fire and blood
To Christopher Mallory - sent 7/2
Greetings. I trust your war is going well, and hope you will not mind some company in the field. I am sending a small force to join you on land- some of my most seasoned soldiers. They are more used to jungle fighting than plains, but I think you will find them of some use. I am setting a couple thousand more to watch the Stroman channel as I suspect House Letalis' recent upheaval may slow them in putting oars to sea.
Enclosed you will find a quite faithful copy of a letter sent to me by your nemesis. I must say, my man even managed to do a very creditable approximation of the signature. I think once you have read it you will understand why I chose to disclose it to you. It is always good to know how your enemy thinks, is it not? Perhaps it will brighten the somber mood somewhat by also disclosing that Castell had offered to name me his adviser of warfare if I swore fealty. Strange how his opinion of worth changes when he is not unquestioningly obeyed. I'd pity him if his blindness was the work of the gods but sadly it is his own.
My men will be ready to sail in three weeks. I would move more quickly but my own party including two of my banner lords was nearly killed ten days ago in an attack in Solbra- on the Regent's Tourney in truth. Lord Letalis and several Sterlyns were killed, along with hundreds of others. I know you have aid from Gyllene but my advice is to place them in the vanguard. With lords unable to enforce order even in their own capital, my hopes for the discipline of their men is limited. Gyllene is weak and I foresee nothing but lawlessness creeping south on you from that border. Be wary. I've offered the Regent assistance should he accept it, but after receiving naught but frigidity and suspicion from the Sterlyns, and to then have my daughter's nurse butchered in front of her and my the blood of my own men spilled as we fled... Let us say I am not certain the bears are good at much more than dancing these days. I endeavor to reserve judgment but it grows more difficult by the day. Perhaps their performance in Ovador will show them in a better light.
Lord Arathir Venarus and Captain Atticus Hardin will be in command of the land forces which will come to you. Let your coastal watchers know to expect them in Porta, and from there they will journey to wherever your men notify them you may be found. They are yours to command. Lord Venarus especially is a great warrior, vicious in battle and merciless to his enemies. It is what has earned him his title.
Lord of Gora
"I begin by taking. I shall find scholars later to demonstrate my perfect right."
- Frederick (II) the Great
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