Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Castles Part 2

"So are they still into it?"  I asked as we had another basket of infinite bread served to us.  It was good bread piping hot with organic butter mixed with a little honey.  Very fine for the occassional Seattlite looking for some place off the beaten path.
"Into what?" said Oscar.
"That alchemy stuff."
He smiled a little and took a sip of wine.  It was a very good year I hope given the prices.
"Oh, there are a lot of Castles.  I'm sure one or two are still interested.  The family is so very into tradition.  These days though they are more likely to invite scientists into chaos, string theory, or quantum computers up to the Great House.  Some of them never leave, which definitely shows there's an interest in what they know."
"Never leave?  What are they kept prisoners."
"No, not that I know of, though you can have a jail cell with open doors.  Something you should consider before you decide to cross the Reach.  Is it really worth it?  I know you are into all this cause your dad sold his company to them but what's the harm.  As I understand it he made more than double the money his factory was worth."
"Double the money off a factory he would never sell."  I made a fist around my wine glass stem that was just this close to snapping it.  "He would never sell without... without pressure.  I saw him afterward and he was a broken man.  I don't know what they did.  Blackmail, threats, whatever.  They broke him and I want to know why."
"Was he a weak man, don't be offended, I'm just curious."
"Never, he was a strong man.  I've never known stronger in all my life."
"Well," Oscar said after a sip, "if you knew he was a weak man it wouldn't have been so bad.  You'd been ready for him failing.  It's  the brittle men that are the worst.  You think they are steel, but really they are iron and iron can sometimes shatter.  You are never ready for that so I can understand your anger.   I just hope you think about things before getting deeper.  Do you know who the Castles sold your father's factor to?"
"Oxcara Limited of Mexico City.  They even sold it to them for pennies on the dollar.  What sort of sense does that make?"
"The Castles have a lot of arms.  You are looking at this one, but you can't see what the other is doing.  You can bet the Castles got their worth from the place.  I'm betting land.  The Castles are crazy for lands.  If you really want to get close to them bring deeds.  But back to point.  Oxcara Limited is a face corporation for the Narcocon Drug Cartel.  Do you still really want to get deeper in this?"
I was silent for a bit....
"Yeah, I do."
Oscar shrugs and reaches into his pocket and hands me a picture.
"This guy is Alan Meers.  He used to be part of the police force across the reach.  He lives in Reachview.  The address is on the back.  He's a good man to have your back.  Look him up."
The fellow looked dubious to me, but I took the picture and put it in my own pocket.
"Now tell me more about these Castles...."

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