A letter to Fikmet

From Sarabal!

Hi Fikmet!

How are you doing? I hope you are fine. I hope your mum is also fine! I am doing fine, too. I hope you’ve kept up with the Valdyan letters because this is going to be a looooooong letter! Because I was so busy being married that I didn’t write to you before, and I really should have written! I feel so stupid for not having written before, not that we’ve had any really big adventures!

But we did go to Veray and Turenay and then took the long way to Sarabal, and that’s where we are now, all safe and sound! Athal and Raisse were so sweet on the way to Veray, they made sure that Fekemme and me, that we had our own place to sleep whenever there was an inn, because, of course, we’re still really stupid about each other!!! (In case you started doubting that again!)

Veray was as dumb as when we went there first, together, so we quickly went on to Turenay. All the Ishey say Hi! to you, too! Their house is getting nicer and nicer, with more carvings, paintings, better stables, vines over the veranda. And they’re also still working really hard on Athal’s new Turenay Palace. It’s going to be a real Palace, too, all made of stone! (But our house in Sarabal is also going to be real stone! At least, the bottom part.)

Well, Fekemme wanted to meet with the boys from Velihas that we met when we were in Turenay, and they were properly pleased to have a visit from their crown prince. They also told us that Fekemme’s mum was disappointed when she came to Turenay, and that she had given up on the idea of marrying Fekemme to a Valdyan princess. I nearly wet myself laughing when I heard THAT!

Oh, and what I really need to write… For in case you find a boyfriend for yourself: if it’s your first time, and you have your boyfriend do the Iss-Peranian tickling thing before (we later figured out that you could also do Iss-Peranian kisses like that, we discovered that ourselves, so I’m not sure if that’s a real Iss-Peranian thing, but it’s what we call it, because you have to have a name for it, haven’t you? At least we do, even if we can also make each see what we’re thinking about, without words), anyway, make sure your boyfriend does the tickling (or kissing) before you get all worked up and get him inside you. Before, not after! That was our mistake. That way, there won’t be any blood or anything. That’s what Auntie Senthi says, and she’s been friends with a midwife, besides having had husbands and lovers, so she SHOULD know!!!

(If this makes you blush, well, so be it, but keep it in mind all the same. And anyway, I guess you won’t blush, but don’t shrug it off either, it’s good advice!)

Anyway… Turenay was as nice as ever, and I showed Fekemme the market, the school, the fire of the Nameless in the kitchen of his local head-of-the-guild, the scoundrels in the Sherif’s lock-up, the sherif, the square with all the cherry trees (not in blossom, unfortunately) and the best place to get Sithi pasties. We had quite a lovely time, but, well, if we wanted to go to Sarabal, and get there before getting snowed in along the way, we had to leave, so we left.

Between Turenay and Veray we acquired a puppy dog! We’re calling him ‘Moon’, and he’s not as smart as Wolf, but smart enough, and I’m trying really hard not to sigh whenever he doesn’t understand what I say, or compare him to Wolf all the time. He’s a pretty good dog, and helpful and everything — just not Wolf. Please write me to tell me Wolf is well! And her puppies! I also got a tame crow! That one just started following us, in the wilderness.

In Veray, we sold our boat and put the sheep and the little steer-calf we had bought in the same place where we got the dog on a ship for Essle, then Sarabal. We also visited the Baron, who was quite nice, and I think Fekemme has met all Valdyan barons now, Sarabal, Tilis, Lenay and Veray. As far as I know, there isn’t a baron in Tryn Farin, Ildis or Rizenay, and Valdis doesn’t need one, of course. Oh, and we visited the hospital in Veray (and had visited the one in Turenay), so we’ve seen all hospitals in Valdyas, as well: Lenay, Valdis, Veray and Turenay, which is the oldest one.

We had a lovely, lovely trek to Sarabal! First, we went alongside the Rycha, nice autumn weather, lots of pheasants to eat, fresh wine in every village that just couldn’t make anyone drunk. Then we had to go south, along a road almost nobody uses. We met an old doctor, at least, I think she’s a doctor, she said she just did herbs for everyone around, and we swapped quite a few herbs in our kit with hers. That’s also when we picked up the crow.

From there, to the south, the only person we met was a grumpy old man, he was with the Nameless, and was going to Veray to sell his oil. His directions were so vague that we actually got lost! But we found a little brook that went south, so we followed that, until it went underground! But we could see where it surfaced again because the forest started there, so we finally managed to find a place where people lived again, and there we met Doran.

He’s a boy who needs to learn from a master as well, in our Guild, so we took him with us to Sarabal. He was nice company, even though… Well, we usually put the fire in between him and the two of us. Still, I’ll be glad when we have our own house, because Iss-Peranian kissing, that’s not something you want to do where anyone can see you!!!

There’s another village, where they dry up the sea to make salt, and they also salt herring and other fish there. We got along pretty well with all the villagers, here and in the villages in the forest, making music, doing shows, missing you! From the salt village to Sarabal was just half a day with a coracle, that’s a boat that’s made just from leather stretched along a frame, it’s almost scary!

And when we came to Sarabal, our livestock had already arrived! A flock of beautiful sheep, some of them already pregnant, a ram and the little steer. Moon was delighted to have sheep to watch again, and she’s been with the flock ever since, I think she thinks she lives up on the mountain now, while we are staying with Rabia (of course!).

Auntie Senthi was so glad to see us, and she says Hi! to you too, and so does Rabia, Rikhi, Pnimah and everyone else. She’s as powerful as ever and her lessons are HARD. But we’re learning so much, I can now make a cloud of butterflies from semsin, fluttering around, and we’ve met another prince (it’s getting silly, he’s Iss-Peranian), and he’s gifted too, and he has a small cat, he calls it a panther, from semsin!

How we met him was quite an adventure! He arrived with his ship one morning, and then they went ashore, with quite a big party, and disregarding everyone, went up and started stealing our sheep! Well, can you believe it! We put a stop to that, of course! But it turned out they were hungry, his dad had given him this ship and the crew, to learn how to become a merchant prince, and they got lost the moment they left Essle, because storm blew them out of course. So they were famished and sick, and still very rich, because they have so much gold, it’s incredible. I didn’t want to sell my sheep for gold, only to see them eaten — they are for making a flock next year!

But we got everything figured out, and took care of their sick, together with old Khalanti, who is Keti from Turenay’s dad. And they are going to have a market next week, with stuff from the ship, for us to buy, and they have henna!

For the rest, life here is good! Early in the morning Fekemme and me, we wake each other with Iss-Peranian kisses, then I go out with the fishers to catch herring or sharks or squid or any other fish that’s good to eat. Sometimes, if the catch is good, we bring the extra fish to the salt village, otherwise we just eat it. Then when I get back, Fekemme and me, we kiss some more, but not Iss-Peranian, because when I’m on sea, we sometimes cannot even see each other with semsin! Fekemme works hard in the morning, lessons with Rikhi, or helping with the house, which the fishers are helping with, too, and he’s sold the herd to farmers, he made a great deal! And then we go to Aunt Senthi for lessons, and when that’s done, we work some more on the house, or help Aunt Pnimah with dinner or other chores.

And in the evening we sing, or make music, or dance… And I’ve got the most beautiful dress! Made with cloth in all kinds of shimmering colors, real silk, from the Iss-Peranian ship, cut by their tailor (they have a tailor on board!!!), like a dress Fekemme once dressed me, made of his mind and semsin. It shows a lot of my back, and whenever I put it on, Fekemme takes it off almost immediately.

We also sing for the Gods, together with Rikhi, and Rikhi’s son. And that’s very good, too.

Dear Fikmet, we haven’t forgotton about you, and still think of you and love you!

Love,

Lyse and Fekemme (who says hi! but has said he doesn’t want to read the letter, when I told him it had between-us-girls stuff in it.)