Our scene is set in a small, dark room far beneath the velvet-draped halls of an otherwise really rather attractive town-house.

 Smoke curls up into a shaft of light from the thin cigarillo being smoked by a narrow-faced gentleman (he must be a gentleman, since there's no signs of dung on his boots) who sits impassively in a high-backed airmchair while reviewing the leather-bound case folder before him. In contrast to his balanced calm, a nervous young man sits on an uncomfortable wooden stool set across from the stark, plain wooden table that's the third piece of furniture in the room, kept in his place despite regular fidgeting by the massive, calloused hand of an individual saved - barely - from gorilladom only by the application of strategic shaving and an ill-fitting doublet.

 A long moment passes before the man looks up and in a refined Avalonian court accent with just a hint of an underlying burr asks "For the record... What country are you from? What part of that country?"

 "What d... ow, bollocks c'mon, that's my shoulder that i... ow. Alright, alright... I'm Avalonian, ain't I? Ask Cap'n Dearborne. An' no, I ain't rattin' 'im out, I saw Rodger when I was dragged in 'ere so I know you know I know 'im."

"Mmmm." replies the man, his quill skritching sharply across the page "How would you describe yourself?"

 "Descri..? ow. Me? Well, I'm a lad I guess, know a few folks. Ain't done no 'arm to any... Bugger, stop squeezin! You mean 'ow do I look an' that? For the record or summat? Bugger, I gotta' be what,  five an' six? five an' seven? I don't keep track. I'm quick, keen... Mostly clean. Got dark 'air an' eyes an' I ain't missed too many meals 'nor picked up too many scars. That what you wanted?

"Mmmm. It will serve." the man answers casting a shadowed look of indecpherable amusement towards the simian security force, who simply grunts in a wordless expression of his vocabulary that does nothing to answer the question of whether or not he actually understands human speech or is simply very well trained to respond to gestures. The gentleman resumes "And do you have a motivation, young master... Cox?"

 "Moatevasion? Like... cross'in a moat? No, I ain't never robbed a castle or 'nuffin an' you can't find no-one as'll say I 'ave! I'm as inno... Alright, alright... bugger, 'es got a grip on 'im, ain't e'? Look, yeah alright I know what it means... No, I ain't really. I mean yeah, 'ot meal's nice an a bit o' something 'as 'all keep the rain off to wear but mostly I guess I want name, d'un I? I want folks t' say 'that Dodger, e's... 'Ang on, 'ow'd you know my name was C... Ow!

"Mmmm, put the boy down Vincent, there's a good man. I'm sure he understands that information flows in one direction only here." remarks the gentleman as he refreshes the ink on his quill and deftly dusts sand across the first sheet to before setting it upon a slim metal stand to dry and aligning a fresh page to write upon "And have you particular virtues, Mr Cox, vices?"

 "Buggered if I know... alright, alright! I mean yeah, I guess I'm a dab 'and at seein' my way through stuff others don't. I don't give up easy either... Guess I might 'old me 'ead a little too 'igh 'cause of it but anyone don't like that, fuck 'em... I earned it. What, no squeez ow!

  "Never mind Vincent, I suspect that was more of a rhetorical question. And no Mr Cox, we are not here to correct your manners, but rather to... get to know you in a friendly environment." - the quill briefly flicks up to indicate the single, wan lamp in a sconce shining its light over the writing-paper and coincidentally casting shade across much of the writers face, managing in the process to imply that with this being a friendly environment and all, no-one probably ought to ask about an unfriendly one. "What is it that you like, Mr Cox? Dislike?"

 "Like an' dis..? 'and on, I'm answerin' ain't I? I guess I like an 'ot meal. Best of all's one as you can share. Ain't deeply 'appy with the dark on the other 'and, but you gotta' go into it, don't you? Can't let no bastard see you sweat."

 "Some might say that the dark is where we are in greatest need of a light, Mr Cox. But I suspect that you've just answered my next inquiry and it will save us pretending that you don't know what the word 'psychology' means." answers the gentleman, sliding a dog-eared and very slightly charred document with a Vaticine church stamp on it and stark, blocky Montaigne writing just barely visible upon it in the gloom. It appears to be a test score from a school, albeit a stern and spartan one "But nonetheless, shall we ask about fear, Mr Cox? What are you afraid of?"

 "Fuck, gettin' sick I guess. I mean I don't like the dark but you can curse or light a fire... Big buggers like mungo 'ere you can duck or shiv, fancy twats you can scam or dodge... But sick? I've seen too many go down that road an' not come back. Ain't no way to spend your last, alone 'an 'ungry while the rats gather... ain't no way at all."

 The gorilla snarls audibly, but doesn't close his fist further, instead deferring to the gentleman, who's once again deliberately exchanging one paper for another, this having the look of a florid and normally incomprgensible medical attestation from some no doubt well-named doctor "Mmmm, indeed. I see here that you've spent no small amount of other peoples coin on fighting that very fate for others. Street girls. Beggars. Guttersnipes. Is that your highest ambition Mr Cox, the last resort of the lowest order?"

 "'An what if it was, huh? Upright man 'ain't gonna' do it an' there ain't no toff 'gonna dirty 'isself to help. An' as for the Lords n' Ladies? When was the last time you saw glamour in' a work'ouse, huh? I do alright for m'self 'an if I got a bit left over, 'ho're you t' tell me 'ow I ought to spend it?"

 "Me, Mr Cox? At this juncture, I think that I would like you to think of me as an angel. Everyone gets one, and only one you know." the gentleman answers, finally eliciting a muted grunt that might be laughter or possibly just the shifting of a piece of the last mouthy prisoner out of his teeth from the simian. The medical paper is slid away once more and the quill-scratching resumed, "But enough theology Mr Cox, a field in which I suspect you outstrip expectation. You mentioned the 'Lords and Ladies'. What do you make of this land of ours Mr Cox? What do you make of Avalon and Good Queen Elaine?"

 "Angel? You don't 'alf talk some... Alright, alright... no comments, I get it, bloody 'ell. Avalon? Bugger me, 's full of toffs n' nobs, innit? Plenty of money goin' around, plenty of sailors 'an that. You can do alright 'ere, if you're quick and ain't too fussy. Can't say I think much o' the Queen one way or t'other. I mean she's s'posed to be nice enough I guess, but she ain't done nothin' for me an' mine. Ain't done nothing 'gainst 'em either though I s'pose. Makes her better n' most."

 "How very... proletarian of you Mr Cox." comes the natural observation, spoken through slightly pursed lips as yet another series of notations are made.

 "Do I look like I 'ever earned a workin' wage?"

 A long, sharp look from the gentleman elicits another groan from the youth as the shovel-like hand of the guard compresses flesh and bone once more "I see that the suspicion that your fluency in Thean was rather greater than you permitted your tutor to discover was well-founded." comes the observation after a glance at some church-stamped paperwork in florrid Montaigne script, "Although it elegently leads us to the question of preconceptions. Whom do you dislike Mr Cox, sight unseen? Our continental neighbours, the faithful, your own noble classes?"

 "Nah, toffs 're toffs. Weren't any, 'owd I make a livin? Montaynee and Castlan's are alright, can't 'old their drink and they eat some funny muck but 'I ain't one to judge. Actually, nah... Change that, priests can go fuck 'emselves, walkin' around with their noses up makin' that theirs don't stink 'cause they 'ear voices. You 'an yours say I'm a thief but I ain't never sold no-one somethin' that ain't there 'an told 'em they oughta' be grateful for it."

 "Mmmm, a viewpoint perhaps best expressed in the silence of your own mind Mr Cox." remarks the gentleman with a faint overlay of renewed amusement making its way through the stern admonission. "And what of loyalty, Mr Cox? Who has your word, your bond? A friend, a gang, a loved one? Dare I even ask, your nation?"

 "There's them I run with, but I figure you know that already... 'an no, I ain't namin' em. Ain't no gangs though... Most of 'em ain't no smarter than a pack of rats 'an at least you can eat a dog if you 'ave to. Girl or two, maybe... Ain't none sweet on me 'special but there's a few s'd toss me a smile or a tuppeny upright from time to time. I look after me 'own mostly, 'ho else is gonna?"

 Another series of scratching sounds follow from the inked nib moving over rough paper, adding markings to what appear to be a list, only a few of the entries on which are actual  names you'd use in polite company and even fewer go as far as to be followed by a family name "No one indeed. No family then, Mr Cox?"

 "I tol' you, 'me brothers an' sisters. Ain't got no-one else, don't need 'em either."

 "Mmmm, do you really think that such a tone of frank defiance is wise in your current circumstance Mr Cox? I for one do not believe that it is." comes the next admonishment, stripped of something of its sting by the failure of the guard to exact more immediate and emphatic deference. "What about conduct Mr Cox? A gentleman has a code, even a thief has rules... What are yours? Are they religious, communal, personal?"

 "Fuck, what kinda' quesioning is thi... Owwww! Fuck, okay. Gah, don't piss in your own pot, keep your gob shut 'an don't 'it girls - less they start it. 'An I guess don't take from them as 'aint got it, but that's just common bloody sense that is. I don't 'old with none of that church rubbish 'an I ain't in none of them fancy clubs so nah, I guess it's just me. I don't write this stuff down, it's just 'ow you are, y'know?"

 "How some of us might be Mr Cox, although some find the structure of clear rules a convenient prop for their own sagging morality." the gentleman observes in a dry, somewhat cutting tone that doesn't appear to be particularly personal - whatever thought-chain it leads him down occupying the entirety of time needed to once more sand and exchange papers. The next question comes almost out of nowhere, stark and sharp-edged, abrupt and demanding "Sorcery, Mr Cox. What do you make of it?"

 "Sorcery? Bugger, I dunno', s' what toffs 'ave, innit? Sounds more 'arm than good t' me if you ask my 'pinion. Rippin' 'oles in stuff and jumpin' through 'em? Ain't natural. Makes you a bloody good thief though, I mean buggers that 'ave it nicked a 'hole country, didn't they? Then you got Glamour 'an that. Don't see much of it in Luthon though, Lords an' Ladies is scared of an 'ard days work I figure."

 The swallowed laughter that little gem prompts doesn't quite manage to unbalance the interrogator, but it's a close-run thing and the simian guard, less well practised actually does issue a betraying grunt, earning himself a sidelong glance before the gentleman answers "Yes, well let's just keep that little nugget of speculation to ourselves, shall we?" and leans forwards, steepling his fingers over the desk and resting his chin upon them, "But enough of all this Mr Cox, let us return to the topic of angels... You see yours has arrived... It will not come again... And it has a little advice for you..."