To my brother,
I write to you from Gaisen, where unimaginable things have taken place. I do not know how soon this letter will reach you, but when it does I urge you to leave Talsit with your family at once and go to stay in the country. Try to convince mother and father and our siblings to go as well: the city is not safe. Go at once! Do not tarry! Read the rest of this letter at your leisure.
I wrote you last about my departure with the Togapa. Our voyage was uneventful. My eyes were opened to the workaday world of sailors and I shared their joys and their toils. Though I had no experience at sea, my trained agility put me in good stead with my employers. After several weeks of travel, we put in at Gaisen, only to discover the city in ruins! Many were dead, others were dying. I did my best to help them. Near the devastated harbour I encountered by pure chance a strange group who, as it happened, knew more about what had happened than anyone.
Brother! They believe the cultists may be headed to Talsit. Now you see why I warned you at once to flee.
Who are these strangers, you ask? They are an unlikely lot, I confess. One is a dwarf: a proud warrior, enamoured of mead, beer, pottage, and violence (not necessarily in that order). He also has, it seems, an affinity for oiling his body, perhaps to better show off his muscles. He is named Aethelred. Another is Mishka, a barbarian tracker from a distant land. She speaks not our tongue, but makes herself well enough understood with the few words at her command. Then there is the inscrutable Maratose. The first day I met him, he spent the whole time lingering motionless and silent behind his companions. He later livened up, but that first impression has stuck.
The governor at Gaisen died in the cultists' attack. A counsellor named Anarion has taken charge of the investigation and has asked me to attend a council on the matter. My captain has given his consent and I am most willing to offer whatever assistance I can. Aethelred, Mshka, and Maratose are also involved. We shall see what happens tomorrow, but I predict that our fates will be intertwined.
May this find you safe and well. Wait not for news! Leave the city at once, I beg you.
Yours in the All,