I’m sure your father is well informed about my history and character, but I wanted you to see it inked in my own hand, all the things I expect you to know before you come to Glamorfell.
There are few who know my origins, as I like it. I am from the city-state of Kaer Maga in the Varisian expanse, a place of magic, culture and excess. There are no cities like it in the east. The nearest approximation would be Absalom, where I have also lived extensively. I was born before your grandsire. I have seen and touched wonders beyond the most fanciful dreams of a little girl in the mountains.
I am no one to be trifled with. When I speak, I expect people to listen. I have little patience for insolence or ignorance. I am a loyal friend to those who trust me, but there is no deadlier or less forgiving enemy. My response to slights is amazingly disproportionate. I fear nothing.
I have led my life as a mercenary captain for many years now, most recently with the Black Cats. Together with them, I charted, explored and brought peace to the area of the Stolen Lands that I know hold rule over. Before that, I was a shadow broker, learning and selling secrets in the city of Daggermark.
Many men boast of accomplishments but there are few who have done what I have done. During our conquest of Glamorfell, the Black Cats overthrew several local kingdoms, including an army of mites led by King Grabbles and his storied tick-mount, Tickleback; the kobold kingdom of the Truescales, led by King Merlokep, who I bested in a contest of magic and slew, and the bandit army of the so-called Stag Lord, who had declared himself King as well.
I tell you this now because you will have two years of reflection before coming to Glamorfell. That period of time is a blink of the eye for me, but will no doubt be a significant period of growth for you. You must study the politics of Brevoy and beyond with due diligence, that you may rule my people when I am away. Learn the draconic tongue, as it is spoken by our nearest neighbors, the Sootscale Empire, a warren of kobolds that I brought from exile into power.
You are no doubt fantasizing about what your life will be like, whether I will make for a good husband and prince, whether I will take care of you, whether there is aught of interest in what is now still a backwater. Dream those dreams. When I was a child, I was marked as a demon by humans and cursed, and I longed for the strength to defy them. Now those same simpleminded folk bend their knee to me and beg for my protection and benevolence, in their flimsy tent city. There is power in dreams.
Prince of Glamorfell
My Lord Josef,
The town of Foundling’s Reach has reached a population of nearly five hundred souls, with hundreds more living within the borders of Glamorfell, working our farms and mines. I had thought to send for Akalina Orlovsky within the year, when our castle was to be completed, but the construction has been delayed for some time now while more imminent threats are dealt with. Lady Kaede assures me that construction will begin soon. In the meantime we have built up our fortifications and housing as well as fundamental amenities for the populace, including dance halls and public baths. The people are quite content and hard working, a fact for which I should be thankful. We have recently seen an increase in beggar refugees, and they’ve even formed a small camp in our midst. My desire to see them driven off is tempered by a consideration for damaging optics. Our best workers are dwarves and halflings, the former people prone to a desire for orderly and lawful handling of affairs, the latter a culture steeped in compassion for the unfortunate.
Privately, I hear the call of the rolling hills and of the dense Narlmarch Forest, which lies just beyond our borders. I hunt and swim and walk the woods, and listen politely as Erastil’s priest urges for the safety of the community, but I long for the thrill of strife. It has been too long since we have seen you, too long since the Black Cats descended into the dark ruins in search of glory and treasure. You no doubt feel it, too.
My role in rulership so far has been taxing. I meet endlessly with merchants and artisans who are eager to set up shop in town, but worry about our level of infrastructure. Yelenya often does the same, using her network of whisperers to plant disinformation and rumors designed to spur our economic growth. If we’re not doing that, we’re working with Teret, Walorin and Akiros to make sure our governance and our community is on stable ground. All of our civic planning is handled by Kaede and Vagda, a humorously matched pair who see amazingly eye to eye on many topics, although Vagda is clearly motivated by the needs of the people, especially our dwarven population, while Kaede is nearly ruthless in pursuing her own personal vision for efficient growth. We are fortunate to have them. I do wonder if their planning of so many diversions, from bathhouses to dance halls, is merely to pacify any misgivings I might have about the level of industry the people are being forced to commit to.
The kobolds, mites and trolls present our nearest opponents. My intention is to ally with the former to destroy the latter. While the kobold’s culture is no doubt repugnant to some on my council, I understand them well, and they me. Like me, they respect power more than philosophy.
I eagerly await construction of a grand library in our territory, which Kaede expects within the next year. It will afford me many opportunities for research and study.
I hope all is well with you. Take care of your Lord Varn, and send him our warmest regards.
Prince of Glamorfell
From the Desk of Woodrow Hinderbound, Royal Attorney
I look about the town of Foundling’s Reach and can hardly believe how much progress we have made in just a year. My role as Prince Sayd’s attorney has afforded me endless opportunities to craft and practice law—though I have little doubt my counterparts within our neighbor’s courts distrust a servant of Asmodeus. It’s a shame, really. I fervently believe that if I could just speak freely to the people, I’d be able to open their eyes to their inferiority and show them their place at the feet of our god. It is inadvisable, however. Many are the times the Prince has commanded me to keep my tongue in check, and he is right to do so. The priests of Erastil and Torag watch me like hawks, though I have found common cause with the priestess of Sarenrae, who, like the Prince, is open minded.
I do find it vexing that Glamerfell has outlawed slavery. I am well paid for my time and effort and could probably afford to own a person or two. A young elven woman, perhaps, would make me smile, although it would no doubt be prohibitively expensive to acquire one. Still, can you imagine the exquisite tragedy of such a graceful creature spending her long life in chains? I make do with a few petty servants, who are well aware of what I expect from them. Their contracts contain some riders that they signed without any reflection at all! Sadly, I can hardly enforce some of the more bizarre punishments that the contract calls for, as Lady Kaede would no doubt be made aware. The Lady Yelenya has spies on me night and day, so much does the rest of the council hold trepidation at my responsibilities.
In short, we must make gold with the hands we are dealt. I am rising in power and prestige and genuinely enjoy my work, and I am quite happy to help the Prince, who is strong and morally flexible, if perhaps a poor judge of things. I see my role as to advise him, to help his influence and power spread and, in so doing so, aid myself, as well. He seems to trust me, though he is loathe to make any agreements with me regarding future titles and responsibilities. I am grateful for the small foothold I have, of course. It is not any kingdom in the east who will even permit the Lord of the Pit’s servants—poor fools—let alone allow one into a position of authority.
It is often hard to believe that I am here, given that but a year and a half ago I was offering my services to a disgusting rabble of bandits. The Prince saved me from that situation. Despite what his friends might think, he has my sincere allegiance.
Yours in Darkness,