Monday, September 13, 2010


A long time ago, Wolff remembered, they had hidden the sulfur and the charcoal and the nitre in little cases of wrought iron. They had scored the metal and made snowflakes into jet. They had disguised it all in the room of the Grand Inquisitor by making it something that he loved to think about.

And then Wolff had been cast out of the Citadel. He had renounced all ties to the Inquisition and their minions, and they thought this meant everything. But they were wrong. Wolff had not renounced the secrets of the Citadel. He knew where the bodies and the bombs were hidden.

One day, a tired man came riding up the road on a dispirited nag. Wolff saw him from afar off, and declined to command the wolves or the man-traps into action. They greeted each other, acquaintances but not allies or friends. "How go the windmills?" asked Wolff.

The man replied, "Those of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine."

Wolff could sense the sand trickling through the hourglass. He knew the time was coming when the sulfur and the charcoal and the nitre would come to life. He brought out the very good liquor of Jerez and the two of them sat down to a small glass each. With stewed pears and blue cheese.

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