Rava writes to her daughter the queen

The tone seems very restrained for someone who has just had her eldest son come back alive when she was practially sure he was dead, but she’s probably done all her gushing already.

Ainei Rava to Ravei Raisse astin Brun, queen of Valdyas, in Valdis.

Turenay, fourth week of Anshen

Dear Raisse,

You will probably have had the news directly from Moyri’s Uznur in Essle by now, but I have the details: Torin is here, alive, though according to Cora “no part of him was missing, but no part of him was whole either”. Hinla Hayan, bless her, saw him fall and get trampled by the Khas’ war mounts –Cora says they were camels, from the hoofprints– and dragged him from the battlefield and on to the first ship east. There was a dandar on the ship, can’t be anything else though Hinla thought she was some sort of Iss-Peranian priestess of Naigha, who did something to him that kept him alive, apparently until now. In Essle, Hinla went to the chancery to send a message and Uznur got them an Iss-Peranian eunuch doctor, who at least kept Torin’s wounds from festering. Then the resourceful girl bought a cart and drove Torin all the way to Gralen, because she expected Leva to be there at this time of year. As she indeed was, as well as her journeywoman who Hinla didn’t know but who did fix most of the broken bones which were already starting to set badly.

She would deserve his hand in marriage for that –Hinla, not Cora– except for the fact that the point is moot: they got married in Idanyas before setting out for battle. Hinla, Hayan as she is, says that it was to get the widow’s bonus if either of them wouldn’t make it, but I know she loves him or she wouldn’t have done all she has done.

He’ll never fight again. Even if he hadn’t been forbidden to, it wouldn’t agree with him: everything on the left side of his body has been ruined, a lung, a kidney, the spleen. He’ll walk with a limp forever and never be able to use a shield. That he’s still a man is nothing short of a miracle. If Cora says that something can’t be fixed, it’s probably the bare truth. Vurian would take him into the family business like Jichan, but that would be a shocking waste of a brilliant strategic mind and you’d better call him to Valdis and make him a staff general. There’s nothing wrong with his thinking. And while you’re at it, you might appoint Hinla master-of-the-horse or something, so she has something of her own to do that doesn’t take her off with the army. Also, they’d be out of Turenay, which would spare Hinla much embarrassment if they have any daughters– Cora is convinced that sons come from the right ball, which is intact, and daughters from the left, which isn’t.

Has Aine turned up in Valdis? Torin and Hinla must have missed her by inches. If she does, you can keep her at court or send her home as she and you both please, but if you do keep her, please send word or see to it that she does. It’s very unsettling for a mother not to know where her children are.