|To Kornan Olvendi, Summer Mage
||[03 Jul 2005|05:00pm]
My friend, my most hearty regards to you and to Isavelle. Have you received anything from Beren? I have not, and I worry that something is amiss with her. True, it is not her season, but even so I would expect something.
I was sorry to miss you in Wintercourt; I would blame the emperor's temper, but perhaps I must first blame my own. I was in the palace seeking the chancellor to discuss the latest news, or lack thereof, on the year assigned to control the weather in Inenmar, when the emperor's wife's wastrel cousin, Lord Pendrin, accosted me. He considers himself a jester, but he must learn that jests are never funny to the one who is set up as the butt of the joke. In the space of five minutes he was able to insult myself, my father, my mother, Inenmar, and Quire, and all this without once seeming to realize the depth of his rudeness.
If it was a trap, I fell into it without hesitation.
Imagine it, if you will. Me, swearing crude insults while his verbal darts pricked me from every side. I blush to think of it. I challenged him to back his words with cold steel, never expecting him to trade his forte for mine, but he did with scarcely a murmur. He was not so laughable as I would have expected, he with his jeweled court sword and his silks and velvets. Even so, the duel went quickly enough. I set myself to defend, and did so with such precision that he soon grew angry and attempted half-learned tricks to get past my guard. I say half-learned because I know the tricks, but I know how to do them without leaving my left side entirely open as he did. Seeing the opening, I meant only to cut the tassel from his sash, but I slipped and his forward momentum was greater than I expected, and you know the rest.
I have considered this many times as I traveled and since I have arrived home, and I cannot come to any conclusion that accounts for his behavior, and the way he fought, that would be in accordance with a minor duel. He was not attempting a polite coup. He was fighting to kill, and that I cannot understand. I am not boasting when I say that no one would think to injure me in a duel. The sword is for me as magic is for you, and while it is never wise to be overconfident and chance is always a factor, I have not met the man or woman who could reliably best me in a duel. What then did he think he was doing?
And whatever he may have thought, could there have been someone else behind him? What did this hypothetical plotter want? I fear it is to remove me from Wintercourt, and in that he or she has succeeded, though perhaps not as well as was intended. I am asked to leave, I am desired to leave, but I was not required to leave. You must keep me informed; if I am needed I will come; remember too the journey is long.
All is well in Inenmar, barring the weather. It is too hot, and it only the beginning of summer. I would you were here, or I were not here to see the ruin the emperor's decree is bringing on this land. But if I do not think of the dessert always encroaching, the days have been pleasant. The sun is bright, the sky is blue, the air is clear, and the breeze is pleasant in the mornings, before the heat of the day, when I sit on the terrace and look out across the land. It is still green from the spring rains, but with the heat I fear that will not last.
Lyrani will be arriving in Wintercourt to attend the academy. It galls me to admit that my aunt and uncle arranged for this without my knowledge; Lyrani deserves no less, but I should have been informed. She left Inenmar the day before I arrived, so even if she travels only half as quickly as I, she will be there by the 26th of summer. If there is a time when you are not overly busy, I would be grateful if you could visit her and make sure she is reasonably happy. I am sure she will be glad to see a familiar face.
I have given your address to my betrothed, Lady Velreisan. I would ask you not to mention Lyrani or Inessa to her. I do not know her as well as I would wish, and cannot predict how she would react.
I pray you, keep well.
I plan to seal this letter as you showed me. If the quality of the workmanship is sufficient, do the same when you reply. It is a relief to write to a friend without worrying about every word, and better to know that one's unguarded words will not be read by someone who was not intended to read them.
From Inenmar this 15th day of Summer, in the 1034th year of the First Imperial Year,
Your very assured friend,