The fireplace cackled evilly in the corner of the hall. A man stood by a table, his fingers tapping a nervous tattoo.
The doors to the hall opened blowing a sudden gust of snow into the hall. An armoured form entered the hall.
The thin man looked at the newcomer. “Lord Kuestenkatz, your arrival was not announced.”
“Doctor, I come on urgent business.”
The thin man folded his hands, one over the other. “Well, no rush. It is a cold day. Warm yourself by the fire.”
“No fire is warm enough to wash me clean of Seidlitz’ ambition.”
“Men could say the same for you, my lord.”
Kuestenkatz approached the warmer section of the room, unclipping the heavy furs from his shoulder, the particles of snow now simply water in the deep warmth of the room. He pulled the gloves from his hands and held his frozen digits to the fire. “I come for your advice, Doctor.”
“I know there are many men that consider my actions, how shall we say? Unorthodox, perhaps? But I have never been accused for not providing results. You have always been a loyal friend.”
“The feeling is mutual. The time is drawing near when will need to act.”
The Doctor looked at Kuestenkatz. “Then perhaps drastic times call for drastic measures.”
“I cannot kill him. The repercussions of such an action will go far beyond the borders then.”
The Doctor placed a hand on the lord’s shoulder. “Oh not at all my friend, why kill him when you can remove his threat.”
“And how would one do such a thing?
The Doctor went to a drawer and placed a hand to an object hidden from Kuestenkatz’ view. “Deception is a powerful ingredient. Better to act through the face of another,” he said.
“Who do you suggest?”
“Why would I work with such a criminal?” Kuestenkatz responded.
“We are all branded criminals or villains by someone. Who’s to say that he has not done any more than we have in our time? Would your enemies have spoken well of you, my lord, when you brought death to them?”
“Such is war.”
The Doctor grabbed Kuestenkatz by his wide shoulders and starred into his craggy face. “We are at war. We are at war against a greedy and selfish world. We are always at war. Do not think any different. You and I, my lord, see the bigger picture here. We don’t live by petty morals. We make a better place in the long run, but live with our actions here and now.”
Kuestenkatz shook his head, “He will call on his allies.”
“Then, my lord, we should assemble some of our own. This war will not be on your head alone, I promise you that.”
The Doctor stretched out a hand and after a moment’s hesitation Kuestenkatz gripped it firmly.
The Doctor knew Lord Kuestenkatz was correct that the fire did not hold any warmth. For his heart was empty and cold as a winter’s storm.