Sylvangarde

Lord Vors to Melchior Lamashan 20

My dear boy,

I cannot tell you how I empathize with your current travails. My counsel, however, is simply that, whatever your tribulations, they always seem overwhelming. Indeed, I suspect that unless one feels overwhelmed, one is not doing one’s job properly. Of course, I have not tried to govern fey before, let alone putting them in a position of such trust. I can quite see your point of view, but I believe you have many battles ahead against the prejudice of generations. Keep your spirits up, remember to keep time for yourself and let others assist you. Man alone was not meant for such burdens.

As winter closes in, I have provided some supplies that should help you and your people pass the season more comfortably. They are a gift from Iacobus, actually. I mentioned the late start your settlers got and he, quite nobly, insisted on sending a token of his esteem. He fairs well in Pitax, though I have several times invited him home to heal the breach in our little family, he feels duty-bound to remain in his position until a suitable replacement is found.

I am gratified to hear, by way of Lady Coriella, that your personal life progresses well. She is quite the earthy creature. Please convey my regards to your lady,

Lord Vors Medvyed

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Melchior to Lord Vors, Lamashan 12, 4713

My Lord,

It is with some abashedness that I pen this letter, as I realize how melodramatic my last one must have sounded. I can only imagine your profound amusement to have heard the news of my success, not from my own hand, but through official channels. Dealing with the Stag Lord was an adventure in itself, however brief. I shall have to save the particulars until such occasion as our respective duties allow us to catch up in person. Suffice to say, our preparations were largely sound. With a bit of guile, we infiltrated the fort. One of the bandit lieutenants, cannier than most, apparently saw through our act, but chose to take our side in the ensuing struggle. The Stag Lord himself proved little more than a drunken bully. I will spare you the unpleasant details of our victory, but you know the gist of what followed. Straightaway, we sent proof of the Stag Lord’s fall to the Sword Lords. And the rest is history.

My lord, you can not have imagined my shock upon learning what the Sword Lords had seen fit to lay upon my shoulders. My task was to draw maps and bring bandits to justice—what do I know about building a nation, let alone ruling one? This escalated rather quickly. Of course, I have no grounds for refusal. My sense of responsibility impels me to devote myself to whatever task I am given. Though this is not something I might have chosen for myself, and I am dubious about the suitability of my qualities for such an endeavour, I have no intention of abusing the trust that has been placed in me by yourself and the lords of Brevoy. I know not what their aim is in funding a new territory, but for now my sole concern is the welfare of those people who have chosen to make their lives in this untamed place.

At the moment, I am up to my eyeballs in logistical concerns. I have chosen an inner council of sorts from a pool of who I deemed the most qualified individuals in these parts, and we are feverishly making our preparations. We have decided upon the site of the late Stag Lord’s fort as the location of our fledgling settlement, as it is ideally situated along the river and lake shore, it is defensible, and has structures in place. We are just getting started, but we hope to have something livable in place before the winter snows begin. In any event, I shall not bore you with finer details. So many details! Were I not in possession of the excellent education you have provided me, I would surely be lost in a sea of details! As it is, there is so much to be done that I fear I have not been sleeping adequately.

I am suddenly reminded—surely, you recall what I have written of my elven companion, Coriella? Well, she and I are on speaking terms again. In fact, she has hardly left my side since I had my throat c became injured during our scuffle with the bandits. Fear not, however, as I am in quite good health, and in good spirits. In truth, I fear I am in love. Coriella, for all that she is deadly and formidable, deep down is quite affectionate, though I gather that she has had a difficult life, and has some difficulty getting close to people. In any event, we shall see how things unfold!

And now, my lord, I fear I must bring this letter to a close. I still have a mountain of papers to sort through, funds to disburse, workmen to hire, building plans to look over, etc. I suspect I may be busy with such affairs for quite some time, so forgive me if there are lapses in communications between us. That said, I shall do my utmost to keep in touch, as now, more than ever, I wish I had the pleasure of your company, and could ask your opinion on several matters. Kurik will surely scold me if the morning sun finds me still at work, but what am I to do? If only you knew of the innumerable concerns I have. For starters, my Chief of Intelligence is a faerie dragon and my Minister of Magical Affairs is a kobold. And that should tell you all you need to know about how this new nation is shaping up. But it will surely be a sight to behold if it works out!

And with that, I must sign off. We are all well, and I hope this letter finds you in equally good health and spirits. To assist in that, I am enclosing a parcel containing some of Svetlana’s homemade fangberry scones. Be well, my lord.

Melchior
Lord Mayor of Haven, of the newly-founded territory of Sylvangarde

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Lord Vors to Melchior Arodus 17th

My dear Melchior,

I am gratified to find Thonolan’s plan so well suited to your goals and resources. As per our agreement, I have sent a troop from Medvyed to act as guards for the mine. They will stay for six months, at the end of which term, Thonolan and I have agreed to give them the choice to remain in his employment or to return to Medvyed.

Your exploits in the arena of diplomacy are no less startling than your rapid success in the execution of your charter. I understand that Lord Mayor Sellemius himself has taken a personal interest in this venture. You do an old man proud.

Tidings of Iacobus have improved, as well. It seems that Pitax has invested itself in trade with Restov, in no small part due to Iacobus’ efforts on the swordlords’ behalf, I am sure. He sends word that he is well and greatly appreciates the opportunity to regain the favor of his family. His overtures give every evidence of sincerity, yet I am wary of deceit. To be unable to divine the deception of one’s own child is a sad thing, yet I hope for his sake that he truly has come to repent his ways.

May the Gods smile upon your future,

Lord Vors Medvyed

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Melchior to Lord Vors, Arodus 16

To the Esteemed Lord Vors,

My Lord, it is with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I pen this missive, for on the morrow, we set out for the lair of the Stag Lord himself, a bandit chief of no small notoriety in these parts. This self-styled Stag Lord has drawn the attention of the Sword Lords, and they are keen on seeing him removed from power. I hope, as I am sure they did, that confronting the Stag Lord will deal a blow to the banditry in the entire area. I suppose…it is up to me, and my few allies, to deal with this threat. I am…uncertain of our chances, despite our many preparations. Perhaps my fears are a disservice to my companions. Faithful Kurik, surely, would sooner tie me fast to a chair, I think, than to allow me to proceed toward certain doom. Thonolan, though largely untried, seems steady enough. Mik-Mek, the kobold, will be joining us as well. Given the proximity of his tribe’s home to the center of bandit activity, this is his fight as much as, if not more so than, our own. And then, of course, there is Coriella, the seemingly fearless elven huntress. At risk of my own continued well-being, I invited her to join the up-coming fracas. It was a nervous thing, considering the circumstances in which I last saw her, not to mention the enormous pall of dread I’ve endured at the prospect of meeting her again these past weeks. Now that I consider it, however, with her on our side, I feel a great deal better about our chances. She is as formidable as she is…well, she is quite formidable.

All jesting aside, and at the risk of sounding morbid, I come to the heart of the matter. Forgive my uncharacteristic candor, but I am uncertain if I shall survive the upcoming encounter. Itinerant wandering through an untamed wilderness is, I suspect, not quite the same as assaulting a fort full of armed and hardened bandits. Thus, I felt I should give some notice, should I not succeed. The most uncomfortable thought is knowing that I lead friends into danger. But I feel that I must do this. I have little else to devote my life to, at present. And if my efforts result in some positive impact upon the lives of any present and future inhabitants of these lands, I feel that is a cause worth any danger to my person. I can scarcely bear to burden you with such bleak thoughts, but more troubling to me than that is the thought of going off to what may possibly be an ignominious death in the gods-forsaken wilderness without professing my deep respect for you, and the gratitude I hold toward you for all that you have done on my behalf in the absence of my birth parents. It is my hope now, as always before, to perform accepted duties in as admirable a fashion as I might manage, in hopes that you may be proud of me.

Fear not, however. If you could but see me now, you would not see me wholly gloomy. As I said, there is excitement in equal measure, in my mind. For all that I am uncertain of victory or failure in the coming days, at present I feel curiously unburdened. To be sure, I cannot forget the efforts of yourself, Kurik, and all others to cross my path that have aided me in reaching this point in my life with, if not courage, exactly, then perhaps…confidence; contentment; determination. Confidence in my abilities with spell and blade, hard-won. Contentment in knowing that in such circumstances as these, no one could ask for more assistance from better friends and loved ones. And determination, with which set out to discover what “Melchior” shall become, having alread become something other than I was. What am I, if not the son of Malachias, and your devoted servant? As you are aware, I have known naught else before now. What would I be, should I see the other side of this trial that looms before me? It is perhaps a trifling thing to the Sword Lords, these scant few bandits, yet curiously meaningful to me. It occurs to me that this is (assistance from Kurik, Coriella, et al., notwithstanding) the first thing in my life that I have undertaken of my own will. Though others might have managed it before (and may yet get their chance), at this moment, this matter is mine to see through to its end, if it is within my power. And that I am resolved to do…to whatever end it may take me. If I am not to return, know that I proceed believing that my course is as right and as good as I can fathom it. I hope you can draw comfort from that, if necessary. And, of course, I hope that you and my father (gods rest his soul) will be proud of me, in any event. It is all that I have ever really hoped for myself.

Be well.

Melchior

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Melchior to Lord Vors, Arodus 9

To the Esteemed Lord Vors,

My lord, as always it is good to hear from you. I fear I am both literally and figuratively wandering through unfamiliar territory with this mission, caught between freedom and responsibility in ways that are strange to me. I have little to guide me, save Kurik’s hard-headed wisdom and my own conscience, yet the burden of responsibility does not abate. The Swordlords may believe they have given me broad liberties in how I choose to go about fulfilling the dicates of their directives, however, I feel curiously ever the more constrained. I just wish to do right by everyone. Does not everyone deserve happiness? Who am I, then, to give it to them or to take it from them? Such are the problems I wrestle with of late. Even Iacobus I would not deny a fair chance at a good life; how much the easier it is to feel sympathy for a bandit, whose circumstances, sribed by fate, seeming by necessity may drive an otherwise simple man to a low sort of life, bereft of dignity and decency. Would not such a man wish to regain what he had lost, and legitimately, were the opportunity presented? My charter suggests (if not outright demands) application of “the rope or the sword” in cases of unrepentant banditry, after all. Thus, I thank you for your foresight in sending Thonolan. For such bandits as I am unwilling to slay outright, yet for whom I may have little trust, having Thonolan on hand as a rehabilitative option, with honest work, is nothing short of a blessing. I expect it will work out splendidly.

Thonolan himself is quite a nice fellow. A little rough around the edges, and perhaps a tad fatalistic, but he is quiet and well-mannered all the same. We are getting along rather well, I would say. You would scarce believe me, but the very day we set out from Oleg’s with Thonolan, we discovered an untapped gold mine! Or rather, we found a rather large gold vein within a large crack in the side of a hill, which could potentially become a gold mine. The gods work in mysterious ways, it would seem.

It would seem that I have traded one form of unpleasant politics for another. Since arriving in the Stolen Lands, I had come upon rivalry between a colony of mites and a tribe of kobolds that had them both riled up, to the detriment of any and all neighbors. I have since encountered both groups, and believe I have resolved the situation satisfactorily. The mites were filthy, sadistic little creatures with seemingly few redeeming qualities, while the kobolds, despite being a bit uncivilized, appeared to have less of a desire for bloodshed. We happened to rescue a kobold prisoner from the mites’ underground lair: a rather canny fellow named Mik-Mek. In gratitude, he led us in safety to his own home, whereupon we met with his chief. Long story short, it became apparent that the entire conflict, as well as numerous other miseries, were instigated by their itinerant shaman (an unpleasant “kobold” of curious purple coloration, later discovered to be the reincarnated form of a wretched, evil gnome; crazy world, is it not?), whom we dealt with judiciously. The kobold tribe is now quite happy and grateful. I am quite certain that a lasting peaceful accord can be reached with them, to our mutual benefit. Unbelievably, the tribe actually inhabits a long-abandoned silver mine. If they would be amenable to mining the silver and trading it with us, we would benefit from the resource, while they would benefit from the trade and civilized contact. I admit, kobolds would make for rather odd neighbors, but one needs all the allies one can get, after all. Even now, we make our way back to Oleg’s from the kobolds’ lair to share the good news, Mik-Mek riding along with us as a liason of sorts. I fear Oleg’s reaction to a live kobold within his trading post (particularly after the recent incident with the bandit), but he is ultimately a practical man, and I trust he will see the benefit in a local alliance. Oh dear, I had forgotten Coriella’s recent violent tendencies toward scaled creatures. I do hope that won’t present a problem. Perhaps I should simply “man up”, as they say, and speak with her directly. I have not seen her for several weeks. I hope she is well, and has calmed down somewhat. We shall see, I suppose.

With that, I suppose I shall sign off. I hesitate to bore you with such details. Compared to the intricacies of daily House politics in Brevoy, my own activities must seem incredibly trivial. But as always, I value your correspondence and your advice. In reading your words, I am made to feel as though I am less of a disappointment than I often assume. But I shall not burden you with my own self-doubts a moment longer. Know that myself and Kurik are well, and that, so far as I can ascertain, we are making progress in successfully accomplishing our objectives in this wild land. I shall continue to keep you updated, as per usual. Thank you for your gift of the gem; I expect we will be arriving at a confrontation with the Stag Lord within the month, and I suspect we will need every advantage.

In parting, I wish you health and happiness. I shall write again when I can. Be well, my lord.

In gratitude,

Melchior

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Lord Vors to Melchior , Erastus 24, 4712

My dear boy,

I cannot express how gratifying it was to hear from you. I fully comprehend the communication roadblocks you must pass through, ere a missive reaches me and your kind words warm an old man’s heart.

Your adventures to date seem varied and exciting, you have certainly demonstrated an adaptability that is admirable. I have a certain confession to make—Kurik has also corresponded with me and he has told me somewhat of your struggles with the ultimate disposition of any bandits you take alive. Believe me, the difficulty you have increases my respect for you. I often wish that Iacobus had your forbearance toward the mistakes of others-his work in Pitax, while producing results that have initially been celebrated in Brevoy, his methods often lack, well, morality. It pains me to speak so of my only son, however it behooves one to scrupulously honest in all such matters. But I digress; I have some advice as to your own dilemma.

Accompanying this missive is a young man called Thonolan, whose venture I have agreed to finance in exchange for starting up a work program. Thonolan is a stone carver and former quarrier. He looks to turn an untapped source of rocks into a profitable mine or quarry. If you would be willing to assist him, he and his guards would train them and put them to work—for an amount of time determined by local regulators. That’s you, I believe. Regardless of whether you choose to accept this offer, Thonolan has agreed to assist you to the best of his ability in exchange for financing.

Things remain quiet upon the estate, although a colony of mice has apparently set up shop in the cellar. Cook was livid when she discovered that they had devoured the cheesecake she had been saving for Sunday. Khalad has assured me that they will be dealt with by the time I return from our family conclave. I feel the burden of my position more oppressively with each passing year, yet I cannot abandon my duty in the absence of a capable successor. Someone must maintain the delicate truce currently so strained in our realm. I must admit that no matter how much I miss your presence, I am glad to see you spared the unpleasantness of the political scene.

May the Gods smile upon your fortune,

Lord Vors Medvyed

P.S. I believe that Thonolan has an item for you I believe may assist you in your current assignment regarding this ‘stag lord’.

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Erastus 12, 4712

To the Esteemed Lord Vors,

My lord, I do apologize for the infrequency of my communications these last weeks, though I must say, I’ve been preoccupied with the exploring and peace-keeping that are part of my charter. I find myself getting back to Oleg’s trading post (the nearest civilization) less and less often of late, and when I do arrive, as now, I find myself very much drawn by the lure of a hot bath, a hot bowl of moon radish soup, a mug of ale, and a warm bed under a sturdy roof. I fear I am losing some of my cultured refinement to the rough outdoors, but I feel like I am getting to know these lands. When the wilderness is not trying its level best to kill and eat me, it is rather charming and peaceful. I’m slowly growing more accustomed to the life, though having gone from what seems like one extreme of comfort and culture to another extreme bereft of both, I find myself yearning for some middle ground.

In any event, I suppose an accounting of my adventures is due. Since last I wrote you, we have been acknowledged by the Swordlords for our success thus far in dealing with the bandit scourge. They seem now to want me to track down the leader of the bandits and bring him to justice. I’m not sure I’m quite prepared for such an undertaking, however. In the meantime, we’ve been exploring quite a large swath of the northern Narlmarches and the surrounding grasslands. We’ve encountered a few kobolds, but we’ve not found their lair. They’ve apparently been something of a problem in the area of late, but given that they are sentient, reasoning creatures, I hold out hope of a diplomatic resolution. Additionally, we had the pleasure of escorting a local priest to a newly re-discovered temple of Erastil deep in the woods. Most recently, we’ve encountered some tatzylwurms; reptilian monsters, draconic in nature. Quite territorial. Oleg had their heads mounted on the wall. He is quite proud of them.

Sadly, the adventures of the past few weeks have not all been smooth and untroubled. On one occasion, my absent-mindedness nearly saw me dead by an assassin vine. That one was close. I’m looking into developing an “alarm” spell to keep us safer while we camp. There has also been a rather awkward…incident, with Coriella. One night, without warning, she began making romantic advances toward me. I could barely keep my wits about me, but I was still able to notice that there was some magic about. Just then, I caught a pseudodragon attempting to pilfer a freshly-scribed spell scroll. It seems as though the pseudodragon somehow spelled Coriella as a means of distracting me, in order to raid my things. Needless to say, when Coriella came to, she was livid. Her wrath was mostly directed toward the pseudodragon, though under the circumstances I thought it best to leave Oleg’s as soon as possible, so as to forestall possible vengeance that I’m not altogether sure I’ve earned. I feel terribly conflicted about the whole ordeal. I’ve never been a great judge of women’s hearts, and as women go, Coriella is…unique. My admittedly limited knowledge of elves has not prepared me for her personality. I haven’t seen her for several weeks now. I do hope she is well.

Well, enough of such ramblings. I have research yet to do this evening. Tomorrow we are setting out for a longer than usual exploratory venture, which may last several weeks. When we finish this pass, we should have the entire northwestern quadrant of my chartered area fully documented. Progress is slow, but I prefer to be thorough. I suspect I shall have more to report when next I arrive at the trading post. Until then, do be well, and wish me luck!

Melchior

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Melchior's letter #1

To the Esteemed Lord Vors,

Dear sir, I do hope this missive finds you in good health. I fear I’ve been
remiss in keeping you apprised of my activities, however, should events permit
me I shall endeavor to communicate more faithfully. That said, allow me to give
an account of all that has occurred recently.

Where to begin? The events of the time prior to my leavetaking weigh heavily
upon me still, I will not lie. On the worst days, I feel cut adrift, as a lake
fisherman’s boat left to drift on a trackless sea. Where everything once was
familiar, safe, reassuring, I find myself in unfamiliar situations daily, with
no precedent to guide my actions. It is a thrilling—yet terrifying—thing, to
be responsible for oneself, without the weaving threads of duty and tradition
to form a greater pattern to follow. That is the situation in which I find
myself.

Already nearly a month ago, Kurik and I left Restov, accompanied by our guide,
an elven lass named Coriella. We traveled by the main road for several days,
eventually arriving at the outpost of the trader, Oleg, and his wife Svetlana.
Our arrival was initially met with some suspicion, though our timing,
apparently, was impeccable. No sooner than did we arrive, but we became
informed of the unfortunate circumstances of the proprietors. As one of the few
places of civilization in these lands, their outpost is a prominent target for
the bandits that run rampant hereabouts. The very next day, the bandits were
expected to pay them a visit and shake them down. So, Kurik, Coriella and I
laid in wait to ambush them. It was a stunning success. It was also somewhat
conflicting. I am satisfied that those bandits will no longer trouble anyone,
however, I had the misfortune of having to kill a man. I am uneasy about it,
and wonder if I could have done things differently, though at the time I
believed it was for the best.

After the bandit attack, the three of us set out to begin the task of exploring
the area, as per my charter. Coriella left our company around the time we
encountered a troupe of gnomes. One of the gnomes, an odd fellow named Rube,
has chosen to accompany us since. He apparently likes to travel. In any event,
we continued on with our explorations, and met with some interesting creatures
along the way, including a prankster of a faerie dragon named Perlivash. We
managed to befriend the little fellow, and he obligingly assisted us by
directing us toward the main camp of bandits. It would seem that I was correct
in assuming that the local denizens of this land could be reasoned with, to
mutual benefit. Needless to say, we located the bandit camp, and we neutralized
it. They put up quite a struggle, but we had the element of surprise on our
side. Now, more than ever before, I am grateful that I spent so many hours
training sword and spell. Those skills, hard-won, are my last defense against
an ignominious death. I also cannot neglect to mention my debt of gratitude to
Kurik, who has served admirably and with much forebearance. Coriella, also, has
proven her worth. She is a bit…unrefined, perhaps, but she handles herself
well in combat, and is an honorable sort of person.

I look forward to the coming week’s travels. We are making headway in dealing
with the bandit problem, though we have heard rumors of a bandit leader that we
are following up on. We still have much work to do. But, I am looking forward
to it. Looking behind serves little good, at this point. I hope you will think
of me, and know that I am striving to my utmost in this endeavor. I hope you
will be proud.

Be well, my lord.

Cordially,
Melchior Malachiasson

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Vors May 25, 2710 AR

My dear boy,

I feel I must apologize for the coldness of out last interview. Your fortitude in the face of the reversal of fortune is highly commendable, but even Aroden himself could not have thought without reproof of such drastic measures as I was forced upon. I fear that you must have come to regard me as a blackguard.

I will not dwell in either self-recrimination of justification; neither is to the purpose or your own feelings. Your father was a great man and our hopes for you have borne such fruit that my pride and relief know no bounds. Perhaps I have not the right to claim parental emotions, yet you will always be the son of my heart.

If at any time you find yourself in need of that which it is in my power to give, I and my steward in Restov—Milikin-are at your disposal.

May the Gods smile upon your fortune,

Lord Vors Madvyed

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