The Case of the Honourable Traitor

To: Shroud of Mist, S/PI/007, Division of Secrets
From: Office IUE/SS/1312, Division of Secrets

We suspect a leak in the office of the All-Seeing Eye in The Lap is providing information to an EOF. You are directed to discover the source of the leak.

Profile: You are authorised to resolve the situation if feasible. If not, report as necessary and it will be resolved in due course. The Abbot of The Lap will be expecting you under the name Suriko Mesumi, and can provide accommodation and local information. The Eye will also be expecting you (“no gaps in Mela's scales”), but they believe you are merely stationed there on a separate investigation.

Reporting: We expect written reports to be submitted daily at the very least; these can be given to the Abbot, who knows how to pass them to us. Naturally, they should be sealed in the usual manner.

Estimated probability of deathknight presence: 36.6%
Estimated probability of hidden Solar presence: 30.6%
Estimated probability of demonic presence: 25.9%
Estimated probability of Fair Folk presence: 11.2%


Mist was concerned. Intrigued, but concerned. This was clearly a Bronze Faction problem; why send an out-of-Faction agent to solve it? Probably because he was expendable, Mist surmised. The mission profile clearly showed that the Bronze Faction high-ups had no idea what was going on – just look at the forecasts! – so best to send someone unimportant in to test the water. But at least he wouldn't have to tackle the EOF [Entity Outside Fate] himself, whatever it was. The Order ought to be able to handle that.

Meanwhile, he'd have to play it careful. The leak, if there was one, would be bound to be suspicious of any new agent. Perhaps he could use that to draw them out...


The little sprite spoke in the voice of Abbot Loku:

Your agent has arrived. I have sent him to the Eye.


“And a good evening to you,” said the handler, not looking up and certainly not appearing to care about the quality of Mist's evening. This was the woman the Abbot had told him to talk to – Ragara Sonnas was the name he'd been given for her. Either she was extremely accomplished at blending in, or she actually was a grumpy and solitary woman just trying to finish her drink in peace.

“I was told you had an office available for rent. Somewhere safe – no gaps in Mela's scales, and all that.”

“Oh, it's you,” she sighed. “Yes, alright. Follow me.” She stood up, looked longingly at her drink as if bidding it farewell, and led him to a dark building in a quiet street in one of the common residential areas of the city.

“You can work out of here,” she said, indicating a grubby office on the second floor with barely enough space to pull the chair out from under the desk. “If you have any problems, please don't hesitate to sort them out yourself.” And with that, she turned and left.

Within an hour, Mist had completed his initial search of the building. Unfortunately, he didn't have much to show for it. But he had one more trick to play before night fell. He stood in the building's entrance room – now deserted, with only a few people scribbling reports upstairs. He let his attention widen, broadening out to encompass the building; the entity it represented; the structure and the flow of information. He channeled a portion of his Resplendent Destiny through that awareness, searching out to examine the collective heart and mind of the intangible but very real network. And yet... nothing. There was no hint of treachery.

Well, Mist thought. That is interesting...


To: Office IUE/SS/1312, Division of Secrets
From: Shroud of Mist, S/PI/007, Division of Secrets

Now installed in The Lap. Harvest Ripe Wheat, Father Falling Hay reveals a totally honest organisation. Puzzling. Further investigation tomorrow.


The morning arrived, and with it a new sense of understanding. His Maiden had sent him dreams again – this time depicting him dancing, elegantly and delicately, with a number of unrecognised smiling faces. As he twirled amongst them, each stepping in and out in time with a gentle harp, he drew bows from each and every one. Today would be a good day for gaining confidences.

He spent the day introducing himself to the other agents in the building. They were sullen at first, not trusting the new arrival, and wanting to get on with their jobs – but they soon warmed to Mist's gentle sense of humour and helpful nature. He fetched and he relayed reports and messages; he bought them lunch and brought extra delicacies from the market; he laughed at their jokes and complimented their diligence.

He did not, however, unmask a traitor. All he could find was an undercurrent of one-up-manship among the agents. And two in particular seemed to have something of an enmity. Peleps Fumika was a quiet but charismatic man, with an understated but definitely noticeable disapproval of Ledaal Catala Leilin, a short and wiry ex-military intelligence officer with a much more vocal dislike of his Water-Aspected colleague. This would bear further attention; Mist resolved to invite them each to meet him alone the following day.


To: Office IUE/SS/1312, Division of Secrets
From: Shroud of Mist, S/PI/007, Division of Secrets

Some tensions in the inter-personal relationships within the office. Examining.


Fumika didn't reveal much over their game of Gateway. Yes, he didn't have much time for Leilin, but he simply saw him as a lesser agent – one without the discretion necessary to do his job well enough. Leilin, however, had much more to say on the subject. In fact, he seemed quite gleeful when given the chance, over a small but deceptively powerful glass of wine, to detail his rival's shortcomings – his snobbery, his holier-than-thou attitude, his overbred arrogance – not to mention the fact that he'd got promoted over Leilin who clearly deserved the position more.

“But I don't mind,” Leilin told Mist with a grin. “He'll be getting his comeuppance soon enough.”

“Oh?” Mist was idly curious; barely interested; just wondering.

“Oh, yes. Let's just say he's going to be taken down a peg or two. In fact, all of the pegs.”

Mist laughed, gently. “And why's that?” he smiled, his muscles tensed to prevent himself from throttling the squeaky runt and getting the information that way.

“Well...” The Air Aspect looked round, although they were in an empty room, and leaned in conspiratorially. “I shouldn't really be telling you this... but he's been leaking information out of the Eye. And I've been showing his faked reports to the internal affairs liaison!”

“The... internal affairs liaison...?” Mist was barely breathing now with the effort of remaining calm.

“I can't tell you about her. No-one else is supposed to know she exists. They're the shadows within the shadows, the internal affairs committee. But she's got me investigating – I'm her man on the inside, she says. She had me send reports from some of the others too, but she soon realised that Fumika was the leak. I could have told her that to begin with! But I suppose they've got to check, haven't they?”

“Ah, I see. So you're sending Fumika's reports out to this... liaison, and no-one else in the bureau knows about it?”

“Exactly! Brilliant, isn't it?”

Mist's mind played through a dozen possible responses to that question. Eventually he forced out, carefully feigning a voice of shock and respect, “Goodness! Aren't you clever?“


To: Abbott Loku, Monastery of The Lap
From: Suriko Mesumi, agent of the All-Seeing Eye

My investigations have revealed the suspected Anathema presence just outside the city – map attached. I leave it to the Order to resolve the matter.

My thanks for your hospitality during my stay.


It had been a long night, but eventually Leilin had stirred. He hadn't noticed Mist, outside his door and outside of Fate, and had unwittingly led him direct to the “internal affairs liaison”. Mist hadn't risked getting close enough to see the woman while Leilin was still there, but it hadn't taken her long to emerge. Mist doubted that anything within Fate could have swayed the poor Air Aspect so easily, but a quick question to the pattern spiders had settled the matter:

“Who is that creature?”

“Subject not found.”


To: Office IUE/SS/1312, Division of Secrets
From: Shroud of Mist, S/PI/007, Division of Secrets

Situation resolved.


Back in his office in the Division of Secrets, Mist reflected. A successful mission. And no complications. Why was it always so much simpler when he was on his own? Mist sighed, and picked up the plain-looking message at the top of his intray. And then he smiled.


To: Shroud of Mist, S/PI/007, Division of Secrets
From: Office A/01/203, Sub-Department of Assignment, Division of Secrets

The position of Forbidding Manse Of Ivy Liaison To The Boards Of Intrigue, Detection And Investigation has been unexpectedly vacated. As of your receipt of this message, consider yourself appointed to that position.

Please find attached a set of reports detailing the current concerns before each Board, as well as a schedule of the meetings you are expected to attend for the remainder of the month.

See that you are prompt.