LIAB Epilogue 24
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|There was the one about the battle, with the news of Slately's fall and Lord Hamster's escape. And there was the one about the prisoner, settling how to handle her and hand her over.
Late into the evening came Charlie's third call, and Tramennis figured he'd better take this one as well. The alternative was keeping the crown on to block out Thinkamancy. But it would be impossible to sleep that way.
He sat up in bed and swung his feet to the rug. "This is the King of Jetstone," he said aloud, accepting the mental invitation into Thinkspace. The Royal tent, which was lit only by a single dim power-ball anyway, went black.
"Please hold for Charlie," said the image of the Archon in glowing blue.She twirled daintily, and vanished. Tramennis couldn't help admiring her grace. He stood there in a beam of bright light, peering out into the black emptiness.
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|Forth from the blackness of mind, there materialized the figure of a man with a prominent hawk's beak nose and a thin moustache. In his polished riding boots, he walked forward crisply and stood at attention. The epaulets of his khaki green jacket, and the three bars and gold leaf clusters on his kepi-style hat suggested some kind of military rank. But otherwise, he looked thin and prunish.
"Your Majesty," said the man, bowing his head slightly but keeping his waist straight, "thank you for taking my call."
"Is this what you really look like, at last?" asked the King.
Charlie looked down at himself and smiled. "This is me when I am playing General, I suppose. I would like to coordinate with you on some major points of strategy. Would now be an opportune time?"
"Not if you're only playing. We've had entirely enough of that," said Tramennis, narrowing his eyes. "In fact, I feel I've had enough of your counsel for one day, Charlie. Why not call me in the morning, before start of our turn?"
This version of Charlie gave him a little frown. "I could. But there really are several—"
"Yes, do." The new King stepped up to the Overlord's image and raised his chin. "In the meantime, perhaps you could prepare another dossier for me..you know, outlining all seventeen layers of strategic subterfuge you employed today. Spell out for me just how cleverly you manipulated all the players in the field. Faq and Haggar, and of course, Jetstone. Then," said the King, stepping right up into the apparition's face, "jot down approximately how—despite all of your brilliant strategic intrigue, General—how we lost my father, my brother, a caster, and the capital, and yet failed to secure the one enemy asset you insisted was worth any price."
Tramennis turned his back to the man and paced into the darkness, leaving him in the beam of light. "From that position of mutual understanding, perhaps we can begin discussing matters of strategic partnership. That is, once I'm satisfied with your account of yourself. Until then, Charlie, I bid you a good night."
He walked further off into darkness, willing the Royal tent back into focus in his vision."Break."