Tokavsk has a tradition of forcing those convicted of high treason to confess their crimes. The reasons for this tradition are unclear, and some argue it is unwise to disseminate the internal logic of the condemned. The below confession is different in that, in addition to being the only letter we have retrieved from the current King’s reign, it is hardly a confession at all. Rather, it reads more as a rant. It also makes attempts to level accusations against the King, though it provides no specific examples, perhaps due to the intense fury of the author.
Iron-blooded is an apt sobriquet for him, more than apt. They might as well have told me he was a fiend outright and shown me the antlers upon his head. I’m laughing at the irony of it. I was warned never to cross him, but I never thought his reaction would be as extreme as this. To be a courtier is to serve the King, but it is also to fight for your House and your province. That is what the system has always been, what I have been told.
I did what was within my limits. I never meant to tear the hide, but by the time I realized I had it was too late. You want me to explain why I did what I did. You want me to glorify the King, but I will not, will not, will not with my dying breath. Let me fall into the Iyentsh River and never feel anything again but cold. You have already condemned me to the eternal chill. Nothing I write will reverse my fate. See, I laugh—I laugh as I’m writing this, laugh to keep from screaming. ‘Tis a cruel joke bestowed upon me. The end was obvious from the beginning. There is no freedom, not for anyone who does not agree expressly with the King, His Royal Majesty Stergye Tallat the Iron-Blooded, Short May He Reign. Anyone who shows his dissent will end up as I have. Let them know my name—let they who inhabit this cell after me feel it in the cold stone walls, taste it in the gruel meant to keep them alive until their execution. Let them remember my essence, even if everywhere else the memory of my existence is stricken. I know what happened to the ambassador. I know what the King does to keep you close to his torch. Those secrets will not die with me—someone else will find them—I promise you that. Promise you with the same fervor with which you love your king.
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