Lord Gregory, Knight of the Third Realm, Keeper of the Helfain Guard
Servant to His Majesty, Prince Edwin Time.
“Much has happened in this last quarter. My life has been far from dull and I hope my brief, impersonal letters to you have not been too severe a reflection of this.
“I trust Simon to keep you apprised of his own doings so I will not have to. I read one of his letters before it was sent and found the potency and passion in his words as refreshing as his presence. I am often away and he has the misfortune of being by himself more often than not. For his part, he is a strong and diligent pupil to me and his skill is growing daily. If we were fighting ordinary dragons he could slay them boldly.
I cannot be sure he has relayed to you his newest duty, so I will take the liberty for myself. Aside from his training he has proven exceptional skill with machinery and designs. He is now working with the architects to contrive weapons and traps to be used against our enemies. Under his new master he is thriving, but he is a surly man and tolerates no undue passion. Simon struggles with him bitterly, but the old man will be better for him than you or I could ever be. He couldn’t be happier with this duty and I am glad to have him occupied. Dear as he is to me, he is still my brother and we suffer from our kinship.
“More importantly, for a second time my foresight has proven adept enough to distinguish fate’s cruel hand. Barist was indeed not the greatest of his brethren, for these monsters before us now have plated themselves with iron and their thickened hide surrounds it. We are hard put to kill them, more so than in the past and every battle has a steeper price. We are coming closer and closer to them in body and it is no longer a battle of fire and arrow; now it is between blade, tooth and claw.
“We have been running caravans to the larger cities, hoping they can save themselves. Food from the other realms keeps our people alive. In just two days Prince Edwin will take the Caravan to the lesser cities to help them set up a final defense. Helfain is not a good position to fortify against dragons. I doubt they were even dreamed of by men when this place was constructed.
“You will be receiving my next letter in the Second Realm. The time has come for you and your lord to flee with those who cannot fight. I will see you before then, but it will be brief. I would not chance you and my sisters suffering the same fate as so many others whom I have seen. I am yet to discover the city in which I will weather this storm. I have taken counsel with my brethren-in-arms and we agree it will be best to fortify ourselves in the mountains. A cliff would suit us best but I think the road there must be very secret else we will perish in transit. However, this point is moot if we cannot find this sort of place. For myself, I do not suffer with the same severity as the common throng. Whereas they are hapless and helpless, I can fight and that is all to be done.
I now bid you a fond farewell and leave for my duties. I must assign the night guards to their posts. These raw soldiers, stolen from their charred farms need much more attention than the experienced men.
Even I am considered a seasoned veteran by comparison to these farmers. They are by far my elders, even older than you and their aged eyes do not see clearly any longer. Those who have not seen too many summers have lived little more than sixteen years and should be romping in the forest, free of care, rather than pacing along these walls.
Farewell for now and keep an eye to the sky.
Sincerely, your son, Lord Gregory,
Knight of the Third Realm
Keeper of the Helfain Guard.