St. Brannok’s Feast Day, Eleventh Year in the Reign of King Richard II
I often gauge the faces of those who come to me. Some are crumpled and their bodies bent with worry, working their hands one over the other in distress, while others–unsuccessfully hiding their greed under their hoods or their veils–seek to cajole me with fine words and a handful of silver. What is lost is sometimes not theirs to find. Alas. A Tracker’s work is never done.
I feel the sorriest for the widow whose treasures have been stolen. The sheriffs do their part but never recover those items. Or if they do, they end up in their own coffers rather than that of the hapless victim. Such is the morality of an appointed official.
These are treacherous streets. London is not for the unwary. It is least pious near its churches, least charitable near its alms door, least safe near its guarded gates. I know well these streets now. Better than I ever had as a knight. I never traveled them in the shadows before, never in the midnight of its hours, nor gratefully followed a beggar and thief into his outgate merely for a scrap of information.
I find lost items, yet it is I who has lost the most. But no matter. Perhaps I have found far more in the finding for others. For I have discovered much about my fellow Man and what is in the heart of God’s feminine creatures than I had ever known at my time at court, or in the household of his grace the duke. Yes, much have I learned. More than any tutor could tell me even with a mountain of books. There is far more to be lost in London than I have ever imagined.
What shall I hang as a sign before my door? What will tell the folk what occupation is here? A foot? For Tracker I am, but perhaps a foot does not properly convey it. I should prefer the all-seeing eye, I think. For I do watch and derive far more from merely observing. Is it truly lost, that which they seek? Those greedy for a necklace or a pouch of pearls that they “borrowed” from an unwell uncle? Or for those relics that cross my path, belonging to no one but God Himself? God has not missed them. Should He desire it found, I’m sure He would not be shy in leaving a sign.
A sign. In the end, I need no shingle. They do find me, my clients. Rich and poor alike, they do find me. A discreet man is always needed. And he keeps his own council for the right price of sixpence a day.