Aidan writes to the king
This was very hard for Aidan to write. The first draft had at least as many struck-out words as Khora’s letter, but he copied this one, wearing out his pen altogether. It’s a good thing goose-quills are cheaper than Iss-Peranian brushes!
Alysei Aidan astin Velain, at the Guild school in Turenay, to King Alysei Athal astin Velain.
If my writing seems less readable than you are used to, it’s because I have just been writing Cora’s letter to Raisse as well. I wish I could have written it without reading it! She loves me so much that she sees only my good sides. Not that I mind her loving me, far from that, but it still makes me blush.
The point is, now that Cora is laid up with exhaustion –what we couldn’t manage, to make her stop working all the time and overstretching her mind even more than her body, her mind and body have managed all by themselves– I have been sleeping with her, in her bed I mean, because she needed someone to help her if she had to get out in the night. The apprentice maid, Lara, was with her for one night but she has her sister to attend to, who has a half-healed broken foot. And neither of us wants to go back to sleeping alone when she is all right again. We have not actually asked Raisse yet for fear (at least on my part) that she will say no and banish me from Cora’s bed immediately, except the two nights that we’re allowed to be together. And perhaps not even that if we misbehave.
It’s not just the sleeping together that we want, it’s being together; we’re clearly made for each other. We want to marry, Athal, as soon as we can– I know that I have to finish school, and she has three more years to go if she stays at school and the gods know how many years as Leva’s apprentice, even if she can leave early and go on only at the hospital. She wants children, too –my children– but we will be prudent and wait until Leva and Lyse say that she can. Alyse tells me that her mother had her at fifteen, when she was still in school, so I know that it’s not entirely impossible.
Father thinks we’re too young, but don’t fathers always think that of their sons? But he is buying the house next to Halla the apothecary’s house to live there with her, leaving the two rooms above the shop free where Halla now lives, and I have reason to think that Halla is not averse to letting us have those. And at a rent we can afford.
I have enough strength of mind to wait until Midsummer next year, but I’m not at all certain that I have enough strength of will to resist Cora when she is back to her own self. I do want to spare you the scandal of your brother eloping with a foreign princess, and I’m serious about that, not just saying it to coerce you into saying yes. For if you say no, I have to abide by your command.
This pen is worn and I have no other, and anyway I have said all I have to say. Give the little red-haired scamp a cuddle from his disconcerted uncle.
(At the risk that you will not be able to read this at all: Jichan asks me to ask you to tell his father that he can prove that it was not he who got the glass-grinder’s apprentice in trouble, whatever the glass-grinder may say, because he and she are both dark-haired and the baby’s hair is as fair as that of the glass-grinder’s apprentice’s young man. I think Vurian already thought she was telling the truth, didn’t he? But anyway, I’m doing as Jichan asks for friendship’s sake.)