“My lord, word has arrived from the Lord Magistrate. He says that the Reborn have accepted the mission.”
Lord Winsome looks up from his work, and breakfast to Seneschal Marek receiving the report while extending his hand to take the letters simultaneously offered. He studies the man for the moment, technically the King’s majordomo the Seneschal’s loyalty and forthrightness was not something the Earl relied on too deeply.
Satisfied, Winsome regretfully abandoned his meal to quickly regard the letters in case he needed Marek to leave with some form of response. His shoulder’s ached and he felt the beginnings of a headache already forming behind his ears. The first couple of letters were insignificant, responses and queries or complaints from various equally insignificant nobles, functionaries, and the like. It was only the final letter, sealed with the emblem of the church that brought that heavy weight of annoyance with it.
He skipped past the formalities, usually almost an entire page telling him his own titles, to the meat of the correspondence. This part at least was brief.
“Our agents in Verwich have arrested a sorcerer, stated name of Oliver. We would be delighted to negotiate the exchange of the prisoner with the Crown or one of her duly appointed agents and wish to extend an invitation to the Cathedral of the Sun.”
Feeling the heat of anger rushing to his head, Lord Winsome takes a long moment to carefully fold the letter and breath to steady himself before taking his quill and rapidly penning a response communicating his intention to accept the invitation.
With practiced efficiency, he signs and seals the letter before standing to offer it to Marek.
“Send this by mounted courier and make preparations so I may leave for Verwich as soon as is possible.”
Marek nods, the curiosity in his eye imperceptible if the Earl hadn’t been expecting it, and bowing, exits the room.
The Lord Winsome patiently waits until Marek is well out of earshot, listening to his footsteps to be sure, before slamming his fists violently onto the desk and throwing himself into his chair, slumping in defeat.
Looking up at the portrait of himself and his wife, Countess Chloe, hanging on the wall. His pain he’d thought in the past re-surged with a vengeance. It was true, after all. The High Priestess was many things, but never a liar. The boy was real. And so the rumours must be too. He wondered at the absence of that blinding anger he’d felt when he’d first been confronted with the possibility of his wife’s infidelity. Perhaps that would come later.
Pushing down his emotions, Winsome considers what this new information meant for his plans. Taking solace in the analytical state he took for dealing with matters of state, he centred himself and started to come up with his next steps.
Eventually he pulls another blank page from the pile and starts to write a new letter.
With Laurin gone, telling another fiction to another sap Telfor assumed, the old soldier finishes up the drink he’d gotten when they came in. Counting coins in his head against the number of new recruits who’d likely arrive with the old guard when the company reassembled, he added another couple of years to his retirement plan.
He looked across at Vahkragg, the giant was staring intently at a couple of drunks who seemed to be mustering the courage to do or say something to another. Fight’s breaking out weren’t that uncommon, but they rarely lasted long. Plenty people like Vahkragg who enjoyed “evening the odds” in unfair brawls.
Telfor thought about his wife and daughter. He should have been home with them a week ago. Placing his empty cup on the table he stands.
“I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
Keeping one eye on the brewing fight, Vahkragg nods. Just like an enormous cat waiting to pounce Telfor thinks to himself, stepping from the inn to the waning hours of the afternoon.
The walk from the gate district to his home was a long way, the gate district was on the other side of the Palace and the market, just getting through those would take half the journey, then the residences were close to the opposite wall. At least they’d been able to afford something inside the walls, he wouldn’t wish the sprawls on someone who deserved them. That part of the city devoured people.
The market’s were even more packed when he made it there this time. The late afternoon bringing even more folk to the square to shop, peddle, or even perform. The frantic vibrancy of it all brought a smile to his face. Vahkragg may hate the city, but to Telfor this city at least was home and he loved it for it’s wild, unique personality.
Passing from the main markets through the inner gate that separated the wealthy from the ordinary, he crossed the much calmer but even more brightly coloured marketplace. Instead of the temporary stalls of the main market here were built permanent stores and the square was an open garden for strolling. He stood out somewhat in his more humble attire, but he had papers authorising his presence so the soldiery left him to cross in peace. He noted the abundance in House Drachengier’s heraldry, usually diminished by the presence of the heraldry of other nobility presently visiting occupying much of the space. Today however it seemed other House Argon, and Venta were in residence. They’re running scared, he thought.
Beyond the markets, things calmed significantly. In contrast with the narrow, winding roads of Verwich where even whole buildings could hide well enough never to be found, the streets of Capital were straight and proud with paved roads even out in the residences. Another contrast was Verwich’s abundance of wooden homes compared to Capital’s stone. The palace had been dug into the mountain, so stone had been abundant in the cities construction, while the Märchenwald Forest, the only significant source of wood was miles away to the south.
Thoughts of comparing his home city to abroad left Telfor however, as he saw his personal home coming up to greet him as he approached. The familiar feeling of nervousness built in his chest, even after all these years, coming home after a long time away could still make him feel this way. Or perhaps it was fear of what his wife would say. The thought made him smile. It was good to be home.
Happier with this one, though I had less of an idea where I wanted to go with it. I feel like a learned something about Vahkragg and Telfor I hadn’t know previously. I’m feeling things starting to come together, I’m excited.
This featured art I unfortunately couldn’t find any sign as to the owner, so if you know please let me know so I can credit them.