Location: Hemlock Fortress
Lord_Of_The_LEGO wrote:“Well, what do we do now?” said Hans, “This isn’t, like, going to be as easy as Drullen Bell. We don’t know anyone here.”
“Let’s see if we can get into the keep.” suggested Adrian, “I’m sure we’ll run into someone of importance there…”
The only thing to do was to go on, and head straight for the main fortress, at the centre of the city.
"We'll just tell them the truth," said Hans. "We're scholars looking for information about the famous Earl of Wells, and in the aftermath of the Ikrosian attack up by Jewel Reef, we wanted to see if the Dark Forest archives had any new information on the Ikrosians, and, while we were at it, anything to do with the Earl."
"It's the truth, too," said Adrian. "As long as we actually DO look up the Ikrosians."
"What if they don't believe us?" asked Cate.
"Nonsense," said Hans, "why would they?"
They arrived at the gates of the fortress. With the Dark Foresters now living in peace, they were thrown wide open, and the three companions walked right in, after asking one of the guards if it was permissible to do so. He asked their business.
"The archives?" he said. "You'll be needing Andreas Farflax. Take the first hallway to your right from the courtyard, and down to the second lefthand door. That's his office."
They did as they were told.
It was a small office that they came to, with a bronze plaque on the door reading "Andreas Farflax, Chief Archivist". Hans knocked on the door. A balding man, slightly rotund, answered the door.
He invited them in, asked them to sit down, and then took a seat behind his desk.
"So, what are you looking for in the Dark Forest Archives?"
Hans and Adrian gave a version of their story similar to the one they had mentioned on their way through the city. Andreas Farflax frowned.
"The portions of the Archives that you wish to access are both restricted to the public. The true Archival portion, which is to say all documents from prior to 1930, is where you would find any information on this Nathaniel of Wells, if indeed we have any. As for any information pertaining to the Ikrosians, such information deals with the recent military campaign, and is completely off limits to the public."
"Oh," said Hans, affecting regret. "Well, I suppose we should have guessed that. Well, if we can't see the Ikrosian stuff, could we at least see the Archival section?"
"It is possible," said Andreas Farflax with a slow nod. "But you will need written permission from a member of the Royal Council, since you aren't Dark Forest nationals."
"Where could we find one of them to ask?" said Adrian. "As you mentioned, we're strangers here."
"I believe that Lord Modious Morphous is in his office," said the Chief Archivist. "I'll show you to him." Andreas Farflax led them out of his small office, and down the side halls of the stronghold, and up a couple stories, until they were reaching the large, grand office of the Dark Forest Councillor. A young attache met them.
"Who is wishing to see the Lord Morphous?" she asked.
"Hans Lentawl of Orion, Adrian Seojton of Tols, and the Lady Cate Slacs-Sicl of Orion," said Farflax, before leaving them to return to his office.
"Just a moment, please," said the attache. "Lord Modious is being consulted at the moment."
They had only a couple of moments to wait, however, before the doors flew open, and a tall, rather handsome man, stormed out, his face furious.
"I think that Lord Modious will see you now," said the attache, and she led them into a large, richly appointed study. Behind a large, well-crafted desk sat a proud-looking man in wealthy robes. The attache introduced them, and Hans explained what they wanted.
"Access to the Archives?" said Modious Morphous with a nod. "I fail to see any reason to grant you permission. If you cannot find what you want in Orion, then I do not see why you should wish to look here- unless you are looking for something that you should not be."
Adrian and Hans glanced at each other, unsure what to say, but Cate started talking, as if she had not a care in the world.
"Lord Modious," she said sweetly. "you're quite mistaken, but I suppose that's only natural after having to deal with that awful man."
"Awful man?" said Morphous, with a raised eyebrow. "You mean Prince Radjar Kath?" Hans and Adrian looked at each other again, and realized that the man who had stormed out of the room had been the ex-king of the Dark Foresters.
"Of course I mean him," said Cate. "I know all about him. Mother has cousins in the Delhaert family, and she's heard all about him from them. And you could tell from his behaviour at the Ball that he is the son of a pirate, and not a real noble."
"You were at the Ball?" said Modious, a bit of interest in his eyes. "I was there as well, as one of the Queen's representatives."
"Oh, then you must have been sitting with near the Malders," said Cate. "Delightful people- my third cousins on father's side. Wasn't it the most funny thing when that big knight, Sir Tractor or whatever- you know, the one who came with the Lord Bjarn (who is a darling man by the way; you can easily recognise his rougish ancestry)- threw up all over Prince Kath and that Forestman captain- what was his name? We had a good laugh over that."
"Yes," said Morphous with a lean smile. "It was nice to see Radjar get his comeupance. Or, should I say, his upchuckance. Hasn't dampened his pride at all, of course. He was just in here asking for a larger stipend. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, I'm the one who authorises any withdrawals from the Treasury- under Queen Arabella's authority, of course. I told him no. I can't justify more money for such a troublemaker. Have you heard about his poaching debacle?"
"On the way in," said Cate. "I couldn't believe it. SUCH a typical thing for him to do, though."
"Yes," said Modious, "well, I think, Lady Slacs-Sicl, that I should be getting back to work. What was it you wanted, again?"
"Just a little slip of parchment letting us into your archives," said Cate. "I'm researching some family history. The Delhaerts and the Slacs have always kept in touch, and I'm hoping to find some old letters or something. These two boys are my experienced scholars who will find me the documents."
"Here you are," said Modious, quickly scrawling something on a piece of parchment, and putting his seal on it. "That should take care of it. Thank you for stopping by, Lady Slacs-Sicl. It was a pleasure to me you."
"And you as well," said Cate. And, with that, they left Modious Morphous' study to seek the Archives.