Seek Varelle for your reward
Keeper of the glen and fjord
Rely on her to guide your path
Ease your fear of beastly wrath
It was all that was read before it was tossed on the burning pile. “Varelle, you have not guided me right in months,” Byron muttered. He looked around for anything else to feed the fire. While it was slowly starting to spread to the edge of the fire place, he was quite surprised how little his house actually wanted to burn. He had no particular dislike for the house and its contents. They were just casualties of his decision to burn it all down before disappearing into the night.
Byron had made the mistake many a merchant young and old do of investing in the wrong enterprise. In this case he had backed the wrong noble for ownership of a title. And though in his kindness Lord Forendide said he would spare the lives of those who had conspired against him, he had also proclaimed ownership of their possessions.
Lord Forendide would be by in two days and to take possession of his property from Byron. Byron, along with the several overs in the glen, had agreed to leave behind the worthless pile of ashes and head off at first light by ship to greener pastures. So now he stood vexed as to what he had to coax a flame to spread beyond the hearth to the walls. He had already drank his alcohol and the one book that had not been tossed on the fire was coming with him.
His concentration was broken by a rapping upon the door. Confused as to who would be calling at this hour, he grabbed his dagger off his desk and made his way out of his office.
There was a second knocking on the door, this time a bit more rapid and heavier. Byron made haste down the stairs and to the door. It was not as if there were any other residence to be disturbed by the late hour cacophony the caller was making. And yet he did a slight jog across the floor to hasten answering.
At the door, Byron called out before opening, “Who is knocking at this late hour?”
“Tis Jorgan, I have urgent news. Open up and be quick about it. I do not like standing out here in the night.”
Byron relaxed and unbolted the door. Opening it to find it was Jorgan, along with two others. flanking him. Standing a head shorter on Jorgan’s left was a stout balding woman. From her rust colored robes he could tell she was one of the seers, but not one he had met before. To Jorgan’s right, standing as tall as Jorgan, with a slender build, was a black haired man. Clean shaven and with a deep blue tunic depicting a hare, Byron took him as one of the Tuftom Knights.
“Sorry to call upon on you at this hour, and I will explain all to you as soon as we have a moment’s rest. I come with word from our brother Strom.”
“Come in then before someone sees you dawdling about out there.” Byron replied. “I have naught but water to offer you as I have finished the last of the wine with supper.” He led them to a room just off the entry and gestured for them to have a seat.
Byron went over to a pitcher and decanted drinks and continued, “I am planning on being out of town by morning so we had best make this quick.”
“Strom has come across a great opportunity, but it will require funding from you.”
“And this could not wait?” asked Byron.
“Um no,” replied Jorgan. “I know you are in a bit of a bind with current ventures and I had to talk before your credit was wiped out.”
“Go on,” Byron commented.
“We need a thousand, to fund an expedition to recover…”
“May as well be ten thousand,” replied Byron. ‘On that front you are too late. My accounts at the counting houses are closed and the merchants know the ass is coming to take what they could not.”
“But you have other ventures that have money,” pushed Jorgan. “And this is for the recovery of the seer’s staff. The oracle left at Da-kineth.”
Byron paused, before his mind went out on a hundred tangents of possibilities. This could be the sign he needed for way out of the pit he was in. “I have some funds available, it will take me all day tomorrow to get them and it may be short a few. Naturally we have to work out some finer points as to repayment will be for backing. Also I want to go along as there will little to occupy my time otherwise.”
The woman looked intently into Byron’s blue eyes. “You scheme, as all merchants do, and I sense no malice in your future. You will have your turn at the oracle’s benefits, but do not be dismayed when it gives visions of things you did not wish to see. I am Lady Briana of the seers. I look forward to our partnership. Also Sir Koslo over there and I shall be on the expedition.” Briana motioned with her hand at the Tuftom Knight.
Koslo sniffed the air, “Is that smoke? I think the house is on fire.”
“Yes, that would be smoke and I think it best we all leave the house.” replied Byron calmly.
“But surely we can put it out if it has not gotten far.” Koslo said with a confused look.
“No, I am certain it is a lost cause,” Byron Retorted. “Now out the door quickly.” He picked up a book from a table and started for the door. The other three took this finally as a sign he was serious and followed closely behind.