Sam Vimes is a man with enemies. You don't get to be the second most powerful man in the greatest city on the Disc without a few people being upset. But every man has a weak spot….
The creaks on the stairs followed by 5 seconds of busy silence announced the arrival of Sergeant Colon outside Sam Vimes office. The door opened and Fred's rosy face appeared. "Sir?"
"Has her Ladyship arrived yet, Fred?"
"Nossir. Er, what time were you expecting her?" Fred's round face creased in consternation.
Sam glanced at his Disorganizer, where the imp settled for looking smugly back at him. The time was almost noon.
"15 minutes ago," he said distantly. "She'll be here any minute, Fred, so be sure to let me know, right?"
"Yessir." Fred saluted smartly and made his way back down stairs, the stairs creaking obediently in accordance with the laws of weight and mass.
Sam sighed, and glanced worriedly out of the window. He wouldn't say so in front of his men, but he was beginning to be concerned. Sybil was never late, it was a habit she particularly loathed in people, yet had learned to tolerate in him. Possibly because it wasn't tardiness that made him late. So for her to be late was…. worrying.
He shook his head to dispel the uncomfortable thoughts; yet, a lifetime of seeing the very worst in people had honed his policeman's senses to a particularly fine point. And every single one of them stood up and screamed.
Half an hour later saw His Grace, the Duke of Ankh, Sir Samuel Vimes pacing the length and breadth of Pseudopolis Yard, with a retinue of scattered Watch officers alternately cringing from his yells and shouts, and hurrying to keep up. Eventually he stormed up the stairs to his office, slamming the door so hard that the hinges groaned under the strain.
Sam slumped at his desk, head in his hands. This was NOT Sybil, not to completely miss an appointment, and certainly not one with him. Her unspoken criticism was always that she never saw enough of him. There had been no message, no Willikins bearing an apologetic excuse, no clacks...nothing.
Standing abruptly, he strode over to the door of his office and yanked it open. To the quivering officers in the office below, he was an imposing and frightening sight. His face had hardened to granite, eyes flashing and hands unconsciously tightening into fists. Hidden terror and rage coalesced in his very being. As one, the waiting officers drew together even further.
"Get my carriage," he barked. "Now!" Some dispassionate, detached part of him was sardonically amused at the alacrity with which every single officer jumped to attention. Stiffly, he walked down the staircase and picked up his oilskin cloak. "I want to know straight away if you get any news. Understood?" He glared at the assembled Watchmen as he stalked out of the Yard's door and into the waiting carriage. The horses were whipped up so fast sparks danced on the cobbles.
"What do you mean she's not here?" Vimes screamed into the normally serene face of Willikins the Butler. His normally placid and unruffled countenance was puckered with anxiety, certainly not helped by the proximity of an extremely worried and angry Sir Samuel Vimes.
"Er...she left at 11.30am to meet you, Sir...she expressly requested that the carriage be ready."
"Well she never arrived! Gods, where is she Willikins..." Vimes trailed off, slumping into an antique chair in the hall. Willikins looked perilously close to tears.
His head was swimming in a sea of disbelief. This could not be happening, not to Sybil, everyone loves Sybil.
The beginning of the cacophony of bells started across the city, heralding 2pm. Lady Sybil had been...gone, without explanation...for 2 1\2 hours.
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