I put the letter down on my desk face down and closed my eyes. It was my first message from Sinimas. His ‘from the front’ stories were increasingly strained, shorter and shorter columns. Larger and larger ‘noble’ ‘heroic’ wood-cut prints of supposed strategic victories and withdrawals to consolidate the latest rejin movement were appearing with the smaller stories.
To My Patron, trusting that this will be seen only by the correct eyes...
The Yeolis have won back to the centre of the country. Governor Kelkulas is dead and the Yeolis have seized the treasury that was meant to re-build the country in Arko’s image. This Alliance is composed of Yeola-e, Laka, Tor Ench... This one has seen both the Crown Prince and the Heir to the Tor present with their troops, so one may surmise the number. There are Hyerne fighting, more than one would have thought if their demon-eaten country had been conquered last year. This one suspects that report is not true. There are several thousand mercenaries as far as this one is allowed to see and more joining daily.
High Generals Abatzas and Perisalas were both dismissed and sent elsewhere, Larianas was killed in Hirina and Barakas Terren is now in command. The Durakis seems to have uncanny help. He seems to always know where the rejins are, where the reinforcements are. No city wall has been able to stand against them. It seems to have something to do with a small group of black people. That group was commended last fighting season for siege breaking. Their commander is Niku Wahunai. The report of the demon-woman’s death after her disappearance from the Mezem was false. She escaped somehow.
The Champion, Kallijas Itrean, though General Kallen refused to ransom the man, is still alive. The Durakis did not kill him but holds him somewhere in the country.