To His Lordship, the Right Honorable Baron Valentino of Savona House at Evergrove,
I hope this letter finds you and your lady-wife Fiorenza well, and also your two sons. I am in receipt of your request to investigate the family story that you related to me in which one of your ancestors helped secure the original colony that would evolve into the city of Outport under the rule of the Innocent Prince several millennia ago. The curiously untarnishable silver plate which you sent me as proof of this story’s truth is indeed written in an ancient dialect of Magionori that has a curious trait of endlessly multiplying its prefixes and suffixes; indeed, it has evaded my best attempts to translate it yet, even with the aid of spellcraft.
In the interests of full disclosure, my lord, you are not the first leader of a noble house who has tried to forge a tangible connection to Outport’s long-lost past, or to the Innocent Prince in particular. Of course successfully doing so would give you a legitimate ancestral claim to the lands there, but I do not know how one would actually go about claiming the rights of such a lineage. Regardless, I feel the strange nature of the silver plate merits investigation.
Regrettably, the facts of the Innocent Prince’s exile are not well known thanks to the distance created by history and warfare. Fortunately, I have had the privilege of traveling to the mainland and conducting several archaeological expeditions where the kingdom of Magionoro used to exist, and was lucky enough to recover a few clay tablets that described some of the circumstances surrounding his exile. This is the Innocent Prince’s tale as we know it:
We know that the Innocent Prince Fabian was exiled from his kingdom of Magionoro upon the Faerunian mainland approximately thirty-five hundred years ago. He was the elder son of a king named Emilio, who by all accounts was not a cruel king or a wise one, and his kingdom neither floundered nor flourished under his reign. He did not have any children until his later years when he was wed to a young and strong wife named Lizbeta. Lizbeta was a popular queen who encouraged her husband to restrict practices she thought of as cruel and inhumane, such as bear-baiting and the placing of children into public stocks for thievery and hooliganism. She gave him two sons, but died in childbirth to the second. The elder boy, Prince Fabian, was reported to be handsome, honest and intelligent, and many looked forward to the day he ruled Magionoro. The younger son, Armando, was reputed to be dull-witted, hunch-backed, and bow-legged, with a thick tongue and a sloping brow.
Since King Emilio was already an old man when his sons were born, it was expected that Prince Fabian would ascend the throne around his twentieth birthday, and that his father would be free to spend his final years without the weight of the crown upon him. This is why it was so very shocking when the teenaged prince entered the throne room at Yuletide and stabbed his father to death with a dagger in front of virtually every noble family in all of Magionoro. That he was under some kind of magical compulsion was the belief of many, since he appeared to love his father deeply and wept with open horror when he realized what he had done. Given the sheer number of people in the room at the time – and the possibility of him encountFabiang a hidden enchanter just prior to him entFabiang the throne room – it was difficult to prove whom had caused the prince to act in such a fashion.
The greatest rune-priest of Oghma in the land was summoned and asked to consult his stones and his god for the truth of this matter. The old man came at once and presented himself before all of the noble lords in the great throne room who had come to find out whom among them was the regicide. The priest of Oghma chanted in his sacred language for a few minutes before casting his runes, which all leaned forward eagerly to see. Each stone came up blank and smooth and featureless. The assembled nobility cried out to know what foolishness had come before them, but the man himself could not answer them, not anymore. The highest priest of Oghma in all of the land had forgotten his runes, his god, his purpose in being there, and even his own name.
Truly frightened now, the nobles discussed among themselves what should be done. Prince Fabian was clearly the target of some terrible sorcerous conspiracy, and crowning a cursed prince who murdered his own father – even if not by his own will – would be terrible for the kingdom of Magionoro. There was even talk that the dread goddess Shar, mistress of shadows and secrets and forgetfulness, had touched the rune-priest’s mind personally, for what other force was powerful enough to harm Oghma’s high priest so? And yet confining the prince to a prison tower for his entire life for committing the crime of regicide – by his own will or not – would be a form of injustice, and the lords prided themselves for their wisdom, fairness and honor. They could not crown Prince Fabian, but they could send him away, and so they did, exiling him to the newly-discovered wild continent of M’Kal to found a city there and be its administrator.
My lord, we know that the city the Innocent Prince founded evolved eventually into the trade-city of Outport. It is not explained in these tablets what outcome the lords of Magionoro expected of Prince Fabian at M’Kal, or whether they expected his curse to follow him to the new lands. For the kingdom itself, it ultimately fell into ruin through mismanagement under the dull-witted King Armando and his advisors until it was conquered by its stronger neighbors.
Of course even a child in M’Kal can tell you some of the Innocent Prince’s adventures when he arrived in M’kal, passed into common lore and mythology such as they have. My favorite story is his battle with the army of driver ants possessed by a demon servant of Legion, although that’s not a tale I tell my children until they get older. I often like to tell my daughter the story of how Fabian found the fairy princess’s voice trapped beneath an enchanted mandrake, or the story of how his dog saved him from the siren’s song by barking so loudly it broke the sea-witch’s magic. Doubtlessly you have your own favorite stories of the Innocent Prince as well, although I fear many of them are actually misattributed to him, or simply have no basis in known history. Using magical or divine methods to determine the truths of the Innocent Prince’s story has also defied our ability, even into this modern age… which brings me to the nature of your request.
You related to me in your letter that your family claims descendancy from Sir Esteban. As you doubtlessly well know Sir Esteban was one of the Innocent Prince’s most loyal knights-in-waiting who chose exile along with his master in order to serve as his aide-de-camp in M’kal. Such a lineage would be a proud and ancient one if it could be proven. You claim also that Sir Esteban himself recorded what is written on the silver plate shortly before his own death, although the memory of the translation regrettably has been lost.
Since it is not known what ultimately happened to the Innocent Prince after he founded the city of Outport, it is possible that your silver plate holds some clues to that mystery. I consider it worth investigating alone based upon the strange dialect of Magionori in which it is written, one that I have never encountered. However, your lordship must also accept the possibility that it the plate was not written by Sir Esteban at all, or that if it was that it does not contain some key to securing your family’s legacy. There is also the strong possibility that I may be unable to source its origin or translate it, even with your generous patronage.
If you accept the likelihood of these failures despite my best efforts, my lord, I am willing to undertake this project for you. If memory serves me, your family’s burial grounds are only about a millennium old, as your ancestors were forced to flee like so many others during the dragon wars. I propose an expedition to your family’s ancient destroyed estate to see if the burial grounds can be located, and perhaps some advancement made in the translation of this strange silver plate. Failing that, I propose to attempt to trace Sir Esteban’s own burial site for the necessary clues, if some idea of their location can be determined at your family’s ancient estate.
I would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss the feasibility of this plan. I would also like to peruse your existing family records to see if any other ideas to what happened to Sir Esteban can be determined, such as the possible existence of a forgotten (or intentionally lost – please harbor no offense, my lord) family bloodline. I often find that close examination of historical records reveals the most embarrassing facts, yours of which I will endeavor to keep secret should they be discovered. I am interested in historical accuracy, not idle gossip.
As I am only a historian and not a warrior, I will also need to discuss my defensive requirements that will need to be arranged prior to my embarkation. Given the wild nature of the places that I need to explore, a party of skilled adventurers would be best.
Respectfully submitted to you this fifth day of the month of Highsun, in the year MR 3583,
Otto van Bumpswick-Bauer
Senior Historian of the Argent Concordance