A favour owed

…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

No one quite knew what would be said next, Jose included.  He dangled the bundle of papers in front of him as he put on a happy, but serious look, trying hard to denote that he knew exactly what he was talking about when really all he knew about finance was what he had heard in the last two days.

He walked forward to the desk and placed the bundle on the desk, “you see, your lordship, what they’re doing here is raising you money with very reasonable repayment rates that go far into the future.  It allows you to spend significant resources now, grow your coffers and better serve your interests.  The rate is slightly higher than is usual, but it’s also an excellent deal.”

“I’m not sure we actually need the money though.  I feel this is a dirty deal.”

“Not at all, your lordship, it is a great deal.  Also, from my previous dealings with Jenkins & Co, I know that they typically provide rebates on future deals.  So you’d pay a much lower rate next time.  As to whether you need the money, I think the answer is that you can always do with more.”

“I will have to tell of my treasurer.  He shouldn’t do these things without my knowledge.”

“Perhaps he was trying to surprise you or maybe even he thought it was too routine as to require your input.  I’m sure that your lordship has much more important things to do.”

“That is true young man.  And so I will need to be off to attend to that.”

Jose was amazed he had got away with it and he decided to push his luck just a bit further, “and to payment, your lordship?”

He scowled and began, “why should I-,”

Emma chimed in with doe eyes and a smile, “we don’t need much, your lordship, but anything you can do to make our next night’s stay here in Fulham more comfortable, we would be much obliged.”

He considered for a moment, but knew he couldn’t resist and besides, he had much else to do this evening.  “Very well,” he said, counting coin out of his purse, “here is a small token of my appreciation for delivering these documents to us.”

Handing the coins to Emma, he nodded to them all and finished their exchange with, “please show yourselves out,” which they promptly did.

The palace

…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

“I’m happy to receive whatever you have for me here,” the man, claiming to be treasurer said, without much flare.

Jose looked back at Emma and Noemi, not so much for instruction, but simply to express his astonishment to the outside world.  After all that they had been through, he couldn’t possibly believe that this man was the exact person that they were after.  It was impossible for his mind to accept.

“You’ll excuse my scepticism, sir, that you are the very person that we’re looking for.  It would be a wonderful coincidence.  I’m sure that my employer would not be best pleased with me if I simply gave up the documents without any sort of verification.”

“I’m afraid you’ll just have to take my word for it, friend.”

He had been down this particular garden path, Jose, and had no intention of going down it again.  Especially not for something that may get him money in the end.

“My employer mentioned that you would be paying us for delivery of these documents.  Do you have funds to hand?”

The would be treasurer’s face turned sour.  Maybe he decided it wasn’t pursuing, but he gave it another go, “I have a few bob on me.  Enough to cover your expenses of travelling over here, though I’m not sure why I should be footing this.  Who did you say was sending the documents.”

“I’m afraid that I’m not at liberty to say without knowing you are definitely the intended recipient.  My employer said that you would know how much to pay us.  So, if you can do so then I’ll give you the documents.”

“This is all rather uncouth.”

“I’m sorry, but I just can’t have this delivery go wrong.”

“And you’re saying that a few bob won’t do?”

“It would not.”

Jose wondered if he had pushed it to far.  If this was the the treasurer then he may find himself in trouble.  Then he corrected himself.  How would he be in trouble?  There was only downside for him in giving it to the wrong person, even if he could get a few extra quid out of him.

Walking up from behind Jose, Emma then joined the conversation with a short nod, “Perhaps if you could walk us to your office in the Palace, then everyone would be satisfied?  I would ever so much like to see the ground,” she said with a twinkle in her eye, doing her very best to play up her feminine features.

The would be treasurer was much more amendable to the approach of Emma.  Jose loved her in that moment just a little bit extra.

“What an elegant solution my dear, and I would be so happy as to show you around the ground,” he said and then turned towards Jose, “You are lucky that you have such a charming and intelligent companion here.  I was about to lose my temper.  It’s only a short walk from here, so follow me”

He walked closely to Emma, with Jose and Noemi trailing just behind.  The treasurer could not help himself but be as close to Emma as possible and constantly point out various curiosities along the short walk.  Mustering everything he had at his disposal, he tried to charm.

A short way from the bridge, they came to a brick wall with the Palace in the background.  This was the ‘walled garden’ according to the would be treasurer, who was now looking ever more likely to be the actual treasurer.  They amble through the walled garden taking in some fine specimens of the botanical arts.  None of them could name them or understand their worth per se, though the they were assured it was something quite special.  After taking a round of the walled garden, they exited the opposite end from where they entered and there before them was the Palace in its splendour.  It was a box type building of great size that was quite imposing in the surroundings even if it would have blended in down in the City.

“Beautiful,” Noemi said, “is the whole thing for the Bishop?”

“Indeed, though the grounds are often open to the public, in particular the walled garden.”

“And where is your office,” Emma asked before Jose could butt in with a comment that might offend.

“Down to business so soon my dear?  That’s ok, I quite understand the need to get on with things and we are reaching the end of the day.  Follow me please.”

He took them around the side of the building in order to get through the front entrance where there was a courtyard from some centuries ago.  Tudor, he had said, though the Palace had been around in one form or another for centuries.  It was a hard thing to fathom that other people had definitely stood in this spot a thousand years ago going about some other business which has faded completely into insignificance.  Much like what they were doing now.

A guard nodded to the man as they entered.  Jose felt slightly squeamish at the sight before reminding himself that it didn’t really matter.  What would this man do to him.  It was still slightly odd that he looked as though he had lost his way, taking a wrong turn or two before arriving at a small door, which he opened slowly.  Inside, there was a large desk stacked with papers and various untidiness about the place.  Not quite fitting in with the man’s exterior persona.

He sat down at the desk and said, “so, to business.”

Gathered in front of the desk, they all nodded and then Jose spoke, “in regards to payment?”

“Yes, well, indeed.  Show me the documents and then we can discuss.”

Jose worried that he’d completely lose leverage by handing over the documents, though he also saw this stand off going on ad naseum.  He capitulated and handed over the sealed bundle.

The treasurer examined the bundle without breaking the seal.  “I see it’s from Thomas Jenkins & Co – I can’t say I’ve ever heard of them, so I am quite intrigued.”

Warning signals abound had all three of Emma, Noemi and Jose darting their eyes around the room and wracking their brains for an exit route.  They had to know the way out of this turned properly sour.

“Though I don’t meddle much with banks, so I guess that’s why.”

A treasurer that doesn’t meddle with banks did not smell right so Emma asked, “is that not a bit odd given your role?”

“Not at all my dear,” he said, breaking the seal and looking up at them all, “because I am the Bishop, who’s affairs deal more often with the soul than the coin.”

They should have been surprised, but they weren’t.  Of course he wasn’t the treasurer.  How could they have had the sheer luck of that happening?  At the very least, they were delivering the documents to someone in the same organisation.

The Bishop took the folio of documents out and carefully examined them one by one.  Everyone was as interested as the Bishop to find out what they contained.

“Do you know what these are?” He asked after a minute or two of silent examination.

“As we said earlier, we were only charged with delivering the documents.  We were never privy to their contents.”

“Well, apparently my stalwart treasurer is asking this Jenkins fellow to find us money through issuing a bond and he’s taking 25% of the funds raised for the pleasure!  I’m not even sure we need money!  What do you say to that?”

“May I inspect the documents, your lordship (assuming that is the correct honorific)?” asked Jose.

It wasn’t, but his holiness did not mind and simply handed over the stack of documents. Jose started thumbing through them with both Emma and Noemi trying to examine them at the same time.  They had to make a quick choice.  Would they be honest and say they didn’t know anything about it, side with the Bishop and call the treasurer and Jenkins scoundrels or side with Jenkins and have a favour down the line?  They had been tricked themselves recently and knew how horrible it was.  Likewise, they saw those who tricked getting ahead and this that were tricked falling by the wayside.  Jose decided that he’d had enough and made a snap decision, “I see what they’re doing here…”

Who owns the green

…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

They sat by the bridge for a good hour before anyone came along that they were happy to approach.  Too many had looked either nasty or out of the know, both of which may have been incorrect, but in any event it meant they didn’t approach those people.

The man they did approach came walking wearing tidy looking breeches, a clean white shirt with a dark coat and overcoat.  He used a cane though it appeared to be for image rather than necessity.  There was a leisurely pace to his walk though he also seemed to be very determined in his direction.  Jose approached him deferentially and said, “Excuse me, Sir, but could I trouble you for a moment?”

He beamed at Jose and cast his eyes at Noemi and Emma, who stood about a meter behind him, “but of course young man, how can I be of service?”

“Very kind, Sir” Jose said Boeing ever so slightly, “we’re not from around these parts, if you haven’t already guessed and we wanted to understand a bit about the area.  We are due to see some of the Bishop’s adviser regarding the delivery of some documents and wanted to know how best we got to the Palace, but also learn about what lies beyond in the area.  We’ll need to find a place to stay for the night you see.”

“Well, there is Parsons Green just east of here where there is a church building as well as a number of houses.  A relatively small community of people.  There is an inn above a public house, the kings head just beyond.”

“Thank you, sir, very kind of you indeed.”

“May I ask your business with the Bishop?”

“It’s not with him directly, but with his treasurer.”

“And the business?”

Jose hesitated before realising there wasn’t much to lose, “delivering documents from our client, a banker from the City.”

“Well then you are in luck friends, for I am the treasurer.”


…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

From the banks of the Thames in Fulham, on the other side of Putney, a person can make out a church tower and building behind it.  It is not grandiose in the way of a Versailles, though it is certainly a Palace.  The country seat of the Bishop of London, the Fulham Palace has stood for hundreds of years on this spot in slightly different forms.

Noemi, Emma and Jose had ventured slightly further than they wanted in their trek West along the Thames.  Luckily the Fulham Palace was an obvious enough sight to make them stop and get their bearings.  It had taken them a good five hours to walk along the Thames and properly find their way after some wrong turns and stops, so it was afternoon by the time they reached this point where they encountered the Palace.

“How do we find out where to go from here?” Noemi asked Jose.

“I’m not sure.  Perhaps if we wait at the bridge we will come across someone who can give us an idea.”

“Let’s not show the deed for the time being shall we.  Don’t want to show it to the wrong person and get locked up.”

“No of course. The thing is worthless really, but we have to check,” he noted surprisingly chipper like.

She had gained a slight suspicion that there was some funny business between Emma and Jose on the walk and so had wondered if that was why he was so up beat.  It was a remarkable swing back from his recent life as a mute.  Noemi wasn’t complaining.  This was basically most her brother coming back properly, putting aside their differences for the time.  She wasn’t likely to forget the events leading up to this London ramble easily.  They were family though and even some extreme things had to be brushed under the carpet to support each other.

“Very well, let’s get over to that bridge.  Hopefully there is enough foot traffic for us to find a friendly face.”

Noemi rambled on ahead quickly to give Emma and Jose a few moments.  Jose was still elated, as much as he could be, after Emma’s kiss the night before, though even alone with her he wasn’t sure how best to proceed.  She kept on darting looks at him and he only responded with the same.  With Noemi further away, part of his shyness dissipated and he ventured out with his best, most humble try, “thank you for last night, Emma.”

“For talking to you about your Uncle?” She asked, knowing he mostly meant the kiss.

“That, the kiss, for everything that made me feel more alive in the face of all this.  In the face of all my decisions.  It was a good feeling I haven’t experienced since I thought I found our new life wrapped up with a bow.”

Emma did not immediately respond as she wanted to say this right, “sometimes we end up with something which we didn’t originally believe to be the best thing, but it turns out that it is.  What did you want from moving here?”

“Distance from our past.  Some sort of security.  An adventure.”

“Two out of three isn’t bad.  Especially not when you have added another, if you don’t mind me saying.”

“I don’t,” he said grabbing her hand and stopping them in their tracks.  He kissed her and then kept his face close to hers, if just to feel the warmth radiating from her face.

They didn’t say anything further. But simply upped their pace to catch up with Noemi.  There was a lot still to do in this day and it grew later.