• He had never planned on staying in Andris for this long. For that matter, he hadn't even planned on attending the festivities this year – as usual. Perhaps it was the unpleasant memories. The last time he'd come, he was a member of Mirith's vanguard. And he needed no reminder of how that year had transpired.

    But this time, when word reached him that Jas would be in town, he knew he had to pull himself away from the tranquility of the Vale. It would only be for a few days, he told himself. And now here he was, weeks later, sitting in a dimly lit room at the inn, hunched over a small mahogany desk. All in all, his first Blue Moon Festival in six years had gone splendidly.

    Through the window, a pale blue light trickled in from the remaining sliver of the moon. The light flowed past a neatly made bed, and came to rest on the gray cat curled up by the fire. A funny thing, that. About two weeks ago, he had awoken after a rainy night to find the adorable little creature sleeping on top of the dresser. She'd been coming back frequently ever since. It was really quite remarkable, seeing all these cats in Andris. Yes, it was all too indicative of the government's steady decline, but he welcomed their presence just the same.

    A sharp crack from the fireplace jolted him upright. The hour was late. He needed to compose this letter before he passed out on the desk. He picked up the quill and began to write.

    Dear Lans,

    I pray this letter finds you in good health, and that your enterprises in the Vale are still operating smoothly. Events in the Red City have persuaded me to stay put for the time being, so we will have to continue using this avenue of communication for a little while longer. There is much to tell and little time to tell it, so I will try and keep this brief.

    First and foremost, be aware that I am going to follow the advice of Arduis and refrain from posting a public notice regarding recent developments. He is right in saying that it is not a good idea to let our enemies know what we know. Therefore, distribute the following report to your informants as per usual, but have them tell only those they trust.

    On Day 223 of the Blue Moon, Year 444, Jas and I came across Viktor within the walls of Andris. His research on artificial blood is progressing, albeit very slowly. He has, however, learned of previously existing research into the same subject – research carried out by blood mages. He hopes to capture one such mage alive, in order to get his hands on their information.

    Not long after this exchange, Jas, Rosina and I were attacked by a zombie at the bank. The zombie was being controlled remotely, through the use of black magic. Joined by Gawr and Arduis, we traced the source of the magic to the east of the city, near the cemetery. There we found a mage who knew how to transfer the black magic consumption from himself to various human corpses or 'hosts', similar to the black mage that came to Mirith two years ago.

    After some initial fighting, this mage felt inclined to talk freely. He told us that a necromancer has secretly joined forces with the Blood Crusade. The mage claimed to be only interested in knowledge and spells, and that he has no reason to assist the Blood Crusade in enslaving the human race.

    The next day, back in the city, Charlotte paid us a visit. She is still safe and under the protection of Viktor. We asked her to inform her mother of the information gleaned from the black mage. Charlotte also told us that Elisabeth's attempts to cure Pervil have still not succeeded, but that Pervil's condition is currently stable. Viktor then appeared to take Charlotte back to their hidden abode.

    P.S: You may want to look into recent missing person reports. A scout of Andris let me know that there have been multiple instances of travelers gone missing, from all the cities of Oberin. Traces of brigands, lava creatures, and even the undead have been found. This could all be happenstance, but in light of recent developments, we must be extra cautious. I leave this investigation to you.

    P.P.S: Next time you see Ryen, do let him know about Charlotte.