Greetings to you, most excellent friend. If I've been at all successful, you will be receiving this letter from Bitola, in the hotly contested region of Vardar Macedonia, at the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where it is known as Monastir. I have not sufficiently mastered the Cyrillic alphabet as of yet, and so write you in our agreed upon code of Geist. Do pass this along to the Magus should your paths cross. Also to my "cousin," the Alpinist, in America.
For the foreseeable I shall be operating under the moniker of "The Macedonian." I've come to Bitola on a most unusual mission. As you know, this whole area of the Empire, south of the Balkan mountains of Bulgaria, is a veritable time bomb whose fuse has little time left before expiration...and explosion. My task here, drawing upon my Slavic roots and preternatural ability to sprout a beard, is to infiltrate the recently formed Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), and, if at all possible, to root out those fellow believers of Orthodox heritage and to recruit them for our clandestine airship missionary endeavor. I must not only earn their trust, but restore to them the vision of our Lord's cross, which proclaims, not Constantine's legacy of bloody reprisals and vengeance, but rather, the crimson tracks of the Crucified Lamb, whose blood makes white the robes of the martyrs. It is my hope that, by the grace of God, I can help to prevent the days of hell looming upon the horizon of these fair mountains, in a land where, as one poet writes, the whole people is as "a hand thrusting towards the realm of the stars."
Perhaps as striking: despite its proximity to the steam laboratories of Austria-Hungary and Transylvania, just to the north, much of the southern region is utterly devoid of steam technology, or any knowledge of Geist. Like the mysticism of their icons and the passion of their ethnic hatreds, this realm is governed by different laws. Under the dream of Turkish rule and the Quranic choruses of the muzzein, which loom above church and Sephardic synagogue alike, this land of peaks and storms seems to have slept, like the American tale of Rip Van Winkle, through the last half-century of advances to the north and west. There are rumors also of other powers afoot - and for now, let me simply surmise that perhaps of all chroniclers of this region, it is perhaps more akin to the stories of Stoker and the intrigues of Lords Byron and Shelley, then anything we have seen from the inventors and scientists.
I must be off. I have enclosed my photograph - a crude antiquity in light of our current technologies, but they are a proud lot, and insist on our blood, as well as our image. In case the worst happens, you will know how to find me. The IMRO is a dangerous operation. It is bent on nothing short of terrorism, against Albanian, Bulgarian, Turk, Greek, and any other who lays claim to their beloved mountains. I hope we shall find some who still hold to the true Gospel, and so will rise on the wings, not of the Archangel Michael, but with the horn of Gabriel and upon eagles' wings, using our airships to proclaim the true Geist - before the darkness incarnated and invited into the world by this seething cauldron of blackest hate is unleashed upon us all.