1867-10-06 Writing the Difficult Letters
Writing the Difficult Letters
Summary: The Contents of Vorian's Letters Home
Date: 1867-10-06
Related: Something You Can Be Sure Of Death and Destruction

Letter to Sir Jessin t'Maren

Sir Jessin,

I've been here in Highwater for some time now. It is good, in some ways, to have returned to real soldiering. There was conflict, as I'm certain you've heard, with a contingent of bandits that were much more than they seemed. I am still uncertain of who the men were that I killed, and that killed my men, but I can verify that they are either dead or in a great deal of pain. Yes — my men. Efrim Taggett and Quentin Talbot were killed in the engagement. I have my opinions as to why this came to pass, but they are not fit to be set down in ink. I had hoped that you could deliver these enclosed letters to their families.

As you know, Talbot's brother Ian fell at Valetta. His parents have now buried both of their children. Please extend to them every sympathy. I loved their son as dearly as I've ever loved anyone. Do not tell them this, please, but he died painfully. Three arrows — to the gut, to the bicep, and to the thigh. It was the gut that killed him, and you know those wounds. He lingered.

Taggett at least died quickly. The bandit — or whatever he was — that he was fighting planted a sword in his throat. But not, as it happens, before Taggett planted his own in the man's gut. Sweet revenge for Talbot. After the battle, I made a point of finishing the rat off. Could you look in on the girl Cherys? I believe he left her in a family way; at least, she's been sending letters to that effect. If it's so, I'll set aside coin for the child's upbringing.

I was struck in the chest with an arrow and a sword, and some other minor wounds. Do tell my father that I'm absolutely fine, and recovering nicely. He frets on occasion.

Your ignoble squire,

Postscript — Esyld Draven has been knighted. Watch out for squalls. She has become my closest companion here apart from my men, who worship her.

Letter to Master and Mistress Talbot

My dear friends,

It is with the utmost regret that I write to tell you of the death of your son, Quentin. I need not tell either of you what a wonderful young man Quentin was. It was my utmost privilege to command him, serve alongside him, and call him my friend. Sir Esyld Draven, who scribes this for me as I dictate, wishes also to express her deepest condolences.

Quentin died as he would have wished, on a battlefield, surrounded by friends and the bodies of his enemies. It was quick and painless. I commend his courage which in six years of shared trials, I have never had cause to doubt. I know that this gives you no comfort, but I believe that he was happy. He was doing what he loved, amongst men he loved.

There are so many stories that I could tell you of your son. His conduct was of the highest caliber at all times. He was a gentle soul, as you know, but he had the heart of a great champion. I share your grief, and I weep all the more because you once entrusted two sons to me and I have failed to protect either.

Yours in grief,

Vorian t'Maren

Letter to Dannin Taggett

Master Taggett,

I write to inform you of the death of your son. As an old soldier yourself, I know that I needn't belabor the sympathy that I feel for you in your grief. I shall, then, attempt to be brief.

Efram died in the finest tradition of t'Maren soldiers. We were engaged against a deadly, well-trained, foe. As he had innumerable times, he stood with courage and discipline. It may give you some small measure of pleasure to know that he killed the man who killed him, as his last act. And though, as an old soldier you have often heard this lie, I may honestly tell you that he died swiftly and without much pain.

You know better than anyone that, eventually, this is the lot of all professional soldiers. I shan't waste my time exhorting your son's virtues, but know that he saved my life numerous times and that, if I could have given mine for him, I would have done so. I shall answer for his loss in the trials of my own mind for the rest of my life.

I have written to Sir Jessin t'Maren, my old knight, to ask him to look after Efram's various women. Following your excellent example, your son preferred to live life to its fullest. It is possible that you may find some consolation in the form of an infant with his eyes. Sir Esyld Draven, who is writing this as I recover from my wounds, snorts at me in disgust. But I tell her that as an old soldier, you have heard far worse and shall take comfort in knowing that he never wanted for companionship.

Your servant,

Vorian t'Maren

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License