“Nahna, what’s in your hand?”
“It just arrived for you lads.” Said the sweet voice of their benevolent if not demanding caretaker. The old maid in the apron looked excited to say the least. A wide grin sprang over her face. They weren’t used to seeing Nah-na like that. “I think it’s important,” she said.
She handed it to Iricah, who, speaking like a Ceillini, broke the official seal of the King, and read the contents of a parchment she pulled out of the scroll tube.
“To my friends, the saviors of Silvershore!
Greetings from Hojo….er…I mean the King. haha….I hope this letter finds you well, and well established now there at Three Harbors. I want to extend my deepest gratitude for once again taking on the assignment of the Lordship of this most important isle. As we discussed, I need good people I can count on these days. I suppose we all do.
There is no other way to say it, so I will be direct. Our forces were defeated at the Battle of First Isle. The Sasser forces were stronger than we estimated. Only three ships returned, none of which told of any victory for us at all. My son, Lord Garondin, has not been heard from since the battle, and he is now, feared dead.
It is, as you can imagine, a tough loss for us all. We have not given this information over publicly yet. I value your discretion in the matter.
Additionally, Commander Fritz’s mission was not successful. He too has not been heard from, and is also feared dead, or worse.
As to the matter we spoke of concerning Abraxas, I have attained no further information. However, we have confirmed in numerous archeaological texts and sources the existence of a blue and steel pair. This imagery, draconic in nature is similar to other pairs we have seen, ie gold/green, black/silver. I therefore validate the propositions you made concerning the two wyrms you encountered and caution you in any action you take concerning them. As to your questions concerning who you may seek to find in the colonies concerning the mechanism, there are few there and none who can tell you more than you know. My son, Prince Genoran advises you to seek an individual by the name of The Cleaner. But do so with caution, for we know next to nothing concerning who, or what that is, nor what motivations they have.
Without more forces or information in your area, I fear for your island’s long term safety. As it was at my bequest that you took the position there at Areia’s Landing, I also wish to extend to you the offer to return to any port city you would like in the isles, or back home here in Cellinor. You will retain full noble rights. That choice, I leave to you.
I will be dispatching a contingent of our finest naval troops as soon as I can, and at this time, our scouts do not see any imminent Sasser threat. However, as we are now in a declaration of war with the Sasser forces, until such time as they are cleansed of this goodly world, you are advised to be watchful and to prepare.
Of the highest secrecy, this letter and it’s contents will magically disintegrate upon speaking the command word, which you will recall no doubt from your day in Far Realm and the passwords you found there.
I leave you with the notes from our chief war tactitian, Commander Luger, who interrogated several Sasser spies upon our retaking Silver Shore. Please do not take this report lightly. It is known now to only a handful of my most trusted advisors. I do not know what the future holds, but something tells me we will see each other again. Should a worse day come, I hope to fight by your side once more.
(Attached is the following note, made in a different handwriting, far more legible)
Report from Commander Luger
In addition to black-rock and projectile technologies we have yet to fully realize, the Sasser forces are highly capable of massive artillery, and their ships are nearly impervious front and back. Only the sides and masts seem to be assailable.
However, the worst my Lord has been made known to us only recently. For several years we had attempting to answer why we were unable to interrogate those left from a Sasser battle. We now believe we have the answer. The Sassers, do not behave the way other freefolk of the Realm do. Although they look and act as individuals when called together by their Host, they are capable of acting as a hive mind, similar to a nest of bees. Should one among them be able to cast magical enchantments, many of our commanders in the field say they have observed this casting from a number of others in their group, as if they share the ability to do that. As per Lord Ian’s report of last spring, when in a large group, the Sasser’s seem to be under the persuasion of what we call a “controller”, that is one of their number who dictates their actions collectively. Furthermore, this controller, often is difficult to identify. This gives them the ability to liquidate their magical resources among themselves and the ability to work together in a way we can only dream of. Field officers in engagements with their forces have clearly noted that the enemy does not function as our soldiers do. Several officers I interviewed after battles reported an “emotionless” demeanor in them, as though they were acting for the sake of a cause rather than under malice, or anger. Far worse, when the enemy is defeated, the remaining forces will often and in some manner we do not understand, destroy themselves.
It has been reported that some Sassers have the ability to use mental weapons similar to various beasts of the wilds, but these reports have not been confirmed.
It is with the utmost caution, we recommend you….(here the letter ends, the page ripped along this line)