The last session of the Evokers’ Annual Calling had ended shortly after midday. Since he opted not to stick around for yet another luncheon where he’d be asked to hold forth on the breakdown of algorithms for precise height determination when casting fireballs over allied forces, this meant that Kendel arrived back at Catchbreeze just an hour or two later – in time, if he was lucky, to still get some fresh-baked scones and chilled juice of oranienap before the kitchen started in on serious dinner preparations.
The delightful weather makes him briefly consider sitting down at a table in the estate’s small orchard to work through an intriguing set of arithmancy problems, but he swiftly changes his mind and heads down to the library. Fewer chances of bugs in the inkwell or wind blowing away a loose leaf and also less chance of Sur finding him and trying to convince him to schedule a full re-roofing of the chapel this very instant. The man knew his business, for sure, but finding finances to have the estate kept up to his exacting standards was a challenge Kendel did not relish nearly as much as arithmancy. Come to think of it, he’d start learning divination spells before he’d do any more fundraising.
Just as Kendel sits down at his favorite desk, Petha Amers, majordomo of Catchbreeze, soundlessly steps up beside him. She is holding a tray. “I trust you’ve had an interesting conference, ser?” she says. Kendel rolls his eyes a little. “I don’t think half of them had left their houses at all between this one and the last. They are ink-stained up to their elbows, and have beards so long they trip over them and all I ever hear of them is theoretical mumblings and vague theories of how things might work if the stars aligned just right.” Petha gives the wizard a genuine smile. “Whereas you, ser, are of course beard-free and only ink-stained at the very tips of your fingers.” The wizard grimaces. “You did ask me not to remove any more spiders for the house staff. And it was such good practice. Soon I, too, will be ink stained beyond measure” Kendel retorts, arching an eyebrow at the liveried half-elf. She bows briefly and smiles. “We do so appreciate that you leave this duty to others now, ser. Your dedication to their disappearance was sometimes a little…” she pauses, still smiling, “…fiery.” Kendel shrugs. “We all have to make do. I can’t just pick them up and take them outside like… well.. like some people.” Petha’s expression softens and becomes sympathetic. “There is that, ser. But that is not why I am here. Would you like some iced tea and biscuits?” Kendel fakes a look of exasperation and exaggerates a sigh. “I know what this means, Petha. You want me to check the ledgers again, don’t you?”
“It is time to review spring quarter numbers, ser, and it is custom that a member of the house review the books for final approval.” Kendel sags in his chair, twirling one hand in half-serious annoyance. “Fine, o valued keeper of this esteemed and ancient house. Bring me the ledger and I shall review them, if only because I am apparently the only member of the house who can sit still and look at rows of numbers without suffering psychic damage.”
Some time later, when the biscuits and tea have been disposed of and all the numbers have been added and subtracted properly, Kendel wanders through the herb garden to gather materials for a new ink he wants to make. Then he sees Royce, who leans over a large silver dish that brims with water. The wizard watches his friend for a moment, wondering who he is looking at this time. He has long since stopped asking, but he was glad he’d brought the dish back for the cleric from his recent excursion to Neverwinter. The gift had made him happy, and it gave him something to do beyond hanging out at that temple complex trying to teach some city kids what end of a cudgel to hold.
He feels a little bad at the uncharitable thought. Royce’s magic had always stood them in good stead throughout their adventures, and Tempus had seen fit more than once to send a celestial being their way to help them out of a sticky situation, or into a safe one, like that wonderful expanding fortress that they found. Still, the gap between the divine and the arcane is not so easily crossed. If his friend had been a little bit less upstanding… if maybe his response to seeing Orcus standing in his path had been different… if maybe they had made a different choice somewhere that this god had disapproved of… No. No, magic from a god is a fickle thing. Better to keep it in a spell book.
A small chime goes off. Royce, lost in his scrying, doesn’t hear it, but it makes Kendel turn on his heel and walk back to the house. Almost time for his daily casting of the teleportation spell. He heads down to Catchbreeze’s basement level to prepare.