The kith messenger's tail twitched, ears flat. "Lord Autumn will be most disappointed. Are you sure of your answer?" At Smoke's nod, the woman left, tail tip lashing.
The draka, Blackwood, did not look eager to discuss the situation at Courthall in public, so Smoke led him into their private workshop in back. They waved him to a chair and perched on the workbench themselves. "So, what's going on with Courthall's wards?"
"The pesticide component has failed. Our last contractor insists they're working, but there are fleas infesting the carpets and ants in the kitchens. We've even had rats spotted in the compound. Please, master enchanter, when can you start? We'll provide transportation whenever you're ready." Courthall was a half-day's journey away.
Smoke's ears flicked back. An enchanter's wards were proof against disasters, but no enchantment could stop a deliberate saboteur, which was usually what it meant when wards were intact but you had a problem anyway. However -- fleas, ants, and rats? Not anyone's usual choice of weapons. All three at once certainly pointed to a warding problem, perhaps at some overlooked point of entry.
When does Smoke leave?
At once! Apprentices can pack and follow later
Spend a couple of days preparing at workshop first
What do they do first at Courthall?
Investigate the buildings & wards
Talk to people on site about problem
Talk to last contractor