Lord Vetinari by habit rose so early that bedtime was merely
an excuse to change his clothes.
He liked the time just before a winter’s dawn. It was
generally foggy, which made it hard to see the city, and for a few hours there
was no sound but the occasional brief scream.
But the tranquility was broken this morning by a cry just
outside the Palace gates.
He went to the window.
The Patrician walked back to his desk and rang the bell for
his clerk Drumknott, who was dispatched to the walls to investigate.
“It is the beggar known as Foul Ole Ron, sir,” he reported
five minutes later. “Selling this… paper full of things.” Drumknott held it
between two fingers as though expecting it to explode. Lord Vetinari took it
and read through it. Then he read through it again.
“Well, well,” he said. “‘The Ankh-Morpork Times.’ Was anyone
else buying this?”
“A number of people, my lord. People coming off the night
shifts, market people, and so on.”
“I see no mention of Hoinarylup or Squidaped-oyt.”
“No, my lord.”
“How very strange.” Lord Vetinari read for a moment, and
said, “Hm-hm. Clear my appointments
this morning, will you? I will see the Guild of Town Criers at nine o’clock and
the Guild of Engravers at ten past.”
“I wasn’t aware they had appointments, sir.”
“They will have,” said Lord Vetinari. “When they see this,
they will have.”
–The Truth, Terry Pratchett