By Jeanne Dupris, Nor Eastern EIC
27/9/2016- A mere week after his arrest for desecrating the grave of Sir Rigel Rinkenbach, Lord Rodahn Despartes, son of Duchess Amelie of Amaranth, has vanished from custody. The young Lord was being held in the cells below the Imperial Palace.
“It is with great embarrassment that the Palace Guard must admit that we have no idea where he went,” said Francois Coulver, Captain of the Palace Guard. “There is no sign of escape; the cell was still locked tight when we went to check on him. It’s like he just vanished into thin air.”
Duchess Amelie isn’t buying that story.
“A likely story, indeed. Never mind that the palace cells are underground and surrounded by nothing but earth and stone, with a single corridor leading out that is constantly guarded by a platoon of the best guardsmen. A lord does not simply go missing. It’s a travesty that he was even being held down there to begin with. I swear, if anything happens to my boy, I’ll…”
Duchess Amelie didn’t expand on her statement, though we are sure it was made in a moment of grief and suffering.
Despite the brief amount of time that has passed, several theories have already cropped up as to Lord Despartes fate. They range from the banal (and most likely), such as the boy was killed in custody and Empress Bastian is trying to cover it up, to the outlandish (and ever more interesting) that the entire affair is a ruse concocted by the Subterfuge Society to help bring an increasingly unruly Amaranth to heel.
The story gets stranger, however, as several witnesses are said to have seen a young man matching Lord Despartes description being placed into an unmarked carriage in the small hours, accompanied by four men in black uniforms bereft of any insignia or rank. One might be quick to dismiss this rumor as the machinations of night walkers seeking attention. However, a single dockworker is said to have seen a similar carriage approach the river bank just before dawn.
According to this dock worker, a woman briefly entered the carriage. Muffled shouts followed afterward. The woman then exited the carriage and spoke to the driver and several others before leaving. A moment later, the men pulled a limp body from the carriage and placed it in a motor boat that headed east down the river, toward the Sea of Wrecked Beginnings and Bitter Ends. The dock worker did not field questions on whether he thought the unconscious man was Lord Despartes, and refused to discuss the matter further once the name was mentioned. I can’t say I blame the man, given the nature of such events.