In the course of events, this broadsheet has been a regular and vocal critic of His Majesty and His Majesty’s Government. Even now, as we take a different tone in this particular issue, we dispute the decision to keep the actions of the officers of state a secret, as may be made obvious by our revelations of said actions.
The wine was dark and sweet, its rich purples turned black in the flickering lamplight. Variel sat at a small table, reviewing his writing. Felix sat across from him, quill in hand, anxiety plain on his face.
Felix broke the silence with a soft question. “Are you certain you wish to do this?”
Variel took a long breath, and then another. “Yes. As much as I fear a riot of panic, Lem was correct – we cannot put the fate of hundreds of thousands in our own hands without giving them some capacity to decide for themselves whether they want to trust us with such a responsibility.”
Felix frowned, “Lem could probably do with hearing that, especially after earlier.”
“He’ll live,” Variel cut off the argument. “He’s got a wife and children to care for and wasted enough time hurling arguments at me as it is. Have you found any errors?”
“You know I didn’t. Otherwise, I’d have marked them already.”
“Then let’s be about it. Time is passing.”
“He’ll probably be able to figure out it was you this time. And I expect some will call this treason.”
“Then it’s best that my plans don’t involve an overlong stay in the Kingdom once this is done, isn’t it?”
The facts are these: the Kingdom is under threat by a being from another world. This being intends to tear the Kingdom from the face of Golarion entirely, shunting it to the First World, home of the fey. Such an act would also carry anyone currently present in the Kingdom into the First World, with no guaranteed way home.
Roderick was bored. No one had made a hit on the Ursundovan treasury in…well, since he’d been working here. The most excitement was when the weird dogman (Some folks kept saying it was the old Baron’s dog, but that seemed crazy) came down with an order from the King to gather a stack of gold bars. Roderick had not been on duty, but everyone was talking about it later.
When the Chancellor came down the stairs, he straightened up and faced forward. The Chancellor rarely came down here, though he signed most of their orders. The elf had a vaguely bored expression as he came to the door.
“I need a box. #00012.”
Roderick blinked. “Oh, that would be something brought from the old castle.” The guard pulled his keys and unlocked the main door. The elf shot past him, moving purposefully, and Roderick had to hurry to keep up. Variel finally stopped in front of a dusty shelf. He set off a massive dust cloud by moving the burlap covering and pulled out a box of fine wood, fancy calligraphy declared the box to be from the “Artful Haberdasher,” wherever that was.
“Begging your pardon, my lord.” Roderick gulped before asking the question he knew he had to. “But do you have authorization for this?”
“It’s mine, actually. Well, after a fashion. The purchase of it was part of my will, but the recipient died the same day I did, so it ended up here. Having paid for it, I am reclaiming it.”
Roderick’s mouth hung open for a moment, then simply replied, “Oh.”
While we dispute the decision to keep this matter a secret from the public, we feel compelled to add a caveat to our revelation. First, His Majesty and selected officers of state are well-equipped, perhaps the best-equipped in Avistan, to deal with this threat, and their willingness to do speaks of the highest possible character. We believe that they can stop the forces that threaten Ursundova, as they have done before.
The willowy black feather hung off the back of the hat, floating and fluttering in the breeze coming off of the lake. Variel inspected the hat carefully, flicking a bit of grass from the brim, before he replaced it on his head.
“Your timing was awful, mind.” Variel said to the small bronze statue. “I wrote that will expecting you’d be here to carry on, that your dedication to the nation would be balanced with your sense of whimsy and need for new experiences. I suppose, in the end, I’m just so thick that I had to have the same lesson hammered into me twice before I caught on – we can’t go home again, can we?”
False dawn was starting to subtly alter the colors in the lake, reflecting the distant horizon. “I’m caught between dream and memory. My memories made a dream of a place, and finding that my dream went out without me, and did things that were…quite different than what I had in mind, is at once unsettling and encouraging. Leave it to diviners to think they’re always going to know what happens next. I am forced to admit that this is not my story, even if I might contribute a line or two.”
Variel turned and smiled at the bronze gnome, seated astride a great, fluffy dog. “Even Garr has changed, all full of righteousness as passed on by the God of counting your pennies and eating your vegetables. I don’t know how this is going to end, but if it is within my power, I’ll make this a moment where we remember who we could be: bold, courageous, and perhaps a bit silly at times. I offered you my service and you took it. I’ll try not to fail you now. Goodbye, Dyimi. Rise or fall, we’ll probably not talk again.”
While we believe in the freedom to make informed choices, we also believe in the heroes – for that is what they are – who go to meet this threat. It is your life and your family, so do what you feel you must. As for us, we will keep faith with the King in this desperate hour.