— Omaya and Mesago meet Lord Tarian Bow to discuss how to defeat the Currencians. Omaya notices a strange man, who turns out to be from his own City, Currency. —
A man in a top hat with a wooden leg that ended in a fixed wheel raised his hand and turned to leave the room. Omaya hadn’t noticed him before but now that he had seen the strange appendage, he couldn’t take his eyes away. The strange man, also wearing a coat with tails, which looked like it had been mauled by dogs, didn’t hobble but walked quite adeptly on the wooden leg.
“I keep him as a butler!” Lord Tarian said. “Not much use for anything else except good stories – mostly porkies. He has an accomplice somewhere. Can’t see him now. Strange fellow but good as a pickpocket and spy.”
“White wine for me!” Omaya replied.
“Don’t be stupid! Soldiers drink red! Bring the good stuff Smithy!”
“Yessir! Coming right up! Screwthumb!”
“I like your idea!” Tarian told Omaya. “Are you an engineer? I mean; could you build this thing? And how long would it take?”
Omaya hesitated. In truth, he didn’t want to see the end of the Currencians. He had a grudging respect for The Dragon, particularly his love of books and dreams of building a new power station. Most of all, Omaya could not get the sight of a working light bulb out of his head. He cleared his throat to reply but the butler cut him off, handing each man a glass of red wine from a tray.
“Here you are gentlemen. The very best red wine!”