Fallen Empire

Sinclair: Letter to Mother

Left within the Ashbridge tomb.

Goodness upon you, Mother.

Father has been encouraging me with increasing regularity to go forth and make my own fortune in the unlikely event that he finds his ruin in business. His sonorous rasp echoes betwixt my ears, beseeching my wits to make good my hands. It would seem that the “contingent of the unsavory” which slowly molders in our fair city has turned its gaze upon our family. Plunder and disruption caused by the local thieves’ guild have turned the Farren underlords sheepish. Now they are looking to Father with increasingly more and more desperate eyes. I fear he is a fox encircled by starvèd hounds. By day he busies himself attending to the carping of the lesser baronets and investors; by night, drink and game.

I’ve decided to remedy these affronts to our house in mine own way. The days and nights of a complacent libertine have embittered upon my tongue and now I seek new diversion. Tapping our coffers, I’ve set Toynbee to task adjusting the ledgers and allocating funds so that Father will never become the wiser of the labor that consumes me in the hours between daylights. Of procuring the necessary materials, I’ve pressed Penningbrandt into service. His contacts have proven valuable beyond measure and I have no doubt that his loyalty is absolute. Many would think it folly to place any quantity of trust in such a lowborn man, but I hold no reservations that the kindnesses our house has shown him will be repaid thousandfold. He is an Ashbridge man to the core.

I’ve entered into the company of a disparate band of glory-seekers; five individuals whose circumstances could not be more diverse. It mystifies the mind to think how the fates have aligned our paths toward a single purpose. Three of my new companions seem to have some history together, though I know not yet the details.

The Emberkeeper is haughty as only a highborn elf can be, and he bristles plainly when I converse with him in his own tongue. He seems to carry a bond with the Fencer, whom by the by, displays a deftness with the rapier I believe surpasses even mine own. Several times I witnessed her discern an opening in her opponent’s guard and then proceed to rebuke them mercilessly for it. The third of their band seems quite detached and truthfully, he unsettles me when I catch his amber gaze. When first I met the fellow, I took him for a half-starved beggar disoriented from the plight of his occupation. I am certain that he is quite mad. He oft takes to levitating from the ground and at random times conjures a spectral claw to replace the absence ending at the stump of his wrist. I can only ponder with terrifying thought as to how he suffered the loss. Thankfully, save for the odd outburst, he tends to keep to himself, often lost in a tome or his own musings.

For all of his frenzied, inane prattling, the little one shows great focus in times of peril. Never have I seen a gnome of his ilk before, though I’ve read mention of their breed—raised underneath the soil, toiling away in the dark places of the earth. He is most unfamiliar to me in his customs and motivations, though I believe there is a depth to his character only matched by that of his homeland.

The last of our company is without question the most enigmatic. A rare dragonkin, hermitic in his studies—of what I can only conjecture upon. I believe him to be a practitioner of magic, though as yet Penningbrandt has failed to ascertain any information regarding the drake.

I’ll discover the conspiracy against our house, Mother. I’ll draw those out whom would do us pain and display for them their whole world—all they see dear—and rip it from them.

I must away now, Mother. May you find peace.

-Darby

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