Carlsberg was a huge city. To the common man it was a jumble of wood and stone, with no rhyme or reason in it's construction.
But to the more open mind it was a beautiful showcase of architecture. It's parks were immaculate and well tended. And it was regarded throughout the land as the forefront of cultural and academic studies.
The main streets were pristine, and it prided itself on it's sheer enormous choice of retail outlets, museums and galleries.
On the flip side the cities small winding alleyways held secrets. Admittedly not all of them good. Crime was up in the city, with street mugging the number one fashion of the day.
But to wander the safer parts of town, on a warm spring morning such as this, it made you feel alive and yet a part of this living breathing, stone being.
Dr Carl Von Haelstrom was a tall, rakish man. He cut quite a figure in his half cape and top hat. He was a man of stature in the community, known for his superior knowledge on matters of the strange, and his innate understanding and compassion for the common man.
But he was no pushover. The good doctor was known for his kindness, but was equally famed for his ability to cut down those he knew to be taking him for a fool.
Von Haelstrom walked briskly up Brasov Lane, each step bringing him towards a mystery.
As he sat taking early morning tea at a small cafe he liked to frequent, he had received word that a messenger was in his offices, on a matter of some urgency. Von Haelstrom could never pass up an intriguing lead such as this, not even for a fine cup of breakfast tea.
Reaching his own front door, Haelstrom was stopped by the calling of his name from behind him.
"Doctor Haelstrom? Doctor?"
Haelstrom turned to see a plump woman wrapped in a bright red shawl, waddling across the road waving one hand in the air, the other clutching a small wicker basket.
"Sally!" exclaimed the doctor, "So good to see you are back on your feet!"
Sally, grinning from ear to ear, thrust the basket into Haelstrom's hands and said "it's all thanks to you sir, I can never thank you enough! A little something to show my appreciation."
Haelstrom gently lifted the cloth covering the basket and saw a large plum cake beneath it.
"Oh Sally, you shouldn't have!" he said with a chuckle.
And he meant it. The doctor was not fond of cake at the best of times. And he suffered a severe allergic reaction to plums. The only known case like it ever recorded.
"If it wasn't for you sir, who knows where I'd be now?" she said, "now, begging your pardon, sir, but I must dash, I have to fetch my Billy some tincture for his fever."
"Still no better Sally?" the doctor said, concern written on his face "call for me should you need to!"
"You are a true angel, doctor" Sally said, squeezing Haelstrom's forearm. With that she turned and waddled off down the street.
Haelstrom viewed the cake once more, then covering it over, he turned and reached inside his waistcoat pocket for his house key. With a smooth and precise motion, Haelstrom unlocked the door and moved inside.
Time to meet this stranger, he thought.