“Go,” King Domido said, “Help him on his way, honored sageman, and hurry. He must not be followed.”

Reedl bowed his head in acknowledgement, then nodded expectantly towards Solmi. Solmi gathered the four babes’ weapons and followed Reedl out the door.

Reedl and Solmi made their way to the main square of Grendhill. They traveled in stealth, as their mission was an important one and the kingdom could not afford for it to be compromised. Though they appeared to be unescorted, a non-descript pair out for a stroll, ignoring Reedl’s oddly-shaped bag, they both knew that the most elite Royal Guardsmen preceded and trailed them from a distance.

“I take it I already know your destination?” whispered Reedl.

Solmi nodded. “I believe so. I travel with–” Solmi paused as he made his word choice carefully. “–I travel with my goods to a vacation destination. My friend has a, uh, cabin I travel to now, and has handed me some items on loan to the locals. I take them their toys and they’ll put me up for a few days.”

“Yes, the earthy cabin. Very good to know that I can get you where you are going.”

They reached the city square at the very center of Grendhill. They paused in the shadows of the alley where they stood at the edge of the square.  Reedl threw back his hood. It may look suspicious if people approached the Thallenrose without a Sageman to take them anywhere. Solmi left his hood up. A traveler’s business was his own, and he would not look out of the ordinary.

The pair strode forward confidently into the square towards the Thallenrose. If watchers saw them now, it was all but too late to intercept the pair anyway. Assuming onlookers recognized Solmi. Assuming they guessed his mission. Reedl would doubtless be recognized, being one of the few Sagemen in the land. But Solmi would be lesser known. In fact, his task would sooner be guessed correctly than his identity. He carried precious cargo, and the whole country must know Mifalla Farella would have been due. Reedl’s appearance at the Thallenrose with a figure carrying a closed package would be as good as a tacit annunciation of the royal birth. The official announcement would be called from the rooftops the next day. It must remain private news until the newest Royal Arms were secured. Still, Reedl escorted travelers often enough. Perhaps nobody would take note.

To compensate for the inevitable loss of obscurity, the Guardsmen had moved closer, in easy sight now. Any watchers who decided to do anything to either Reedl or Solmi would have to reckon with a couple dozen well-trained soldiers wielding matchless weapons that could not be broken, a discouraging prospect.

The people in the square were somewhat sparse, going about their evening routines of winding down their business for the day. They hardly glanced as the pair of travelers stepped into the square towards the Thallenrose. As Reedl and Solmi neared the platform, Solmi threw his hood off as well. The people would know at this point what Solmi was doing, and they knew that he needed Reedl’s help to do it. They hadn’t known it would be right now, and the guards around the square made trying to interfere pointless.

Many people must have wondered where Solmi was going. It had been this way for hundreds of years, but people could not help talking about it.

Oh, the weapons must be kept safe for their rightful wielders, some said.

We’re just curious about where they’re kept, others would reply.

It must be a secret, for our protection, they were reminded. Besides, they could be going anywhere right now, so it’s no use wondering.

We just want to know, the conversations always ended.

Reedl and Solmi reached the Thallenrose, unworn despite centuries of use as a step, a pedestal, a soapbox, a stool. They stepped onto the uneven surface of the flower shape. “Dulo,” uttered Reedl, locking everyone else out. The din of the square immediately dropped in volume. “Right, so you have your bag of weapons?”

“They’re all here.”

“And you’re going to the cave on Harrval?”


“Good. Very good. I have business to attend to here, so I will not meet you at the other end. Is anybody meeting you?”

“No. Nobody there knows I’m coming right now, so with my hood up–”, Solmi threw his hood back on, “–I’ll just be an anonymous traveler.”

Solmi stooped over, ready to display a false gait when he would arrive at the other end. Reedl sent him off on his way: “Dulo miti Harrval niti pondere!”


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