May 14th - Obando
"That was a damn close run Jorge, I thought we'd never lose those Elven horsemen," Brigdha's small band had driven hard through the night, barely a league ahead of their pursuers, but just before dawn the riders had caught sight of a small column of the Sultan's men and turned to meet them.
It was a stroke of luck which cost the hapless Asenans dear, and Brigdha was sorry to think of their lives wasted to spare her own. However she knew the importance of their mission.
Behind her, her own men were mostly mounted on shaggy steppe ponies, the kind bred for speed and endurance rather than the battle field. All that is save for the men teaming the two covered wagons that were their only encumbrance. The cargo within was so valuable that they'd been forced to abandon their tents, rations, even their armour to ensure the wagons could keep pace across the wide expanse of grassland.
The message had reached her late at night, a single code-word borne on feathered wings and sealed with Moira's personal seal. Brigdha recognised it immediately for what it was, a warning of the treachery unleashed, and she knew its import.
By sunrise she and her handful of irregulars had been at the deserted cavern in Osslamar for an hour, packing their cargo into the covered wagons they'd stolen from a local farm. The cave had long since been prepared in great secrecy by her sister, as a base for Bureau raiders on the border, and deep within was a strong-room concealed behind a curtain of rubble much shallower than it seemed at first glance.
That was where they'd found the chests. A dozen of them, each packed with papers and parchments, accounting books and depositions, coded messages in a variety of hands, Elven coins and trinkets, maps and plans of prominent estates, minutes of government meetings and private audiences, blackmail letters, confessions extracted under torture, and all manner of other written materials.
No matter the cost, these must reach the Supreme Justice intact.
May 15th - Ashforth
Brigdha handed the parchment to the Captain of the Watch. It had the hurriedly-written style characteristic of field despatches and was signed in Lord Duncan's own hand, the heavy wax seal of the Supreme Justice squeezed across the tail of his signature.
"I'm expecting an armed escort," she remained in the saddle as the officer read the details, "and I'd like to meet with Duke Elberan at his earliest convenience. This is a matter of the utmost delicacy and urgency."
"I'll send a runner at once m'lady," he returned the letter.
"You'll go yourself," her tone was level but brooked no complaint, "the fewer know of my mission, the better for all concerned."
"Very well ma'am," he turned with a resigned grin and waved the small column through the gates of the stronghold and into the inner courtyard, "I'll inform His Grace of your arrival. In the meantime if you wish to freshen up my quarters are at your disposal."
"That's very generous of you Captain, but I doubt we'll be stopping much beyond the hour."