It's a funny thing, making plans. I've left Ardrennan behind, and am now following the coast south. There are no towns on my map, but the shore is actually quite a busy place, with fishing villages spread out about a day's walk apart. I have stopped at a tavern on the edge of Meiloren to write, since my departure from Ardrennan was so sudden.
The mystery of the Secret Three remains unsolved, though I am now perpetually on the look out for similar signs. It is a mystery I will not solve on this journey, but I appreciate the reminder of my own unsolved mystery. I have not acknowledged the real reason for my journey south, making only oblique reference to my purpose in making such a long and perilous journey.
Following the trail of The Secret Three, led me to a tavern where a musician sang a song that reminded me so strongly of my own life that I can no longer ignore my true purpose.
I am going to the Grey Marshes to find someone. I don't know if she is alive or dead, but my need to answer that question is so powerful that I abandoned my family, the dwarven theatrical troupe with whom I have lived for over twenty years. The wolf bite was just an excuse. My heart had been burning to leave for more than a year, ever since I received the letter from Ieya. Here is the letter:
To my dearest Tiberius,
My shame has prevented me from writing to you for so long that I thought I never would. I know you thought me dead, and I know that your life might have continued peacefully with that falsity, but recent events have driven me to break my silence and to contact you.
When last we were together, the Gloomstain had all but consumed me, and you left me, as I asked of you. I did not die, as we both expected, but have been living in the Grey Marshes for these past decades, eking out a subsistence on the plants and animals that grow in this cursed swamp. The naspani homeland is not what it first appears to be, and neither is the Gloomstain. The Bright Song is not a perfect preventative for violence, and despite the effectiveness of its suppression of evil in the civilised lands, there are places where it does not glow as strongly. The Grey Marshes is one of those places. It has become a haven for the wicked kindred driven out of Telanya, and the buried secrets of this once beautiful valley are being used to develop a nefarious plan, the evil reach of which has caused me to break my silence, and call to you for help.
I can think of no reason why you should listen to me and return to this cursed place, save that the love we once shared might be the cause of forgiveness in your heart. The mistakes I made were terrible, and I have been punished, and will continue to be punished for the remainder of my life, but I beg of you, please come to me, and discover what I have discovered, and perhaps together we might stop the evil that is growing here.
Your beloved Ieya
So, I finally admit to myself, and to my own journal, the real reason for my long journey. I have perhaps a month of walking before I reach the swamp, where I must face the truth and consequence of my youthful adventures, and of the woman I left behind. The secrets of Ardrennan I must leave behind me, the joys of the fairy festivals and of my years travelling with the troupe. I only hope that my years abroad have prepared me for what I must face in the Grey Marshes.