Book One: Chapter two

Chapter 2

Meeting in the Canteen

Our group of fourteen men had gathered in a secret room of the Canteen to discuss a serious matter which would greatly impact the capital and the entire empire of Trolvania.

The men gathered were Elites and Nobles of Trolvania.

“so,“ said the Duke of Scheveningen, “our Duke of Arborealis is not here this evening?”

“That smarmy bastards probably with the king right now…” cut in Master Clay, the head merchant of Trolipolitus.

Baron Joffrey a man of discipline and reason interjected “Don’t jump to conclusions so quickly…“

“Ahem!”

“Master Duke of Trolipolitus, do you have anything to add?” inquired the Baron.

“Yes… Yes I do…” The Duke sighed heavily. “… but before that, please stop calling me Master Duke of Trolipolitus. I’m as much a master in Trolipolitus as my late father was over my late mother… “

“THAT’D BE NOT AT ALL” boomed Baron Sun.

“… ahem!” silence ensued. “getting back to the topic at hand, Baron Joffrey and all persons present here I am sad to report that according to my spies the Master, Baron of Arborealis….”

“oh. HE is a master?”

“… thank you Baron Joffrey…Master Arborealis has been secretly communicating with the king as well as the head royal inventor over the past ten years…”

A stream of exclamations and expletives arose from the group gathered.

“… AHEM!!!!!! IN ADDITION…..”

The group slowly quieted.

“… the king has dispatched agents to keep an eye over us for the next few weeks. Today’s meeting will be our last here for the time being…”

“But Hakalai… we must do something for him…”

“Now Lord Fenugreek, we can only do but so much. Besides…” cut in Lord Brinkuld

The Duke of Scheveningen cut him off “I understand your concern for Lord deSarto and his wife Neferu. I understand too well given my heritage you’d never guessed I have. Hakalai wished that we first protect ourselves. If we were also killed who would carry on his work for the betterment of our kingdom—no—the world. Besides…” he let out a deep sigh as though the weight of the world was on his back. “… little Astrid needs our help. If you hadn’t noticed master Arborealis’ eye has been on the child for a while and many of his current slaves are not in a good condition… if we all die within the next few days, we cannot even help Hakalai’s precious child.”

All Fourteen heads in the room nodded. Hakalai Vincenzo deSarto was the true leader of their group. The Duke of Scheveningen and the Duke of Trolipolitus had taken over due to his absence. Hakalai was to be put to death within the next week. For treason against the king. This treason had been fabricated by the Duke of Arborethia and the King’s advisor.

“So now,” said the Duke of Trolipolitus, “we must devise a plan to save Astrid from the worst possible fate.”

All Fourteen attendees at the meeting began to discuss a plan to help the child. They were not finished until it was almost sunrise. All of the Nobles knew that they would not get much sleep over the next few days. They would have to save a young girl from a cruel fate and their time limit would be nine days—one week.
***

After the fourteen departed the bar employee—a comely young Dwarf maiden Yuri—who escorted the men went to see Hanna. Hanna called for another worker to come with her to her office. She wrote two letters and a quick note in code. She used ancient troll script for the first letter and for the second letter she wrote In common script but in a foreign language.

“Aenwhar can you deliver these within three days?”

“no worries. I can easily make it in two days. If I am not mistaken this is an issue that is important to me as well-”

“keep your voice down… Did you know them personally?”

“yes. Astrid was an irreplaceable person. When the rest of those upper class scum avoided us like the plague she treated us with respect and dignity. She helped us to help ourselves. If not for her many of us would not be able to read. While we thought we were just playing games we were learning the common script….” Aenwhar let out a sigh.

Hanna smiled “Im glad. I wanted to help but I did not know whether I was helping someone worth helping. I’ve been concerned about her father because of the slavery problems… but maybe I do need to worry for the girl.”

“as of now Mr. deSarto’s location is unknown. I also suspect he is heavily guarded.” Aenwhar’s face began to show more concern “Astrids servant may be with her… not quite her servant. She won’t leave without her. When they were with us they argued like siblings….” He smiled to himself and Hanna could feel his mirth in the reminiscence.

“wait. I need to add that to this letter.” She swiped one of the letters from Aenwhar. “I will just say her sister is with her.”

Hanna finished her post script and re-sealed the letter and handing it to Aenwhar. The young man left the office almost instantly and began his journey across the continent. He would be going to two mail delivery relay points in the secret delivery system started by the Canteen owners and the nineteen.

Hanna turned back to her desk. She had Yuri –who escorted guests through he basement give her note to Ellis. She began writing another letter. This time it was addressed to one of the nobles who had visited that night.