It is a nice day.
Or, at least, nice for that time of year. The sun, of course, was invisible behind the customary wall of clouds that nevertheless seems omnipresent, the dry wind from the west continues to blow in sand from who knows where, and it is as cold as it usually is in the autumn (and spring and summer and winter).
However, it could be raining or snowing or a plague-wind could be blowing. Since neither of these are the case this qualifies as a nice day. Thus, it is a nice day in Jansen-town, a small town on the frontier of the Duchy of Ontario. Farmers harvest the crops they managed to get through the growing season, tailors make and sew what cloth they can from the scraps they gather, and children get in a good hour's worth of play before they have to once again attend to the chores of daily survival.
In this town of Jansen on this nice day a small meeting is convened in a larger-than-average stone building that sits in the center of the town and acts as a combination town hall, depot, and emergency shelter. This is a meeting between one of the town's two Hunterjaars and the small group of four Hunters that has been convened for the purpose of asking another favor in the ongoing list of favors that Hunterjaars have been asking of Hunters for as long as anyone can remember.
This Hunterjaar is solemn and serious, like most Hunterjaars, as he asks for help from member of a most sacred and revered group: the Hunters who have been blessed by The Syrum. He is stately, being in his mid-fifties and thus expected to die soon, and he carries himself with the bearing of one of the town's eldest members, carrying himself with dignity that is difficult to find nowadays. He sits down at a chair in the office he shares with the other Hunterjaar who is currently out doing some of his other assigned duties. This is a chair at the head of a circle of five chairs, Hunters granted equal status and say in the job they are about to be asked to do. He regards the other four in the room. His name is Duncan van Zandt. He regards the group for a moment, then speaks.
"I apologize for the short notice and that you have been convened so swiftly without regard for your individual talents. However, it is necessary that I ask this of you and that you accomplish it swiftly. This may seem mundane and boring to the likes of you, revered Hunters, but it is of vital necessity to the people of Jansen.
We must get a message to Holdenburgh in the north about our current resources and see if they have the ability to supply us with medicines in exchange for some of our other goods. Our pharmacist has fallen ill and is unable to mix medicines for the winter, and we need either another pharmacist or chemist or an agreement to trade medicines for other of our supplies if we are to survive the winter when it is most difficult to avoid plague-winds.
Also, Manhattan is late this year. If, in your travel, you sight it, please tell us when and where. Knowing where it is might help some to unravel the various mysteries about it and other Floats. I can't entertain questions at the moment since we're stressed for time as it is, and you'll have to get to know eachother on the way. Supplies for the journey are already provisioned for you and are waiting out back on Brooden's cart along with appropriate letters of introduction for the Hunterjaar in Holdenburgh.
This must seem endlessly curt to you, heer Hunters, but it is necessary for you to be off as swiftly as possible."
When van Zandt finishes his speech, the room falls silent for a moment, the silence customary to allow the Hunters to commit the details to memory. It is not a long silence.