Hanre nafur, Twelfth week after the festival of the Most Holy Goddess Timoine

To my dear Sister Asa,

First my cases. I did some good work yesterday, on the day of Timoine, though not as much as I had hoped. Apprentice Kancho, who is a Síthi born in Valdyas, had much more work to do. These are the cases:

I am not sure whether I should count the following among my cases: Lord Moryn and Lady Ysella arrived unexpectedly today to give their regards to Raisse, and Raisse invited them to stay. Lord Moryn is a very handsome man, although quite old and a grandfather of two already, soon to be four, and Lady Ysella is very beautiful, too, and loves her husband very much. Lord Moryn was hurt in the spirit in the war in Lenyas: he is the hero who has stamped out the rebellion in Lenyas, but he is very sad about all the lives lost. Their daughter has sent them to Ryshas to pick up their trade (and isn't strange that so many Valdyan nobles have a trade?), which is the making and selling of those wonderful perfumes that I had one little flask of.

But to come to the point: it was clear to me that although Lord Moryn was recovering (it is strange how akin his hurts were to those of Mernath, although Mernath's were inflicted by the Nameless, and Lord Moryn's caused by his own excessive grief) he was not yet truly whole. Following the same principles that worked so well for Mernath, I offered Lady Ysella to disclose to her the place near the river bank where Aidan and I had spent two nights already, and she was very willing to be shown. This also meant that Lord Moryn did no longer have to drink wine and talk about the war with Lord Vurian, Lord Orian, Arin and Jeran -- I could see he was merely being polite, but that it did hurt him to have to speak about these matters.

Aidan and I slept this night, and this morning I saw Lord Moryn and Lady Ysella returning, looking much better. They are sitting with me at the table under the chestnut tree now, eating porridge and writing to their daughter, who is expecting twins but seems to be in bad health, so we are sharing the ink. It was not a great sacrifice to Aidan and me; we had already spent part of yesterday afternoon near the river, since Aidan wanted me for himself after spending all day healing wounded children.

Ebru, by the way, has won at fighting with her long stick, from all her opponents, and is allowed to go again tomorrow, today there are no fights because of the inauspicious day. She was very contemptuous of her opponents, who were also all quite displeased that the rules did not allow Ebru to start in the second class (if that's the word I want, I am too lazy to think proper Valdyan).

Not only Rava's children are here, as well as Lyse and Rikhi and Pnimah's children, but also childen from neighbouring farms. They are playing some game where one of them is standing still and tries to touch the other children who are trying to run as fast and as close as possible past the one who is standing still. I think I'll join them: more later.

This is such a lazy day! I have never been this idle in all my life, I am sure. I played with the children until I got tired. I did help Halla bake pancakes for everyone, but that was the extent of my work today. (In a few days we are going to eat snails, Halla is starving a pailful of them in the kitchen.) After lunch, Aidan, Jichan and Alyse started a half-hearted fencing session and I then went to our place near the river with Alyse's book on the principles of working with the spirit, thinking I'd read that while bathing my feet in the water. Well! I just fell asleep and woke up with my head in Aidan's lap, him stroking my hair. It was nearly evening already, so we went to the house to get some food -- and then back to make love in the place where the water isn't running so rapidly. Aidan's backside was green when we left the water, but I rather enjoyed it.

My sister, there are serious, proper things that I need to note down or forget.

First of all: Kancho, the Síthi doctor's apprentice who is looking for a master. I am not sure where he has learned until now, but he is already quite good at suturing wounds and putting back arms that have come loose from the shoulder (there is an Ilaini term for this, but I do not remember it).

We first met at the doctor's meeting on Mizrein hanre. There are two other apprentices and Eldan, who belongs to the Order of the Sworn. I told doctor Eldan that I had worked with Leva and Jeran, and that Jeran was looking for an apprentice, preferably a man, because of doctor Jeran's improper patients and imprisoned patients and told him I hoped that he would be able to recommend someone, because doctor Jeran is working much, much too hard to do everything alone. And doctor Jeran would not be averse to a hard-working, intelligent apprentice, since he has said he would like me as an apprentice, only I want to be apprenticed to Leva.

To my surprise, doctor Eldan looked at Kancho, who looked back at him. Kancho then said to me had had the idea of going to Turenay anyway, to learn from Leva. Well! We can swap a day in the week, just like I will be with Erne sometimes. It is good to learn from different people -- only I don't know whether Valdyan masters think that, too. But I know Leva does not mind because she has taken me to Erne herself. And, as I said, Kancho seems quite talented in a Síthi way, which means that he also uses his spirit, but does not belong to Anshen the way I do.

We'll see whether he arrives in Turenay, and whether Jeran wants him -- otherwise, he can no doubt come to the hospital and learn with Leva, too.

Before going to the doctor, we also went to the temple of Naigha with Lyse, Lara, Jeran-the-veteran (not the doctor), Halla and Arin. Lyse and Lara to take leave of their long-dead father, Jeran, Halla and Arin to mourn their comrade-in-arms, brother and son Ayran.

This Jeran came back on the day of Naigha. He had walked from Nesh, although his leg was wounded in the war. He has fought in Il Ayande, where he was part of the Valdyan and Iss-Peranian troops that went ahead. There is a military word for that, but I do not know it in Ilaini. They were ambused by the Khas and lost nearly one third of their number, which proves that they must have fought very bravely against an enemy far superior in numbers, since according the ancient authors on the subject of war, an army tends to rout when one in ten is dead. In this fight his sword-mate, Athal was killed and he was too wounded to be able to fight again. I did inspect his scars, they have been very carelessly sutured and but his leg would have been beyond the skill of even Leva, since the tendons had been cut clean through, so he cannot bend it anymore.

There is a curious and devout custom here where when the mourning people are given a small silver knife and use that to cut of a piece of their hair and put that in a fire. This does not smell very nice, but it looks like a very appropriate offering and is done in a spirit of devotion, so it must be pleasing to the Goddess. When we left the temple the gods granted me to see that Halla is already expectiing, which is very soon, since they had lain together only the day before yesterday, counted from Mizrein hanre.

Today, when Halla and I were baking pancakes we spoke about these matters, and I was allowed to see that all was well -- it is a great wonder that the gods are able to put the life of man or a woman in such a small thing, for the child in her belly is now smaller than a gnat in size. We discussed my old discussion about the presence of the death with the gods or with the people -- or both, and also spoke about Timoine, whom I do miss, but not as much as I'd thought. I recommended Halla to go to the temple to bring an offering, and had to laugh when I told her about the boy I had seen in the temple on Naighei hanre, who took a sweet out of his very mouth and put it on the offer place for Timoine. It is our conviction that he did buy the sweet specially for Timoine, but wanted to be sure it was a good sweet and so decided to taste it.

I did dance for the Gods this morning, when Aidan and I woke up at the bank of the river Rycha, where we had spent the night. Aidan was still asleep, but I sang the Valdyan prayers for the gods, and then danced the Iss-Peranian dances for all the gods (except one, of course!). Aidan did compliment me for my dance, and said that he could discern the essential difference between dancing for him and dancing for the gods.

What else... I have bought two pairs of very nice shoes with only a bottom part and little leather straps to fasten them to my feet. They were only a handful of shillings, and are made of the leather of deer, or so Aidan and the merchant told me. The fair in Veray is much bigger than the fair in Turenay, and I witnessed all kinds of things being made, such as buttons, shoes, bone needles and also lace.

I bought three scraps of lace, two to make a loincloth out of, and one to use in a shirt. However, a lace loincloth may be pleasing to Aidan, but it is not very comfortable, and I have separated the pieces again and will use all three pieces in a set of shirts. It is beautiful work, and I spent more than an hour admiring the old woman who was making lace in the market. This happened on the day of Mizran, when Aidan had left me at the doctor's meeting. He came to fetch me from the market when it was evening.

That evening Rava, Lord Vurian and almost all their children -- very nearly ten, only Torin is in Idanyas fighting the Khas*), arrived, also to stay with us. It is very fortunate that Halla and Arin like having guests! We will buy a strong sieve for Halla as a present, and perhaps something nice for Arin, too, if we can discover what he would like.

The children of Pnimah and Rikhi joined us, and with all the children we went to look at the otters playing in the water of the pool in the dusk: otters are definitely very cute and pleasant to watch when they swim on their backs or play with each other. The children were very quiet, but when there are a dozen people, otters are bound to take notice sooner or later.

When they had gone, we went in the water ourselves, to swim in the pool, and had a lot of fun. I like being around with all these children, especially that I am not told off for playing along with them, as I was when I wanted to play with the children at home. Rava's children can be very naughty, she tells me, but when they are guests somewhere, they do know how to behave very well. I will look at Rava if I want to know what I should do as a mother, as well as Selevi.

We spent the night at the river, and the morning of Timoinei hanre I danced.

And tomorrow Ceti and Arin will be married by Raisse!

Raissei Cora

*) Three of the ten children were elsewhere, in fact: Torin in Idanyas fighting the Khas, Raisse in Valdis being queen, and Cynla in Tal-Crun learning all about horses.

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