Raisse writes to Athal

It starts so innocuously, and then halfway through she gives the really great news in that typically Raisse-like offhand way.

Valdis, second week of Timoine

Dearest Athal,

I miss you so much. Today we received news of your victory. And that you need to stay there for half a year to set things right. It made me angry with you in a very selfish way. I hate it that you can not be here for all the important things. I also know that you want to be back more than anything and that you have to stay behind. So come back soon. We’ll be waiting.

One morning Raith and Ayneth were there. Raith was incredibly tanned, looking strong and almost foreign. I can see why she would make a good governess in a trying and sometimes hostile environment as she has proven before. Ayneth was her usual organizing self and it was good to see them again.

A plague has swept over Valdyas: it has passed Turenay and Valdis and has now hit Essle. We seem te have been lucky enough to miss it, traveling from Essle back to Valdis along the Valda visiting the villages alone the way. I even gave one village town rights. But no need for you to worry. I’m dealing with things over here and Moyri is a great help as always and Uznur is dealing with the soldiers returning.

We announced your victory and I declared a two-day holiday, and when that had passed our daughter decided to join us. There were no complications and when I could stand up again I showed her to the people and named her Alyse to the gods, after your mother. I thought it fitting with your mother dying from a plague I thought it good to remember her and this time have a new life come from it.

The teachers here came to see me. They had heard about the schools in Essle. And I’m not even sure any more what they wanted, but we discussed schools here are the ability for some people to visit them. Moyri had a nice scheme where we create a really posh school where people pay way too much money for a decent education, but where they kan show off their wealth and hobnob with other affluent parents. I secretly think it was inspired by her neighbors and their complaining about Serla and Bahar. Can you imagine people complaining about Serla? She just started going to school, Vurian has to wait another year or so. This school will pay for more schools here and to educate unofficial teachers once they join their guild.

I just had another idea and I might as well write it down here so I don’t forget. I will give some money to the teachers’ guild to be used as a fund for those that can not afford to attend school. Tuition can be paid from it if a teacher consider a student both genuinely talented and unable to afford it. They would have to pay it back to the fund eventually, possibly by doing a little teaching themselves.

This is my first letter to you as I have not been back in Valdis for long and I’m still weak from giving birth to Alyse. Here is a picture of me with Alyse, and another with me more decent, and all four of us for you to look at. Hold your medal when you think of us and maybe we will feel it. I hope to hear from you again soon.

Hugs and kisses from all of us,