Lord Lenox Shadowmore did not strike an imposing figure. Well into his sixties, his closely trimmed beard was more salt than pepper and had been for years. He was thin but by no means frail, wrinkled though not wizened.
He was always at his desk before anyone else arrived and left after everyone else had gone; word among the younger agents was that he simply never left. Nobody would dare call him senile to his face, and no one dared to do it behind his back, either. Everyone inside the organization knew that he would find out. Rare was the person who apologized to Lord Shadowmore; most never got the opportunity.
A pair of oil lamps sat on the corners of the old man's desk, illuminating the impressive stacks of books and paperwork. In a case behind him were a series of thin leatherbound books; most had brown covers, some yellow, a few orange, and all were kept behind a thick glass door secured by a massive iron padlock.
“Axson, tell me this is very important and worth my time.” Shadowmore didn't bother to look up as the baronet entered.
“We're about to have a security breach on Condor, your lordship.”
“Then neutralize the threat. Why does this require my attention?”
“We can't simply bury this one, my lord. He's a Champion. He's an Ambassador. For light's sake he's even got the eye of the dragon queen. He'd be missed, sire.”
Shadowmore laid down his quill, opened a drawer in his desk and withdrew a pipe made of carved ivory. He took his time packing the dried herbs into the bowl, letting Wishock stand in silence as he produced a sliver of wood, removed the glass cover from one of the lamps, held the punk in the flame until it caught and held it to the end of the pipe as he puffed. “Who is this man?”
A clerk burst into the chamber from a side door clutching a book bound in garish red leather. “Lord Shadowmore! It just turned, can't be more than an hour old.”
Lenox dropped his pipe and stood, snatching the book from the panting girl. “Alert Tifton to ready a strike force and report to me within the hour.” He opened the thin book and read the first page. “Tell her to prepare anti-magic measures. Small team. This operation must be taken quietly.” The clerk finished scribbling her notes and walked hurriedly out the same door.
After glancing at a few other pages the old man closed the book and showed the cover to Axson. The baronet read the gilt name on the face without needing to. “Your Champion is a confirmed threat to Project Condor and will be eliminated before sundown.”
“My lord, we can't–”
“We can and we must, Mr. Wishock. That will be all.” Shadowmore picked up his pipe and watched as a bodyguard materialized out of the gloom to escort the baronet away. As the door closed the old man fished a delicate key from a chain around his neck, unlocked the glass-enclosed bookcase and filed the red book on the top shelf. “My apologies, Mr. Colquitt,” Lenox muttered, relocking the cabinet.
For almost two years, this is where the story ended. After playing the character again, however, I got my inspiration for where the story should lead next.
writing/the shield book ch 4.txt · Last modified: September 8, 2011 by Dave Leach