bethbethbeth: Lord Vetinari image from Discworld, with caption: Veni Vici Vetinari (Discworld Vetinari (alpheratz))
[personal profile] bethbethbeth posting in [community profile] disc_fest
Author: brutti_ma_buoni/bruttimabuoni
Title: Sub Rosa
Rating: PG-13
Character(s)/Pairing(s): none, apart from the Guild
Word Count (if applicable): 750
Includes spoilers for the following books (or All): none
Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): *"None."*.
Summary: If the walls of the Assassins’ Guild could talk...

If the walls of the Assassins' Guild could talk…

… which they can't, of course. Walls that could talk would be very deeply deprecated by the dark denizens of corporate killing. If only because it is difficult to maintain the requisite flexibility of approach if you have any witnesses to what precisely it was that you offered to Lady X, when Lord Y was perhaps slightly less favoured in that regard. No. A talking wall in the Assassins’ Guild would be very firmly dismantled. With extreme prejudice, even if that would normally cost a nominal additional sum that adds at least another zero onto the discreetly-proffered bill. This is, among many others, one of the reasons that the Assassins’ Guild preserves a discreet but not insignificant distance from Unseen University. One would not want there to be magical overspill, still less (a polite shudder) leakage.

However, if they could talk, and with an acknowledgement that the very idea is unthinkably impossibly absurd…

They might say this…

...If you give me a boy when he is seven, you cannot be too startled when I return to you a graduate of the Assassins’ Guild whom you may find a trifle unnerving as company. Not, of course, in a social setting. Assassins are nothing if not social assets. However, you just may find him regarding you with a hint of… pricing. For while a graduate of the Assassins’ Guild would not, of course, dream of conducting his profession without a contract, there is, as is often impressed upon eager students, nothing so terribly wrong in suggesting that a contract might be advantageous to one’s interlocutor. Purely as a friend, of course. No pressure.

...Nil mortifi sine lucre… of course they would say that. And the walls would know of the counting house of the Assassins, something few outsiders have ever pondered, but which is a necessity. Regrettably, in these decadent times, the banking system is not such that the Guild is able to entrust its monetary affairs to an external institution. So yes, within the Guild, there are sometimes some very substantial sums to be found. Assassining is a costly profession, to be sure, and the scholarship boys take a certain amount of the Guild’s income every year, but nonetheless, the Guild is generally considered to be comfortably off.* Oddly, none of the counting house clerks has ever shown any signs of planning to steal a fraction of the wealth they handle. Or, then again, not so oddly.

...They could tell you what Havelock Vetinari specialized in. Every bit of it. But they won’t. Just in case. Even walls have fears.

...oddly, they could tell you relatively few tales of blood and death. It is considered rather bad form to practice inhumation on Guild premises. They could, however, if they chose, provide considerable enlightenment about the week now known to Guild histories as the Late Unpleasantness, and the resting place of many of those who were quietly removed from the pages of said histories at that period. (Or, in many cases, resting places. As it were.) Just occasionally, rules are made to be creatively ignored.

...the dormitories could speak of what dormitories always speak of, midnight tears, subtle cruelties and furtive nocturnal self-discovery. Currently, they might also speak of the difficulties being encountered by the new young lady students, and the quite firm and effective counter-measures being developed, which have left not a few of the male intake of students a little gingerly in their approach to Physical Education for a few weeks.

...the walls of the muniment room could explain, with the greatest respect, that the Guild records belong only to the Guild, and that no one else is permitted to view them. There is a certain sensitivity to the Guild’s activities, not so much those which come to a satisfactory conclusion, as those where Guild members have found themselves to be somewhat challenged by the circumstances of their contractual agreement. The several cabinets allotted to the recorded attempts upon the person of the Duke of Ankh, for example, are strictly for Guild eyes only.

...Or, of course, they might mention, delicately, that if you give me a boy when he is seven, you should not be too startled when I do not give him back.

* Comfortable in the sense that a sultan bathing in the tears of a thousand virgins, balancing a ruby on the nose of his pet seal for his amusement, and anticipating a forty-two course banquet of his favourite dishes is comfortable. Really quite comfortable.
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