In the Offices of General Ironhewer
“Begging the general’s pardon, sir, but won’t you reconsider? This is a younger man’s job. Is it really necessary?”
“Time will tell, Atkins, time will tell,” the general rumbled fondly to his aide of so many years. “Though I expect there isn’t a younger man to do it.” Atkins noticed the general stroke his long Dwarven beard as he turned to business. That much never changed, at least.
“Now, have the reports I asked for started coming in?”
“Sir, from East Lauritton, in Thisted. A fortnight ago. It’s Frederick the Faithful. Killed in his bed.”
“In bed? Fred survived the entire occupation! He led a cell in the resistance!”
“Sir, it’s bad,” Atkins added, reading ahead. The general growled for him to continue. “They say he was… torn open. As if by a madman with a scythe. But not a drop of blood! Almost as if he had been — drained— ahead of time.”
General Ironhewer grimaced.
“Apparently all the blood was used in the next room. The report says there might have been writing or drawings in it, but his granddaughter was scrubbing the walls when the investigator arrived. Can you imagine? His granddaughter! And there’s more. Eight of his manservants were slain in the household as well. Plus there was an additional rash of murders in East Lauritton that night — another 26 dead, though it may be 27 by now — one was only just hanging on.”
The general had focused on the blood, though. “We have to find out what was in that room. And take care of the granddaughter of course! But if there was a message there… Who do we have? Has Jamison reported back yet?”
It was the first of a great many reports.