A Kings Concern

I Accept

Odessa walked into the room, her wolf Coho at her side. The only other people who had answered Sir Sol’s summons were a grizzled old man who smelled strongly of whisky and a mysterious but incompetent looking young woman. Fantastic…

Before she had a chance to assess the situation further, Sir Sol walked into the room. He explained that the neighboring kingdom of Odir had suddenly been deserted, with no sign of where its inhabitants had gone. He was looking for volunteers to investigate the situation without alerting the populace and causing a panic. Should they accept the assignment, they were tasked only with discreetly gathering information, not acting to change the situation in any way – of course they wouldn’t be trusted with that side of things.

The drunk introduced himself as Altair, a veteran of the armed forces who had clearly given in to some more base desires after his service. He was in, and how much did it pay? Sir Sol assured him that they would be well compensated. He didn’t expect any of them to accept the mission for free. After hearing that, the young woman spoke up. She was a failed enchantress named Kenley who had been exiled for not being able to control her temper. Incompetent indeed. But she, like Altair, accepted the assignment. Although she didn’t say so, her motives were somewhat different. Maybe if she provided a valuable service, the crown would pardon her and release her from her exiled status.

Odessa looked Ser Sol in the eyes. She had worked for him before in her capacity as the unofficial ambassador for Fernassa -unofficial only in the eyes of Vashela, a self-absorbed kingdom of the human tradition. Among her own tribe, Odessa was well respected, but here the forest gnomes were not even recognized as citizens of the kingdom. This didn’t concern Fernassans much. They had been here long before Vashela came to be, and would remain long after it was gone, provided Odessa did her job right. She had to gather enough information for Fernassa to navigate the petty wars of humans while remaining in the shadows. It was good that most humans didn’t even know what a forest gnome was; it kept them focused on their own problems.

Odessa knew that she would get no more detailed information from Sir Sol. He was a master of secrets and always knew much more than he let on. Despite the clear ineptitude of her potential companions, this was an ideal opportunity to gain valuable information for Fernassa. She could work around these two and maybe even use them to her advantage.

“I accept.”

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Meeting Adjourned

King Killian sat at the head of the oak table, his brow rested on the base of palm, his eyes and teeth clenched in frustration. The bickering of the council continued.

“Enough!” Killian shouted, slamming his open hand on the table. “We will send a small, expendable recon team to investigate. Sir James won’t have to fear losing any of his precious men, Sir Galavan can vet them and insure they are trust worthy, and then someone can finally tell me what the hell actually happened in Odir!” Killian rose from his seat, and the council followed suit, heads bowed. “I’m sick of rumors and assumptions. I don’t want to hear another, unverifiable word about. I want first accounts, and I want it yesterday.” Killian slowly raised his right elbow, and a young woman, dressed in a dark green hooded frock, stepped out from the shadows. Taking the frail, elderly king’s arm, and bearing his weight, they left the Grand Councils Hall together, the large, 12ft doors of the royal entrance slamming behind them.

Slowly, the members of the council raised their heads. Sir Galavan, the Kings political advisor, broke the silence. “Any volunteers?”

“You laugh, but I’ll be damned if any of my men volunteer for this suicide mission!” Sir James replied as he pivoted from his station and stormed off out towards the main entrance.

Those less involved in the conversation scurried, relieved to resume their daily lives. Sir Sol however, slowed his pace as he passed Galavan.

“I have a few names that might be helpful to you.” the adviser of civilian life offered.

“You just happen to keep a list of trustworthy, expendable, and capable commoners on you?” Galavan replied sarcastically as they walked in stride through the main doors and into the clear autumn afternoon.

“They’re expats, but trustworthy. I’ve worked each of them in some way for years on various… deliveries if you will, so they’re experienced with the rigor of travel, and they always deliver.” Sol replied. “Shall I have them meet with you in your office tomorrow?”

Galavan thought for a moment, nodded, and the two parted ways. On his way to his villa, Galavan mulled over what little information he had.

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