A letter from the baroness

This was waiting for Athal on his return to Valdis. Fortunately, it seems to be the worst thing that happened in his absence.

Hallei Lenye Raith to Alysei Athal astin Velain. In haste.

Friend, Guild brother, apprentice, king:

By the time you get back to Valdis I shall by all probability be in Albetire, representing my king and my Guild at the head of the troops, if that really is what your friend the general wants. I do feel like killing something. I nearly killed Moryn; it would have been in self-defence. Ysella tried to keep him in check and failed; Serla tried and failed; I tried and, I shamefully admit, failed.

You will have heard most of it from Vurian, but I was there in Lenyas and might enlighten you a bit more. Moryn started out by tracking down pockets of banditry in the woods south of Lenay, picking off the leaders and sending the followers away, effectively quashing any rebellion. This went very well until the incident at Rysen: a troop of bandits raided the village at night, but they were surprised and set fire to the barns and some houses. Nine children and an old woman were killed, as well as all the cows and several horses. If it had been only the cattle he would probably have come to me to see if I could do something in the way of compensation, but the nine children and the old woman drove him over the edge. He pursued the bandits relentlessly, killed them all with his own hands –fifteen or twenty of them– and then came to me, swearing that he would not leave one rebel or bandit alive in all of Lenyas.

Then he proceeded to be true to his word. He took his regiment of Khas and combed the forest, hanging any rebels or supposed rebels he found– he may have hit a few honest swineherds or travelling merchants too, we’ll never know. Perhaps as many as a thousand were hanged, not to mention those killed while trying to escape. For fairness’ sake I have to say that they were not all rebels from Lenyas; over half of them had come from elsewhere, some as far as Essle, and if Moryn hadn’t put a stop to it when he did, it could have grown into another civil war. But still, he was more or less indiscriminately capturing and hanging anyone who appeared suspicious to him, even going so far as to raze most of the forest south of Lenay to the ground: those trees, he said, ought to be made into ships, not to shelter rebels and bandits. I had the greater part of the timber taken to the sawmills and shipyards in Essle, so at least some good may come of it.

I was already getting worried and was considering taking steps when Ysella came to me: she had tried to stop Moryn, but he had refused, even struck her in anger. We went to Moryn’s mother in Lenay but she had no influence on him either. Eventually I sent messengers to summon him to the castle, but he didn’t come; and just as I was about to have him apprehended and, if he again wouldn’t come, challenge him to fight it out with me, your summons to the south arrived. By that time my message to the court had reached Vurian, and he called Moryn to him in Valdis– I don’t know how that ended, but the last I heard was that he had in fact gone. Lenyas is well and truly pacified, very much shaken up, and the name of Moryn astin Rhydin is better not mentioned there for a while.

I have put Moryn’s half-brother Eldan in charge at the castle for the moment, but I expect Vurian to send someone else to be governor in my absence: I trust his choice implicitly. Eldan can then go back to Tal-Nus, which is also without a lord.

Before I forget: welcome back, you and yours. I hope to see you at the gates of Solay next year.