1165AL

Dear Dlemertha,

Word has reached my ears of an engineer in your employ by the name of Leonardo de Galna. It is said he was of great assistance to you at the siege of Thiluthu where he constructed an enormous mechanical arm that successfully delivered flaming wreckage to the undead that besieged your troops. It is also said he recently created a sort of seeing lens for crossbows, thus allowing our Vereni conscripts to fire with increased accuracy. While I have no doubt this man is of great value to you, I believe the Empire has greater need of him along the southern borders of Territory Seven.

As you are no doubt aware, the undead assault upon Territory Seven has increased tenfold in the last month (two months by the time this missive reaches you). To further complicate matters, the Maosian shepherds of the area have lowered themselves to open rebellion, thus forcing our dedicated warriors to fight two wars on the same front. The Maosians refuse to bow to the wisdom of Bender protection from the Fallen Kingdom, and I fear we cannot fight enemies from within and without. The entire territory is threatened.

Still, our position here is relatively strong for the time being, and I believe the ingenuity of an engineer such as de Galna could tip the balance in our favor. I respectfully request for you to send him to us along with whatever reserves you can afford.

Praise the Third Eye,

Vleshmu

Dear Dlemertha

1165AL

Dear Dlemertha,

I cannot thank you enough for your trust and continued support. I confess I was surprised to discover that Leonardo was older than had been suggested, but could instantly see why he makes such an inspiring figure. In only two weeks time he constructed a large balloon with a small metal undercarriage slung beneath. If you can believe it, a single man sits in the undercarriage and pedals gears with his feet to make it move. The pulling of a small lever allows the balloon to release its cargo (set afire by the same device that inflates the balloon) upon the unsuspecting enemy below. We employed the balloon twice against the dead with great results, though the balloon self-destructed upon its second use. Even then, its final conflagration was satisfying to behold. Leonardo assures me he can build another, but I believe he has already provided us with the advantage needed to drive off the undead menace for the time being. I shall instead direct his attentions to the Maosian shepherds who continue to vex us. A balloon is useless against a scattered and unorganized foe, but I am certain de Galna is capable of creating new wonders.

Praise the Third Eye,

Vleshmu

Dear Dlemertha

1165AL

Dear Dlemertha,

I must confess I hesitated writing you this letter, for surely you will laugh at what are no doubt unfounded worries. I suppose that following our swift victories over the dead, I had hoped progress against the Maosians would be just as vigorous. But it would appear that Leonardo's newest invention will require considerably more time to construct. At first I doubted his resolve when he began to question my orders considering the shepherds, but I reminded him of his duties to the Empire, not to mention the duties of the neglectful Maosians, and that seemed to end the matter.

Yet previously, Leonardo drew up a fantastic schematic for his balloon and I was able to follow the general idea though it was strange and hard to comprehend. Now I have no idea what he is doing, despite looking at his plans and having them explained to me. Is he building a weapon? A tool? I do not know. Leonardo has put the fortress smithy to work constructing thousands of black metal pots. Actually, they are more like spheres than pots. And Leonardo had his whole workshop moved to a basement only yesterday, saying the cool air of the lower levels was critical for his invention. I know some magics require cool air to be successfully controlled, but Leonardo seems to use a kind of practical magic I fail to comprehend. On top of that, he and his apprentice have been harvesting discarded rock from our mines at an alarming rate. They spend most of their time having the rock carted down to the cellar, then rendered into powders which they spend countless hours measuring, blending, and testing. I am probably being foolish in my worry, but there is another matter.

Soon after I quelled Leonardo's concerns about the shepherds, the Dreamstealer I send into his room at night reported that he was now unable to read Leonardo's mind. I have had the engineer's quarters searched and there was no sign of any device capable of suspending our psychomancy. I had the Dreamstealer focus on the apprentice Vlox, but it proved just as fruitless.

You know the man better than I do sweet Dlemertha, so please, allay my concerns.

Praise the Third Eye,

Vleshmu

Dear Dlemertha

1165AL

Lord of Thoughts,

It is as you feared. Our party arrived at Bloggu two days ago, only to find smoking ruin. There are fires still burning and predators come at night to harass what burnt corpses aren't entirely buried in the rubble. There is naught left save shattered masonry and large fragments of black metal. I cannot begin to describe the awesome level of destruction to be found here. Something has reduced the greatest fortress in the southwest to nothing, and I cannot explain it. If Leonardo is not buried in the ruin, then he is long gone from this place. We have found no sign of survivors, nor are there are tracks of anything but wolves. We shall move out tomorrow for already our scouts have spotted undead being summoned into the area, and the bodies in the wreckage have begun to stir. Please notify the Empire. Territory Seven has fallen.

Praise the Third Eye,

Ghirlagga, Fifth Legion Magus

Dear Dlemertha