The following are transcripts from the Lore Letters.
|“||My dear friend Rissa,
The journey across the Hallowed Marsh was largely uneventful, although I can confirm that even from afar, Tuanosaurs truly are as large and vicious as rumor says.
The city of Monsoon is beautiful, although the smell of the swamp pervades every nook and cranny. At least, being built upon an island means it is naturally insulated from all but the most determined of threats.
I have been accepted into the Holy Mission of Elatt, and have begun my training in the scholarly branch. Even so, I labor daily, tending to wounds, repairing homes, and anything else that my strength can aid with.
I expected my training in the knowledge of the holy mission to take me years, but in essence I am already nearly done. Everything comes back to the Three Pillars of Elatt's philosophy, The Endless Path.
First, one must always look after and care for those weaker than them. Second, one must always have discipline and mastery over themselves. Thirdly, one must always seek to improve themselves, to better survive and aid one another.
Everything else is about learning to better live by these three principles, or about the brief history of the Holy Mission, and the actions we have taken to protect Aurai.
Elatt is different than I had imagined. I had expected him to feel more distant and alien to us, but having heard his voice for myself, I can claim without a doubt that he has not forgotten what it feels like to be human.
I do hope that when the time comes for me to take on the role of tribal priest, I will be able to return to Cierzo to spread Elatt's message. But the tribes are many in number, and any one of them may have need of me far more than home.
Your friend, Rufus.
The city of Levant is as wondrous as I had imagined. The streets are paved with tile, marble statues and fountains with clear spring water adorn the town square, and merchants and artists of all trades bustle about in a great hurry. The market I have come here to fill is quite crowded, more than I expected. I have met and spoken with at least three sculptors and six masons this week alone. Even so, I have no doubt that once I get myself properly established and funded, I will be able to compete with their work. For now, I am trying to find work as a cactus fruit picker, as glamour-less as the job sounds.
My only concern is with the desert bandits and giant insects outside. All I can do is hope that Levant's military and our many mercenary corps will be able to keep them from our walls. The worst are the Sand Corsairs, I shudder to think that I might have encountered these brutes on the journey across the Abrassar desert.
Until I can find permanent lodging, I will be sleeping under the stars in the slums with my fellow new arrivals. I will write again as soon as I am able. Until then, worry not for me. I am determined to find my place here.
Your faithful son, Patrice.
|~ "Patrice" (Pigeoneye)|
|“||Dear Eto Akiyuki,
Your interest in the Soroborean Academy is noted, and I will gladly answer your questions. While we are technically under the banner of the Blue Chamber Collective and have a seat at council meetings, our vast resources give us much the same power and reach of the Collective itself. Our knowledge in the arts of alchemy, magic, mathematics, literature, and many other topics is dwarfed only by the reach of our vast trade networks.
I myself am here in Cierzo purely on business matters, to act as the liaison for the Academy here, and to ensure that product is not misplaced or undersold. To your question about training in the magical arts, Sorobor Academy would be glad to tutor you in Harmattan in the way of magic. We ask for an upfront payment of 300 silver pieces to enroll, and 200 more for every season of study with us.
If the cost concerns you, we would be glad to extend a loan of silver to your bloodline, enough to cover your first two seasons with us. Also, bear in mind that our Academy houses many of the finest masters of the magical arts. Think of your tuition as an investment in your future!
I hope you consider studying with us, Eto. If you are not ready now, there is no need to worry. Sorobor Academy will be waiting for you whenever you are. If you have any further questions for us, do not hesitate to ask.
Your friend, Helen Turnbull.
|~ Helen Turnbull|
|“||I apologize for not having written. It has taken me longer than I expected to arrange for a courier to your remote village. My initial wonder at the Heroic Kingdom of Levant has long since faded and I see the truth laid bare now.
I realize now that I am lucky I got in at all. The city is becoming far too crowded, and many find that the trade they came here to practice already has more than enough people performing it. All new arrivals must now be vouched for, either by buying the favour of the local land Baron, or by proving they can be of use in one of Levant's many mercenary corps. More than one poor soul in this slum spent every last silver they had to earn their place here, and now finds themselves unable to earn their daily bread. The Sand Corsairs continue to ply their trade along the desert roads, inflicting their bloody tax on merchants. The insects have taken more than one person I know who dared to try their fortunes as a mercenary. Several more have fallen victim to violent crime here in the slums. The guards don't care, they have their plates full enough already.
Yet, I refuse to leave. The people here have begun to rely on me. I see things that they don't, and I've been able to keep the flow of smuggled goods and essential information steady and consistent. Without me, at least four people would be penniless, or just another corpse down an alley.
I see it all from up here, the good, the bad, and the bloody. The Levantine dream is barely holding together.
Your faithful son, Pigeoneye.
|“||I fear Elatt's assessment of the Ghost Pass is correct. The tragedy and bloodshed that occured here runs too deep for the curse to be lifted by mortal means alone.
We have cleansed this vile place of undead twice now, and still they were pulled back to the mortal plane to resume their ancient patrols. They are too far gone to join their ancestors, and too entrenched to exorcise by force. They will likely stalk these halls, trapped in their memories, until the walls themselves crumble to dust.
While the slaughter and despair that occurred here while it was besieged by the Scourge no doubt account for the bulk of the Corruption that has grown here, it appears that is has a bloody history that extends long before then. Those who administrated this old Customs Pass would have much to answer for, if they still drew breath.
The only relieving news is that the Corruption here runs deep enough that the ghosts are able to feed off it. They do not appear to be compelled to hunt for fresh life to siphon, so the Chersonese region should remain safe from ghostly hunting parties.
I wrote to you to inform you of suspected activity by The Krypteia. The situation in Cierzo has changed drastically this past season. Not for the better. A prominent member of the nearby Montcalm tribe was poisoned a few days ago. I suspect the assassin was Person of Interest #17, although this is purely based on her recent visit to the Montcalm fortress, and the fact that Manticore Venom was used in the assassination.
The Montcalm tribe have responded by completely insulating themselves from outside influence, and by ambushing any citizen of Cierzo that they catch hunting near their territory, then stringing up their corpses around their fortress.
I have not yet determined what pushed the Krypteia to act against them, but the fact that Montcalm has turned to using local undead as a protective army hints that there may have been valid reason to suspect they were a threat to the safety of the Blue Chamber Collective.
I still cannot confirm what thread links the assassinations that the Krypteia commit. Like many of the others, this victim's parentage was uncertain, but that's honestly not much to go on.
I hope you take my concerns seriously. While the Krypteia seem to act with the best intentions for the Collective in mind, they might still be a threat to our agenda in the future, and should be watched with great care. I will send you further information as I uncover it.
|~ "Your faithful informant"|
|“||2nd of Midsummer
Yesterday, Eto's cousin finally made the voyage to Cierzo, and the three of us passed the afternoon together. Like Eto, he is a Kazite from the floating city of Oroshi, born on the sea just like most of his kin.
He was quote curious about the traditions and custom of the Blue Chamber Collective that Cierzo belongs to, and I did my best to fill the gaps in his knowledge.
I impressed upon him the bedrock principle of our tribes. Nothing is more important than family. And the tribe is an extension of that family. All of our fates are connected. We all know what it is like to be hungry, and that only through combined effort can we survive the harshness outside the walls.
Each of us must give up a little of what we want, so that everyone as what they absolutely need. And yet, for all the safety that our tribes provide, our laws are harsh. Just as we look after one another as if we are family, we are judged not as individuals, but as bloodlines. When harm befalls one member of the tribe, the bloodline of those responsible must repay the harm done, no matter how many generations it takes.
My thoughts turn to the family of my old friend, the keeper of the lighthouse. Theirs is a bloodline steeped in shame, still shackled by the Blood Price of an awful tragedy that they caused long before their child was born. A child that will one day have to bear the weight of the bloodline's sins alone.
However unfair this seems, I must never forget that this is the most effective way to minimize harm to the tribe, and avoid mob rule, or the needless spilling of blood. Despite what it seems, the Blood Price is not a punishment. At least, it was never intended to be. Eto's cousin listened to me attentively, and asked what became of orphans. I answered him proudly, "No one is an Orphan in Cierzo". Those who are without bloodline are adopted without question, without shame. Family joined by tradition and family joined by blood may as well be one and the same to us.
In this way, I understand why the Blue Chamber Collective opened up its arms to the Kazites when their island homes were destroyed. If the Scourge that struck Aurai nearly a century ago taught us anything, it's that in the face of crippling misfortune, we must open up our arms to those who suffer, and welcome them into our family. While the needs of the individual pale in comparison to the needs of the tribe, even one lost life is too many to accept.