A rider, his brown cloak still wet from the recent downpour, drops from his steed. His boots, coated in mud and grime, navigated the sea of puddles that populate the ground as he reaches the tent. It's owner, Sir Gareyth, calmly rises from his seat outside the tent to meet the newcomer. The messenger, offers the knight a wrinkled letter.
"Sir Gareyth? I've been payed handsomely to deliver this message to you from a person named Grisson. I'm to wait here till you've read it and see if you want any letter sent back."
The contents of the letter read as such:
To my friend Sir Gareyth, may the Lords of Light bless you, I send you my greetings.
I hope this letter finds you in good health. Though this message will likely reach you in a weeks’ time, it feels as if it were yesterday since we last enjoyed the festivities of the Rites of Spring. Yet a foreboding feeling tells me that the days of merriment may become sparse in the future. War, though fully not realized, is on the horizon. Preparations must be enacted least we become victim, not the survivor.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Allow me to begin with my original intent of writing this letter.
Undoubtedly you have waited patiently for my response concerning your offer. I have carefully considered your invitation to become your squire. I do not want to treat this opportunity lightly. By the end of this letter you will have my reply and my reasoning behind it. There are several topics I wish to address that relate to my decision.
First, I must thank you deeply for inquiring about my fractured memory on the night before the tourney. If it had not been for your encouragement, I would not have sought out the invaluable healing from Lady Lotharian the apothecary, Lady Meryn the healer, and their trainee, Lady Marina. After the events of the Rites of Spring, I feel as if I am on the road to recovering the entirety of my memories. Though many questions still linger. Who was the magus my father studied with? What scheme were the two preparing? And still, some of my recollections concerning people, such as my father, are contradicting and disorganized. Perhaps with time I will come to realize the truth.
You likely see that I am avoiding mention of Sicarius. While his hold over my physical vessel is relinquished, thanks to the heroic act of Lady Marina, doubt grips my soul. Red no longer aggravates my mind as it did, but it still bears a painful reminder of Sicarius’ power. I fear the day that he might return, intent on completely robbing me of my body.
I cannot allow myself to be helpless. As a man equips himself with weapons to defend his body, I must equip myself with learning to defend my mind. Your squirehood provides the learning of the divine arts. Perhaps that could be a substantial defense? The more reflect on this, the less I am confident. Sicarius mocked Tharros, a supposed god of great power, and exuded confidence of a being who knew the black lion. Perhaps that confidence isn’t merely rooted in pride, but also a resistance against the divine. Some other method should be more effective.
To defeat Sicarius, I must understand him. My intention in doing this is twofold. I may uncover a weakness to defeating the demon and discover his knowledge concerning the Everwar. This may better prepare us for a conflict that I feel we are unequipped for. I will attempt to acquire undiscovered knowledge to be ready. The arcane arts offer this path. While I will sharpen by martial skill, I will also sharpen my mind. I cannot allow myself to become a plaything of the Red Demon.
My choice, which I pray is right, will take me far from squirehood. I sadly must decline your offer. In my former life I would have leaped at the chance to become your student. Severing under you would have brought great honor to my house and father. But now, I am truly unworthy of this opportunity. A blood debt hangs over my name from a murder committed by my own hands- willingly or unwillingly. I would merely tarnish your honor to be your pupil. I must first redeem myself and cleanse my stained hands.
Do not consider this a conclusion to our friendship. I still require your wisdom and counsel in these trying times. I would be the world’s greatest fool to cast you aside. Pray for my journey, so I may finally find some semblance absolution.
I now travel west from my current camp. A months journey from here, there are ruins of an abandoned temple that the locals say contain arcane texts. I intend to investigate this place in hopes of gleaning some useful information. I will report to you on my findings.
Your humble servant,
Former son of Sir Artus of House Irlosh