Settling down in a peaceful backwater village like Mercielles was considered a blessing if you were retiring from a long career as a decorated soldier. With the settlement’s soothing stretches of farmland and quaint winding roads, most people would be happy to have a life located solely within the town’s borders. The blacksmith’s youngest daughter, Margot, was not most people. Fields that most people would perceive as soothing appear downright monotonous when viewed through the lens of adventurous eyes. The ancient chapel, with glimmering blue roof and ornate pillars, was just another dusty building to Margot. She had heard tales of the bustling docks of Lamielle, wanting nothing more than to spend her days exploring every dark alleyway of the port city that existed only in her mind. Today, however, her dreams would not come true. Today, Margot would be put to work by her father, sweeping, taking mundane orders and wondering why people only ever bought horseshoes and nails. Where were the valiant heroes who came stumbling in on their last legs, requesting the sword of all swords? As the morning wound into afternoon and the afternoon gave way to night, Margot sat and fantasized, oblivious to the world around her.
Gilen had always loved market days and the life they breathed into the square. On days like today, he always made sure to arrive early. Gilen settled into his familiar spot on the sole bench with a clear view of the market, hours before any of the townsfolk would arrive with coin purses bulging and leave with their carts all but overflowing. A vantage point like this lended a clear view of the square, making it the perfect spot to sit and watch every one of the market-goers as they went about their work. He was in the perfect spot to notice as a lavish carriage pulled up, stopping only to let a finely dressed man step out before he was quietly ushered inside a nondescript building. He had the ideal angle to watch as armored men funneled out of the guard house towards the mountainous border to face any number of unknown threats. When the monks who were just a little too finely dressed to not have come from the monastery pushed their way towards the chapel, Gilen sat and saw it all, glad to be away from that cramped port city and in a place where so much was happening.