The constant shaking and headache inducing warm, stale air was becoming unbearable, the sun shining down from a clear sky was not as pleasant inside the carriage as it would have been outside where a breeze could soothe the heat. The steady clop of the horses pulling the carriage was a monotone sound mixed only with the occasional creaking of the wooden wheels or a snort from the large animals. Ay’leen rubbed her temple with a slender hand where she sat, wishing it was possible to open a window or any form of ventilation but this carriage was a sturdy and secure construction. While it was extravagant it was not luxurious going by the normal standard held by the nobles in Shiyam. Traveling light as she was, something she was not used to, Ay’leen had been able to sneak down a book to read among what else had been packed for her, even she realized that carrying several books around would be foolish so she had to suffice with one. She had not gotten far unfortunately, the book lay open in her lap only a few chapters in, her headache only worsened when she concentrated on the words. Closing her steel grey eyes she rested her head against the cushioned seat and tried to hold back the urge to beg the coachman to stop for a break. It was barely two days travel from the capital to her destination by carriage so Ay’leen guessed that they would soon reach the small city, it was past noon on the second day then she could finally begin her task. It had sounded so easy when she was first approached about it, convince the stubborn magician to join the war so it could finally be brought to an end, and the reward would be great. Now when she had spent some time to think it over she was getting a bit nervous, although she would never show it, what could she do that had not already been tried to convince the man? But in hindsight, with the promise of raising her family’s status, she could hardly have denied their request. Only a few days ago a representant of the royal family had arrived at her family’s humble mansion, or humble in comparison with other noble families, and put forth a request. They wanted Ay’leen to convince this magician to join the war with his new magic, so far he had refused and thwarted any attempts to subdue him. If she succeeded her family would be granted a higher status than they had now, which would greatly benefit them. Now this sounded like a request only but in reality who refused the royal family, especially when the reward was this alluring? Ay’leen had not considered the fact that she and her family were being used, as one of the lowest ranking noble houses and with a daughter not yet tied down by a husband they were easy to manipulate. Of course her parents were worried for her as their only child and heir but with the tempting reward and the hopeful belief that the magician would not harm a woman they did not refuse the offer. Snapped from her thoughts as sounds carried in to her Ay’leen looked out the small window on the door just as they passed through the city gate. The city was not large compared to the capital where Ay’leen had lived all her life but it was a decently sized place, and people milled about going in the way like in any other city, only the royal insignia seemed to urge people to keep their distance which Ay’leen’s carriage lacked. Relieved Ay’leen put her book back in her luggage and smoothed out her ash blonde hair where it had escaped her loose braid and soon the coachman stopped in front of an inn, the horses whinnied and snorted but soon calmed down. Compared to normal Ay’leen had not been escorted by a manservant to ensure her safety but the coachman was a skilled swordsman as well and this part of the land being quite safe it had been thought to be enough. The man having jumped down from the coachbox opened the door for Ay’leen letting in a breath of fresh air, a boy from the inn stables was holding the horses until the carriage was unloaded before leading them off to the stables for some rest. “My lady,” the man said as he helped her down the steps of the carriage. He had long served her father and while Ay’leen didn’t personally know him she knew him to be both loyal and trustworthy. “Thank you Rowen,” Ay’leen stretched her back and neck as she took in the sights. “Will you see to it that my room is prepared for me to freshen up and a meal is brought up.” It was to early to retire for the night but she at least wanted to get rid of the travel dust and eat before getting to her task. To avoid making it harder for Ay’leen in her already daunting task Rowen would return home so as to not cause any tension with the magician, a mounted messenger could quickly summon him again whether she succeeded her mission or failed. But that would have to wait awhile until after she had eaten, then she would make her way to where the royal guards had reported the magicians house to be.