With a popping sound, Kendel appears in the center of an elaborate gemstone mosaic full of magic sigils. He is swathed in a number of extra robes, a hooded, fur-lined cape and a scarf the size of a small country. When he turns to move towards Catchbreeze’s central staircase, he looks like a ship under full sail. One of his wraps unfurls as he walks, revealing a large stack of scrolls, documents and parcels that he cradles close to his chest.
As Kendel ascends to the library, Petha, in her usual livery but with an added shawl, comes through the decorative panel that serves as hidden doorway for serving staff. She carries a small bundle of scrolls and smiles warmly as she sees Kendel approach. “Ser Kendel! A moment of your time, if you please.” He smiles back at the liveried half-elf. “How do you always happen to know precisely when I arrive, Petha?” She lowers her eyes a tad. “We have our ways, ser. Because you are so close to completing the circle, we have set it to activate a small bell downstairs when it is used.” She waits a moment, then continues. “Could I have your attention for a bit of correspondence, or is this not a good time?” She offers him some scrolls from her stack. Kendel eyes them distractedly. “I should have time to attend to these before supper. Thank you. Could you perhaps ask Tarrus to mull some wine? It does go so well with the weather, this time of year.” Petha nods. “I will also instruct Joscellan to light the fires in your apartment. Will you require his assistance with evening dress as well, ser? We’re not expecting guests tonight.” Kendel looks relieved at this news and shakes his head. “I’ll likely be overdressed as it is.”
He winks at Petha, then disappears into the library and unceremoniously dumps his armload of goods onto his favorite desk, which already overflows with piles of books and papers. He rummages for a while, then picks up one of the scrolls the majordomo gave him. It is a small scroll, sealed with a familiar crest. Doubtlessly this was his mothers’ monthly missive, informing him of this ball or that fête, and notifying him of the presence of certain ah.. available and suitable young elvish women from good families. He tosses the scroll, unread, into the fire that burns in a hearth a few feet from his workplace. Next, he picks up an even smaller scroll bearing the same crest. Aleda, his younger sister, liked to write to him whenever his mother did, for reasons he could not discern. Her notes, full of small, homely stories and summaries of her recent lessons always cheered him up. The last note had mentioned an infatuation of some sort. She’d asked him for secrecy, implying that the object of her affections was not a maternally pre-approved candidate. He really should remember to invite her to spend a few days here. She would love the library, and would likely spend hours giggling with Yonica, the stable girl, and she could get a break from their mother’s meddling which would undoubtedly do her good. Maybe he could even persuade her to introduce this interest of hers. Get a feeling for whoever it was. Amused by this sudden surge of fraternal protectiveness he puts the small scroll aside. He’d read that one later and compose a reply.
A third scroll carries the official seal of the royal court of Gauntlgrym. He opens it. He frowns at the note. Just to make sure, he makes a few quick gestures over it. The note remains unchanged. No magic. No illusions. Unusual. Why only him? He’d have to take it up with the others. Well, the few who remained, at least.
The fourth scroll looks even more impressive than the third. This one has two seals: one of Lady Laeral Silverhand, Open Lord of Waterdeep and another, showing it to have been sent via the hand-to-hand rider service organized by the Caravaneersguild. The news was likely urgent then. He scans the contents of the scroll, his frown deepening. He purses his lips in annoyance, makes a decision and snaps his fingers. In response the old brass bell that hangs in the estate’s foyer as a reminder of its past, emits a sound as if it was rung in a belfry. Before the ringing echoes have faded away, Kendel has swung open the tall, carved doors that lead to Catchbreeze’s magnificent dining room. He seats himself at the head of the table.
A multitude of footsteps approach. Naismith enters at a rushed pace, followed on his heels by a pony-sized, eight-legged lizard with luminescent eyes. Kendel twiddles his fingers at the beast, and she gives him an obliging blink. “What news, Kendel. Are we under attack?” The wizard looks at his roguish friend with alarm. “I’d like to think not. Should we be?” Naismith frowns for a split second, but then denies cheerfully. “Then what? News from Ilian? Nong?” Kendel shakes his head. “Nothing quite so… concrete, I am afraid. But let us wait until Royce is also here.” Naismith gives his elvish friend an exasperated look. “He’s at the temple. He wouldn’t hear that.” Kendel looks smug. “Of course he does.” “Oh.”
The silence at the table is only interrupted by the sandpapery sound of the large lizard stretching herself on the flagstones in front of the impressive fireplace. Hearing her sigh contentedly, Kendel nods at her. “She seems to do well under your keeping.” Understanding the intent behind the compliment Naismith drops the scowl. “Yeah. Petri’s not bad. Jero asked us the other day to help him deal with a nest of dire hares that was too much for Yonica’s little dogs. She had so much fun.”
They chat about matters of the house for a while, until they hear the estate’s large front doors slam open. A commotion enters the house along with an icy eastern wind. Naismith’s daggers flash in his hands, Petri jumps up, her eyes glowing brighter. Kendel makes the first gestures of a spell. Not until they recognize the voices do they begin to breathe again.
Yonica’s high-pitched voice sounds panicky “Ser, it’s no way to leave the horse like that! It’s soaking wet. It’ll catch a cold!” Nong responds impatiently: “Then you’ll do me the favor of drying him off, girl. Ride him back to Silvanus’ temple here in Waterdeep. That’s where he goes.” Royce interrupts, trying to smooth matters over. “Best leave it for now, Yonica. Can you handle taking the horse to the temple? Otherwise, Sur will be glad to help you, I’m sure.”
A pair of light footsteps disappears from earshot. Catchbreeze’s heavy front doors fall shut. Royce speaks up again. “Nong! Not that I’m not glad to see you, man, but you left your manners wherever you’ve been hiding. She’s just a child.” Nong growls: “Who has time to be polite when our arcane taskmaster rings a bell in your head. What am I? Some dog? To be called at will?” Royce laughs at this. “Still, it’s good that you’ve come back. All hale and whole, I hope?” A brief silence falls. “Good, good. Then maybe we should go see what our wizard has to say.”
Mordrock sits at the bar at Kissfettle’s and stares down at the small scroll that was pressed into his hand by a hurried messenger an eighth bell ago. Why would they summon him? Why now? Did this have something to do with what happened three days ago? How would she have known? He shakes his head. No other way to find out but to obey the summons. Besides, only a fool ignores a request made by Lady Silverhand.