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Thread: Swords Made of Letters

  1. #31
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swords Made of Letters

    Estemeed reading ladies and gentlemen readers,

    Since I want the little book to be more than just a novel, I want to make it slightly interactive. Despite seeing the characters from the perspective of other characters and especially through their actions, it would be a good idea to give some background on them, to understand them better and to hopefully give a better understanding of the whole novel.

    The cast of characters will be continuously updated, as the novel advances.




    Swords Made of Letters


    Main Characters

    Alexandre Reythier -

    A senior officer of the Deuxieme Bureau (French Counterintelligence) and an experienced fighter, son of a decorated World War I veteran, Reythier is the key man for the Deuxieme Bureau as they investigate the increasingly frequent appearances of foreign spies from across all


    Horace Benningham

    A lowly member of the MI6, the British counterintelligence, whom he joined only 2 years ago when he turned 22, his desire to earn more money ended up with him being an important piece in solving a problematic issue of the MI6. He was privately employed by Sir Ian Beckett, a member of the British Parliament, who sent him to protect his mistress.


    Richard Elbe

    Early member of the SA, World War I veteran and close to 48 years old, Elbe is in charge of overseeing the spying efforts of Nazi Germany on the border with France and Belgium, initiating attacks.



    Secondary Characters

    Mathilda Adams Elbe - Beckett's mistress, she would prove to be of huge importance

    Klaus Romain - Reythier's superior on paper, Klaus supervises the Deuxieme Bureau along the western border


    Episodic Characters

    Sir Ian Beckett - a corrupt member of the British Parliament, interested only

    Lord Andrew Howe - a high ranking member of the MI6, the British Counterintelligence, second in command to the Chief of MI6 and the one responsible for cover action

    Thomas Elbe - Richard's brother, Mathilda's husband and a member of the Luftwaffe
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 07-29-2018 at 00:30.
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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

  2. #32
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swords Made of Letters

    Chapter XVII - Heavy Scents

    ------

    7:45 PM
    15th of December, 1938
    Special Operations HQ
    London
    United Kingdom


    "Sit, Horace."

    It smelt of leathery perfume, a small trace of it wafting through the air as Sir Howe entered his personal office. Horace followed behind his superior, sliding past the door and towards the desk placed in the middle of the ornately furnished office. It was heavy, with opulent leather chairs and a mahogany desk right in the middle, surrounded on all four corners by bookcases. A still burning cigarette stood on the edge of a silver ashtray. Horace went to untie his neck knot when he caught Howe's gaze.

    "May I?"

    Howe smiled. "Of course. We're part of the Special Operations, we're not the stuffy army boys."

    Horace laughed. "Good to know."

    He threw his tie on the edge of the plush leather chair and crashed into the soft pillow. Horace saw Howe did the same, albeit more elegantly, on his leather chair. The S.O. chief extended an open palm to Horace.

    "I believe you have something to tell me Horace."

    "I do, Sir Howe."

    "Well then, go ahead. Start with the beginning, since I believe this won't be exactly easy. How did you get into Beckett's pay?"

    Horace straightened his posture. "My commanding officer actually suggested I do that. He knew I needed some more money so he proposed to be after four or five months in my duty that I can earn by working with Sir Beckett. I accepted right away, without knowing, but I shouldn't have."

    Howe waved his hand. "Not a problem, son. Continue."

    "Lord Beckett was cordial in the beginning, earning both my respect and I earned his. The pay was very good since it nearly doubled my yearly salary and the tasks were menial in the beginning. Pick up a letter from there, send it there, take care of my wife. These kinds of issues. Minor."

    "And at some point, he changed."

    Horace nodded. "About six months in, almost after a year since I joined the S.O., Beckett thought he trusted me enough to make sure I would now protect, follow and learn everything about his mistress."

    "Why so much protection?"

    Horace hesitated. "He... he fell in love with her, Sir."

    Howe raised his eyebrows, suppressing a laugh. "He fell in love?"

    "Yes, Sir. He would write poems, sing to her, send her flowers every day. And I had to do all of that."

    "Sixty five year old Beckett fell in love for a pretty English teenager? How old is she?"

    "Twenty Sir."

    Howe laughed. "Twenty and married too. She's a real catch."

    "She came from a lowly family but she caught Beckett's attention. And the SA's attention too."

    Howe narrowed his eyes. "Good point. How did she end up with the other side?"

    Horace rose up from his chair and headed to a window just an arm's length away, giving him a clear view over the Thames River. "I'm not sure, to be honest with you Sir Howe. When I started following her, Mathilda was only interested in Sir Beckett because he could improve her station. And somehow she slipped between the cracks because 4 months after I had started following her she got married. I remember Beckett that day, furious and raging constantly, smashing glasses and drinking three bottles of whisky that night."

    "He's a liability, that's what you're saying."

    Horace looked meekly at Howe. "Yes Sir, he is."

    Howe rose up from his chair and drew up to Horace, both men quite on the same level as they reached 6 feet each. "Do you think he's on the other side?"

    "He definitely slipped her some secrets because I heard her talk about some factories and energy services. Probably when drunk."

    Howe looked outside the window. "How often does he visit her?"

    "Three times, maybe even more a week."

    Howe turned to Horace. "What's his wife doing?"

    "I suspect she knows but she turns the eye towards that."

    "Poor woman." Howe was not really sorry, judging by the flat voice.

    "He bought Mathilda a flat. That flat down Court Road, where I was spying Sir, it's Beckett's house."

    "He bought a house for his mistress, who's married?"

    Horace shrugged. "Yes, Sir."

    "Does he know who her husband is?"

    "He does, but not the full extent. The man is called Thomas Elbe and he's a rather average officer in the Luftwaffe. Nothing too special. I saw his dossier."

    "Anything that stands out?"

    "He's a link to the Gestapo and the SA. He's a counterintelligence officer too."

    Howe turned to Horace, looking at him straight. "We have a counterintelligence officer running around?"

    "He's followed, Sir."

    "Little solace."

    Howe turned away from the window and returned to his desk, shuffling around his papers until he found a yellowy dossier with a red stamp on it. He rose the dossier and handed it over to a curious Horace.

    "Your bedtime reading. That's the dossier of a man called Richard Elbe, whom you might realise who it is. Adding to that, you have the file of a French counterintelligience officer named Alexandre Reythier who will be linking up with us in the very near future. Read it, and get back to me as soon as possible. We've got work Horace."

    Horace saluted. "Yes, Sir."

    Horace was about to exit the office when Howe signalled.

    "Oh, and consider your paid doubled. No more Beckett."

    ---
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 07-30-2018 at 23:13.
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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Swords Made of Letters

    Chapter XVIII - Battle Plans

    Presenting Richard Elbe's perspective, the chapter focuses on the building tension between the espionage of the two countries... and some twists as well.

    ----

    9:15 PM
    14th of December 1938
    Oberkommando HQ
    Aachen outskirts
    Germany


    Inside his office the only sound was the constant humming of the typewriters in the headquarters, the clicks and clacks reverberating all the way to the upper floor into his study.

    Elbe paused for a moment. A slow, meticulous and calligraphic movement stopped in mid-word, rendering the informative document only half complete and with a sudden ink blotch on the side. He heard footsteps on the metallic staircase that led to his study and soon enough, Wilhelm, dressed in the customary brown shirt and the tie knot a bit too tight around his neck, gave two rasping knocks on the open door. Without as much as a moment of hesitation he leaped forwards and thrust in front of Elbe's face a yellowy envelope. Rather irritated by the lack of elegance in Wilhelm's movement, Elbe rose his eyes slowly and ripped apart the envelope with a dissatisfied smirk. The hard paper was tough to open, and quite unpleasant to touch even, but it made for sturdy documents. Elbe's eyes glanced over the small note inside.

    "What happened now? asked Elbe.

    Wilhelm straightened his posture. "The farm has been attacked by someone. One of our men even reported gunshots and we've sent men to investigate."

    "The farm? What farm?"

    "The farm where we captured the informant three days ago. Just outside Aachen, heading towards the border."

    Elbe nodded slowly. "When did this happen?"

    "45 minutes ago."

    Elbe's eyes narrowed. 45 minutes ago, he thought, this was quite a brazen attempt. They went straight for the informant they had captured a couple of days ago who had been feeding information about the troops to the French intelligence services. The informant refused to talk but the trove of documents they found on him was more than enough to land him in the harshest prison in the land. Elbe rose slowly from his seat and nodded to Wilhelm.

    "Get the car ready, get a team of 8 men ready and let's go."

    They grabbed their coats and existed the headquarters in haste, linking up quickly with 8 other men and Elbe's personal bodyguards. Three BMW limousines rushed outside the small iron gate and revved into the night, rushing through the streets of Aachen to the other side of the town. It took them only a meagre twenty odd minutes to arrive at the farm, drenched in utter silence and with only a flicker of a flashlight circling around the entrance. Elbe and his men exited their cars and quickly huddled inside the farm for some warmth and light, followed by the three men who investigated the incident. In the corner of the hall of the farm stood the boy Reythier had attacked, smiling slightly to the medic who took care of his rather superficial arm wound.

    Elbe saluted the men and paced around the farm, looking around for clues of the fight.

    "So? What happened here?"

    Alexander, a tall and rather stocky Swabian cleared his throat. "We came here after one of the neighbours informed us of gunshots. According to what the boy told us, a foreign man, tall and with an overcoat and a top hat came inside the farm and started asking questions."

    Elbe drew up to the boy.

    "What questions?"

    The question was not adressed to Alexander or the boy in particular, but it became clear the boy would not be able to answer that too clearly.

    ALexaner cleared his throat again. "He was searching for the owner of the farm."

    "Herr Alofs?"

    "Correct."

    "Did he tell him what happened to Alofs?"

    "He did."

    "Good. That should put him off for the moment."

    "The man left immediately after, stealing the Opel Blitz truck that was just outside the farm."

    Elbe narrowed his eyes. "He's close then. That truck is far too slow. Let's leave, we have to find him."

    Leaving the injured boy behind, Elbe and his men paced back to their cars and returned to the road, heading southwards into the dense forest that covered the area towards the border. The bright headlamps of the three cars did not make much inroad in the thicket of darkness that was made all the worse by the dense forest. The cars trudged forwards, eating up the paved kilometers for a good half an hour at least until one of the men spotted a dark shadow on the side of the road. Elbe's car, the leader of the pack, reduced the speed to a slow trot until the three cars created a formation that directed the headlamps to the blocky shadow at the edge of a small hill. The shadow was the Opel truck, abandoned in soft mud at the base of the hill, hidden from plain view by the trees that made up the thick forest. Their flashlights focused on the cabin of the truck, the door of it wide open but to their dismay the truck was empty. Someone had abandoned it and left by foot.

    Elbe cursed.

    "Find the tracks. He shouldn't be far away."

    Just as they were about to leave, two shots rang out in the distance.

    ----
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

  4. #34
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Swords Made of Letters

    Chapter XIX - Silence of the Forest

    More intrigue, more questions to be asked by Elbe's team.

    Thank you everyone for reading Swords Made of Letters in 2018!


    ----
    10:20 PM
    14th of December 1938
    Ardennes Forest
    Near the border of Belgium
    Reich Germany


    Wisps of steam flowed through the darkness.

    Elbe panted slightly, knelt and tilted at the base of a tree. It did not take long for the Opel Blitz truck stolen from the farm to sputter in the silent night, a hoarse engine crackling underneath the cabin, leaving the driver stranded by the edge of the forest with an empty fuel tank. Elbe and his party stopped by the truck at the edge of a hill and quickly scurried away in the darkness of the forest, close enough to the edge of the forest to catch glimpses of the road. Judging by the heavy boot tracks, the driver fled through the forest in pitch black darkness. Elbe sighed and shook his head towards Wilhelm and the rest of the party. The driver knew there was a search party for him. The farm was under surveillance after all.

    10:08 showed the clock when the driver left the truck. The man had an almost fifteen minute advantage. Elbe motioned to this men.

    "Let's go, back in our cars. We will advance slowly with the car and look down the road."

    Wilhelm tapped on Elbe's shoulder. "Are you sure, Herr Elbe? Our headlights are not standard lights, we have our military cars."

    "We don't have any other choice, do we Wilhelm?"

    "We can go back, Herr Elbe."

    "Absolutely not. Time is something we do not have. Find the driver, let's go."

    With obscured headlights, and not even very bright ones as well, finding the driver of the Opel truck would have been quite a useless endeavour but they persisted in Elbe's order.

    Despite Elbe's order for time, the 2 groups lost precious seconds as they extracted their cars from the soft mud at the base of the hill. Worse, the two gun shots they had heard in the distance only added to their curiosity but they had to wait until they would reach either Aachen or the first police post to get some information. A dim noise hummed around them as they went inside the forest, a low speed cylinder hum amplified in the night by the silence around them, scaring two wandering animals that happened to scamper around the edge of the forest. As was expected, the obscured, military headlights pierced only specific lines in the darkness, creating pockets of light in an otherwise impenetrable darkness that was only engulfed by the cloudy sky above. Wilhelm stood beside Elbe on the backbench of the limousine, clutching an MP-40 submachine gun on the edge of the window. The second group followed suit with small lanterns and their guns clutched tightly around them, the cold barrel aimed at the pitch black forest around them. They were slow, methodical even, stopping at regular intervals to twist the cars sideways to the headlights could illuminate the trees but there was little they could effectively do.

    Sighing, Elbe tapped the driver of the lead car to stop. The car stopped and Elbe went to the second car, closely followed by Wilhelm.

    "Where is the nearest police post?" asked Elbe.

    Wilhelm intervened. "Two kilometres from here. It's a police post at the edge of Aachen."

    "So you're saying he's close enough to Aachen?"

    "Probably in the city already."

    "Follow us. We need to get to the police post, we need information."

    Less than ten minutes later, a policeman saluted with the customary hand gesture and welcomed Elbe and Wilhelm inside the post. Elbe nodded and pointed to a map of the Reich in the entry hall.

    "Richard Elbe, counterintelligence. We are looking for a potential spy, possibly of French origin, who has made contacts with a local farm north of Aachen to supply them with information. The farmer has been captured but the spy has not. Has anything

    The policeman, a rather tall, serious looking man in his early 30's nodded. "Herr Elbe, two gunshots were heard on the outskirts of Aachen. A quick police escort was sent there, we found a man who had been beaten unconscious by the side of the road."

    "What was he?"

    "German. But that's all we know about him, he was taken to the hospital."

    Elbe frowned. "That's all you know?"

    "We found some documents on him and a set of his car keys. But he could not talk yet, he is still unconscious."

    "Any witnesses?"

    "We are questioning 2 men now, they said someone quickly left with a car from the direction they heard the gunshots from."

    Elbe glanced at Wilhelm, who narrowed his eyes. "How far away is the border with France from here?" Wilhelm and the policeman approached the map. "It seems it is less than forty five minutes away."

    The policeman nodded. "Quite so, yes."

    Elbe patted Wilhelm on the shoulder. "Go, we need to reach the border right now."

    With a quick signal of the hand, the two limousines revved up their engines and zig-zagged around the cobbled streets of Aachen, empty and desolate at this late hour and on a cold winter day, darting for the exit that led southwards towards the border with France. The low hums of the BMW engines were replaced by high revving cylinders, blasting through the exhaust crackles and guttural noises that broke the customary countryside silence. Elbe's driver feathered the throttle gently on the tighter bends, opening up the valves completely whenever they could to reach the border point before their man would. The second car followed quickly behind, leading a small pack of 8 men to a possible confrontation based on Elbe's hunches.

    They reached a small thicker of trees less than twenty odd minutes later, stopping to a halt the groveling of the engines that whirled in neutral gear. Two border guards jumped out of their post and aimed their machine guns directly at the windows of cars.

    "Stop! Identify yourself!"

    With rather ferm movements, Elbe rose out of the car.

    "Halt! Richard Elbe, counterintelligence!"

    The two border guards drew closer to the car, their machineguns pointed directly at Elbe's head.

    "Elbe, counterintelligence." Rather displeased, Elbe took the badge of his pocket. "Take it and examine it, gentlemen."

    Satisfied with the badge, the two border guards saluted Elbe.

    "We are sorry, Herr Elbe. We were doing our job."

    "And you did very well. Tell me," said Elbe as his men drew closer "has there been anyone who has left through this border post in the past hour?"

    Both border guards shook their head. "None, Herr Elbe. We have been alone even before dinner."

    Elbe smirked.

    "Curious. We were expecting an unwelcome guest to dart for the border and leave, but apparently he did not."

    "No Sir, he did not."

    Elbe turned to Wilhelm, tapping the wheel arch of the car, rather lost in thought.

    "He's still here. Find him."

    ----
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 12-26-2018 at 00:56.
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Swords Made of Letters

    Chapter XXI - Dossiers and letters

    In espionage, information is everything.

    -----
    10:30 PM
    14th of December 1938
    Tottenham Court Road
    London
    Great Britain


    The old chair creaked under his weight.

    It was rather annoying, he thought to himself, but he couldn't complain about the little apartment he owned. A small desk light flickered intermittently above his head, illuminating the yellow dossier on the desk in front of him, switching from light to darkness until he adjusted the electrical cable. Horace grabbed a small flask on the edge of his apartment desk and took a swig. The cool, exquisite cognac erupted in a flurry of warmth inside his stomach. The cognac woke him up ever so slightly, his eyes now turned to the dossier in front of him. He opened the dossier and dumped the contents on the table, a sheaf of classified documents, unclear photographs, medical analysis documents and old letters sprawled all over his desk. Horace sifted through the documents, classifying them in small heaps until he managed to make some ends of them. Most of them focused on his allies but he had quite the comprehensive report on the men he was about to tackle, courtesy of Lord Howe. He took the main report and the adjoining photographs and started reading.

    "Alexandre Gaston Reythier. Quite the long name."

    According to the information offered to his colleagues by the Deuxieme Bureau, the French intelligence service, Alexandre Reythier was born on the 8th of July in the year of 1910, shortly before the outbreak of the war. His father had been a WW1 war veteran and soon enough, not for a lack of better opportunities but because of his military inclinations, the young Reythier joined the Saint Cyr academy. He distinguished himself soon enough and the Deuxieme Bureau took him with both hands, employing him in both field work and desk work, something that the intelligence officers noted that he did not like the latter at all. Reythier was now assigned to the Alsace region, right on the border, tasked with gathering information and exchanging it with the allies of the French Republic.

    "Fairly straightforward. Should be a good chap to work with," said Horace to himself.

    He slid Reythier's documents to one side of the desk, right underneath the pillar of the desk light and glanced at the white dossier with a clear red stamp on it. Highly classified. He snatched the smaller dossier and opened the first page, revealing a full photograph of Richard Elbe, dressed in a ceremonial military uniform of that of a Prussian junker. Odd, thought Horace, the old Prussian junker military class was no longer welcomed in the new commandments. The photograph looked very similar to that of a painting and soon enough he realised the photograph was actually a coloured stencil of a painting, illustrating Elbe in an official portrait. Horace flipped the portrait, noticing a small writing on the corner of the stencil. One of the counterespionage agents of the Deuxieme Bureau had seen the portrait and drew it himself. Horace widened his eyes in surprise.

    Leaving the stenciled portrait to one side, Horace glanced over two written reports. Richard Elbe was indeed apparently of the old Prussian military class but he quickly threw in his support with the new leaders as early as 1931, quickly becoming one of the top military commanders around the contested Saarland. With the Saarland recovered and attached back to the Reich, Elbe became the top espionage officer. Fair enough and straightforward, thought Horace. What did catch his attention was the second report which confirmed what he had seen in the last couple of days. Elbe had a brother, a Luftwaffe captain, the brother he had fought with after entering Mathilda's apartment. Not only was Elbe's brother also an espionage agent but he had been infiltrated with important political figures for quite some time, as early as 1933. Five years he had gone unhindered. Five years he had supplied secrets to the Reich, clearly undermining the security of Great Britain. And nobody had discovered it until now, since the report was from 1934 and only had a minor impact.

    "1934. 1935. 1936. 1937. 1938. Five years."

    Horace shook his head as he contemplated the amount of information that may have leaked. Mathilda was just a pawn in the game and Lord Beckett as well.

    "Five years nobody did anything about this. Why?"

    Horace cursed. Somebody enabled Elbe's brother. There was a mole in the government, in the Parliament and in the Royal Family. Lord Beckett was only a back-bencher, someone up the chain had enabled him.

    Within the dossier there were multiple notes, a couple of random assorted bits of information and surprisingly, a list of people that Elbe interacted with back in 1933. The list was five years old and unsurprisingly, Lord Beckett was on the list over there. The list featured four other people he recognised, two of them members of the House of Parliament, one of them a member of the military branches and a prominent businessman. But there were sixteen other people on the list and four different ambassadors. Elbe's brother was very well connected for some reason. And this was a serious danger.

    Horace cursed again. He slid the documents back in the dossiers, grabbed them from his desk and left the apartment down to street.

    He did not manage to reach his car.

    ----

    Thank you for reading SMoL in 2018!
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 01-03-2019 at 00:57.
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

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    Default Re: Swords Made of Letters

    Wonderful readers,

    I will be constantly updating the first post, the one at the top, with an index so you can read the chapters much easier. The index will link all of the chapters to be read in individual posts.

    And as always, feedback is more than welcome!
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

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    Chapter XXI - First Escape

    ------------

    10:45 PM
    Ardennes Forest
    Border with Belgium
    Germany



    For the moment he escaped.

    Reythier was grateful to the old Opel truck as it hurred slowly towards the French border. He was even more grateful for the narrow military headlights it had, allowing him to blend in the night with ease after he darted from the farm. The truck followed a sinewy hillside road, turning left and right in a successive manner, until the heavy truck slowed down to a crawl that made it counterproductive for him to continue. A casual purr went out in the silence of the trees as the engine stopped in a muddy trail by the edge of a small, dense pack of trees that linked to the forests lining up the Belgian - German border in the Ardennes region. Fifteen minutes at most was the advantage he had, maybe not even. Reythier had to move.

    The Frenchman dumped the truck and churned his way through the mud, guided by a small, scratched out silver naval compass he kept in his pocket. Shone in the narrow headlights of the derelict truck, the compass indicated south-west, which meant he was slightly off track. Hurtling towards the Belgian border through the trees was only possible by going west so after a quick adjustment, he lapped westwards on the soft earth, angling to reach the relative safety of neutral Belgium. Step by step he inched closer to the border, crackling the dried twigs underneath his leather boots, dodging pieces of cracked wood creeping dangerously close to his eyes. Before leaving his post near Colmar he studied the local geography, making a mental note of the four miles between the border and the farm. Shaving off a mile after driving the truck, he estimated he had about 3 miles left, maybe a bit more.

    Reythier panted. He had walked maybe five or six minutes, ticking away another twenty seconds as he put the wristwatch to his ear until he heard the hum of an engine echoing in the distance. Shouts and orders followed. Small echoes darted through the trees right to him but the men were not close enough to be of any danger. With the wristwatch to his ear and the other ear honed in on the sounds, Reythier waited for the tick of another fifteen seconds. The wristwatch mechanism gave off a pleasant, soothing sound, enabling him to focus on the cacophonic bustle in the distance. Fifteen seconds more. The orders grew in length and volume, the engine had been shut down but the men were not gaining any ground on him. Ten more seconds passed until the sounds slowly drifted into the mist of the midnight, leaving Reythier alone with his thoughts and the sound of a solitary owl humming peacefully in the night air. Less than three miles to safety, Reythier thought.

    With one last look behind him, he resumed his steady pace through the forest and the crackle of twigs underneath his feet as he advanced towards the border. There was no full moon in this dark December evening, maybe a faint half-moon loitering lazily above the treeline, but it was cloudless and there was enough light to guide him through the thickets. He had no doubt the German search troops would return and start searching for him but a solid head start would make him almost impossible to catch.

    "As long as I don't end up in another German town", Reythier said out loud.

    Somehow, the sound of his voice made him more comfortable, relaxed even, the words reverberating a slight echo through the forest. He adjusted his step over the thickets and twigs as he advanced, in tune with the imaginary sound of a second hand from his wristwatch turning inside his head. Three miles became two, then one and a half and then the trail broke into a wide-open valley flanked by the same forest edging to the outskirts of a small village. Out in the valley, he pulled out the scratched compass and glanced at the black marker. He deviated slightly, perhaps even south-west towards France, but this should be Belgium, he thought. With measured steps he descended within the town, his nervousness turning into relief as he darted past a police post sporting a sign written in Flemish. He was in Belgium.

    Reythier checked into a shoddy, downtrodden local hotel, paying double to the innkeeper to not ask any questions. The man duly obliged, handing him a scratched gilded room key inscribed 412. Cabin 412 was a creaking, wooden mess of a lodging room but at least it had a small fireplace where the orange embers happily danced over a small log. Reythier fell asleep as quick as he came.

    The wristwatch mechanism clicked 6:15 AM. But it was not the lack of sleep that bothered Reythier, no, it was the black limousine with a familiar face that stood just outside the hotel that bothered him.

    "Get in." said the driver, pointing towards the passenger door.

    "What are you doing?" asked Reythier. He stood pinned to his spot, right outside the door of the hotel.

    "Trying to make amends. For the record, I have not betrayed Mr. Alofs, who I learned is your contact at the border with Germany, and that has been nothing more than slander to me. It did not take me long to find you if you're asking that as well, Mr. Reythier. "

    "You have explanations to give, Mr. Henri. You've been appointed as a source."

    "I am willing to drive back to the base in Colmar, Mr. Reythier. Under your orders."

    Reythier approached the car. "Everything you know about Mr. Alofs and the rest of the shenanigans that happened at the border, I need to know."

    "It started with Richard Elbe, Mr. Reythier."

    "Good. Long way to go to Colmar, so I'm all ears."

    The old Citroen limousine hummed with a low growl as it departed from the hotel.
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 10-16-2019 at 23:14.
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

    Proud

    Been to: :

    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

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