One would not expect a saloon in one of the most booming ports in all of Trean to be dark and gloomy. But the city was not the beautiful gem that travelers came far and wide to see. Sitting with his back to the wall in a shaded corner, his ranger pack sitting on the table before alongside his belt, he sipped from the grime filled glass of fire whiskey. Downing the glass and looking to the man next to him he shook his head. The nobleman sat in his seat, though barely, attempting to keep his crisp white robes off of the dirt, wet wood. His face was clean shaven and his hair was free of knots and curls, he had a pristine look about him, like that of a man who thinks himself a God. Leaning forward, his balance a little shaky from his distaste of the seat he sat on, the Noble spoke with a voice of that of a man who felt himself greater than his companion, “Her majesty sends her regards, signore William.”
“Why in the hell would the old nutter send me ‘er regards? She ain’t no woman of fancy, is she now? Is the ol’ nut off ‘er rocker again?” William asked as he set his glass on the table. His Vronti accent was the mix of a broad cockney dialect of the Nero English and the more elegant Vronti way of speaking which seemed to squeeze the words together, speeding up the person’s speech and letting the pronunciation flow from the lips instead of the back of the mouth. He looked around the bar, uncaring of the Nobleman who sat next to him.
“It’s more of a… Regal matter. She wants to extend the greeting to the Caesar family, you’re people are very well cared for by the Monarch,” he replied. William nodded as he slowly stood, strapping his belt on and taking his pack in his right hand, leading the man out of the pub. The streets were dirty in the midday with mud and garbage creating a cesspool of disgusting sludge that his leather boots allowed him to wade through easily. His cloak, which hung to his mid calves, fluttered on the breeze while he spoke, “She’s a bi’ o’er respec’ive in my opinion, I can’ imagine why she’d wan’ to spea’ to a Caesar, we aren’ the best Vronti role mo’els.”
“That may be true,” the man nodded, “but that doesn’t change that her Majesty wishes to extend her regards. She also wished for me,” he continued as he extracted a folded piece of parchment that bore the Queen’s seal, “to give you this.”
Grasping the parchment the man opened it as a small bird fluttered to his right shoulder, wrapping its dulled claws over his cloaked perch, keeping its head moving at a curious rate. Smiling, William read the page, scanning the scrawl of the Queen, it was written in the Vronti language: სახელით მონარქი დიდი ერი ვარ შეკვეთით თქვენ წევრად დიდებულები საბჭოს დედოფლის სასამართლოს მოხსენება ქალაქი ბრძანებით გათვალისწინებული ჯარიმა სიკვდილის.
Looking up from the parchment he laughed, crumpling it in his hands, “On behalf of the Monarch of the Great Nation of Vronti, I, the Golden Woman of Stormhold, am ordering you as a member of the Noblemen Council of the Queen's Court to report to City of the Order, Heliopolis, under penalty of Death,” he recited as he tossed the letter into the puddles of feces in the streets. His family had always held extreme power in the Monarch, so much so that the old generation Royal Seal held the Caesar family coat of arms. But the new Queen had always been quite repressive of the Caesar name. Looking at the man he sighed heavily, placing his hand on the Nobleman’s shoulder, “I presume I have no choice. I’ll book the next boat to the Port of Winds.”
“That is already done,” another piece of parchment was pressed into his hands, “and there is a horse waiting for you when you get there. They’ll need you in Heliopolis, William. And the Queen also asked me to inform you that she wants you to write her back. I assume your bird here is a message carrier?”
Nodding, William pulled a small piece of bread from his bag and held it up. Iris snapped it from his fingers as he placed the parchment into his bag, “The fastest bird in the sky.”
“For your sake… I hope so.”
Port of Winds, Vronti
Stepping down from the gangway onto the stone docks, the steel soles of his leather boots clapped down as he looked around, gripping his bow. Behind him three armed merchants passed, carrying a large wooden box and laughed as they passed, “Not in Port-Town anymore…” they poked as he strolled down the dock to a small wooden cart where a dock hand stood, scribbling the names of men and women entering the country through the Port. Pulling out a hand full of the sterling silver coins of the Vronti Monarch, he nodded to the man and muttered his name before finding the stable at the edge of the City. It rested at the crest of a cliff on the side of the road that lead deeper in land toward Stormhold, and even farther to the North of his home, Heliopolis.
Climbing into the saddle of a jet black horse, he grasped the reins and tossed a small pouch of silver into the hands of a man who had helped him ready the steed. Nodding to him he lifted his right arm where his Falcon sat, a small roll of parchment in the steel clasp on her feet, “Iris, go!” he shouted and she was gone in a flash. Looking to the man he nodded in respect before kicking the horse forward, uttering a loud guttural command as the black shadow lurched forward. Throwing itself onto the cobblestone road and galloping north, William held the reins tightly with his left hand, his bow in the right, while bouncing up and down in the saddle. The trip north to the Villa di Caesar was a twelve hour ride, and he knew it would take the full amount of the time.
Lifting the small shemagh of black silk from his clothes over his lower face to block the wind from biting his skin as he looked to the setting sun, his mind drifted. With a new day came a new adventure. But was it worth it?