[I have no excuse, except for the fact that His Pryority is a comedic, as well as literary, genius, and music hall numbers are ridiculously fun. The lyrics are based around the Victorian Inventions song from Horrible Histories. (www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=1d_RFQn-_rM)
I know, technically The Laws of Magic is set in the Edwardian era, but I figured that, since our dear Commanders grew up in Victorian times, they'd probably be a little bit old-fashioned in their musical tastes. So, Victorian Inventions it is.]
"They walked up the stairs and into the entrance hall of the gallery, only to run into the unexpected pair of Tallis and Craddock. Sounds like a pair of music hall performers, Aubrey thought. Put your hands together for Tallis and Craddock - a song, a joke and some questionable interrogation methods!"
- Word of Honour, page 418
Questionable Interrogation Methods: A Music Hall Performance by Tallis and Craddock. (Not suitable for ladies or squeamish gentlemen.)
(The curtain opens onto Craddock and Tallis, standing either side of a man, unconscious, bruised and bleeding, tied to a chair in front of a wall on a revolving platform.)
'Tis the age of our King William
Prime Minister, Fitzwilliam,
This man was breaking into Darnleigh House.
He said he'd tell us nothing,
Our techniques soon had him gushing,
And we got some information.
Did you really, what did you find out, then?
Well I'm just about to mention,
Drum roll please, let's raise the tension –
(clears throat) We found out –
He's a spy.
Is that all?
This chap's called Heinrich Gosschlinger,
A Muscovian spy,
Defected there from Holmland when the
Taxes got too high.
Was stationed at the embassy
In Fisherberg, it seems.
Was double-crossed, arrested,
Sent to prison for his schemes.
Counter-spies and zeal,
T: Double-crossers real,
C: Wheels within their wheels!
T: He's had time to congeal.
C: Still there's plenty to reveal… (turning around the platform so the prisoner is hidden from the audience, disappearing from view with him)
T: Holmland is working overtime
To come up with ideas,
But we're counter-intelligence,
We've made it our careers.
Find out what the enemy
Has got behind their backs, (a scream echoes from behind the wall)
When they resist, well, our inven–
It never lacks.
C+T: Oh, Holm–
–landers never snooze,
T: Always have another ruse.
C: Compressed magic to defuse,
T: Some military coups.
C: Haven't any time to lose – (as T pulls out a gun and moves back to face the man behind the wall)
T: (gunshot) Who's your master?
(gunshot) How'd he pay you?
(C moves behind the wall – a scream echoes from behind it as T replaces his pistol)
T: (C reappears during these lines, turning around the platform to reveal the man in the chair, even more battered than before)
Our methods are notorious,
There's reason for your fear,
C: But we're the ones who keep you safe,
You'd rather we were near.
T: Ruthless and determined, with
Your injuries, insults,
C: It may seem quite inhuman,
But at least it gets results.
T: O-oh –
Hang on – he's talked.
It seems that his employer was
Quite high up in their ranks,
And for the clues he's given us,
I doubt he'll have their thanks.
T: The times ahead are dangerous,
Not much can we disclose,
But with war a possibility,
We must be on our toes.
And our sexual tension?
Will have to be put aside, I'm afraid. There are more important things at hand.
C: We are no one's fool.
T: (as C turns the platform once more)
While we've kept our cool,
C: We've been rather fruitful.
C+T: Just one little oversight – (moving back to either side of the platform; a gunshot, T clearly having shot the prisoner dead)
C: (spoken, with a shrug)
He knows too much of you and I.
(Craddock and Tallis bow, and exit smoothly through opposite wings. An assistant hurries onstage, and after a moment of rustling and clicking, drags the dead man off.)