The Coldfall Sanction
Night Manager Athene Palace
Always impeccably dressed, the night manager of the Athene Palace moves with the calm precision of a aristocrat forced to descend into to the depths of the servants quarters, in order to elucidate the finer rudiments of menial servitude.
Before the guns of August had begun to blaze away, István Molnár, the manager of the prestigious Danubius Hotel Astoria, in the heart of Budapest, slipped away from the delivery entrance with three valises. Under the cover of darkness he made his way to the docks, where the wash of the Danube was all but lost in the sounds of the boisterous dockhands as they man-handled their cargo. The fastidious Molnár, ill-at-ease, furtively handed over a fist full of Krones to the nebulous captain of the Mária Terézia. And thus, he made his way from Budapest down the Danube to the Dâmbovița River and the port of Bucharest.
With a résumé, which indicated his former employment had been in Paris rather than Bucharest and a dossier of rather fulsome references, István Molnár assumed the recently open position of night manager of the Athene Palace. A most fortunate happenstance, to be sure, owing to the very tragic death of the previous holder of the position, only several days before István Molnár strolled into the luxurious lobby to inquire of the hotel’s management of possible employment opportunities.