March 10th - Dark Citadel
Aoifa stepped from the gangplank without ceremony, her dark woollen cloak wrapped like a protective shadow around her equally sombre leather tunic and britches.
The sea crossing from Darfix had been a cold, tedious affair and something of an anticlimax to the joyful mood in that freshly liberated city. Not that she had much time for heathen festivals with their thoughtless pleasures. She felt a thrill of excitement to have her feet once more back on familiar ground.
Many years had passed since last she raised her Black Banner in the service of The Guild, and with them many adventures. For a time she had strayed beyond the curtain, travelling with her brother in search of that wisdom which might turn back the tide of darkness, later leading Alowcan refugees in the defence of Minas Thalion. It had been during one of these skirmishes that she'd been captured and deported to Dwilight, one less knights to hold the line against the treachery which had consumed that fair land.
Some treated exile with dread, but to Aoifa it had been a chance to learn. In Dwilight nobles were learning new ways of governing their people, better suited to the needs of both estates. Had such ways been known to her during the days of Alowca then surely the war in the south would have taken a very different turn. Now however there was fresh work to be done here in the north and Aoifa suspected these new ways would soon figure prominently.
"My Lady," Lena extended a hand to steady her mistress.
"Captain. I trust all has been made ready."
"Yes ma'am. A letter from your brother arrived several days ago warning of your imminent arrival, accompanied by a promissory note. I've taken the liberty of reassembling your guards and outfitting them accordingly. It's a small company, but there are still no finer blades in the Colonies."
"And what of lodgings?" they turned from the docks into a quieter backstreet and made towards the citadel stables.
"Gerda has rented a tumbled-down manor house a few miles beyond the citadel walls. It's a discrete dwelling where we can receive visitors without too much ceremony and should suffice for now."
"Then let us be on our way."