August 18, 1152
Before the sun rose over the battle of Edenbrook, we departed to give chase to the monsters. Clouds streamed over our heads, very like the ones that delayed us in Rockham, threatening more summer snow. Dauntless, my men pressed on, driven by the desire to avenge their fallen comrades and send these foul demons back to the Hell from whence they came.
The devils seemed tireless at first, stopping only for water and fleeing like darkness before the sunrise. We chased them for days, even thought they seemed to be outdistancing us mile after mile. Our forced marches and short rests made the hot summer days nightmarish and confusing. Several men were felled by the heat and strain and we has to send a small contingent of sick men back to Edenbrook lest they die from the stress of the march.
On the fifth day we reached the bitter, barren land of Pleasant Valley. If the demons did not turn from their path soon we would chase them into the sea. Since we simply could not catch them at their tireless pace, I took a gamble and traveled northwest until we reached the old trade road that snaked along the western coast, hoping that when the enemy reached the sea, they would lack any real plan and would follow the road.
Again, the enemy proved mindlessly predictable, and again, I was able to lay an ambush that proved decisive. With a full day's rest at the narrow pass I had chosen, my men were able to contrive a vicious ambush that would have turned Archibald green with envy. When fully half of the enemy had filed into the pass we attacked, rolling boulders down the cliff face and showing them with arrows. The avalanche we caused blocked the road, splitting the demonic army in half. We concentrated on the part of the army that had yet to travel through the pass and thus lacked leadership from the front. In minutes we had decimated that portion without a single loss on our side.
The remaining army of devils immediately fled north, chased by our arrows and curses. Considering the small number of devils remaining—forty-five or so—and the difficulty in chasing them any further, I declared the mission a success and we spent the night celebrating our victory.
The celebration, I fear, was premature. As the night hours wore on, my outriders began to return from their scouting details with reports of an army of devils—numbering in the thousands!—travelling out of the badlands in our direction. I was forced to order a retreat: hunter and hunted reversed roles.
Catherine, I write this letter to you during one of our infrequent and brief rest stops. Our pursuers are faster than us and do not tire as easily. My scouts and seers report that the demons have followed our trail despite all efforts to shake them, and these horrible summer snowstorms seem to pursue us as relentlessly as the devils themselves. I fear there is a traitor amongst us, somehow signaling the enemy our every move.
My dear, I want you to give this letter to Wilbur Humphrey. He is to organize an army large enough to put these devils down, say twenty-five thousand men, and do it immediately. I also want you to call upon Rocklin, the King of the Dwarves, and inform him of the situation. He'll come—this danger affects both our kingdoms, and he also owes me a favor since I came to his aid during the Succession Wars against my evil brother Archibald.
In the meantime, we will flee east again to seek a fortified location that can hold off the demonic army until help can arrive. I am not going to reveal the location until we arrive there for fear these messages will be intercepted by the enemy. I am having Sulman dispatch our fastest messenger with this message. May you get his soon and act on it sooner. I am counting on you and thinking of you and Nicolai all the time.