Eric Bowman rode the streets of Ingerton, his daily route to keep the peace. As he passed Kavener the wainright, he spotted two strangers at the end of the street who appeared lost. One was a woman, dressed as a seasoned traveler, tall, dark hair. The other was a bald man with a long beard, dressed in robes.
Eric steered toward them, but avoided rushing his horse. The man suddenly raised his left arm and a falcon came and landed on his gauntlet. He pulled something from his pouch, fed the bird twice, and then dropped his arm, the bird taking to the sky once more.
“That was a spectacle we don’t often see in town,” Eric said, nearing them on his horse. “You two look like you could use some directions.”
“You must be Eric Bowman,” the woman said to Eric. “My name is Caspa Morgaria, Varnhold’s ranger priestess of Erastil, and this is Cephal Lorentus, wizard of Varnhold. Yes, we are in need of some guidance.”
“OK. Pleased to meet you both,” Eric replied. “Are you looking for anyone or anywhere in particular?”
“Brian Shepherd,” Caspa answered.
“We aren’t far,” Eric said. “I’ll walk you both there.”
“Thank you, Mr. Bowman,” Cephal replied. “Mr. Shepherd should be expecting us.”
“Do you mind if I ask how you knew me?” Eric asked.
“We share some common friends,” Caspa replied. “You’re the sheriff. You keep the people of Ingerton safe, keep the peace. I like that. I don’t think enough leaders truly listen to the people or care about them.”
“I agree,” Eric said. “Most people aren’t looking for thrills or danger to overcome. They just want to live, have a family, enjoy their life when they can. They don’t need all the fighting. You never lose the fights that never start.”
“Such wisdom from a frontier sheriff,” she said with a smile. “One might think you had some other life before this one, but then…that is the Inger way, is it not?”
“You know quite a lot about Inger for a priestess from Varn,” Eric joked. “Just how many of my friends do you know?”
“Jason Brewer, David Forrester, Douglas Smith…” She began.
“Okay. That explains it,” Eric said. “As a priestess of Erastil, you must have some influence, a certain degree of leadership. Are you a good listener of the people?”
“I like to think so,” Caspa replied. “I hope so.”
“She is very good,” Cephal interrupted. “The people love her. She shows empathy and concern and follows up on her promises. She’s not always listened to, but she is a voice for the common folk, an advocate for their interests. Believe me. I know because I am none of those things and people are constantly asking me to be more like Caspa.”
“Cephal, you are being kind,” Caspa said.
“No, I am not,” Cephal replied. “I actually find it quite annoying because I cannot be constantly bothered with the needs of the common folk because my charge for Varn is one of a most uncommon nature. I am simply stating the truth.”
“Thank you, anyway,” she responded.
“I think you’ll get on with Brian famously, Cephal,” Eric said, “and that is good because we are here.”
Eric gestured to a cabin at the corner.
“Thank you, Mr. Bowman,” Cephal said, “for the directions, I mean. Whether Mr. Shepherd and I get along is somewhat irrelevant, so long as we can help one another.”
“Cephal, how much time will you need?” Caspa asked. “I will secure us some lodgings.”
“A few hours, but I brought some things to show appreciation, and was hoping to share them for supper with Mr. Shepherd,” Cephal replied.
“I’ll be back after supper then,” Caspa said.
Cephal waved to both her and to Eric for a moment and then walked to Brian Shepherd’s residence.
“Eric,” Caspa said, turning to him, “Can you recommend lodging?”
“Blue Daisy might be to your liking,” Eric replied. “I can show you.”
“No, I’m sure you have more important things to do,” she said. “I’m good with directions.”
“Is that why Cephal had you along?” Eric asked.
“It is,” she answered.
“Well, it’s that way,” Eric said, pointing. “Take your second left. At the third right after that it will be just around the corner and across the street.”
“Thank you for everything,” Caspa said, “and it was pleasure finally meeting you and sharing your company.”
“I would say the same,” Eric replied.