My Dearest Brother,
You shall have to forgive me, as I fear this note must be shorter than many of my previous letters. I am currently packing for a short trip. It has been too long since I have taken respite. I have decided to go to the seashore. I shan’t be long. I daresay not longer than a week or so. Nothing to worry you. Merely a small, niggling, annoying issue begging to be taken care of.
You do realize, of course, that allowing you to murder Lady Kassana violates the long-established rules of our private game? If I might restate rules we have clung to as if they were holy dogma: I have a Season to murder your newest lover; you have the same amount of time to return the favor for mine. Failure requires a forfeit, one which we neither of us has ever had to surrender. And surrender, indeed, is the word of the forfeit. You know precisely what I should ask if I won; the name I crave to hear. But I must admit not knowing what you might demand of me, though you have oft teased and mocked me with insinuations of what my forfeiture might entail. If I didn’t know you better, I would believe, dear Tomas, acknowledging my supremacy as the Mistress of Poisons (as I understand certain ven now whisper of me) and understanding I might never fail, were trying to manipulate the rules. After all, if Lady Kassana dies by a hand not my own, you could conceivably claim the forfeit.
Should you give me your word of honor, O Prince of Rakes, that you shall not make any such claim, regardless of how or when Lady Kassana expires, I shall concede to your request. I must admit a morbid curiosity to see how you shall kill her.
And now, my darling, a carriage awaits and I must be off on my small adventure!
Blooded of the Fox
Mistress of Poisons
P.S. I except you shall hear from Shajar within a fortnight of receiving this letter.
P.P.S. Don’t be ridiculous, Tomas. I am beyond jealousy and all such petty emotions. I am Ismene Yvarai.