Having enjoyed a hearty breakfast in Lady Talphenia's castle, Inquisitor Skennitus and his assistant, Delia took a stroll outside. The ground was thick with snow and the air was chill.
"This place is bitterly cold, Delia. Yet the chill of winter has a certain purity to it," said Skennitus.
"Spring is coming," said Delia.
"Ah, your elvish side gives you a certain sensitivity to the changing of seasons," replied Skennitus.
"Lady Talphenia looks like she has a bit of elvish blood in her veins," said Delia. "What do you make of our new mistress?"
"The whole air of this place is thick with the scent of demonic sorcery. She is a villain if ever I saw one," said Skennitus his features showing their ever-present look of disgust.
"I know you suspect her, but you could actually smile at her. She is now your liege lady. You surely don't want her to know you are on to her," suggested Delia.
"Of course she knows I suspect her. The woman is no fool. She wishes to display her arrogance by bringing me to her very presence. Yet I shall soon have her in the dungeons of Rom-Dutt."
"I love her overblown efforts to seem pious. All those religious pictures. And the pompous way she begged you to give a prayer of thanks for the meal. I think she was overdoing it a bit," said Delia.
"The woman is as much a ham as she is a fraud," replied Skennitus.
"I do wish she hadn't made that blonde girl deputy sheriff. That majordomo of hers gives me the creeps," said Delia with a shudder.
"Yes, there is something very wrong with that young woman. I can't quite put my finger on it," said the inquisitor.
"No doubt she will be spying on us," said Delia.
"That is no problem. With all the monsters that we shall battle together, I think a conveniently tragic death may await poor Hestra."
"So how long before you sign Talphenia's death warrant?" asked the half-elf.
"Death warrant? No, I do not desire Talphenia's death at all," said Skennitus.
Delia raised her eyebrow in puzzlement.
"I think after a few months in the dungeons of Rom-Dutt, the baroness will be quite penitent. When the Church is satisfied with her confession, she can be freed, provided that Copper Fold is placed under the supervision of the Church."
"I see where you are going," said Delia with a smile.
"I think Talphenia has done a quite marvellous job of ruling Copper Fold. It is simply a matter of taking over that work and using it for the benefit of the Church. I think that Copper Fold might be a quite convenient bishopric."
"With yourself as the first bishop," added Delia.
"Naturally, Delia. As Bishop of Copper Fold, I would be in a prime position to shape the direction of Several Winter Folds. This land is the future, Delia. We must be the ones to shape it."
"We might just have to kill a few monsters first. This land is thick with them," said the half-elf.
"I think I can rely on your talents, Delia. That is your specialism," said Skennitus.
"Taming this wild land will require every ounce of them, Inquisitor."