early afternoon members of the Discovery Branch were setting up their equipment in the exchange.

Two things stood out in this case, however.  The first was,  that unlike the other “Moorland” heists, only one item had been taken.   The second difference was that the item taken was of significant value.  This was a matter of perturbation for Lifson.   Something just wasn’t right about it.

“Why take treasure this time, when they have only taken cheap stones before?” he asked Magononni.

“No way to tell,”  the head of Discovery replied.  “We have some odd readings, too.”

“Odd?” Lifson inquired.

“Yes, there is nothing on the scanners,”  Magononni said, with a shake of his head.  “There’s never – ‘nothing.’  I have had Trixner check it twice with two different devices, but it’s still the same.”

“Do you think the Tibbs fellow has anything to do with it?” Cruikshank asked, as he joined them.

“I sent Binman over to his place, and he said he found him passed out drunk,” Lifson said.

“That might explain why he didn’t show up to work,” Magononni reflected.

“Seems, a little too convenient for my taste,” Lifson responded.

“What about Murray?” Cruikshank asked.

“He showed up for work at ten, just as usual, and he did seem to be genuinely surprised by it all,” Lifson explained.

“So how do we proceed with this?” Lifter questioned.  “Is it part of our case, or not?”

“Damned if I know,” the superintendent replied.  “It might be a folly, but I guess we need to keep it for now.”

“Yes sir,” Lifson said, “It’s your call.”




Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle 122

1. Please

2. Cloth

3. Branch

4. Perturbation

5. Dangle

6. Folly

7. Attractancy (n)) the capacity of, especially of a pheromone, to attract)

8. Bolt

9. Treasure

10. Proceed

11. Courtyard

12. Place

Barns: A Roseman Tale


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Watchman Toby Barns was rookie.  His journey to becoming a watchman began in his hometown of Farmington.   He was like many of the lads in that town a farm labourer.  It was a noble and necessary occupation, but hardly one that made a young man stand out.

Toby was desperately in love with Breeze Fairweather, the niece and ward of Horace Foddervendor, a purveyor of all manner of feeds and seeds.  Horace was by far the richest man in Farmington, and the town’s mayor.

Breeze was of average looks and build, but her uncle’s wealth made her the object of many of the youths’ of Farmington attention.   To Toby, however she was “Prettier than a speckled pup,” and “sweeter than the day is long.”  He therefore, wanted to show himself  “worthy of her.”

This was actually unnecessary in Breeze’s mind.  She was astute enough to see the intentions of her suitors.  While some were indeed, better looking or more talented than Toby, there were none other than him that “loved her for her.”  Her uncle, however, would be another story.

He tried to prove himself through the usual Farmington means.  During the harvest, he worked diligently but his efforts were deemed to be good, but not amazing.  At the Farmington Fayre he entered the ploughing competition only to come in second.   He began to question, “What else can I do?”

Toby called in to Foddervendor’s ostensibly to place a seed order for his father, though his hope was to catch a moment with Breeze.  He was in luck, she was working alone at the counter.  She smiled and blushed as he approached her.

“Hello Sir,” she greeted.  “How may I help you,” she continued shooting a glance over her shoulder towards her uncle’s office.  She then turned back to him and quietly said, “Hi Toby.”

Toby took the lead and said, “My father would like to order a half ton of barley seed, please.”   Then more quietly, “How are you Breeze?”

“I’m doing good.  How are you?” she replied.  “I think you did a great job at the fayre,” she added.

“I’m okay, but I don’t know what I can do to impress your uncle.”

“Why would you want to do that?” she said, suddenly blushing again.

“You know,” he said blushing as well, “I hope you know.”

“Yes, I do,” she whispered,  surreptitiously sliding her hand across the counter to take his.

“I think I need to go to the capital to prove myself,” he said.

She squeezed his hand more firmly and said, “Do you have to?”

“I don’t see what I can do here?   I can’t just go to you uncle, he would laugh at me is I said I love you.”

“You love me?” she said, reddening again.

“Yes Breeze, I love you.” Toby said a little too loudly.

“I,  I love you too,” she admitted.

Toby felt the flutter of a million butterflies in his stomach, and a joy beyond any he had ever experienced before swept over him.

“I am going to the city, and I am going to join the Watch.  I am going to show your uncle I am more than a farm hand,” Toby declared.

At this she showed a thoughtful sadness.  “I understand, but I don’t want you to go,” she said.

“I will be back, and I will show everyone that I am worthy of you.”

“You always have been,” she said.  “Surely Uncle Horace will see it too.”

It was with this in mind that he made his way to the capital and applied to become a Roseman.  While he was seen by the recruiter as a bit of a bumpkin, he actually did well on the exam.  He was, therefore, appointed to join Cruikshank’s Ninth Precinct.