Vesper's Correspondence

To: Istrella Sespech, Raspian City
From: Vesper Sespech, Cinquedea
Early Autumn 2720
Dearest Mother,

I hope this letter finds you well and in good spirits.

I had hoped to make it to Raspian for a visit this year, but that seems unlikely now. I am in Cinquedea and about to return to the Estate.

I’m sure the house gossips have already spread some of my news. I am a journeyman now. My apprenticeship ended abruptly when Master Osomont was assassinated. I hope you were not alarmed, as I was never in any real danger, and after some delays I was able to return his remains to the Estate with the assistance of some friends I made at the Borsari Estate in Calvera. I shall name them to you now, since I continue to travel with them.

The first is Master Ettorio Iluni of Cinquedea. You would probably not much approve of him. He’s a bit of a rake, but shows some signs of settling down soon. He has a valet named Carpa who proves both useful and amusing by turns.

The second is Carenza Vega (Rovino, though she tends not to use her family name as she isn’t always on the best terms with her family) of Ladona, a swordswoman. She is seeking to create her own company.

Lastly, Opilio Chapelwood, formerly one of Borsari’s tenant farmers, but now a landowner in his own right, after helping foil a plot against Prince Temagli. He was very insistent that I not travel alone. He has a daughter, Ambira, who is a little younger than me (and already nearly betrothed!), with whom I’ve become good friends.

We all spent a little time in Ladona, where I found an antique Vargari sword in the old props room of the Theatre Penumbral and returned it to its missing scabbard. I don’t know if you have heard anything about the Vargari. They are an old house that once had holdings in Maviolo (before the fall of Lamosca), but then seemed to die out. They have recently been restored (or elevated, depending on whom you ask) to Great House status, when they uncovered infernalists in House Toccerna. They are much on my mind of late, since we met some in Cinquedea, but I will tell more of that later.

Grandfather Sespech thought I should continue to travel and see more of Rasenna, so I accompanied my new friends back to Canteria, then to Cinquedea, where Ettorio hoped to visit his family, Master Chapelwood hoped to hold a processional feast for Ambira, Carenza hoped to find the beginnings of her company, and I thought I might visit the Sespechs of the Quiet House and perhaps find a sword school to train me with my new blade. Only for self-defense of course!

Cinquedea is not a very pleasant city. The streets are narrow and full of bravos waiting to take offense at the least provocation. Their operas tend toward the bloody and gruesome. But the Quiet House is far enough outside the city that it is quite pleasant in summer, with constellas climbing around the windows and a breeze off the bay.

We visited the Iluni at Eveningstones. Ettorio’s family is quite charming if not always entirely sincere. They agreed to help Master Chapelwood navigate the complexities of presenting his daughter at a processional feast and help him organize such an event. Ettorio’s aunt, Lapetra Iluni was briefly under the mistaken impression that he intended to court me, but that has all been cleared up at this point.

I visited the Rovino here with Carenza. They were in quite a state of tension, which later led Bravadi Rovino to go completely mad and try to create a civil war with several other Houses in the city. Ettorio and Carenza had to go to Prince Bellostia to ensure that there would be no fighting in the streets. So Bravadi had to settle for sending assassins against House Vargari. But we were able to warn them in time for them to defend against anything like that and there were few casualties.

We had initially met one of the Vargari (Kosvach) while I was auditioning a sword school. He was there with Alesci Tyliel, who was also looking for a sword school and who made quite an impression on Ambira Chapelwood. In fact, I would say that the processional feast was almost entirely a waste of time and money, at least as far as Ambira is concerned. Alesci Tyliel was to be invited, of course, but I believe Ambira had made up her mind well before the feast when I had taken her with me to call on the Tyliel.

But there were several other useful things to come out of the processional feast. The Rovinos made up with the Tyliel and Iluni and Vargari (since Bravadi Rovino had been forced to flee the city and his more sensible children were now in charge of the local House). Ettorio Iluni made known his intentions to court Bessari Rovino. Floressa Tyliel started trying to entice Kosvach Vargari to court her. And the Vargari started to get out into society a little to soften their forbidding reputation, which, at least in Cinquedea, is not doing them much good.

Which brings me back to the Vargari sword I found. Kosvach expressed an interest in its history, so I am to have dinner with his family and share what I know of it (which is a semi-tragic love story). I have grown quite fond of the weapon, so I hope I’ll be allowed to keep it. Perhaps I can help them with some research into their ancient family holdings in Maviolo in exchange.

That’s one of the reasons I will need to return soon to the Estate. The other is news of House Miriadis which Grandfather Sespech may find interesting and troubling.

I enclose some money to ensure you have everything you need, and if you already do, treat yourself to something you don’t need but would make you smile.

Sincerely,
Your loving daughter, Vesper.


To: Kosvach Vargari
From: Vesper Sespech
Late Autumn 2720

K.V.:

I hope you and your family are well and enjoying some cooler days in Cinquedea, in regards to both the weather and the political climate.

I’ve found several historical sources regarding the ancient Vargari. It would take too long to copy it all myself, but if you are interested, I can order copies made and sent to Cinquedea or you could send whomever you like to read it over and decide what you would like copies of. The maps, however, can be copied relatively quickly and I will bring those with me when I return to Cinquedea. Most of the Vargari holdings are along the border between Lamosca and Maviolo. A few are in unclaimed sections of Maviolo, including Lucovol Villa. Wolftowers is on the Lamosca side of the border. It would take a strong force for an expedition to see it, but it’s not impossibly far into the province.

Prince Lazzaretta generally frowns upon the sort of adventurers that come to Maviolo and stir up the ancient ghosts and other horrors. However, if she can be convinced that no harm or undue distress will come to the local populace, and that the Vargari have the strength to take and hold any of these ruins and restore them as a bolster against incursions from Lamosca, then she would almost certainly give her blessing to the endeavor. This will take some patient trust-building in Maviolo. There are certainly ways a militant House such as yours could win the Prince’s trust. For example, the Maviolan border settlements are occasionally plagued by raiders from Lamosca. (A willingness to bring a Sespech along to deal with the unquiet dead would also reassure her.) Her Captain Argonest would make a good ally for competent blades as well.

In any event, if your family has an interest in reclaiming anything in Maviolo, they will have to establish a presence in Ladona first and spend some time getting to know the Prince and the land. You may yet decide you don’t like it here and that the ruins are not worth the trouble.

If my presence is not required here, I may return to CInquedea for Icemelt.

Kindest regards to you and your family.
Sincerely,
V.S.


To: Ambira Chapelwood
From: Vesper Sespech
Early Winter 2720

Dearest Ambira,

I am taking a little break from my studies to write to you.

I hope you and your family are well. I hope your parents aren’t putting too much pressure on you. I will have words with your father if they are.

As for myself, it is refreshing to be home. Cinquedea has its charms (mainly the Tyliel estate and the Quiet House) and Calvera is quite lovely, but for me, at least, they cannot hold a candle to the austere beauty of Maviolo in winter. I was not actually born here, and I cannot convince my mother to come live here, but for me, this is home. I know that right now it is all new to you, but perhaps one day, you’ll feel the same about Chapelwood. I do miss you and Opilio and my other friends, but I was definitely getting homesick, and all the activity and distractions of the summer made it quite difficult to advance my studies.

I have heard that Chapelwood has received a visit from a delegation of Tyliel. I will want to hear all about it when I stop by to see you on my way to Cinquedea. I have more business there than I had thought, regarding which, I will want to speak with Ramilante as well. I expect to be in your neighborhood by mid-Weyrun.

I had some expectations of a quiet winter on the estate, but I too, have had visitors and some excitement. Kosvach Vargari and his older sister Tarvana came to see to some family business with which I have been assisting the Vargari since it involves their family’s former holdings in Maviolo and they have no agents here yet. It was pleasant to act as local guide and show off the underappreciated charms of Maviolo. Tarvana led us on a hunting expedition. A bloody business, but necessary.

Now it is quiet again and I should return to my books.

I look forward to seeing you and your family in a few months. Please give them my kindest regards, and thank your father sincerely on my behalf for the wine.

Your friend,
Vesper Sespech


To: Ambira Chapelwood
From: Vesper Sespech
Highsun Eve 2721

Ambira:

I just have time to dash off a quick letter to post on the Sapphire of the Saan before we are off again, but I thought you would like to know of our progress.

Arriving in Redoris, we soon found Scorpis Rovino. He admitted to setting an ambush for Alesci and Kosvach, but that they were both alive when he last saw them. They’ve been taken by slavers. Alesci is to be sold to some special buyer, which leaves me with the hope that such a thing will take time to arrange, so we may be able to catch up to him and find him unharmed.

I am hopeful that I will not need to write you again and will instead be bringing Alesci back to Cinquedea.

Vesper


To: Inyavka Vargari
From: Vesper Sespech
Highsun Eve 2721

Inyavka:

I just have time to dash off a quick letter to post on the Sapphire of the Saan before we are off again, but I thought you would like to know of our progress.

Arriving in Redoris, we soon found Scorpis Rovino. He admitted to setting an ambush for Alesci and Kosvach, but that they were both alive when he last saw them. They’ve been taken by slavers. Alesci is to be sold to some special buyer, which leaves me with the hope that such a thing will take time to arrange, so we may be able to catch up to him and find him unharmed. But first we must find and free Kosvach, who has been forced to be a pit fighter by his new owner.

I will not speculate on what condition he may be in when we reach him, but we are making all speed and I will do everything in my power to return him to you safely.

Vesper


To: Kosvach Vargari
From: Vesper Sespech
Early Summer 2721

K.V. —

I am writing to let you know that our recovery of the idol was a success, since it would be too hypocritical of me to keep you wondering whether we had been drowned in the storm or eaten by the dragon.

Unfortunately, Bravadi seems to have slipped past us in the meantime and it may be some time before we can pick up his trail again.

It was not my intention to keep you waiting in Cinquedea indefinitely, but we are detained here in Redoris on other business and I have no idea when that will be concluded.

In my absence, please convey my warmest regards to your family, Alesci and Ambira.

Enclosed please find 500 reganti for your inestimable assistance in capturing the Elaborate Lie. Captain DeMer has managed to sell it for a tidy profit for all involved.

—V.S.


To: Kosvach Vargari
From: Vesper Sespech
Summer 2721

K.V. —

I have made it safely to Raspian. No storms, pirates or dragons this voyage.
First, let me make it clear that I do not think you are stupid. I did not mention that Bravadi had gone to Raspian because I had hoped that having your weapons returned would have taken some of the sting out of your recent trials, at least enough that you would be willing to be distracted from your vendetta by more pleasant thoughts for a while. Especially since, as you seem to be aware, the Rovino could not countenance you also having Bravadi’s blood on your hands. Even if he is out of favor with his House, they would not be able to hold their heads up among the other Great Houses while you still lived. I have no doubt that the Vargari are the better warriors, but the Rovino are more numerous, have more resources and would suddenly find themselves with many more allies who fear the Vargari and would take any excuse to drive them out or destroy them.

I could not allow that. Better if he were to quietly disappear, or better still, his blood need not be on any of our hands if he is brought to trial for his crimes against you and justice is served by a Prince.

I hope Alesci has not left for Calvera just yet. You and he should both be here to testify against Bradavi if at all possible.

We are working to gain Prince Cortifo’s favor before moving against Bravadi, though we have located him. If you can set aside your (completely justified) vendetta against him, we would welcome your participation when we attempt his capture. He has made some powerful allies here, as evidenced by the fact he survived an attempt on his life by Morafir assassins and keeps their horribly burned skulls as tropies.

I should warn you that our arrival in Raspian was greeted by an attempt to lead us into an ambuscade by some of Bravadi’s allies. I would expect him to have something similar planned for you and Alesci, should you follow him here, so do be careful. I would not accept any offers of assistance or guidance from anyone you do not know personally. I doubt that Bravadi would be foolish enough to underestimate your strength and resourcefulness and would have planned accordingly. I also think it highly unlikely that there is anyone left who can convince him a second time that you are worth more to him alive than dead.

I should also say that the Raspian Vargari have a reputation for being aggressively antagonistic, and their “champion” has killed several people in duels. I would not like them to become involved in this, as it can only lead to more trouble. Their reputation has already given my mother grave doubts as to your character.

Affectionately,
— V.S.

Vesper's Correspondence

Rasennan Summer Peskara