We, the undersigned, turn to you with a polite request to provide protection to our humble settlement on Coopers’ Slope, for we live in fear of acts of rampage and destruction on the part of giants descending from Mount Gorgon. As recently as a week ago, one such giant attacked our cooper’s workshop, destroyed our yard, stole one of the barrels and put it on his head (as if donning a helm!). Heedless to our warnings that this contradicted the item‘s intended use and might lead to unpredictable side effects, it then fled towards the Sansretour River. The ducal paper pushers refuse to believe our words and we are afraid those monsters will kill us all in our sleep. We thank you in advance for considering our humble plea.
You asked me, My Good Sir, to reckon how many lads I could drum up to work for the Empire's glory. So here's my reckoning.
First off, Your Esquire's gotta know that I can scrummage up a few hayseeds from Claywich whenever you want, but that's what I'd call second-rate goods - geezers and squirts, mainly. But if Your Excellency thinks he can find use for even dregs like that, send us a messenger and within a week's time you'll get a transport full of them, trussed up like coneys.
I've also had a word or two with some soldiers who quit the baron's service after he got soused one night and jammed a hot poker in one of them's eyes. They've pitched two camps, one right next to the castle, the other near Velen's southern border - and as I'm sure Your Wondrousness has guessed, they're looking to make some quick coin. So if Your Most Reverend Sir can send us a few crowns as a deposit, why, we'll get to work on the double-quick and send you the prettiest dames and hardiest lads in all of Velen, maybe even in all the North - a hundred, two hundred, how ever many of them The Great Sergeant wants.
Thank the gods fools believe in them! We've made good use of that fact twice now. Firstly, when we stole that load of silver from the temple. No one was watching it - because who would be brave enough to risk the gods' wrath by desecrating such a holy place? And then we hid it all in the ruins said to have been cursed by elven gods. No one goes near there, no one even looks at them too closely - so we didn't really have to hide it, as treasure's safer there than in the Vivaldi Bank.
We'll spend the night in the woods, then I'll ride to Novigrad, find a buyer for the whole stash. We're going to be rich, Elke, rich! And maybe then I'll throw something in the plate, a token of my gratitude to superstition and stupidity!
Boss, we've looked and looked for that Queen Zuleyka's treasure, and what've we found? Fuck, beg your pardon, all. Though we have mighty enjoyed eating our fill of the oysters we fish off of the bottom. You sure that map's the real deal, boss? Not some counterfeit? Cause it seems to me that sailor cheated us. But we'll keep looking around, till something eats us, or till you give us other orders.
Listen, Nittel, that little case you gave me to transport... was there anything of value inside? Because thing is, I had a bit of an unfortunate work accident and... well, the blased case fell in the water and I couldn't spy it for the life of me. I tried to fish it out, but some devil must live on hte bottom there, cause every time I tossed my net, I'd catch a snare. Maybe there's, I don't know, some way I can repay you? A discount on your next shipment, maybe?
The wedding's over. It's done. It didn't all go exactly like I'd imagined as a little girl, but, well, you always taught me to make the most of what I've got. We're traveling now, so I'll send this letter as soon as we arrive.
I'll start with what I'm sure interests you the most - financial matters. As I'm sure you've noticed, a few crowns have gone missing from your lockbox, the cupboard's a couple silver plates lighter, and your jewelry box isn't near as full as it once was. I took it. As my dowry. No doubt much less than you'd have given, had I but found myself a "worthy partner," but, tough, that's life.
Kurt - or, as you like to call him, "that good-for-nothing bare-arsed lazybones" - is now my husband. And your daughter's precious purity, which you cared about more than her feelings, tears of pleadings - well, it's only a memory now.
We'll soon arrive at our destination. Naturally, I won't tell you where exactly that is - just in case you get it in your head to come visit. Wherever it is, know your silver will be enough to set up a nice home. That's important - because I'm expecting a child. Are you glad? I doubt it. You always said poor matches only produce mutts and scoundrels. So it's a good thing you'll never have to see this one.
This might be my last letter. My head hangs low as I write, for I have brought great shame on our family. I have failed my brothers at arms. In the hour of truth, my courage failed me. I ask no forgiveness, for I deserve none. I ask only that you pray for me.
Remember when you said, "Izbor, don't you go robbing folk, the gods don't like it, and besides, only refugees on the roads these days, and they're even poorer than us"? How you were cross that I shirked working in the fields and didn't bring a scarp home to put in the pot? Well, you are gonna have to eat those words, my dear! Gobble them all up, with a hearty slice of humble piece and some baked crow on the side!
Yesterday we corned this merchant. And not a Gors Velen or Brenna man, but from Nilfgaard itself, you see? From the City of Golden Towers! Didn't speak much Common, but enough so's we could understand each other. He said he was carrying some goods to the Black One's camp. We took everything he had, and I"m telling you, Helke dearest, you've never seen so many crowns in your life, nor could you ever hope to count that high!
Now we're going to rough him up a bit more to make sure he hasn't hid some of his gold or goods. Once we cut off his thumbs he'll spill the beans about any extra treats slashed in the soles of his boots, and once Mirko scalds him a bit he'll tell us about the precious stones he's got sewn in the feedbag. Might tell us a great many such things of interest, in fact. You never know just what till you try.
Tell the young'uns Da's gonna be home soon. That he'll bring them toys and treats and they'll eat so many honeycakes their tummies're gonna burst. For you Helke, I'll bring a silver necklace and brooch. Because while you can be awful cruel atimes, I still love you, you naughty bint.
Did you hear they chased the pirates off? It's true! Not a trace of pirate left, save for a few fresh graves and some bloodstains. The shipyard's more or less in the same state we left it in - meaning everything's about to collapse, but holding up for the time being, and the tools are all rusty, but get the job done. In a word, you can return - just for the gods' sake, don't go south, for some other bandits have pitched camp there. Nature's a whore for vacuums, or however that saying goes.
It'll be just like the good old days, mate - the crashing of waves, singing of seabirds and the stink of pitch smeared over hulls. So whaddaya say? Will you come back?