Borogravia Needs Silver!

The foyer of the AM branch of the Green Slab office is just bustling with activity as reporters and editors rush in and out, slamming doors and occasionally slamming into each other. The whole atmosphere has a jumbled and chaotic feel. Office memos fly through the air and it is easy to see how the truth might get lost in the middle. A map hangs on one wall, another wall is covered with notices, another is filled with framed iconographs, and the fourth bears a huge representation of the Green Slab logo and a painting of the head office in Bes Pelargic. A few cheap metal chairs are lurking for visitors, and two doors lead off to other parts of the suite.

There are three obvious exits: east, west and south.

Honest Asha Lockhart opens the west door.

Honest Asha Lockhart arrives from the west.

Honest Asha Lockhart closes the west door.

Andrew d’Ackerley looks up from the desk with mild surprise at the new arrival. “Well, well. There’s a face I have not seen in quite some time.”

Honest Asha Lockhart looks haggard and tired, she’s picked up a new scar or two. “Figured you’d be here Viscount.”

Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles softly. “Indeed, I was only five years gone myself. That’d be Earl now, by the way.”

Andrew d’Ackerley gestures to the sofa as if to suggest that she take a seat.

Honest Asha Lockhart sits and leans back, staring at the ceiling. “Earl, right? How high up is that, I can’t keep track.”

Andrew d’Ackerley shrugs dismissively. “In a kingdom, quite high. In a modern tyrantship such as ours? Outdated and irrelevant.”

Honest Asha Lockhart asks: Aren’t we all?

Andrew d’Ackerley leans against the desk, resting his hands on it. “I am trying somewhat to return this paper to relevance. It seems that after you and I both left the city for various reasons it went into quite some decline.”

Honest Asha Lockhart grins, still looking up. “Reasons, yeah. A variety of reasons for sure.”

Honest Asha Lockhart looks at Andrew, “This city… can go to hell.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Oh, quite. A number of them on my end as well.

Andrew d’Ackerley quirks an eyebrow over the monocle. “You mean to say that we have not yet arrived?”

Honest Asha Lockhart smirks, a twinkle in her eye. “Figuratively, at lest. I’ve certainly seen places worse, some of them I had a hand in that.”

Andrew d’Ackerley takes out a slender cigarette from a silver case and holds it out to the woman as well. “I am also looking to re-establish some of my old business activities, of course.

Honest Asha Lockhart takes the cigarette and lights it, taking a long drag. “I don’t even know what you do, Viscount.”

Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: Earl.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: I… am my wife’s arm candy, of course. I dabble in writing. I attend soirees and galas. I vote conservatively in half a dozen gentlemen’s clubs.

Honest Asha Lockhart looks thoughtful. “Nah, that just doesn’t roll of the tongue.”

You casually say: And of course, I do a bit of smuggling, some blackmail, an occasional murder, all for the family fortune.

Honest Asha Lockhart grins. “Now you’re talking my language.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: I delight in annoying the living daylight out of my noble peers, buying up slums and restoring them.

Honest Asha Lockhart laughs as a cloud of smoke escapes her lungs. “Pointless. But still there’s humour in it.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague opens the west door.

Doctor Raleigh Montague arrives from the west.

Doctor Raleigh Montague closes the west door.

Honest Asha Lockhart glances at the newcomer, eyeing him over.

Andrew d’Ackerley looks at the new arrival. “Ah, hello, Montague.” He turns to Asha. “Doctor Montague of the guild, a friend of mine. One of the few besides yourself who might actually connect my name with illicit activities.”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: I wouldn’t know what you’re talking about.

Honest Asha Lockhart looks Montague up and down. “Do I know you?”

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: Asha here is quite well connected with the Thieves’ Guild.

Doctor Raleigh Montague nods to the occupants of the room, and gets out of the way of a rushing reporter. “Hello there.” He shrugs, his eyes amused. “I don’t know. Do you?”

Honest Asha Lockhart shrugs, “Well, I did run the thing.”

Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: Case in point…

Honest Asha Lockhart says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: You look familiar, or I’m going mad.

You quietly ask: …”going”?

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks like he doesn’t want to comment on the mental health of people he hardly knows, and grins. “Well, I’m a fixture at the Conlegium.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Oh, it’s quite true.

Honest Asha Lockhart’s own hair is matted and tangled, so her opinion may be inaccurate.

You ask Honest Asha Lockhart: You look like you’ve been to the underbelly of the Disc and back with only a potato sack for company. What kept you the last few years?

Honest Asha Lockhart says to you: Colloquially… this isn’t the only thing known as “slab’.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Hmmm. Never got into the drug trade. Not quite fond of what it does to the users.

Honest Asha Lockhart shrugs. “Point A, point B, didn’t ask too many questions, eventually they start telling you and then you have to decide how much you care about what’s in the package.”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: In my case, apparently not very much.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: You need to find the fun in your work, dear. Me, I take immense job satisfaction in watching Lord Rust go reddish purple and Mr Slant lose his stitches.

Doctor Raleigh Montague asks you: Wasn’t it more of a greyish blue?

Honest Asha Lockhart smirks, “I can see the fun in that… maybe I should go back to larceny…”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Either. Both? I will cause him an aneurysm yet.

Honest Asha Lockhart looks thoughtful, “What’s Rust’s rank, Viscount?”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: I believe he is also an Earl.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Of course he is an Ankhian earl, whereas I am merely from some backwater region named Skund.

Honest Asha Lockhart loudly says: Well obviously there should be some sort of bloodsport. Two earls enter, one earl leaves. You could sell tickets.

Andrew d’Ackerley laughingly says: I think it is still illegal to duel one’s grandfather to the death, dear.

Doctor Raleigh Montague quietly says: I could be your second and take your place.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: Then no such familial ties arise.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: that’s not quite as poetic…

Andrew d’Ackerley says: He’s also eighty years old, Montague, it wouldn’t be much of a fight for you.

Doctor Raleigh Montague grins and picks up a paper to peruse, still a part of the discussion, but more content to allow old friends the chance to catch up in peace. “Quite, quite.”

Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says to Honest Asha Lockhart: If you’re interested in honest work as an editor again, we seem to still have your chair out back. If you’re up for not quite legal work for me on the side, we can work something out.

Honest Asha Lockhart asks: is theft involved?

Andrew d’Ackerley says: It happens. So does bruisings, blackmail, and illegal fighting rings.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: I do need to make quota, I have some standards, lax as they are.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: To each their own. I just want to rule every part of this city that Vetinari doesn’t.

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks remarkably comfortable with this entire discussion, and turns a page of the paper he’s holding languidly.

Honest Asha Lockhart shrugs, “Works for me Viscount.”

You ask: Splendid. Say, how are you in a ballroom dress?

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Abysmal, you already knew that.

You ask: Quite. Still, ’tis but polite to ask. Think you can pull off a convincing valet, though?

Honest Asha Lockhart says: That probably depends on what a valet is.

Doctor Raleigh Montague helpfully says: Gentleman’s assistant.

You amusedly say: A manservant, dear. One of those with a powdered wig who run around looking important one step behind their masters.

Honest Asha Lockhart asks: Unseen in plain sight?

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Quite so.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Cakewalk then.

Honest Asha Lockhart asks: This has something to do with Rust I take it?

Andrew d’Ackerley says: I am intending to set the good doctor here up as a wealthy Borogravian silver mine owner in a while, you see. I just need to find him some servant staff, that sort of thing.

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Honest Asha Lockhart: Oh, absolutely. Borogravia needs Ankhian money.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: A con? I didn’t think you had it in you d’Ackerley.

Andrew d’Ackerley smirks slightly. “Then you never paid enough attention to me five years ago, dear.”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: I suppose not, Viscount.

You ask: Have you been doing a lot of catching up the last days, then?

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Not exactly…

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Seeing as I only got here a few hours ago.

Andrew d’Ackerley whistles lowly. “And you came straight to me. I am flattered.”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: I have been avoiding the place. Too many memories. Too many wives.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: … Yes. I can relate to that one.

Doctor Raleigh Montague crosses one leg over the other and smirks at this statement. “Oh, don’t worry. d’Ackerley knows just how you feel.”

Andrew d’Ackerley absentmindedly crumbles up a print page and tosses it at Montague’s head.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: And no, I went to the guild first.

Honest Asha Lockhart looks thoughtful. “Wait, who’s armcandy are you now then?”

Honest Asha Lockhart asks: Not the Seamstress?

Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: Pozpaws’.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Not the Seamstress then.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: I have not seen or heard from that one since she walked out on me, and all things considered, I should not mind keeping that status quo intact.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Well I’ll… not give her your regards, if I see her.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Thank you. Some bridges are best kept well and solidly burnt, I suppose.

Honest Asha Lockhart raises and imaginary glass. “To ex-wives.”

Andrew d’Ackerley raises his imaginary ditto. “Indeed.”

Honest Asha Lockhart grins and looks at Raleigh, “I guess I’m your ‘valet’ then, Doc.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague belatedly raises one as well. “And so on. Although I only have one ex-wife.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague grins back at Asha. “Let’s do it.”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Your hair isn’t -that- good.

Doctor Raleigh Montague tosses his plait about. “It’s good enough.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: I tell you, Ash, the widows -swoon- about it.

Doctor Raleigh Montague grins as he puts the paper aside. “Just came in to tell you that vampiress is back in town.”

Andrew d’Ackerley loses his smile. “Great. I absolutely fucking loathe that lot.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague says to you: She’s brought her entire entourage along again. Wonder if one of them will pay me a visit again.

Andrew d’Ackerley looks disgusted. “I’ll tell my wife. I’m sure she’ll tell her pet vampire.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks interested. “Daimon? Why? He’s unlikely to be involved.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says: That lot are all involved with each other to some degree. They all come from the same place.

Honest Asha Lockhart raises one eyebrow.

Doctor Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “I think you’re wrong about that one, old chap.”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: They’re not all bad, Uberwald was… interesting… but Daimon never struck me as anyone’s pet.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Then again I do remember him hiding in a thieves’ den from some woman.

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: Look up the Almanack de Gothic sometime, old boy. He’s in it.

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks amused. “He did? Pray tell me more.”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: I don’t know, some mad vampire groupie.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says to you: Oh, I know he’s in it. I’m just saying he battles long and hard to keep that side of him under control, and I think he manages it well enough.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Or another vampire or something, I barely remember, drink was involved and lots of it.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says to Honest Asha Lockhart: Hm. Interesting, nevertheless.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says: I’ll bring it up with him when I spar with him next.

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: So my wife tells me, aye. But he’s still likely to be a good bet if you want to know more about your special enemy vampiress.

Honest Asha Lockhart asks: Spar?

Doctor Raleigh Montague grins. “Oh, just – boys will be boys, you know?”

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Boys are never boys, Doc.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Of course, one boy is a professional killer and the other is a vampire and the bastards never invited me.

Honest Asha Lockhart says to you: I could fight you if you want.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: I want to watch them beat each other up.

Doctor Raleigh Montague leans back his chair. “Considering our last fight was in the middle of a snowy ruin, I doubt you’d enjoy it.”

Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “Fair point, fair point. Perhaps in summer.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague points at you. “In the summer, aye.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: We should probably look into how we wish to deal with your vampiress, though.

Doctor Raleigh Montague looks thoughtful, and nods. “She is – becoming a problem.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Honest Asha Lockhart: How are you with mugging vampires?

Doctor Raleigh Montague says to you: And by the way, d’Ackerley, that ninja of yours, the one who lives in my building, I think she might be in trouble. I saw Quelch mopping up quite a lot of blood on her floor, and she hasn’t been seen since.

Honest Asha Lockhart grins, “Give me a pointy stick and–” She starts and shakes her arm wildly. Pulling up her sleeve to reveal several chattering imps and even more watches.

Honest Asha Lockhart snaps, “Shut up.” She turns to the two men, “Apparently I have to be in several places boys. You know where to find me.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague eyes the watch and imp collection with interest.

Andrew d’Ackerley quirks an eyebrow at Asha. “We do. But get back to me on vampire mugging.”

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: As for my little ninjadversary, I assure you that I did nothing to her.

Doctor Raleigh Montague easily says to Honest Asha Lockhart: See you around.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Dark alley, pointy stick, 30%.

Honest Asha Lockhart says: Business as usual.

Honest Asha Lockhart salutes Andrew d’Ackerley.

Andrew d’Ackerley smirks and nods at Asha as she leaves.

Honest Asha Lockhart bows to Doctor Raleigh Montague.

Doctor Raleigh Montague bows courteously to Honest Asha Lockhart.

Honest Asha Lockhart grins sarcastically, “Have fun being boys being boys. Viscount, Doc.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague grins.

Honest Asha Lockhart slips out of the building arguing with her sleeve.

Andrew d’Ackerley mildly says: Earl.

Doctor Raleigh Montague says to Andrew d’Ackerley: I was quite sure it wasn’t you; it didn’t look like it was quite your style.

Doctor Raleigh Montague thoughtfully says: I don’t know if she’s still alive.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Well, maybe I should try to find out. If she owes me, she might be willing to let go of her ridiculous vendetta.

Doctor Raleigh Montague amusedly says: Stubborn as they come.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: So’s Asha.

Andrew d’Ackerley says: Also a criminal prodigy with no morals whatsoever.

Doctor Raleigh Montague asks you: How long have you been acquainted with her?

Andrew d’Ackerley says: However, she likes me.

Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: She took over the editorship here after me the first time, some eight years or so ago.

Doctor Raleigh Montague nods. “A long friendship then.”

Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “You can probably tell that she has a lot of my confidence.”

Doctor Raleigh Montague quietly says: It did become fairly obvious, yes.

About Andrew d'Ackerley

Earl of Briarwyld, Skund; Knight of Ankh-Morpork; Doctor of Languages at the Assassins’ Guild; Master of Dance and Deportment at the Assassins’ Guild; Senior Lecturer in Languages at the Assassins’ Guild, House Master of Cobra House, the Assassins’ Guild.
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