18th of March
I am grateful for your continued efforts as a friend and a messenger to both Cassandra and myself. Have you tried singing to the plants? As strange as it sounds, I’ve been told that they help plants grow and cheer up their spirits, if you can believe it. Cassandra’s got the most fantastic singing voice, so I don’t believe you could possibly compete, but since you are there alone with the animals, I am sure no one will mind whatever your voice may sound like.
I appreciate your offer of assistance, but there is a lot in my life that complicates things and I am not sure I could have even told you about my woes had I wanted to. The rest of this letter, I’m afraid, is mostly for Cassandra. However, since you are so gracious to help, perhaps between the three of us, we can find as much as we can about this catastrophe. Please, do read on as I think, from what I have seen and heard, Cassandra and I will need as much help as we can both get.
Cassandra, I am afraid that my guardian is in over his head and I am unsure that there is much we can do to get out of it. While I am usually the most upstanding of citizens, I am afraid that I have committed a very grave offense against Viatele. I had returned from the party that I told you about, only to find that a letter had come for my dear guardian. While ordinarily this would not have bothered me, I was a little frustrated at the fact that he has been gone for some time now and his continued refusal to be forthcoming with information caused me to open his letter.
Inside, I found that he has indeed been hiding a lot from me. My guardian is communicating with someone by the name of Robert Maneuia. In this letter, Mr. Maneuia implores him to return back to what he refers to as “the homeland”. There is a great deal to me that seems like a code, and I am working to decipher it. It will take me some time to copy it fully down, as there is something distinct about his handwriting that makes me think that there are multiple layers of codes. I cannot send the original for fear of Viatele’s return and discovery of my deceit.
Mr. Maneuia also mentions how my guardian is needed at this “homeland” to deal with the problem that he claims is part of Viatele’s own making. He mentions the anger of the royal court, and makes a vague reference that I can’t quite understand about darkness or sunset or something along those lines, if I am interpreting his literary quote correctly. Whomever this Robert Maneuia is, he is a clearly intelligent man, knows quite a bit of what is going on, and he is paranoid enough to use what is likely several codes to disguise what he truly wishes to say to Viatele.
I am afraid I cannot be of more help, but my fear grows, day by day. I am unsure if I am safer staying with my guardian or if I shall attempt to head off on my own to try and get away. While I have a tentative trust of this man, he keeps much from me, and I have no idea where this will all land me. I will, however, ask one thing from you, Lieutenant Sullivan… as much as it hurts me to ask, if there is any way you can arrange the exhumation of my brother? I do not wish to disturb the dead, but I have a horrible, sinking feeling that someone may have either stolen his body for nefarious purposes or, far worse, that Viatele may have actually hidden something in the coffin with him. My thoughts are with both of you, and I certainly hope this letter will find you both well and safe.