The student mess hall, where students of the Assassins’ Guild come to sate their hunger and thirst. Rows and rows of scarred wooden tables line the room, with wooden benches placed along them and a large bin in the corner serves as a handy place to put discarded plates and bowls once they are empty, or at least finished with. A large menu is on one wall, detailing the menu of the day, but from the looks of the students leaving the room, it leaves a lot to be desired.
There are three obvious exits: north, east and west.
Doctor Raleigh Montague sits on a bench.
Andrew d’Ackerley politely asks: You were involved, at a time, with the Duchess Glitz, aye?
Doctor Raleigh Montague looks amused as he signals for a coffee. “You know I was.”
Andrew d’Ackerley say: She’s back in the city, apparently.
Doctor Raleigh Montague pauses in the act of folding his cloak; an infinitely tiny pause, but one all the same. “I see.”
Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “I suppose the question is, do you want to track her down, or avoid her? Let me know which so I can be of assistance, old boy.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague taps long fingers on the table surface as his coffee arrives. He looks thoughtful. “I hardly know myself, in truth.” He glances at you. “Is that an acceptable response for now until I have had the time to think it through?”
Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: Of course it is. I have had my heart torn out and run through a wrencher a few times myself.
Doctor Raleigh Montague adds one tiny teaspoon of sugar to his coffee and stirs it thoughtfully and noiselessly. He grins a little wryly. “I’m not easily – I don’t – that is, I don’t fall in love.” He barely notices a greeting from a passing Widow. “But you know my history with Aell, and how far back it goes. She’s – yeah. I can’t explain it.”
Andrew d’Ackerley nods and pours himself tea. “I know. Hell, I never thought I’d fall again. Fortunately my wife is very patient. And very persistent.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “You know, this is Aell through and through. The moment I move on, she arrives.”
Andrew d’Ackerley simply say: Yes, it is. She is a manipulative shrew.
Doctor Raleigh Montague taps his fingers on the table again. “Hm, this is definitely a turn up for the books, as they say.
You emote: Andrew d’Ackerley offers a small laugh. “It is. It apparently upset my wife’s pet vampire enough that he actually complained at -me- about it.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague raises an eyebrow. “Heavens, I forgot Daimon. I had better check in with him later. He is not – best pleased – with Aell. In fact, I suspect that friendship might be over.”
Andrew d’Ackerley lights a cigarette. “It certainly sounded that way to me. I actually dislike him less now. He’s always shown that smiling, easy going mask to me.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague finishes his coffee. When he speaks, his voice is dry. “He’s a little like us in that regard, d’Ackerley. Too much to hide, too dangerous to reveal.”
Andrew d’Ackerley goodnaturedly says: Mm-hmm. I’d probably like him just fine if he had a pulse.
Doctor Raleigh Montague amusedly says to him: Speciesist.
Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: I never denied it. I do not like immortal creatures.
Doctor Raleigh Montague points out that the option is open to you as he gets his cigarette case out.
Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Me, become undead?
Andrew d’Ackerley looks mildly horrified.
Doctor Raleigh Montague lights his cigarette. “I can see the advertisements now. “Join us. You too can taste immortality. All it takes is a little – bite.””
Andrew d’Ackerley asks: A nip of the future?
Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs as he leans back into the corner, and smokes his cigarette. “If you like. And consider, this would be your ultimate revenge on Ankhian society. A vampire Earl.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague says: Your wife might divorce you, though.
Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: That joke was played centuries ago when we got vampire lawyers.
Doctor Raleigh Montague waves a hand. “Vampire lawyers are so passe. Vampire earls now, that’s where it’s at.”
You say: Only if you join me as a vampire king.
Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs quietly. “Considering my particular history with the creatures, I must ask you to excuse me.”
Andrew d’Ackerley says: And coming from a long lineage of werewolves, I shall plead the same, even if there hasn’t been an actual werewolf in the family since my great-grand uncle.
Doctor Raleigh Montague grins as he waves back to a group of his students. “Ah, very well, in that case.”
Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Oh, by the way, old bird, you dodged a bullet. You remember that whiny student?
Andrew d’Ackerley asks: The one neither of us wanted?
Doctor Raleigh Montague casts his mind back. “Ah yes, I do recall that particular one.”
Andrew d’Ackerley contentedly says: Well, she ended up in Scorpion House.
Andrew d’Ackerley adds, with obvious amusement, “She spent two hours whining about it yesterday. Thinks that the guilds are all females and it is very boring.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “Rumatha will have his hands full. Mind you, I don’t understand. She wants – more boys?”
Doctor Raleigh Montague says: We have plenty.
Andrew d’Ackerley says: According to her, there are very few male assassins.
Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs. “Tell her to visit the boys dormitories at night, or indeed, wait in the corridors when the boys are heading to the baths.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague gestures around the hall. “And I suppose these lads are not lad enough eh?”
Doctor Raleigh Montague looks amused. “Ah, students. What will we be without them?”
Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Happy?
Doctor Raleigh Montague says: Aye, vastly.
Doctor Raleigh Montague says: But alas, not very busy.
Andrew d’Ackerley sips his tea.
Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: If you want my advice, though, don’t let Aell draw you in again.
Andrew d’Ackerley says: if she was ever serious, let her come to you this time.
Doctor Raleigh Montague looks thoughtfully at the glowing end of his cigarette. “If she were to come to me, I do not know how I would react.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague quietly says: And that is not a good position to be in, I admit.
Andrew d’Ackerley says: Better than on your knees or heart broken.
Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs. “I have never been either.”
Andrew d’Ackerley softly asks: Women. Quite the headache, and yet we can’t quite get on without them, can we?
Doctor Raleigh Montague chuckles as he finishes his cigarette. “Can’t live with them, can’t inhume them.”
Andrew d’Ackerley says to Doctor Raleigh Montague: At least I have a brother who dutifully bred.
Doctor Raleigh Montague says to you: This brother of yours seems to be nothing but dreary duty.
You quietly say: He is where he wants to be. Doing what he and the family always wanted him to do. He is the Earl in everything but name.
Doctor Raleigh Montague shakes his head. “I don’t dismiss him; it’s just that from everything I hear you say about him he sounds like an older brother, not the youngest.”
Andrew d’Ackerley says: He was supposed to replace me. Mother brought him up to be the earl. I kind of feel sorry for him at times.
Andrew d’Ackerley says: So many expectations.
Doctor Raleigh Montague says: It does seem a waste of a life.
Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: Two lives. I was supposed to die to make room for him, after all. It’s always been between us… Why we’ve never been close, I suppose.
Doctor Raleigh Montague stretches his long legs under the table to get as comfortable as he can. “Your parents clearly have a lot to answer for. My own childhood was – idyllic.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague says: Apart from the permanent contract on my head, of course.
Andrew d’Ackerley quietly asks Doctor Raleigh Montague: Each our reasons to be less than cheerful children, aye?
Doctor Raleigh Montague says to you: My parents kept the truth of who we were from us until I turned thirteen.
Andrew d’Ackerley says: A wise decision.
Doctor Raleigh Montague hesitates. “According to Uberwaldean custom, a boy who turns thirteen becomes a man. So then, of course, I was told the truth.”
Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “I believe I was told on the day I was entered into the guild. In a fashion. I overheard my mother tell my father that it was a waste of money.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague raises an eyebrow. “I am pleased you proved her wrong, old boy.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague says: You have a nice stubborn streak in you.
Andrew d’Ackerley laughs softly. “I have that from my father who drank and whored himself to death with the explicit purpose of angering his wife.”
Doctor Raleigh Montague laughs. “A valuable keepsake.” He shakes his head. “I have a class to get to soon.” He glances over at you. “I appreciate the heads up.”