Letter from William to Alia, “All is Forgiven”

My dearest sister,

It has long been my wish for some time that we could speak together again. Let me begin this missive by laying your fears to rest. All is forgiven – you may return home to Ravenna as soon as you please.

Things flow well here at home, though I am certain they would flow even smoother with your fair-minded advice. The estates, as they are though, have never been more profitable and our standing in court is impeccable. I have even taken the liberty to upgrade parts of the palace. In truth, you might hardly recognize it!

There was a most exquisite hunt the other day. A friend of mine, Baron Jax Debrune of the Truniskrons brought a vrongar from the Vorox homeworld. I know what you must be thinking – and unfortunately, you are correct. This was not the most legal of enterprises, but the hunt was amazing! This beast was a full 4 meters at the shoulder, eight in length, with a weight of several tons. Its body was covered in spikes and thorns, and could shoot some sort of grit out of its nose that hit like a slug gun! And the speed with which it could run! An astonishing hunt that made my blood sing! We used one of its eggs as bait to incite the monster and lost four of our hunters to injuries before we could even rally. I, naturally, made the kill. Its skull now hangs above the fireplace in father’s study.

Though you could scarcely credit it, I acquired some information about our dear sister, Isabella! It seems she had taken in with a young Questing Knight and been abroad for some time traveling. How odd the way that times turn! I truly hope that I can manage to have her visit Ravenna soon. What a reunion that would make! At times like this, I feel, perhaps, a pang of loss that Louis and his lovely little wife – what was her name? Bernice? – are not here to share such times. Family is such an important treasure, especially in these dark times. Without fidelity, without the duty one has to one’s family, how can one keep one’s moral compass clear?

Ah, another tidbit of gossip for you. Do you remember Elias Tunis? Apparently our aunts considered it amusing to accuse his rotting corpse of rape. As it was, things went against him and his body was dug up and decapitated for the delight of the masses. His living relatives took great offense to this and decided to express their displeasure at a ball in Duke Alvarex’s court. The Duke, whom you might remember as being quite the military man, took great delight in the my display of swordsmanship. I assume his staff was not as pleased, since they had to clean up the copious amounts of blood that the uncouth Tunis spilt upon the floor and my trousers.

As you will, I would enjoy meeting with you upon the throneworld of the Empire. Though our aunts would be loathe to tell you this, Aunt Alice has fallen sick. It is with great apprehension that I tell you that it may be the same illness of age that befell our grandfather. With this worry set firmly in mind, I beg of you to come soon, for I believe that our aunt’s health would only bloom upon a visit from their well-remembered niece.

Until we meet again, With reverence, affection and adulation,

Your adoring brother

William Hawkwood

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