Andrea, Attorney at Law
The Mad Dwarf: Part 7
Wands can throw quite a punch, figuratively speaking. They’re dangerous; when they are unregistered, or in the hands of anyone who has less than good intentions things can get hairy quick. They’re not like a knife, or a club or even a crossbow.
The amount of raw energy one can exert on the outside world can singe, fry or pummel just about anything into a pile of rubble. Wands can blast holes through stone and mortar, wood and most troubling of all, flesh.
Officers in Felninburgh take unregistered wands and staffs very seriously. In fact, some of the more well-known cases I’ve studied if a suspect is arrested with many other weapons on them, and they rarely get a slap on the wrist for those. It’s one of those facts that many people don’t like, but don’t bother to change: if you live in Felninburgh, especially one of the seedier areas like West Feln, then you most likely own a knife or some other sharpened object to defend yourself with.
Del Blackstone being arrested and found with an unregistered wand, no matter how tenuous and foggy the reasons for him being searched, to begin with, was a huge deal. Him unable to explain where or how he got it, his own representative law firm trying to lose the case on purpose, in addition to his mad destructive antics in the courtroom, made all of this an even more severe matter.
Bluntly, Blackstone didn’t have a chance in the world, and as his representatives whose jobs were on the line, neither did we.
To the east of Felninburgh lays a huge swath of land that’s mostly rural country and bits of dense forest. A few mountains lay even farther east, and there was where some of the logging and mining companies lay. Most existed way farther out where the Belters come from, but ones like the Delatrosh owned paid better wages since they processed most of the material themselves, and had a smaller distance to ship their products.
Buggies didn’t travel that far outside of Felninburgh, so Andrea and I ended up taking a Buggie to a small carriage house on the outskirts of the city, and then renting a carriage to bring us to the main headquarters of Delatrosh Logging.
Overall, it was roughly a half hour in the Buggie and another forty minutes in the carriage. I had plenty of time to read the all the files Andrea dug up on the corporation, and was just going over the history of Flannery Maddox, our officer turned corporate exec.
When we finally arrived at the headquarters, I noticed how large the building was. I had a hard time believing that a logging company would have such a huge building so far outside of the city just to do its business.
I said as much to Andrea.
“Well, I think most of the business done by all Delatrosh corporations are existing in this building. The legal team for Wand and Staff must take up half this place alone. The city council has been trying to outlaw magical weapons for ages.” Andrea pushed open the door to the carriage, grabbed her briefcase and told the driver we would be about an hour.
We began to walk up the gravel sidewalk that ran along a winding roadway which functioned as both an entrance way to the headquarters, but also as an inspection for outgoing materials from the outlying operations. Men and dwarves in dark blue uniforms were busy tallying materials on large wagons pulled by teams of large oxen, and smaller crated wagons pulled by horses that seemed a bit too large to be real.
The sidewalk ran along all of this, and we passed many blue dressed inspectors and well-groomed businessmen alike. I was beginning to get a sense of the enormity of this place, and how it could function with so many people working, yet I was so unaware of its existence until we took on this case.
“How could a place like this be so low-key?” I said.
“Why do you think it’s placed so far outside the city? It’s not easy for your average person to come all the way out here, and that carriage alone cost us a good half week’s pay.” Andrea kept her attention fixed on the entrance of the building, a good stretch away still.
I grimaced. “Half week, huh?”
“We’ll split it.” She said, trying to soothe my pain.
“Great.” I cleared my throat and changed the subject. I was sure to be unemployed soon, so every copper mattered. “Okay, so this place is difficult to get to. And I assume most of the employees are either being paid well enough to keep their mouths shut and the lower level ones just live out here in the boonies. Still, if they have such a high-powered team of attorneys to maintain the output of weapon creation flowing, wouldn’t we have heard of that?”
Andrea laughed. “Not if the courts are being paid off to keep a lid on it.”
I stopped, and Andrea turned around. I was exasperated, really at my wit's end. None of this made any sense. “Andrea. Why wouldn’t they make Blackstone disappear? Isn’t another unregistered weapon offender just more firepower for the council members who want to ban all magical weapons? And not to mention, if any of these connections come out won’t it just bring more attention to a company that is trying to keep a low profile?”
Andrea looked confused at my suggestions. “Travis,” she started slowly. “Think about it. Blackstone is clearly linked to this company by a family connection. Someone is trying to bury him and bring the company to its knees at the same time. Or, the company is doing this with some larger motive we haven’t uncovered yet. Either way, we need to find that motive and prove whether there ever was a Pale Man or not.”
I wasn’t convinced, I was having doubts creep up in the back of my mind every second. The more time I had to reflect on how ridiculous Blackstone’s story was the worse it got. “Or Blackstone is crazy, and got himself in trouble while carrying an actual unregistered wand.”
Andrea shook her head. “I highly doubt it. There are too many other connections and coincidences for him just to be a crazy, old dwarf. I think whoever is behind this knew Blackstone was on the edge of crazy. Someone used either this situation or the appearance of the Pale Man to push him over the edge. Trust me, Travis, it’s all connected.”
I sighed. “Okay. Well, here goes nothing.” And we took off back towards the entrance of the building.