It has been so long since we last spoke! I am in Lopan for another month, and I will be in Shandala a month or two after. And don’t think that I have forgotten you! I have deposited a ‘pittance’ for you, but it should keep you going for a while. It has been a long time since you wrote to me, but that’s probably because you didn’t know where I was! Anyway…
I came across Master Juran Sline here in Lopania. He was the official registrar for the Guild of the White Ash. As per usual, he jabbed his whit in my insecurities, and bullied me into studying with him. So, this letter is one of the only respites I have from my studies today, and respite from his odor. I swear, he bathes in goat sweat, and chews Mandrake Root, known for causing halitosis, before talking to anyone! But the way he can see into your very soul, reading you like a book… It’s disturbing, uncanny, reassuring, disgusting, intriguing… It’s no wonder that Ms. Hoppner took such a shine to him. Indeed, there were even rumors that Zenaida and he had a secret romance, but I doubt that her icy heart would melt for any but Master Nemora, but he has an almost animal attraction.
I have always seen Master Juran as an enigmatic being, far beyond the confines of mere mortal preconceptions and boundaries. His grasp on Runes and Diabolism is so deep; I doubt there is anyone more skilled or knowledgeable even in the Tri-Arcanum Guild of Wisdom. Aside from all this, there are rumors that he’s been stabbed, poisoned, drowned, and shot with arrows several times, each of which should have killed him, but no one has ever been able to report him dead, and subsequently resurrected. He has more lives than a Raksasha. And this is the man that is developing a Life Ward with me. He acts as if he has never seen the like, but I think that he’s been using them for years.
Oh, by the way Nipps, I played matchmaker. Helara Hoppner, reporter extraordinaire, came after CrIsis like a rabid wolf after a wounded deer. There was a misunderstanding between Overkill, Karowyns, and Gold Coast, and misunderstandings are the fuel that feeds reporters’ fires. She took a shining to me, and I used that to turn her gaze from our weak spots, and toward our strengths. She’s been known to effectively kill the careers of politicians and holy men with little more than a jot and scratch of quill. As our dinner progressed, it became painfully clear – the things that woman can do with her toes! – that she wasn’t going to let me escape unless she got another stag to gnaw on. It was then that my mind went to Juran! That man can woo any woman, and Helara needed it worse than a cat in heat. They have courted for the month since, though I doubt there is much propriety between them.
Nippy, you’d find camaraderie with the Innkeepers here at the Lopanic Games. I am surprised that they didn’t demand a pint of blood as part of the booking fee, for the cost of the single cramped, although lavishly appointed room, but I guess that’s a deal they only offer in Caer Itom, don’t you agree? I could hire a squad of good mercenaries for a month on the price of one night’s stay! Or buy an hour of your time… I jest. You are very reasonable for the hardship I put you through. You know that I wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t important. But the month’s stay that Juran demanded of me will push some of my plans back, and I hope it doesn’t affect the money I can deposit for you. It shouldn’t… I will make sure that your name is put next to mine in the ballads sung of CrIsis.
I am making plans, Nipps. Big ones. Palladia isn’t a very large place. Indeed, it can be conquered. But wars are inelegant methods used by unimaginative people. A great philosopher and Diplomat once wrote, “I will conquer them with love, and kill them with peace.” And his influence was given freely much further than a tyrant’s grasp for a fraction of the effort.
In these plans, you are favored. I will not forget the help that you have given me over the years, and in time it’ll be you with the spies and messengers, forcing them to work for scraps. You will be able to part ways, if you want, and seek vengeance on anyone still living that had a hand in your past tragedies, and not only bring your considerable skills as a Janissary, but a platoon of Mercenaries behind you.
By the way, when will you be nesting yourself? I am sure there is a girl goblin out there for you somewhere… or maybe you’re interested in Gnomes instead? Or Dwarves? I know there’s a group of changelings in the Vequerrel that you could find. They could be whatever you wished… like a stack of gold coins. Yeah, you’re probably too focused on squeezing more money out of me to think of women.
Till next I hear from you,
>>A Letter sent to Nipshanks in Caer Itom in the 23rd Year of Emperor Voelkian Itomas II, by Azariel, Apprentice Alchemist. Acolyte of Osiris and the Lady Luck.<<
First Picture by World of Warcraft.
Second Picture by The Guardian
Third Picture: GM tribute to the great Hedda Hopper.