Scenario – The Archduke
Character – Scholar
Skill – Illumination
To Cisco Vallon y Bedel , Archduke of Cambrona,
You might not remember me from our youth, but nonetheless I write you with my respectful condolences on the passing of your sister Maria. She and I were schoolmates at the academy at Mola during the years 1212 to 1216. This was a time the memories of which I cherish with great fondness, and such feelings are in large part due to my friendship with Maria. If you think back to those years, you may recall a slight, nervous student who was ever calling your sister down from fences and out of mud puddles. That was I.
The very first time your sister spoke to me, it was to bring me to see you. I was barely seven when I was first sent to the academy. You would have been fifteen then, nearly a man and already well-ensconced in the heady matters of the Corte. Maria and I had been sent to fetch water from the well across the heather fields behind the school. She had volunteered for this wretched duty. Our teacher sent me with her, stating I needed some sun on my face and air in my lungs. As soon as we out of the building she gripped my wrist and said she had something exciting to show me. Fearing the teacher’s reprisal, I let her drag me out to a slim path leading into the town. We waited in the lazy heat and listened to the chirruping of the crickets in the grass, not speaking once. A noise interrupted the peace – it was you and some friends, riding horses down the road with the easy vigor of youth. Maria waved and waved.
The teachers at the academy had their hands full with your dear sister. Where I was ever attentive, she was impassioned. If I had the correct answer, she had the funnier way of saying it. When the scolding old servants had to all but drag me from some hidden nook in the library come the closing bell, they had to spend hours trying to find Maria in the nearby forest where she took great pleasure in scaling oaks barefoot. And for all my natural inclination toward the scholarly life, they all loved her more. It brings me a wistful pleasure to say we all did.
If I may indulge in another anecdote – my students would tell you I can hardly be convinced to keep my illustrative stories to myself, and I fear they are correct in that assessment. Maria must have felt the same way when we were children, but she always listened to every mundane tale of mine to the end – my best memory of who your sister was as a person, the first glimpse of the woman she would eventually become, involved a half-dozen ducks and young Sarro of Mieri. While Sarro would rise to some stature upon inheriting his mother’s mercantile fleet, as a boy he had very little concept of matters nautical. Our class was watching some ducks on a pond, and Sarro puffed himself up to tell us the birds were floating along in the same formation as the vanguard of the armada. Maria questioned him on that, having seen said vanguard herself more than once. When Sarro realized his boasting was failing, he began to whimper. Maria tackled him into the water and thrashed about like a buffoon until he laughed. She told me later she did it to make sure he was so wet no one could see his tears.
If I see you at the Cathedral of Light, I hope you will not think me too bold if I present myself to you after the funeral. Your sister was a dear friend, and I wish only to share my memory of her with one who she loved so greatly. As the Book says, she has taken her right place among the angels.
Your humble friend,
Professor of Crafts
University at Torrecon
Result: The Archduke thanks Andagon profusely for his excellent letter and promises that he will be repaid for his kindness with a gift of great worth.