The Scrutator Semper Chronicles 15

Chapter Two: The Brown Land

Part Five: The Burnished Throne

It is hard to know in advance the exact point when a man’s patience will reach its limit. For some it is when the last on a heap of disappointments is dropped onto them, and they finally hit a turning point from which there is no return. It is rarely a dignified sight; the result is never something the man would do in his right mind. A wise man once told me that patience is all that separates men from the animals. That and folding clothes.

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The Scrutator Semper Chronicles 13

Chapter Two: The Brown Land

Part Three: Nothing With Nothing

“They knew we were coming.”

Grand Scrutator Alphonse Severius’ voice was tight with fury as he stood with his fists pressing down on Scrutator Semper’s enormous desk. He had just stormed in fresh from battle, his robes torn and bloodied. Both men still wore their masks, so Severius’ expression was one of haughty burnished indifference. But his eyes threw sparks. Semper stayed sitting behind the desk, his own eyes unreadable.

“It was a pagan site, they could have been investigating it to see what hellish energies they could consume.”

“I don’t believe in coincidence, Victus. When everything gets covered in shit, I start looking for the arsehole that did it. Those mercenaries were paid extra to be discrete, so that leaves-”

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The Scrutator Semper Chronicles 11

Chapter Two: The Brown Land

Part One: Where The Dead Men Lost Their Bones

In which Scrutator Semper assembles his pawns for a grand scheme

Victus Semper, Scrutator Overseeing the Governance, Distribution, Justification, Flagellation and Sewage of Merwynn, cracked his knuckles and rose from the chair behind the desk where he spent most of his days. He strode – he always strode, he was not a man for hesitant steps – to the doors of his office and turned the key in the lock. Thus satisfied with the inviolability of his sanctum he returned to the desk and doffed the burnished mask which offered the world the haughty visage of a Sul-Menite Scrutator. The face beneath was if anything even haughtier, his thin-lipped mouth was ever downturned, his eyes could strike sparks, his nose was aquiline and pronounced.

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The Scrutator Semper Chronicles X

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Ten: As A Dog To The Proverbial

In which Master Siskington is put in a position of responsibility against all better judgement.

The Bloodstone Marches sometimes possess a weird beauty, as the harsh spring recedes and the punishing summer starts to take hold. The wretched scrub takes on a vibrant hue, and the putrid corpses of animals and men that litter the plains often grow quite interesting plantlife. The jackals that roam in starving packs shed their winter coats and soon sport a charming shade of brown, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings and murder lone wayfarers. As our wagon wove its way across the wasteland, I sat up beside our driver and reflected on the changes that had come to the place since my last visit. Let it never be said I cannot appreciate something even if I hate very moment I spend with it.

“How much longer, squire?”

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The Scrutator Semper Chronicles VIII

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Eight: What Dreams May Come

In which Master Siskington receives an unexpected visit.

“Stand forth, brother.”

It was a voice that could not be ignored, well used to command and being obeyed. I stepped forward, and marvelled at what I saw. A city of towers, surrounded by a high wall, with fields spiralling from it as far as the eye could see. With another step I was within the walls. I saw the milling people, wearing clothes of ancient times. All around were the signs of prosperity and industry. A line of carts left one gate, loaded with bags of grain. There was joy here, a pleasure that focused around the huge temple in the centre of the city.

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The Scrutator Semper Chronicles VI

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Six: The Heavy Load

In which Master Siskington learns that religious fanatics are people too.

By the fifth day of the march I had become so used to being kicked awake that my master’s underlings had to drag me outside and dunk my head in the water barrel to wake me. Before this harrowing episode in my life I had never risen until I could be sure of getting a good lunch. Now as I trudged along with the column I glared with envy at the sun, which still hadn’t risen from its comfortable bed at the horizon. The bloody-minded cheer of those surrounding me only served to cement my sour mood.

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The Scrutator Semper Chronicles IV

Chapter One: The Relics of Saint Malathric

Part Four: An Angel Named Clarence

In which Master Siskington escapes his richly-deserved punishment in exchange for of a life of adventure.

The discerning reader will realise that I could not write this memoir if I had died that fateful evening garroted on the floor of my bedsit flat above a garlic shop, and this is of course this case. I did lose consciousness however, so what happened next I only have second-hand.

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