Alera sat on the white crenelation of a tower the sea crashing below her as the sun sank below the horizon. She leaned back and inhaled from her long pipe and sighed out a long stream of blue smoke. It rose up across her eyes closed in concentration, up between her antlers, and up to mingle with the clouds above her.
She drew the bleached pipe from between her lips and tapped it a few times upon the edge of the wall and dump the remaining ashes into the crashing waves far below her. She stood up her bones creaking beneath her long black linen robes. She’d spent to much time up here already and she lowered herself off the waist high wall and back onto the roof of the tower. She walked around the large pile of wood neatly stacked and splashed with oil sliding the pipe into her sky blue sash at her waist. She began descending the ladder that led into the interior and brought the trap door towards her as she descended.
She spoke a single word under her breath, “Yellyth” and a spark appeared between her lips and drunkenly swayed out of the small crack in the trapdoor and landed upon the bonfire. The oil roared to life with fire as Alera closed the trapdoor and finished her way down the ladder.
She smoothed her robes and raised herself to her full, not inconsiderable, height and walked down the hall her hooves clicking on the white stone floor. She found a young man holding a few books outside the door of her room. She’d told him not to wait for her here at this time of day. “Yes, John what is it?” she said a bit terse. The young man lost in his book looked up as she approached.
“Tennik still has not returned.” He said closing his book and and bringing them all to his chest as if to protect them.
Alera shook her head and her matronly face grew a bit sharper. She had sent Tennik off on a fact finding mission weeks ago. He has never been this late before. “Well there is definately something going on in those woods. Has Master Phenebus been able to find him?”
“Not as of yet ma’am,” John replied, “but he doesn’t hold out much hope. At that distance his eye can’t do a systematic search.”
“Send a man to Wrethe and post an ad in the usual place and then you’ll be speaking to any of the people looking to access the Restricted texts.”
“Shouldn’t we send one of our own after him?”
“We’ve already lost one. I see no reason to lose another and we aren’t numerous enough to send a squad.” She holds her chin a moment looking at the ground, “No, outsiders will have to do. See to it John.”
“Yes my lady,” John said bowing slightly, his arms still clutching his books, and leaving at a quick pace.
Alera unlocked the door to her room and entered closing it slowly behind her. It then opened again as she closed the distance to the ladder at a quicker pace lighting her pipe up again.
“What did you find out there Tennik?”