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A cold night - a discworld/vetinari fanfic


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Right, I'm not sure how many Terry Pratchett fans there are out there, so I'll give a tiny bit of background for this story, but it's really not difficult if you don't know the fandom. Oh, and obviously, I own no rights to this, and discworld is purely the invention of Terry Pratchett, and I get no money etc.

Ankh-Morpork is the main city of Discworld, a made-up planet (flat and round) which is carried on the back of 4 elephants which stand on the back of a giant turtle.

It's not very good at technology, so it's got printing presses, but not computers, and semaphore towers, but not telephones.

There is a lot of magic, but don't worry about that, it's just what they use instead of science most of the time.

There are lot of guilds for people: alchemists, thieves, beggars, and loads of ordinary jobs like engravers, shoemakers, butchers and so on. But the one I'm thinking about is the Assassins' guild.

Havelock Vetinari is a trainee assassin (so for those who've read it it's the Night Watch bit). He is a rather odd character, who is totally focused on his work, oblivious to almost everything else, and has no sense of humour unless things are spelt out for him. I've wondered if has mild Aspergers', but that's beside the point.

Sally is totally made up. Sorry.

Ok, here we go.

Havelock Vetinari, assassin-in-training, crept through the pouring rain along the rooftops of Ankh-Morpork. Rain in Ankh-Morpork was usually unpleasant, but up above the city, with little or no shelter, it was even more so. He had no particular target in mind that night, and certainly wasn't going to kill, but with his final exams in under two weeks, any on-the-job practice he could fit in would be worthwhile. Crouching for a moment on the belltower of a shrine to Offler, the crocodile god, Vetinari tried to stop himself shivering. Loaded as he was with weapons, he couldn't afford to let manoeuvrability suffer in lieu of warmth. As his mind wandered to the warm fires of the guild, and specifically to the warm back kitchen fire, a cloaked and hooded figure hurried out of the shrine below, dragging the drenched Havelock back to the present.

Standing up silently, and preparing himself to follow the unknown man, Havelock felt his nose tickle uncomfortably, and took a moment to dispel it with a deep breath. He couldn't afford a lapse in concentration. Satisfied, he set off in pursuit of his quarry.

After nearly ten minutes of flitting from rooftop to rooftop, Havelock found himself in the Shades, the hide-out for most of Ankh-Morpork's criminal classes. The shadowy figure below entered a building, dimly-lit by candles, and Havelock congratulated himself silently on a job well done. He was too cold and wet by now to consider waiting for the man to exit, and it even crossed his mind to drop down to street level where there might be more shelter. However, he was probably in a lot more danger walking the shade's alleys than crossing its roofs. Sometimes the people in the sheltered places could be so unreasonable with strangers. Running a dripping hand through his sopping black hair, he set off back to the guild's headquarters, already imagining the warm kitchen fire and comfortable chatter of Sally, the kitchen maid and his closest friend.

Pausing to catch his breath, Havelock, leant against the chimneypot of the guild of engravers' headquarters. The tickle in his nose returned for a moment and he sniffed hard. It faded to a dull ache. Shrugging it off, he made to leave his spot.

"Hah'TCHOO!" Havelock closed his eyes, despairing with his body for a moment. He rubbed a knuckle beneath his aquiline nose, not bothering to get his handkerchielf wet in the rainstorm. Still shivering, and with adrenaline pumping fiercely through his bloodstream in his embarrassment, he sped back to the guild as quickly as he could manage, not slowing until he was outside the small back door which led to the tiny kitchen alcove where he knew Sally would be waiting for him. Slipping the latch from the outside with a thin knife, he opened the door quietly. The tiny fire burnt low in the grate, and Sally, her fair hair shining with reflected light, lay fast asleep on the hearth in front of it. Havelock smiled, shutting the door carefully, and slipping off his cloak before taking one of the two little stools close by and sitting down gratefully in the semicircle of warmth. The alcove was not really part of the kitchen, but merely Sally's tiny room, where she could be up first to light the fires without disturbing anyone, and could be summoned at a moment's notice. Havelock shivered violently, feeling suddenly chilled, and then he felt the need to sneeze again. Pulling out a clean white handkerchief quickly, he buried his nose into it as he rocked forward.

"Heh'tch!" He took a shaky breath. The tickle remained. "Heh'tch! Kssh! Heh..." he lowered the handkerchief to take another breath, then tried to raise it, but too late, "TCHOO!"

"Bless you," Sally's voice startled him from the floor. She glanced at him, surprised. "Caught cold, Havelock?"

Vetinari gave her a cold stare, not bothering to answer. She was taunting him, and he knew it. He was never ill. Except for now. The handkerchief was brought up quickly again.

"Hah'TCH!!" Havelock let out a shaky breath before blowing his nose.

"Bless you. You have caught cold, Havelock." Sally was sitting up, looking serious. "And two weeks before final exams." Vetinari groaned, closing his eyes. He'd forgotten all about the finals. He couldn't, couldn't, be sick for them. The groan became a cough, and he bent forward, coughing hard, unable to stop. Sally came up next to him, and put a hand on his back, waiting until she was sure he was alright, before filling an iron kettle with water. "I'll make some tea."

"Thags," mumbled Havelock thickly around his handkerchief as he blew his nose again. "Ad I'll be fide for finals. Id's only a cold." His voice, now a congested croak, threatened to crack, and he stopped.

Sally placed a hot much of tea in his hands, and pulled the other stool up beside him. "Of course you will. But you certainly have good timing." Havelock looked at her blankly. It didn't seem very good to him. Sighing Sally shook her head quickly. He took things so literally. Havelock's expression took on a far-off glaze, and one hand scrabbled in his pocket. Sally carefully relieved him off his mug of tea before he spilt it.

"Hah'TCHOO! Hah'ICHOO!! Heh...heh...Hah'CHOOO!!" The loud sneezes reverberated around the tiny room, and Havelock groaned again.

"Bless you," said Sally, handing back his tea and reaching a hand to his forehead gently. "You're burning up, Havelock."

Vetinari shrugged, and took a sip of tea, feeling it rasp his throat. He coughed, but carefully kept his hand steady. He felt a complete fool, going out in the rain. He should know better. His over-sensitive nose tickled and his delicate nostrils flared. Fumbling for his handkerchief yet again, he handed the tea back to Sally quickly.

"Hah'TCHOO! Hah'TCHISH!! Ksssh!" He tried to stifle this time, burying his face in the linen. The last thing he needed to do was alert someone to his presence. But the stifled sneezes only served to make his nose itch even more. As Sally offered the mug back, Havelock shook his head before closing his eyes and giving in completely.

"Hah'TCHOO! Hah'TCHOO!! Hah'KSSH!" His sneezes loudened and got wetter, and Havelock blew his nose resignedly, before finally relieving Sally of his tea. She looked distinctly shocked.

"Bless you." That sounds nasty." He didn't answer her, instead drinking deeply. Sally watched him as he put down the now empty mug on the floor and straighten his black shirt where he sat. It amazed her how Havelock could look dignified even when he was obviously feeling terrible. Thinking of the freezing dorm he no doubt expected to go back to, she said firmly, "you can stay here tonight."

He looked at her blankly, "whatever for?"

Sally gave him a cold stare to match his own. "Because it's warm and comfortable...in comparison...and because if Downy gets a hint you're ill he'll never let you hear the end of it." Downey, a brutish fellow trainee who despised Vetinari, would leap at the chance to tease her friend, and she wouldn't stand for it.

"That is his decision." Havelock could not care less if Downey chose to expend his energy in making trouble, but he did not want to change his routine for a cold. It would be like giving in. Instead he stood up, and gave her a thin smile, looking like his normal self. He lasted about 10 seconds, and then swayed gently, before folding up, in a dead faint. Sally caught his falling form, and laid him gently by the fire. Her friend would never lean that he couldn't expect from his body what he expected from his mind.

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Guest shiranui

Okay, this was a GREAT read. Although I haven't read any of the Terry Pratchett books I found this really enjoyable :)

Poor Havelock, wonder if he'll manage to get well enough for the exams? - This needs a second part huh? :drool:

Thanks for writing and sharing this nice story :laugh:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rereading Feet of Clay, I felt inspired to write a part 2.

Havelock opened his eyes groggily. There was a bell ringing, corkscrewing straight into his headache. He swallowed tentatively, and didn’t wince at the pain. He’d had quite enough of this vulnerability lark. It was time to pull himself together. Then his nose twinged, and his nostrils flared.


“Bless you,” sang out a soft voice from the other side of the room. Sally was busy tying her hair back in a black ribbon, in preparation for the day’s work. It was barely six in the morning, but Havelock was used to rising early, and already looked more awake than she did. “How’re you feeling?” She asked concernedly. “And you can stay right there, when’s your first lecture?”

“Nine,” he croaked, and cleared his throat before repeating himself. His nose was starting to tickle again, and he rubbed it hard with the hand he wasn’t leaning on, brushing his short black hair out of his eyes.

“Well then, you can stay here until then. No one will miss you. I’ll get you a cup of tea when I make one for the masters.” She had finished tying up her hair, and with a quick brush down of her black skirt, she crossed the room to the door, giving Havelock’s hair a ruffle for good measure. He gave her a cold look, spoiled rather by his red nose.

As soon as she left the room, Havelock stood up, leaning on the mantelpiece for support, and fished his handkerchief out of his pocket, before blowing his nose in an attempt to be able to breathe. Then he looked himself up and down. By the state of his clothes, no one would be able to tell that he hadn’t been out all night on a practise, but he expected Downey would ask some awkward questions. Havelock pinched the bridge of his nose to clear his thoughts, which only served to bring a sneezing fit which had been hovering uncertainly in his sinuses to manifest itself at once. He hastily brought the handkerchief up in an attempt to smother the sneezes.

“Heh’ISSSSH! KSSSSH’uh! KTCH! KTCHH’uh!” He drew a much needed breath, and dropped the handkerchief in his haste. Feeling another sneeze coming on, he pinched his nose tightly. “Heh-KMPFF!” Releasing his nose, and picking up his handkerchief, he tried to compose himself for the day’s work. He had a lecture at 9, about poisons, and he knew that he would be expected to contribute, but he very much doubted if he would bother. Then he had a free lunch time, which he had expected to spend revising, and then a throwing knife practise with one of the professors and 2 other students. As he considered the relative options of cancelling and making up an excuse, or cancelling and telling the truth, or not cancelling and risking making a complete fool of himself, Sally walked back in, with a hot mug of tea.

“Here you are. You can rest up here until your lecture. It’s absolutely freezing outside, so don’t even think about it.” She handed him the mug with a sympathetic glance.

“Thags,” Havelock muttered, his voice thick with congestion, sipping at the hot tea, and keeping his composure with an effort as it rasped his sore throat. “But you’ll get id trouble.” Sally shrugged.

“I doubt it. You’re an assassin, I’m sure you’ll manage it somehow. Just don’t be late for your lecture or things will look suspicious.” Just then, the bell which had woken Havelock, situated over the fireplace, started to ring again, and Sally rolled her eyes. With a smile and a quick, “look after yourself” she left the room, ready to be busy about her tasks. Havelock watched her go with a wan smile in return.

Two and a half hours later, Havelock was making his way through the freezing quadrangle towards his lecture. Sally had been right about the weather, the rain from last night had actually frozen, and Havelock muffled a cough as he pulled his cloak around him, trying to keep at least some of his warmth in. The cold air was making his nose itch and run frustratingly, and Havelock delved into his pocket to find his handkerchief. His fingers closed around the white fabric and he quickly wiped his nose, as he stopped outside the lecture hall. When he felt at least semi-presentable, he pushed the door open and slipped inside.

In the half light from the dirty windows high above, and the smoke from the candles which didn’t really make it any brighter, the large lecture hall, where all the trainees had poison lectures, seemed even less inviting. Luckily, it was nearly empty, and Havelock quickly made his way to the corner. There was only one other figure in the gloom. From the wide shoulders and jet black cloak (so impractical, thought Havelock disdainfully from under his dark brown one), which was made of a finer cloth than any of the other assassins’, the figure was clearly Downey. His head turned as Havelock made his way into the theatre, and a malicious grin lit his face as he realised they were the only people in there.

“Morning, dog-botherer,” he sneered, as Havelock took a seat in the far corner, regretting not having any notepaper or pens after his night out had resulted in an unexpected resting place. Dog-botherer was Downey’s favourite name for him at the moment. Havelock gave an icy smile.

“Good morning, Downey.” There was only a hint of huskiness in his voice, he was proud to , hear, and he was sure Downey would not pick up on it.

Downey leered at him. “Looking even paler than usual, dog-botherer,” he grinned. “Been overdoing it, have we? Not going to be unfit for the exams I hope?” His smile belied words which from another person, for example Sally, would have been concerned and kind.

Havelock decided not to risk his voice, merely turning away, wondering how pale he must look, if Downey, thick-skulled man that he was, to pick up on it. Luckily for him, the four other trainees who had decided to go to the lecture, and the professor, arrived almost at once, and he took advantage of Downey’s momentary distraction to blow his nose yet again. Soon he would look like a clown, he reflected, as he ran a finger across one nostril, testing the discomfort.

“Good morning, settle down,” came the reedy voice of the professor, Fillon. The boys fell silent immediately, and watched him lay out some pieces of apparatus. He held up a small glass phial, filled with some orange powder. “Can anyone tell me what this is?” Eventually, after some coaxing, one of the boys provided a satisfactory answer, and Fillon nodded, smiling. He was a nice man, as professors went, and Vetinari had a deal of respect for anyone who would condescend to teach them poisons. Who knew what might happen in the future, with the knowledge he imparted? However, a philosophical outlook on life was a job requirement for anyone living or working in the assassins’ guild. Havelock smiled as he thought of Sally’s complete lack of qualms that she was cooking for killers. “Everyone’s got to do something with their lives. No one I know would be worth money for a contract, so what does it matter to me?” Dragging himself back to the present with a start, Havelock tried to concentrate on the now smouldering powder Professor Fillon was holding on a spoon over a bunsen flame.

“Now, if I apply the flame, you will see the characteristic orange smoke. You will remember this, of course, from the lesson at the beginning of the year, when I first demonstrated its distinctive odour.” Havelock shut his eyes. He remembered that smell. Mostly citrus, but with a sweetness behind it which hinted at its deadly capabilities, although only when built up over many months. Havelock’s memory was not focusing on the experiment anymore, but on the rising smoke spirals, lazily curling towards him. Casually, he leant against the wall, one hand surreptitiously over his nose and mouth. He did not want to sneeze in front of Downey, whatever he might have said to Sally the night before. But the smoke was drawing ever closer.

“Now, who can suggest a possible placement for this poison? Bearing in mind that it must be given to the target over weeks, more probably months of dosing. Anyone? Vetinari, you tell us.” The professor’s eyes narrowed on the hunched figure at the back.

Startled, Havelock, removed his hand from in front of his face, gave a brief thought to the question, and took a breath to speak. Unfortunately, inevitably in fact, this breath was laced with the astringent citrus smell, and his nose itched horribly as he tried to breathe evenly, and answer quickly. “A-As the poison needs to be admini-” Havelock’s breath hitched, but he managed to stop himself. Professor Fillon was watching him patiently. He continued. “Administered over time, the- the best place is somewhere no one would look, but which would be exposed to-to- hah-heat.” Again he staved off the sneeze, even though all he could smell was orange, and his breath was still trying to hitch. But he hadn’t answered the question. “I-I would suggest, in a lamp. For example in a paste on the top of an oil lamp, or soaked into the wood of a mantelp-p-piece.” He looked at Fillon, and to Havelock’s immense relief he nodded, and smiled at the boy. Vetinari relaxed, leaning back into the hard bench, and half-listened to the professor talk about the different ways of administering the poison. He rubbed at his nose in a half-hearted way, hugely relieved that he hadn’t embarassed himself. The tickle had not gone away completely, but it had decreased into a dull ache behind his eyes. Vetinari sniffed, trying to assess how bad his cold was, and forgot the smoke. His sensitive sinuses, already affected by the smoke from the candles and his cold, sent a stabbing pain through his head. He barely had time to lift his hands to muffle some of the sound.

“Hah-TCHOOO!! Hah-SHOOO! Heh-heh-hehSHOOOO! Heh-KSSHEEEW!” Four wet, painful sneezes rang out through the theatre, and Havelock’s head rang with the echoes, as he held one hand over his streaming nose and fumbled with his other for his handkerchief. He could feel Downey’s eyes on him as he found the material in his pocket, and determined to salvage what dignity he could from the situation. Folding the linen over his face, he blew his nose, made sure that he did not look completely disgusting, and withdrew the handkerchief. He gave a small, rather cold smile to Professor Fillon, and said with great gravity, “I do beg your pardon.”

The old man gave him a warm smile. “Not to worry, Mr Vetinari, the smoke often has that affect on people.” And he continued his lecture with no more to be said on the subject.

But Downey did not forget. As Havelock left the lecture theatre at the end, he stood behind him, and said quite softly, but so that Havelock could clearly hear him. “Can’t handle the real thing, then, dog-botherer? Fine when it’s in books, but when you actually have something to look at, you can’t cope? That’ll be interesting when it comes to the exams, won’t it?” Then he shoved past Havelock, his superior weight nearly knocking the slighter boy flying. Havelock collected himself, and decided that his lunch time would probably be better spent in the nice, warm, back kitchen. He had had enough of poisons and foul tempers for today.

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Guest Posaune

Ahhh! How could I have missed THIS piece of beautiful sneeze fiction? Especially when it's about one of the best characters from one of my favorite series? I must seriously be slipping...

But, eeeee! This is a GREAT story so far, Kastrel! Please, please, pleasepleaseplease continue! :drool:

On another note: Downey's such a scag. >O

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I seem to remember playing a game called 'Discworld' for the Sega Saturn a long time ago (10 years or so) but I don't really remember it too well. Is the game from the same universe as the fanfic?

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Very probably. I've played the first game. There are 2, and something called Discworld Noir. They're basically based on a book each (the first one is Guards! Guards). They're not really any good now because they don't work on XP, but they were fun when they worked.

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Yes, I totally agree. Downey is a complete scag. On with the story.

Leaving the guild by the main gate, Havelock held his handkerchief to his nose as he made his way to the back door to Sally’s room, trying to concentrate on not slipping on the wet cobbles as he felt his nose still itching from the smoke. It was freezing cold outside, he was surprised that the water from last night’s rain wasn’t frozen, and even in the short time it took him to walk around the guild’s main building, Havelock felt chilled to the bone. He gave a cautious knock on the door, in case Sally was in, and to his surprise had it opened. She looked relieved to see him back, although this look quickly gave way to concern. He looked as pale as his handkerchief, the only colour the dark rings under his eyes and pink nostrils. She put an arm round him and helped him inside.

“I can’t stay in here long, I’m working. I was just in for a second and heard the knock." Havelock took the stool near the fire gratefully. Closing his eyes as the warmth enveloped him, he took the opportunity to relax a little. Sally watched him gently from the other side of the room for a moment, before pulling herself together and leaving as quietly as she could.

Havelock stayed still for nearly five minutes, trying to warm up, although he had a nasty suspicion that he was running a fever, and felt uncomfortably cold despite the heat in his face from the fire. He also had to keep fetching out his handkerchief to blow his nose, which was running annoyingly from the warm environment. Eventually, though, he settled into a doze, with his head against the back wall, and the fire in front of him. The wind blew fiercely outside, but he didn’t mind it in the warm room. Not until a particularly large gust blew a cloud of smoke and coal dust out of the grate, directly at him. Havelock, still half-asleep, barely noticed the dust hitting his face, merely turning his head away and sighing deeply, unwittingly inhaling a large quantity of the irritating substance. He rubbed at his nose sleepily as it twinged and tickled, and then opened his eyes with a dazed expression, and knew he was going to sneeze again. He looked around, and felt in his pocket for his handkerchief, while his breath hitched several times. It was no good, he couldn’t find it. Closing his eyes irresistably, Havelock brought a hand up to his mouth.

“Hah…hah….heh’SHEEEEEWW!” The spray exploded into his hands, but the tickle hadn’t gone. His breath hitched again, “Heh…heh……” the tickle faded, and Havelock rubbed his nose in annoyance. Suddenly, Sally rushed in.

“Shush! I can hear you out in the kitchen! You’ll get found here!” The gust of air she brought in through the open door was enough to bring the tickle back with a vengeance, but Havelock had heard her, and stifled the sneeze as best he could.

“Hah-KNXT! Ow,” he moaned, as the pressure increased his headache. The tickle didn’t seem to have lessened at all, maybe even got stronger. He raised his hands again. “Hah-TTCCH! Hah-NKKT! Hah’KNKT!! Oh for…good…ness’… Hah-TCHH!!! Sake,” he spat out breathily in between wet, painful sneezes, and groped his way to the back door, opening it and going out into the street. Once there, he leant against and gave up the losing battle. “Hah’SHEEW! Hah’ISSSSH!! Hah…hah…hah’SHEEEEEEEW! Oooh,” he moaned, as the tickle finally seemed to subside. Sally had followed him out, and as he massaged his throbbing temples, she put a hand on his arm, and slipped his handkerchief back into his hand. “Thags,” he mumbled, blowing his sore nose, and wiping his watering eyes. Back out in the cold air, he started to shiver, and Sally put an arm round him.

“Are you done? Shall we go back in?” Havelock shook his head, and pulled himself away.

“Leave it, Sally. I need sub privacy.” And with that he strode off along the street, leaving Sally to stand in the open door staring after him, wondering what she’d done wrong. In fact, she had done nothing, but Havelock was well and truly fed up with the guild, and wanted out. He strode off in the direction of the nearest crowded bar, took up a seat in the corner, and tried to pull himself together.

Later that evening, as the sluggish darkness of the disc flowed over Ankh-Morpork, Sally pulled her cloak on and walked out into the night. In Ankh-Morpork, you could never be truly sure you weren’t being followed, no matter who you were, but Sally was pretty good at noticing the extremely black shapes that crouched in the ordinary black of the shadows, and was even progressing to naming them. If you caught a glimpse of gold, it would be Downey, with the gold thread he flaunted everywhere. If it smelt of cheap hair oil, it was Solden, a small, pinched boy who used far too much of the stuff. And if you happened to see yourself reflected in a silvery, metallic object, it would be Wesley. It was common knowledge that Wesley got out a weapon at any opportunity, in the hope that if he associated it with the target enough he might actually one day overcome his terror of using it. Never Havelock though, Sally reflected. You could never spot Havelock. The only way to be sure he was following you was if you didn’t see anyone else. It wasn’t as though she was going to be under contract, a kitchen maid off for sewing lessons at the only real seamstress’ house in the neighbourhood. The other boys were just doing it for practice.

But tonight was slightly different. As Sally passed a totally nondescript and very ordinarily black doorway she heard a sound. It could just be a drop of rain from the gutter above, or a breath of wind. But it sounded distinctly like a rather wet, congested, sniff. She inspected the darkness carefully. It looked very realistic. No extra black bits anywhere. She sighed.

“Havelock, come out.” A white handkerchief seemed to appear out of thin air, followed by the face of her friend. In his unusual ‘uniform’ of dark greens and browns, his extremely pale skin made him look almost ethereal. He gave a resigned sigh, and blew his nose, which was now noticeably red.

“Id’s this wretched cold,” he moaned in a croak. “I’ll never pass the exams like this.”

She took his arm gently, and pulled him down from the doorstep. “Let’s get something to eat, before you faint. And you won’t have to, the exams are two weeks away. It’ll all be over.” She noticed that Havelock was not listening to her. He was staring at the middle distance, and she let his arm go as he turned away.

“Hah’SHEEEEW!! Oooh,” he groaned miserably, holding his head. She laughed and pulled his arm back towards her, linking hers with it.

“Come on now, don’t be so self-pitying. We’ll go and get some takeaway, and then you can stay in the kitchen again. It’ll all be alright. I promise.”

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Guest Posaune

Oh, wow! Another chapter so soon, and a great one to boot. <3 I am lovin' this so far.

It's nice to see the "all-powerful" Vetinari showing a little human weakness from time to time, and you're pulling the situation off rather nicely. Most of the situation and dialogue is very believeable and in character. Keep up the great work!

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Thaaaank you! *hugs*. I was trying for character, but it goes a bit off at times. It's ok for a while and then I read it back, like today I read it back and there's just bits where I needed to have a reality check and go 'no, Vetinari isn't like that'. But it's hard, because it's so cute to write him with a human edge. However, I'm going to stay in character now. Definitely. *serious face*

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Guest shiranui

OMG! I've been away for close to 3 weeks now with no access to the forum... and there's so much new to read here... I need more free time obviously :P

First I have to FB a little on this wonderful fic. It's absolutely FAB, and i LOVE it!! Thanks so much for writing... please if possible continue ;)


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I am really enjoying this. I am not really familiar with Pratchett, apart from "the Wyrd sisters" on telly and some interviews with him, but I think this really gets us into the world. I would love our hero to remain a bit human, but I suppose that goes against all these elaborate rules that i don't understand.

And we have twice come so near to a sneezing while hiding scenario that I cannot believe you could resist it.

I suppose it would be unworthy of me to suppose that Sally might catch the cold...and hide from one of the other assassins.....

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Thank you for all your lovely comments. There aren’t really any cast-iron rules, Count, it’s just that in most of the books Vetinari is a lot older than here, and generally shows very little emotion. I’m not going for that. And as for sneezing while hiding, well…maybe I’m biding my time. I don’t think anyone else is going to get the cold, but I’m not exactly working to a definite plan here.

When he thought about it the next day, the rest of that evening was a fevered blur to Havelock. He remembered eating something, but was rather vague as to what it had been, or even where, and the last thing he remembered clearly was being given something sharp to drink by Sally before waking up next to the fire again. But he was determined that he was on top of his cold now. It was still bad, indeed his throat felt scrubbed raw and his nose was completely blocked, but Havelock was not going to let himself be taken advantage of by a cold. It wasn’t going to happen.

Watching his eyelashes flutter as he slowly began to wake, Sally thought about the night before, with a concerned expression, because she remembered it in horrible clarity, and it worried her to think of Havelock quite that vulnerable. A small part of her, a nasty vindictive, while at the same time maternal part of her psyche was glad that he was showing a little bit of human weakness and that she could look after him in it, but the majority was just shaken. She thought back to their meal, when he’d sat looking distracted and shivery, hardly eating, and speaking even less, although she hardly blamed him when he barely had a voice. She recalled the pink tinge that had spread into his cheeks through the evening, and the spasmodic bouts of sneezing that he obviously couldn’t quite shake. But she’d given him a lemon, mint and honey drink, her mother’s best recipe, before he’d gone to sleep, and Sally hoped that it would help. She waited nervously for him to wake up properly, not only to see what state he was in, but to find out what he’d say when he realised what she’d done to his cloak.

Havelock sat up slowly, rubbing a hand across his eyes, and sniffing. He glanced at Sally, who was watching him, while looking in a little box for a ribbon to tie her hair back with. Then his eyes lost focus and he raised his arm to muffle the noise.


“Bless you,” Sally murmured gently, picking a dark purple ribbon, and glancing up at him again. He gave what looked to be a calculating look.

“Don’t you get fed up with saying that?” He sounded merely curious, and not as though he was annoyed at her. Sally grinned.

“Not half as fed up as you must be with sneezing.” Vetinari gave her a long stare, and then shrugged. Sally’s grin widened; he must be getting better. This was more like the Havelock she knew. Getting up, her hair in place, she walked over to the door, laying a hand on his shoulder as she passed.

“Look after yourself, and I’ll see you later.” It wasn’t a question; she wanted to see him, and she didn’t want to give him the chance to not turn up. Vetinari did not respond, concentrating on blowing his nose again. He had another lecture at nine, but he wanted to go out and get some practise on the roofs again before then, so a few minutes later he left the kitchen.

Slipping out of the back door, and pulling his cloak, which he had found neatly folded by it, around his shoulders, Havelock paused. He took the cloak off again, and weighed it in his hands. It was quite a bit heavier than the night before, he was sure. And it had an odd, flowery scent, like Sally’s perfume. Looking at the lining, Havelock discovered why: Sally had, from somewhere, found some wool and, using what must have been an old black dress of hers (Havelock vaguely remembered her wearing one once), she had sewn it in pockets into the lining to make the cloak warmer. It was a good job, he thought dispassionately; spread thinly, the wool did not make the cloak any bulkier, and yet it was a hundred times warmer as he flung it around his shoulders again. As it whirled around, Havelock caught another tantalising scent of flowery perfume, obviously from Sally’s dress, or simply her sewing, and pulled it around to his nose, sniffing deeply. He regretted this instantly however, as his nose itched furiously and he had to cover his face with both hands as he sneezed uncontrollably.

“Hah’SHEEWW! KSHEEWW! Hah…hah..” he took a moment to rub at his nose with the back of his hand, trying to stop the itch, and it subsided slowly, leaving Havelock sniffing furiously, his nose running in a most annoying fashion. When he’d blown his nose, and was sure that he was not going to sneeze again, he set off round to the front entrance of the guild. There was a useful tower that he could leave out of to get to the rooftops.

He’d not taken more than five steps into the grounds however, when he heard footsteps from around the corner, and shrank back into the doorway of the target range, blending into the shadows in a way that had left Professor Lawson, the tutor who took the trainees over the roofs during their first year, speaking in hushed tones of his skills. However, the pressure of the cloak against the doorway caused another wave of the flowery perfume to irritate Havelock’s sore nose and extra-sensitive nostrils. Not wishing to move and draw attention to his presence, because the footsteps had turned out to belong to Downey, Havelock resisted the urge to rub his tickling nose, and instead concentrated on breathing deeply and steadily, but without much success. As he took a breath, it hitched loudly in the quiet winter air, and Downey paused, looking around, but not seeing Havelock. Vetinari shut his mouth hard and held his breath, which only served to make the tickle in his nose stronger and more insistent. Downey shook his head, and started to move on. He was barely a foot away from Havelock now, who was still struggling with his rebellius sinuses. He took another careful breath, but the tickle was too strong.

“Heh’ISSSH’ooo!” He didn’t even have the presence of mind to stifle, and Downey was on him in an instant.

“Is that you, dog-botherer?” He grabbed Vetinari and slammed him against the wall, pinning his arms to his sides. What the trainee lacked in brains and agility he more than made up for in physical strength and skill at how to use it. Vetinari looked back at him coldly, but rather distantly. Despite the sneeze, his nose was still itching horribly. But he was not going to sneeze on Downey. That would be too ridiculous.

“I said…,” Downey pushed his red, stupid, face close to Havelock’s deathly pale, intelligent one, “Is that you , dog-botherer? You will answer me when I ask you a question!” Vetinari resisted, with difficulty, the urge to roll his eyes, if only because that slight loss of self-control might be all that was needed to make him sneeze again. He didn’t dare open his mouth and reply to Downey’s ‘question’, which infuriated the assassin still further. The little rat had never refused to answer him before. True, the answers had never been particularly satisfactory, in that they weren’t frightened obeisances, merely calm replies, but this defiance was unnerving Downey.

“If you know what’s good for you, dog-botherer, you will answer my question,” and this time Downey’s voice was menacing and low, and he pushed Vetinari back into the wall a little harder. Another wave of that tantalising perfume washed over the pair of them. Some of it was inhaled by Vetinari. A lot more was inhaled by Downey, who frowned.

“What’s that smell? Do you have a lady-friend , dog-botherer? Does she do your-” He stopped as he noticed the look on Havelock’s face. He was frowning with great concentration, but it was obvious that it was a losing battle. Just before the sneeze overtook him, Havelock turned his head aside as much as possible, to avoid sneezing full-on Downey, and then Downey felt the man’s whole body jerk.

“Heh’KSSHEEEEWW!” The spray exploded, mostly into the air to Downey’s left, but he felt enough of it to repulse him. He let Vetinari’s arms go in disgust and shock, and wiped furiously at his neck and face.

“You…you scag , Vetinari!” He snarled, pulling out a handkerchief (white silk, Havelock noted, as he slid to the floor), and wiping again at his neck, before hurrying away, muttering furiously. Havelock, shivering now in a combination of his cold, the chilly morning air, and exhilaration, pulled his own handkerchief out and blew his nose for what felt like the hundredth time since he’d contracted this cold, but he was smiling as he did so. Maybe it wasn’t so bad, after all.

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Guest Posaune

<3 Mmmm, this chapter was simply delicious, Kastrel. :D Vetinari was spot on here. (Not that he wasn't in the previous chapters. :bleh: You handled the vulnerability that comes with illness very well. It reminded me of how he acted in Feet of Clay when *that person* *did that thing* to him.) A character that truly surprised me was Sally. Most fan-made characters tend to lean towards the unbelieveable, (too sweet and naive to work in a huge mansion full of assassins or incredibly cruel) but, Sally is definately turning in a great character. Sweet and caring, but certainly cunning and stern enough to work in the assassin's guild. And Downey? Ehehehehe, stupid bum got what he deserved. :laugh:

In short, much love for this piece! It's goin' reat so far. More? ^_^

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I absolutely love this! Not only is it Discworld (and one of the best characters, and one of my favourite books) it's extremely well written as a story in itself. Vetinari is just adorable, and I really like the way the plot is developing. Please write more - I'm eagarly awaiting it!

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  • 1 year later...


Sometimes the people in the sheltered places could be so unreasonable with strangers.

:yes: That's beautiful! Flawless Pratchett.

You're a good writer, I'd have loved this even without the sneezing (which was just spiffy, by the way :innocent:). `I'm a Pratchett nerd myself, but I thought your catch-up was really well done as well-contained everything important, was nice and concise, and fun to read.

*catches sight of own reflection in :D:mad1: nerd-overdrive acute-deficiency-of-cool meltdown :blink: and disappears howling into the sunset*

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Ooh, I'd forgotten this thing was here...*blows cobwebs from topic and winces at what she once wrote*...thank you texaskid! I think I was inspired to write that line from something in the Truth somewhere...something about dwarf axes having two edges - one a normal pickaxe for digging out precious stones and metals, and the other a waraxe because the owners of said precious metals could be so unreasonable sometimes. Yes, I am also a Pratchett nerd. But there we are, could be worse.

And yes, that intro thingy was hard to write - but it did remind me about the lack of technology and how it was a lot like the 1700 London stuff I've read...*joins texaskid in running from nerdy reflection :geek::blushing:

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Ooh, I'd forgotten this thing was here...*blows cobwebs from topic and winces at what she once wrote*

Don't wince for goodness sake. I read this just before I signed up! Can you tell????

Ans since I didn't say so before, I love this story. :blushing:

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