If you are reading this, then it is as we feared.
Our organization has been infiltrated.
We had suspected this for some time, and the events of the past week have confirmed it. The one called Stone has deceived us. He is not an anarchist as we had believed, but he is, in actuality, a fascist.
Shocking, I know. It gets better. He has allied himself with Jake. Yes, the Jake. The Mad Poet. Beware. This may be only "the tip of the iceberg," as they say.
If we have one spy in our midst, it is possible that there are others.
Be on your guard.
And remember, Veritas est Potestas.
Do not trust Symes, either. Something about him is not right.
I write this from the back of a closed cart. I am with Carter in Bolivia, still.
I received our news but two days ago. This is most distressing. I had much faith in Stone. I understand the implications fully. I remain with my assignment here; but do not hesitate to send word if am needed again at the House. Please inform the Raven that there are no new developments here. I shall remain watchful for another wee before moving on to 62W 11N.
You may find it curious to note that I was in the passing company of Symes but a week ago. In truth, there is something about him, but I hope our fears are unfounded. We spoke of nothing of consequence.
If there is any news regarding the current location of the Mad Poet, I humbly request it be passed on to me, c/o my pacific ally. My travels may bring me near his circle of influence.
When discussions have concluded themselves at House, I would be gratified to know our plans concerning Stone. Cold slaughter is not our forte, I know. But drastic measures may need to be taken to ensure the safety of the organization. And I believe the risk may be worth the outcome if the proper methods are taken.
Forgive the mistakes. It is a bumpy road and most dangerous here. In fact, even now I believe I hear gunfire nearing.
Never Alone. May our next correspondence bring better news.
Two days ago, in the wee hours of the morning, I was awoken by an explosion, followed a minute later by the alarm bell, rousing and alerting the community. I lurched out of bed and threw on my boots, not bothering with a cloak, which would likely be whipped about by wind and catch fire if I got too close to the blast site. I seized a lamp and bucket and rushed out the front door in the dark. I heard unintelligible shouts almost drowned by the roar of flames. Acrid smoke assailed my nostrils as I neared the source, and I halted abruptly by the side of Ben's taverna and leaned against it for support when I saw the location of the explosion. The library was on fire. It was as though someone had fired a triple-shotted cannon straight into my abdomen. All the work I had done.....all of the information, the intelligence I had gathered......gone. Then suddenly fury ripped through me like a Berserker's sword from its sheath and I tore around the back of the building full-speed toward the inferno.
We fought the blaze through the night with bucket brigade and old fire pump. Being a community of revolutionary Anarchists, we are used to lighting the fires instead of fighting them and therefore found ourselves underprepared. We finally quenched the flames at dawn and managed to save much of the building. Most people went to bed, exhausted, but I didn't. I stayed. There was no way I would get any sleep after something like this. I was about to join the group guarding the site until it cooled enough to launch an investigation when a team of lightly armed runners came up to them, out of breath and angry. I walked up behind Aliex, an old friend.
"The search party just returned," he said. Seeing the question in my eyes, he elaborated, "Not long after the blast, Hezekiah and Fir saw someone lurk about the shadows by Ben's place then run into the woods. Thinking it was the arsonist, they sent a search party. They didn't find anything."
"Oh," I said, thinking. I had been near Ben's but I didn't run into the woods. I thought to say something, but once Fir and Hezekiah have a notion, they never abandon it. And those two curmudgeons have always seemed to have something against me. It seemed best to not say anything. The arsonist was likely long gone.
Later, when the remains of the library had cooled, we searched for the cause of the conflagration. We found, between two rows of shelves, the ashes of a rag surrounded by shards of glass. Cause of the fire. Confirmed Arson. Who would do such a thing? Everyone was asking the same question. I donned some gloves and knealt to examine the glass, but what I found was far more revealing. Beneath the ashes and glass, there was a silver medallion. A solitary "F" cut into the center, adorned by an engraving of a roman fasces, a symbol of power and elitism. This was not the calling card of a common criminal. This was the token of our rivals, the Fascists. This was a declaration of war.
In the confusion of the fire, the disappearance of Patrick Murphy went unnoticed for a day. Then search parties were sent out, but like the one sent after the arson suspect, they found nothing. Three days later, Ben discovered Murphy's body stuffed inside a cask in his back storeroom. He went for a drink, and instead of wine, blood filled his glass. The poor man was so shocked and reviled he couldn't eat or drink for a whole day.
It was decided that the arsonist was also the murderer. We suspected Stone, of course, the one who had betrayed us to those same rival fascists, but none of us thought it was this bad, especially me. I was friends with Stone, to a degree. At any rate, we have our suspects at the House, our head council of agents. Though it is odd. I do not know if I am being paranoid, but it seems as though almost the entire House - the elders especially - is keeping something from me. Behaving hostilely, even. I don't know what it is, but if they are hiding something, I will find out what.
I apologize for the delay in our correspondence. Things here have been beyond hectic.
First, Murphy disappeared. Poor Ben - he found Murphy's body four days later. Can you imagine?
On top of that, the library almost burnt down. Thankfully, the fire was noticed early, so only the west corner was destroyed, but it contained several intelligence reports that are now lost forever. Unfortunately, the arsonist escaped. However, one of our number caught a glimpse of our suspect, and he is now leading a party in search.
Finally, as if these weren't enough, I was poisoned. Be not overly alarmed; I am familiar with the poison they used, so an antidote was made quickly enough to foil its effects. I shall live and hopefully recover fully.
As chaotic as things here have been, we need you to stay on your current assignment. If this changes, I shall notify you as soon as possible.
It is heartening to hear that there are no new developments on your end. I shall inform the Raven when she returns.
I am relieved that you also find something suspicious about Symes as well. Keep an eye on him if you can. If you can't, I understand.
Ah, the Mad Poet... Last I knew, he could be found in the land of burning fields. The land Frank Willis called home for some time. The land so flat for so far, it is rumored that one can see the curvature of the Earth (whether or not this is true, I don't know). If you do find him, do your worst, but be discreet.
Unfortunately, due to the mayhem of the past week, nothing has been done to decide what to do about Stone (other than carry out his arrest). Something tells me that this is no accident. I fear they are actions in a scheme of our nemesis. His ultimate goal? Our destruction, no doubt. It looks as though he might succeed. Only time will tell.
Be vigilant. Never Alone!
I write from a plane over the Atlantic Ocean. My hand has been badly injured, so the gentleman next to me is allowing me to dictate this to him. Allow me to address your news before I relay my own.
I grieve for Murphy. This is dreadful news. Any word on who had the audacity to take his life?
I never liked the West corner much, anyway. Always thought it needed a little revamping. If you need a hand with the repairs, I can send William your way, if you'd like.
You cannot imagine how relieved I am that the poison did no lasting damage. You ought to have listenet to me ages ago, though. No drinking tea in public; too easy for someone to slip something into it.
Now for my news; Symes is headed to Argentina. Per a previous decision, I can, have rather, left my previous location and, incidentally, am on my way to the state of the Mad Poet. There is something I've been meaning to do in Lawrence for a long time - but it won't be too far a journey to find the Mad Poet. I shall pick up more team members before going after him.
After the land of burning fields and windmills, I would be happy to escort Stone to a new location - say, Siberia. He'd be safer there. Also, word is coming from Beowulf, who is on his way to Russia. I am beginning to smell the faintest whiff of a delicious assassination. He will report to me when there are more developments.
Be mindful of the tea, my friend. And if someone could get a shipment of rock salt and to Lawrence I would be much obliged.
My hand should be fine in about two weeks. Nevermind the cause, it was a silly accident involving a mule cart and some balance issues. I'll leave you to your deductions.