A Letter Home


I’m alive and well though
I know you and Pa were scared for me but I’m alive and well
Hide this letter when you get it

(There are numerous scratched beginnings to the letter, all in a wandering, slightly spidery hand before the letter proper begins, this time in a hand slightly tighter and more composed. A few stains dot the page that smell strongly of cheap, strong liquor.)__

It’s your little girl. I’m sorry I haven’t written since that night three years ago; I was afraid for your safety. That She would have gone after you. And I can’t bear to think of you and Pa, Akul, Geoffrey, and Demetri getting into danger because of my foolishness. You all deserve better than that.

I’ve made something of myself though. Got a part in a performing troupe going through the big western cities. The Circus of the Stars; just like the shows you used to bring me too when I was a wee child. There’s knife throwers and magicians, a girl not much younger than myself that trains the most amazing rats…I myself sell the cures ya taught me, and tell most of old gran’s stories. The ones about tall dark strangers coming in the night, the cards, and the chants and the stories the stars tell. The city folk know it’s all a farce, but it’s an entertaining one and every time I draw from that little deck it reminds me of home.
It isn’t the same but I’ve made friends here-odd enough, and rough (like Akul) but a good sort deep down. You’d like Thurgrim, he reminds me a bit of Dad. He looks after me, keeps me out of trouble and I try to do the same for him. That girl with the rats, Delilah reminds me a bit of me at that age (as if to punctuate this maudlin sentence, there’s an especially large liquor stain right on top of it); wide eyed and wanting to be everyone’s friend. Duncan likes her too. Part of me thinks that that’s just because he wants to eat the rats! She’s marvelously clever though, and I think we’ll be like sisters before the month is out. Being on the road will give us plenty of time together at any rate.

Tarel is like me; he knows the old stories of magic and spirits and men with crowns of ivy making the woods sing and the mountains quake. But he actually seems to believe them-I’ve not met anyone like him; least not in Dorset. He’s city-born though, through and through, and I know what you’ve always said about city folk: keep one eye on their hands and another on their mouths.

Now the final two of my new companions are something completely different: a giant born with the blood of elves in his veins, and an honest to gods elf! I never thought I’d meet one; or even hear of one outside the tales. Her name’s Eirlys and she’s just like Gran said she would be: beautiful, brilliant, but a little cold, and so mysterious. I sound like an old fisherwife I know, but I can’t help but be a bit excited. What’s the fun of being a fugitive if you (the next part of the letter is nigh indecipherable, as the quill was dragged drunkenly across the parchment) can’t meet interesting people? I hope she’ll talk to me soon, in earnest, because she knows more than I could ever dream.

Wynfor, the elven blooded giant is a mystery to me. He speaks like a noble, but looks like he’d be able to pick up old Gowdie (is that old sow still kicking? she was near 800 stone when I left) in one hand for his bacon, and grab a coup full of chickens for his eggs with the other. He’s got gold too, lots of it. I know what you’re going to think, but I think he might be the key to me getting back to Dorset. And getting even with Her setting all this straight. I just need to know how to talk to him-I made a fool of myself the first time, raving about the size of dogs and speculating about how that entire thing would work.I’m afraid he thinks I’m just some yokel girl with a big mouth.

I’ve rambled, but I can’t help it. You’re my ma, and I love you and I just want you to know that I’m safe. We’re aiming to do something great; something that you and Pa can be proud of. I can’t say much more, but if (Acata willing) you get this, send a letter upriver towards the northlands to let me know you’ve got it. If all goes well, I’ll write you another; and send gold back besides.

I’m sorry, and I love you all


Beginnings - shrouded in mystery
Everyone comes together but no one knows what is going on

Light of Truth, Porius XIII

I commence my tale with events in late May, 1876C. Rarely are historians able to ascribe so certain a date, but Dragon’s Dream crew kept exhaustive notes. Unfortunately, they kept them under their pseudonyms in case of capture. So while I can attest to the following series of events, I cannot declare how this tied to later writings from that company.

In subsequent events, I will likely transition to the writings of those more directly involved anyway. But they were just discovering themselves at this time; they had not yet started making notes for posterity.

Enough about sources. On to the tale!

It began with an explosion

Actually it began several days before, but the explosion that destroyed Drake’s house was the first action our heroes took together. Or, rather, their first concerted action was to capitalize on the aftermath. Unfortunately, Drake had already skipped town by the time his store and love nest was destroyed.

In an unusual circumstance, both the Circuses of Sun and Stars were playing in the same city. Several minstrels of the Moon were there as well, which was far less unusual. However this happened, it is clear that someone arranged for this group of individuals to be in the same place at the same time.

For a place, they chose Wakefield. This was a city in which anything could happen. It would appear that whoever was staging the scene intended to give these new recruits—for recruits they were—every possibility. Clearly the effort was intended to see what they would do, as much as it was to see what leads they would follow.

But I get ahead of myself. Let us state purely the unaltered words of “Fisk”.

Fisk speaks

May 19. Reconnoitering to determine best approach for Eirlys, she opens up a direct approach. She is clearly interested in race relations (our demense). I decide on the direct approach. I invite her for tea. I wish only that the others would be so simple.

May 20. We have heard that there will be significant action at Chance’s house tonight. I am on house watch. I see Thurgrim and Isobel attempt to rob the place while Wynfor tries to sell them their own contraband goods. No interaction between the groups, but it must raise confusion for the poor majordomo.

Rodrik and Brewster are at the Bumbling Duck (or some such silliness) to keep an eye on things, when Isobel starts to describe her actions. We decide to intervene before this can get back to Drake and cause an uproar. Unsure what else to do, they perform a discrete kidnapping and bring her to the Gilded Duke. Not what I would have wished, but I was on overwatch at the time, then due for a conversation at the Duke.

Thurgrim tracked Isobel—good hunting instincts on that one. He chose to join our little soiree. Wynfor also tracked us down via his own means. I was somewhat surprised not to see Tarel and Delilah, but it seems like they are more focused on puzzles and enemies than on potential allies. Oh well. Missed messages and all that.

May 21. And speaking of enemies! Someone (I assume Tarel + Delilah) set a trap in Drake’s office. It went off and burnt down the entire building, including Purity’s place. Mass confusion. I had not counted upon such a level of ruthlessness. It seems this group will need training in subtlety more than the traditional training in willingness to do what it takes.

This event finally brings the whole crew together. They find each other and a common mission (and a man to hate). It shall be interesting to see how things progress. They have already performed one vulgar and obvious crime in their pursuit.

May 22. We see another example of the team’s vicious directness. They tracked Drake’s holdings to his bookseller and interrogated the poor man. He was a dupe, completely unaware of Drake’s role. And yet they robbed him, drugged him, and scared the life out of him. He was alive when they left.

The crew learns that Drake headed out of town early in the morning of the 21st. Before the fire. So it wasn’t his body in the safe room. We shall see what they do with that information.

May 23. Drake’s bookseller seems to have “left town.” No trace of him, all his possessions gone, and even a few dodgy witnesses who claim to see the man on a boat for London. I expect the guild defenders to find this suspicious, but no clues point to anything other than an escape from danger. I presume him dead.

It looks like the crew is headed upriver after Drake. I wish him the best of luck. This crew is direct. If they are to make good recruits, they will need to learn subtlety. In the meantime, they just might take out Drake. Hopefully they look beyond him to the entire race revolt and figure out a solution. With only a month to go until the uprising, it will not be an easy situation to prevent. And even if it is prevented now, if Spymaster’s predictions hold true, early autumn will be an active time for us. I hope these new recruits turn out better than the last batch!

And what can I add to that?

Only that it turns out they did. But not in any way Fisk could have expected. I think that Drake saw it. Briefly.


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