The door to Tanner's office creaked open slowly, heralding the soft voice of her aide.
Mayor Tanner put down her quill and raised her gaze from the papers, regarding her assistant through the heavy brass glasses at the end of her thick, aurcish nose.
"What now, Tulio?"
The Oselan clasped his hands behind his back.
"There's been a problem in town, ma'am. Cartwright's distraught."
The half-aurc furrowed her brow, a grimace spreading across her face.
"The cartwright? Jenna, isn't it? Distraught? What's going on?"
Tulio padded over to Rea's desk. He took a deep breath, bracing himself for her response.
"Her boy's missing. Out picking mushrooms by the catacombs, hasn't returned."
The halfling winced as the great oaken table was slammed. Mayor Tanner leapt to her feet, punctuating her outburst with wild gesticulations.
"Gods be damned! Fool of a boy, out wand'rin around up there with those goblins knocking about! I've a good mind to wring his neck — and a lot of good it'd do him!"
Tulio cleared his throat. "That's all well and good, ma'am, but what's to be done?"
"What's to be done?!" Corwyn's mayor paused for breath. "Well, I'd say it's high time someone showed those runts up in the ruins what for, eh?!"
"An excellent suggestion, ma'am," said Tulio, raising a finger, "but who's to do it? Bryce's leg is still gammy and the Legion are stretched thin across the continent. It'd be weeks before anyone from Meriden arrived. I believe the cartwright's put out the word, however."
"The word? To whom?"