The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 13: A Missive from Ambassador Tomon Inket to Roshevian Emperor

There is not much that can be said of Tokavsk’s king.  Stergye is a hard man, perhaps harder than he need be, but the same can be said for nearly all monarchs.  He is the second member of his noble house to be raised to the throne, and he carries that fact with him wherever he goes.  House Tallat is one of the smaller Houses in the kingdom, and his ascension fifteen years ago was a surprise to say the least.  I noticed that some of his contemporaries in the more powerful houses—Shanay, Helkat, and Jondrav—bore resentment toward him.

Much of what I gathered of his character was through rumors.  As such, I am not certain as to their veracity.  Some said his hardness makes him cruel, others said it is a front and that he is more emotional than he lets on.  Those of his age and older who competed for the crown say he is willing to leave the fat on if it means he stays ahead.  He is both ambitious and meandering, angry and carved of ice, personal and distant.  He did take my interests into my consideration, so I can testify that the rumors of his stubborn refusal to listen are false.  When I did interact with him, I tried to assign the traits I had heard to the man standing before me and found little success.  He is as elusive as he is public, methinks.  He said little about Your Majesty beyond what he thought of Your policy toward the Hentars, but beyond that he took care not to let me observe his character.

You wanted me to study him for violent tendencies, and I am afraid I have failed this part of Your request.  I spent little time around him, instead conducting most of my affairs with administrators toward our Empire.  He remained a figure lurking on the fringes, never quite emerging from his hiding space.

There was one rumor that warmed my brain the most.  I heard it but once, but it has stayed with me since.  The young Lord Mortshana said in idle conversation that the time would soon come for Stergye to select his heir, as he is nearing fifty.  I asked him what this would mean for diplomatic affairs.  He did not answer me, just returned to his frivolous chatter.  I took his evasion to mean the tensions in the Tokavskan court would reach a breaking point, but I could not be certain.

The Kingdom of Tokavsk, Session 8: The Confession of a Traitor to the Court

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.


[Name stricken]