Dearest and most beloved Father:
I apologize for leaving in such haste— the boat was leaving and I made a snap decision… I won’t be returning for some time, I’m afraid. Don’t fret, though. I am safe and well, I’ve arrived in Treff, the City of Keels and Piles. Remarkable place, really. Much bigger than Rathien’s Ford, and infinitely more interesting. I’ve made new friends here. Do you remember the traveler who passed through the inn a while back— a human girl with an ermine for a companion? She did a few repairs while she was there. Her name is Mina Brewer, I’ve fallen in with her and another adventuring sort (he goes by Galen Dwyer, he’s an old human holy man). They’ve both proven themselves good companions thus far!
We picked up a bit of work assisting a man by the name of Cyrus Drylands, an exile. He wanted some help in finding an acquaintance of his who had gone missing— Jacobius Wellborn. We found him all right, but he’s not with us any longer. I’ll explain that in a minute. I have to tell you about the swamp first.
It’s much different from the marshy spaces near the river in our Kingdom. Here it’s dark, overgrown, and full of all sorts of vicious things. Bugs that will eat away at you, plants that are edible (or might bite you), catfish that will eat anything, and Mina and I ran into a large and terrifying thing that she called an elder eidolon. It was fascinating— tall, purple and impossible. (It may be an old Anophelian construct. Things seem to point that way, anyway, as the things we found when we sought out Jacobius sort of reinforced the idea.) Anyway, after we made our way into the swamp a ways, we snuck into the building where Cyrus thought we’d find him— and sure enough, he was there. Not really himself though. We found out he had been… ah… pressed into service. A demon was working with him to summon something, and speaking through the poor man was something called a tsochar. It’s a parasite of sorts, it steals your whole body (especially if you use magic) and manipulates you like a puppet. Nasty-looking, awful thing. It left Jacobius little more than a wretched shell. It’s a mercy he passed away shortly thereafter.
Anyway, we made it back all right. No deadly diseases, no poison, just a few scrapes and bruises, plus memories of various and sundry terrifying creatures and a handful of treasures. Not bad for a couple of days’ work. We’ve set up shop in an old empty brewery in Figaro and are working on forming a free company. Seems my skills for getting people into rooms they’ve locked their own keys in will be useful here.
Give my best (and my sincere, loving, groveling apologies) to Mother. Don’t tell her about the demon, or the tsochar, or the elder eidolon. She’ll have fits. (You can, however, tell her I went to church the other day.) I’m sending a box along with the letter, though— it should have a pipe for you and a scarf for her. If you’re inclined to write back, you can send letters to the return address on the envelope. Let me know if there’s anything from the city you’d like me to send.