Wight could see that everyone was tired and worried, and many, from their faces, obviously knew nothing.
“Three days ago,” Wight stifled a contagious yawn with a cold, shivering arm, “Nardi Krell was murdered in the old southern ruins. It has taken this long to locate Nardi and call you all here.”
Everyone all over the old firm’s foyer, on the big twin staircases, all over the balcony, seemed grief-stricken. Many of my comrades also appeared visibly anxious. The war’s carnage was barely over for us all; the quiet relief we could all take in shedding off the sadness for our buried and lost had been disturbed, and could clearly be no longer.
“Who!” Someone called out, their voice almost taken by the night air where there was no longer a ceiling.
“Yes, who was it!”
Everyone fixed themselves on Wight.
“I suppose this is why you’ve all been gathered here. Mister Krell is not present tonight, but he says Nardi went miss-ing sometime in the night, travelling between here and their home. It is my belief, and that of a few others, that we should be able to eliminate everyone completely unaffiliated with the crime once and for all tonight before we at-tempt to further investigate the harm done to the Krell family.”
Wight continued, “I understand this is very intrusive, and, logically speaking – and I hope this doesn’t offend anyone – not everyone is here to be assessed. I assure you that the people who are not here, and are in fact with Krell performing a very important task, all have solid alibis.”
Wight ordered a former company of my old comrades to block the building's exits, and removed men and women who had some form of experience with the old police from the room, and took them into an adjacent old office. I had been a detective on-and-off for ten years before the war, and I was the last person into the room, carrying a gas lan-tern. The office was part of a cheap extension that had been effected to the building some years after its initial con-struction and the marble faces of the walls had crumbled away in places, revealing concrete stained brown by iron tension cable. The room was extremely distressingly dark; it was difficult to see who in our presence – for a moment I considered that Wight was making things worse.
“Who’s here. Who are you?” He turned to his immediate left. “Just go around the room. Make this quick, now.”
There were seven people in the office, and no-one else, as Wight had limped fussily around the office’s rooms check-ing cupboards, windows and corners. The police assembled were:
Solkin, former armed-forced police officer stationed in this part of the old city.
Metoprol, Pohepat and Catcat Lelly, all middle-aged ex-police constables who were returned soldiers. I knew Lelly was related to the namesake of the town hall’s old law firm, but little else. They were peppered with shrapnel wounds on their right sides and the dancing lantern light made it seem like the scar-tissue on their faces was moving.
Foran and Eyre, both former judges. These men often helped Wight manage things around town.
Finally there was Sland, a former barrister.