Hopefully this missive reaches you, sister. The Skineaters don’t exactly take regular post but we have our ways, and anything is possible for the right bribe. We were beyond relieved to hear that you and Cirrus were alive, since we’d had no news for nearly a year.

I’ll say first: don’t apologize for anything you’ve had to do to survive. Murderer or not, you did what you had to do with that halfling and anyone else that has gotten in the way. As long as you and Cirrus are alive, it is all good. Your new friends sound like a funny bunch. Perhaps some of them will be worth sparing? If you do kill the dwarf, remember to strike down between the breastbone and the ribs for the heart from above. It will leave no trace and you can disguise the corpse as sleeping while you make your escape. Perhaps your pretty dwarf would make a good slave? Innocent ones always do.

As we sisters have gotten older, we’ve had to get tougher. It works most of the time. Members of the horde know not to trifle with us when we’re together. Bad things don’t happen to us nearly as often. I lead a whole squadron of girls now, and we are good enough at growing and felling trees that we usually have wood left to burn and food left to cook. Strange as it seems to say, I feel like I have a place here among the Skineaters now, almost like I belong. Not to Gash, but to all the people under him and his boys. They look up to me almost like you sisters do. Things are going well enough that I want them to change.

Zeffir is still her quiet self, but she is a whirlwind when she has to be, and has become very sneaky. We suspect she’s behind some well-deserved stabbings of late. Perhaps it’s her way of dealing with the loss of Skye, by taking on some of her twin’s old traits. She’s started writing, too, and transcribes letters for Gash’s illiterate boys. I think she might have a fella or a gal on the side that she is writing little love notes to, but I have let her keep her secrets.

Most importantly, Stormy’s had a new baby girl since you’ve left. We think the father was one of Nosebrass’s hangers-on or one of the mercenaries that he sometimes hires, but it doesn’t matter. She is the world’s prettiest little half-orc in her auntie’s eyes, and very smart. The spitting image of her cousin! Stormy called her Cumulus, and we call her Lissy for short.

There is a problem, though. Nosebrass has been making noises about selling off another round of infants, says there’s getting to be too many mouths to feed. Normally, if one of Nosebrass’s orcs or some merc hunter tries to touch Zeffir or Stormy, I will fillet them like a day-old mackerel. But babies are another matter. It’s difficult to protect them, and Stormy is still so weak. Even though the girl is walking now, the childbearing took a lot out of her.

You remember the last time Nosebrass did this, before Cirrus was born. The children were sold into the breaker’s yards at Caldhollow. None survived. Your example has inspired us, and we think we can buy Lissy ourselves, perhaps send her to live with her auntie and cousin. But we don’t have the coin, and time is of the essence. If you’ve any to spare, though we’ve no right to ask, I would beg that you send it by the same route when you can. It wouldn’t be difficult to buy a baby. Nosebrass would welcome it, ask no questions. He’s cruel but fair that way.

Sorry if the letter isn’t pretty. I’ve not your skill with letters but I had Zeffir help me. Girl has a way with words and is an incredible sister and the best person. We love and miss you dearly.

-Lightning Thaighs

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