Letter to Yolente

by gerolf on November 5th, 2014

My dear sweet sister,

How long has it been since I last wrote to you? Too long. When last I wrote you I was still an acolyte serving in the Cardinal de Medina. Oh how much has changed since I first came to the city!

For starters, I am now the Cardinal. I am still not sure why High Synod invested me with this authority. It is certainly not something that I am entirely prepared for, yet one that that I must shoulder with the responsibility to tend to the people not only of this city, but of the kingdom.

If Diric could see me now! I know, I know, I should put that sorted affair behind me but that is a wound that will run deep and one that I will likely bear the rest of my life. He is a mean and spiteful man that must accept that his sin has hurt others before we can start the healing process.

I trust mother and father are still well. I have not heard from you any differently, so I assume that father is still the Baron’s chief steward. I also assume that Cornelis is well on his way to becoming his replacement. Cornelis has always put duty above everything else, so I have no doubt that he will serve as an enduring legacy to our family.

I also assume that all is well with you. I assume that your marriage to Olof is still happy and healthy. My darling niece must be, what, four now? That would make Oskar two or three. I feel like such a horrible uncle for having forgotten these things. Please tell me how many birthdays I have missed and I will ensure that presents are delivered with my next letter.

I am sure you are interested to know about how I, of all people, came to be the leader of our faith. To be honest, I wonder that myself. I will, however, attempt to relate as much of what I have seen and done in this last year. There are some things I do not wish to talk about, either because I have forgotten or because they are too gruesome to saddle you with.

As you know, following the argument with Diric, I resolved to dedicate my life to the church. Having no romantic prospects and having assisted Mother Rachel for so long it seemed like the most logical choice for me to make. Further, is this instance, Diric was right: If I did not join the church, my life would amount to nothing.

Oh how I missed those days, serving Mother Rachel! Life was simpler then. I was the servant, ensuring that the poor were fed, the chapel clean and loved ones were comforted. That is why I joined the ministry. That is what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to go to the city, become ordained and return home to live out my days near you and your family that I might serve as Rachel’s replacement and still as your big brother.

On arriving in the city I became an acolyte under Cardinal de Medina and studied under mother Yvelle von Raspin. Mother von Raspin and I, both being from Vandango, became good friends almost immediately. In many ways, Mother Yvelle was my first friend in the city and perhaps guided me in my path almost as much as Mother Rachel.

A few months passed and Her Holiness resigned from that position, for reasons that were never fully explained to me. She can still be seen around the cathedral from time to time, though her duties often take her to her homeland, Farin. At least I presume that is where she goes. I have never been told where she goes, or what takes her there, but I do know that whatever she does, she does it full of grace.

To my surprise, and unending joy, my mentor, Mother Yvelle, became the next Cardinal. With her assentation came her appointment of me to the role of Grand Inquisitor. Yet again this was one of Dav’s inspirations that I have yet to fully understand. I took the position, however, because of the trust Yvelle put in me to fulfill that role.

Now I won’t lie to you, my dear sister, I was not a great Grand Inquisitor, but I did manage to save a few souls. I looked into the darkness of people’s souls and for the first time I saw the fear that many of them had, about who they were and what they had become. I say to you, that you should love mages. Love them the person. The person has hopes and dreams. They have mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. They fear who they are and what they have become. Hate the taint that grows with in them, turning these normal people into deformed beings worthy of only the most extreme cleansing. Pray for them, Yolente, for they need it the most.

It was about this time that I met some of the people I have grown to call friends. I truly am hard pressed to name a great number of them, yet they are there, if I need them. Aurther Auguste has been my mentor since I took the role of Grand Inquisitor. While aloof and somewhat withdrawn he is also wise and knowledgeable. Next is Lord Tomas ab Jinosa, Count of Vees, Lord High Steward. The man is stoic but has the strongest moral compass. He has been able to set me aright when I doubted my decisions. Lady Karrina ab Vazien, Earl Marshall. While perhaps the most withdrawn of them all, she is a reliable voice in the darkness. Had they both not found love in the arms of other people, Lord Tomas and Lady Karrina would have made a good couple. Lastly, but not least, is the Grand Magnate, Zeita von Zarrova. It is rare to meet a fellow countrymen, even if she is from the city. Her accent is soft, but she still enjoys my jokes.

As I list off these names I am surprised that the third son of the Head Steward of a minor Lord can count some of the most powerful people in the realm as friends and allies. If you had asked me growing up if I would even get to meet the Lady Earl Marshall I would have called you a liar and a fool.

Anyway as I return to my story, I was only Grand Inquisitor for a few months before our Blessed Holy Mother was taken from us. Her Holiness went on a pilgrimage to the springs and never returned. As Grand Inquisitor it was left to me to run the church in her absence. In my rage, I committed several sins to get back at the mage I assumed had taken her. I have come to believe that it was not this mage but some other force. Apparently I did a good enough job running the church in Yvelle’s absence that the High Synod appointed and consecrated me as Cardinal and Patriarch.

I must be honest with you, however, since I feel I can be honest with no other. Despite being the most powerful man in all of the Holy Order, most days I still feel like that neophyte helping Mother Rachel. I fear for my life some days and others I feel lost in the void, unclear as to what path I should take. I wish Rachel was still here. I wish Yvelle was here. Most importantly I wish you were here.

That brings us to today. Many other events have transpired, so many that I could write you more letters on this subject. Maybe that is what I will do, write you letters about my adventures and stories about my friends. I know you were the one with hopes to come here to the city, and someday I wish for you to bring the kids down here and visit me.

I must warn you though, due to one particularly gruesome mage attack, I have lost all the hair on my head. I have tried to re-grow my beard but it grows in spotty and of varied colors. The hair on the top of my head will not grow at all. Only my eyebrows remain, thick and black with hints of grey starting already. That particular mage was pyred.

I will try to write you again soon. Perhaps I will tell you of the adventures of my friends. Maybe I will start with my interactions with the Lord Regent (Yes, I know! I am friends, or at least on a first name basis, with the Lord Regent himself!). Know that wherever I am, wherever I go, my thoughts and prayers are always with you and the kids. Though I have been accused of abusing my power, my apparently considerable power, if you need anything, please ask. I can make things happen.

Love you always, Your doting brother,