Khora writes a letter

And her style is exquisite. Thanks, Boudewijn!

Turenay, four weeks after the feast of Mizran

To the most Mighty Queen of Valdyas, Velihas and Idanyas, the Flower of the North, the Fruitful Delight of the King and the Fount of all Wisdom, and to her husband, the All-powerful King of Valdyas, Velihas and Idanyas, Protector of the Three Nations of Albatire, Lord of the Mighty Hosts, Divine Sorcerer, Priest of the Earth, High Priest of the God of War, Blessed of Timoine, greetings and prostrations of your humble servant, Khora, who begs to be allowed to inform your majesties of her journey into their kingdom.

Your humble servant first wishes to express her gratitude for the services of her escort. The serene sergeant Liase has been unfailing in her devotion and friendliness to your humble servant and in her acceptance of and compliance with the desires of your humble servant. Her instruction in the ways and manners of the admirable people of the kingdom of Valdyas has prevented your humble servant from making even more of a fool of herself than she is by nature on innumerable occasions.

Thanks to the excellent qualities of the most capable captain of the gracious ship that bore us from Albatire to the mighty port of Essle, famous through the all the world, our journey was swift, smooth and uneventful. On our arrival in the noble city of Essle, sergeant Liase took us to a delightful inn called The Inebriated Seahorse where we were, to the delight of your humble servant and her companions, served with Valdyan delicacies and grain-wine.

Your humble servant made bold to visit the High Priest of the God of Money in his temple to discuss a matter of which it would be well if your majesties are informed, which I propose to do forthwith. When your humble servant was married to the Enshah, the Light of the World, now six years ago, her lack of worth was augmented by her parents through a dowry.

Being too young to know of such things, your humble servant was not informed of the value of her dowry. However, she seems to remember her august husband telling her on the morning of her marriage that he esteemed her worthy of a thousand ounces of gold.

Your humble servant is not ardorous enough in her admiration of the prince of Albatire, Koll Konandé, that she wishes the illustrious prince to benefit from her marriage portion, especially since her parents have been reported to have been assassinated by the movement of his great-uncle, the illustrious prince Koll Neveshtan.

Your humble servant begged the Mighty Servant of the God of Money to reserve out of the wealth of the Enshahs of Albatire he guards a sum equivalent to the worth of your humble servant at her marriage, provisionally set to the thousand ounces of gold my husband pronounced her to be worth, and to send word to Albatire after your humble servant finished her studies in Turenay to ascertain the true worth of her dowry and adjust the reservation accordingly.

The Mighty Servant seemed unduly impressed by the miserable appearance of your humble servant and pressed a gold pendant in her hands. Your humble servant begs forgiveness and leave to assure your majesties that she has not tried to apply her gift of glamour to achieve her aims. Nevertheless, your humble servant feels miserable when she thinks of the noble ladies of the harem of the Mighty Servant of the God of Money in Essle, who will now probably be deserted by their husband and protector.

To express her thanks to the soldiers who had so well guarded and served your humble servant, she made bold to present each of them with silver and the mighty sergeant Liase, whose friendship is still a source of pride and pleasure to your humble servant, with an embroidered shift, before we left for Veray.

A curious incident during the river journey impressed your humble servant with the astounding generosity of the great people of Valdyas. The lady wife of our captain noticed that your humble servant had run out of the small stock of embroidering thread she had bought in Essle. The lady graciously and generously gave your humble servant many skeins of coloured thread she had dyed herself.

The captain and his lady wife have been blessed by the Gods with a daughter who, while not beautiful at all and who, though she is much older than your humble servant is still unmarried and cannot read but her own name, works very hard and is very friendly. Your humble servant decided to repay her mother’s generosity by embroidering her spare shift with flowers, mice and blackbirds, and also her name, to her and her father’s delight. However, one thing is troubling your servant: she only has one ordinary shift left, since I doubt she will wear her embroidered shift while working. Should your humble servant have bought a second spare shift for this girl?

Thanks to the hospitality and graciousness of the mighty kings and queens of Valdyas, many Síthi have sought refuge in your majesties bountiful kingdom, especially in the blessed town of Veray. Having had Síthi maids from her marriage, your humble servant is able to speak a little of the Síthi language, and she was delighted to meet these subjects of your majesties in the streets of Veray. The liberty allowed these refugees from the Khas by your majesties has enabled them to build and dedicate a Temple to the Divine Dayati, which your humble servant and her retinue visited on arrival in Veray.

Your humble servant made sure to assure the Divine Dayati of the complete success of the endeavour She had laid on the shoulders of you, my King and Lord. The Divine Dayati expressed her pleasure to your humble servant during her prayers.

Your humble servant also visited a jewelers’ shop to sell the gold pendant the Mighty Servant of the God of Money in Essle had pressed on her. Grateful though she was for his generosity, your humble servant felt it inappropriate to wear or even possess such a valuable gift from one who not only is not bound to her through marriage, but with whom she would not even engage in dalliance. Your humble servant hopes she did not wrong in this? As she might well marry later, after her studies are completed, she would be embarrassed to possess another man’s gift.

Veray is fortunate enough to possess a Síthi Bath, where after bathing and painting, for the first time after leaving ship in Valdyas, your humble servant was able to feel clothed again. The skills of the Síthi are without equal in the world! Only then, when painted in the civilized fashion did the mighty sergeant Liase notice that your humble servant was still disguised as a ship’s mate, which the might sergeant Liase decided was no longer appropriate. The next morning, the mighty sergeant Liase took your humble servant to the market where Valdyan clothes were bought for your humble servant.

Most mighty majesties, your obedient and humble servant Khora, having nearly arrived in Turenay, now begs humbly leave to present her greetings and prostrations to you and signs,