Dawn slowly heralded itself on the horizon as a new scent and fresh movement beckoned at Alecto’s attention. Rousing herself she watched as the familiar form of the marshal welcomed a pair of deputies. Pounding through the snow-strewn streets a third deputy raced, clearly late. Fortune smiles, she thought. The thick long coats and hooded cowls deputies wore would be the perfect thing to disguise her, tail and all. Not wanting to miss her chance she flicked her wrist and caught a slender balanced spike of steel. Carefully she took aim and before he could round the corner let the gleaming thorn take flight. Without pause she took to her feet and let herself slide down freshly drifting snow to land near the now motionless figure.
Quickly she slid the body into a snowdrift and stripped it, careful to cover it with the old cloak and a layer of snow. The deputies’ uniform fit close enough with only a slight looseness betraying her smaller size. Breaking into a full run she raced to the marshal’s office trying her best to look the part of a breathless tardy deputy.
“Hurray up boy, your late again!” The marshal had produced his head out of his cracked door. “You just can’t seem to tell time, can you? Never mind, don’t say anything, you’ll be docked on your pay again. So stand over there and keep quiet, we’re only going over this once so listen up.” With a nod and a hidden grin she turned to place herself as instructed.
Pacing about the marshal’s weary face grew stern and his tone determined. “Now boys we been taking blood money to hush things up for Senator Eulo Tashe for too long. I myself have done things I regret for that gutter-slime. But there comes a time everyone gets theirs, his may not be now but I’m cashing out all the same. Gonna retire boys, had my fill. In about 20 minutes the good Senator is going to be arriving for a little meeting all on his lonesome. Now you Jenkins, your going to meet him up the street and check him for any weapons, then take up a position and monitor for any signs of a double-cross.” The marshal pointed to Alecto and nodded, turning to continue his plan. “Hand me that beside you Reave,” marshal pointed at a table between Alecto and another deputy. He reached for a small gray square, recognizing what it had to be Alecto bumped the table and Reave stumbled dropping the piece of plastic.
Deftly Alecto reached down and picked up the grey slab and swapped it with another in her palm, handing it over to Reave. No one seemed to notice her sleight of hand as Reave handed over the item to their boss. “This little data card holds detailed records of every immoral or illicit act the Senator has ever committed her on Haeven. And that sick politician is going to provide me my retirement and you boys a hefty sum in order to keep us quiet. So in 20 minutes, we’re not going to have to worry about cold feet or this worthless rock anymore.” With a slap the marshal slammed his prize down on his desk and looked up. “Jenkins, best get a move on, I don’t want you being late.” Alecto saluted the grinning marshal and slipped back out the door.
Reflecting on what the marshal had said gave Alecto a surprisingly profound sense of irony. But one more element to things remained to set into motion. And soon he would arrive. Scanning the streets no one dared yet brave the morning cold. Minutes passed and then suddenly in the distance a single figure approached, his head snapping around nervously to check for any sign of his presence being noticed.
“I’m here for the morality seminar, ahem.” A balding and slightly bulging bellied Eulo Tashe spoke, unable to hide an edge of nervous stutter. With a gesture Alecto pointed up and Eulo responded with raised hands. She started to check him for anything concealed knowing surely even he had chosen to carry at least a pistol. He hadn’t even managed to hide it well, instead having chose to shove it in his waistband. The jumpy Senator hadn’t even managed to conceal the small sack of Regals he carried, clearly use to paying for things in the current traceless standard of hard coin.
Pain screamed through the nerves of Eulo’s right side, as he fell forward to hold himself. As he looked up though he was greeted not by the masked form of a deputy but a cold gaze from his past. Knowing she had stacked all the cards how she wanted, Alecto merely pointed at the office of the marshal and watched as the now terrified Senator raced off clutching his side.
Eulo Tashe never looked back, and therefore never saw a small sack bouncing up and down in Alecto’s hand as she returned to the snow drifts of Haeven to watch as poetry was set in motion.