Before getting to today’s blog post, I just want to give out a massive thank you to everyone who has participated so far in the ongoing Kickstarter campaign for the Player’s and Game Master’s Companions.

For those that didn’t see the update in the campaign, we amazingly reached our funding goal within 8 hours of the campaign opening! At the time of writing, we are less than one thousand away from our first stretch goal. We’ve also gotten the colorized proof in for the poster for our second stretch goal, which we open up at $10,000. If you haven’t already, you can see the campaign and the poster proof here.

With that covered, let’s dive into today’s blog post. This continues the trail of bread crumbs leading up to the reveal on the secret chapter in the Companions. The first post can be found here.

Though the sun was out and shining brightly, there was still a chill wind in the air. Not so unusual considering winter had passed not all that long ago – and a particularly cold one at that. To exacerbate this further, there was not much for cover in Canal Park to break up wind as it cut across the area, biting into anyone that it might get purchase upon. Most people who were out at this point had the good sense to stay out of the middle areas of the park and instead keep closer to the buildings along the edge for at least a token relief.

This sentiment was apparently not shared by two, a snark man and an elven woman, who lingered in the central areas seated on a bench, seemingly unphased by the nip in the air. The gentleman was dressed well, but not overly so, in a standard frock coat, vest visible underneath that was clearly finer than a workman’s, but not so fine as to suggest he was anyone of particular note, a matching wool felt bowler atop his head, and a simple black walking cane with a brass nob shaped like a bird in flight held at hand. The lady, on the other hand, appeared much more well-to-do. She wore a vibrant patterned green dress with a small but visible bustle and a cuirass bodice, and a brilliant bonnet fashioned with feathers and flowers. She had no further protection against the cold than a shawl draped loosely over her shoulders as she held up a newspaper. Despite the wind in the area, it some how did not disturb the paper as she read through it.

“So… that’s what they think, is it?” She chuckled to herself, looking over the article. “Seems these humans have so many enemies amongst themselves, they don’t even notice someone slipping in through the back.”

“Forgive my boldness, my lady,” Spoke up the man, his gaze casting about slowly but methodically, as if on alert. “But I wouldn’t be too certain of that. We have yet to see the full extent of their capabilities.”

She turned her head from the article to gaze at him, and even before she spoke he felt the weight of it upon him. “Why Warren, you surprise me. That almost sounds like… fear.” She drew out the last word, with a tone that suggested just the faintest hint of a threat.

“I only advise caution, my lady,” He quickly responded. “That plans may not be revealed before their time. The greater part of these humans, they are young and foolish and have no idea what they’ve stumbled upon. But…” He paused to take in a breath, and dared to glance at her directly to see how his response was being received. Her eyes continued to be directed straight at him, her look one of scrutiny, but she nodded for him to continue. “… These latest ones looking into things, these Knights of the Grail, as they call themselves… they seem to know much more than they let on. The one that leads them, I believe has… been around before.”

It took a few moments, but eventually she nodded and turned her eyes back to the paper in her hands. Warren mentally let out a sigh of relief, though he dare not give any sort of physical display as such.

“How curious, if true.” She mused after several minutes of reading. “That he would still allow himself to be chained to another, particularly this mortal queen they have. One that powerful should rule in his own right, wouldn’t you agree?”

Warren said nothing, refusing to take the bait, and simply kept up his vigil. She smirked slightly in approval. She had done well in choosing him as her second; capable, but he understood his station.

“Regardless,” She continued, finished testing him for now, and turning her attention fully back to the article. “These factions they allude to. They can most definitely be of use to us. Those that would give in so quickly to fear and hate can easily be manipulated. Not to mention their aversion to the workings of mana will make them quite blind to us.” She held back an open laugh as she finally folded the paper away, but could not stop a devilish grin stretching across her face.

“Shall I direct the infiltrators to seek them out then, my lady?” Warren asked, rising and offering his hand, as her movement had silently indicated she was prepared to leave now.

“In due time, in due time.” She cooed as she rose, gingerly taking his offered hand with her right as she rose and patting it gently with her. “For now, let’s allow them a bit of time to sew their own chaos. They seem to be doing quite well at it.”

As they stepped away, Warren clicked his walking cane against the ground twice, the sound echoing off of the nearby buildings. Seemingly out of nowhere, a large gust of wind swept out between the walls of brick and stone, carrying a veritable cloud of leaves upon it. The gust swirled down through the open park behind the two walkers, obscuring them completely. As it passed, to any who might have taken a moment from their busy day to glance their way, it would seem as if the pair had simply vanished in the wind, leaving no trace of them save the rapidly scattering pages of the Aberdare Times swirling in the breeze behind them.