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A letter from Brigobaen

Dear Sir Jedd of the Hidden Vale,

I am unsure if we had the pleasure to meet before. It is likely that we haven’t, for I rarely leave the holy temple, unless I need to pick some ginseng or there is an urgent matter or another calling me away.

It is my hope, therefore, that you forgive me for disturbing your study, and will be willing to lend an ear to another child of Elara.

It has come to our notice that you are a scholar yourself, though without an order of your own. I understand that not all of us feel the call of goddess to embrace the monastic life. I am sure, however, that you know the library of Brigobaen and have often consulted it in your research.

It is under that assumption that I write now. I am not young, and I am not getting any younger. Every time I set my eyes on the pile of books to restore in our atelier, I feel my knees tremble slightly with discouragement. Of course, the Goddess is here to make sure that all my enthusiasm returns, after each of these o so human lapses. I feel, however, that the time has come to ask for help, and I shall be direct:

I would be honoured if you accepted, alone or with someone else you deem trustworthy, to join me in my efforts to recover a collection of manuscripts that might prove useful in the investigations of those hell mages. I would provide you guidance and initiate you in the necessary techniques for handling old documents. Of course, Brigobaen would provide food, candles, quills,  and as many beds as necessary, for as long as it takes or you wish to stay.

I know my words may seem enigmatic and suspicious, but I beg you to remember that Elara watches over my shoulder, and no malicious word would ever be written under her eyes. If it is your wish to accept our offer, please, come to the temple at any time that suits you. Everyone here is ready to welcome you with bread and milk, even at late hours.

May this letter find you in good health and spirits, under the eternal light of our Goddess,


Evaristos of Brigobaen

Comments

  • Lans passed the exquisitely-written letter back to Jedd. Without a word, the two of them rose simultaneously from the grand table and began walking in the direction of the study, with a level of coordination that would've surely betrayed their decades-long working relationship to even the most oblivious observer.

    "Well," said the cleric. "That was unexpected."

    "But was it really?" said the fighter. "Sometimes I wonder, you know, how differently things might have been had I taken up the cloth instead of the sword."

    "Ah. I can see what you mean. But if I may be perfectly honest, I don't think you would've enjoyed it. Life in the Order can be very strict and regimented."

    "Hmm, yes, I suppose you are right."

    "And it would be wise not to take for granted the advantages of our own order, friend: no dogma, no regulations, no vows..."

    "Right, I will keep that in mind. This sojourn should help in that regard, by way of contrast."

    "Oh yes." Having reached the door to the study, the cleric opened it wide and motioned for the fighter to enter. "So you do intend to take it, then."

    Jedd gazed over at the cleric with mock bewilderment. "You're not surprised, are you?"

    "Not at all!" Lans went over to his desk and took a seat, and gestured to the open chair across from him. "Still, I'm a tiny bit concerned, friend. Let me remind you that, in their eyes, you are technically a heretic. Not to mention everyone else in the Vale that agreed to the resolution."

    Jedd breathed a heavy sigh, and plopped down in the chair. "Old times, even older people." Memories began to flash before his eyes, of soldiers and battles and delegations, all of which he promptly dismissed. "War has... a peculiar way of forcing people to make some rather difficult decisions. We did what we had to do to survive, and what we thought was right. Nevertheless – almost ten years have gone by since we formalized the alliance; ten years without diplomatic incident, and that alone is enough to reassure."

    "Yes, but—"

    "Now – yes I'm aware – I am willing to grant that there might be some elements in the Order who will take one swift look at the badge and consider me a foe. But..." he paused, weighing his words carefully, "I have come to discover over the years, that the only way we might hope to improve such situations is through the building of genuine relationships."

    "Yes, definitely."

    "So. Perhaps this Evaristos is a man of noble character; perhaps he is not. But I cannot in good conscience pass up this opportunity to speak with him myself. And besides, think of all the manuscripts!"

    The cleric chuckled. "Of course! I wouldn't dare separate you from your beloved old manuscripts." His eyes fell to the stack of papers resting on the desk. "And at the end of the day, we're both here for the same thing now, aren't we? Structuring, organizing, sharing..."

    "Without regard for political – or religious – divides, as per our agreement." Jedd stopped to think for a moment. "You know, I would be more than eager to invite you along, if..." he cut himself short.

    "If I wasn't already up to my ears in work over here."

    "Precisely."

    "Ah, think no more of it. But that does remind me. Your wonderful assistance with all those scouting missions will be sorely missed – our operational needs are about to increase twofold!"

    "Hah, you flatter me." Jedd stole a quick glance at the page lying before him – it appeared to be Lans's roster. "Regardless, there ought to be plenty of other people who can handle those duties, with as much a capable hand or better. Take that new fellow, for one. He is progressing well, I trust?"

    "Yes yes, very well! I took him along on a trip to the Frozen Wastes, and he did quite nicely." Lans's face suddenly lit up. "And oh! He also helped out quite a bit with our dragon teeth supply. Between his contributions, and what I found on all those blasted forest dracos, we should be set for the whole next moon."

    "Hah. I – wait, that was you? I thought I recognized the handwriting on that report."

    "Ah, then maybe I need to be more careful! But yes: thirteen dracos, Jedd. On a route which, as you know, doesn't usually see anything more than the stray dog or wolf. And before you say anything: I did try and cast some protective spells on the sheep after I had cleaned up the mess, but I couldn't get a clear view over the barrier that had been put up."

    "I see. Which means that this same barrier—"

    "Yes, that same barrier should be enough to deter any bloodthirsty wizards, too. At least in theory."

    "Excellent."

    At this, they both paused, and the conversation appeared to be coming to a close.

    "Well," said Jedd.

    "Well, what are you waiting for? Begone with you!" The cleric turned his attention back to his desk. "And oh, I'll be sure to forward any correspondence to Brigobaen, if any arrives."

    "Very well then." Jedd peeled himself off his chair. "I have just one more favor to ask, if you wouldn't mind: I'd like a general notice penned for the city squares, to see if we can't get any more help with this project. And should anyone respond, if you could possibly have them sent straight to me?"

    "Hmmmmm. I guess I can do that, given how helpful you've been these past couple of moons. But don't push your luck!"

    "Hah, I wouldn't dream of it. But thank you, all the same." Jedd turned to go. "Farewell then, my good sir!"

    "Yes. 'Til next time."
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