The Carrion Crown
My Dear Friend,
Forgive me for contacting you so abruptly, but current circumstances make haste the superior virtue over propriety, and I strive for virtue in all things. I look back upon our prior association fondly, and, Pharasma wiling, our possible future enterprises, because it is in the spirit of re-kindling an old friendship that I write to you now. I hereby formally invite you to visit me at new home, where I can share with you the results of my latest line of inquiry. It would surprise me greatly if you did not find it as fascinating as I do. I trust you will find your way to me in due time, and until then I wait with bated breath.
Yours in friendship,
Prof. Emeritus, University of Lepidstadt,
Dept. of Cultural Preservation
That Professor Petros Lorrimor would remember you among all the others he had dealt with is, perhaps, a reflection of the trust and deep affection that he held for you and your talents, and of the friendship that developed all that time back to when you first met him. That the Professor is asking for you, specifically, out of all the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of students, partners, employees, and acquaintances he had made over his career, makes your heart swell with pride nonetheless, albeit mixed with feelings of concern.
Were it not for the code phrase, “with bated breath,” you would never have thought to heat the paper, revealing the secret message Professor Lorrimor encoded therein. Several key letters appear emphasized and previously hidden symbols appear. Quickly snatching up a quill, you scribe the emphasized letters, hidden symbols and word breaks to discover the Professor’s true message:
COME TO RAVENGRO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. TERRIBLE DANGER. ENEMY. CANNOT SHARE MORE. FIND YOUR WAY TO ME. P.L.
Shivering, and not from the chill night air, you cast the paper into the fire and depart for Ravengro the following day, dreading what the Professor couldn’t trust, even to a cipher.