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Drumknott’s room was, in a word, cosy. Before settling in, the chamberlain had asked him about his personal life in embarrassingly great detail*, and even written it all down. Drumknott hadn’t dared to refuse any information, or even hesitate in providing it, since that would no doubt also be written down and brought to the attention of certain people in the possession of scorpion pits.

*Which was rather pointless, since all of this and more was already known to Vetinari and filed away for later reference. However, it would break the chamberlain’s heart to withhold him this pleasure, so he didn’t.

And so it came to be that his room was predominantly blue, decked out with tapestries, carpets and curtains to dampen any sound, originating inside or outside the room. His bed was large enough to accommodate two people, since he had once had a girlfriend, and, never mind that this had been almost ten years ago, it might happen again. On the basis that he still had surviving family members and occasional contact with other clerks he had studied with, there was a small desk against one wall, for the writing of personal letters, and a rather larger fireplace accompanied by a low table and several comfortable armchairs, for the entertaining of guests. Neither of these had been used for their intended purpose during the six years that he had been Vetinari’s personal clerk. Various dressers and cupboards were scattered across the room. The bookcases opposite the fireplace had been by his personal request, but many of the books on their shelves had not been. He wasn’t sure whether they had mysteriously appeared because they were on similar subjects as his own books, because the Patrician wanted him to read them, or because they were, well, books, and books had odd habits that were not for us mortals to understand. All the same, he made sure to memorize them*. You never knew when the Patrician might suddenly look up from his papers and ask him to cite chapter twenty, paragraph fourteen from ‘Anecdotes of the Great Accountant’, volume five.

*This proved especially challenging when ‘The Joy of Tantric Sex with Illustrations for the Advanced Student’ suddenly appeared.

Presently, he was sitting in one of his armchairs and reading through the transcriptions of the meetings of the city’s various secret brotherhoods that had taken place that evening, in case any of them were about to rip apart the very fabric of existence. His lordship was very strict about these things. He was just trying to decide whether the Obfuscated Siblings in the Third Degree of the Silvery Moondragons were about to destroy or simply challenge the laws of physics, when there was a knock at his door.

He didn’t even have time to fully register his surprise at this unexpected event before the door was opened. Then he didn’t even have time to be appalled by this blatant disregard of common courtesy before he saw who it was that had performed this vicious deed. Lastly, he didn’t even have time to rise from his chair and greet his visitor before the Patrician said to him, “Please, remain seated, Drumknott. This is a social call.”

Drumknott panicked for a moment. His room was tidy, but was it tidy enough? He had not yet drawn the curtains closed, what if someone noticed the Patrician here? Was this side of the building even properly guarded against assassination attempts? He realized he was only wearing a shirt and long drawers, while Vetinari was still dressed in his Patrician’s robes, maybe he should excuse himself for a moment and find something more formal to wear as well? Then he calmed himself. The Patrician had surely known all of this before he came here, and had deemed it acceptable. He should concentrate his attention on his master now, rather than worry about details that were technically inconsequential. If only inconsequential formalities were half of what his job was made of.

Vetinari carefully closed the door, walked over to the little salon, sat down in the armchair that stood at exactly thirty degrees to the one Drumknott was sitting in, positioned himself so that he was facing Drumknott and folded his hands in his lap.

Interesting, thought Drumknott. Folded, not steepled. In his lap, not underneath his chin or in front of his lips.

Drumknott put the papers he had been reading on the floor next to him. He wasn’t particularly a proponent of the ’floor’-is-just-another-word-for-‘filing cabinet’- movement, but it would have to do in a pinch. By now he had managed to calm himself. It was unthinkable that he remained indignant, or even surprised by this sudden intrusion. This was his master, and, while in his presence, he knew exactly what the correct things to do and to say were.

“Good evening, my lord. May I offer you some tea?” His voice was quiet, measured.

“If it’s not too much trouble.”

“It’s no trouble at all, my lord. I have, in fact, a freshly brewed pot of tea here,’ he gestured at Exhibit A, the steaming pot of tea on the table, “and a full tea service in this cupboard.” He did get up now, to retrieve a cup and saucer from the indicated cupboard.

“You keep crockery in your personal chambers?” Vetinari asked. The tone was neutral, and Drumknott could not see his face, on account of still facing the cupboard, but he was sure he detected an eyebrow being raised in amusement.

“I received them as indicated by my grandmother in her will, my lord. You could call them a family heirloom. I offered to have them added to the larger pool of the Palace’s tableware, but the staff seemed to think this would somehow disgrace her memory.” Drumknott said, as he placed cup and saucer in front of Vetinari. He hesitated for a moment, then sat down before he poured tea into it. His lordship had said this was a social call and pouring tea while standing would definitely be too formal. One must be careful about these things.

“I see. Did you... care a lot for each other? I understand family heirlooms usually have that sort of significance.”

“No, my lord. She was a thoroughly unpleasant woman who disliked me especially for throwing away my life in the service of someone else. The tea service was accompanied by a scathing note indicating that it would have been a gift to my wife, if only I had ever been able to pry myself away from my duties long enough to acquire one.” Drumknott’s face stayed expressionless as he was saying this.

“I see.” Vetinari said again. “How sad. However, I’m sure you have not yet reached an age where you would be undesirable to available ladies. Many people, especially men who have committed themselves to marriage, seem to agree that it is not unwise to postpone this blessed event until one has reached a certain level of maturity. Wise in the ways of the world, and all that.”

“Surely your lordship agrees.”

“I must say I’ve never given the matter much thought one way or another. One could say the city is my mistress, and she is a jealous one. Indeed, accepting the favours of any other lady would most likely result in the destruction of Ankh-Morpork or that of myself, and likely of us both.”

He paused a moment to sip his tea before continuing, “However fascinating the subject, this is not the reason for my visit.” Another pause, another sip. “I wish to discuss our time under the protection of the Watch after I allegedly tried to murder you.”

Drumknott knew immediately to which time his lordship was referring, even though it had been almost five years ago. He thought about those days they had spent as prisoners quite often himself, and had even wondered whether he should broach the subject. Not that there was anything to talk about, really, but he understood that talking about traumatic experiences was good for the soul. And it had certainly been a traumatic experience. Even now, he winced as he recalled it.

“A most unpleasant memory, my lord.”

“Indeed. I especially would like to discuss the way you handled your interview with Mr De Worde.”

Drumknott winced again, more noticeably this time. “I admit I could have handled that better, my lord. But, my lord, that interview was never printed! And you were unconscious at the time!”

Vetinari waived a hand dismissively. “For a certain value of ‘unconscious’. It would also be wise to remember that everything in this city is always observed by someone. You would be amazed to know how very few conversations are truly private.”

Drumknott glanced at the stack of transcriptions on the floor. Some of those meetings had taken place in quite impenetrable locations.

“However,” Vetinari continued, “I do not wish to reprimand you. Quite the opposite, I was pleasantly surprised by your assertive reaction.”

“You were?” Drumknott asked, taken aback. He himself had been quite unpleasantly surprised by his lack of good manners.

“Oh yes. I don’t think I’d ever really seen you stand up for yourself before that. I had rather started to think your training must have made you more subservient than I’d consider healthy. Oh, don’t look at me like that, Drumknott. You must admit I’ve asked you to do quite a few things that could be considered morally dubious, and you’ve never even hesitated in carrying out my wishes.”

It was silent for several minutes before Drumknott felt he had composed an adequate reply.

“It is certainly true that I have never shown any hesitation, my lord, and you are correct in thinking that my training has ensured this. However, that does not mean I have not occasionally hesitated. I’m sure I do not need to tell your lordship about quickness of thought and self-restraint. My lord, my thoughts have always led me to the same conclusion: the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork does only what is best for Ankh-Morpork. I have never received an order that would obviously cause unnecessary harm of any kind, and those orders of which the outcome was unclear to me always eventually produced outcomes of which I could approve.”

“And is it your personal approval that determines whether an act is good or evil?”

“What is objectively good or evil is not for me to know, sir. Not even the gods seem to be able to agree on it. The only moral compass I can live by is my own.” His voice was steady.

“And what if I were to steer into a direction that is undoubtedly evil according to your moral compass?”

“I fear I cannot give a satisfactory answer, my lord. During the time I have been in your service, you have become that which is true and good to me.” Drumknott’s voice was still steady, though he realized that he was putting himself into a dangerously vulnerable position.

Vetinari raised an eyebrow. “I shan’t even comment on the plethora of logical errors in that statement.” He studied Drumknott’s face for several moments before he spoke. “While I am pleased with your honesty, Drumknott, I cannot help but wonder how far your loyalty really goes. How much you would be willing to do for me.”

The silence stretched out. Drumknott suddenly realized he was expected to answer.

“I believe, my lord,” he said carefully, “that there are in every man certain unshakable values he would be unable to betray. If you have ever called mine into question, you have also taught me the subtlety of mind necessary to circumvent it. I am well aware that some would say I am breaking through the barriers that keep one human, but I do not believe you are a monster. What you are teaching me, as I have chosen to see it, is a very radical approach to the idea of ‘means to an end’.” A barely perceptible smile crossed Vetinari’s face at that. “As things stand,” Drumknott continued, “I would do anything for you.” He paused for a moment, considering what would be the greatest sacrifice he could imagine. “I would die for you.” he concluded.

“Oh, yes, die for me.” Vetinari mused. “Such an easy thing to say. An even easier thing to do. One cannot have regrets when one is dead, or so they say. My dear Drumknott, you still have your innocence, insofar as that is possible in this city. There are much, much greater sacrifices than dying for someone.”

The Patrician got up at this and walked over to the window where he stopped to look out at the city, his hands clasped behind his back. Drumknott automatically followed him and stood one step behind him.

“Tell me, Drumknott, would you kill for me?” The Patrician’s voice was soft.

Drumknott swallowed audibly. He had often had a hand in the execution of those who obviously deserved that fate, but he didn’t think that that was exactly what his master had in mind. In truth, he had been preparing himself for just such an order for some time now. Even he couldn’t determine how ruthless the Patrician was, exactly. Would he ever order him to arrange the unfortunate death of someone simply because they stood in his way? Never mind that he would be breaking the law, not being a licensed assassin, could he be responsible for the death of someone like Lord Rust? Commander Vimes?

“I honestly can’t say, my lord. I simply cannot imagine you giving me that kind of order.” His voice was uncertain now.

“I see.”

The Patrician’s voice, as always, betrayed nothing. Drumknott couldn’t tell whether he had passed or failed, or if this had even been a test, but he felt disappointed with himself. It was true that he had been taught subservience, but he had never thought it ran so deep, not until his lord had forced him to see it.

“Drumknott?”

Drumknott was suddenly pulled away from his gloomy thoughts and was all attention again.

“Yes, my lord?”

“I believe there is a balcony attached to your room.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Open the door to it, will you.”

Drumknott retrieved the key to the terrace door*, opened it and stood aside.

*Which looked to be an integral part of the window, were it not that is was, in fact, a door. A simple enough deception, but Lord Vetinari firmly believed in not giving possible assassins any advantage.

Vetinari motioned with his hand. “Go outside Drumknott, look at the city.”

Drumknott obediently walked over to the balustrade that lined his balcony, placed his hands on it and looked out over the city. He didn’t consciously see any of it. His mind was racing. His lordship’s next question would undoubtedly be, “Tell me what you see, Drumknott.” He wanted desperately to say something that would make him feel worthy of his position as the Patrician’s personal clerk again.

“This is the city we strive so hard to protect.” Vetinari’s voice was soft and seemed to come from directly behind him. Drumknott turned around to face him. No matter how informal this visit was, it was unthinkable that he would allow a conversation to take place while he had his back turned to his master.

His mind was still desperately trying to come up with something to say, when Vetinari suddenly moved from standing several feet away from him to pressing him against the balustrade, which suddenly seemed to be rather low, and pressing a knife against his throat.

“To return to an earlier subject,” Vetinari said, in voice so soft it was almost a whisper, "how certain are you that you would be willing to die for me?”

Drumknott swallowed, which only served to make him so much more aware of the knife. He had only seen one of his lordship’s knives before, and if the sharpness of that one was any indication, this one could have already broken his skin without him even noticing.

“I had imagined,” he managed to say eventually, “that the circumstance would be rather different.”

Vetinari looked at him steadily. “Several circumstances spring to mind. You imagined throwing yourself between my body and a lethal crossbow bolt. Or drinking the poisoned wine that would otherwise have certainly killed me. You imagined yourself being tortured to death because you wouldn’t release the secrets I entrusted you with.”

Drumknott nodded almost imperceptibly. He felt silly for his caution. If his lordship wanted him dead, he would die. If he didn’t, Drumknott could probably throw himself at the knife and it simply wouldn’t be there to pierce him. Somehow these thoughts did nothing to comfort him when accompanied by the sensation of cold, sharp steel.

“Now imagine this. Imagine I would tell you right now that you are a liability. There is no one on the disc who knows me better than you do. No one who knows more about me and the way I run our beloved city.”

“My lord!” Drumknott protested, “I need to know those things to serve you to the best of my abilities!”

“I’m well aware of that fact, Drumknott. Yet I cannot help but feel that you have somewhat surpassed your role as my personal clerk. You have started to feel comfortable in my presence. You not only understand my thoughts and wishes, but anticipate them. And I, in turn, have started to feel comfortable in your presence. I have started to rely on you. It may not be immediately obvious to anyone but myself, but I am putting myself in quite a vulnerable position. Only this morning, I realised I was not counting your steps and monitoring your position relative to mine. Several days ago I did not ensure I had the necessary files before meeting with Lord Downy, but assumed that you would know which ones I wanted and would have them ready.”

Drumknott opened his mouth to speak, but Vetinari stopped him by slightly increasing the pressure of the knife on his throat.

“There is no need to state the obvious. You handed me the files when I needed them, as I knew you would. However, I hope you see that in being the secretary that complements me perfectly, you are also a danger. How incorruptible is your mind, one must wonder. I dare say you lead a comfortable life, but you are a young man, and ‘comfortable’ might not be what you want. You say you would die for me, and I have shown that it would only be to prevent clear and present danger. I am willing to believe that you consider yourself unquestionably loyal to me, and therefore obviously not a clear and present danger. Still, I claim that you are. Now I ask you again, are you willing to die for me?”

Vetinari held Drumknott’s gaze for several minutes, while Drumknott tried to bring his thoughts back into some semblance of order. He did not know how long it took him to regain his calm, but when he spoke, his thoughts were clear.

“You may kill me now, my lord. I do not question your judgement.” His voice was steady. His eyes did not turn away from Vetinari’s. Time passed. It seemed to Drumknott that the sun should have risen and set several times while he was waiting for his judgement, but the night remained dark and quiet.

Vetinari moved. Nothing quite as dramatic as when he had put Drumknott in his current position, just a small movement, and the pressure of the knife was gone. The hands that had been pushing him back were now supporting him, and somehow that made him so much more aware of how far from the ground they were. He closed his eyes, so full of relief that he wanted nothing more than to retreat into his own mind for a moment.

“You can breathe now.” Vetinari’s voice murmured close to his ear. Drumknott’s first breath was a sharp intake of breath that would surely have been a gasp if it hadn’t also been a gulp for air. His eyes shot open and Vetinari was close now, much closer even than he had been when he had been threatening his life. It seemed as if every part of Drumknott’s body was pressed either against the cold stones of the balustrade, or the body of his lord, the sensation of which he couldn’t even begin to describe.

“Now that I know that your mind belongs to me,” Vetinari said, in a voice that was definitely a whisper now, and close enough that Drumknott could feel his lord’s breath on his own lips as he spoke, “I cannot help but wonder. To whom does your body belong?”

Drumknott’s mind was reeling again. His first thought was that he really would like to sit down and spend some quality time pondering whether his lord had used the word ‘whom’ correctly in that sentence. His second thought was that he should have had enough time to catch his breath by now, and that it would be really embarrassing if he didn’t manage to slow down his breathing pretty soon. The rest of his thoughts were a jumbled mess he couldn’t even begin to disentangle at this particular point in time.

He closed his eyes again and managed to say “Can’t... think... clearly.”

”Really? How interesting.”

“Please, my lord-“ Drumknott’s voice was no more than a rasp now.

“What is it, exactly, that you are pleading for, Drumknott? I am not an unkind man, although I suppose I can lay no claim to the virtue of mercy. Is it mercy that you want, Drumknott? Do you want me to release you now, both physically and from answering the question I posed? You need only ask. There would be no punishment, though I would not be able to keep myself from being disappointed in you.”

That seemed to get through to Drumknott. If there was anything he wanted to avoid, it was to disappoint his master.

“Question?” he croaked, slightly steadier now, if only by forcing the majority of his thoughts and bodily sensations to the back of his mind.

“To whom does your body belong?” Vetinari repeated calmly.

Drumknott tried to think. He knew he had asked himself that same question several times over the past few years, though not in those words, and certainly not this explicitly. It was not the sort of question a clerk, a man whose main function was to practice self-restraint and think his way logically through life, was supposed to ask himself. Tonight his body had answered it for him. He considered denying the answer for a moment, but he had always prided himself on his lack of self-deception, and only shortly before his master had praised his honesty.

Somehow he was unable to look his master in the eye when he next spoke.

“My body belongs to you as well, my lord.”

Vetinari was silent for a moment, then spoke in a contemplative voice. “Isn’t it fascinating how one can remain proud when admitting mental submission, yet it is infinitely harder to admit submission of the body? It would warm my heart to know that there is still a sense of dignity and modesty, even in Ankh-Morpork, if only it wasn’t so misplaced.”

He cupped Drumknott’s face in his right hand and raised it towards him.

“Tell me, Drumknott, what makes you feel so ashamed that you cannot even meet my eyes?”

Drumknott looked almost desperate. “I have worked so hard on self-restraint, my lord. I do not surround myself with unnecessary wealth. I do not indulge in fat or sweet foodstuffs, nor in addictive substances such as drink or cigars. Following your lordship’s example, I have fought and conquered my need for comfortable clothes and the warmth of a hearth in winter. I do not abuse the power my position gives me, nor do I wish to. I thought I had mastered all of my desires, and now you have shown me that I haven’t. I feel ashamed, my lord. My only wish in life is to better myself as your servant.”

While still short-lived, the smile on Vetinari’s face was unmistakeable this time, but it only made Drumknott despise himself even more. It was the kind of smile one would give a hardworking but slightly backward child. He wondered if his master would be willing to kill him if he asked for it. He opened his mouth to speak, but Vetinari put a finger against his lips.

“Let me speak now, Drumknott. You have made it clear that you will, as a general rule, accept my word as truth. These are my words on this matter. Self-restraint is not the same as abstinence. Indulgence and abstinence are two sides of the same coin. They are both extremes, and therefore to be avoided. You say you do not indulge in unnecessary vices or comforts, yet it is clear you do not abstain from them either. It would be quite inadvisable to stop eating altogether, or to refrain from heating the palace at all. While it is wise not to abuse your power, it would be unwise to bend to the will of anyone who asks. Likewise, while giving in to your physical desire whenever it presents itself would lead to some rather awkward situations, not to mention that you would never get anything else done, it is not necessary to strictly ignore them. I would go so far as to say it is unhealthy, but there are several wizards who disagree on the subject.”

While Vetinari was speaking, Drumknott had lowered his gaze again. Vetinari tilted his head up so that they were once more looking at each other.

“Do you accept my words?”

Drumknott hesitated for a moment, then said, “yes, my lord.”

“Do you also believe them?”

“It... might take some time, my lord.”

“As ever, I do so appreciate your honesty. You have done well tonight, Drumknott.”

As relief washed over him, Drumknott realized that Vetinari had not actually moved during their conversation and he was no longer able to ignore the messages his senses were sending him. His lord’s right hand holding his face, the other supporting his back. His lord’s breath against his own lips. His lord’s body pressed against his. His breath quickened again. His body felt as if it had been hit by a minor lightning bolt and suddenly he wasn’t at all sure how long his legs would still be able to support him.

Vetinari smiled another very brief smile, but this one had not a trace of amusement or compassion.

“I believe,” he said, “you were asking me for something before I so rudely interrupted you. Would you mind repeating your request?”

“Please – “ Drumknott groaned, and found himself unable to continue.

“Yes, I believe we’d gotten as far as that before. Unfortunately I need a bit more information. Contrary to popular belief, I am incapable of reading minds.”

Drumknott looked at him desperately. He would have to say it, he knew. His master was not unkind, but didn’t have a trace of mercy in him either. It was unthinkable that he, Drumknott, would simply reach for what he wanted without his master’s approval. His thoughts were surprisingly focussed. Somewhere along the way he had managed to lose all excess thought. He tried to focus on the words he could use to express his desire. He didn’t know the words for half of the things he wanted, and those words he did know were not words he had ever personally dared to utter. Finally he found something acceptable.

“Please, kiss me, my lord.” he said, his voice uneven and his eyes averted. But Vetinari was not an unkind man, and obliged his servant’s request.

As soon as their lips touched, Drumknott crushed them together. Vetinari drew back slightly and murmured, “calm.” It was a direct order, and even in this situation Drumknott could not disobey. He quieted down his body and followed his master’s lead. Soft, slow kisses. An exploration rather than an invasion. Drumknott felt like he was drowning. Vetinari moved his lips from Drumknott’s mouth to his neck, alternating between kissing, licking and biting the skin he found on his path. Drumknott let his head fall back and knew that his master was claiming his body inch by inch. He had not fully realized what it meant when he had surrendered his body, and he suspected that it would be a long time still before he would.

He gasped as Vetinari focused his attention on the dip between his collarbones. It cost him all of his carefully built self-control not to move, and he knew he was fighting a losing battle.

“My lord, I can’t – “ he started to say, but was tragically distracted by the sudden feeling of a hand on his bare chest. He couldn’t stop himself from moaning out loud when the hand found one of his nipples and rolled it between two fingers.

Vetinari used his other hand to lift Drumknott’s head up again. “I know.” he murmured against Drumknott’s lips, then kissed him again. Drumknott felt the hand move downward from his chest to the waist band of his drawers and underneath. He wondered for a moment how that was possible without untying the string that held them up, before completely losing the capacity for coherent thought. He moaned into Vetinari’s mouth and was grateful to know that the sound was at least muffled. Being silent was currently beyond him. He knew for a fact that he was only held upright by the arm around his waist, and he was amazed at the strength this must take. He moved his hips in the rhythm indicated by the hand stroking him and knew that he had never before felt anything that even approached this state of rapture and that he had been a fool for thinking that abstinence was a good idea. Then he forgot everything except for the feeling of the body against him and the ecstasy coursing through his own body as he finally, finally reached his climax.

When he became consciously aware of the world around him again, he realized that somehow they were still standing upright. Or at least, his master was standing, and he was hanging on for dear life. He leaned back against the balustrade for support and pulled Vetinari along with him, then drew him into a long, drawn-out kiss. He realized there was an unfamiliar taste in his mouth. He drew back and ran his tongue along his lips, trying to determine what it was.

“It’s blood.” Vetinari said. “I fear you bit my lower lip with quite a bit more force than I had anticipated.”

Drumknott felt himself pale. “Oh gods...” He muttered.

“It’s quite alright. I rather imagine that if you had not done so, you would have screamed loud enough to draw the attention of several of my agents.”

Now Drumknott was sure that all the blood must have drained from his face. “People were... watching us?” he managed to ask.

“Rest assured, my dearest Drumknott, I assigned all of them to locations where they are quite unable to observe your rooms. That does not mean they are unable to hear us if we try hard enough.”

They were quiet again. Drumknott began to think about moving, and then he realized to his shock that he was being terribly impolite. He lifted his face for another kiss and let his hands wander of the Patrician’s robes, looking for a possible way to get underneath them. Just when he had decided that there was no other way than to lift them up, Vetinari drew back.

“It’s quite alright, Drumknott.” He said again. “There’s no need for you to reciprocate, I assure you.”

Drumknott felt relieved for a moment, then indignant, then, realizing who he was talking to, resigned.

This time he managed to look at his lord’s face again as he spoke to him. “As you wish, my lord. I just have one more favour to ask you. I just... want to know... something. For myself.”

Vetinari looked at him expectantly. Drumknott reached out and pressed their lips together for one last, chaste kiss, wrapped one arm around his master's waist and used the other to trace the route from nipples to crotch he had been shown only so shortly ago. At the end he was satisfied to feel a hardness beneath the layers of clothing, and he was even more satisfied when he felt an intake of breath against his lips that was slightly sharper than before. He withdrew completely and felt Vetinari’s piercing eyes on him. He didn’t look up for several seconds. When he did, his gaze was steady and his voice was even.

“Thank you for obliging me, my lord. Is there anything else you want of me?”

Vetinari’s face was equally impassive. “Not at present, Drumknott. The hour is late and an exciting new day full of intrigue and conspiracy awaits us in the morning. I shall see you then.”

Vetinari turned and left. Drumknott heard the door open and close and knew that he was alone. He stayed out on the balcony until the cold made him shiver. After he closed and locked the door, he remembered to draw the curtains closed and extinguish all of the candles before collapsing on his bed. He fell asleep almost instantly and dreamt of his master.