Akiros and Iskra entered the serene park. The paladin glanced down at the note he had been given asking him to meet Pavel there. To his left, the Shrine of Abadar and ahead, through the trees, the mansion where Pavel and his bride-to-be would live. A few steps revealed Pavel leaning on a tree to his right, Rallo seated at his feet. Apparently bored, the halfling was carving an obscure symbol into the trunk of the tree with a short dagger.
“Any reason we couldn’t have spoken earlier in court?” the paladin queried.
“Sometimes my advice is seen as alarmist,” Pavel countered, “I’d rather not speak in an official capacity about my concerns until I have a few more answers.”
Iskra rolled her eyes.
“Go on.” Akiros replied, reluctantly.
Pavel took a deep breath and Rallo looked up only long enough to shake his head, then returned to his carving. Iskra folder her arms and tapped her foot impatiently.
“Many here have no experience dealing with Brevoy’s Royal Houses. I have,” Pavel said, nearly spitting the word ‘Royal’ on the ground, “A lack of preparation and caution cost my father his life and my family it’s holdings. I’ll not see it happen- not to Finnland.”
“…and it WON’T Monk,” Iskra replied, “that’s why the king hired US.”
“When war begins, it may start like a crack in the dam- with a trickle of animosity, but once the dam breaks we may find many new enemies at our gates. Iskra- we’d like to know about the presence of these enemies BEFORE they hit our borders.”
“What am I to look for, Monk?” She sneered, “a lone man holding an ‘I am a spy’ sign walking through the forest?”
Pavel’s fists tightened.
“…legions emerging from the swamp!?!,” She continued.
“We must be prepared…” he began.
“We ARE, Pavel,” she interrupted, “because we’re doing our jobs. Don’t you have a wedding to plan or something?”
“You don’t understand…”
“Yes, we do,” Akiros disagreed, stepping forward, “you’re concerned for the kingdom. So are we, but you should do YOUR job and let us do OURS.”
The emotion left Pavel’s face as he stared into the paladin’s eyes.
“…and my job would be?”
“Protecting the king,” Akiros offered.
“Between his majesty’s rage and Sofiya’s magic I think he’s doing fine withou…” Rallo began.
“Spiritual Advice?” Iskra said, tentatively.
“Whenever someone shows up at MY house with religious advice I never answer the door….” Rallo snickered.
“Perhaps religious leadership?” Akiros said, stretching.
“Not real popular from Pharasma right now, especially after that Niska thing,” Rallo whispered, “you know- dead babies and all…”
After a awkward moment of silence. Akiros smacked the young monk on the shoulder as he and Iskra turned to leave.
“Don’t worry, Pavel. We’ll protect the kingdom. Go back home.”
Rallo turned and strode away as well.
“You wanna be in charge, Pavel?” He spoke over his shoulder, “I hear wedding planners make pretty good money…”