My dearest Zann,
Caldur had just told us that Rosolla Guards are often murdered. It took a moment to finish hearing that.
“Thank you for fucking revealing that,” said Daust. “Who’s killing us?”
“They can try killing me and see how far it gets them,” said Ambe, her medallions glittering.
I didn’t say anything.
“You have to understand lauran society,” Candur said. “There’s a lot of intrigue going on in this palace. These lauran families, they plot against each other all the time. Politically, socially, financially, romantically…
He took a deep breath. “Twenty days ago a lauran woman named Shalshal was staying at the palace. She decided she wanted to do some bouncing with a lauran fellow named Jacovar. So she gave a message to one of our guards, a girl named Sande, to give to Jacovar. Problem is, Shalshal’s political allies didn’t want Shalshal and Jacovar getting close. Jacovar was part of the wrong faction. And they didn’t want any human knowing that this even could have happened. So… Sande disappeared on her way to Jacovar’s chamber. Just isn’t around anymore.
“Now, a couple of people said to me, this is easy to avoid; you just have to not deliver any messages or anything like that. I disagree; it’s not easy at all. These lords and ladies ask you to do something simple like that, and you’re going to refuse them? It’s unrealistic.
“But let it pass. Let’s assume none of our guards will ever do anything to run afoul of lauran politics. That still wouldn’t have saved Pasus. Pasus was an old man, had decades with the Rosollas, served under three kings. Yesterday morning he was in the Mangosteen Room, guarding Kerra’s Diamond. Break of dawn, some young lauran swashbuckler crashes in through the window. He was trying to win a bet by stealing something important to the Valnelatars. So he puts his sword through Pasus’s heart, goes to pluck the diamond off the plinth, and gets cooked to a turn by the fire spell protecting the diamond.” He put his feet up on his desk. “Apparently that kind of thing happens all the time. It’s why they put me in charge.”
We all thought about this.
“Interesting,” Ambe eventually said.
“I don’t figure anything will happen to either of you,” Candur said to Ambe and Daust. “I’d be surprised if any laurans ever really took any notice of you. You won’t be doing any kind of regular guard duty, after all.” He turned to me. “And when I took this job, my first thought was, who’s the one person I know who’s best at not getting killed?”
“Thanks,” I said. “So… how are we supposed to not get killed by swashbuckling lauran adventurers?”
“I was hoping you could tell me,” Candur said.