Ysellei Moyri astin Rhydin, Valdis, ninth week after the feast of Timoine, the year 347
To her Mother
There is, again, all kinds of news. First the most important thing: Raisse has given birth to her son and named him Radan. Prince Radan! She is very well, and so is her son, all toes and fingers complete, and also a very impressive appetite. I am a little bit jealous of her, because my burden is beginning to be very, very burdensome. I wish I had the energy to go to the bath-house, but it’s too far. Though I am glad my children do not usually disturb me during dinners (state or otherwise) — Vurian came when they were wining and dining the cream of Essle and Radan arrived when Raisse had just received all the teachers from the Academy for a formal getting-to-know-each-dinner!
Actually, the law scholar, Hallei Lyan, had already arrived because very, very involved unpleasantness. Look, Mother, I will probably be sending Dimani Ar-Rajul and her two adopted kids, Dorugh and Javan, to Turenay really soon now. As I’ll tell you in a minute, we’ve beheaded the Iss-Peranian spy effort in Valdis — but only as far as we know. There are hundreds of Iss-Peranians in Valdis at the moment and we cannot apprehend all of them, and even Uznur doesn’t know everyone.
So I feel that Valdis is just too dangerous for someone like Dimani, who has been poisoned, pursued by dandar and agents and in general in no way into all this secret-agent malarkey. Besides, she’s been really ill and I wish Leva would take a look at her: we’ve got some very good doctors in Valdis, but they are not in the Guild. Which I think is pretty important, given what we’ve learned.
Bah, Kare tells me I am dictating a very confusing letter. Where to start? You probably already know that that Koll Konandé is working to break up the alliance. I am simply not too worried about the alliance as such: the real power is with Beguyan, and his wife and Raisse seem to be such good friends that I’d almost be jealous, if I were the kind of friend who would be jealous if her best friend had another best friend. So, if the women trust each other and are friends, I expect Beguyan and Athal to be friends and loyal, too.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t all kinds of goings-on in Valdis. In my previous letter I have told you about Dimani and about Bahush and Parandé — his “tame” dandar. (It turns out that they are in love with each other, and that complicates the position of poor Hinla, his Valdyan wife not a little. The Queen and her law man have decreed (with a little help from me) that from now on, a man can only marry a Valdyan woman if he is not married already, and that once he has married a Valdyan woman, he cannot marry again until the marriage is dissolved. A nice legal issue is, I am told by the law man, that there is no legal way of determining marriage in our country: nobody keeps track of marriages, and what happens when a man sends his wife away or the other way around, nobody knows.)
Really soon afterwards, we tracked the location of a dandar called Koll Abatté, who was hiding as the nurse to an old nobleman, namely old Airath, who is distantly related to us. Be warm in your praise for me! I didn’t go to her hideout to apprehend her myself, nor did Raisse, not that we didn’t want to, but we restrained ourselves and sent Lyse with a squad of Sworn. And we asked Lyan the lawyer to be there too: because of what I wrote you last time, about our suspicions about whether the Nameless might be involved, so we wanted to have a Master in their Guild to be present to see that it was properly state stuff, not a Guild vendetta where the King happens to have chosen sides.
They had a pretty hard time of it! Old Airath’s house was closed with layer upon layer of seals, some (and not the weakest) Abatté’s work. But in the end, our Lyse managed to drag Abatté out and bring her to the Palace.
She had taken poison, though, and not even Roushan and Dushtan’s work could neutralize the poison. When we took a look ourselves in her mind it was clear why: the woman herself was pure poison. I wonder whether all dandar are so incredibly soaked with evil? In any case, this led to another Royal Edict, namely that it is now forbidden for dandar to enter Valdyan soil, to practice or teach their craft. That’ll be a blow to the dandar Kastana, who’s again gotten hold of the Hayan castle near Ildis. But it doesn’t solve what to do with Parandé, who is clearly dandar, and who also definitely isn’t evil. Just really, really dim and has way too low an opinion of herself and too good an opinion of that inflated gasbad Bahush, her lover.
All these things… They are tiresome, but also give me a chance to think of something different than my belly and the rest of my body. And it keeps Uznur busy, too. But I did claim him for myself one night for our common good and continued well-being, I sent the children with Fikmet: and I hope you and Father keep to a strict regimen of mutual appreciation, hard work, love and no politics at all. But I have to write you, otherwise I’ll go dotty.
On re-reading it’s clear to me that this letter shows every sign of advanced dottiness, but I am too tired to rewrite (or rather re-dictate) it, besides, Uznur needs Kare to do his correspondence.
Love and kisses for you and Father, from your daughter,
Ps. Do not worry about Dimani: I will give her letters of introduction, I do not want to bother you two with hot Iss-Peranian property, stolen from the King. Rava and Raisse will know what to do. I hope that when I write my next letter I’ll have something to tell you. You know what? I’m going to ask Shab Hafte to make sketches of me, Uznur, the kids and the twins as soon as they are born, to send you.