It was a good day, cold, but a good day nonetheless. Having just returned to his Domain from business elsewhere, Itharius decided it would be a good idea to take a stroll through his lands. As usual, Itharius was ill prepared for the weather. He should have known by then that even if it seems pleasant, the weather (like all things) can turn on you in the merest of moments.
“Torr. Shall we?” He’s asked the burly man that was waiting for him. Of course, his light armour and twin blades made him no less imposing.
“Certainly my lord. Where shall we be going today?” Torr enquired of Itharius as they set off on a gentle stroll.
Shivering, Itharius realized his folly as they exited the keep, “My room. A moment.” Itharius turned around to find a lovely face smiling at him, scarlet hair gently swaying in the breeze. She was holding a heavy coat, which perchance belonged to Itharius. He chuckled to himself, accepted the coat and offered a very gentle thanks. She simply nodded while her smile grew almost imperceptibly larger, before she turned around to carry on with her duties.
“On second thought, perhaps the market.” Itharius mentioned to Torr as he donned the coat and started moving towards the market district. Itharius could see, out the corner of his eye, that he was being gently chuckled at. The two of them strode off, now sharing the mirth of the moment.
Before long, they arrived at the market. Making all haste they moved towards the cheese and wine area – they were eager to taste the latest harvest. Receiving a half-filled glass each, they sampled the wine. “Good man, this is marvellous as always. Thank you for your diligence. Please see to it that a few bottles find their way to my chambers.” Itharius earnestly thanked the proprietor, placing a hand on his shoulder while doing so.
The man, accustomed to praise when his work was good, didn’t shy away this time but rather stuck out his strong chest and wordlessly accepted the praise. As Itharius reached toward a slice of cheese, a non-descript man hurriedly ran towards him. “My… my lord… I’ve…”
“Take a moment, catch your breath young lad. What is it?” Itharius asked, offering the messenger a glass of water.
“Thank you my lord. You’ve… you’ve got a message. It seemed urgent, so… so here it is.” He said breathlessly as he removed a sealed parchment from his bag, and handed it to Itharius.
Itharius broke the seal, unfurled the parchment and started reading. Before long, his pleasant demeanour started to shift. “She did WHAT!?” First was unbridled fury. The young man and store keeper flinched, seeming to be scared for their lives – they had every right to be, if their lord was anyone else.
As he continued reading his fury subsided, only to be followed by unyielding sorrow. He finished reading the note, crunched it into the tightest of balls, and discarded it into a nearby fire. He looked at the nervous messenger, gave him a dour nod and turned on his heel. “Come, Torr. We have work to do.”
They strode off down the causeway towards the keep. The serpent on the back of his cloak seemed to shift of its own volition. Meanwhile the missive, melting in the white-hot flames, seemed to stoke the fire to a new, colder heat.