Blademaster's Office (Fastheld Keep)

This chamber serves as Blademaster Hartnek Lomasa's official private space on this level of the barracks, where he can meet with individual soldiers and visiting dignitaries, but it isn't designed for frequent occupation. It has a few wooden chairs, a writing desk with inkwell and quill, and a tapestry featuring images depicting an assault on the fortress by werebeasts some three centuries ago.

Hartnek Lomasa is currently sitting behind his desk, which is currently strewn with a number of parchment scrolls. He's reading over one of them now, squinting a bit to make out the words. His lips move silently as he goes along.

A knock comes on the door from outside.

Hartnek Lomasa glances up. Sets down the parchment and calls: "Come in."

The door opens, and in steps an older, hardy looking man, somewhat dirty with travel. His wet hair and freshly cleaned face shows he made an effort toward cleaning himself up before coming, but it could not remove the smell of horse and sweat. "Blademaster. Good Afternoon. We've never met. I am Milo Stone, Duke Vozhd-Kahar's Warmaster." He bows as he introduces himself.

The Blademaster narrows his eyes as he hears the introduction. "I'll do what I can not to hold it against you, Master Stone." Hartnek gestures to a nearby chair. "Sit. You look hard traveled."

Milo nods. "Many thanks, m'lord." He takes the chair offered, rubbing a quick hand over his features. "I and a squadron of my men have been led a merry chase by a group of brigands. Perhaps you heard of the attack on His Grace of the Kahar Road? I believe these are the same fiends."

Hartnek Lomasa leans back in his own chair, lacing his fingers together and smiling faintly. "The band of brigands that ... made off ... with Lady Dianna Lomasa?"

Milo nods. "The same, m'lord. They slip through my grasp like oil through water."

"Or like smoke through cheesecloth," the Blademaster replies, nodding curtly. "Tell me, Master Stone, have you actually *seen* these men? These brigands?"

Milo shakes his head. "No, m'lord."

"Were you supplied with descriptions? Any information at all beyond the basic 'generic band of vandals'?" Hartnek inquires.

Milo shrugs. "We've been following tracks. I get your meaning though, m'lord. There is a distinct feeling of being lead around by the nose. Which is partly why I made the detour to come here. In the absence of His Grace, I need instructions. This is not something I can abandon of my own accord."

Hartnek Lomasa sits forward in his chair, resting an arm on his desk. "The Duke ordered you on this search, did he? How many men has he assigned to this task? *Please* don't tell me he has emptied the East Aegis Garrison in the pursuit of swamp gas."

Milo shakes his head. "No, my lord. Only the Ducal Guard. His Grace has absented himself for some little time. I returned to Vozhdya after a visit to my parents to find a mess, news the Duke had been attacked and his kinwoman taken." He frowns. "In the aftermath of the Zahir mess, I didn't feel it would be prudent to let a tresspass against His Grace pass unnoticed."

"Master Stone, I am not at liberty to elaborate much on this ... unfortunate ... incident," the Blademaster replies. "But I can say this much: Go back to Vozhdya. Quit chasing these bandits. And when you next chance to encounter Markus Kahar, tell him that I would quite like to see him here in this office to discuss the situation."

"I see, m'lord. I can see I have acted rashly." The Warmaster looks deeply troubled. "I will inform His Grace that you wish to see him."

"I don't think you've acted rashly, given what you were told," Hartnek says, shaking his head. "I would invest more effort in trying to find a body so that my kinswoman can be laid to rest. Last I heard, the conventional wisdom in Vozhdya was that Lady Dianna had been murdered by these brigands."

Milo nods. "Yes. I had heard that as well." He shakes his head. "It is a shame." He looks back up at the Blademaster. "You can tell me nothing more?"

"It's not my place to tell you more," the Blademaster answers. "Much of what I've heard is base conjecture and rumor, in any event. No sense further muddying an already muddied puddle. For all concerned, this seems a chapter best closed and put behind us without much looking back."

"As you say." Milo stands, his forehead creased with worry. "Thank you for the advice, Blademaster. With your leave..." He gestures toward the door.

Hartnek Lomasa nods. "Keep in the light, Master Stone. Safe travels."

Milo bows once more, and leaves.

Return to Season 2 (2004)

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