Carmichael Village Square
Western Archenland

You stand in the center of a quaint little country village, nestled in the foothills of the Western Mountains. There are a few shops surrounding the square, including Isfar’s blacksmith shop to the east, which is ringing with the sound of iron-on-iron. To the southwest is a small tavern, which smells of good home-cooked food. There is a traveller’s shelter to the northwest with a sign over the door that reads “Carmichael Lodge”. There is also a shop to the northeast.

The main road heads south toward the settlement, a collection of humble, neatly-kept homes to the southwest of the main town.

Myrd is standing in front of the inn. He looks impatient and his arms are crossed. He scans the square, apparently expecting someone.

Lanisen meanders into the square, glancing around at the passing people. He catches sight of Myrd and crosses unhurriedly to join him.

Myrd nods in the direction of the forest path, wordlessly indicating Lanisen should join him.

Along the Southern Trail
Western Archenland

You stand along the southern trail, a well-traveled track running through the south of Archenland. The trail rounds a bend here, continuing to the northeast in one direction and to the northwest in the other. To the distant southeast you can make out wisps of smoke rising over the hills, indicating that there is some kind of settlement not far from here.

Myrd guides them deep into the forest, scowling at Lanisen. “What time did I tell you to meet me, boy?”

Lanisen kicks at a pine cone on the ground. “Sorry.”

Myrd snorts and mutters something about how the younger man /will/ be under his breath. It’s rather tough to make out. “Got an assignment for you. Unless you’re too skittish, in which case I’ll just have to ask Zan.”

Lanisen raises one eyebrow, looking faintly rebellious. “Yeah?”

Myrd hands him a fine piece of parchment. It is sealed in the yellow and purple of Archenland, and it appears to have a rather passable representation of the royal seal on it. Myrd looks smug.

Lanisen takes it, turning it over to peer at the seal. He looks grudgingly impressed. “Where’d you get this?”

Myrd snorts. “Get it? I wrote it. At no small trouble to myself, I’ll tell you.”

Lanisen rolls his eyes, not looking up from the letter.

Myrd gives him a sharp cuff on the shoulder. “You best watch the attitude, boy, until you can back it up.”

Lanisen lets out a grunt of pain and backs quickly away from Myrd. His jaw is clenched, and he’s obviously considering ‘backing it up’ now. He appears to think better of it, though, and merely waits for Myrd to explain the letter.

Myrd eyes the other man, giving a curt nod when Lanisen backs down. “Smart choice, boy. Now, you’ll be taking the letter to the Manor house, so we’d best pretty you up some. Better if you don’t know what’s in it, but that knight who’s been messing in our business is about to take himself a trip.”

Lanisen repeats warily, “Knight?”

Myrd nods again. “What’s the matter? Didn’t take you as the type to get scared of delivering a little letter.”

Lanisen sneers a response.

Myrd’s eyes harden. “We’d better work on a story for you. Have to make you sound convincing.” He strikes an almost aristocratic pose and peers down his nose at Lanisen. “Very well, courier. What is your name?”

Lanisen’s neck turns red and he eyes the other man with deep loathing. Nevertheless, he snaps to attention and replies briskly, “Cal, sir.”

Myrd seems satisfied. He continues, modulating his voice into the formal tones of the aristocracy. “And what is your business here, Cal? From where have you come?”

Lanisen swallows, a flicker of uncertainty crossing his face. “From Anvard,” he answers. “I have a message for Sir –” He pauses, looking at Myrd expectantly.

Myrd taps at the letter in Lanisen’s hand. He is deadly earnest now. “You’d know that. Tyren.”

Lanisen’s face pales slightly. “For Sir Tyren,” he finishes, still playing the courier.

Myrd clasps his hands behind his back, still playing his own role. “I see. Who gave it to you? I assume it is an urgent message?”

Lanisen’s eyes dart back to the envelope and its seal. “From the King,” he answers, looking uncertainly at Myrd. “Of utmost importance.”

Myrd nods. Since he doesn’t narrow his eyes at the young man or, worse, cuff him again, this must be the correct answer. He says haughtily, “Were you told to wait for a response?”

Lanisen taps the letter against his other hand. “Um… yes?” he guesses.

Myrd frowns deeply. “You deliver the letter, and you get yourself out of there. The less they see of your face, the better.”

Lanisen hehs. “They’re gonna see my face anyway,” he points out. “Couriers don’t generally wear masks.”

Myrd shakes his head in slight disgust, clearly taking this as further proof that he needs to find some different minions. “You don’t have to look like yourself. Perish the thought.” With this, he hands Lanisen a pair of rather thick spectacles and reaches over to muss up the boy’s hair. When this is done, he gives him a (likely) stolen set of livery. “Change. Then get nice and dusty.”

Lanisen flinches slightly from the mussing, but he takes the spectacles and perches them on his nose, squinting through the huge lenses. “Can’t see a thing with these…” He takes them off and ducks behind a bush to put on the livery.

Myrd grunts out, “Won’t have to wear them long. Not many are smart enough to see the man behind those, which is the point.”

Lanisen steps out from behind the bush, tugging at the livery. “It’s too small,” he complains. “Probably looks ridiculous.”

Myrd snorts. “That’s the least of your problems if they suspect anything. You’re ready,” he grudgingly offers.

Lanisen scoops up a handful of dust, dumping it liberally over his uniform and hair. He shakes the worst of it off and takes a deep breath. “All right.”

You see a young man dressed in the purple-and-gold livery of Anvard, filthy with dust. His hair, unremarkable brown, is unwashed and messy: clearly he’s just completed a long journey in haste and hasn’t had time to clean up. He squints through a thick pair of spectacles that apparently don’t do much to help his vision problems (or, possibly, aren’t meant for him at all).

Myrd gives him a push towards the path. “Better get there before dark.”

Lanisen’s face is the color of chalk. He nods, pockets the letter, and sets off down the path.

You receive a fine piece of parchment, sealed with the traditional purple and yellow of Archenland. The seal itself, though slightly worn from the journey, is still intact. Upon opening the letter, you read: 

I, King Lune, summon you back to court immediately. Though I am loathe to cut short your stay in Carmichael, necessity compels me to do so, and your duty as a knight of this realm and a son of Chesterton obliges you to answer. You are to be commissioned in the search for those who have so blatantly disturbed the peace of my subjects in Lancelyn Green. They must be brought to face justice.
I have provided means for you to return to Anvard at once. You are to have as many men accompany you as necessary to ensure safe passage to court. There is also a more personal reason for your return at present. I wished for you to have it from my own hand. The bandits have struck again, this time in Anvard itself. Your sister, the Lady Avery, was accompanied by several of Lord Dar’s men on a visit to the outer ward. Before they reached the shops, they were set upon. The guard was beaten badly, and your sister was wounded as well before the brigands took her purse. Adrian has the care of her, and I am informed that her injuries, bruises and several deep cuts, are serious. She has been asking for you.
Come with all haste.

A servant enters, bows, and announces that a grimy-looking courier from the castle is looking for Sir Tyren.

Entrance Hall
Carmichael Manor
Western Archenland

The Entrance Hall of the Manor House is as impressive as its exterior. The walls are stone, and immediately above the door is hung a coat of arms of green and white, with a stag rearing in its center. Staircases run upwards to the east and west, turning at the wall and running north into the upper rooms. Directly opposite the main doors, a large archway leads into the Manor House’s Great Hall.

The servant returns and informs Lanisen that he may accompany him to the Great Hall where he may meet with Sir Tyren.

Great Hall
Carmichael Manor

You stand in a long, elegant chamber that makes up the bulk of the Manor House’s main floor. It is arcadelike, with two arched doorways on both the east and west walls, and a matching archway leading out to the foyer to the south. There is a large fireplace to the north that takes up much of the wall there, a grand tapestry hanging above it, with smaller archways on either side. There are tapestries hung between the doorways on either side, and above the archway to the south is another depiction of the family’s coat of arms.

The ceiling above stretches up two stories and is vaulted to a steep pitch that is heavy with thatch and plaster, with great dark wooden support beams visible at intervals from one end to the other. From the beams hang circular lanterns that combine with windows in the upper story to send cascading light down on the large table that runs the length of the room. The table is draped in a white cloth, and eight high-backed chairs sit on either side, with one rather larger chair at the north end.

A son of adam with sharp features (Tyren) stands by his cousin, expression reserved and somewhat serious. He nods towards the courier as the servant brings him in.

A daughter of eve with honey-colored hair and deep blue eyes (Priya) stands by Sir Tyren. She holds a 10 month old baby Hart. She nods to the courier. “Please, come in,” she says politely.

Lanisen follows the servant into the hall and bows to each. “Thank you, my lady,” he replies politely, and directs his attention to the knight. “Sir Tyren?”

Tyren nods again. “That would be me. What is it that I can do for the castle?”

Priya nods to him. She listens quietly, letting Tyren speak to the courier.

Lanisen bows again and holds an envelope embellished with the purple and gold of Anvard toward Tyren. “From the King, sir.” His expression is coolly professional.

Tyren’s brow lifts vaguely, taking the envelope and glancing over the seal. He nods yet again. “So I see. Thank you.”

Priya glances to the envelope. She shifts her son in her arms a little, then looks between the two men.

Lanisen steps away, eyes politely on the ground, waiting to be dismissed.

Tyren asks, “Is that all, or was there more?”

Priya waits for the courier to respond.

Lanisen inclines his head. “My lord the King sent this as well,” he answers.
Lanisen pulls a money pouch containing 2000 coins from his satchel and hands it to Tyren.

Tyren nods yet again as he takes the pouch, glancing back to the envelope. He breaks the seal and begins to unfold it as he says, “Thank you again. If that is all there is, then you’d best be seeing to the rest of your courier duties.”

Lanisen’s expression flickers briefly as Tyren begins to open the letter, but he bows and turns to go.

Priya nods to the courier. “Safe travels. Thank you.” She dismisses him.

Along the Southern Trail
Western Archenland

You stand along the southern trail, a well-traveled track running through the south of Archenland. The trail rounds a bend here, continuing to the northeast in one direction and to the northwest in the other. To the distant southeast you can make out wisps of smoke rising over the hills, indicating that there is some kind of settlement not far from here.

Myrd scowls darkly at her. “He’s delivering it now.”

Lanisen comes up the trail, moving a bit faster than necessary. He stops at the sight of Jana and Myrd and nods. “Done,” he says, triumphant and a little breathless.

Myrd glances up at him. “And they didn’t catch on?”

Jana looks around again, clearly uncertain. She looks to Lanisen for his response.

Lanisen shakes his head, grinning. “Don’t think so. Didn’t look like it.”

Jana lets out a sigh through her nose. She still looks uncertain.

Lanisen hands the spectacles back to Myrd. “/Please/ don’t make me wear those again.”

Myrd nods at this. “Good. I want to hear it all. In the morning, though. Go back to the hideout and find the others.”

Lanisen nods, gives a jaunty wave, and continues down the trail.


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