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Vernon and Harverd: Flowing of the Seas of Fate

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    Vernon and Harverd: Flowing of the Seas of Fate

    Chapter 1: The Flowing of the Seas of Fate

    “ I say,� retorted Vernon with force, “ Masters? What Masters? It isn't my Masters from Oxford is it? Because you see, the fire and the incident with the goat had nothing to do with me!� The Man in Rags and Patches scowled, his thick, sinister eyebrows drawing closely in on each other, meeting, as two herds of wildebeest might, a collision that seemed to impact all over the plains. Or, in this case, the expanse of skin that was Vernon’s visitor’s face.
    “Believe me, your grace,�
    “Oh come, come, let’s dispense with the titles! You call me Vernon, or Vern,� he chuckled appreciatively at his own, disarming charm, “And I’ll call you?..�
    “Sartre,� replied the Man in Rags and Patches, with a face that remained callously stern.
    “Anyway, Mr. Sartre, you were saying?
    “I have no interest in your doings as a young man. I am come to alert you to a fact of greatest importance that must be acted upon with all the immediacy that is required. However, my Masters are engaged elsewhere. And I, being only a pawn in this great game, am thus forbidden from divulging all I know. I am being hunted. My life is worthless anyway. You must know this,� there was a momentary pause, indicative of something vital awaiting to be let loose into the world, “The Man in Black and White comes, as does the Man in Heliotrope and Rose. You must choose to follow one. Upon you the fate of the World rests.�
    With this, ambiguous and appallingly ominous statement still lingering in the air, Sartre turned swiftly on his heel and swept, impressively from the room. Harverd followed the swiftly retreating footsteps and, after a minute’s absence, stood, once more by Vernon’s bedside, impeccably attired and awaiting any instructions that Vernon deigned to give him.
    “Well, that was a bit rummy, what?� Vernon said, upon his valet’s return.
    “Precisely my sentiments, sir,�
    “Something about that Sartre didn’t seem quite right, Harverd, if you know what I mean,�
    “Undoubtedly not, sir,�
    “And his little riddle at the end. Definitely something out of the ordinary there,�
    “I concur, sir,�
    “I mean, The Man in Heliotrope and Rose. Heliotrope and rose don’t go,� Vernon paused, expecting some commendation for his powers of deduction, Harverd, just possibly, just possibly, sighed with resignation,
    “As you say, sir,�
    “Do you have any opinion on the matter Harverd?�
    “I wouldn’t presume to inflict them upon you graces ears, sir,�
    “Most sportin’ of you,� abbreviated Vernon, unashamedly, although Harverd discernibly flinched at the deformation of the English language.
    “No, no, all joking aside, Harverd, old boy, what is your educated opinion, on this decidedly odd state of affairs,�
    Harverd smiled slightly. Or, in fact, he let his upper lip twitch slightly, which was as close as he ever came to smiling.
    “Thank you for your inquiry, sir, and may I venture, most eloquently put,�
    “Oh venture away, old boy, venture away!� For all his myriad qualities, Vernon could be extremely vain, making him a relatively easy person to manipulate. Harverd knew this, and, on occasion, he would take advantage. Never anything overly obvious, he couldn’t rely entirely on his Master’s bumbling geniality, but, as now, he was prepared to make the odd exception.
    “I believe, sir,� began Harverd, carefully weighing each sentence with a practiced languor, “That Mr. Sartre, or, The Man in Rags and Patches, is most probably one of your assorted benefactors, who have financed your rather ill-fated attempts at sport, architecture and the like,�
    “Hmmmm,� mused Vernon, fixing his complexion into an expression of deep thought, that, it must be said, resembled more a bear with constipation, “That’s a thought, you don’t think it might be one of my Aunts do you, in a cunning disguise?�
    “I feel sir,� said Harverd with unimpeachable sincerity and integrity, not forgetting the completely straight face, which was a piece of genius in itself, “That none of your relations would have been able to conceal their…� Even Harverd was stuck for words for a single moment, though only for a split-second, “Abundant femininity,�
    “Delicately put Harverd,�
    “Thank you, sir,� gasped Harverd, recovering from the mountainous pressure of finishing his sentence without insulting Vernon’s relations.
    “Do you know any of my benefactors?� inquired Vernon,
    “I must confess a singular lack of knowledge on that particular subject sir. Save to say, they are most mysterious, sir and one may even say, invisible sir,�
    “Invisible, eh?� enthused the Third Earl of Winbury. Suddenly, he felt thrust into the heart of one of his beloved crime thrillers. He could feel the little grey cells begin to vent their interest in this matter. Some investigation was called for!

    Vernon and Harverd strode, imperiously down the street. Or at least, Harverd did. Vernon tried to walk with all the dignity and stature befitting the Third Earl of Winbury, but, due to the still lingering effects of the night before, all he could manage was a sort of half-saunter.
    “May I enquire as to whose residence we shall be paying a visit to, sir?� posed Harverd gently.
    “Good point, Harverd. Should have though of that before I got dressed up. Hmmmmm,� For some moments, Vernon stood, contemplating this most difficult of problems, his eyes downcast. He was startled from his reverie, by a gentle cough from Harverd. The Butler stood tall and gave a slight nod of deference upon becoming the recipient of the famous Winbury glower; despite which he carried on unfazed.
    “Perhaps, sir, we might begin our quest for answers, over there,� he inclined his head in the direction of a shambling, cumbersome figure, some yards away.
    “And why, Harverd, would I want to talk to that degenerate low life, pray?�
    “I couldn’t help but notice, sir, that he is dressed, entirely, in black and white,�
    “Well of course he is Harverd! My seeming ignorance was merely a ploy to lull him into a false sense of security!�
    “But of course, sir, I was merely intending to point out that your tactic had worked and resulted in his or her making they’re way across to us,�
    “Well, old bean, who was it who said: �The seas of fate begin to flow,’�
    “I would judge sir, that it was you, this moment who coined the phrase,�
    “Thank you, Harverd, for your acute observatory powers,�
    “A pleasure to serve sir,�
    “I was rather hoping you would notice the relevancy of the quote,�
    “One could scarcely help but marvel at it,�

    The shambolic creature, garbed in filthy black and white harlequin robes, composed of thin rags, sewn hastily together. Gender was impossibly to determine. The smell close to was indescribably foul, seeming to conjure evocative images of rank destruction and terror. The creature, or monster, as any adjective describing something odiously evil seemed horribly appropriate. And, as Vernon had so recently put it, The Seas of Fate began to flow, dragging the entire world into a maelstrom of impending doom.