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Dear Melissandre ♫

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Dear Melissandre ♫ Empty on Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:13 pm

Jyu
Dear Melissandre,

Seems like centuries have passed since our last correspondence. The fault is mine, I apologise. Off late, I've been rather nostalgic, reminiscing about the days we served the council as eager young wizards. Years have passed us by in a blink of an eye. How is your research faring? I can only assume you're satisfied; I've only heard songs of praise. I wish I could say the same for Fiore. The last couple of years have been rather taxing. I can't remember the last time I had a good night's sleep.

Two years ago, Fiore underwent a change in regime. An efficiently exercised coup thwarted our attempts to save the old king. I didn't lose much sleep over the loss of King Zantedeschia's life and I can let you know this without fear of judgement. The country is better off without him. But surely you can understand my dilemma as my duties beckoned me to serve the new king, Arthurias, despite the fact that he'd taken the crown by defeating us. We were left wondering whether we should seek retribution or bend the knee.

The council discussed the matter on the way to Crocus. No doubt, we were wary that he would execute us all. The madman before him certainly would have. Our opinion was significantly swayed by the townsfolk, who had never looked happier. Our decision was made when he decided to spare our lives in a show of good faith, in the hope of earning our support and collaboration. He could have killed us Melissandre, and yet, he showed compassion.

The young man was found to be the rightful heir, which certainly made my job easier. Soon the name of the previous king became known as Zantedeschia the Usurper to the citizens. King Arthurias however definitely ruled with a certain efficiency. He executed several corrupt officials and traitorous nobles who were found trading sensitive information with foreign countries among other things. He significantly lowered taxes and even chose to appoint a successor; one not related to him by blood, but picked solely for his merits. His rule was strong but unfortunately brief. It would seem that he had foreshadowed his own untimely demise. I wish I'd had the opportunity to know him better. He truly had the makings of a great and just king. The exact circumstances around his death were rather mysterious. All we know is that it was around the time that the Abyssian rifts were opened; otherworldly involvement is quite possible. His trusted Sword lost his life too while protecting the citizens from the worst of the abyss dwellers. Zade, a former slave who served King Arthurias, became the next King's Sword, while Theseus remained in his position as King's Shield. They would ensure together that the new king remained safe.

After we dealt with the aftermath of that unfortunate day, it came upon us to ensure the smooth transition of the crown yet again. Despite the late king's prowess, I had my doubts about Reign, replacing Arthurias. A young noble hailing from Hargeon hardly inspired confidence just by title. However, I was pleasantly surprised. You know I rarely smile, but this young man helped me remember that I could. I'm not sure if I actually did though. I met him while he was hard at work carrying wood from the ships to aid the people of his town in rebuilding the structures that were damaged in a devastating storm. He didn't even agree to accompany us back to Crocus till we left a few officials behind to ensure the work was completed.

The young king had large shoes to fill and had a rough start. People associated his tender age with weakness. I can't deny that twenty-two is hardly old enough to bear the burden of a country, but he rose to the challenge beautifully. He too, won the heart of the people and his fellow nobles many of whom quickly swore fealty.

I wish that this meant peace and harmony for the country, but alas, the Council has had a lot more to deal with. Our intel revealed the rise of a new organisation going by the name of Red Hades. We found that the guild has its claws deep in most criminal activity that amounts to any profit. It seems they cater to all manner of debauchery. In essence, it comprises of nine rings: Slave trafficking, assassinations, smuggling, larceny, drug trade, security, banking, gambling, and prostitution. Each ring has its own head, who go by the title of Negen. Their purpose, in general, is to rule the underworld of Fiore but we gathered that they're not too united and rarely care for each other's welfare, unless there is something to gain from it, either in the form of more influence or to aid in the growth of the guild in general.

Our distractions with the rift allowed their existence to fester and make them the monstrous entity they are today. Even the battle against those that infiltrated through the rifts hasn't gone without a hitch. We worked in tandem with the Holy Knights. After all, our purpose was the same; to eradicate the darkness that threatened to plague our lands. However, our collaboration was short-lived as their aid came with conditions. They demanded that the country be placed under Holy Law and hoped to wrest control over the government entirely. Had it not been for the way this request was made, it would've been worth considering in this state of emergency. However, given everything, it felt safe to conclude that they were looking to impose a theocracy and name their Divine the ruler.

Fiore is united in its tolerance and embraces the practice of several religions so long as they do not consist of dark and dangerous rituals. Forcing radical changes in the belief of the citizens would only serve to cause more turmoil. The Holy Knights were denied and we've had to employ resources to ensure that they remain in check and don't force the tide in their favour. I fear that history may repeat itself, Melissandre. I do not want to see the crown and church take up arms against one another.

Most of the other guilds in the country have their hands full with the demons and cannot spare the time to worry about these matters. Even the dark guilds have united against the abyss-dwellers. I may be growing too old for this, but I did vow to serve to the best of my abilities till my dying breath. Perhaps this is why I find myself aching to relive the past, longing for the simpler days when we had each other to pull through the perils.

You must have gathered that this letter isn't just to get you up to speed, or to share fond memories. Melissandre, I found my dreams haunted by that night again, for the third time this month. I haven't been a victim to these nightmares for so many years, and yet in these dark times they've found their way back to me. Those eyes stare at me, in cold silence. I feel their cold hands clenched around my ankles. You haven't found yourself reliving those days too, have you, my friend? I sincerely hope not. I wish these to be the product of all the stress on this old man and not an omen for what the future could hold.

Forgive me for ending this letter so ominously and leaving you with those dark memories. Do not let me keep you from your work. I do hope to see you succeed. Wishing you good fortune.

Your dear friend,

Vittorio.

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