Just starting? Be sure to check out The Legend of Slottsfjellet: Foreword and Disclaimer first, so you know what’s going on.
The Norwegian remained silent until they were in the limousine and headed for the airport. When he finally spoke, he went straight to business.
“There are a few items of which you should be aware and to which you will agree, Mr. Stadtler.” The man kept the friendly look, but his tone was serious.
“Wait a minute here—you haven’t even bothered to introduce yourself.”
The Norwegian apologized. “You may call me Karl.”
Joe scowled, and muttered, “Can’t you guys be a little creative?”
“Very well, my real name is Jan.”
“Yan? As in, Yan Can Cook?”
“No… it’s Jan, J-A-N, Jan as in… well, perhaps you should just call me Karl.”
“Fine. It’s nice to meet you, ‘Karl.'”
“Yes. As I was saying, there are several guidelines you must understand. By being in this vehicle, you are agreeing to follow them. First, you will not reveal to anyone the nature of your work.”
“Yeah—Top Secret. I got that from Karl—the other Karl—yesterday on the phone.”
“Second,” the ‘Karl’ in the car ignored the comment, “You will do all your work in the studio we provide for you. Third, you will not leave Norway until the project is completed—”
“Stop.” Joe interrupted. “No deal. The guy on the phone yesterday couldn’t stop emphasizing ‘a stone castle with authentic materials.’ Maybe you don’t know much about historical construction, but I do. A structure like that used to take up to two decades to build. Even using all modern equipment, we’re talking six months to a year to build any decent-sized stone castle, not to mention the time to draw out the plans.”
“Actually, Mr. Stadtler, you will have the project completed in two weeks. That is one of our terms.”
Joe shook his head coolly. “I should have listened to my gut. You’re either naive or crazy; either way, it can’t be done. Tell your driver to stop. I’m getting out.”
The Norwegian hadn’t stopped smiling. “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Mr. Stadtler. You see, your skills come highly recommended. We haven’t time to find another man of your talents. Besides, most of the plans have already been sketched; you will only have to make the final draft from them. And you will have as many laborers as you need to complete the project on time.”
“I’m sure you’ll manage. Let me out.”
Looking as friendly as ever, the man reached into a compartment next to the seat. From it he pulled a pistol. Pointing it at Joe, he asked politely, “Won’t you please reconsider?”
Raising his hands, Joe protested, “Woah, hang on there, Karl—I think I can be convinced. No need for that.”
“Good,” said the Norwegian cheerfully. “Here we are!” Joe looked out the window and saw that they were at the airport, stopping near a small jet.
Things like this aren’t supposed to happen to architects, he told himself as he was escorted onto the plane.