Saturday, May 15, 2010

Secrets of the High Tower

Thomas Babington Macaulay:

"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out."

Many thanks to Anna for proof reading, so now I may have fewer spelling and grammatical errors.

I think this tale is a different Rosamund adventure than the last one. I believe her to be a regular Nancy Drew of Swinegart's School of Deadly Deeds. One shouldn't be too surprised at the murder rate however - it's a school for assassins, after all.


It was an hour later than they planned, and almost completely dark by the time they finally made their way back to the room in the tower. As soon as they entered, Rosamund knew that something was off. The change was so absolute, and everything else looked so much the same, that it took her a second to catch what was wrong. It was like one of those puzzles where you have to find the difference between two seemingly identical pictures. Finally the gleaming, empty surface of the secretaire caught her attention: the scrolls, sheaf of scripts and documents that had been piled on it that morning were now gone. With a heavy thud in her chest Rosamund rushed to the fireplace with Pree on her heels. Her worst fears were confirmed: it was full of the delicate ashes of paper. She sighed despondently. They were too late. Again. If only they hadn't been waylaid by that frightful old crow, they might even have caught the perpetrator in the act. Pree seemed to read her mind, as was her habit.

“I hope Professor Gorehart catches parrot flu!” she huffed.

Rosamund couldn’t suppress a chuckle. “Undoubtedly, that would amuse Professor Fairwright to no end.”

She was about to turn when something among the ashes caught her eye. Leaning closer for a better look, she reached in, and with the tips of two fingers got hold of the little corner of white within the mound of grey. She slowly pulled out a small piece of paper that, aside from a few smudges, was untouched by the fire. She knew immediately what it was.

“That’s impossible!” Pree gasped.

"Mandora Scripts don't burn," Rosamund explained.


"Because of a little known decree from over a hundred years ago, Mandora Scripts are always written on a flame proof material. It looks almost exactly like regular paper, but it doesn't burn."

"How do you know this stuff?"

"My father is an accountant. When we were little, he used to tell us wild tales at bedtime. Mother always complained that he was filling our heads with nonsense." Rosamund smiled to herself at the recollection. She suspected that despite her protests, her mother had been rather fond of those stories; she had always stayed, sitting on the edge of their bed, her reproachful frown softening into a mocking smile as the tales went on.

Tearing herself away from the memories, Rosamund turned her attention back to the sheet in her hand. She carefully shook off the ashes so she could read the single sentence inscribed on it in cursive script. She handed the sheet to her companion who read the words out loud:

"The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out."

“Well that’s completely useless,” Pree grumbled, “talk about anticlimactic.”

“Au contraire, my dear Pree,” Rosamund turned to her with a wide grin, even her freckles radiating excitement, “I now know who the murderer is.”


  1. Ooooooh, tell me, tell me, tell me!
    I am so glad to see Rosamund back again, Vanda. And with new characters, too. Her little world is expanding and I want to go there and see it all happening.

  2. Actually... I have an outline for a story, and a few more characters. One of these days...