The Spymaster's Report

Finding a way to cheat death had both its advantages and its disadvantages. Bismarck was finding that he was currently in the throws of one of the disadvantages. People who reported to him did not have experience of time to draw upon and made the mistakes that they would have learnt from over time. So he had to suffer incompetance and pretend that they were doing a good job for him.

"The man you asked us to follow, the Count of St. Germain, is clearly an imposter. He would be over a hundred and eighty years old by now if the earlier reports of his appearances are true. Clearly this is someone who is trying to pass himself off as the man to inherit his estates. The man doesn't look a day over 35." Bismarck's Chief Spymaster reported in a matter of fact tone.

"Never mind his ancestory" Bismarck replied curtly. "I want to know of his activities."

"Well," the man licked his lips nervously, "he had been snooping on our Aether plants early in March, but by the time we went to arrest him he had moved on to France. Our agents followed him there and reported that he was doing the same there. He appeared to be using some type of apparatus to measure something."

"Did you capture him as I instructed?" Bismarck demanded.

The spymaster was clearly nervous with sweat on his brow as he answered. "No my Lord. But we did have some success as he dropped his device as he escaped. I have it here if you would like to examine it."

Bismarck took the device from the spymaster and carefully examined it. The device was shaped a bit like pine cone but smoother on the surface. At the top of the device were a number of small rods that could be pulled out using a hinge mechanism. Bismarck estimated that there were about 12 such spokes. He recalled that he'd seen such a device before way back in the past on one of the English Druids, but he could not remember what it was for.

"What is it?" He asked not expecting a sensible answer.

"Err well my Lord we are not sure at this stage, but our best technical people are working around the clock to discover it's secrets."

"How did he escape? I thought it was clear we were to ensure that there was no way he could get away?" Bismarck demanded.

The spymaster was even more uncomfortable now with this question. He knew his answer was unbelievable and inadequate. "Our men on the scene swear that he just vanished before our eyes as they were advancing on him. I will have them flogged my Lord Chancellor until they confess their failures. As he vanished though he dropped that device."

"Do not bother to chastise them. I can see I under-estimated my opponent here. Do you know where he went to after he dissappeared?"

"I am hearing reports that the Count of St Germain has turned up in England recently" the spymaster proffered hoping that this might appease his master.

"Very well then. I want you to go and take charge personally of his capture. And take Hilde with you as she will be able to cope with our good friend the Count's tricks." Bismarck ordered.

The spymaster bowed and made a hasty retreat from the room, glad that the uncomfortable meeting with his master was over.

Bismarck looked out of the Window of the Palace in Berlin and watched as the young men played in the snow. The Michelmas decorations were still decorating the gas lamps but would soon be torn down. The Count was a wild card in everything that was going on. The sooner he had him safely inside an iron cell and not out in the world stirring up trouble the better.

He would have order in the world. They did not call him the Iron Chancellor for nothing!

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