I am currently safe, this letter being sent to you from Middle City as I make my way to the Port of New Hope, at which point I fully expect to be no longer safe. I also expect that given the current situation as I have heard it at home, that my misstep with the Aishan artifact has been all but forgotten and no harm has come to the family by my misjudgment.
If you could possibly send word to me to let me know that you and the family are as safe as is to be expected, I would appreciate it: though the situation can change, I do fret, as I know you must worry for me as well. In truth, worry is inevitable, for my traveling companions and I seem to be heading from one danger to another. We have retrieved a sword from the Issen in southern Hestrea that is said to have some power…the Cascadonians name it the Blade of Veritas. It can only be wielded by the pure of heart, so that counts me out, I am afraid, but it is in the hands of my companion, one Jarrod Greyskin who I believe I have mentioned to you before.
I know such a thing sounds fantastical…but perhaps we are living in strange times. My belief is being kneaded and stretched like bread dough. My companions have strange powers the like of which I have not seen, and I have run into more magic in the last month than ever before in my life. Even the gods themselves seem more active…and I confess that I take more thought for them, now…believe me, Mother, when I tell you how unsettled this all makes me, and now, with civil war in Dunelain…one other of my companions is a Hestrean by the name of Frikka, of the Dancing Embers clan. She says that it is not the Hakna Hadra, which as far as I can tell is the end of days, but that mortals are nonetheless trying to bring it to pass.
I do not know if I believe it…but everything seems to be falling to ruin. Cascadon is being picked apart by the Fire Ice Clan of Hestrea- not even the full force of the country- and from within by their own Hound Legion, led by a man who is meant to be dead. I saw the body, Mother, and yet Jamison is leading them…the Mylarans, so long content to nibble at the edges of the borders are said to have destroyed the Dunelainian navy, and eyeing that of Vestrea hungrily, and with Dunelain tearing itself apart…I fear that if we remain divided, the whole of the continent will soon lie under Mylaran rule.
Perhaps I am doomsaying. I hope so. I beg your indulgence- we were present at the fall of Castle Kadessi, and among the dead numbered one of our companions. Do you remember when Prince Savileon joined us for dinner all those years past…? He joined us in Hestrea…and now he is no longer. And yet he is but one of many who lost their lives, and a beautiful place is gone forever, and the senselessness of it all perhaps dulls my eyes to hope. Perhaps it is not as bad as I fear, and you will write back and tell me all is well and my father and brothers are safe at home and our family will simply weather this storm as we have all others.
Perhaps. It has never been said of the Engelrams that we do not know our own minds, and I do not believe, while no one would question our loyalty, that any of us had previously taken thought to what exactly it was that our loyalty was in service to- and I suppose that is now the question facing the whole of Dunelain.
It seems so trivial now, but should the situation improve, it may be worth looking into establishing a trade route into Hestrea. There is currently a refugee camp some little ways into that country, and what furs I saw were excellent. There is a tanner who speaks a little Cascadonian by the name of Phelan, you will also know him by his ivy tattoos. He makes wonderful hangings of cut leather, and could serve as an intermediary if we establish a presence in Laketown. There may be difficulty- we had discovered a group of…I suppose I must term them Havandians, as they claim allegiance to neither the crown of Cascadon nor Dunelain,doing trade within the country, including human trafficking. I can only hope our efforts there and the sad collapse of the castle have put an end to it.
I miss you all terribly. I keep hoping that each time we stop somewhere civilized I will be drowned in a deluge of letters that have piled up in my absence, but then I fear I would be incurably homesick. Perhaps if things settle in Cascadon I can persuade them to Hvikseby so that you might meet those with whom I spend my time, though I do wonder if in meeting them you may think I have gone quite mad.
Ever your faithful son,