Friday, February 26, 2010

Dropping from the Cathedral Eaves ...

Eaves Dropping

Mack knelt in the darkness, leaning into the shadow of the great pillar. He smiled ironically. Frankfurter was mostly Anglerican / Lutheran and pro-Protestant. Still it had a sizable population of Papists, including the scandalous Later-In-The-Day Saints. That cult had very enjoyable festivals and celebrations, so everybody pretended to belong. Still, most days, the Ducal Cathedral was almost empty. Naturally, the foolish children thought of it as a private place for their trysts ... not realizing that anybody who actually entered the building was almost always noticed by somebody, and gossip blazoned their romantic secret across the market in seconds.

So, his informant being an imaginative lass from the mercantile class (which actually runs Frankszonia), had arranged her “secret contact” there.

It was no loss. The mother of the family came from the Reich Duchy of Beerstein, so folks would already assume that he would contact them. Then again, she was healthy, pleasant looking, and quite cheerful. Having himself linked in gossip with her could only enhance his carefully contrived reputation.

So, suppressing a quiet chuckle in the stained glass colored shadows, he began to cross himself and to rise ... but froze instead.

Another had entered the nave. Unlike most folks, who went softly and even attempted furtiveness, the figure strode quickly over to the candle stands and dropped some coins into the collection box.

“Do you need a lighter, my son?” an older cleric queried from the sanctuary.
“Certainly, Light is Needed,” the stranger replied. Mack could hear the capital letters and the Italian accent.
“Adjutorum nostrum in Nomine Domini,” said the monk.
“Qui fecit Caelum et Terram,” the stranger responded.
There was a moment of quiet as the two regarded each other and swept their eyes around the dark interior. They seemed to miss Mack still reverently kneeling behind his pillar.
“He’s been spotted,” the stranger.
“How close?”
“We don’t know yet. The General Secretary thinks he sailed on to Trieste and has alerted the Tyrol brothers.”
“But you?”
“Up through Croatia to Vienna and then across to the Main somewhere.”
The priest demurred, “A Turkish Captain General going through Vienna without being spotted?”
“He’s a Fhartz. They have a low opinion of the Wieners’ intelligence already, and he would be a traveling German noble. Hardly remarkable or even noticeable in the waltzes or beer gardens.”
“You’re right,” the priest mused. “He also is remarkably well suited to come as one of the Croats or an Hussar. What do you suggest?”
The stranger sat in a pew, and Mack noticed that in spite of his martial bearing he wore no sword. “I sent a Postulant to Father Feurenkopf. They’ll be watching the inns to the west of Vienna. I think we need to get higher up the Main and stake out the boats. He could easily make entrance from Offenbach.”
The priest began to pace nervously. “What shall we do if he makes it?”
“I honestly don’t know,” the stranger complained. “I know that the Secretary and his cronies have their ideas, but none of them are really used to working in the field. What’s old Stinky up to? This could be a subtle bit of pressure on the Reichs Rat in Wien. It could be a trigger for some rumpus inside Stagonia. It could be merely working out a new route to smuggle in more spices for their Frankfurters.” He grunted wryly, “it could even be a purely sentimental desire to visit again. They were quite close when the Hurtshog was little.”
“Do you think the Hurtshog might reinstate him?” The priest was very worried at this prospect.
“It’s possible,” the Italian threw up his hands. “Everybody forgets that the Apostate is legitimate, and he’d make a very skilled Regent if it came to that.”
“Gott in Himmel!” the priest paled. “We’d lose our status versus the heretics!”

One of the ornately carved doors creaked open somewhere and banged shut. The priest quickly turned to trimming the candles while the Italian rose and knelt before them. A young man, plainly dressed but in fine cloth, came in peering around. “Father Silenius?” he called from the back, is that you?”
“Yes, Richter. I’ll be with you in a minute.” Father Silenius turned to the Italian, “I’d be blest to hear your confession, traveller,” he covered quickly. “Come, let’s step into the sacristy to be private a moment.”

The two plotters exit, and the youth advances up the aisle, anxiously watching them go. Mack slips quietly away and down the stairs to the cellar. So he missed the quick light-footed entrance of a pretty farm girl who hurried up to Ricther and quickly gave him a sisterly peck on the cheek.
"Rose Marie," Richter greeted her. "I always love to see you, but here? Now?"

"You have to know," she grinned as if she were flirting but kept her voice low. "Beerstein is getting involved."
"Stagonia again?"
"Possibly, but this reunion ... there's Fhartzen whom the Reich Duchy Lace would love to see expelled and blown away."
There is a noise of a chair scrapping across the floor in the sacristy. Rose Marie flies back out again, calling, "You HAVE to come to our cookout!"


abdul666 said...

Lovingly rich and convoluted!
So many 'EvE' countries involved - compliments!

Martin said...

WOW! Can't wait to see what happens next! This stuff is just as addictive as salted peanuts or potato chips.