Olivia Kanlocke sighed. The moment she had been fearing for weeks had come, and there was no turning back. After a relatively uneventful journey from Britain, she found herself standing upon the main road leading into the village of Yew. With a new day’s sun rising at her back, she dismounted from her horse and continued into the village on foot. All about her the locals were quietly beginning their normal routines. She watched as two monks garbed in their traditional robes departed the business of a local weaver with their arms full of empty bushels – a good indication that there would be a harvest at the vineyard soon. As they departed, the monks were nearly tripped by a trio of youths sprinting around the corner of the building as though they could avoid the day’s chores by simply running fast enough. Olivia smiled as the monks regained their balance and scowled at the children, but continued on their path wordlessly. For their part the trio didn’t seem to notice the near collision, but continued on their way, their quick feet leaving a slight cloud of dust hanging in the air behind them. Spying a hitching post outside the fence of the village animal handler, she secured her mount and gave it a reassuring pat. In the realm’s larger cities she wouldn’t leave her horse unattended, but this wasn’t Britain or even Vesper. No, she thought, Yew is different. As she continued along the road through town, following the monks and their teetering load of baskets, she reflected on this difference. In terms of physical size, the City of Justice could be described as sprawling. Its’ roads wound through the woods and the huge trees that were the town’s namesake. Yet for all its’ size, Yew’s population remained small. A village primarily recognized for its’ farms and wood-crafts, Yew would seem an unlikely place for important discoveries, horrifying monster attacks, or great battles. Yet, it was here that an entrance to the elven city of Heartwood was found, and it was in Yew that a twisted magic took hold of the land which in turn gave birth to grotesque creatures of the earth. It was in Yew that a great battle was fought in which the evil Blackthorn was defeated. And it was in Yew that a champion rose to lead her people. Lost in thought, Olivia almost didn’t notice when she arrived at Empath Abbey and literally the end of the road she had been walking. To her left she spied the two monks, now relieved of their burdensome load, recounting the tale of their morning to one of their brethren. Olivia couldn’t help but laugh as she watched one of the monks excitedly reenact the brush with certain doom he and his companion had faced at the hands of three unruly youths. Hearing Olivia’s stifled laugh, they suddenly realized they were being watched, and quickly became as composed as, well, monks. Shaking her head, Olivia stepped off the road and walked around the west side of the Abbey. The monks watched her with curiosity, but soon went about their their business. Her gait through town had been light and easy, yet now as she neared her destination, she proceeded slowly, her feelings a mix of anxiety, sadness, and guilt. Yet, there was relief as well – the kind of relief that comes from finally being able to address the thing that had been keeping you up at night. She rounded the edge of the Abbey, leaving the cool shadow of its’ weathered stones. In front of her was a smattering of trees on a spit of land that reached out towards the great sea. She entered the sparse covering provided by the trees, sunlight filtering through the green leaves of Spring to flicker across her eyes like an unsteady lantern swinging from its’ perch. As Olivia neared the edge of the grouping of trees, she saw the sight that she had dreaded, yet had come so far to see. As Commander of the Royal Guard she had not had the time or energy in the preceding weeks to devote to proper mourning. Stepping out from the cover of the trees overhead, she walked gently across grass still wet with morning dew. She had finally come to pay her respects to her Queen, and say goodbye to her friend.