This piece is a sort of “sequel” to this piece, which I wrote five months ago. I’ve been meaning to return to the character, Ana Valensa, for a while now, but it wasn’t until recently that I actually had a good idea for an adventure. Now I have two (so be prepared in the future!), and I hope you enjoy the first of them!
Ana Valensa awoke with a start as she heard a loud bang on the door. She sat up, clutching her chest in surprise as she wondered who could be calling at this early hour. Sure, it was light outside, but it couldn’t be more than seven or eight o’clock in the morning.
“Just a moment,” she said, getting up from the bed and putting on a dressing gown so as to appear decent.
She opened the door to find a young man in the hallway, one hand holding an envelope, the other reaching out to knock the door. As soon as he saw her, he started and looked away.
“Sorry,” he said. “I guess the innkeeper gave me the wrong room number.”
“Who are you looking for?”
“A person named Valensa.”
Ana sighed. “I’m Valensa. Ana Valensa. How can I help?”
“But I’m – my master told me to search for a wizard named Laro Valensa…”
“That’s because your master was thinking of my father, who never leaves his tower. Honestly, you’d think people would get the message after twenty years, but apparently there’s still plenty who expect him to travel around solving their problems. That’s what I do. Anything you might have expected from my father, you can expect from me.”
“Alright. I was told to give your father this.” He thrust the envelope out at her.
Ana quickly recognized the seal: the Maliso family. This messenger hadn’t traveled very far yet from his master’s lands. She tore open the envelope and read the letter:
Please come quickly. Urgent. Will pay whatever is asked as long as prompt.
Lord Neanias Maliso
Ana laughed. Her father would have thrown this away on sight. However this lord was fortunate in that Ana had nothing better to do.
“I’ll do it,” she told the messenger.
Two hours later they were on the road, Ana now in proper travel clothes, sitting astride her horse as it trotted beside that of the messenger. A day later, and they rode up to a small town dominated by a large manor house in the center. The messenger led Ana inside the house, into a large hall where, at the far end, sat the young lord that ruled here: Neanias Maliso.
He was about Ana’s age, though likely a little younger than her – certainly in his late teens. He was decently good looking, which was to say it was rough and tough, but with a certain vacuousness or ignorance behind his eyes – not to say he was stupid, but that he just didn’t care for intellectuality. There was also a certain anxiety and desperation, and this was the feature that Ana focused on now, realizing it was these were the same emotions that had caused Maliso to send the letter with such haste.
“My lord,” said the messenger, bowing as Ana curtsied. “I have returned with Ana Valensa, daughter of wizard Laro Valensa.”
“This seems odd,” replied Maliso. “My lady, is there some reason your father could not come?”
“He would never have come. However, your messenger had the fortune to meet me on the road. I may not know everything my father does, but anything you could expect from him, you can expect from me. How may I be of service?”
Maliso considered all this for a moment, and then surrendered to his desperation.
“In a week, a lady is arriving who I may try courting to be my wife. However…” he paused, and then suddenly turned his face so that Ana could clearly see the left side of his face, where he pointed to a mole at the bottom of his cheek. “Can you remove this?”
Ana closed her eyes and sighed. “Yes, I can.”