Scamandros to Big Freeta of the Rootless,
Nigh five weeks have passed since I came before you with the hope to reconcile your old claims to the Halls of the Ancient Fathers and the present situation for you within those halls.
You asked two things of me in hope for your deliverance from the straits of hardship into which you and the Rootless have been thrust:
First, to deliver a letter from you to the Imperial Mother, seeking a reconciliation between your people, their ancient claims, and her "imperial" airs;
Second, you gave me a certain amount of gold to acquire insect repellent in the markets of Orm, thus to shield your people from the bloodsucking swarms that hound you, there in the depths of the Ancient Halls.
Allow me quickly to dispose of the second question: Bartamus Fludge, proprietor of said repellent, has not since returned to Orm, and thus have I not spent anything given me for the sake of acquiring that repellent. Therefore, I return the gold, not even a penny touched; and further, I would have you know that I have embarked on a process of research and manufacture myself, in order to create a salve of equal potency against the insectile devils. I hope soon to be able to provide you with a supply that will secure you against the bloodsucking swarms crafted by my own hand.
As to the first question, it may also be a means of deliverance from the horrible insects: for the Imperial Mother has granted you and your kin vassalage, that is, the possession for yourselves of a certain territory within the Halls of the Ancient Fathers in return for your fealty. This "holding", centering around a so-called "Pool of Life" (as named by my comrades), was formerly held by a rebellious sorcerer-king, now dispossessed and exiled (I do not know the particulars of his fate).
This vassalage seems not of little importance to me, centering around the aforementioned Pool; it seems indeed to possess strange power over the vagaries of life itself. And let me also say that I belief this "fief", as it were, should be somewhat secure against the foul insects that plague you, as the sorcerer-king and his minions who once held it were able to keep it secure against the swarms for themselves.
Now, as to how this offer of the "fief" and attendant "vassalage" came to pass, allow me to explain.
In the company of my associate Journeyman Crannoc (and his raptor-retainer, Plumes); Wolfgang the swordfighter; Betina the Blind (and an amazon hireling); the Bard Fancy and his cat-and-dog companions; and GaWoosh, Champion of Gnomes; we descended into the Halls of the Ancient Fathers seeking the Imperial Mother to deliver your letter and seek resolution of your claims.
We passed a strange chamber containing a one-eyed gaoler abusing (demonic?) snake-tailed women of many arms with a magical flail. He helpfully gave us directions to the Imperial Mother's territory; alas, our progress was impeded by a trap that ended with an arrow through the heart of Plumes, instantly killing the huge raptor.
A detour was agreed on--to seek the Pool of Life, and attempt to restore Plumes to full verve within its depths. It was explained to me that certain mercenaries once employed by us had observed the servants of the sorcerer-king who had possessed the Pool dipping comrades into its waters to restore them from death, and had thus restored several of their own ranks by imitation. (Such is the strange power over which you might soon hold fief).
The Pool was quickly come by; Plumes dipped into it; and lo! the terror bird came forth, though a little daft for the experience of death.
Thence we returned to our purpose, seeking the Mother. Through twists and turns, we came to a library containing certain of her servants; they directed us to her throne room itself; and therefore we came before the great Mother in all her regal glory, flanked by Imperial guards with the regal heads of great lions.
I presented your case, in conjunction with Crannoc and Betina; unfortunately, the grandeur of the Imperial presence intimidated GaWoosh, and he offered the Mother insolent reply. From her throne, she ordered him reprimanded, but I took the reprimand myself, I being he envoy, and he coming along at my behest (you may see the result of the reprimand in the black eye I still bear; I find it unwise to insult a ruler upon her throne).
Despite the proffered insolence; and I hope in large part because of our arguments for your people, the Imperial Mother thence relented to offer you the terms presented in this companion letter, bound by a strand of her own hair, offering you the fiefdom around the Pool of Life.
I hope that you find the terms acceptable! But I am willing to champion you and yours regardless, however you best find yourselves and your home within the Indos na Egra Eithog.