Dire Tidings
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To Doctor Cardinal Asser of our Most Holy Overwatch Cathedral,

I bring dire tidings.

If you could forgive my letter’s sudden intrusion into your penitential meditation, I have come to write to you on this occasion not because of my personal qualms, but to inform you of a matter that might concern not only you, but the other Cardinal Doctors in the Overwatch Cathedral as well. Though it is not my place to interrupt a Doctor of our Holy Foundation while he is glorifying in his due penitence, I truly and honestly believe that the information this letter contains may play a role in the survival of our Foundation in the years to come.

When I was sent to the town of Kilser, I only came with the mission to conduct holy rites for the local populace. This duty I performed without trouble for five months as I headed masses, heard confessions, performed rites on the dead, and anointed the sick and dying. Though news of animal attacks on nearby villages disturbed the peace, no heathen incursions came to attack the devout populace of the small hamlet. I was fed and housed reasonably in the local inn, given a mule to ride to faraway places in the countryside, and assigned a guide to direct me to where I needed to go.

It is of this guide that I speak of now, as he told me of a story that had happened not long ago, which he had heard from a relative of his. There had once been, he told me, a very old witch that lived close to the Veken Swamp who remembered almost nothing of her old life, not even of the language that she once spoke. She was a renowned healer, my guide told me, one that could even heal men on the brink of death with a word in the Old Tongue, the only word that the witch remembered to speak – “Hiil”. This word, said my guide, was magic beyond belief, granted by Lord Bright Himself to save His people.

Being a faithful scion of the Holy Foundation, I was taken aback by the story of this apparent “witch”. I requested that he take me to her, so that I may verify her so-called "healing properties". My guide replied that she had left long ago. When I asked to where, he only shrugged and told me that a "horrifying corpse of a man" who claimed to be her great-grandson (Though they had looked nothing alike) had come by the village and spoken with the old woman. He, my guide said, showed her words written on incredibly aged parchment in an incomprehensible language, all the while telling her stories in a tongue that was neither the Old Tongue nor the New. This coming to apparently no avail, the man knelt in front of the crone and whispered something in her ear, barely audible to the peasants who had come to be healed, saying two words: “Kum ihug”.

At this, the witch’s eyes seemed to be filled with an overwhelming joy. She jumped to her feet with no apparent regard for her own age and looked upon the man with shimmering grey-green eyes, speaking for the first time in the New Tongue for all to hear. “This is my dearest Seth.” She said, her voice filled with longing. “He taught me all that I know.”

At this, the man named Seth turned to the crone and spoke in the same incomprehensible language, caressing her cheek with a worn smile on his ruined face. Then, the crone put her hands in his as the wind suddenly began to blow, and the skies above began to darken. She then uttered another word, and a green fog obscured her and her companion from view. When it finally dispersed, my guide told me, the old witch and the corpse-like man were nowhere to be found.

It was with this that I began to suspect who this witch truly was. I asked my guide if he knew how long ago this had occurred, and he replied that it had only been six days when his cousin had recounted it to him, and only three more days had passed when he had recounted it to me. When I asked him if he knew what the local villagers had called the witch, he shook his head, saying that only Bright knew who she was. I tried asking him if he knew more about the witch and the man, but the guide could only shake his head and tell me that he didn’t know anything more.

This story continued to trouble me for days when we returned to Kilser, occupying my thoughts as I proceeded with my duties to the local populace. I recalled the old Procedures that I used to memorize, chanting each Procedure while I lay awake at night and sorted through what I recalled from the Expunged that our Holy Foundation had once contained in the time of Lord Bright and His Saints. This continued until the day that I was set to be recalled back to my monastery by my fellow Brother Raleigh, who would bear the news of my next assignment.

But when Brother Raleigh did arrive, late in the night, he instead bore dark news- The Monastery of Our Godsent Saints, the monastery where I had grown up in, was reduced to nothing but a pile of cinders. When I asked my fellow Brother how it had happened, he told me of a crone who came in the dead of night just as he was about to leave, asking for Doctor Creilan. Minutes later, when Brother Raleigh was a ways away from the monastery, he heard a word shouted in the Old Tongue, then saw a great explosion of pure green light- and the monastery was no more. Only moments later, he saw a crone rise from the ashes, impossibly high into the air and wreathed with the green light of her fell magics. Another moment passed and she was gone, now flying through the air at an impossible speed towards the Holy City of Arnven for unknown, yet certainly nefarious purposes.

At the revelation of this news, I intend to immediately take a cart bound for the City of Shrines, while Brother Raleigh takes this news to you. The journey will certainly be perilous- the heathen forces of the animals hew closer and closer to the Holy City every day, and the looming threat of a siege may not be far-fetched- but the threat we face is almost certainly worse. Should this letter find you in time, we hope that you can understand the danger that our Holy Foundation might soon find itself in. Though the Procedures that the Overwatch Cathedral has may not mention her, Sigurrós, the fell witch, if she is truly who I think she is, will stop at nothing to destroy the Foundation that we all want to protect. If she still is restrained by the spells that the Saints have taught her, then we still can hope of defeating her. Of the man Seth, we can only hope is still by the side of Sigurrós.

The existential threat that the crone witch poses threatens us all more than any other Expunged since the Great Breach. I pray daily that Lord Bright acts on our side, on the side of His Holy Foundation. May He work through us all, against all the heathens that threaten our Church from within and without. I shall work hard to uncover the threat that we face now, and should the witch ever come close to destroying all that Lord Bright and His Saints have built, I will do all that I can and more to stop her from doing what she wants most.

My dearest regards,
Brother Jaelen

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