My Dear Friend Luther,
It is sheer madness out here in these God-forsaken provinces. The people here do not hold to sense or reason, and instead let their superstitions govern what few wits they do possess. I will, of course, endeavor to carry out my duties to the best of my capabilities despite these difficult times. Yet I cannot help but dwell on how ill my own luck has turned to land me in such a primitive backwater.
To wit: the other week Mrs. Hornleaf approached me, demanding I take men out into the West Wood to chop down a certain tree. I explained to her that such a task was better suited to lumberjacks and woodsmen, and hardly fitting for a town magistrate. Her face reddened as with apoplexy, and she clutched in her hand a braid of woven yarrow. She shook her talisman at me, and proceeded to tell me that it is a churchman I should be fetching, as any lumberjack would surely meet his doom as soon as he put his axe to the foul tree’s bark.
How far have men fallen, Luther, to require an esteemed member of the clergy perform sacred rites over nothing more than old, decrepit tree? I will not stand for it. Not as long as I hold the office of magistrate. Such matters are not to be mocked with superstitious ignorance.
I told all of this to Mrs. Hornleaf, of course. As you can expect, she was less than pleased. She stormed off in a fluster, and I have not since spoken with her. Talk of the tree had lessened, though with the recent disappearance of Mr. Tieren, it has again become a topic among rumormongers. They whisper of his failure to return from a venture into the West Wood. Of course, no one dare acknowledge the man’s proclivity towards excessive drink, in which, I suspect, lies the truth of the matter. I hold no doubt that he will turn up in a day or two, sober as whistle, if for no other reason than to purchase more ale.
I look forward to the day we will again meet, though I pray it be in more amenable surroundings than those in which I find myself. Until then, I will always remain,
Your Devoted Friend,