Thursday, October 28, 2010


Wolff nodded grimly to himself. He sat at an old table, his fist near the sherry decanter and his sword in the corner. He poured. And sipped.


In his mind, he saw a line of brave knights, before his time, not so many after. One by one, in some perverse mirroring of the Grail quest, they had been sent forth, with the sole purpose that they not come back to the Citadel. And so the fellowship had been broken, and the false knights had gained power without a fight.

He thought of the ivy that used to adorn the tower, and was no more to be seen. He thought of the keen swords and the sharp wits of those who saved the sum of things for pay.

In the ruins, the things crawled. Sometimes they seemed to cry out in the tongues of men, but Wolff suspected it was wishful thinking that made their morologia into speech.

In the ruins, the rats chittered and the bats squeaked. Where the Grand Inquisitor had once laid heavy hand, the signs and symbols were tarnished and scratched. Desolation was the name of the city, the ancient city of the Citadel.

But outside, the walls were brave. The children looked like knights in their armour of tin and satin, where once was bronze and steel. Yet each year, the dilution continued, and nobody noticed, because you cannot watch watchmen when they are gone.

The Grand Inquisitor had decided to go south for his health, or so he had told the remaining officers of the Citadel. Ignominy had never been easy to deal with for the sons of men, and for that man, hardest of all.

He cracked a crippled joke: "Do not leave the Citadel because I have left it," he urged. At the back of the room, several knights laughed grimly and walked out. They had already purposed in their hearts to leave, because they had thought he might stay. They continued to have misgivings about what might come next.


Wolff had sipped once for each of the lost. The decanter was nearly empty. Outside, through the windows of his rooms, the night was full. But he was sure that in the morning, the sun was very likely to rise again.


Note: The fictional adventures of Sir Wolff do provide much that is of interest. You can find them linked here. Just ignore the one about earwax. That was an accident.

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