Written on the 16th day of Gozram, in the 10th year of the Regency of Prince Noleski Surtova.
I hope this missive finds you in good health, Mother. I was saddened to hear about the loss of your favourite silver soup tureen. Good Help are so hard to find these days.
My Osstians have finally been in contact. They weave a fanciful tale, blaming foul murder on a Grumpkin of all things. This isn’t the Curséd Forest We Shall Not Name, where such tales are often told to scare travellers, but Rostland!
They claim to have trapped a group of wanderers in a wicked Ambush — just like Osstians, Mother, as you have always warned me. This time they sent prisoners along, seeming to add proof to their claims, or so they would have me believe. However, having seen the desperate men they sent, wretches, vagabonds, guilty only of being born to mean and lowly squalor, I find myself doubtful they were ever bandits. Imagine my surprise, Mother, when the prisoners were to be turned over to Count Nikitin!
I pleaded that these wretches were the responsibility of the noble Medvyeds, or at least the honourable Lord Mayor of Restov! The Count, scrabbling for what little glory he could, ignored my pleas, and passed his questionable judgment.
I must cut this missive short, Mother, as I have been forced to bribe a rather sullen river-boat pilot to delay her voyage and carry this letter and other sundry papers to Restov, but if her patience with her betters is anything to judge by I have little hope of her delivering them.
Please pass my sincere and solemn respects to my Father.
Your loving son,
Yuripol Yuripovitch Andropov