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Winthrop- October 22, 2003

October 22, 2003
Dear Adlen,

Let me begin by apologizing for not believing your last letter. You were correct in assuming that the fulfillment of Brynn’s prophecy would begin with the recovery of a lost family member. Your assumption on who would be recovered was wrong, but I dare not explain myself in detail lest this letter fall into the wrong hands.

My last letter to Arri was sent just three days before my abduction, and this is the first unguarded moment I have had since then in which to send a letter. In that last letter, I told Arri of my intention to pass through Goatsyard. What I did not tell her was that I passed through Goatsyard deliberately so that I could investigate a rumor I heard at an inn in Onoff. The rumor was that Sir Quin was alive and living as a mad woodsman in the forest near Goatsyard. Of course, the rumor sounded ridiculous, but I thought it would be better to disprove it before Imato and Arri caught wind of it. You’ll remember what a hard time we had convincing Imato that it would be useless to go charging off into Greste in search of better proof that his father was dead. A rumor like this would certainly get him all fired up again, and this time I don’t think we could convince him to stay home and take care of Arri and Liop.

So it was with this in mind (not to mention your premonition), that I traveled the two more days to Goatsyard in search of the mysterious mad woodsman. I had no sooner stepped out of the inn after my first night there than I was abducted by the same band of thieves that King Trunsle has been trying to capture for the last several months.

They hauled me up to a cave and spent the next several months guarding me while they concocted a potion that would supposedly allow them to siphon my magic off into a wand. The spell was correct, but it lacked the key ingredient of cooperation on my part. To make me more cooperative, they attempted to kidnap Arri. I expect you know more about what happened there than I do. All I know is that they didn’t succeed.

One week ago I succeeded in calling a flock of great desert dragons, something I have never attempted before. I knew that they would be just as likely to eat me as my abductors, but I felt that it was worth the risk. Fortunately, I was able to keep out of their way, and they ate all but two of my captors. It is the first time that I have felt that I understand Quin – willing to fight for the safety of others.

Two nights ago, as I sat with my abductors planning my next course of action, I was treated to a most astonishing sight: Arri on a horse painted to look like a skeleton. A brilliant flash of lightning and some of my best fireworks powders scattered all of us in fear and confusion and gave me the chance to escape. Unfortunately, we were all separated in the chaos of the storm.

I am sure that you are worried about Arri. Please put your mind at ease. I am certain that the band of thieves (that is calling itself the Narls) has not captured her. The two remaining are not as clever as the original bandleaders, and I do not expect them to reorganize quickly. Perhaps they will return to their leader for new instructions. Arri is a clever girl, and if she made it this far to find me, I think she will be all right until I find her.

Here is another place to offer my apology. You are right – the Narls are not ordinary criminals; they are acting under an organized head. I only wish I knew its purpose.

But I must assume the most important point of this letter.

There is a plot against Lakeisha’s life. They know about Brynn’s prophecy, and are determined to destroy her before she can fulfill it completely.

You must stop Keish from meddling any more with the omens! She must not perform magic! Take her away from the palace—not to the cave as Ellean suggested. Any association with magic will only draw the Narls closer to her. Choose someplace simple and send me word when you get there.

As soon as I have found Arri, I will join you. Fortunately, the Narls seem less aware of her importance than they are of Keish’s.

I am not changing my position on the prophecy. My only concern is for my nieces’ safety.

Please listen to me. I know we don’t often agree, but I also know that you care deeply for your daughter and will do anything in your power to protect her. I am trying to help you, and I am sure using magic will only add to your danger. I do not know what Keish has been doing lately – perhaps you don’t either. But it must stop! She is endangering herself and those around her.
If you reply to this letter, please send it by way of Franz Journey in Onoff. I will check periodically for your reply, and I will send you word if any of my plans change, or when I locate Arri.

May snow cover your perilous footprints.


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