Spring Showers A Sealed Letter Dear honored sir or madame, We at The Wilkes Merchant Family thank you for your correspondence and are pleased with your decision to take on our task. It is our deepest hope that you are able to find our Gideon within a reasonable amount of time and with minimal complication. It is advised you make way to the Igrosian hamlet of Mirth immediately, the last proper settlement before you head further north into the Seared Lands. There you will meet with one of our family members, the extraordinarily talented Vernon Wilkes. Vernon is leader and organizer of the expedition, hand picked by the highest authorities within our house for his unique brand of skills and spectacular competence. Listen to him, build his trust and keep his wisdoms close for he is better prepared to take on this task than anyone else. You should find him on the northern outskirts of town, he is the tall one with the cannon. What that means will become apparent when you see him. Once you meet him show him this letter as proof of your employment, after that all plans fall into the hands of Vernon. Remember, you will only receive payment when Sir Gideon's remains are recovered and returned to our estate or a sufficient amount of time has passed in which there is no reasonable hope for the remains to be recovered. From your friends at The Wilkes Merchant Family. *** The air hung damp over Mirth, it had rained heavily the day before and the dark clouds overhead threatened another bout, but for the moment held their hand. This temporary reprieve from the spring storms spurned on a wave of activity within the northern hamlet; farmers tried to offload their perishables on wary travelers and pale housewives alike while thatchers ran to and fro with armloads of hay, their purses and bellies both fat with the bounty of their trade. Despite all of the hustle and bustle within the village, what took the attention of the curious was just outside. A caravan, if one could call two mules and a single autonomous cannon train a caravan, had attracted a small crowd; Most of which kept their distance, just there to admire the exotic nature of the artillery piece, but a few had taken to interrogate the lanky owner. "Do you have a letter of recommendation?" Vernon simply asked those approached, not bothering to lift his eyes from a scroll as Olegg inspected and rattled off the contents of the pack mules, the lack of conviction in his voice suggesting it was at least the third time he had been instructed to do so. Vernon dismissed another man begging for a job with a wave of his hand. "Recommendation or leave." he muttered, only taking his attention away from his manifest when the beggar turned aggressive. A casual movement of his hand to the handle of his pistol quickly shut up the man and sent him retreating back into the village proper, a string of colorful profanity following. "And that's all there is," Called Olegg, having finally finished his inspection, "Want me to go over a sixth time just to be really sure?" Vernon rolled his eyes and rolled up the scroll, depositing it into a convenient case at his belt, "No Olegg, that's fine for now." An air of frustration hung around the young artificer, already the expedition has been delayed for a day due to seemingly endless rainstorms and despite the figurative deluge of vagrants and would-be adventurers not a single soul could produce a simple letter indicating that they're actually supposed to be there. "Such poor organization." he mumbled, looking over the crowd for anyone that resembled a proper mercenary.