This is another one, which is somehow related to the first. Enjoy
the autocrat's tale
Nicodeem, lord apparent of Onlai and junior autocrat, shivered in the easterly
wind. he tugged at his cloak absently and scanned the street a second time,
turning his back into the wind and wrapping all four arms around his narrow
chest. Nicodeem hunched his shoulders and tried to hide his nearly three meters
of height in the lengthening shadows. he stared back down the ancient
thoroughfare, thick with lush green moss and clutchweed blowing in the wind.
the wispy, rootless plants wavered this way and that, pulled by the constant
breeze: sometimes southerly, sometimes northerly, but always to the east.
there was a skittering of dust in the oblong opening of what might have been a
door for whatever creatures had built the ruins, and Nicodeem flicked a pair of
silvered specs down over his eyes, blinking as the light polarized and the
street sharpened suddenly. it was the poly.
it never ceased to amaze the junior officer how the poly managed, despite his
squat, clumsy legs and huge, bulbous skull, to leap unerringly from stone to
stone. Nicodeem reached with a lower hand to the inside pocket where he kept
the pistola and slipped long, delicate fingers into the grip. never could be
too careful with the thetes, especially the polys_they were unsound, and usually
addled in the skull, too. but so far Murgo had been very reliable.
in the crisp filter of the specs, he could pick out the object for which the
effort and money of the last few weeks had been daringly spent, a thin,
reinforced, tranparent tube containing no more than two fingers of a pale,
yellowish syrup. but if the syrup, when analyzed, proved to be the serum that
was proof against the lues plague, and poison against the luetic infestation
that had been crawling up from the ruins every night, Nicodeem's promising
career in the assembly was secure for all time.