The bandits

Dear Aelise,

I am well. I wonder what Tat is doing now. I hope he is doing well too. Perhaps he is gnawing on a nut somewhere. Does he remember me? I do not know. What can we know what other beings think? We cannot.

I left off my last letter with Rook Harper’s escape. At around the same time, the people of Witts, who were suffering from a similar situation as the Twins, rebelled against the Empire, but unlike the Twins, this time, they request help from Esotre. Note that this is still fifth-hand news. At around this time I spent my time amongst the bandits of Seige Ruins. But perhaps you shouldn’t think of them as bad men. These men have families too, and daughters just like you. Out of desperation that they chose this life, and how would they be different from those who sell their swords for gold, for honour, for love? Don Cutter, I remember, short dwarf captain of the bandits, but surprisingly, he knew the ballads from Leabth an Aisling, although it was one of the older poems. That a dwarf such as himself, should know the more obscure poems of the Ardites would mean that he is no common dwarf. I would have liked to know more about him. But asking him then wasn’t easy, not when you are trying to sing for a drunken bandit pressing his knife to your throat.

But I made my escape. Did I ever tell you about my escape? No, I didn’t. But that was just before I met you and your mother. Life amongst the bandits was pleasant, much more pleasant than the life amongst the Oranlu Monks in the Canid Ranges, that is for sure, but I was still their prisoner, and I don’t like being a prisoner and the feeling of having a drawn bow at my back when I walk about.

Back to the tale of the rebellion of the Witts plains. To think that a treaty that has been honoured for fifty years to be broken in one plea of help is a little overwhelming. I was in Silvergate at the time, and I saw for myself the soldiers marching out through the great doors. There was a great argument then about whether Esotre should go to the aid of the Wittsmen, sometimes on the street, sometimes in the Parliament and often in bars with fists to prove the point. Official word was put out that the Empress did not hear the Sotran plea for the Wittsmen, and so we were bound in duty to help those in need. But on the street it was said that the King merely wanted more land for himself, disregarding our tradition of siding with the Tellions. This was what I heard, but I do not believe that either side is completely true. The King would not act as such, nor have I known duty to overrule reason. Whether you believe it or not, that is for you to decide.

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