The Dread Keep

Sitaria, my love. I write this before I cross the ice lake and seek entrance to Kaaronark. I would offer prayers that this letter, possibly my last, finds it way to you, but I fear the gods cast their eyes from me the moment the Mark of the Eye appeared on my hand. For that curse in and of itself surely proclaims I am no son of theirs.⁠

Art by Alexandr Komorov

I write this as the dawn lights the world around me. There are no colours here to paint the sky as they do on the Crescent Plains, merely a lessening of shadows, grey palors slashed with white. And the cold is more bitter than I ever imagined in these southern climes.

I can see Kaaronark now. Its granite walls tower above me. Even from two kilems away I am dwarfed by its size and feel more insignificant than I ever imagined. Some strange growth-vines perhaps-fall from its battlements like rotting curtains. and even the mists recoil from its dark walls. ⁠

I know not what awaits me within, I have seen no lights from its windows or smoke from its towers. The fables of the Evay are fools gold at the best of times, yet if they are true, if a Summoner still lives and makes his home in this dread keep, then I must find him. I must learn how I can rid myself of this Mark. This curse. For only then can I safely find my way back to you and our babe. ⁠

But I promise you this. I will not live in shame, or fear. I will not bring the curse of the Summoner down upon you and our family. If there is no redemption here, then I shall seek the remedy of death.⁠

Weep not for me, my love. I have lived a fruitful life. I met you and we have brought a son into the world. Take joy in that-for I surely do-and remember me as a man who did all he could to find a way to return to his family.⁠

All my love, L.

From ‘Legends of the Lichlord of Kaaronark‘.⁠

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