The Diplomat #3

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An icy grip wrapped its sharp talons around the diplomat’s gut. The third room into which he was led was not a reception room, but a dungeon.

The walls were bare stone, dry and expressionless. A pair of roughly carved wooden chairs rested at odd angles in opposite ends of the room. From their arms and legs hung short, rusted chains.

With a bow, the portly steward gestured towards one of them and began rolling his sleeves up to his elbows.

As the diplomat’s eyes adjusted to the gloom, for the room was not lit in any way, he saw another figure standing in the far corner. He was large-bellied, barrel-chested and his arms were as thick as a haunch of beef.

“Please, sit.” The steward said crisply.

The diplomat dropped into one of the chairs, feeling gnarled splinters dig into his rump. His eyes darted between the two men, wondering which would draw the chains around him and which would put him to torture.

A razor glinted in the stewards hands and he advanced towards the diplomat. He flinched as the sharp blade hovered at his throat, but then it was dragged smoothly down his rough cheeks, thick with stubble from the long voyage to the palace.

“Forgive me, sir. My master insists that all guests are cleanly shaven before they can be given an audience.”

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