You emerge in the snow, on a hill within sight of Fengheld (Thank God, it isn't snowing at the moment).
Before casting The Leap of Homecoming (Big gestures and loud words -> 24 (all requisites) + roll of 4 = 28 -> 1 Fatigue), Adele makes sure she has the letter she is supposed to deliver as well as a stone from the road a little bit outside of the Aegis. Knowing it's cold, she will also have a ward to keep her from succumbing to the temperature.
When she arrives she looks around to make sure she knows exactly where this tree is in relation to things. Then she will start strolling toward the covenant. When she gets to the covenant's gatehouse (or similar), she waits outside of the Aegis until someone emerges or calls out or similar. She announces herself, "I am Adele Verditii, filia Gudrun, seeking your hospitality. I apologize for not sending a Redcap ahead of me. I have a letter for the archmagus and would like to speak with Redcap Felix of Mercere if he is here."
With less delay then you would have expected, you are taken to Stentorius anteroom by a female grog. The impressive man with the thick white beard emerges from his lab in a cloud of greenish gas that quickly dissipates. After a formal exchange of greetings, he studies Daria's letter. He thoughtfully strikes his beard, then tells you: "I am in the middle of labwork and have no time for interruptions. Yet, the news you bring may be of importance."
He turns to the armed woman by your side: "Take her to Horst. Let him deal with this". Andwithout waiting for an answer, he disappears back into the greenish clouds of his lab.
The grog shrrugs apologetically: "This way, Sir."
Fortunately, Horst ex Mercere, Senior Redcap of the Rhine, seems to be in the middle of writing and less worried about helping you. He quickly scans Daria's letter, then sends off the grog to fetch some bread, ham and watered wine.
[b]"This is an odd story, and I am glad to hear of it, because it is highly unlikely that Felix delivered those letters. I haven't seen him since the strawberry season last year. He came to me some six moons ago to ask for a sabbatical. He seemed very excited, claimed he might have discovered a way of restoring his badly damaged Gift, but was unwilling to go into detail. He said something about fairies, and about the Pyramids of Egypt. He asked for being relieved from his duties for four seasons to examine the possibility. I was rather surprised at his optimistic air, but since he has served for many more seasons than required of him, both as a messanger and a lab assistant, I felt he had every right to ask and allowed him to be off until Midsummer next year.
But if he didn't deliver those letters someone else did. Someone who dares impersonating a REDCAP!"[/b]
Adele happily eats what she is fed and thanks her host. In reply to his comments she says, "Not only did he impersonate a Redcap, but he must have done a good job of it since he delivered one of the messages here at Fengheld. There is also the question of whether he was able to fool Lucius as well, or whether he obtained Lucius's report in a different way."
Horst looks worried: "Indeed. Just to think of it ...the impostor - here. On the other hand, we have a system of mailboxes, for internal communications mostly, at our sanctum doors with little cards showing if the magus prefers a deposit into his box rather than be disturbed in person. In fact, it is common practice here to check those boxes in the evening. Let me see the letter: Ah, yes, it bears the stamp of Felix, but it could have been delivered by anyone imitating it and sneaking it into our mail system. Ironically, reform of this system is being debated as we speak at Harco, because that young Quaesitor Tabanus had been complaining about it last fall. But I'm going to ring for the steward. She will know if he has brought any mail."
"As for Lucius - that is easily explained. He goes to a shelf and returns with three volumes. Lucius keeps reporting on a variety of covenants. He wrote about Durenmar in 2015, Fengheld in 2016, Irencilla in 2017, Triamore in 2018. I believe he wanted to write about Crintera that year, but the Bjornaer refused him. He always visits a covenant in winter, writes his reports in spring, does his redcap tour in summer and makes copies in winter: You can find these texts in Durenmar, Harco, and here, and probably in one or two other covenants as well."
The steward arrives. When Horst asks her about Felix, she blushes and confirms that he had been at Fengheld in early summer, and had claimed to be passing by and doing the House a favor. He had dropped off his one letter and left without the usual three-day stay. In fact, he had even refused to stay for a meal mumbling something about timing and fairies.
After the steward departs Adele says, "So he was able to fool the steward, who presumably knows Felix reasonably well. The imposter was also aware that Felix was away with faeries, which could either mean the imposter set that up or the imposter was spying on Felix. To impersonate him that well, I would expect the imposter to either know Felix personally or to have been spying on him for some time."
Horst agrees: "So this is quite possibly a high crime."
[b]"Possibly, depending on how it was done. Perhaps it was done by someone close enough to him that scrying was not needed, and perhaps the perpetrator actually planned for him to be away. Or perhaps there was a high crime...
"I should return to my sodales soon to let them know what I have learned here so that they can continue investigating their side of it. Otherwise I really have no new nor additional information I can provide you."[/b] Adele doesn't seem in any rush to leave, enjoying the food and the company. But she is ready to leave when it seems Horst and she have run out of information to share.
Horst rises and extends a hand: "I wish you a speedy return. I'm certainly going to inform Harco - we take these things quite seriously - and send you a fast redcap if I learn more about Felix. I just hope he's well."
"Thank you for your hospitality. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this soon." Adele does what pleasantries are required before departing Fengheld. (Presumably sitting and eating was rest enough to recover the 1 Fatigue.) From outside of the covenant Adele casts The Leap of Homecoming to return to the road outside Triamore (not the spot where she has to duck). (Roll of 6, so 1 Fatigue.)