Sunday, 30 August 2009

Letters from the North

Fra Immanuel, a missionary from the Black Friars, sets out from the order's northernmost monastery at Caernfarena in YE 931. The following are his letters back to the monastery.

1st letter

12th Octavum, YE 931

Beloved brothers,

The kingdom of the Terema lies in the extreme North, along the shores of the Eperantis Sea. I have reached the town of Kriefall by the western shores of that sea. It is build by no dicernible plan whatsoever, its squat houses litters the land like so many droppings in a cow-field. The air is rank with the stench of feces, blood and rotting refuse. There is no harbour, and travellers and those traders who arrive are left to drop their luggage on the stony beach.

The people are tall, pale, and handsome, but are of a decidedly primitive disposition. The men wear their hair shaven in front, and long in the back, giving them a wolf-like appearance, and most of them favour blue or green tatoos, often covering part of their faces. Their women often braid their extremely long hair. Both sexes carry long knives and key-like amulets hanging from their belts, and various animal-charms around their necks.

While they are not strangers to trade, they seem reluctant to liaison with outsiders to any great degree. Not directly unfriendly, but reserved. I am glad I took the time to learn their harsh language, for they speak nothing but.

From what I have learned, they unabashedly worship blasphemous idols of sinister, beastial deities, and sometimes refer to an entity called the Weaver. They seem to know nothing of the Hegemony of Man, and my repeated atempts to convert them to the Enlightened Path of the Pure Thought have so far not led to anything but scowls, and even, much to my dismay, some ridicule from their side.

I remain, Pure in Thought, your loyal brother,

Fra Immanuel

2nd letter

30th Novium, YE 931

Beloved brothers,

I have enjoyed no progress in the town of Kriefall, although it would seem I have attracted a following, though not one I would have sought. The young rascals of the town appears to find great amusement in folowing me around, ridiculing me, and on some occasions even pelting me with vegetables and other missiles of a nature to foul to put in ink.

However, I have now learned more about their heathen beliefs. They heed a pantheon of sorts, mostly made up of mostrous gods going by names like Magog and Armax. These they fear, and from what I gather, they make sacrifices in blood to placate them.

Magog and his brother Armax, it would appear, are great Worgs that stalks the dark nights. It truly chills the soul to learn that such dark faiths exists in this Enlightened Age.

Yesterday I heard of a great city to the south where their thane holds court. I will make my way there in hope of finding a way to shine some light of Enlightement on this darkened corner of Argos.

I remain, Pure in Thought, your loyal brother,

Fra Immanuel

3rd letter

17th Quintum, YE 932

Beloved brothers,

I am blessed to be alive, for winter in these lands are a terrible thing to experience. I would not be alive now, and my health is still frail, had it not been for the help of a woman.

Foolishly, I set out from the safety of the coast as fall came last year, not heeding the warnings. I now understand some of the grounds for the Terema's fear of the winter. Such a cold darkness it all but engulfs the very soul.

The thane accepted me warmly enough, but I find myself doubting. I have, these last weeks, after my lungs recovered from the rot I caught during the winter, engaged him in discourse. He is an imposing man, and he seems willing to hear my arguments. It is I who fail to convince him. He does seem interested in the story of St. Marcus, and I hope that this will bring some light to this forsaken land.

How do you fight a winter this dark? How do you escape a cold that gnaws the flesh off your bones? I fear I have caught a rot far worse than the one in my lungs.

I remain, your loyal brother,

Fra Immanuel

4th letter

27th Sextum, YE 934

Beloved brothers,

We have made a grievous mistake! We stand alone. Man is alone. By turning our back on that which kept us safe, we have condemned Creation itself.

I have seen him, brothers! I have been shown the truth, and it is a terrible thing to see when you know the state of the world. He is beutiful. He awaits. I can only pray it is enough.

I will not return, nor will I write again, for my days in this godforsaken world are coming to an end. My mind and my body are broken, and my only regret is for the generations damned by our own hollow faith.

Repent, brothers, for the Enemy, the Lord of the Locust, has not forgotten. Turn away from empty worship and seek those gods who will still listen. What chance has man alone against the Exarch? We are dancing the Black Spiral, and we know it not.

I pray there is still time and commit my flesh to the Worgs of St. Marcus. What happens to our souls when we die?

Oh, gods, what have we done?

Yours in regret,

I prefer to write most of my background as apocryphal texts, letters, legends, etc. It serves the dual purposes of increased entertainment value and deniability. The latter comes in handy if I need to edit something out of my world at a later time ("Hey! The guy was obviously mad as a hatter, you can't expect him to be objective, can you?"). This is one such example. It was fun to write, and it gave both myself and my players something to work with when they traveled to the extreme north.


  1. I really like what you've done here. The letters are quite an entertaining read in themselves, to say nothing of good setting exposition.

  2. Thank you. I have not read this myself in a good while, and while I see I my writing has developed since then, I still like this post.

    It was used as background for some two or three sessions back then, and the PC Captain Galan ended up marrying the then princess, now queen, of the Terema.