20 February, 1916

TOP SECRET

20 February, 1916

Dear Peter Hawkins, Esq.

I thank you for your warm commendations of my safe travels. Your biblical imagery is incomplete to describe my exile. A hike through Albania would be quite lovely, were it not for the advancing army and bandit sharpshooters. I appreciate your offers of extraction, but feel I must trek across the Balkan peninsula to follow this lead. Although transport to Rumania by way of Arkhangelsk may be safer, I have made plans with Lt Kadijević who wishes to use the opportunity to set up pockets of Serbian resistance. I will spare you the details for security’s sake.

A German spy managed to overhear us talking, but we were able to put a stop to him before he could escape. Unfortunately, he was killed before we could interrogate him. He was shot by an American woman who goes by the name Jackson Elias, evidently a journalist. She seems a little too interested in our affairs, but her shot did save my life. I suspect she will try to convince us to take her along. Perhaps a news story about Serbian partisan activity will raise moral, especially among the troops here at Corfu, but under no circumstances will I let her get involved in our business in Rumania.

I will send a telegram on my arrival from Turnu-Severin on the Rumanian side of the Danube. I estimate that it will take me about a fortnight, but if I make no contact within a month, assume the worst. I thank you for your recommendations of the Athene Palace, though I may need you to wire me some funds when I arrive. As always, I will be on the alert, and will send a full report of the trip from Bucharest when I am sure it will not be intercepted.

Signed,
Lord Cyril Blathing, 7th Earl of Gavilshire

PS, as an academic, I am eagerly anticipating a meeting with Professor Vordenburg a second time, an opportunity I thought lost by our unfortunate placement on opposing sides of this war.

20 February, 1916

The Coldfall Sanction nicholsvictoria2 Salmonilla