Captain the First Hans von Kater
From correspondence intercepted by Her Majesty the Rose’s Agent, codename “Steeljacket,” between Council Leder of Jarden and Ambassador from the Court of Fueille, Clara Perroné. Letter dated 19-2-96 (IV.E 896).
My Sweet Beloved~
It is an agony to find myself caught between your affections and my loyalty, though the words you whispered to me have done much to ease my doubts even as they have enflamed my passions. I ache to hold you again, my Darling, and to hear you speak once more those precious words you gave to me so sweetly.
Alas, I have no news for you of the King nor of his whereabouts, and the Regent now seems redoubled in his dedicated opposition to any search for his father. More content he is to float above the Lands aboard the royal yacht, surrounded by his whores and hangers-on. He desires to make sail for Tanitin, a visit to Kyrschen, he says, “to sample the local fare.” That he is the issue at all of Our King baffles me endlessly; can such a great man have sired so vile a spawn?
Of interest to you, however, may be the following: aboard the Royal Yacht, I encountered an old friend of my youth, Captain Hans von Kater, he who was once First Kater, as you are no doubt aware of the man, a swords-and-horseman of no small renown. Our friendship predates even the Hollern unification, and those unfortunate events surrounding his engagement to Lady K~ in the summer of ‘88. A man of great personal honor, I think him, and he still bears the scar of that duel, to be sure. I know of no less than seven Matters of Honor he has resolved with steel since then, and of those, three were to the death. There are few who compare to his mastery of the blade, and it is this reason more than any other, I think, that brought him to the Regent’s attention.
In truth, my Love, I believe dear Hans reluctant to the role. Yet how can he refuse the Regent? As a patriot, he must answer the King’s call, and in the King’s absence, that of the Regent. Pride, again, plays its part, and so he brings his arm and blade in service, condemned to stand his post, watching over the floating bacchanal. We did not have opportunity to speak much, but I found him much-changed in manner and bearing.
Thus is the cost of a broken heart, and again, I find my thoughts turning to our Love, and pray you treat my own with greater care than those who have abused his.
I remain, as ever,
Your faithful, tormented servant,