I regret to report that Esadra is in chaos. It is good that my last letter mentioned my concerns over the rituals devised by the church for the destruction of the book. Carnos’s notes had indicated that the book was merely a vessel for the words, which might well survive the volume’s destruction. It seems we did not take his warning quite literally enough.
With the book gone, all seemed well for the first few days, but then the first mark struck. We first came across it in the marketplace, where a man assaulted me in broad daylight. He proved surprisingly durable to magical reprisal, and in the end, Priya was forced to strike him down. His face bore a tattoo in a strange character neither of us were familiar with. When the Esadran Guard finally arrived, the body was identified as a local merchant, but the tattoo we had observed was no longer upon his face. The next day, more seemingly random incidents were reported, all over town.
The Esadran Guard arrived at our lodgings in force, bearing a writ. Much to my surprise, the writ was not against me, but instead bore an accusation of heretical insurrection directed at Priya! She did not resist, and was promptly imprisoned. I was able to interview her, and she refused to deny the charges, but in the course of my visit, I discovered one guard bore a suspicious tattoo upon his shoulder. The symbol was different, but the script similar to that upon the man in the marketplace.
I suspected the books destruction may have somehow been involved, but as I had never dared look upon the words myself, I was unsure. I visited one of the priests involved in the ritual of the book’s destruction and he confirmed that the symbols I described seemed like those in the book. No sooner had he confirmed that than a group of armed men burst in upon us.
They each bore distinct tattoos, much like the other men I had seen. With the help of the temple priests, we put up a terrific struggle, but as the first few were felled, the words written on their skin slithered away, joining their fellows upon the skin of the next closest man yet living. The recipients of the new words grew stronger and more dangerous still, and by the time we had it down to three men, it was clear we could not win the fight.
We attempted to flee, but they did not pursue far. They claimed a book from the shelf, and opened it. A word slithered off of its pages and onto the man who opened it, and the three marked men left without another word.
On the basis of what they witnessed, the priests agreed that Priya was not responsible for the recent unrest, and she was released over her own objections. We have been working to contain the words, but it has proven difficult. They can hide on any surface that might contain a word, and their fell influence causes many strange things. We have found them on pages, boxes, men, and once even upon a building. What the words want, if anything, is unclear.
They were free when my last letter was sent. If it has arrived without incident, then perhaps all is well, and they have not left Mentori. If the letter bore a strange symbol, then (scribble~scrible~scribble). Above all, be wary. Strange markings, tattoos, words in no known tongue of this world, all are suspect. Trust no one who might bear some hidden mark, driving them to whatever madness the words intend.