Issa steps from the wayshrine and walks to the edge of the cliff overlooking Deshaan’s river. She spreads a blanket over one of the larger, flatter boulders at the cliff’s edge, and sets out her lunch. Then she pulls out her pen and parchment.
I probably should have left Wrothgar without interfering. I know it’s what you would have advised. It is difficult, even for me, to understand why I didn’t. They aren’t my people. And when I had the chance to defend “my people”, I failed them. Failed you. But Kurog was a petty bully taking orders from a corrupt and power-hungry Forge-mother, and I could not let him control the province. I could not.
Perhaps I have developed a death wish.
It was the hardest battle I have ever fought. I should have died. But in the end, I brought down Kurog and his Forge-mother, and now Bazrag controls the throne. The citizens of Orsinium are calling me “Kingmaker” – they have no idea how hollow the title rings in my ears.
I had to leave Wrothgar. Bazrag invited me to stay – in fact, he did me the honor of asking that I light the fires for Kurog’s funeral pyre. I understand how conflicted the guests were, how difficult it was for Bazrag to watch one of his oldest friends burn, despite how necessary it was. I lit the fires. And then I left.
When I went to Wrothgar, I thought it would feel like home: the mountains, the snow… it should have been comforting, but it never was. It never felt close enough to feel like home, but always close enough that I was continually reminded of the farm that no longer sustains us. I had to go, the pain of “almost” was too deep to ignore.
Today I am travelling in Deshaan. I remember the first time I saw a mushroom taller than myself – it made my uncomfortable, I found it disgusting. But fresh from Wrothgar, I found Deshaan’s landscape strangely pleasant. There is no lingering sense of home, here, nothing so familiar that I find myself continually homesick. The flowers are lovely and the air is free of ash. The guar are… guar – I am not so smitten with the landscape that I can romanticize guar. Still, I find I like it here.
Molag Bal’s servants have not penetrated Wrothgar, but anchors are dropping in Deshaan. I can see one from where I sit, and when I am done writing this letter I will go do what damage can be done to it. People are losing their lives to the cultists… I could do some good in the world, staying here.
And I find that I can. A local family were captured by the cultists and sacrificed on the anchor – there is a mage’s collage nearby, Shad Astula, they call it, and because it sits very near the collage walls they do not like that the farm is untended. They want me to occupy it. The farm is already equipped with an excellent forge and other crafting equipment. I believe I will “retire” here, to this place surrounded by over-sized fungus and smelly, wild guar, and I think I can be… if not happy, then at least content.
It is not the land your great-grandfather tended, that is lost to us forever. But it is not a bad place. I can even say it is a good place.
I have rambled, my love, my lunch has gotten cold. Know that you are in my heart, always. May Sovengarde keep and protect you, and may the mead be sweet and thick.
Issa folds the letter in half, tucks it into a pocket, and finishes her lunch. It takes her some time to carefully pick her way down the cliff, but she avoids the paths where she might run into travelers. Once at the cliff’s base, she crosses a field of wildflowers until she is standing inside the fenced area of the farm. She takes a drink from the well, and then walks to the forge, where embers still burn. She takes the letter from her pocket, feeds it to the forge embers until it is consumed by fire. Then she rolls up her sleeves and begins repairing the shed.