Letter to Jedd regarding the Walthams
The wizard was dreaming of the stormy sea, when it floods the ravines, draws back and rises again. The bed sheets were swelling as if to follow the wave troughs; the fight against the elements became slippery and more intense… then the scenery changed and she found herself in a sea of green… emerald green pastures… Suddenly awake, “Sheep!”, the wizard cried, and jumped up, causing the bed covers to fall to the ground. Left without the warmth of the woollen blanket, she shivered. “Sheep… wool… good heavens, I have not written to Jedd yet!”, she uttered.
With a feeling of guilt, Fuoco rushed through her morning routine, then sat at her desk, quill and parchment in hand.
My dear Jedd,
I have been meaning to write to you for quite a while now… you must forgive your old friend - my powers may have grown but so have my years. I spend most of my days meditating, often oblivious to time and circumstances. My life has deeply changed ever since the disappearance of our beloved Senator Morgans, and further sorrow was brought by the death of my newly acquired friend, Senator Muquites – only a Rune Sword and a few fragrant pieces of gingerbread are left in my family, to remind us of happier days… but enough reminiscing! Not long ago, Rosina drew my attention to some peculiar circumstances, which I wished to verify with my own eyes.
The Waking Moon was half way through our skies when I followed her to the main stables, where I witnessed some remarkable changes - the entrance had been blocked by a thick hedge, designed to protect a rather sizeable flock of sheep, and some signs announced that this was a measure taken by the Walthams to protect their livestock, following some episodes of sheep poisoning. It was further announced that an entrance ticket was now required, whilst yet another sign advertised their business: “Give your friend a new look! Only with Waltham’s World of Wool”, and again… “Sheep shearing week! Bring your pet, we’ll take your wool for free!”.
I leave you to imagine my outrage - how can they block a public stable? Whilst I understand their concerns about losing their livelihood, why could not they build a private enclosure and pay their employees to watch over the animals? Truth be told, their greed seems to have no boundaries - they wish to make money but are not prepared to spend any! I was horrified when, some moons earlier, I had learnt that they wished to expand their business even to small villages, including Morganstown. At the time, I had rushed there to reassure Jorda, at the Potion Shop, that I would do everything in my power to prevent the Walthams from taking over her premises! Somebody must make them see sense - nobody goes to Morganstown to purchase ‘fashionable’ clothing, whereas the current establishment caters for much needed emergency supplies and is the nearest place to that dreadful Volcano!
However, the above is not the most shocking part of the business. After hearing Rosina’s reports (you know I cannot trust that girl too much - the horses of her imagination tend to gallop rather wildly!) that something unusual was happening at Brigobaen, I travelled there myself.
To my horror and astonishment (not sure which was greater), the temple grounds were decked out as if for a village fete. A number of chests for donations to the poor of the various areas of Oberin occupied the outer perimeter of the library (so far nothing to object), but there was also some advertising: “Special Offer from Waltham’s World of Wool”, “Shop at Waltham’s World of Wool. Nystral’s Style!”. What can I say, dear friend… the sacred seemed to intertwine with the profane in a grotesque and very undignified fashion (forgive the pun). At that stage, I began to wonder whether all or part of the donations would end straight into the greedy hands of the Walthams. What are these merchants doing, for Goddess’ sake? Trying to pull wool over our eyes? How were the priests of Brigobaen fooled into accepting such an invasion of the sacred grounds? I do hope the authorities and citizens alike can react against this state of affairs… some moral restraint on the merchants of wool would not go amiss!.
The ancients say that the Past is the father of the Present, and that Truth is the daughter of Time… since I cannot see any feasible way of preventing what at any rate is yet unclear, I guess we can only be watchful whilst the events unfold, but let me tell you something - I certainly do not wish our lands to be ruled by such greedy, narrow-minded folks!
That, however, was not the end of the surprises at Brigobaen - “May the cities of the Disciples forever prosper”, one sign read, and “Our brothers and sisters will meet at the southern classroom”, said another. The lower ground was indeed mayhem - it was overcrowded with people utterly unknown to me. Is this a new sect? Do you know anything about them? I must confess I found it alarming. May Elara watch over us!
Most sincerely yours,
Fuoco of Andris