An exultant letter to Selle
She’s walking on air with happiness. (Warning: some explicitness.)
Turenay, 10th week of Naigha
Aidan has come back! Aidan has come back! I’m writing this letter as fast as I can since one of the veterans from your village is waiting for me to finish it — he has promised to take my letter for you with him. I simply have to tell you — my happiness is spilling over like boiling milk! (I know what that looks like, because I had lent Arvi to Kheti who has given birth to a daughter and didn’t have her man or any servant to help her, and I tried to boil milk for porridge in the morning and didn’t watch the pan.)
One night, at the doctors’ and midwives’ guild meeting, I suddenly felt that Aidan was near. I was telling the others about the new hospital in Veray, which is absolutely fabulous, and when I thought of Veray I saw Aidan’s spirit — he was in the inn half-way to Veray. You know me! I didn’t think, I ran away, stopping only to shout upstairs that I didn’t deserve the evening’s pot (we all put some money in a clay pot and that is for the first person who is called away on an emergency.) I ran to the south gate, but it was CLOSED!
I must have been perfectly furious by then from longing for Aidan, knowing that he was close and still not being able to hold him, I was scratching and hammering on the gates. It’s a good thing that as a doctor I don’t have long nails on my fingers, or I’d have broken them. But the nice gatekeeper (I know him well, have treated him for a broken toe, and his wife has been one of my patients, too), he was very calm and he asked me what I wanted, and I yelled OUT, TO AIDAN! And he simply fetched his horse from the stable for me, opened the gate, and put me in front of him on his horse, it was enormous! Fortunately, there was a nice moon, otherwise it would have been impossible, but he carried me to the inn, we travelled all night, and then, in the morning, he lifted me off the horse and I ran upstairs, and there Aidan was!
He was still asleep, but not for long. I kissed him and kissed him and kissed him! (I am still kissing him every other moment, even when we walk through the streets, we stop at every corner to kiss and kiss and kiss some more, I am more in love than ever before!) There were about twenty veterans from Turenay, including someone from your village. They all knew about me already, of course, except for one or two who had come with the King to Albetire.
We seem to be winning the war, but Aidan has been in only one battle! He arrived in Kushesh with Athal and they moved to the siege of Solay the next day or so. And within a week they had made a plan to attack, and Aidan, Athal and prince Dhamir (the Síthi prince) were about the first to land in the actual city’s citadel. Aidan slipped on Dhamir’s guts when they were fighting in the front ranks, and he fell and was hit. His right side is one big scar, from the armpit to his hips!
But he is still alive, and apart from the scar whole and quite capable of doing his duty to me. They sent as many of the Valdyan wounded home as fit in our big ship, the White Whale, because there was simply not enough room in the field lazarets for all the wounded.
Oh, Selle — if Aidan hadn’t gone, I wouldn’t have been allowed to get pregnant, and he’s back and I’m expecting our daughter to be born in three months or so. But my belly is becoming inconvenient — do you find that, too? The only way I can look at my love’s face is when I sit on him, but that is not too comfortable since my womb has swollen, and when Aidan lies on his good side and snuggles up against my buttocks, that is very nice — but then I cannot see my love’s face and cannot kiss him! The handbooks don’t really mention this problem since in Iss-Peran a woman is not supposed to make love when she is pregnant. But I want my husband so!
When we came back, we spent a whole night and day in bed, Arvi bringing us something to nibble on or something drink every now and then, and only when Aidan’s Father and Lady Halla came did we come out of bed! Of course, I shouldn’t have claimed Aidan for myself for so long, that was so very selfish of me. And I feel bad I’m so happy because there was this woman who came back, only to find that her husband had died in the lung epidemic, and before that, they had lost their children! She spoke of going back to the war, to get killed! But before I could take her home with me and Aidan (which I didn’t want to do, actually, more selfishness!), the other woman veteran took her with her. I should visit them soon! And you too — but that will be some time, for we will probably go to Gralen in time for our daughter’s birth, unless complications arise.
I’m finishing now: we want to go to the Síthi Baths and then visit Lyase and Cynla. Lyase has twins now; and had you already heard about Cynla? She is married! Practically family even, since she married Torin from Gralen, so he’s a cousin of our sister-in law, Raisse! They haven’t gone to Gralen though, but are building the first brewery of Turenay! But they aren’t the only ones who are building: I have bought the site of the old weavery near the South Gate, and have had it demolished so we could build a weavery to our own specifications. The managers will be Jilan and Khahid, the first is a veteran from the war, the other used to be my secretary at court, Jilan actually stole Khahid in the chaos after the death of my previous husband, but they love each other very much. So I’ll have my investment in the Síthi Bath to pay for Arvi, and the weavery should bring in enough that I will never have to ask for money for being a doctor, though I am not refusing my journeyman’s money. (Which is about enough for a pair of shoes…)
I really need to stop now, or my letter will never arrive, just this: Rovan has given me the enclosed letter for his father, could you make sure it arrives? Rovan is now an apprentice with Arvi’s mother! He has made very good progress, his legs are as straight as any and he will be able to dance at the feast of Timoine. (That reminds me, I should go and talk to the Síthi midwife, Bashi, and ask her how we can make sure that the Síthi children join with the Valdyan children in the early morning walk to the forest dedicated to Timoine, and that the Valdyan children go to the temple.)
My love for you, your child (it is already born, isn’t it?) and for your husband and everyone else.