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The Patrician's Servant

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Just outside the palace walls there's a memorial statue. People lay flowers there. They love Lord Vetinari now that he's dead.

In a distant corner of the palace gardens, there are three graves. Two are small, dog-sized. One is larger. One is old, one is newer, one is still hillocked, the soil not settled yet.

Every evening a man visits the graves. He places a dog biscuit each on the small ones. On the third grave, he places nothing, not even flowers. He sits beside it. He talks to it, now and then, with the rueful air of someone giving in to a mildly foolish temptation. Once he cried, ashamedly; if he's cried since, it wasn't here.

People are kind to him at the palace. They make sure he eats and rests and speaks occasionally to the living. But they keep out of his way when he comes back from his visits. It's a hard thing, a chill thing, to be looked through like ghosts by such a ghost-ridden creature.

They think he'll die soon. Even, kindly, hope so. But he works, and he lives. He has a job to do, a trust to keep, and he was always obedient.