Harlan Wells, Count
Count of Northlight
Later, the pair would meet the Duke in a private theater box at Count Harlan Wells’s manor during the Festival of Fools masquerade ball. Harlan Wells poised an unsettling question to the Duke of Faro. The Count asked the Duke where he had met the adventurers from Ailead before. A rush of nervousness washed over Jozan and Avaniel as they recalled the forged document Roger had made for them to break through the trade embargo. The Duke, as expected, answered he had never seen the men before. In a desperate attempt, Avaniel haphazardly tried to change the subject, only to be rebutted with some anger by Florant. Avaniel admitted to never having known what the Duke looked like. The phrasing used made the Duke only more suspicious though. The Count waved the issue off for the moment, suggesting those gathered enjoy the play and each other’s company for now.
After the play’s conclusion, the booth praised the Count’s patronage of the arts, and settled in to talk once more about the mysterious writ of Duke Florant Asparago Durigo. Jozan and Avaniel once more struggled to find words, and the anger of the Duke continued to heighten. Augustin and Alexander seemed to want to help the travelers, but they saw no way to do so without incriminating themselves in the matter of the forgery. All eyes lay on the pair, and the duo was certain the arrival of the Count’s guards would be swift if their answer was not sufficient.
Thinking to placate the noble somewhat, Jozan began to feverishly apologize. He told the Duke he had not known that the document was a forgery given by another person. He implored the Duke to let them show their merit to the exemption by performing a task for the Duke.
The Duke seemed reluctant to take the minor lie, but after some support from Kaspar and Augustin speaking to their valid claim to the other writs, the Duke thought on what task would be appropriate. He decided the pair should travel to Mercaeus to investigate claims of undead rising in the area around the town and near Fort Mercaeus. The pair quickly agreed; a chance at adventure and life was preferable to the gallows. The Count would send his herald to inform Captain Jacob of the arrangement, and the Herald would acquire the previous exemption from the group. He told them Mercaeus was some forty miles outside of Northlight, and roughly another forty would take the group to Wellcliff when the job had been done. He asked that the group present documents from both the mayor and constable of Mercaeus to his Herald in Wellcliff that attested to the issue resolution. With the issue resolved, the Duke left.