Padrech took up another piece of parchment. Upon it was a correspondence from one of his many ancient allies. The old desk in his study was covered in such reports and correspondences.

There was much work yet to be done within the piles of parchment. The Graywalker’s gaze drifted out to the venue beyond the gallery window across the study from his desk. Beyond the window a dark, slow river meandered across a rocky plain, dotted by small groves of trees, all under a leaden sky.

Padrech became lost in thought for a myriad of moments. The water clock to the left of the gallery window counted off the moments by slow, steady drips. Padrech broke the silence, “Cos, send an expeditionary force from the reserves at Plianta on Chin’ka to the war front on Teign. Our allies there have requested aid in their campaign against one of the witch lords. ”

A disembodied voice responded to Padrech from somewhere near the fireplace at the North end of the study. “Shekineser, should that include any of the magicians of Plianta among the forces?”

Padrech drummed his fingers on his desk top in thought before responding, “That is an excellent strategic suggestion. It is time those thaumaturgies earned their rewards.”

After the brief conversing, Padrech could sense he was now truly in solitude. He stood from his chair and reach for his hat from atop the shelves beside the desk. As he walked toward the door of the study, a raised hand pointed toward the far corner of the room. In a flash of motion, the heavy, wrought iron staff that had stood in the corner flew across the room to smack into Padrech’s extended open hand. His thoughts were already ahead of him as Padrech made his way down the front stairs and toward the main door. The front door of the manor was just opened when Padrech was hit in his midriff by a small, rushing feminine form.

A steady stream of noise in the form of shrieks and laughter flowed from the onrushing girl. “Daddy, daddy! You have to come see the fire sculpture the ifreets and I made down by the river!”

Padrech grounded his staff with his left hand to regain his balance and keep Arylin from completely bowling both of them over into a pile. Any thought of chastising his ward fled his mind. Maybe a war could wait long enough for him to keep the smiles upon his ward’s face.