Tal Serth and Tal Rayen
We stayed a couple of days in Tal Serth. This is probably the place in Valdyas where the best glass is produced, and some of it can even compete with glassware from Idanyas. Leva was really interested in seeing how all of this worked, and especially in how various metals and salts colored the glass. She even bought a bunch of glass beads for her toys. She hasn’t had all that much time to setup her workplace at home yet, but I’m sure that before the Feast of Archan arrives, she’ll be busy again.
I was wondering a bit why I wasn’t jealous that she’s spending so much time apart from me, but I’m just not. We’ve both got our jobs — and we both really like our jobs. So I was mostly assistant clerk to Doctor Cora, the days in Gralen. Which was quite fun, I could make notes about how this village works, and do a bit of a census, since we met most people.
One afternoon I was fetched by Arin, a boy about five years old, whose mother the doctors from Tylenay had helped when she had given birth to him. I had to come to the kitchen with him, to see the cat. The cat was heavily pregnant, and when I took her in my lap, I could feel the kittens wriggle in her belly. I had a long chat with him — he’s plenty smart and very observant, so I learned even more about Tal Serth than I had done during my rounds.
From there we went to a smaller village, where we had a good talk with the Priestess of Naigha. It’s kind of a little river port, where loads get transhipped from smaller upstream boats to bigger boats — everything has to be carried down, because there’s a waterfall here. We agreed with the Priestess that we’d start an apprenticeship fund. Later on, Leva and I started worrying that we were being too high-handed. Dash it, Great Mizran, it’s complicated to be a very wealthy girl! If you don’t take care, you’ll start forcing your ideas on people instead of helping.
And then it was time to go to Tal Rayen…
Yeah, I know. Just admitting to Leva and Doctor Cora that I wanted to go there, that’s tantamount to confessing I’m going to defect to the Nameless. Betray the traditions of my house, and also, I guess, betray my mother, who never thought of defecting, no matter what. But even though Leva accepts me as I am, I have to live with my conscience, and I cannot…
Continue like this.
We were straggling, though, as if Leva understood what was going through me. We were bringing up the rear of what in the end turned out to be a pretty large travel group — at least thirty people, if you count the regimental detachment. This part of the country used to be pretty unsafe, not just with Velihan boys crossing the mountains to do some coming-of-age raiding, or child-snatchers working for Albetiran interests, but plain old robber bands as well. And, of course, the masters of Tylenay didn’t use to be exactly nice and polite when it came to finding people to work their mines and blast furnaces.
There was a cupboard, or a box open at one side, and it looked like it was meant to put babies in… Like in the tales. At the beginning of the road down into the village, and Leva and me, we halted to look at it. I guess I’d better wait half a decade, but I’d like children…
Well, when a boy dropped out of a tree in front of us, with the rest of the company about fifty meters away, around a corner, we did feel a bit of a fright! But then we saw he had suffered from the silver sickness, and so we knew we could trust him. He introduced himself as Erian, and took us to Tal Rayen.
We learned he already had a girlfriend, so he wasn’t interested in us in that way, but since Archan is written on my anie, well, that’s what got him wondering why we were together, and coming to Tal Rayen.
I told him, I need a night in a really safe place… And this is the safest place for someone like me, in all of Ryshas.
That sobered him up, and he nodded.
Of course, Doctor Cora feels responsible for this village, so she started out helping them get some vineyards started and things. And Anshen himself holds his hand over the village, so the weather is always better than elsewhere. But these people work hard! And they’ve made a beautiful place of the village!
That night, after we’d met some of the people living here, and gotten permission from their Priestess of Naigha, Leva and I went into the Temple of Anshen. I’d brought a bottle of good wine and three glasses. Leva was confused about why three glasses, but I had my reasons.
And when evening had started to fall, it was at first just the two of us. It was a quiet place, even though the sounds of playing children, people making music or singing came from outside the temple.
And then we were three. I filled the glasses and handed them out.
“Hey, Nameless… Do you feel bad, that your brother is so broken.”
A nod. And sadness, so much sadness!
“Hey, Nameless… Do you have a name I can use?”
In my mind, I felt Anshen nod, and I felt his name whispering in my mind.
“Hey… Anshen, want a glass of wine?”
I got another nod, and pretty soon we were just, I guess, getting a feel for each other. Leva was sitting close to me, her head on my shoulder, and she was half asleep, half awake, for bit, until she woke up, looked at me, and nodded — and then proposed we’d have a party, and asked Anshen to dance with us!
He’s a good dancer, that’s for sure!
We slept most of the day, of course.