12th of April
Lieutenant Sullivan and Cassandra,
Your warning came just in time. I’m not entirely sure what it is that they want from me, but I feel as if I am some kind of pawn in a terrible game. Whatever those people want, I’m not entirely sure that it involves me being alive. Especially given the alarming news about spirits and bodies and the way they are being mashed together. I do not like the idea of someone trying to do that with me, nor that somehow I can assist with this process. Given the death of my brother, I am of the opinion that this may have to do with my bloodline. Given that I am the last, I feel it must be so.
I must urge you (and hope this letter gets to you before you embark) not to come to Hillsfar. Yesterday afternoon we were at the market when Arrin arrived. He is something of a butler but mostly a friend to Viatele and when he found us he looked to be out of breath and had clearly run all the way from the house. He mentioned there was a small group of people who had arrived and were waiting outside for us to return. They would not tell him why they were there, but he had noted a letter from you and thought it best to slip it out when he left to find us. When I read your words, as well as having remembered your more frantic letter, I alerted Viatele that there was more danger and we should leave.
We did not return to Hillsfar but instead fled to the safety of the farm that we had hidden in before. The farmer’s family was once more welcoming and kind. When we woke up this morning, the smell of smoke was fresh and I thought perhaps that it was something cooking save for the fact that everyone was outside. When I arrived outside, the fire on the horizon almost looked like the sunrise, but it was before dawn. The entirety of Hillsfar was destroyed, and I can only surmise that it has to do with those men. I fear that they are getting more desperate.
We left the farm then, purchasing a pair of horses from the farmers and apologizing for the inconvenience it might cause them in their farming. They would have none of that, but were grateful for the coin. I only hope they will show kindness to whomever might be left as a survivor from Hillsfar… the people there were always kind to us and treated us like family and it digs at my very soul that they were harmed because of me or Viatele. He tries to assure me that it would not be my fault, that if these were indeed the men they thought, they would have burned Hillsfar to the ground anyways. They are not to be trusted, he says, and he has become even more closed-mouthed about what is going on and even as to where we are going.
I wish that I could give you more news, but I feel a little trapped. I am doing my best to get Viatele to tell me what he knows, but he will not, and I can only hope he takes me somewhere that his associates are so I can instead interrogate them. On the plus side, my guardian has taken to teaching me more in the way of swordplay. He says I take to it well and I don’t have the heart to tell me that Rasmus taught me a little. I like to pretend I’m a natural.
Did you find anything in the coffin with Rasmus? I only ask because there was a pendant that was mine that he gave me when I was young and I left it with him in his coffin. If he was, indeed, exhumed before our own investigations, that may give a clue as to who exactly has a direct hand in what is going on. You see, when I was young, Rasmus had a time trying to find me because I’d run off to play and not tell him. So he gave me a necklace that I loved dearly, and I didn’t know until later that he had a charm made so he could locate me. I’m not entirely sure how the charm works, but someone with more information into that sort of thing should be able to help you track it down. Perhaps they might be willing to talk? It is the only help I can offer to you.