Also, a real adventure at last.
I’ve decided. I’m going to get pregnant!!! If only to please Fekemme’s dad and piss off his mum! And I’ll have a huge belly when we arrive in Baraz, so, there! Well, maybe that would be stupid. But I’m still not sure I’m not going to do it! And we’ll go to Baraz as soon as possible! So, there!
We were getting in a really nice bunch of herrings and there was a ship coming out on the eastern horizon, and it had greenish sails, so it must be Luli’s coaster, she comes out two, three times a year to Essle, to trade linen. I hadn’t seen her, but I had heard about it, and it was nearly Midsummer, the best time to sail along the coast. So I waved at her, and she waved back, with semsin. And then they set out for Sarabal, and I was going all, oh Gods, oh Anshen, what if they have a letter, an answer, from Fekemme’s mum and dad? And I just knew I had to be that, because of this horrible feeling.
So I asked Aine to set sail for Sarabal, too, and drop me there before they went on to Salt Village to deliver the herring (beautiful, sweet, fat, slippery herring, as silver as a freshly polished shilling!). And I ran to Fekemme who was standing in front of our house, very still, very quiet, really pissed off!
His mother is calling me common! And she says I can’t read or write! She practically says I’m too dumb for Fekemme! And she wants to give the succession to Maha! Fekemme’s dad had added a short letter for me, to reassure me, but I wasn’t reassured at all. And now we had to have an official dinner with Luli, who had brought the letter, and I was dirty and fishy and my hands are all red and chapped from working the nets.
Bah, and the morning was so beautiful! Until the letter came. Well, we went to Rabia’s place, where I asked her to make me look as good as possible — with red hair, and the nice dress and oil for my chapped hands. I wasn’t going to disgrace Fekemme at dinner!
But in fact, dinner was fine. Luli was just as fed-up with the idea of Fekemme’s mum deciding all the time that her children weren’t fit for the throne! First Lelem, now Fekemme — and I bet it won’t be long before Maha does something that makes her mum say, anyone but Maha! I’ve met Maha!!!
During dinner, Luli told us something unbelievable: that the Order House in Cuytim had been torched! And that people were telling it was the King, Fekemme’s dad who had done it, because the Order of the Sworn had been smuggling children to Iss-Peran! Luli knew that that was nonsense of course!!! But people are still telling each other that it is true! Even though the Order has been helping to rebuild the oil mill even before they rebuilt their own House. But Luli knew that some children had been disappearing, so I told her about Red Jhanam, the poisoner we caught in Baraz. I’m convinced that it’s connected!
And we got talking about the pirates, too, it seems that ships are disappearing east and west! And Aunt Senthi, she said, maybe we should take a look on the Island of the Nameless, right next to Sarabal? She’d sometimes, with her mind, ships land there at night. Well, after months and months of just living, learning and working, without any adventure, and adventure was just what Fekemme and I wanted! So we decided to go there in the morning, with the people from Velihas, and see what we could find out!
It was really exciting, Aine, the skipper of my boat, she sailed us to a hidden cove, she said, she knew it because of all the blueberries, the best on the coast, but I think she sometimes smuggles stuff! From there, we climbed the mountain, until we came in a mulberry grove, it was almost a mulberry forest. And here and there, we found holes in the ground! In one of them, we found some old sacks and boxes.
And then, in another hole, we found the whole cargo of a big ship! Linen (which made Luli and Fekemme really greedy), gold, papers… There was a whole stack of really neatly written letters praising the Nameless! With really weird words, too. And all the waybills in a leather case. That was proof! So we took the leather case and one of the weird letters, it even stank of the Nameless, and went on for a bit. But then we came close to a village and we were afraid people’d see us, so we went back. We had had a real adventure anyway, discovering a pirate’s cache is adventure, don’t tell me it isn’t!
And Aunt Senthi also thinks it’s an adventure, and she’s sent Rovin to Turenay to get Captain Aidan and his Regiment, because she doesn’t have enough soldiers to go to the island and discover what’s going on. Maybe Queen Cora will also come! She’s so beautiful… And Maille, Aunt Senthi’s master of the house, she’s one of Doctor Cora’s patients.
And then another adventure happened: a big ship arrived! It came all the way from Albetire, well, from even further along. And it had not only a whole family of gifted people from Ashas on board, who wanted to tell King Athal about Ashas and the weird things the Nameless is up to in the South (Aunt Senthi thinks it’s a third God, next to Anshen and the Nameless, but I think that it’s the Nameless, but that he acts weird because his followers are crazy), there were also children stoled from the Far East and children stolen from Velihas!
And they had been rescued by Maha! Who had gone on to the South, to Ashas, with people from the Order, to find out what is going on there: the Captain, Sinaya, told me that the Captain from the Order had told her that people in Ashas, masters of the Nameless, were stealing gifted children so they could make a big army of gifted people to serve the Nameless. That made me sick, and it made Fekemme sick, too. And there’s such a cute little girl, she’s about four, she’s blind, too, and her sister was taken to Ashas, but because she’d fallen ill and gone blind, they’d left her in the streets of Albetire, and she’d become a beggar!
She found two new brothers, though, both with broken legs, and she’d taken them with her.
Well, now we’ll have to bring our children home, except for Lathad, who’s apprenticed as carpenter on the ship. He’s a thief from Istila, I’ve seen him in the harbour when we were there, his mind is really recognizable.