Challenge Three

To my dearest little sister,

My condolences once again for your loss. I sent them many years ago, but as there was no response, I thought it best to send them once again. No doubt you’ve already heard that those responsible have been dealt with. Kasei ought to rest in peace now, and the rest of us have a few less enemies to concern ourselves with.

Recent reports suggest that you are at last returning to your old self. Ordinarily, I would supply soldiers to aid you in your time of need. Circumstances being what they are, however, I hope you understand that this is no longer possible.

Affectionately yours, as ever,

Nathian

P.S. I may yet send some anyway.

--

To His Royal Highness Nathian of House Ilmark,

Kindly cease addressing me in such an inappropriate manner. We are not siblings any longer in blood, nor even by acquaintance.

You have my thanks for accepting the current circumstances so readily. I hope you haven’t disregarded the threat that I pose to your inheritance. I have more than enough of my own troops, and no need of any of yours.

Sabasol

--

Sister,

How would you prefer me to address you? ‘Prince’? Don’t think I’m uninformed of your exploits.

I would be careful of these troops of yours, dearest sister. If you think you control the Renith, you are a child still.

Nathian

--

To His Royal Highness Nathian of House Ilmark,

Your implication that my men are not my own appears entirely unfounded. The Renith have had ample opportunity to assassinate me. I fail to see what they would gain from doing so that they would not have previously gained.

Their leader has pledged me his absolute loyalty. Did it occur to you that outward signs of disloyalty might simply be a foil for espionage or similar?

I am not still the child you believe me to be.

Sabasol

--

Sister,

The first rule of this game is never to assume that your opponent is less intelligent than yourself. If you believe your men capable of spying on others, then it follows that they are equally capable of doing so to you.

The Renith’s very name betrays their true loyalty. The country that we are fighting for is not theirs. Do not mistake their intentions.

Your concerned brother,

Nathian

--

To His Royal Highness Nathian,

Your ignorance is made clear. The Renith hail from across the continent, but none from Renyvar. In the case of their leader, his blood is Ythian – not that I am any less likely to expect betrayal from my own countrymen after what happened to Kasei.

It would be foolish to trust any of the other claimants or their supporters. This of course includes yourself. I am no longer a child that must run to you after every scratch, not least when some of those scratches are the work of your men.

Correspondence with the enemy is most unseemly. Perhaps we should stop.

Sabasol

--

Sabasol,

Close family often have petty disputes. Rest assured that you are my sister only because I cannot have you as a bride (did you know that Tomner and Ellis have been wedded? Such fools). I certainly do not consider you an enemy, and I hope you do not consider me as such. I feel there is still a potential alliance to be made.

We of all people should know that blood means little. Do not place all your trust in the Renith. Whether you choose to place your trust in me or not is your decision, but they at least do not deserve it.

Their blood isn’t their own.

Nathian

--

To His Royal Highness Nathian,

What Tomner and Ellis get up to in their private lives is little of my affair and none of my concern. Neither of them can now marry to further Ythith’s standing, which lessens the strength of their claim to the throne. I’m sure you were already aware of that, much as I was already aware of the Renith’s bloodline.

I know that their magic comes through somewhat illegitimate means. This doesn’t make them any less valuable as allies.

Sabasol

--

Sabasol,

The magic isn’t theirs. The reason the project was terminated is because it failed. I had my own researchers investigate it. The strain on the physical body is phenomenal. Not a single one of the subjects was immune to the effects, nor will the Renith be.

Nathian

--

Nathian,

You appear remarkably unaware that the Guild has been using Casters ever since. By my count, that’s more than two centuries of a supposedly ‘failed’ experiment working considerably well. There have been no sign of any impairment. Several of them have improved their skills over the last few months.

Oughtn’t you be worrying about your own army, rather than mine?

Sabasol

--

Sabasol,

Take a good look at your Renith. Has a single one of them reached thirty? Given their bloodlines, do you think that any of them ever will?

Nathian

--

Sabasol,

My offer still stands. Form an alliance with me before your soldiers destroy themselves.

I don’t want to see you hurt.

Nathian

--

Sister,

Please reply. It’s been weeks without a word.

Has it happened? I’ve heard nothing of your army, but news is slow to reach Sol Venia. If the Renith have already failed you, all you need do is send word. I will stop at nothing to ensure your safety.

Nathian

--

To His Royal Highness Nathian of House Ilmark,

Apologies, we have been unable to send word whilst travelling. With any luck, correspondence should no longer be necessary. We will be arriving in Sol Venia within the fortnight.

The Renith are as ever. As I have mentioned previously, your concern should lie with your own army.

I appreciate the warning with regards to the safety of my position. Our strategy has been revised in light of the restrictions that might be imposed upon certain members of our army. Allow me to return the favour by reiterating a warning of my own: we will be arriving in Sol Venia within the fortnight.

Sabasol

The End

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