Doran's secret letter was a letter written for Prince Gareth by Doran on his last journey through Deltora. It was hidden throughout his part journal part travelling book and made up from hidden sentences from each chapter. However, Gareth never saw the book or the letter, because his father's chief advisor, Drumm, who was secretly a servant and spy for the Shadow Lord, hid the book and the letter from everyone.
The book was later found by King Lief and published as Secrets of Deltora.
Doran was practised in the use of codes and employed their use in a book which King Lucan commissioned to be written for his son (which was eventually published widely to both Deltorans and foreigners alike). Knowing that Prince Gareth, the heir to the throne of Deltora in Doran's time, was to receive the original copy of his book, Doran spoke to Gareth directly, in a way he believed Gareth would understand. Throughout his book, Secrets of Deltora, Doran hid a secret letter for Prince Gareth, made up from secret sentences hidden in every chapter. However, the precious book on which Doran had pinned all his hopes was locked away in a display case, and Prince Gareth, for whom it was intended, probabely never even knew it existed. He certainly never read it. It seems that the Chief-advisor, Drumm (who was secretly a servant of the Shadow Lord, as were all the other Chief-advisors from Agra, Chief-advisor to King Elstred (Adin's grandson), to Prandine, Chief-advisor to King Alton and later King Endon (King Lief's father)), simply told the King and the court that a book illuminated by Withick was too valuable to be handled - especially by a boy as young as Gareth, who was only fifteen years old at the time. Drumm did not want Gareth to read the many controversial remarks that Doran could not resist including in his text - espscially his passionate defence of dragons, the protectors of the land.
Doran never knew that his book had been suppressed. After delivering it, he resumed his travels, determined to carry out his plan to save Deltora's last seven dragons. Rumours that he was losing his mind were already circulating in the palace at this time, so his warnings before leaving were ignored. He learned too much and spoke too much, and within a year he had disappeared, a victim of the Shadow Lord's evil.
There was no one left to alert Prince Gareth to what Doran had been trying to tell him. Doran's plan that Prince Gareth would wake the sleeping dragons failed. More time had to pass before the dragons awoke than he would have ever dreamed. But in the end a young king did put on the Belt of Deltora, banish the Ak-Baba and wake Deltora's sleeping protectors. Today dragons once again ride the wind over Deltoran skies.
Doran's Letter reads,
I pray you will understand this message is urgent. The 7 Ak-Baba were sent to destroy our dragons for good reason. The enemy plans to rob Deltora of its protectors.
Drumm is lying to you and Lucan. Only one dragon now surviving in each territory. I will persuade last dragons to sleep until skies become safe again. Only the great Adin's heir with the Belt of Deltora will cause the banishment of the Ak-Baba. King Brandon could have helped. But he did not seem to understand how bad the situation was. Neither did King Lucan, who is now too weak and ill to help in any case.
When you become King the belt will be put around your waist. Do not take it off whatever Drumm says. I believe Drumm is a traitor and Shadow Lord servant. Journey through all 7 territories wearing the belt and dragons will feel its presence and wake.
Tell no one.
- The book was written by Emily Rodda and published as a real world companion book to the Deltora Quest series. The book was written in a way that made it seem like Doran had wrote it.