My dearest Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,
I trust your part of the plan goes well? Now that Hamlet is off on his grand adventure to England, someone must make sure he remains there quite permanently. That letter you’ve been carrying from Claudius should ensure the death of the good Prince.
Now then, as to the matter of your compensation for this most dreadful of tasks. Seek out my servant, Reynaldo, the very moment you arrive in England. He will make great haste to ensure your swift reward the moment you give him the letter I have entrusted to you.
The two men who have given you this letter, a bumbling pair named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, must die immediately. Pass them a drink filled with poison, or have some criminal run them through with a dagger, or push them beneath an oncoming carriage. It matters not how it is done, it matters only that it is done, and done with haste, seeing how I haven’t yet the means of rewarding them. When you accomplish this task, return to Denmark and we shall meet again in the graveyard. I shall be disguised as a gravedigger there, digging a pit for Ophelia.
Oh, and do make sure that Laertes makes his swift way back for revenge against Hamlet, would you? This play cannot be completed without the killing of the key player, after all; that is the first rule of a tragedy!
Our plans fare well. My attempt to capture Hamlet has failed as planned; he managed to escape my vessel and make his way back to Denmark. Thankfully, he did note recognize any of the soldiers, although he seemed to recognize the captain for a moment. If he did, Hamlet gave no sign of it. He will likely now be headed for the royal family as soon as possible; I recommend you send Horatio to guide him to Ophelia’s “funeral”. I will make my way to Elsinore castle when you give the word.
Best of luck,
Hamlet has “escaped” Fortinbras’ “pirate” ship. You must meet him and steer him towards the funeral in two days’ time, so that he may meet the funeral procession and my fool son. While I hate to separate you from your true love once again, this sordid business should soon be concluded, and Ophelia may have you back. Besides, once this business is concluded you shall be able to live together in the open, free of those fools of a royal family. Really, what sort of man believes an actor to be the ghost of his father? Any man could put on the former king’s armour and give a speech on revenge. I must admit to that being a masterpiece on my part though, easily my best performance yet.
Now then, it is time to bury my “daughter’s” casket—I shall see you again at the funeral. Best of luck with the mad prince, and remember that when it comes to madmen, it is best to agree with everything they say. It is somewhat like trying to avoid provoking a tiger in that respect.
And do act impressed when he tells you of his adventures, would you? His ego would most certainly enjoy it.
It is time you moved on Elsinore. The king did give you free passage through the country, foolish a choice though that may have been. And really, giving an enemy army free reign through a country is truly an absurd idea; what kind of king makes a decision like that? Certainly not one deserving of his throne.
Which does remind me, how goes the Norway plan? Your uncle is feeble; it cannot be too hard to kill him now. Once we control two countries, what then? Perhaps Horatio could be installed as puppet king of England. After all, my daughter has inherited all my wiles (unlike my soon-departed son) and could easily tame him. Truly however, with all the things left to do for the plan before you can become Kind of Denmark, we haven’t the time to discuss it all now.
Also, I trust you will be able to handle any survivors yourself? While it is likely that between my vengeance-crazed son, the mad prince, and the poison I had passed to Claudius for use on the old King Hamlet everyone will die, any stragglers will have to be taken care of. But with any luck, all of their silly little plots will end up tripping over themselves.
Oh, and do give Hamlet some sort of honour for his funeral. While he may not deserve it, the public does respect him greatly, and it would be best for their new king to get their admiration from the start, don’t you agree?
And don’t forget, Fortinbras: you answer to me. Not the other way around. No matter how much of a fool you may think me, you know that you are nothing without my help. Never forget that.