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Grand Designs
I have written this in response to Anonymous's first prompt.

“I’ve done a number of designs, Your Majesty.”  The formal greetings were over so now the engineer-architect could speak more directly to his client.  “Based on my site survey, there are several possible routes and I’ve done proposals for all of them.”  He laid the plans on the table.

“But I haven’t told you what I want the passage for,” objected His Imperial and Royal Majesty Johann III.

“Frankly, Your Majesty, I don’t want to know.”  Laszlo Tosoky indicated the plans, “So I covered multiple possibilities for each route and I haven’t kept copies.  I will certainly discuss the options but I prefer not to know which you choose.”

“Indeed?”  The Terrencian Emperor raised an indolent eyebrow.  “Why?”

“Your Majesty doesn’t need me after the design phase.”  Laszlo paused delicately then went on, “There is a history of architects who’ve done ‘minor’ work on Imperial fortresses and palaces dropping out of sight afterwards, never to be seen again.”  He sighed.  “I prefer not to be seen as a security threat, Your Majesty, because I prefer to live.”

“An admirable ambition.”  The Imperial gaze was suddenly much sharper and then a beringed hand gestured at the plans, “Let us survey the possibilities you envision for the site, Master Tosoky.”  The two men spent an hour going over the diagrams, the Emperor asking surprisingly astute questions and making notations in the margins.

Satisfied, Johann III used a bellpull to summon a secretary.  To that helpful gentleman the Emperor said genially, “Ah, Spangler, Master Tosoky and I have finished our business.  Please make arrangements to receive his account and then show him out – I believe he will appreciate the Cathedral exit.”

The secretary and the engineer-architect bowed themselves out of the Imperial presence, dealt with business, then the meticulously neat Spangler led a nervous Laszlo Tosoky through the architectural glories of the Ecclesiastical Hall to the grand entrance facing the Cathedral across the square.

While the engineer-architect was still being shown out the Emperor summoned another secretary who in turn fetched a delightful specimen of mature womanhood, fashionably dressed, femininely athletic and buxom.  “Fraulein Metsch,” the Emperor’s acknowledgement was businesslike as she curtseyed, “I’ve called you here about Tosoky the architect.”

“Sire,” she stood, equally businesslike.  “You want me to dispose of him?”

“By no means,” the Emperor waved the suggestion away dismissively.  “I think you should marry him.”

“Sire?”  Theresia Metsch looked surprised.

“You deserve to be putting down roots,” he smiled at her.  “Master Tosoky is respected in his field and seems a decent man.  Surprisingly astute too, you would produce interesting children.”


“I believe I should stand godfather to at least your first.”

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Fun! I like to way you made my very vague prompt into a nice little story. I'd like to read more about the designer someday!

By the way, do you enjoy writing to more specific prompts or more vague ones?


I'm glad you liked it. It also fit nicely into one of my backgrounds.

I haven't though about which sort of prompt I like more. Sometimes it's surprising which one sets off a train of thought, but I do like to do them in order.

WHEE!!!! This is awesome!


Well, there's an unexpected sharp left. She seems to've been put a bit off balance by the "suggestion". I wonder if he'll take it any more gracefully -- or if he'll be told.

Well it wasn't what she was expecting at all. The Emperor might think her persuasive powers and personal charms are enough to make Tosoky believe marriage is his idea.

Perhaps they are, and he won't. What will she think? Most jobs don't push quite so far into one's personal life, but Imperial Assassin isn't most jobs ...

At this point I have absolutely no idea! :)

Yay! A smart and conscientious architect.

If the Emperor were evil, he'd have the architect killed anyway just because the architect would know that something was being built and might be able to speculate on it to would-be heroes, but this Emperor seems to value the architect's future... ahem... potential.

I'm glad you liked it.

The Terrencians are sort of Austro-Hungarian Empire so the Emperor isn't actually evil. And the secret passage might just be to allow him to visit his mistress without the world knowing or, from what I've read about the French Court, visit his wife without the world knowing.

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