The Flower in the Sepulcher

A letter from Lucio to his cousin Orso

In a letter addressed simply to:

Orso
The Dusky Rose
Stone Table
The Ermine Republic

The text of the letter is written in a crude cipher:

Dearest cousin,

I hope this letter finds you well, and that Minara is likewise in good health. I have found myself in some rather mixed company here in Treff. You may remember the instance I recounted in my last letter to you – something about being locked in a closet in a smuggler’s den? Through circumstances I won’t detail here (so as to spare what remains of my dignity), I found myself once again captive. Upon securing my release, I happened upon that selfsame pack of ne’er-do-wells (you know I mean this in the most complimentary sense) who accompanied me on that first quest. It is an interesting band, to be sure. Together, we number six – a fine specimen of half-orc womanhood, foaming at the mouth but surprisingly piquant; a spellcaster of malevolent and devious aspect; an ambitious and well-spoken sellsword; a taciturn and warlike swordsman; and a holier-than-thou half-elf ranger.

Having need of my services, they have adopted me as one of their band, quaintly styled the Travelers’ Collective. My first days have been invigorating as well as profitable. I had grown so accustomed to acquiring wealth through extralegal means that I doubted my skills could be put to a more lawful use – not that our little band could exist outside of Treff, which like many uncivilized regions has its own strange customs and odd beliefs. The locals here are taken with a radical sense of equality that is not entirely without its appeals. If it were prudent to write to her, I should like to tell my dear sister that I had joined a collective, and ask that you write back with a precise depiction of her reaction. But alas, we shall have to rekindle our sibling bond once I return to Father’s good graces, if that ever is the case.

I hope you do not think that my rough-and-tumble circumstances are beyond me. In fact, I find myself quite well-suited for this kind of life, and quite enamored with the town. Undoubtedly, it pales in comparison to the splendors of the Ermine Republic, but Treff is a city filled with wealth of a more fluid sort, which suits me well.

And now to the unpleasant business. As to my creditors, I hope may once again rely upon your discretion and your aid. I am disappointed to learn that they intend on prosecuting their case, and I can only hope that you can smooth it over – for Minara’s sake, if not for Father’s. I am in high hopes that I might maintain myself here in the city of smugglers until I can return, dripping with enough coin to drown the money-grubbing sons of whores.

Yours etc.,

L

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