To the Prefect of the Scotsile Temple
I regret to say that I have failed in my duty. I write this from captivity in the hopes that I can smuggle it out and provide an account of my disappearance. I am in the hands of slavers, who are abducting citizens from Scotsile and selling them down the river in Talmatia. They are keeping us in an isolated outpost in the marshes, and force us to dig in the swamps. Why is a mystery to me, but I suspect some sinister purpose.
I came to this pass on that unfortunate night that Brother Jacor and I investigated the abandoned mansion of Almanzar the Alchemist, reputedly haunted by his troubled spirit. We went at night when any ghost would most likely materialize. We did not find any unearthly denizens, but the dangers we found were all too real.
The first floor is infested with giant poisonous spiders. We killed a couple that we encountered. In one room, we found a corpse. The man had been bitten and fatally poisoned by a spider. He carried a whip, club, and shackles. We then proceeded upstairs. In the attic, we found a series of lanterns, sheets, and ropes. It appeared that someone created fake ghosts to scare people away.
As we returned to the first floor, we heard a woman’s scream. We rushed to the sound and discovered a young woman in the clutches of a thuggish man. She was struggling to escape. We ordered the man to stop but he knocked the woman down, pulled out a club, and rushed me. His rashness was his undoing; Jacor and I defeated him and tied him up.
Speaking to the girl, we learned that slavers were kidnapping people from the city and hiding them in the cellar. At night, a boat took them through a secret channel to the river, and from there toward bondage in Talmatia. There was a group of captives to be shipped out that very night.
We escorted the woman to the street and asked her to run to the Temple for reinforcement. Because time seemed to be pressing, we decided to investigate the cellar ourselves. Rushing back into the house, a giant spider ambushed us. It sank its fangs into Brother Jacor, who dropped on the spot. I killed the monster and checked on Jacor. He was as cold as stone.
I must confess that anger impeded my judgment. If not for the slavers, Jacor would have been in bed at the Temple. I madly rushed to the cellar. As I entered, it triggered a trap. An arrow imbedded into my side. Flush with madness, I ignored the pain. I ran down a hallway, and was attacked by three vicious guard dogs. I killed one. A second one latched its jaws upon my sword arm. I kicked it and it released its grip; then I skewered it. The other dog jumped up, knocking me over. It tried to sink its teeth into my neck, but I stuck my arm in the arm. It clamped down on my sword arm. I struggled with the beast until I heard a man command: “Don’t move or yer dead.” I looked up to see three guards pointing crossbows at me. Unable to fight against such odds, I reluctantly dropped my sword.
Since then, I was shipped down river to the slave camp. They keep me here because I can heal the slaves and guards that become injured or sick.
I am entrusting this letter to a fellow slave who will be shipped to Talmatia tomorrow. Hopefully, she will find a way to get this missive delivered. I will continue to report as I am able.
Your brother in service,
Rowan of Scotsile