A Letter from Padhraig to Alice
[Everyone will be given a chance to read and comment on this before he sends it off, but this is Padhraig's response to the outstanding matter...]

To Lady Alice Fraser,

My Lady, I hesitate to write this letter quickly, without the thought its subject demands, but likewise I recognize the need to deal with this matter immediately, in the protection of a good man of both of our acquaintance who has, though no deed or action within his control, fallen afoul of Clan Law. I am neither student nor practitioner of the Law, or at least am not such within this cycle (and memories of other cycles, other lives, help little as Clan Law, as much as I know it, seems to differ in many particulars from Aegyrian Law or Thearean Law, and cycles are less identical than I might… this is a distraction, and I must end it).

I ought to begin this matter with important news, which is to say the conclusion of the matter of of the last Lord of Blackbyrne. Thought dead, yes, but even when you still traveled with us, the signs that death did not bring an end to his hold on power in this world were evident. Many more have come since, and it was in that cause that we came to the ruins of Blackbyrne and, with the permission of the guardians under command of one Liam MacKenzie, did explore for some anchor holding him here.

There were, in fact, two such anchors, a clever working that meant even if one temporarily slipped its hold or was lifted, the other might hold him to this world until both could be set again. The magic is more complex, but this sailor’s explanation is, I think, accurate enough for the matter at hand.

One anchor was a circle of enchantment, carved into the rock outside the Blackbyrne fortress, deeply enchanted to both endure and keep itself unfound. This, curiously, was the easier matter. Certainly, attempting to break the working awoke its guardians, shades of warriors long dead but, as I am certain you recall, that was not an entirely new experience for my companions and I. The key points in the working were pierced and the magic shattered. That hold is no more.

What was more troubling, though, was the pull of the other anchor. We had some hints of it, but not of how it would manifest. I will explain…

You have heard of our experiences in Tiranin and in Tillman’s Notch, where in each time was disordered and we saw glimpses of the past. In Tiranin, we glimpsed the smuggling away of small party during the final assault against the Blackbyrne’s rule. In the Notch, which had been one of the last holdouts of the Blackbyrne loyalists after their fall, we saw more sign of this group and their hidden purpose, which involved a child never clearly identified.

The resolution of which then became known to us last winter, when in the frozen depth of a lake well inland from Tree-town, we found ourselves in the Court of my Grandmother. The details there are complex and only of slight relevance. Suffice to say she is a Fey Noble of no little power nor any hint of scruple against using that power. She chose to dress each of us properly for her court, and gave each a title of her choosing. When she came to our friend Cabhan, she named him Master Marionette and dressed him in the colors of the dead clan Blackbyrne. When asked, she said this: “Your good Marrionette is in every way a puppet. The eyes of your nemesis and, so long as he lives, your nemesis cannot be destroyed.”

Thus it was that we already knew the form of the second anchor, but not its bite. As I began to study the enchanted carvings for a way to break them, as the spectres rose to stop us, the Blackbyrne pulled the anchorchain tight and gave proof to my Grandmother’s mocking name. Cabhan was gone, and in his form was the spirit of the last Blackbyrne.

Battle was given, of course. And I am most pleased to report that we were, overall, successful. The specters were driven off, and, somehow, even though the dark puppeteer used every hint of Cabhan’s quite impressive martial skills, Ailie, Sir Jarred, and Dama Michaela, with the aid of the dragon-sorceress Jokhula, were able to keep themselves and our friend from harm long enough for the circle to be pierced and broken, the first anchor cut.

It was then your cousin who cut the second anchor chain. A burning ray of the Grey Mage’s power weakened the dark spirit enough that the good man it used as its tool was freed from the hold he had been under. Cabhan ordered the other half-dead forces to return to their rest and the lingering stain of Blackbyrne on these Isles is no more.

Save one matter that lingers still.

There is now no secret of it, nor doubt of its truth. Captain Liam MacKenzie knows, and it was he who brought this last matter to our attention. If Cabhan is the last son of Blackbyrne, whatever the details of his descendance, then by Clan Law he, as all Blackbyrne, stands sentenced to death, the whole clan by law extinguished.

And thus, I must ask, Lady Alice, for your permission and command to, as captain of your ship and thus your captain, bear the accused’s parole until such time as he can be brought before full Clan Justice and the facts of this matter all given their proper weight in the determination of final judgement.

For the sake of our friend and companion, I beg your prompt response, and remain in all your captain,

Captain of the Fraser Ship Fenstalker
Commissioned by the Hand of Lady Alice Fraser, Heartsbloom 129

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