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Second Lieutenant
Jul 7, 2004
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The Watchman's Notebook
by John Watson
as told to Brother Harold the Heretic​

I have lived a long life.

And for the most part, a very interesting one. I fought for my country, if under the Normans and I watch my city, London, grow from a town to the greatest city in the world. And I was a part of it.... if only for a chance meeting.

I was only 13 months old when William the somewhat likable Bastard conquerored Dyfed and Glamorgan. There wasn't much of a question if William was going to take on the man of power in Wales, Bleddyn; Duke of Gwynedd, as of when. He waited 15 years for his opportunity, by that time I was looking for a way to make my fortune, and if history taugh me anything....

There's always money in solidering.

I served in William's short campaign in Wales under his son William Rufus, with a bit of medical knowledge that I picked up over my well spent youth, I was a rather important man for my squardon, I was able to help my fellows during the siege that follow the battle of Gwynedd.... However, when we faced Bleddyn's son, Count Maredudd, in the battle of Perfeddwlad fields. I was hit with an arrow on my right leg, though I obviously lived. I would limp the rest of my life. My days of solidering was over before they really begun.

I return to London in early fall of 1082, with the little money I picked up with the Welsh campaign, my future look rather dour.... Until I bumped into an old friend from my childhood: Standford, a messanger boy for the minor gentry.

"So the rumors are true, your leg is a mess."

"Well, that's just a small problem, I'm more worried about getting a job. There's not a lot of employment for a cripple whose only skill is the fact he knows every street in London."

"That's odd."

"What?"

"Someone with the Sheriff's office was over here, looking for exactly that sort of man."

"You're kidding!"

"Oh no, the new Sheriff........ is rather strange. He thinks the best way to police the kingdom is with Anglo-Saxons who known their town. Then again, what does a prince know?

"A prince? Why would a prince become Sheriff?"

"How should I know? This Stephen de Normandie is an odd one, I can tell you that though. Just check it out. A job in government is often an easy one, if you don't get assassinated"

I agreed with his logic.

So I headed down to Court of Justice, not knowing that I was about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life.

"That's enough for tonight" said John "I'll continue on tomorrow...... What did you think, Brother Harold?"
"Not enough sex" replied Brother Harold. "If you want to interest your reader, you're going to need a lot more sex."
"But my readers are going to be mostly intellectuals and the clergy" said John.
"Exactly!" said Brother Harold, "There's nothing the clergy and intellectuals enjoy more then a good, old-fashion, sex story!"
John only could sigh and rub his head in response.


Well, this is my first ARR. If no one shows interest, I'll cry for a few days, then move on with my life. :D If the hints weren't obvious, this is going to be a mystery series, with a quite a few spy stories thrown in for good measure. I hope you enjoy it!
 
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Alhazen

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Great intro. Very interesting beginning, reminds me of that novel series about King Arthur where the POV is the warrior who fought for him and is telling his story in a monastery years later. I can'twait for more. Especially if you throw in some good pics!
 

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Really nice beginning. I love the shift in POV from the traditional perspective. :)
 
May 18, 2004
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Jestor said:
Really nice beginning. I love the shift in POV from the traditional perspective. :)
Brilliant start old chap, i too agree that it would be the topping on the cake if you were to include a few snapshots.
 

Velasco

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Cool beginning, i'll be reading with interest. :)
 

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Second Lieutenant
Jul 7, 2004
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Alhazen- Technophobe that I am, I have a hard time understanding how to take a screenshot, much less post one. :D Though I'll give it the old college try.

Jestor- I was planning to mess around with the POV even more, but decided to keep it down to two, for sanity's sake.

Velasco, a trooper- thanks, and like I said earlier will try to figure out how to get screenshot posted.

Next update in an hour, if my power doesn't go out again.
 

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Second Lieutenant
Jul 7, 2004
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An Introduction to the Prince

The Court of Justice was one of the first building made in William's reign. The need to keep the locals in line is always high priority for any foreign invader. At the time I arrived there, they were building a new wing, couresty of the new sheriff.

To my surprise, there was a long line of men in front of a door..... all trying to get a job as a night watchman. I ask an extremely old man in front of me what this is all about.

" The king is so desperate for men, that he's going to double the wages for the job. Everyone wants in now."

I cursed my rotten luck, the odds of being picked over men though particularly not gifted in the head, but who were in perfect phsyical shape was low. But I persisted, and waited for my turn.

When I made it to the front desk, a short, balding man turn to me with a grunt and started to shoot questions

"Name?"

"John"

"Former Occupation?"

"Solider"

He turn his eyes toward my bad leg and said "Were you wounded?"

"Yes, but it isn't really that bad." I lied.

"Hmmm........"

He then began to ask me questions about London. First simple ones: name of streets, the quickest route from point A to point B, then quickening up his pace he ask extermely odd questions: the best place to get a beer, the nicest brothel, a good place to find a hired killer, the best place to mug someone. I answered each one as honestly as I could. At the end he smiled at me and said "You got the job. Go into the next room to get your latern, they'll assigned you a beat there too."

So that's how I became a watchman. It was a hard job, I was no longer in any shape to chase down criminals, but I manage to hang on by out-smarting them, knowing how to chase them into dead ends, waiting for them to make their move and jump them. It was a fullfilling life. However, in early 1086 I was told to report to the main office, I was being reassigned. A pudgey little boy met me at the door.

"Who-o-o-o are you?"

"John, I was told to come here"

"Do-oo-oo you have a las-s-s-t n-n-ame?"

I grinned; "John the Watchman."

He gave me an ugly look and open the door. Looking at the man in there he said "John-n the Watch-ch-"

"You have been in Wales, I percieive." A rather tall, slim, man with dogged eyes said, staring at me.

"How on earth did you know that?" I asked in astonishment.

"Never mind," he said chuckling to himself. "It isn't important John de Watson." He gave me a puzzled look, " You look Anglo-Saxon."

"I am"

He sighed and turn to the paige "Only Normans have a "de" in their names, Tancred."

"But-But" said the poor boy.

"It doesn't matter Tancred, you may leave."

The paige both gave us an ugly look and stormed out of the room.

The man laughed " Ignore Tancred, he is quick to anger...... but nothing has come out of it yet. I haven't propertly introduced myself, have I? Well, my name is Stephen de Normandie, the Conqueror's fourth son, and the sheriff of Essex."

"It's an honor, your lordship" I answered.

"No need for that Watson, "sire" is good enough for me....... How would you like a job?"

And that's how I became the Sheriff's personal assistant. He needed a man who knew the city and it's people And somehow it gotten back to him that I was the right man for the job.

The few weeks working with the Prince the more puzzled I became. He kept odd hours, Usually arriving past noon and leaving extremely late at night. He had no care for his personal apperance, he often came to the court only half dressed. He would talk about the most amazing things with a great degrees of knowledge: Politics, local gossip, blood, prints made by the finger.

His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. He had not a clue about the bible or philosophy. My surprised reach it's climax, however, when I found incidenally that he was ignorant of the composition of the Solar System. That any man today didn't know that the sun travelled around the earth was amazing to me.

"You seem surprise" He said in response. "Now that I do know it, I shall try my best to forget it."

"Forget it?"

"Yes..... to me the mind is like a chest, you must keep it clean of things you wish not to keep. Leaving room only for tool you will use."

"But the solar system, sire!"

"Hmpth, what does it mean to me? It doesn't effect my work if the sun goes around the earth or vice versa!"

Over the next week, I tried to organized what I knew about the man.
1. Knowledge of Literature, Philosophy, Astronomy-Nil
2. Knowledge of Politics- Large, though not really surprising for a Prince
3. Knowledge of Botanty-Variable. Well up in his poisons, knows nothing of pracital gardening.
4. Knowledge of Sensational Literature- Immense. He appears to know of every detail of every horror, assassination, and war prepetrated in the century.
5. Is an expert swordsman and horsman, very athletic.

And so that's how I spent my days before our first case.

The paige boy, Tancred, ran in late Janurary and yelled "Ro-ro-bery! Of the trea-re-sury!"

Stephen looked up and smiled, turning to me, he said" Come on Watson, we have work to do!"









Brother Harold finished writing the last sentence and turned to John, "You still need a title. Something to get the audience excited about.... Something like..... BLOOD OVER LONDON!"
"I was thinking of a more scholary title." said Watson.
"Hmm..... What about; My years with a Prince: The greatest sex orgies of the past 1000 years?" said Brother Harold.
"Not what I was thinking, what about.... "A Watchman's Notebook?" said John.
"Fine, but you should put "An Erotic Thriller" after that, you know, for the youth market. replied Brother Harold. "What's the matter? Why are you sighing, sire?
 
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Second Lieutenant
Jul 7, 2004
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Alhazen- I'm leaving the grade A dialogue for a later date.... don't want to use it all at once. :D

Thanks bigdan, LeVillian.... wait till you see the first case.
 

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Second Lieutenant
Jul 7, 2004
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The Adventure of the Three Lock Chest​

We arrive at the treasury under an hour with some heavy riding. Stephen jump off his horse and rushed into building with me only a bit behind, going as fast as I can with my bad leg.

We were instantly let in to see England's Steward and the wife of the Duke of Oxford; Mathilde de Hauteville. A lovely woman.....

"Well there we go!" said Brother Harold, "A woman finally appears!"
"What are you talking about?" asked John.
"So far this story is been a snooze, but with a woman, we can finally give a hint of sexuality."
"Don't be silly, Brother Harold." said John "That's not important about this story, I'm trying to leave a historical record........
While John babbling about historical records, Brother Harold began to insert " some excitement"

As Mathilde sighed, her voluptuous bossom heaved. Turning her crystal blue eyes to us. She said in a deep voice; "I need you Stephen."
"And that's why....... what are you writing Brother Harold?" said John.
Quickly dropping the pen, Brother Harold reply "Nothing! Nothing at all..... pray continue, sire."


Stephen asked the Steward "How's my older Brother? Forgiven me yet?"

Mathilde answered "He's fine, last time I saw him, and of course he hasn't."

I would have liked to question the prince about what they were talking about, but thought better of it and let their conversation to continue.

"What happen, Mathilde?"

"22 gold pieces, from the tax collection, disappeared while being moved the tax collector's office in Southern Essex to here."

"Hmmmm....... Tell the complete story."

"Well, because of your new security percautions, the chest carrying the gold was moved secretly by three men, pretending to be merchants, last night from Southern Essex. After counting the gold yesterday, I gave each men a key for one lock on the chest. I went ahead of them and got home last night. They took the slow route and slept at an inn. They arrived early this morning with the locks firmly in place. After counting the gold, I discovered the missing pieces."

"I'll like to see the chest."

"Of course."

She showed us a gold chest that went up to my knees, besides the multiple locks, it looked like a normal, flat-top, chest. Stephen went to work. He looked for a false bottom, check for holes, and finally;checked each lock.

"Everything seems to be in order, Watson..... what do you think?"

"I think we should question the guards."

"Excellent idea! I would expect they're still here, Mathilde?"

"Yes, they're being watched by your men downstairs."

We headed to the basement, where 6 guardsman stood over 3 sleepy looking men.

"Split them up, we shall question one at a time" said Stephen

Each was drag into a different room, after a short wait, we enter the first room.

"You're name is Robert, isn't it?" said Stephen.

Robert was a tall, thin man. His head completely shaved, a rather odd style if you ask me.

"Aye"

"Tell us everything that happen, beginning to the end."

He breathed a bit and started to speak " We were hired outside of the city by some woman. We were taken down south to the Tax office and were told to bring this chest to London. After that lady close the chest, me and the boys each took a key and locked the thing. We loaded it on our cart, Alexandros sitting on top of it while Matthew and I in the front. After riding for a while we stopped at an inn: The Beer and Pint. We took the chest in and Alexandros once again sat on the chest while we drank. Deciding it was too late to start out again, we got a room for the night. We put the chest in a corner and took turns watching it and sleeping. This morning we reloaded it on the cart and got here late morning. We've been waiting around for our next job when your goon squad said we under arrest for stealing some gold."

"Hmmmm........... Who suggested getting the room?" asked Stephen.

"I don't... don't remember, sire." mumbled Robert.

"Where did you keep your key?"

"Around my neck, like Alexandros and Matthew."

"Could anyone could have taken the key while you were sleeping?"

"I don't think so."

"Who did you think did it?"

"Alexandros. You can't trust those damn Greeks, they're all criminals. Besides, he sat on the chest during our journey, he must have taken it then. "

"How?"

"I don't know."

"That's enough for now, we'll talk to you later." said Stephen. "Let the next man in, guards"

Alexandros was a fat, older man. His most interesting feature was a broken nose that he try to cover up by growing a large moustache. He kept his head down while talking.

"Tell us what happen."

Alexandros told basically the same story about their journey.

"Who suggested getting a room?"

"Robert, he wanted to stop to get a drink...... He's a drunk so we were stuck there for hours. Afterwards, he thought it best we just waited the night there."

"Who did you think took it?"

"Matthew, he just as untrustworthy as Robert but twice as intelligent.... He must have found a way to open the chest while Robert and I slept."

"Thank you"

Matthew was a scrawny young man, with a hungry look in his eyes. Once again, he told the same story, pointing out Robert was the one who wanted to stop.

"Who did you think did it?"

"Robert, his stopping at the inn seemed...... planned." Stephen thank him and led him out of the room

"How surprising," I said with as much sarcasm as I could mustard, "they pointed the finger at each other. It's rather obvious that they all worked together," I said.

"But why would they hang around afterwards, or just take the entire chest, Watson?" said Stephen.

"Hmmm...... That does seem rather stupid of them. This case just doesn't make any sense. They were alone with the chest at one time, but they never had the time to grab their partners keys and return them. I can't make heads or tails of it....... what do you think, sire?"

"My good Watson, I'm already to make my report ."

"To who?"

"The King, of course" He said, laughing.





Well folks, there you have it, the first case..... Please take a guess. First one who gets it right will be written into the story....(Well, probably not.... but I can't think of a better prize right now.) Good Luck! Solution tomorrow!
 
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Fiftypence

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What a great idea for an AAR! As for the case, I would say it's unlikely that any of the three guards took the money, as 22 gold pieces are going to be missed! I reckon Mathilde has embezzled the money for herself, and is trying to set the guards up.
 

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Only one guess? :confused:

Well, I'm sorry for being unable to update today, I was a bit busy..... but I promise to get it up tomorrow. I swear on Brother Harold's collection of Erotic thillers! :rofl:
 
May 18, 2004
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Fiftypence said:
What a great idea for an AAR! As for the case, I would say it's unlikely that any of the three guards took the money, as 22 gold pieces are going to be missed! I reckon Mathilde has embezzled the money for herself, and is trying to set the guards up.
Indeed, my thoughts exactly old bean.
 

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Second Lieutenant
Jul 7, 2004
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We rode in silence toward to the Norman Castle outside the city. We arrived at a back door that Stephen opened with a key.

"Secret enterance," he said, while picking up a torch behind the door.

The staircase was small, curving around a base of a tower and completely blank of anything, not even a window. We finally arrive at the top, where we walked into a wall.

"Just a little push," said Stephen, slowly turning the wall. We enter an empty hallway, standing there for a moment, I heard a soft noise coming at us.

"Hello Stephen...... who is this man with you?"

"Hello father, this is the man I was talking about."

And there he stood, William the Bastard; King of England and Wales, master of the Normans.

I quickly fell to my knees, "Your majesty!'

"Heh, heh, that won't be necessary watchman, get up," said the King.

When I stood, I saw how similar father and son looked. Both were the same hight, buidt, hair color...... the only difference was William's graying hair, and Stephen's large, broken nose.

"You came to report about my missing money?"

"Yes father, I know who took it.... Steward Mathilde" he said with dramatic flair.

"WHAT?!?!?!" the King and I said in unison.

"Boy, you shouldn't say things like that without being sure."

"I am, father," he said with a chuckle. "I have a saying; "When you eliminate the impossible; what's ever left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

"Hmpth." said the King "What should we do now?"

"Nothing, besides letting her know that we know," said Stephen "She's too valuable as Steward, besides.... she's married to Richard. I'll have one of my agents keep an eye on her."

"Good work son, you found this out early, I can do something about this."

"Thank you, your majesty." said Stephen. And with that, we left the way we entered.

When Stephen closed the wall behind us I ask him, "How did you figure it out?"

"It wasn't too hard" said Stephen, " After figuring the 3 men would probably taken all the gold if they were going to steal it. I was left with one of them doing it. I originally thought Robert did it, since he was the one who stopped at the inn, with the help of a locksmith to open it.... Then taking a small amount of gold so it wouldn't be noticed in the morning. But it's not possible for any of the men to have known that they were going to be guarding the gold the day they were hired. I was left with Mathilde. It was only her who even knew the gold was missing... Obviously, she has been stealing a small amount of the gold over the year, now tried to cover up her robbery by blaming these three men... By the way, Alexandros and Matthew will be given a job tomorrow, I like them."

"Amazing!"

"It was nothing."

"Sire.... can I ask you something personal?"

"Yes, but I might now answer you."

"Why is your brother Richard mad at you?"

"Sigh..... I am under the belief that England should not be under the power of a corrupt Pope, that the clergy should work for the British, not some man in Italy."

"Under the King's power, in other words" I said.

"Yes Watson," he said with a smile "I tried to talk Richard into becoming the Archbishop of Canterbury and to schism with the Church."

"And?...."

"And he balked at it. Saying we could never rebel against God's agent on Earth. He insisted in leaving London, becoming the Duke of Oxford."

We rode home, once again in silence.

"He's right" said Brother Harold.
"About the Pope?" asked John
"Yes, but didn't go far enough.........no one should believe in God, or hell or everlasting life."
"Are... are you kidding?" said John.
"Why, it's a all made up..... isn't it? said Brother Harold.
"I'll never understand you, Brother Harold" said John.
 
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Fiftypence said:
What a great idea for an AAR! As for the case, I would say it's unlikely that any of the three guards took the money, as 22 gold pieces are going to be missed! I reckon Mathilde has embezzled the money for herself, and is trying to set the guards up.
Good work Fiftypence! While it's only 22 gold pieces.... it's enough to knock the value of Essex to poor. :wacko: I would probably have let Stephen "take care" of Mathilde if I had anyone who could replace her.
 

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Jul 7, 2004
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The Adventure of the Missing Crucifix

"Why don't we jump to Stephen's work....... as a man in the shadows?" said Brother Harold "We can come back to this later. The readers would want more excitement early."
"If you really want to, Brother Harold," said John



The abilities of Stephen de Normandie weren't entirely used as sheriff.... Over the first year working with him, I saw bits and pieces of his other work. Dangerous looking men leaving his office, papers burn after being read, women.. well the less said about the women, the better.

But I was not brought into this world of intrigue and deceit until the Summer of 1083.

"I never trust a man in my life, Watson" said Stephen "But I need a man to help me... I've been training you for the work."

"Really, sire! I had no idea..."

"You're a terrible liar Watson, don't try." said Stephen "Now if I may continue.... A man is coming into the city tonight. He has certain information about the Duke of Meath of the highest of importance..... But the good Duke has learn about him and has hired the most dangerous men in Europe; The Guild of Liars to take care of him. The man is now in the city, hiding out in the monastery."

"The monastery?"

"Yes, why else do you think it was built? Anyways, I've just learn that the guards I've sent..... have disappeared. Meaning the man is being protected by two, if extremely good, untrustworthy guards. We must head out now."

And so we rode out to the Essex monastery. A large, unimpressive looking, one-story building.... We entered by the main gates and were quick down a long hallway. Every door looked the same, a drab place if I ever seen one. By the end of it, a man dressed as a monk ranned up to Stephen and yelled, "He's gone!"

"How surprising," said Stephen,in a drab voice.

John stood up, "I'm going to sleep Brother Harold. We'll continue this tomorrow."
Brother Harold nodded and and picked up the book. "I hope we finally got a murder, a murder story is easy to sell." He said, heading out the back door and entering his cell.
"How's the story?" said a voice in dark.
"Who's there? How did you get in here?"
"I can get anywhere, Brother Harold," said the stranger, an elder man who wore an eyepatch over what should have been his left eye.
"Sire! I didn't expect you to get here..... so early." said Brother Harold.
"I'm an impatient man, Brother Harold. Has he told you?"
"Not yet, but I think he's coming to it...." mumbled Brother Harold "Please wait."
"I've waited this long.....I suppose a week isn't too long for a sinner like me to finally get absolved." A grinned appeared on his face, it reminded Brother Harold what the devil would look like if he lacked an eye.
"We're all sinners in the eyes of the Lord," said Brother Harold, who felt his own eyes begin to tear up. But the man was already gone.
 
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The Adventure of the Missing Crucifix cont.

"Tell me what happen," said Stephen.
The man in cloak started to rub his balding head. "When he arrived, he was tired from his journey, so we put him an empty cell to take a nap.... well, I walk down the hallway while George stood by the door. In about five minutes, I started to get..... a strange feeling, well.. I ask George to unlock the door. And this is what we found."

The cell was in tatters. The bed had been ripped apart, with feathers from it flying around the room. A large chest in a corner has been smashed and left in a thousand pieces. The only other thing in the room, a tapestry, had been ripped in half.

"We searched the room," said the other guard, who I suspected was name George, "There's not another door, secret or otherwise in the room. And no one can get in or out such a small window." He pointed to a small slit to the wall, which would let natural light during the day.

"Did you search the room before the prisoner-"

"Guest, Watson" said the Prince

"Did you search the room before the "guest" arrived?"

George twirled his moutashe "We looked in the room, but nothing in-depth."

"Hmmm..... Someone could have been hiding under the bed, or in the chest," I said. "What do you think, sire...... Sire?"

I turned around to see Stephen wasn't in the room. I walked out to Stephen walking around the hallway, facing me.

"A crucifix is missing"

"Excuse me, sire?"

"This morning, before I left to go off to the Court, a monk just hanged cross between two of these doors.... I don't know which ones...." he mumbled. Pointing to the doors beside the empty cell.

"Sire, what does this have to do with the missing.... "guest?"

"Maybe nothing, maybe everything" he said "Get Richard."

"Your brother?" I asked

"Noo! The guard, the fat one. There's a few more questions I need to ask." He said, a look of determination in his face.

"What is it, your Lordship?" said Richard

"How far did you walk? After you locked our guest in?" asked Stephen

"All the way to the far end, your Lordship, then I walked back to the door."

"Did you hear any doors opening?"

"No, your Lordship..... just footsteps."

"Footsteps?"

"Yes, from George, that idiot... He didn't walk too far from his post, though. Not enough time for anyone to leave the room."

"Yes," Stephen said, smiling, you and George are dismissed."

He bowed and walked away. When both men had left the hallway, I asked Stephen, "Well, they could kidnapped him themselves, couldn't they?"

"No" said Stephen, "I don't trust either of them, but I do believe they hate each other too much to work on something like this. Now, come a long Watson... We have enough time to set a trap for the Guild of Liars and "rescue" our "guest"

Well folks, same as before.....Any guesses on what happen to the mysterious guest will be somewhat rewarded. (And for some extra fun, what information does he hold?)
 
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