From the Letters of Tray and Seine
Author's Notes: I'm wary about continuing this as I've got a lot of other stuff on my plate now. But it's tremendous fun to write these letters--might not be as fun reading them--so I might continue. We'll see how it goes.
To Bridget Hills, Tray's Wooden Lodge
From Fort Dalton, General Derg's Quarters
The Twenty-Fourth of December, Year 175
I am sorry to be writing so late in the year, and with no resemblance to detail either. But you will forgive my tardiness when you have heard the news here. It is disconcerting, to say the least.
I wasn't long arrived at the Fort when the General called me to his office. You are acquainted with the General, I believe? He mentioned a brief encounter at the Ginger Desert nearing Midsummer last year. In any case, he confided to me his suspicions that the Cherri Mine Explosion was no accident. This led me to investigate into matters. For the better part of a month, I dug around for more information. What I have gathered is startling and disturbs me greatly. We have all been deceived and quite thoroughly at that.
The Cherri Mine Explosion was indeed purposefully perpetrated, and the evidence (not to worry, it has all been painstakingly collected) refutes the guiltiness of any mundane criminals we might have suspected. I found the shards of a Magick Shell. Yes, Brother, it was the work of a Magician, one so arcane as yourself.
I know you will want to see the shards. Unfortunately, my discovery was turned over to the General's men (fool that I am to so carelessly share information with them). They do not bode ill for us—not intentionally at least—but their untried expertise cannot compare to yours. Rest assured, however, I will obtain the remnants of the Shell as soon as circumstances allow and will send them to you via my next letter.
In the interim, is there more you know of these Magick Shells? Can the spellcaster be identified through them? I urge you to hurry with your response for I begin to suspect someone within the Fort has not the best of intentions towards these Shells. Never the mind! I will keep them safe, I swear it! But hurry.
To Fort Dalton, General Derg's Quarters
From Bridget Hills, Tray's Lodge
The Thirty-First of December, Year 175
I received your letter earlier today and have since been unearthing as much as I could on Magick Shells. I've still a wealth of material to cover, but your bid for speed has assumed top priority and I will examine the rest later. I have enclosed one of the scrolls, written by the historian Sanfric the Younger, if you have wish to study further.
Your news is alarming, I must say. A Magick Shell destroyed the Cherri Mines? It takes a great deal of energy to conjure a mere two-inch Magick Shell, and to conjure one enormous enough to devastate the Cherri Mines is inconceivable. The Magician responsible for the deed might well be the very first of our "arcane" kind—as you put it—to do so.
As for identifying the spellcaster of the Shell, that is no difficulty. All magic bears the brand of its Magician. We can easily trace who your Magician is if the Shell is thrown into a Revealing Potion. Granted, we'd have to recognize the brand of the Magician, but we can look that up.
Has the General offered any more of his opinions on this matter? The Cherri Mines are under his jurisdiction, after all. But yes, I do recall meeting him last summer. I liked him immensely. He had a commanding figure, a quick wit, and solid common sense, which made him popular among his soldiers. Moreover, I was impressed with the wide range of his knowledge, seldom found in soldiers these days. Do not hesitate to tell him of your suspicions, especially if it pertains to the Fort. No one knows the Fort better than the General. I suspect he will be a rare asset to your investigations.
On my part, the days have passed too quickly as well, and the sense of danger I feel nowadays has heightened acutely. You were not long gone when I received a visitor. Strange, is it not, when my simple cottage lies so out of the way from civilized towns? Even stranger was the visitor.
Do you remember Saundra Flamecloak? She with hair the color of fire and eyes like an owl? We had the honor of her company not half a year ago. And again, she was my visitor in your absence. We shared a meal and a conversation that lasted deep into the night. She had much to tell of her adventures since we last met, and her tidings—all of it— were evil.
What we have long feared is now approaching on the horizon. War brews in the West, Brother. Eyrasian Commander Jordan assembles his forces at the Canyon Bridge, utterly disregarding his king's orders. As you know, King Saranac has long since lost power over Eyras. There are few who remain loyal to him. Most of the Eyrasians have turned to the Commander Jordan, who is intent on the conquest of neighboring lands, lands he claims belong to him by a complicated birthright. I have thus far found no truth in his claims, but there is no way to deny them either. So Commander Jordan will use these claims to justify a war that will consume us all. Since the Emperor Lucratius's death, we have known war was inevitable. There is no other strong enough to hold these rival nations together. It was only a matter of time. And now it has begun.
There is more worrisome news: the creeping darkness around the Sapphire Tower has not abated. Indeed, it continues to spread and kill all in its path, worse than any famine or pestilence. I know not what it is; no one does. But if this keeps up, I intend to make a journey to the Sapphire Tower and see what I can do.
But it has yet to come to that. For now, I continue my "arcane" studies. Take care, my good Brother. I wish you an enjoyable new year.