Lea’s story

Dear Aelise,

I think I am getting used to writing with my left hand. The swelling in my right hand is getting bigger. I wonder if it is all right.

Will the Empress see this? Well, I’ll know then, Aelise. But I am sworn to tell the truth as I see it, or hear it. The Tellions launched their counterattack on the New Year of 1277AE, catching the Gorgons in the middle of their feasting. What followed then was a brutal slaughter in the streets of Whitewater. It was perhaps by sheer luck that the commanders’ feast was held at Isotoni and they managed to rally the Gorgons and hold off the Tellion assault.

The Altus Rook of the time was sent to personally take charge of the raid. Known as the greatest general of his time, the man known as the Gambler was said to have vanished right before the Gorgons rallied. Leaderless and without direction, the Tellions were caught flatfooted in unfamiliar territory – routed in sideways, ambushed in back alleys, and trapped in dead ends. The Gorgons had the advantage of the city and darkness, and the Tellions were pushed out like rats from a flooded sewer.

Rumours say that the senseless slaughters sickened him, and others whisper that it was that he sensed a failing gamble and chose to flee instead. Whatever his reasons, he was not there when the Gorgons rallied, and the Tellion response fell apart. It was this that caused the former Altus Rook, Vidius Harper, to be named a renegade by Empress Livia. I do suspect that however, that the falling out between the Empress and her most trusted aide had been a long time coming. Things like this just don’t happen overnight and it was well documented how he had been like a mentor to her.

This is where things get messy, and where your parents come in. All who had been close to Harper were… harshly questioned and purged from the Imperial Mark, and this prompted many of his loyalists to go into self-exile. Your parents have always been especially close Harper, your mother in particular served as his personal aide at one point of time – and the persecution of those around them prompted them to flee.

I shall not go into details of what happened next, but I hope that you do not blame her for not being entirely truthful with you. What she wanted was in your best interests, to protect you from the harshness of the world so you could live a normal life, away from the troubles of the Empire.

There, I have said my peace and now my heart can rest easy. I know I have not betrayed your mother’s trust however. In all probability, this letter will never reach you – probably for the better.

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