I am Filibert von Wittan, my Crest – a Rook, my father – the famed Sir Gruber "Palecheeks" von Wittan. Today I was smeared by an insult which only blood can wipe clean. Rage burns my entrails. Writing this is the only way I know to calm the flames.
When I am an old man and read these notes, I believe a certain Maximus Nonius Macrinus will be long dead. A pitiful memory. For now, however, he lives. Why do I write about this? A few days ago I challenged him to a duel. To the death. He had been drooling over my Lucienne and I could not bear it. He proved to be a better swordsman than I. But that is not the worst. A lost finger is nothing compared to lost honor. Maximus defeated me, yet instead of killing me, he spared my life. Never shall I forget the faces of the men who turned their eyes from me then.
I know I shall never know peace until I have dealt with him.
[a dozen or so blank pages]
I have found the journal which I was given by my father several years ago. During the time since I last held it, much has occurred in my life. I have fled Toussaint and sought my fortune in various places. With varied success. The worst, however, is that my hand has yet to grasp Maximus' throat. I know it is only a matter of time.
I have decided to return to that hound-botched duchy. We have pitched camp on Mont Crane. I've carefully selected a band of men who will not flee from any task, any foe. The Toussaint which once forced me to run will now repay me in full. The highest price, however, shall be paid by Maximus Nonius Macrinus. When I get my hands on him, he will dream of one thing: death.
I've got the harlotsbrood! He's lording it up at the Casteldaccia estate. He was given it by that sodden tart Anarietta – seems Duke Raymund's been dead for a few years. Tomorrow my lads will pay him a visit. I shan't go with them, however. The very thought of having to see his maggoty face again makes me ill. Farewell, Maximus, I have signed your death warrant.
I'm delighted. Maximus and all his family now rot. Their stench is a delight to stray mutts. Whenever I close my eyes, I see them perish. See them scream, moan and grovel. That makes my dinger stand firmer than even the curviest harlot could. I am at last satisfied.