Prince Attima writes to his daughter
He’s also written to Athal, but that letter is in Valdis where Athal is not. Hediyeh will probably tell him the relevant parts.
Nadaram Attima Ozman Che Porsidia, in Albetire, to his daughter Nadaram Hediyeh Ghablan at the Guild school in Turenay.
Dearest daughter, my precious jewel, Hediyeh:
I am writing this with my own hand, so you should not expect the flourishes of the accomplished writer, but instead the ramblings of an affectionate father. I have no clerks of my own here but am using the services of the trade guild, and anything private I will not entrust to them.
After more than twenty years I am in Albetire again, and it is much changed. The old Enshah is gone, and so are both of his queens and all his wives and concubines; there are two princesses contending to be queen –one the younger Enshah’s widow, the other her much older sister– and all in all there is no government in the palace and no peace in the city. In the Valdyan quarter, or more accurately the combined Valdyan, Síthi and merchants’ quarter, there is a sort of government and a semblance of peace, and that is where I am, trying to find out what became of everything I own in this chaos. My dear wives Nazanin and Salmah from Jomhur are with me, as well as their bodyguard Tashili, who I’ve promised to set up in a fish shop; she is now looking for one for sale in the harbour district.
I was wounded slightly in the first fracas in Aumen Síth, but fought on at my brother King Athal’s side, which was probably not wise as I was hit on the head in the next major altercation. When I came to my senses, much later, I was in a house used as a hospital, my head bandaged, my whole right side useless, not knowing who I was or what I had been doing. The doctors there succeeded in getting me back to life, though the leg still drags and I am glad I write with my left hand. I have most of my memory back now, but that came too late to speak to King Athal as the message I sent him arrived at the palace days after he had sailed to Valdyas. It did reach his sister Ayneth, who not only rushed out to visit me, but brought my womenfolk with her.
King Athal’s sister is set to marry the governor of the Iss-Peranian parts of Aumen Síth, Shishe Namak, my nephew by marriage, your mother’s brother’s son; so he is your cousin, and you will be related to the royal house of Valdyas soon. I instructed him in the handling of Valdyan wives –apart from Princess Ayneth he will marry her lover Leniy Hallei Raith– because I know from experience that it doesn’t do to treat them like Iss-Peranian ones, they are far too strong-willed for that. Princess Ayneth is already with child by him, so there is no fear for the succession. There will probably be no need for me to settle a sum on them, because, I have heard, there are abundant spoils of war, but I shall send an agent to keep an eye on it.
That I am in Albetire now, rather than still in Aumen Síth or in Essle, is because most of my effects seem to have ended up in the hands of the Ladies Zahmati and Roushan of the merchants’ guild, who were, in their words, keeping them safe for me. It is not entirely clear to me whether they did not mean “keeping them safe from me”, because it is uncommonly hard to extricate my assets from theirs. I am not worried or pressed for time, though, and comfortably enough off even if I do not succeed in getting everything back. I have been told that our family has a claim to the throne, but so do countless other families, and though I could contend that claim I would rather keep out of it.
How is it with your plans with old Arin astin Hayan’s son? I never fulfilled my obligation of giving the traditional gift of rubies to a daughter promised in marriage, so please use the enclosed open letter of credit made out in your name to buy yourself some rubies in Turenay, or if that town should be too small to offer enough choice, Veray. And when you and he have decided on a date, do write to tell me so I can give you your bridal portion.
My shining jewel, your old father wishes you all the best, and remains,