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A Patrician's plight


Copper

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So this is a very short, silly lil' thing about the ineffable Lord Havelock Vetinari of Discworld fame.

I started writing this a year or so ago, after finishing 'Unseen Academicals' but forgot about it halfway through the first page. Found it just now and decided to finish it for all of you. In Pratchett's style, I decided to embellish the text here and there with footnotes. Whenever there's an asterix (*) scroll down to the next quote-block and have a look.

Disclaimer: The characters and places portrayed below are not mine, they belong to Sir Terry Pratchett. I tip my hat to you.

It's actually a little odd for me to post this here - I never write fanfiction, and I've never written sneezefics for anyone but my ex. o.O

Please tell me what you think.

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The Patrician's Plight

The moon hung still and sullen over the great city of Ankh and Morpork and bathed its rooftops and balconies in a rich blue light*. The midnight hour had come and gone and it could safely be assumed that something akin to half the Morporkian population had long since gone to sleep. Equally safe, the Patrician mused, was that the other half was just waking up and getting to business. Such was the natural order of things in the city of cities.

As for the Patrician himself, Lord Vetinari considered himself mostly above sleep. There was the occasional recreational bout every now and then, to make sure he still knew how, but on the whole, sleep was a waste of time and time was the only resource the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork had in short supply. Then there was the issue of professional pride: After all, If the city never slept, how could he?

For once, however, he wanted to rest.

What passed for autumn had come early that year, rolling in from the east with cold winds and soft rains that pattered gently against the panes of the Patrician’s Palace and settled on the greatest city that ever was like a sodden blanket. The weather was predictable; Vetinari had noted a marked decrease in muggings on behalf of the Thieves guild, offset only in part by an increase in burglary** and in the sale of heated alcoholic beverages. These things too, were predictable, and slight adjustments had been made overall – A corner of the Patrician’s desk played host to a sizable, neatly stacked pile of outgoing replies to letters he anticipated he would receive on the morrow. There were things, however, that the Patrician had not predicted.

“Is everything quite in order, sir?” Came the voice of his secretary from out of the darkness on his left. In reply, Vetinari wrinkled his nose and, focusing his eyes once more on the rows and stacks of figures in front of him, finished the crossword puzzle with a well-lettered Discombobulationary. Then he shook his head.

Minor distraction, Drumknott. Thirty-two seconds above average is, I think, not a matter for Vimes and his men.”

The clerk nodded, with a disconcerted wrinkle between his eyes that the Patrician found offensive. When the newspaper had been removed from his desk and next morning’s Puzzle Pages laid down, folded neatly so as not to prove a temptation, Lord Vetinari spoke again, producing a simple black handkerchief from a drawer and dabbing gently at his nose.

“I will, however, admit to feeling a bit under the weather.”

“I understand, sir, would you have me make an appointment for the Master of poison of the Assassin’s guild?”

The old newspaper had disappeared as if by magic, only a lot less messy.

“She is on holiday in Pseudopolis, and her services entirely unsolicited as concerns m-“

The two men froze, but for entirely different reasons. As the Patrician’s eyes fluttered shut, the clerk was already five steps away, busily rearranging tomorrow’s schedule. As the lord of Ankh-Morpork opened his mouth, Drumknott had reached the door.

Hhaah...Hha-K’tchh!

“Will there be anything else, my lord?”

Havelock Vetinari sniffled and, carefully arranging his fingers against each other in a steeple, fixed the darkness across the room with his gaze. “Don’t let me detain you.” His voice was old, tired, and left no room for misinterpretation.

*Since this was Ankh-Morpork, there were few places that weren’t already bathing in the glow of lamps, torches and braziers or any of a dozen other forms of artificial illumination, but there were, in fact, no places in Ankh-Morpork that wouldn’t benefit from at least two baths.

** On account of potential muggers wanting to get out of the rain.

As the door closed behind the manservant, Vetinari rose from his desk to stand in front of the vaulted windows. Water beaded on the glass like it really had nothing better to do and seeing out was difficult. As the not-so-sleeping city wasn’t the subject of the Patrician’s attention, however, it did little to inconvenience him. With the darkness outside counteracted only by a statistically errant fire at the far end of Treacle street, Lord Vetinari was free to scrutinize his own inscrutable appearance. He was pleased to note that the pallor was nothing out of the ordinary and that his overall demeanor revealed nothing of his plight, but the Patrician was a man who had received disconcertingly high marks in Attention to detail at the Assassin’s Guild and to him it was painfully obvious that the middle-aged man in the makeshift mirror had contracted-

Hhn-nthchoo!

- a common cold.

As the prickling sensation rose back up the bridge of his nose, the sable handkerchief appeared once again in his hand and he pressed it firmly before his mouth. H’Hktch! He stifled the third one in its infancy with all the efficiency of a master assassin, but the fit left him exhausted and, as he paused to steady himself against the buttress, mucus dribbled gently from his nose. Scrunching up his face in a sniffle as dignified as anyone alive could be expected to manage, the Patrician blew his nose softly into the damp square of black cloth, folded it carefully and placed it on the desk behind him. Unfolding a new one with a forceful flick of his wrist, Vetinari left the Oblong office and the still unfinished paperwork. The Patrician was not in the habit of leaving paperwork, and paperwork certainly never left him*, but the situation was a new one.

The thing about the common cold was that it was, well…common. Not that he had anything against the common man, quite the opposite! They occupied a typically not too vocal majority of any populace that might otherwise be filled with something far worse. Street artists, for instance. But ‘common’ was nevertheless not a social class to which the Patrician considered himself to belong and colds…

He shuddered, cold now, and far from the gentle fire of the office. The palace was dark, and his footfall echoed in its empty hallways.

…Colds were altogether not welcome.

As he turned the final corner, sniffling, the Lord of Ankh and Morpork paused and leant heavily against the doorframe of his bedroom. His nose was running now, a bead of salty mucus clinging precariously to the very tip of his nose, and his head felt heavy. Slowly, for once without really thinking, the Patrician raised his arm and wiped his nose reflexively against the back of the hand.

Then he looked at it. Then, with only slightly more effort than he would have liked, Vetinari raised an eyebrow. The second thing he raised was his other arm, and very carefully wiped his hand with the clean handkerchief.

He was still going at it as the door yielded to the toe of his boot and swung open on well-greased hinges.

That night, the Patrician slept fitfully, waking habitually every third hour only to find himself unable to get out of bed. Pain crept up on him in the wee hours of the morning with a dull ache at the back of his head and as the sun finally crept over the horizon, it was the sound of coughing fits that brought Drumknott to his master’s chambers. Under his right arm, meticulously folded, he carried a fresh issue of The Times’ Puzzle Pages.

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*Not since an errant piece of correspondence from the Archchancellor of the Unseen University had decided to emancipate itself, been charged with high treason, publicly flogged about the envelope and burnt at the stake**

**A beautiful memo-spike of wrought iron that the Patrician now kept on his desk as a deterrent for would-be stationery delinquents.

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Oh, wow.

Vetinari is devlishly sexy, no matter what. Especially a worn and tired Vetinari. You write so well it makes me all fidgety.

Competent men. Rawr.

That night, the Patrician slept fitfully, waking habitually every third hour only to find himself unable to get out of bed. Pain crept up on him in the wee hours of the morning with a dull ache at the back of his head and as the sun finally crept over the horizon, it was the sound of coughing fits that brought Drumknott to his master’s chambers. Under his right arm, meticulously folded, he carried a fresh issue of The Times’ Puzzle Pages.

... <3 Dat ending... *fladder*

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AAAAAH!! I loved this, especially the part with Drumknott running away lol

Vetinari~~~ wub.png

Totally brilliant use of footnotes, I had considered how to do it myself but gave up... this way works wonderfully.

Stationery delinquents biggrin.png

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Thank you both!

Snuffles: I would say he was not so much running away as tactfully and tactically retreating x3

So glad you liked it, I was always fond of Terry's footnotes, myself <3

Doubt I'd use the style for anything not Discworld though. o.o

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He stifled the third one in its infancy with all the efficiency of a master assassin

Ahahaa! This is perfect. I LOVED this fic. Between you and Snuffles, it's like having Mr Pratchett writing for us and I couldn't be more pleased.

ASDFGHJKLKJHGFDS!!! That is all.

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He stifled the third one in its infancy with all the efficiency of a master assassin

Ahahaa! This is perfect. I LOVED this fic. Between you and Snuffles, it's like having Mr Pratchett writing for us and I couldn't be more pleased.

ASDFGHJKLKJHGFDS!!! That is all.

Aw, thank you.

The whole thing was originally just an attempt at mimicing his style, but that was just the first few paragraphs.

When I resumed this years later I couldn't remember what his style was like ^^;; My apologies.

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Ohhh wow, I've never read Discworld so I'm not terribly familiar with the characters, but I really liked this, and the writing style was fun! This Lord Vetinari has definitely captured my interest. ;D

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Iknowrite? <fans self>

Soooo sad he's mostly a side character. Nova already said it but amagawd, competent men. <3

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