Not sure if you ever planned on coming back to this crypt of yours but I thought I’d leave a note in case you did. If you’re not Regis you should know that this paper has been sprayed with a cockatrice venom distillate. It won’t kill you, but touching the paper any more than you already have will result in a rash that’s going to be a devil of a time to get rid of. Venom’s airborne too, so unless you’ve got the eyesight of a matagot you’re going to develop an equally fucked up cough by sticking close enough to read this. Just put it down. Go back where you came from.
Right, hope it’s just you now. (Don’t need to explain why you’re immune, huh? Could probably give me a whole damn lecture about it…) Before you start panicking know that all your precious books are safe. They’re at Corvo Bianco. Figured you’d prefer they didn’t mildew if the roof ever leaked. Or get torn apart by necrophages attracted by your potion ingredients—I found six in the connecting tunnels. Most ingredients weren’t going to keep, but I used up what I could and tossed the rest. Sorry. Books are in the guest bedroom. Just ask for my majordomo. He has standing orders to treat you like he would me, so feel free to grab a bath and some of Marlene’s cooking if you ever visit while I’m away.
…Can’t believe I fucking wrote that last bit. A witcher with a majordomo. Ever seen anything that absurd in all your years? Doubt it.
You should also know that the cellar is packed full of boxes from that toy shop. No, I haven’t gone all sentimental. Not for him anyway. Just figured our mutual acquaintance might need to be reminded of some of the gems hidden in the pile of shit that was that contract, if he ever winds up in these parts again. It’s purely practical. Anything that keeps him on the straight and narrow is necessary in my book, so get him carving and fixing things again if that helps. It’s more for you though, really. Mentioned that music box sounded like home, so I figured you might like it. Didn’t know what else might be worth keeping, so I just grabbed it all. Building was going to be repossessed anyway.
Burned that drawing off the wall though. No reason to tempt (semi) sleeping dragons of the royal variety.
Last, if you head to the estate and look under the third cobblestone from Roach’s stall, you’ll find a book titled My Evening With a Vampire. Read it. Should hold your interest for reasons other than the obvious. One of the characters was a bit too familiar for my taste. Didn’t want the text falling into the wrong hands, but wasn’t about to just destroy it either. Figured I’d leave that up to you. I’ve already got the ekimmara decoction out of it.
That’s all for now …fuck. Wasn’t planning to bring this up, but now I feel like I should. Remember our friend the bootblack? Been to see him a few times since you left. BB (the majordomo) is always on my case about looking “presentable as head of a household.” Like a polish is going to do anything against drowner guts on my pants. Yet BB somehow manages to chastise me while remaining impeccably polite, so I feel like I owe it to him to give in. That kind of passive aggression takes skill. As you well know. Anyway, been to the bootblack, lightened my coin pouch again (don’t ask), and learned about the orphanage he used to live in before starting that little enterprise of his. Long story short, I did some digging and found that a very old acquaintance of yours owns the place. I’m sure you can guess who given the breadth of your social circle. No, she hasn’t suddenly turned altruistic. Sorry for sneaking a peek at that sleep journal of yours—Chalk it up to witcher’s curiosity. You did compliment me for it—but do you recall the “velvety, freshly squeezed” drink you were craving? Our friend doesn’t have your strength of will. I’m keeping tabs on it, but would appreciate your assistance in the matter if you ever have the time.
As for the rest of those entries: your friend didn’t die. I hope that means you’re no longer sad.
Two pages in. Dandelion always said you were the only one who could get me to talk for any decent length of time. Not that you don’t do enough of that for the both of us. Which made your own letter a bit of a surprise. Really? Last correspondence and you’re going to talk about your mutagenerator the whole time? Don’t know whether you failed at humility or were just trying to keep things impersonal. Not sure why you’d bother though. Wasn’t joking about the strength of your hooch, Regis. After a guy spills his secrets via that you’re close as anyone can get.
Either way, device is a lifesaver. Thanks.
The next time we meet (that’s not an “if,” Regis) remind me to tell you about Doctor Moreau’s research. I think you’ll find the benefits it gave me pretty fascinating. And the way I went about getting them pretty frustrating. I can picture the exact face you’re going to make. Look forward to seeing it.
Actually, know what? Don’t know why we should wait. As a wise friend once told me, we have a tendency to meet only when shit is hitting the windmill. I’d prefer to chat when life is calm for once, so if you’re reading this get your ass over to the estate. Don’t care what time it is. Door’s open.
P.S. BB told me the other day that Corvo Bianco roughly translates to “white crow.” Fitting, huh? It’s almost enough to make a guy believe in destiny.
My Dearest Geralt,
You cannot imagine the joy I felt upon discovering your letter! What an unexpected (and yet quite appreciated) treasure to find among the ruins of my old home. I applaud your attempts at both protection and subtlety, though you may lift that burden from your already laden shoulders. Provided that our mutual friend has not become horribly misled along the course of his journey, you should be reading this letter in the company of one of my crows. He has stern instructions to wait for your response and, he has assured me, is happy to carry that missive directly into my waiting hands. Our privacy is secured, for I venture that even the most paranoid or curious of spies would not think to waylay a common corvid. Or, if they did, they would have quite the time succeeding in their task. Just be kind to the dear and give him a bit of food, if you would. Sunflower seeds are a preference, but any cheese or meat scraps will do. I have found over the course of our acquaintance that crows are no more picky about their sustenance than, say, a witcher.
All teasing aside, I do commend you for your thoroughness. Thank you for your forethought, though I fear I cannot say the same for that old acquaintance of mine, one Robert Atkinson. As I'm sure you've gathered, I found your hidden book. Though Atkinson published his account anonymously, there are only so many men that I have rescued from fires and then spent the night conversing with. Obviously I am not thrilled that he chose to break his promise and attempt to tell the world what he knew, but as someone who values knowledge, understands the need to share it, and is not inclined to speak ill of the dead... I find that I have no anger within me, only the sincere hope that, if there is an afterlife, he has found some measure of peace within it.
But I diverge from the topic at hand. (Which surely does not surprise someone who is as familiar with my habits as you are!) I was attempting to convey, with more artistry than the average gossip, but no doubt far less than our Dandelion could manage, the great joy I experienced at finding your note. Relief too, if I am being honest—and I always strive to be honest with you, Geralt. You are quite right to chastise me for my own, disastrous farewell. Take careful note of my words: anyone who claims that witchers are unskilled at deciphering emotion is, if you will pardon the crude saying, piss missing the pot. You were quite right in your second accusation, I am ashamed to say. It was not... easy for me to say goodbye so soon after we had been reunited. Particularly not after all that I had put you through. You must forgive me if my still healing mind jumped to certain arguable assumptions, such as the fact that you may have been quite ready to rid yourself of this vampiric pest. Please, do not think that this is any way a slight against your character. I couldn't bear the thought of you coming away with that interpretation of my words. I only strive to say that, you will surely agree, I have caused you a great deal of trouble as of late and any sane person would have been glad of the distance. During our fireside chat you revealed to me your own hesitance about the future, a feeling I am well familiar with. But I believe you would agree that there has only ever been two, clear options for you. You would either settle down in your lovely estate, or you would return to your life on the Path. Neither option holds space for me, nor would I wish to try and forcibly carve out such a space when I have already taken so much from you. So I believed a clean break was in order. I would feign indifference in regards to whether our friendship would continue past this point, leaving it up to you to maintain that bond, if you so wished. You deserve that agency, Geralt.
That you did indeed extend a hand back to me, and so soon after my departure, I consider nothing short of miraculous. So yes. One of my friends still lives and the other left a most welcome letter inviting me back into his life. To describe my current emotional state as "no longer sad" would be quite the injustice.
But enough of that. I am growing maudlin. Though I suppose I'm allowed given my age.
I am, quite obviously, back among the rolling hills of Toussaint. Dettlaff is with me. I do not know how you will receive such news, though I remain just selfish enough to hope that it is with less anger than you are entitled to, particularly after your stern order that he should never cross the duchy's border again. I know well that words spoken after tragedy are not always the most truthful, so I admit to relying on that old adage here. He is... not well, though perhaps less so than I had feared when I first set out upon his trail. I will spare you the specifics. Or rather, I ask that you allow me to respect his privacy (though I'm sure you can paint yourself a fairly accurate picture, based on all you know). The takeaway is that Dettlaff is currently in need of my company and I, in turn, have finally accepted that I am in need of others'. After some months we have come to the compromise of returning here, though I assure you we keep our distance from anyone who may recognize him. Which is not many. Perhaps, at this point, only one. As you so eloquently put it, we do not taunt dragons of the royal variety and I highly doubt that our esteemed Anna Henrietta will be venturing out past her castle walls anytime soon. The last time I saw her she was still dressed in her mourning clothes. I fear I cannot share in her grief. Perhaps for the overall outcome and the lost hope that we would depart from this nightmare unscathed, but not for the person. If that makes me callous, so be it. If you read the entirety of my musings than you already know my most hidden thoughts on the matter: I am very tired and fuck it all.
For the record no, of course I am not angry at you for succumbing to that curiosity which I so greatly cherish. Do you believe I would have left anything behind I did not want you to see? Know that when I left you sleeping by the fire I took nothing but my satchel with me. Whatever remained of my life there was yours to do with what you would. Thus, I must thank you for taking such good care of my books. Thank you for the music box. Is that all this letter shall be, a series of increasingly embarrassing 'thank you's? So be it. I have recovered all from Corvo Bianco so that you may again use that space for more precious things.
What else must I thank you for? Why, hospitality, of course. As you so in-eloquently put it, I "got my ass" over to your vineyard only to be told that you have left on a contract. Destiny does seem determined to keep us apart, doesn't she? Luckily you have great practice in undermining her. As do I, I'd wager. I fear your majordomo was not very forthcoming regarding the details of this contract. More out of suspicion, I'd wager, than ignorance. Yet despite my disreputable appearance I was treated most kindly. No doubt more of your influence. So you simply must tell me what has taken you away from the comfort and company of your newfound home. I treasure Dettlaff's company more than I can say, but weeks of his particular brand of conversation have become a bit difficult to bear. I was quite enthused to speak with Barnabas-Basil and Marlene for an hour or so, but they are no substitute for your voice, Geralt. Or writing, as the case may be here.
They are darling though, aren't they? I do envy them their youth. I simply must tell you about the pie recipe Marlene shared with me before I left. I never considered myself much of a cook, but I do believe I could grow more fond of the skill with some practice. And Barnabas-Basil is simply a treasure of knowledge! Not to mention an adept conversationalist. You were quite right, Geralt. We do get along marvelously well.
I fear I'm avoiding the leshen in the room, however. I was, of course, deeply disturbed to hear your report about Orianna but not, I'm sorry to say, terribly surprised. I am rather a rarity among my own kind. Did you believe the bottles you offered to retrieve for her were truly filled with wine? Perhaps some, but far from all. To be entirely frank with you, I know not what can be done. I hold little sway among my own people and, should you attempt to take this matter into your own, otherwise capable hands, it can end only in your death. That I cannot allow. All I can offer at this stage is the promise that I will approach her and attempt to use my seniority to my advantage, for whatever that's worth. In return, I ask that you keep your distance from the matter. Orianna is smart, but she is also fickle. I shudder to think how she may react if she perceives you as a threat to her operation and you are, Geralt, quite the threat when you wish to be. Even to the likes of us.
Enough of such talk. You fear your letter is too long? Dear Geralt I've barely started! But I will spare you another four pages of my rambling. Though only because I end under the expectation—the fervent hope, really—that you will indulge me and write again from wherever you're at now. I am eager to hear how you ended up giving that young child even more of your coin and what precisely you meant by fascinating benefits. I am not entirely unfamiliar with Moreau’s research and can thus only conclude that you've gone and done something tremendously stupid. Dare I ask what sort of expression I'm meant to adopt? Don't tell me anything that will force me to seek you out, Geralt. You once threatened to seat me in the corner for acting out of turn. Don't think I won't do the same.
With Great Affection,
Emiel Regis Rohellec Terzieff-Godefroy
P.S. Destiny, Geralt? Really. You cannot ever again claim to me that you are not a romantic. The only thing you will have proven with such a declaration is that you are, in fact, a liar.
You and Dandelion are the ones who are good with words. Not me. So I'm just saying this: you're not half as smart as I thought you were if you believed, even for a second, that I wouldn't want to write. You're a dullard. A fool. Something went wrong when Dettlaff brought you back because the confident vampire I know would have never hesitated to throw himself into anything he pleased. You've done it enough, or do I have to remind you of all the times I've asked you to hang back only to find you in the thick of it all less than an hour later? In fact, I remember a time years ago when I explicitly said I never wanted to see you again and yet there you were, following anyway. The Regis I know doesn't give a damn what anyone else thinks. But if you want that reassurance... you have it. I lost you once before and was stupid enough to try and drive you away before that. I don't have plans to repeat either dumb decision in the future.
I'm in Velen. The contract's no big secret or anything, BB is just a stickler for protocol. I think Anna Henrietta herself could show up demanding to know where I am and he'd still give some overly polite speech about master and majordomo confidentiality. He's damn good at his job. Anyway, I ran into a Cat school Witcher a while back. Nasty business. More death than I was prepared to deal with on an average alghoul hunt, but at least one girl survived. Goes by Millie. She writes me sometimes, always with pictures (you can take a look if you head back to the estate. They're in my bedside table. Don't claim to know anything about art, but it looks like she's got some talent) and last week she sent this rambling letter about a dragon in the area. How it's going to eat what's left of her family, burn down the countryside, all the stuff that real dragons are pretty unlikely to do. But she's definitely scared of something. Might be a wyvern. Doesn't matter, really. She needed the help and I needed to stretch my legs.
Can't say I'm thrilled to hear about Orianna, but I get it. Truth is, the only reason I didn't do something then and there was because the bootblack begged me not to. Apparently her kids are pretty happy to provide blood once in a while. They see it as an exchange for the food, shelter, and affection—I suppose—that Orianna provides them with. Her intentions are undeniably selfish, but the results... Provided she's not doing any permanent damage to them, I'll let it slide. Gods know those kids could meet a worse fate out on the streets. Besides, you're right. It's not like I stand a chance doing anything on my own.
Fuck if I don't feel dirty defending that though.
On the subject of our favorite swindler: did you ever catch the kid's name? Didn't even realize he'd never given it until I was writing "the bootblack" over and over. Can't believe I'm only now realizing this. Guess I shouldn't be too surprised though. He's got a real head for business—of a sort, anyway. The few times I checked in on him he was asking after more coin. Kept talking about expansions to his shine shop and a thumb in the laundresses' pie. The fact that he didn't have any more information to offer me didn't slow him at all. If anything, he got pretty creative about his offers. Insisted for a while that a witcher could use someone small and inconspicuous to do "errands" for him. I was careful not to let on how right he was and he still wound up in my pocket. In the end, we're all just doing what we have to in order to get by. I can respect that.
Glad to hear you found your stuff. Why move it out though? Did you find a new place? You're welcome to make use of the guest room for as long as you'd like. As said: door's open.
Geralt of Rivia (Roger Eric du Haute-Bellegarde)
P.S. If you're taking the time to write out your full name then I guess I will too.
My Dearest Geralt,
Never have I been so happy to be on the receiving end of insults before. I am indeed a dullard. It cannot be denied, yet if my lack of intelligence and unique mental state post-resurrection ensures that you continue writing to me with such affection and fascinating tales, than I embrace these insults most heartily. Do continue slinging them out with all the accuracy of an archer. I will weather every one.
However, I fear I must correct you regarding one fairly egregious assumption. I am not, as you say, someone who does not "give a damn" what anyone else may think of me. At least, I was not always able to mimic such a display as I can (occasionally) do now. Indeed, my natural state is one wrapped in shyness and self-doubt. It is why I turned to drink in the first place. I found that the lack of inhibition that blood granted me was an excellent way of moving through the social circles I once thought I needed to be a part of. I was brazen, entertaining, thoroughly confident in myself (though I fear "arrogant" is really the better descriptor here). In short, I was everything that I wanted to be, provided that you ignored the loss of compassion. So yes, Geralt. Such reassurances are welcome. If you truly believed I never needed them then I have proven to be a far better actor than I ever would have thought possible.
I do hope that these letters serve to reassure you as well. I continued to seek out your company all those years ago because I quickly realized how precious it was and, if I may be frank, I was under the distinct impression that you were not quite so disdainful as the sword at my throat implied. Call it vampiric intuition to match a witcher's. Now, having known your care, I will not give it up without a fight.
Speaking of fights, I had a most horrendous one with Dettlaff last night. Or early morning if I'm being technical about it, which I am inclined to be given that I think we may have woken some of the neighbors at the inn where I've secured us lodgings. (Yes, yes, my dear, you made it quite clear that we are welcome at the estate, but I fear that our company is not entirely up to polite society's standards. As this particular situation attests. I was slightly less ashamed of our behavior while living among various night owls, most of whom were too drunk to care, but the lady directly next to us yelled some choice words through the appallingly thin walls. I must purchase an appropriate gift and apologize at the earliest opportunity. Besides, I wouldn't want to overstay our welcome...) Though I spoke to you a few weeks ago regarding our preference for privacy, I am not in a position to break my blood brother's trust as I'm not entirely sure what it is we fought about. It seemed that one moment we were having a civil meal of admittedly dubious quality (far from what your Marlene is capable of producing), the next I feared our identities may well become common knowledge, if only because Detlaff seemed intent on using as much of his vampiric strength as possible to release his fury. Though I couldn't tell you what set him off. Not that such a catalyst isn't already known to us both. The damage Syanna did goes deep and I expect to see it manifesting in a number of sudden, inexplicable ways. For now I am at least thankful that we dined in privacy that night. Or whatever passes for privacy in a place such as this.
Ah, there I go again. Blathering on to a man who already has so much on his plate! You must be more firm with me, Geralt. Despite my penchant for social niceties I am quite familiar with a rude exchange now and again—and have quite the immunity to it. So do tell this blathering vampire to shut up on occasion. I fear you're quite foolish to indulge me as you do. Particularly when all that I wish to say fails to align with what you wish to hear. I haven't the slightest notion what that dear boy's name is, a failing that will now weigh on me until I get the chance to remedy it. Should I learn our esteemed bootblack's title of choice I will be sure to pass it along. Though you could, of course, simply return and find out for yourself. It seems rather ironic that you, with your estate and ties here, should be off in the wilds of the world, whereas Detlaff and I, two creatures who have very little right to remain within Toussaint's borders, should be spending so many weeks in its comfort.
Speaking of this duchy's positive qualities, I do hate to correct you on another matter, Geralt, but your majordomo's closed lips stem not from the demands of his profession but simple, prized loyalty. Can you truly not see how much your staff cares for you? I only spoke to the man for a brief period and could see his devotion plain as anything! Indeed, majordomos and their like are rather notorious for throwing their masters to the proverbial wolves (or the literal, should your brethren become involved), using the secrets of the household to their every advantage. The fact that Barnabas-Basil was not even willing to speak to me on the mater—someone who you made arrangements for prior to your departure and who, I'm sorry to say, did not come across as harmless as I would have preferred. I suspect that Marlene's time as a wight gave her some insight into spotting other monsters—means that you may rest assured in the safety of your own secrets. Whatever they may be. Barnabas-Basil stood before both a friend and vampire and simply refused to budge. That is someone to hold on to.
Now, what by all the gods' names have you been up to that you needed our young bootblack to cover for you so many times? Honestly, Geralt, if you get yourself into trouble so soon after our harrowing experiences I will be quite cross with you. Whatever happened to retiring? Do it for me if not yourself. My heart has grown quite brittle in its ancient age and it does not need foolish witchers testing its strength. I beg that you keep that in mind.
Speaking of, how goes the hunt for this "dragon"?
As Always, With Great Affection,
P.S. I'm terribly sorry, but what is that nonsense following your otherwise esteemed name? I demand an answer to this post-haste.
Bullshit. You love correcting me.
P.S. I was wrong. It is a dragon
What did I just say about getting into trouble! I am actively choosing to interpret this as a note written on the battlefield, perhaps in the midst of the battle itself, because otherwise I cannot conceive of why you would torture me with such a declaration and no explanation to follow. Unless you have passed into that realm unknown to living men or are otherwise incapacitated due to the most horrendous of injuries, I demand another letter from you immediately.
Please let me know you're okay.
With Frustrated Regards,
A little while ago Yen and I were traveling together. It's not often we get to work the same job so I like to think we were both excited about it. I was, anyway. Problem is, I've got my way of doing things and Yen's got her's. I don't figure either is wrong. Just different. We did things her way, which wouldn't have been so bad if she'd just told me what her way was sometime before we were halfway through it. I ended up doing a lot of stuff I'm not proud of. Things I might have avoided if Yen had just shared her thoughts with me more. Honestly? Her secrecy pissed me off. At the time, anyway. Never could stay mad at her for long, but it was enough for us both to test the relationship. Find another djinn, counteract the first wish, see if that spark was still there... You can probably guess by now that it wasn't. We're done, we're fine with it, but I looked back at the things we did to each other and I promised I'd never pull that shit with Ciri. Or you. What I'm saying is, I didn't mean for the last letter to come off like that. I was never good at teasing.
To alleviate your worry then: I'm fine. Obviously. Wouldn't be writing this letter if I wasn't. Or hell, maybe I would. Been laid up often enough to know how boring it is. Would have killed for someone to write to then, back when my leg was a mess and my hands just fine... but no. No injuries to speak of. Unless you count the blow to my pride.
Millie was right about the dragon. Caught sight of him while up late one night and had the smarts to write me instead of waking the whole village. Kid's going places, I'm telling you. Steadfast too. I suppose watching your whole family get slaughtered by a rogue witcher will either break you or strengthen you and she was lucky enough to go the second route. Didn't take long to calm her down and reassure her—as well as the aunt. Kid's smart but she still needed to tell someone—that I'd take care of things. Free of their coin too. Never think I'll see two faces that shocked again.
Well, I consider my knowledge of dragons about as extensive as what I've got on vampires. Meaning, I'm confident up until the species in question informs me of how outdated my info is. Something you know nothing about, huh Regis? Tracking him was easy enough once I knew what I was looking for. I met Lennathenthia my second night on his trail. You know the first thing the bastard said to me?
"I had assumed, based on Villentretenmerth's description, that you would be a more beautiful specimen, Witcher. It's not often one of my brethren deigns to bed someone outside of our community and—forgive me—but I find myself somewhat underwhelmed by his choice." Then he invited me in for tea.
So yeah. Vill apparently has loose lips and in his friends' eyes I'm a disappointing bed partner. I probably could have said something about how Vill, Téa, and Véa were attracted more to my defense of his species than anything physical, but I got the sense I would have been digging myself a deeper hole. I've learned to stop challenging you 400+ year types to any battles of wits. Lenn's nice enough though. There's still plenty of wild deer in Velen to keep him fed and his polymorphism is good enough to pass with the locals. Nothing like what Vill can accomplish, but I doubt anyone's looking too closely at his pupils or the length of his nails. He should be fine in those parts, provided he doesn't stir up any trouble. I got to eat some scones, hear about Saesenthessis, and remind a being nearly five times my age not to fly against a full moon where children can see him. All around one of the better contracts I've been on.
Speaking of, quit with the noble act, Regis. I know the sort of hovel you're describing. Even Toussaint's inns aren't any place to rest your head for longer than a week. Get the fuck back to Corvo Bianco and take Dettlaff with you.
P.S. Name was something I came up with in my youth, when Vesemir told us having one went over better with the clients. I thought it was a great choice. He didn't. Luckily, he won that argument.
Don't tell anyone.
For a man who so often claims to be without emotion you worry far too much, my friend. No apologies are necessary. I am content simply having word of your safety here in my hands.
There is much that I wish to fill you in on and a great deal to say, both in regards to your adventure and your shocking break from Yennefer, however... please pardon my bluntness but I simply cannot concentrate on anything else. Am I to understand that you bedded a dragon?
With Much Confusion,
P.S. You cannot possibly think that I would keep such a tantalizing story to myself. I apologize, my dear, but by now half of Toussaint has heard the tale of Geralt Roger Eric du Haute-Bellegarde.
Depends on your definition of "bedded." To my recollection—best that the alcohol will allow—there were no actual beds involved, only a bath. And it's not like I knew he was a dragon at the time. As said, Vill and his protectors were rather eager to show me their appreciation for my pro-dragon sentiments. Why the interest? If you're looking to expand beyond succubi I'm afraid I haven't encountered Vill since then and Lenn didn't tell me his whereabouts. If he even knows them. He's too busy playing father now, I guess.
P.S. Thanks so much for that. I'll be back in Toussaint within a week. Where can I find you?
I apologize for the delay in writing you. No doubt you will receive this right as you reach the Toussaint border. In fact, I asked dear Milva (the crow before you) to ensure that this letter found its way into your hand before you had a chance to find me. Why not simply speak in person? Because I am a coward, Geralt. Despite my penchant for verbosity there is nothing else to say in that regard. I am a coward who has been unable to speak certain things to your face, despite ample time to do so and the second chance granted to me by Dettlaff. I just might, however, be able to write it all down.
You will note the sloppiness of my handwriting here. I ask only that, if you pay it any mind, you do so with compassion. Allow it to convey precisely how nervous this act makes me. No. "Nervous" is far too light a word. I am terrified, Geralt. Frightened in a way I have never been before, not even when I was trapped within that void I might call death. For at least then I had nothing else to lose. Now though...
I say this not to prejudice your response. Please believe that if you believe nothing else. Whatever reaction you may have to the following paragraphs is one I would justly deserve and you, in turn, would be entitled to. I only wish to make my thoughts known. As clearly as I am able. After all, I have never shied from sharing them with you before. That... and writing about everything surrounding my confession is far easier than making the confession itself. Know that I took a moment to compose myself after that last sentence and have now fortified myself for writing the next.
I adore you, Geralt. Most fervently. I have since the day we met and will continue to do so as long as I live. I have accepted this and it is the easiest thing this world has ever asked of me.
Now I fear that our already intimate relationship will obscure my meaning. Let me be plainer: I love you. Not merely as an ally, nor a friend, but both and so much more. I have died for you and that is the very least of what I would offer. There is nothing you could ask of me that I would not grant and the fact that this knowledge is the one thing that doesn't frighten me is a testament to your own good nature. I love you not merely for what I would do for you but for what I know you would do for me in turn... and for what you have never dared ask of me. Your inaction has been just as dear to me over the years. As my own life and Dettlaff's life can attest. Is it any wonder that I would love you? I know you cannot see it, but to me it is as plain as day.
There. I've written it three times now. Words I never even put to my journal for fear that you would discover them (which you did. Do you see, Geralt? Do you see how often I know you better than you know yourself?) Are you still reading then? I don't dare to hope that you are. But if, by some miracle, you haven't immediately set this paper aflame, let me offer you one last explanation:
My choice to confess here and now is a product of this correspondence. I had a litany of excuses at the ready for why it was never the right time to tell you. First because we were looking for your daughter—whom you then found. Then because I couldn't be sure you would welcome my resurrection—which you did. I told myself that I could not drive a wedge between myself and a blood brother, that you would seek peace from me after this ordeal, that your affections for Yennefer ran too deep, that despite your open-minded nature you would never deign to lay with a man, let alone a monster... yet your letters have slain each excuse, time and time again. It came to a point where my well had run dry and I was faced with the choice of rejecting your hospitality without due cause or otherwise accepting it under false circumstances. I would very much like to come to Corvo Bianco, Geralt, but I will not do so while keeping such a secret to myself. You deserve to know what kind of man you invite into your home. Not a man at all.
I would never ask for you to return my affections. I wouldn't dare. If, however, you've read on I would ask to retain your friendship. Indeed, this world would be a bleak place without it. Thus, I leave you to decide our fate. I am at The Clever Clogs Tavern. If you come in sometime tonight and allow me to buy you a drink, I will know that our friendship hinges on me never bringing this up again. If you repeat your offer of a room at Corvo Bianco, I will accept your generosity with all the grace I have to offer and you will know, I hope, that us living under the same roof will pose no danger or discomfort to you.
If you do not arrive by morning I will consider your silence answer enough. I will leave Toussaint to you and take Dettlaff with me.
With Tentative Regards,
P.S. Thank you
Told you before that I'm shit with words. You'll have to settle for actions:
- I didn't burn your letter. It's tucked safely in my saddlebag between the folds of a blanket, enchanted to be waterproof.
- I sent a letter to BB asking him to get my bedroom ready for two (if that's a problem we'll talk). Dettlaff can have the guest room.
- Told Milva to get this note to you as fast as she can. No sense in making you wait.
I expect that drink ready when I arrive. Don't go making any more assumptions about what it means though. Didn't I tell you you're a dullard? Guess we're both lucky I like that.