The creak of saddle leather reached Jhayne's ears as he sat uncomfortably upon the back of his trusted steed. It was mid-day, with the sweltering sun beating down upon them as they waited on the bridge that spanned the Valley of Heroes, and his Grace, Baron Aldous Lescovar, was late.
The day before an urgent message was delivered to the Order from the House of Nobles, demanding that the Guardians of the Light escort the Baron upon his inspection tour to the newly constructed Marshtide Watch. Apparently Aldous had personally funded a large portion of the construction there, and was interested on collecting on his investment.
Captain Galandel was personally charged with carrying out the mission, and the others gathered with him had volunteered on the spot. Among those present were Andeyma, a shaman skilled in the healing arts; the paladin Sinjin, to see to any religious needs of the group; Sir Eudy and Sergeant Tordek, two others skilled in martial warfare, and the mage-in-training whom everyone called "X". Jhayne had wondered briefly how someone could come by such a nickname, but never cared enough to inquire.
"It's hotter than Muradin's armpit out here!" Tordek proclaimed, wiping his brow on his shirtsleeve. "I'll be wanting a cold one after this is over. How long are we gonna wait for this Baron fellow?"
"The orders said noon," Galandel replied. "He should be here any minute."
"The first bell of the evening has already chimed," Eudy spoke up.
"Patience is a virtue," Sinjin reminded them all.
Nearly ten minutes later, as even the stoic paladin began to fidgit, a mounted figure approached. A large, heavily built man dressed in the seasons best finery swaggered towards them upon a high-bred equine bedecked in nearly half its own weight in gilded tack. How he had managed to teach his mount to do so, Jhayne could only imagine. The nose of his porcine face was turned skyward, and his gaze upon the group was less than complimentary.
Galandel rode towards the man and bowed over his saddle pommel. "Baron Aldous Lescovar, I assume. The Guardians of the Light are at your service."
"Yes, yes," the baron waved the Captain away. "Lets be on our way. I want to arrive at our destination before night fall."
Jhayne choked back a growl at the obnoxious man as he and his fellow Guardians fell into defensive formation around the Baron and his mount.