Dear friend and favored tutor, I send this letter in hopes that you are in good health and that you can assist me in a dire matter that has befallen my family.
Foremost I want to once again extend my gratitude for your most pious and generous donation to my nunnery and assure you that the construction is proceeding well. I also wish to extend greetings and well wishes from my household and my dear wife, who fares well even though the birth of my most beloved daughters has taken its toll on her health and sleep. They are precious, my children, but four small babes are truly both a blessing and a trial sent by the Lord.
Further I wish to assure you that I am in good health and that the minor scrapes and wounds from my ill-fated duel with my battle-brother, Lord Gamond, have healed well and that I am looking forward to visiting the Abbey as soon and spring comes.
I am sorry if it might seem that I am stalling my words and request dear friend but what has befallen my family is hard to think of and even harder to speak of. It began last year with the birth of my twin sons, may they live long and in good health, and on the eve of their baptismal. My kin and tutor Meical, may the Father wathc over him, had for many days been more reluctant than usual to share in our meals and conversations and as my servant went to fetch him to perform his sacred duties he was not in his chamber. Worried, as one naturally would be, I myself searched the room and made the finding that I so dread to retell. I found my poor cousin dead underneath his bed, his skin as dry as paper. I stifled a shout of alarm and fear, as to not worry my servant or dear lady wife, and quickly covered the poor man’s corpse so that no other man would find fear in those sunken eyes and broken lips. I composed myself and tried to forget the stench of witchcraft in the room and so decided, in that moment, to permit myself a small lie; I told the servants Meical seemed to have died from poisoning. A half-truth I know but I didn’t wish to worry them more.
During the following day I questioned the servants and the rest of the household as of Meicals dealings and whereabouts during the last months. The servants said that he had been very secretive of late and refused anyone to clean or handle his personal belongings. I also found that some of his personal belongings, most notably his satchel, had been stolen or otherwise misplaced.
I feel shame to admit that I in that moment started to doubt my late tutor, as the more I thought of it the more I realized I knew little of his current dealing or company; having been occupied with the glory of battle and the joy of fatherhood during the last years. I must admit that I know little of Meicals life prior to him entering my service and therefore I turn to you most beloved tutor. Do you know from which monastery Meical hailed? Some of my counsellors have advised me not to dwell to long on these thing but it seems disgraceful to me, and my beloved family, that not one but two of my tutors have passed without me really knowing them. It is my hope, God willing, that by discerning more of Meiclas past I can discern more about his murder and, God willing, find whoever was responsible for the horrendous act of witchcraft and malevolence.
Fare thee well always, and pray for me, most honored and holy master.
Lord Mealgwyn, Servant of the Lord most high, Loyal Subject of King Uther and Count Roderick, Lord of Chillmark, Bulwark of Hillfort.
Answer from Abbot Dilwyn
To Sir Maelgwyn, faithfull servant of our Lord, to his dear wife and to his children, and to all his other family of note – greetings and blessings.
These which I write to you, are only a few things, Sir Knight, of the many which you need know. And because I am not able to tell them all, or what lies in your future, they may sooth you less than you deserve.
The illness of which you speak, that befalls only a cursed few, is seldom spoken of amongst those not learned. Brother Angar the Byzantine spoke of it during visits, of which he had many, to the island of the British.
Of the illness, he spoke thus: [This part of the letter is written in Greek]
He belived, as do many of the learned brothers of my abbey, that the illness is caused by the lack of humidity in the eyes. This causes dryness in the skin, and if not treated, the spirit may escape the body, leaving only a dry carcass. Ask your servants thusly, did poor Meical have dry and red eyes, such that can be seen in women that has cried to much? As always, lack of humidity in vital areas of the body is caused by lack of spiritual prayer, or sinfull nature.
Also, faithfull Knight, I implore you to take caution, not only for your spirit but for your corporeal body, for the wildlings of the old ways speak of this illness too. They claim it is a curse, cast only on the wicked or the weak of spirit, by the devils found in lakes or forested wetland. Such creatures are said to have many dangerous powers, not all are benevolent but dangerous as the Ladies.
Of whence Meical came, before his time at your side, I know little. I have sent a letter to an old friend at court, as favour for the many times we have spent praying together at night, during the times you have visited. But such messengers will not take payment in prayers.
As always, I charge you to do right, to carefully watch over your land, to do your duty as you ought to your Lord, your children and your servants.
Right Reverend Father, Trusted Favourite of King Aurelius Ambrosius, Trusted Favourite of King Uther Pendragon, Humble servant, Dilwyn
Addendum by Brother Rinworth
Please address the Reverend Father by his correct title in future letters and avoid to annote friendship, his Reverend Father is not allowed to keep friends. It’s “Right Reverend Father Dilwyn”. Out of respect of your good deeds and respect among your peers, the Reverend Father has allowed that you address him simply as “Father Abbot” in face-to-face conversation in the future, it is a great honor.