The following happened some months ago in game time:
The village of Handesh, east of Iffing, was attacked by bandits. As far as anyone knows, many of these bandits were mercenaries fighting originally in the shattered army of some foreign king in the western desert. The upshot is they took the village by surprise, killed most of the men, who were present, and enslaved the women and children.
A group of adventurers, also displaced fighters from the foreign king, happened into Handesh. They came looking for a ship to take them back home across the sea. Although not powerful, the adventurers took the bandits by surprise, killing many and drove the rest off. They freed the women of Handesh and went on their way.
Go forward several months to the game present.
Colonel Akbar of Iffing decides to send Seeing Hawk’s Rangers on a diplomatic mission to Handesh. The goal is to open negotiations with an eye toward merging their communities. The Rangers are escorting an older lady, who will talk to the women. She ran a bakery specializing in cheese products and was “good with customers” which in the tough times of Iffing qualifies her to be a diplomat.
The Rangers arrive at the site of Handesh. The villagers have relocated to some nearby islands, and can be signaled by bonfire to come in to trade fish and whatnot. The upshot is one of the adventurers, an elf from the Headhunter Elves near Iffing, decided to stay on and help Handesh. The women elected her “Queen Laurel”. Laurel agrees to go back to Iffing with the Rangers and talk to Akbar and others.