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A Man Called Flint (April 25th)


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In the darkness of his office, the colored glasses were removed. Candlelight did not hurt his eyes. Across the table from the odd man that some might call a criminal mastermind sat a comely lass. Unlike other men of too much wealth, this man did not surround himself with pretties to amuse his prurient interests. Everyone that worked with him, except the lowest hirelings, had a purpose and a skill.


"A toast to the departed Baron of Chelsea," Flint declared in a feigned solemn voice. In fact, it brought a smile to his face, which offset the annoying numbness of his bad leg.


"Things have worked out well for us," came the calculating soft voice from the woman. This was no vacuous lightskirt. She spoke in a free and familiar manner.


"Aye, his best remaining men will become our men. His lieutenants will be found dead ... all but one. Who is his weakest?"


"That would be Stone," she replied.


"Let's keep Stone alive then. Prop him up in the usual way. Get him thinking he's the heir to Ravenna's mantle. Though we'll be taking his most lucrative ventures, leave him the chaff, enough to fund himself as a major criminal."


"You always enjoy the appearance of being only the second most important villain," the woman purred with pleasure.


"Of course. It is my rule. The King's soldiers chase rats that they see. As long as we feed them a rat every now and then, they will pay no attention to the spider. Ravenna had their attention. Now he is gone. Time to build another," he remarked casually as he sipped the cognac in his hand. "In the meantime, we gain wealth and watch from the shadows."


"And Blount?" she asked with interest.


"Yes, I've been neglecting him," Flint snickered. "I've been busy you see. The time to strike is when one's guard is down. No doubt he thinks his house a fortress, but he ventures away routinely."


"You are just playing with him anyway?"


"It is a game I enjoy, as long as the man proves a worthy adversary. The way to get to the man is through the one's he loves. It is true of any man. I do hope he proves to be a challenge. I tire of boring quarry."


"Weasel says that Brynfield is back."


"Really? It could mean that the two are lowering their guard again. But, they are just pleasant diversions for us. There are more important matters to attend."


"Any word whether the French are sending another gold shipment from Calais?"


"Not yet, though I expect the Spaniards to keep me informed. Soon enough there will be dowry gold that shall need to be claimed by someone other than the King. I hope it is French gold." With that, there was another sip of his cognac as a plan came to mind.

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