From the private correspondence of Baron Antonio Stave
Baron Stave’s final mission on behalf of Emperor Rorei the Young remains a subject of great debate, and rumors of his role in the disappearance of Princess Perdita circulate to this day.
My Dearest Melodia,
Rorei’s madness only grows as his unnatural youth persists. To say that fear pervades the court is an understatement. I would simply leave and return to you — believe me, that is all I want — yet his rages are unpredictable, and he sees betrayal in every little action. When I broached the topic of a holiday to visit you and the children and inspect the vineyards before harvest, he flew into a fit, claiming that my true intention was to subvert his rule from afar and raise an army of Subatens in the East. Imagine — me, the leader of a Subaten war band! The heretics would lock me in a dungeon on sight.
Nevertheless, the Emperor’s suspicion towards me is no doubt exacerbated by the matter of the love child. I wish I had never learned of her existence. When he confided in me about the child’s birth, and her mother’s identity, I mistakenly took it for a return to the old days of our friendship. There was a camaraderie to it, which seemed momentarily familiar and safe. Now, I realize, far too late, that my possession of this secret knowledge has marked me as a potential enemy. He fears blackmail, and he fears the child, and so too he now fears me.
So profound is Rorei’s disquiet about the possible fracturing his lineage that I fear he will soon demand the disappearance of the babe, either by exile or death. I only hope this dread duty does not fall to me, though I suspect it will as a sort of perverse test of loyalty.
Our youthful friendship, which once served to elevate my position here at court, has become a curse. I fear it will take powerful magic, and spilled blood, for it to be lifted.
Your Loving Husband,