This one. Not that she doesn’t have enough of her own to say.
Ysellei Moyri astin Rhydin, in Valdis, to Nadaram Uznur Ozman, King’s Chancellor in Essle.
Valdis, second week of Timoine
I was so relieved to receive your second letter! I haven’t received your first letter — I can only assume that the bearer died of the lung sickness along the way or some similar mishap! But now I am reassured that all is well with you, although I had to cry when I learned you had to stay in Essle until the return of the King — but that is your duty, of course, as I have mine to our Queen. Serla and Bahar often ask after you. The twins are now almost nine months old — I have enclosed a drawing by Shab Hafte of your loving family.
Dearest, I haved decide that Serla shall go to school after the festival of Timoine. She can already read Valdyan and Iss-Peranian letters (though she insists on calling them “mummy-letters” and “daddy-letters”. I have visited the school closest to our house and spoken to the teachers: they seem very decent, learned people, and Serla already made a friend on the day we visited. The Queen has received the teachers one afternoon to make their acquaintance and inform them of the Teacher’s Guild in Essle, so you will be certain that I have not erred in my choice of school for our eldest.
I know mothers are not supposed to boast of their children, but, dearest love of me, Serla and Bahar have been so very sweet all during the journey to Valdis. They have played with and made friends of all children in the villages and towns we visited, each in their own way.
The situation in Valdis must have worried you: actually have not been anywhere where the lung plague was raging, it was always just gone when we arrived, so we were never in any real danger. But Jilan, our handiman, has died, leaving a pregnant widow. She is a cooper and lives in the neighbourhood near the rear of our house. I have visited her and promised her to pay her Jilan’s salary until her first-born would be apprenticed, and also the apprentice money. I am sure you would have agreed with me, because you always tell me that a prince is only rich in what he gives, not receives.
I have found another young man to take Jilan’s place, he is called Arin. He is very kind to the children and works very hard, but he is not really clever, which is not a problem, of course, for the work he is doing. I do miss Kare though, I have had to write this letter in my own hand. But that means that I can add some words that are for your eyes and for nobody else, telling you how I think of you every night and day — at night, Bahar and Serla sleep in my bed, and the twins in their cot, but I still feel very lonely.
Well! I hope you were not somewhere public when you read that! It may not be poetry, as in those Iss-Peranian books in the chest in our bedroom that I keep locked these days, which now also contains a very fetching Iss-Peranian courtly robe for you take off me. But I could not desist from writing it, my love.
Oh! I was writing you about the situation in Town. Well, the lung plague has gone, and it promises to become a very nice spring. The children of the Town have banded together, Valdyan, Síthi and Iss-Peranian to ask the Queen whether the festival of Timoine could be celebrated in both the Valdyan and the Southern style, all together, and Raisse of course assented. We were present at the festivities at the Temple of Dayati, handing out sweets by the sackful. Prince Vurian put his seal under the Royal letter of support for this plan, his first official document — and that is one that brings people together, which I think is very — what is that word you use so often? auspicious!
There were also wonderful fireworks. But I was a bit sad because the twins for the first time in their lives were away from me for more than an hour, on their own. Well, actually, with all the Valdis children, and I have left them alone in our house before for two or three hours when I had court business. But it was strange nonetheless.
The lung sickness has killed more Iss-Peranians than Valdyans, so please be very careful about yourself! And someone, we suspect Geref Yaktub, has been setting up a very profitable and despicable trade in counterfeit medicine, herbs and worthless amulets. We miss you and your contacts, but have asked Jeran, the master of Serla’s school, to find us two likely journeymen to investigate for us, since we cannot do that, obviously.
We are too busy at home and in the Palace (well, that is “home” for Raisse, but you know what I mean), and besides, as you no doubt know, Raisse has just given birth to her first daughter, her third child. She is named Alyse, after Athal’s Mother, the previous Queen. We don’t have a wet-nurse now, and the twins are beginning to eat solids, so Raisse has to do all the nursing herself. Young prince Vurian commented that he thought Alyse was “small”, to which his milk-brother Rovan added that he thought she was “ugly and red”! Well! I think she’s a beautiful little girl and I suspect her hair will be red.
What else should I tell you? Most official things you will know already, there is still a struggle to get something done about the delivery of letters, but that will no doubt be solved. I am thinking of taking Raisse to Turenay for the season, after Midsummer, unless Athal is then returning. That part of the country needs their Queen, too, but I will write you about that, as well as about Serla’s first day at school.
And I love you — but I already wrote that!