To His Majesty, the King of Degstradt
13th day of Noctima
The Year of Redemption 658
Blessings upon thee Your Majesty,
His Eminence was pleased to hear that the funds and resources provided by our benefactor have reached you safely. He also requires of me to inform you that reinforcements are already riding to your Kingdom from Silisia. While definitely aware of some of our movements, King Fredrik’s attention remains focused on the Spire. He has allocated a lot of time, effort and resources in discovering more information about the demons of Nepenthe. His Eminence finds it prudent that I relay such information as I can on the matter; once Your Majesty’s divine mission is accomplished and the lands of Brandengrad are thine, Your Majesty must be prepared for an inevitable confrontation with Nepenthe.
We have managed to copy some notes of the various post-mortem examinations Fredrik’s men have performed. I have enclosed them in this letter so you can study them at Your Majesty’s leisure. I must apologize for failing to deliver more; the supervision of the examinations has been assigned to one Sir Wildegraf of Ren, an accursed templier, and infiltration has proved difficult. You will be pleased to know, however, Your Majesty, that we have gathered enough evidence and I have men ready testify if so asked that the murderous King has been using Mages regularly; these are two graduates of the Pool of Stillness, not renegades, but such things can easily be presented in a favorable light. Their task has been to use their foul magic to observe the demons of Nepenthe in general and gather information on the King’s adversary, the demon called “The Alchemist”.
As Your Majesty recalls, our agents suspected that the Alchemist belongs to the nobility of his people, what the Dominion texts provided by His Eminence describe as “Lineages”. While this has now been confirmed, it is strongly suspected that the Alchemist does not hold such a high station of power in his society as previously believed and his allegiance to the Lineages should be considered suspect for two reasons.
Firstly, in their vast majority, the Spire forces remain within the confines of Nepenthe, despite Fredrik’s deployments around it. While the Destruction of Vatsdam may be partly responsible for this hesitation on Nepenthe’s part, a report intercepted earlier this month claims skirmishes are taking place inside the halls of the Spire. This could very well mean that the Alchemist’s enemies strike when they perceive him weaker but one must consider the possibility that some of his actions were unsanctioned and his shortcoming in Vatsdam made it impossible to overlook them.
Secondly, monstrous activity has increased far beyond the fables of “the Monsters of Nepenthe” and has prevented close observation. It is possible, or so the heretic Aelomancers suspect, that these are creations of the Alchemist himself, set loose to keep scouts at bay while the actual military forces under his command are occupied with internal struggles. If this is true, then the Alchemist must be acknowledged as a master performer of the Spire craft. This, again, should be considered an oddity; such mastery of complex creations is usually connected to another group of influence in Spire socie
The man stopped writing. The pen danced awkwardly in trembling fingers. It had that effect, the eerie, high-pitched voice, dressed with distant whispering echoes and growls, as if more mouths than one spoke at the same time.
“Amend the previous sentence” the voice spoke again. “Vanity must not be allowed to be detectable even as pride must be subtly hinted at.”
The man nodded hesitantly but picked a new piece of parchment nonetheless. He let a heavy sigh to release tension and steady his hand then started writing from the beginning.
“Is… is any of it true?” he asked, once he finished and offered the letter for inspection.
“Every word” the figure replied after a moment.
“Then… I don’t understand” the man went on. “Why give out such infor….” His words faltered and were lost, his eyes betraying his sudden lack of focus. The figure had gotten up from the shadowed corner of his armchair but that too seemed to leave the man indifferent. Licking his lips nervously, eagerly, his gaze was pinned on the small bottle the figure produced from somewhere deep inside its heavy robes.
“Such a curious little biped” the voice muttered to its self, as it left the bottle of the table. The man gestured dispelling evil but all too quickly. Once the figure was gone, he snatched the bottle and opened it with trembling hands.