As ever, I owe you an apology for not writing more or sooner. I missed you dearly these many years but for an islander like me, who does not really trust these ship things, it is hard to even imagine this wide world into which you have been exiled and even harder to conceive that these words on paper will somehow make it to you out there.
I wish I could say that I have simply changed and that I am writing simply to inquire as to how things are, now that you have almost grown up and if Daril lets you out from under his wing now and again.
Alas, what made me write is that I believe you are in deadly peril as is the kingdom itself.
I doubt the news will have made it before this letter as I am picking the most direct ship to send it along on. There is no easy way to put it:
your father is dead.
Not simply dead either but murdered.
Your uncle Janos rules now having assumed regency. He accuses Rogebok and your little sister of murder – Nikolay’s body was found, ostensibly, in her chambers. He does not even pretend to answer how a 12 year old girl would go about murdering a strong, fit Magyr man nor what benefit Rogebok would stand to derive from for a decade showered them with privileges above and beyond what they could have ever hoped for.
Finally if Castelan intended to claim regency he certainly did not seem ready to act on it.
At least, by some miracle, girl and her mother fled Aramviso that same night. Whatever disagreements you have with their kin, I would hate to imagine their fate in Janos’ hands.
As you can imagine, more then a few people suspect Janos himself of the deed and even some rumors from the palace seem to confirm it. People are restless and are waiting to see if he goes whole distance and crowns himself. Katarina is publicly egging him on but, so far at least, he has resisted. He reigns as a “regent” but for whom he is holding the regency remains unknown.
As you can imagine this has made a bad situation here on the island into a worse one. Myrahi rebellion continues unabated and good half of them do not seem to desire any peace short of kicking every one of us permanently off the island.
At the same time almost none of the grand magnates actually likes Janos very much and a few, Gurthochak and Prokhotnik, in particular, veritably hate his guts. Katarina is not making it any easier by telling all who would listen what she would do with old Gurthochak if she were in charge. If things keep on the way they are it is possible that we will have a civil war even in our side of the island.
What is even worse are the other rumors I have heard from the palace whereby Janos or Katrina or both of them are plotting to remove you two from the picture. Neu Ungren, they say, is full of assassins who will do a dirty deed for a handful of copers and a bowl of soup.
Even if these later rumors are untrue – and I unfortunately doubt they are -, I beg you to come home.
By rights one of you is a rightful ruler (many people do not believe those vile lies about your mother and she, bless her soul, never confessed anything even if it meant all these years of inprisonment. Come home then, rally people and show Janos and his jump-up daughter what the true Sarkad monarchs are made of.
I am enclosing your father’s seal. In one of last conversations I had with him he told me how to easily get it out of the palace if something were to happen to him. At the time I believe he worried more of Leopard Cub armies then fratricide but I figured I’d disrespect his memory if I did not make sure it makes its way into your hands. If nothing else, it should make those sailing leeches of Neu Ungren take you somewhat seriously.
When you make it over do not head for Aramviso – Janos has every inch of it watched.
I am well ensconced in Al-Thasdun. Seek me out in the “Flag” tavern. Innkeep there is one of ours and as honest a man as you could wish for. He will know where to find me.
As for eventually getting to Aramviso and Janos – do not worry. Boundaries have many holes for those with some coin – even in wartime.
Above all kids, be careful. I probably need not tell you, but these matters could not be more serious and, very likely, even deadly.
On the other hand, do not let Daril talk you into hiding. If all else fails remind him that as rulers it would be in your give to free your mother and reward her loyal partisans.
In most sincere hope of seeing you both soon – safe and sound, yours ever so loving