While the Encounter at Afuthel had been devastating in terms of lost men, the main mission was accomplished, that of gathering intelligence of what the Ierchari were up to. As Vincent spent the night consoling himself with wine and wenches, the military and political advisors of the region conferred, sifting through the data Vincent had delivered to Uethad.
The next day, Vincent was awakened by a young efilar of the first regiment who hurriedly begged him to make haste to the laronir, the seat, where the Laid Averain awaited him. Cursing the brightness of the sun in the clear blue sky, Vincent dragged himself to his horse and made his way through the already bustling streets of the city to the laronir, imposingly looming above on one of the few hills within the valley of Urotesed. When he arrived, he found a crowd of advisers, tacticians and other sycophants studying maps and talking in excited whispers among themselves.
Vincent approached the head of a large table where Averain sat, giving him a perfunctory bow. “So, what have your advisors made of the intelligence that was paid for so dearly by my men?”
“It is not what we expected,” replied the laid, “While we have long suspected Ierchar of vile magics and malicious intent, the data you brought back has clearly shown us that Ierchar is just a sideshow, and its leader a second-rate flunky following the orders of the real seat of evil power, the abominable triarchy of Midethair. We have allowed these odious elves to abide at our borders too long. It is there that we must answer this insult, and quickly! You must go there now, taking with you whatever legions you need to find and crush this insolent puppet!”
“You can resupply and reconstitute your forces at Tarenaida, before striking to the west and decapitating this vile snake before he rears his ugly head again!”
Vincent made another bow, more heartfelt this time. “As you command, my Lord”. As he turned and walked away, a smile crept across his lips. He looked forward to this mission, which he would dedicate to the men he lost at Afuthel, as well as to his brother Thomas. It might also be time for his nephew Thomas (the Younger) to whet his blade.