Dear Subjects,

Well, that was some plague, wasn’t it? Although people are still dying in droves from The Sickness, I think it’s safe to say the worst is over. Whether you’re The Baron, like me, or a landless serf toiling in my indenture, one thing is clear: It’s time to reopen the fiefdom.

We’ve taken every possible safety measure, but now the time for caution has passed. The regular, hardworking people of this land are as tired of being confined to their mud-caked hovels as I am of being confined to my gold-caked palace. The serfs miss their shovels, picks, and flails, the way men of my type miss maiden-chasing, falconry, or a good serf-hunt.

It was a difficult time, I won’t honeycoat it. But we’ve come through it fine. Except for the many, many dead, the currently dying, and those who have yet to die. In other words, I’m extremely optimistic about the next quarter.

Consider the evidence: The corpse mountains look a bit smaller than they did last week, don’t you agree? Many economic sages are calling this a positive downward trend. By most projections, we’ll soon be down to cute little corpse hills, and in six months to a year, we’ll only be dealing with corpse heaps, which were already common before any of this happened. Furthermore, once we stop counting the dead, the death rate will go down even more.

Though my love for the brown-toothed commoner is great, the current situation cannot continue. By any economic model, the dispersal of six extra scoops of slop per peon is simply not sustainable. Similarly, the 25% reduction in violent lashings was meant to be a temporary relief measure, not a permanent lifestyle shift.

Sadly, now there are disturbing reports that, in some cases, serfs are actually receiving more slop and fewer lashings at home than they would be toiling in the fields. In my world, that’s known as a disincentive. If they continue living this carefree, slop-filled, low-torture existence, these essential toilers may never desire to return to the fields at all. So to all, I say: Let the hardworking serfs return to their jobs before they become the hardly working serfs!

Yes, the majority of plague doctors are recommending that people continue to stay indoors, but plague doctors don’t know everything. If they did they wouldn’t wear those absurd-looking masks. As the old falconry saying goes: Never take medical advice from a bird.

Finally, before you decry me as an out-of-touch elite, know this: I wasn’t always a baron. No, I began my life as the simple son of a baron, and I knew hard work from an early age. As a child, I would spend hours in the fields alongside my father, watching closely as he whipped your fathers and later learning to whip them myself. We worked until our hands were nearly as raw and blistered as the peasants’ backs. Even then, I realized that the whip connected us: servant and served, owner and owned. You see? That’s the beauty of this land. You can’t have lords without serfs, just like you can’t have agriculture without cow feces.

We’re all in this together. So get back to work.