Kiernan Bailie

Spy Write: Killing the Kaiser

The flight was exhausting. Not like anything I had faced before. All of my other travelling had been done by road. Musing to myself, I peeled an apple with the fingernails on my clockwork arm. A lovely contraption, silver plating with diamond topped rubies adorning the fingers. It was the entire reason I had become a spy in the first place.

My name is Florentia Neitzchen, a Slovene-British woman; I guess I was a woman now, just having turned twenty. I had never thought I was going to be a spy, until I lost my arm to a group of ruffians while visiting Berlin on holiday. Foolishly alone. I thought I was going to die in that alleyway, until she rescued me. A fiery redheaded woman with emerald eyes carried me to a strange place, where I passed out. I woke up a day later with a fantastic clockwork contraption melded to where my arm once was. The woman, Damirania Hakkandottir, turned out to be a recruiter for a Serbian monarch trying to bring down Austria-Hungary. She explained that I would be a perfect candidate for his plan. At this point, I had no idea what I was getting into or who 'he' was. I was about to find out.

A messenger hawk came in later that day from a Serbian archduke. I assumed that he was the monarch in charge of this group. He seemed like an odd individual, a man going by the name of Romanov Soyovovich. During the message, he seemed to be getting interrupted by someone named Sebastian, I assumed a lackey or something of the like. Eventually, it got so out of hand, he decided that I would just come to Serbia and talk to him in person. I argued with him for a bit about this, but I ended up caving into his reasoning.

And that's how I ended up in Belgrade this afternoon, struggling to find the meeting place. I was looking around when a rather dishevelled young man in white tie formal ran up to me. "A-are you Miss Florentia Neitzchen?" He asked with a distinct British accent.

I nodded and smiled, "That would be me."

He pressed a button on an almost invisible earpiece and said that he had found me, and gave our location. Within minutes, this Romanov fellow had revealed himself. The first thing I noticed was his height. He must've been seven feet tall, at least. A flamboyant man, wearing clothes that went out of style in the Victorian era. His blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail, bringing out his Slavic features. An eyepatch covered his left eye, giving him a piratical air. Yet his smile was as gentle as my mother's had been. He patted the butler character's head gently. "Hvala, darl-I mean, Sebastian." He said.

I gave him an odd look, now he really was an strange character. Was he one of those...homosexuals? I wouldn't've minded, but it just made him weirder. I smiled politely and gave a slight bow, as he was royalty. The young archduke laughed and smiled again, "Spare me the formality. Now, shall we be off to the manor?"

I shrugged, "It wouldn't hurt. Why not?"

He smiled and flagged down a walker. The two-legged contraption carried us through the furthest reaches of Belgrade and into the surrounding countryside. We passed farms where black-clad workers picked crops, and rolling hills that held hidden bunkers and walker storage. We finally reached the manor, which in extravagance looked to match even Schonbrunn Palace and Le Versailles. It was nestled in the corner of a large meadow dotted with oak trees, surrounded by a large, seemingly impenetrable forest. Romanov saw my awe and sighed, "It's so lonely. Only Sebastian and I live there."

I gave him a slight smile, "I can understand that loneliness."

I had been sent to the Austrian royal family when I was young, to teach me how to be a proper lady. It didn't go very well, to say the least. Schonbrunn palace was a big, empty maze of rooms and corridors. The Hapsburg prince had taken a liking to me though, and I got better treatment than the rest of the children. My thoughts were arrested when the walker stopped in front of the sprawling manor. Sebastian hopped out and helped the archduke get out without hitting his head. I curled my new fingers around the ladder rungs, not being able to feel the cold metal. Dropping to the gravel, I looked at my surroundings. Two white rosebushes adorned the doorway. The gardens were absent. It was only the meadow, the house, and the forest. Romanov grabbed my wrist and dragged me inside. "I don't trust this location though." He stated.

I nodded and walked in, gaping at the intricacy of the wood paneling. It was just like being back in Schonbrunn. Sebastian showed me to my room, where I was told to change into some clean clothes. I opened my trunk and took out a beige tunic and some leggings. I put them on, thinking of the boy I met during my time in the palace. His name was Ezio Auditore. He had always been hiding in the shadows. One day I had walked up to him and we had a conversation. It was childish, but I can always remember that I was attracted to his voice. I shook myself out of the thought and walked down to what I assumed was a drawing room. Romanov sat at the concert grand piano in the side of the room. He looked up and saw me, then beckoned me to sit on a luxurious couch. I did as I was told and the archduke started playing a Chopin prelude or something. "I have a job for you..." He said as there was a break in the music. His fingers started spidering on the keys again. "I need you to kill the kaiser. Of Austria-Hungary of course. Not Prussia. It would keep my country out of a war...maybe even the rest of the world. I don't know why Hakkandottir picked you. But I trust her decision. We've been through a couple other candidates, and they weren't quite...worthy. She must've done something with that new arm of yours. Look, I can't tell you how to do it. Just get it done."

I sighed heavily, this was a huge task. I didn't think I would be able to do it. I had no idea what they were throwing me into or what I was supposed to do. Romanov was still talking, but I was ignoring him until the name Ezio penetrated my ears. At that I perked up, "What was that?" I asked.

He sighed, "A rival monarch is trying to kill him as well. His assassin is a Auditore. Very experienced. We probably don't stand a chance. But...to a uh...normally oriented man, which I believe this man is, you're very attractive. Maybe you can use your charm to distract him and then get the kaiser yourself!" He exclaimed excitedly.

"So...you're basically telling me to seduce him?" I asked.

Romanov nodded, "It's my only plan."

I sighed heavily, "Alright...so...how do you propose we infiltrate?"

The archduke stroked the stubble at his chin , "Well, my parents are in good standing with the Hapsburgs. Maybe I can get you a ball invitation through them. I'd have to make you some gorgeous dresses, but it'd be worth it. And you'd have to deal with my mother. She's a...lovely woman."

I sensed an edge of sarcasm in his voice, but shrugged it off. Going to a royal ball was something worth looking forward to. Even if his mother wasn't a good person, I wanted to see Ezio, and for him to see me in whatever dress the archduke made for me.