Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Shaken but not stirred

'Roland, you can close your mouth now' said Sue a little tartly and then addressed the heavenly creature who was by now hovering in front of her desk and a little too close to Roland's knee for his comfort.

'Eunice can we please have one white coffee for the gentleman and I would like a whisky and soda and I think that you had better make it a double!'

'Are you not going to introduce us, Sue?' interjected Roland, who had by this time regained his composure a little.

'Certainly not. It would be most inappropriate! Eunice please can you fetch the drinks?'

Roland stuck out his hand to Eunice anyway, and said quite formally 'Hello, I am Roland de Cazalrenoux, and I am very pleased to meet you'.

Dancing green eyes met with his tawny, amber gaze, and dimples appeared as she smiled and held out a slim hand to clasp his briefly.

'Eunice Batchworth, pleased to meet you also'.

'Eunice Batchworth? What kind of name is that for a gorgeous thing like you?'

'A fine, traditional witch name. Batchworth is a name with a long and proud lineage in the Witch Kingdom' interrupted Sue testily ' Now Eunice go and get that coffee and please change into something more suitable for work!'

Eunice shrugged and smiled as she glanced down at her limb-hugging ripped jeans and flimsy white vest top, but good naturedly moved away towards the door, Roland's gaze following her every move.

After she had closed the door behind her, Sue's glare brought Roland back to why he was there and the serious nature of his visit. Sue, however, was not to be deflected from what she wanted to say.

'Roland, Eunice is only eighteen, a very young witch and my only niece. I will not tolerate you trying to use your charms on her and turn her head!'

Roland held up his hands in mock surrender.

'Sue I haven't done anything! I just wasn't prepared for that vision of beauty to stroll into the room. But really, Eunice Batchworth? And how can she be your niece? You are at least 725 by my reckoning?'.

'I have told you, the name Eunice Batchworth is one held in the highest esteem in the Witch Kingdom. It was the name of my sister and held by all her direct female descendants. You don't honestly believe that my real name is Sue Fisher, do you? Unfortunately, that side of the family were very prone to running into trouble; inquisitors, witch-finders and the like and didn't tend to last very long. Even Eunice's poor parents!'

'I thought that the witches had been relatively safe from human persecution for some time? Whatever happened to them?' asked Roland.

'Oh, they skied into a piste basher in Verbier about fifteen years ago' replied Sue quite matter of fact 'Too much red wine at lunch. The other scourge of the Batchworths! Apparently, it made quite a mess on the piste. Anyway back to that information you wanted. It's not going to be ready for a few days; the spells and incantations are quite complicated and drawn-out'.

'But Sue I need it for this meeting with Kingsteignton!'.

'Well you are going to be late for that anyway, it's almost noon now!'

'Oh, I made him rearrange for 2.30; he wasn't happy but that old club of his is such a morgue that I'm sure that they've got a velvet-lined coffin handy so he can have a nap! But I need that information. I can't go into this blind!'

'Well the specific stuff you have asked for is going to have to wait. What I do know is that our Lord K is using his EU position to pull all kinds of strings and I've heard that the Romanian vampires are taking a terrible thumping. You might want to ask him why he is attacking his own kind?'

'Hmm' thought Roland aloud. 'You don't think that it's the Romanian vampires who are holding Kea do you? Do you think that's what he's trying to imply?

'If I was you, my boy, I would ask yourself why is Kingsteignton encouraging the systematic slaughter of his own kind in eastern Europe, and why would they be holding a female werewolf against her will. Who is it who benefits and why? Kingsteignton never does anything that doesn't directly benefit himself and fills his coffers. Besides there is bad blood between them because of his daughter'.

'His daughter?' echoed Roland 'I didn't know that the old coffin-hugger had ever had a daughter?'

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