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crescentcome-truth-fire 7/48 [1619]

...tried as I could until the wick dipped into the tallow and almost sputtered out, but I could not get the figures to add up: quite simply, we were receiving less than half the number of settlers we were supposed to. Everyone might have sniggered behind their backs when my uncle, Sor Eel, made me "Commissioner of the Census" two years ago, but now I have found a genuine mystery!

black-stasis-earth 7/48 [1619]

After amassing ample proof, I went to uncle with my concerns about the missing settlers. To my chagrin, he said he too was aware of the anomaly, but reminded me that while most of the settlers who had arrived were retired soldiers, receiving their just reward after a lifetime of service to the Empire, those that hadn't were outcastes, criminal elements, refugees, riff-raff, and White Moonie dissidents - in a word, TROUBLE.

Furthermore, he said that the Grantlands were hardly fertile enough to support the sort of numbers the Empire was supposedly sending us and besides (he chuckled), he was drawing the full resource allowance and spending the difference as he saw fit. While he gave me a complicated explanation of why doing this would be considered perfectly legal ("standard accounting practice"), he nevertheless told me to forget my concerns about the missing settlers and suspended my census-taking duties, instead sending me off on a goodwill visit to Adari.

crescentgo-disorder-sea 7/49 [1620]

The Imperial agent Count Julan and his Coders arrived in Pavis this week. It was pretty obvious from the outset that Julan and uncle are not going to get along: particularly as it seems that part of Julan's brief is to root out corrupt practices and officials on the take, operations that will surely interfere in the smooth running of the province.

fullhalf-harmony-fire 7/49 [1620]

After travelling all the way Glamour to convey uncle's protests about Count Julan, imagine my surprise a few days after my return then, when uncle summoned me and there was Julan sitting in conference him, holding in his lap the Staff of Justice (an old Eel-ariash family heirloom)! Uncle told me that he had asked Julan to look into the issue of the missing settlers - when I began to say I thought he didn't think it was important, he peremptorily shushed me and said it was a "grave and perplexing issue", one that had hints of corruption at high levels back in the Empire, and one that, regretfully, might take Julan and his band far away from here.

I returned to my room to retrieve my files, only to find a shadowy figure in the doorway, trying the handle. I reached out and grabbed him - under the heavy robe his wrist wore a heavy manacle, like that of a prisoner - only to find it was Gim-Gim, uncle's spymaster. He hissed at me to be careful because "there were thieves about," and slunk off in his customary way. Ironically, Gim-Gim was right: my room had already been ransacked, and most of my papers were missing...

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