Hm, Leigh ... I've noticed you haven't been speaking up much in the group, lately. I thought you might be feeling a bit shy! So I thought that, instead of waiting for you to volunteer yourself, I would invite you personally to come out to the markets with the rest of the girls and I~
We're enjoying Mansoure so much, and Celeste and Jace just put a date to their wedding, and I know that I, for one, would love to see you there! You don't need to get something pretty, haa~ But I'm sure they'll have some nice boots to replace yours -- they're looking a little worse for the wear. All that snow and wet is hardly kind to doeskin ...
I can't stop thinking about what it means, that it's all true ... Everything they say about where they got the artifacts, about ... about Dyfeint. About what happened, and that ... that it could happen again.
I suppose I don't know what they want us to do. Even if we can give them information, with our stories, they must know we have no real power. The Megami ... They will do whatever they can to stop us even should the Kilians have some ... task for us. And they must know that even keeping this city together is too ...
... But it's all true.
Everything that they say.
[Filter: Those in Mansoure except Tarmon]
It seems as if he's still licking his wounds, doesn't it? I ... I really am grateful for what you did for us, Lord Glenn. If not for your assistance ... that all could have ended very differently.
But now that he's minding himself, we've been able to spend so much time enjoying the city! Mansoure ... Mansoure is as lovely as I remember. I spent so much time here as a girl ...
-- and yet.
I ... it seems different, in little ways, doesn't it? Maybe only because it's been so long, but, ah haha, I swear some buildings have moved, or changed, or ...
I wonder if the rest of the North will be so strange. Ah! And then ... Eblar! I've never been, did you all know that? Not once ...
Hm, and then ...
I had a thought. About -- about the wedding. When you were talking the other night, it started me thinking, and now ...
[Filter: Runecrew, in Kilian]
[copied runes with translations underneath]
(prison) (lightning) (binding) (activate)
[detailed drawings of a disk immersed in a barrel of liquid, scattered notes: "hold magical energy within inanimate object?" "acid, copper, good discharge, unlikely to path back to caster" "do not pull too many runes, unsure of how powerful a draw these have" "stability: 73%?" ]
Mn. I'm not sure if I will actually go ahead with this experiment. Mostly because it requires a certain amount of additional external preparations. Though the implications if it were something that works -- doubtful -- would be enormous. I am likely using this in entirely the wrong way.
Can I put something about you and Finlay in my song? It's just a hint! It's not outright! The music I was composing reminded me a bit of you, so I wrote this line!
the autumn-wind queen and her golden king,
married by the river in the full bloom of spring,
took their sweet vows with the water bubbling,
whispering love together
You see? It's beautiful! It's the best lyrics I ever wrote. This one isn't for the song about the two of you, this is for the mystery knight one, but I'm trying to add some flavour into it and I came up with that and I think you can agree that it's harmless but also amazing!
I can use it, right?
Oh, I'm so sad Lady Elyiethe is dropping two shows a week off The Wizard of Oz! And one of them is the Wednesday show! I love the Saturday show, it's always the best one! How can we deal with only Thursday and Friday? This is the worst news ever. I can't imagine whatever this new project she's working on could be as good as this one!
Hm, but! I heard a rumour about the cast of the Wizard. I have it on good authority that Lily has an admirer, and he's a member of the court! I even know his name~ Come on, guess who it is! I'll give hints!
] and Irving]
Hey! Either of you awake? I, uh, I could use a little help right now. Nothin too strenuous. Write back if you're awake. You know, please.
[This filter is written in shortly afterward]
Uh, hey man, you were right, I kinda fucked up tonight. This morning. Whatever.
Help a guy out???
Mother seems so much happier now that Alastair and Eudora are finally gone, and things are beginning to return to normal. I truly wish I could have kept them away from her and Father for longer, but it was clear they wouldn't leave without until they could visit Father. It was wonderful watching Alastair squirm having to help out around convent, almost enough to make up for the entire hassle of their visit.
I should try and take Mother into town for a nice dinner one day this week, now that I finally have time after dealing with apologies for all of Alastair's headaches and mistakes during his duties. It would make up for all the stress of these past weeks.
It is so quiet around the convent without my beloved family around. Not that I am complaining, mind you. The quiet is a nice change after being so busy as of late. Father Leonard has me working extra hours, helping him clean his office and organize his notes. He swears that an important letter from Lucre was sitting on his desk just last week, and it's unfortunately missing. We are having to go through everything looking for it, but so far we've had no such luck. I do hope that poor Father Leonard does not get into trouble for misplacing such an important missive.
[Filter: Those in Mansoure, except Tarmon]
I think this filter will be a little more appropriate.
I must say, Lord Glenn, I enjoyed your technique. You certainly have a way with the dueling field, and proved much more competent. I think I speak for everyone when I say that your role here has been very much appreciated! We gathered quite a crowd, and I think everyone is glad for how it turned out.
Thank you so much for volunteering.
Hmm ... I didn't expect to see Lady Ella so enthralled with how it unfolded.
So everyone up here near the rooms is all abuzz with this duel thing, and if Lord Glenn kicks Tarmon's ass as hard as it sounds like he's going to from what the maids are saying. They're all practically swooning over Lord Glenn and stuff,
and I mean he is really and if they're this convinced that Tarmon's going to get what's coming to him ...
I know I don't want to miss it.
[Filter: Those in Mansoure, except Tarmon]
If I ever thought I could never be more ashamed to be related to him, I've been proven wrong. Lady Celeste, I am dreadfully sorry for my cousin's behavior. He always finds some way to sink lower, every single time...well, I'll be praying for the swift victories of Sir Jace and Lord Glenn. In fact, I'm quite sure they'll put that insufferable brat in his place! Even if he is a skilled warrior, he's nowhere near as good as he thinks he is.
Lady Celeste, you are looking radiant tonight. I was hoping you could take some time away from the ... rabble to entertain someone more deserving of your attention. A dance, if you will? And we have so much I wish to speak to you about.
As soon as possible. Any other company I would have liked to keep has been ... otherwise occupied, so you ought to be flattered by my choosing to indulge you.
... what's the matter with you, now?
I've never seen a party you couldn't find some way to make yourself the centre of. And this one, you'd actually have some basis for. Yet, here you are, quietly brooding in the corner. I am beginning to think that you might be ill.
... or ... something.
Is it La What is it?
I heard you were looking for a new dance partner, is that right? I'd love to occupy your time, if you'll have me. After all, I'd hate to miss my chance... We've all seen how busy you've been all night. And that look on your face! My goodness! It's something out of one of your Dentorian fairy tales.
I hope you don't mind indulging me. I've been looking forward to it.
[Filter: Franelcrew Men]
Kinda worried that no one's getting as fancy with this whole thing as I am. Mostly looking at you here, Calaith. Just sayin. There's a bit of improvement out there for everyone though. Mean, if we're being paraded here, want to look like we're worth it. Not keen on showing up being the best dressed in a group of Dentorians.
So yeah, I prepped for this. I figured there were going to be some missing touches here. Visited the shops for some extra stuff. I've got a whole kit here, good fashionable stuff to finish what you're wearing.
Whose's up for it?
[Filter: Franelcrew Ladies]
My goodness, if you all don't look gorgeous! I barely recognize some of you, after how we've all looked for the past while, haa~ All these colours ...
I don't suppose anyone needs some help with something? It won't be that long now before they call for us and then parade us out in front of the whole gathered wealth of the city! If anyone is offering, I know I spilled some powder on the back of my dress, haa~
Oh, what fun this is going to be!
This is all so ...
I didn't even recognize her, at first. Not until she was formally introduced, and even then -- even then! She doesn't look ... Well. Of course she doesn't look anything like I remember. We were practically children. She's had children of her own, and it's been ... how many years has it been?
I thought that it would be ... that it would be something different. That it would be like things went back to -- to what they were before, or she'd look at me and there would be some spark, she'd remember or she'd say somethig, or -- and that's stupid, too, because she's married! Dragons. She's married, and I was sitting here thinking that maybe -- It's not that I wanted her to -- to look at me and think, oh, that man, if I'd only -- it's just that I thought it would be different!
I thought ...
... I thought I'd want that from her, but when she was introduced, I didn't know what I wanted anymore, did I? I just ... I wanted to stop thinking about it. I was ashamed of myself for thinking that -- that her knowing, or her looking at me, that it would solve everything, and that ... It was like the way she didn't look just reminded me of how stupid the idea was in the first place. She just smiled and nodded and -- and a few strange looks, but who doesn't give us strange looks ...
Eight years. Dragons, eight years ...
Why was I expecting things to just -- to just magically change? She's not the same girl I remember. And ... I guess I'm not the same person that she would remember, if she could, either.
[Filter: Celeste and Lawrence]
... Sorry. About today. I know I was acting off, I kept catching the way the two of you were looking at me ...
Can we talk?
Wow, that was quite a day. I -- um, thank you to everyone for your kindness, the nobles and our hosts and -- well, I'm not sure if they're even reading! But, thank you. And thank again, Lord Hasten, for inviting us to be part of this. And for all the rest of you fine lords for ... making us feel at home today!
Actually, heh, that's sort of feeling ... beyond awkward. Sorry. I know I've spoken to so many nobles -- I mean, I was just fine taking to Gebann, and some of you even are nobles, but Dragons, is it just me, or is there something about Dentorians that's just ...
Oh, I don't know!
-- did I hear right, by the way? Did Lady Gloria say that she wanted to throw a ball for us all on Friday night? She can't be serious, right? That's way too soon! We just got done a year of marching. We'll never look presentable!
[Filter: Franelcrew except Kail]
And is it just me, or is he acting ... weird? Kail's usually so confident, and he seems so shy.
Oh, I give up!
I've been trying to write a song to play on the Midsummer Festival -- it's almost like a letter to the Mystery Knight! He'll be there for the tourney, and so logically, he'll also be there for the celebration afterwards, once he has time to clean up and hide his identity from the piercing eyes of us admirers. And I thought, what better way to talk to him than to perform something truly moving?
But everything comes out awful! The lyrics are fine, but I can't get the music right, and I don't care what anyone says, the music is a thousand times more important!
My mother was write about that at l
Did I just say that!?
I just can't make it work. I've been so frustrated about everything lately, and I just keep thinking about -- about how some people just seem to pull away from you the closer you try and get to them and eventually it doesn't seem worth it so you throw down an ultimatum and then they still don't seem to care so what does it matter, anyway? I should be spending my time on someone who is sure to never disappoint me ... like the Mystery Knight!
You'd think having all that emotion would help me create!
Ooh. I could tuck lyrics into his saddlebags again, like I did last time, but that's got to be getting old for him. It's not as if he's ever responded! I need to reach out to him! Do something for him! Find some way to demonstrate the way that I feel in a way that everyone can see and nobody can --
-- OH MY GOSH!
Are you there? I need to talk to you about the situation in Shairfel.
I'll write a letter if you don't respond, but ...
I don't think they're going to be able to keep any of this a secret very long at all. Daphne still wasn't seeing anyone today, and I don't know what Tavian told everyone, but everyone knows she knows something ...
Or at least that she thinks she knows something.
... None of it can possibly be true, but none of them want to hear anything about that!
I'm writing the Guard about Shairfel. I have to at least do that. I'm sure they'll be able to figure out the truth, out there.
I feel so cliche for thinking this but it is incredible how much he's grown. Though not quite as incredible as the fact that I really did miss him.
I do need him though. And he certainly needs me as well. He won't be getting anything from his father at this rate. Not that I expected anything less from Alastair. I've never seen a less paternal man in my life.
Poor little thing.
[the writing is quite messy]
I heard -- I heard, clearly, I -- I can't even --
[there is a long pause here, and then the writing becomes very deliberate]
They said ... they said this ... only this ...
"It is all as they say."
I ... I feel faint ...
I went to the chapel today ...
The priests there were really nice. They listened to me talk about Leisa ... They even listened to me talk about Devine. And it's been so long since I talked to anybody that ... that wasn't one of us about that ... And he just nodded and listened, and didn't interrupt me or anything. I guess I did talk with Sister Leana about it, but ...
I don't know.
I'm thinking about him a lot lately. I don't know why, is that strange? It's just been so long, and ... I don't know! I know I should be past it by now. But I keep thinking, oh, Devine would love to see this, oh, if Devine was here ...
I guess maybe it's seeing you again, Lorcan! It reminds me of home, sort of. Makes me think about how things were before ...
[Filter: Runecrew, in Kilian]
Something is very different today ...
They've always been standoffish, but today of all days it feels as though something's changed. The fact that they're writing is another sign of that. Either a decision is being made, or there's something else going on that they're worried about. I don't want to suspect violence, but at the same time this is a very unique situation.
Has anyone said anything to any of you? It might just be my imagination, but ... I'm not sure that it is.
I really wish we could have found out more about Autumn and Finlay's trip. Everything we heard during our own trip matches what they told us when they got back, and I was really hoping we'd find something else out and... oh! I just had a wonderful idea!
Autumn! Did I mention that we heard all about you at some of the towns Lydia and I went to on our wine tasting tour? Not all of them, of course, but a few of our stops I heard how much I reminded them of you! Isn't that nice? I never would have thought we would have ended up in the same places that you did. We should spend some time comparing our thoughts about all the places we went to, and maybe next time Lydia and I go wine tasting you can recommend places that we missed!
...oh. A letter from home. I wasn't expecting one so soon...I'm glad to get it, of course, I'd be worried if I didn't hear from them at all. But seeing Mother's writing makes me a bit homesick. Or...at least, makes me wonder if I should be. I'm enjoying my time here, but it's been so long since I've seen my family.
And Mother's writing seemed a bit
I wonder how long it will be until Oscar demands the family take their own trip here to see me, ahahaha.
... I know everyone is likely just as aware of it as I am, but there's trouble. Apa and some of the other men have been talking all the week about the intruders, and now he's gotten it into his head that -- that since Daphne has heard nothing, that's a sign that we must take it into our own hands.
I have tried to speak with him but he will not listen to me. He tells me I'm too young to understand and that this is the work for adults! As though I'm still a child. And that I should just keep the children away while he handles it ...
I -- I know we have no sign that these people are here in our best interest, but surely there's no need for this. Apa will get carried away. He always gets carried away with things like this!
Home at last~ Not that a certain half-sister of mine would have a care, but we've arrived entirely without incident and Fairen has been missing me in my absence. Well, the syreni probably didn't miss me, but who cares about them? There's already a party being organised to celebrate our return, and I'm sure everyone will be eager to hear of how well Father is faring. Why, with how terribly difficult it was to even arrange a visit, I feared the worst, but I'm so glad that he's enjoying his days at some backwater hospice. A carefree life rather suits him, I think. Dragons know he devoted so much of his time furthering himself and Cameryn and Hilary that it wouldn't have surprised me to learn that he had forgotten how to live for pleasure~
[the writing is sloppy and slow, but gets progressively sloppier as the entry is written. there are occasional wine stains on the page]
stop giving me that look, can you blame me if I just want to -- if I just want to go out, go out to Elyiethe's show, all of us, together, it's not so farfetched is it. Is it?? Other families go out together all the time and -- and enjoy each other's company is what they do. enjoy. they don't avoid each other and make faces when one of them happens to suggest they all -- they all have a night out!
it's not like we're going to be together forever!! Cade you know that mother and father are old and -- and it's a miracle they've lasted this long, the way father acts, he's going to catch his death of chill one of these winters and you would just rather have it be that way?? that's what you want. you want to just pretend it isn't going to happen. pretend it's going to be this way forever!!
it's not going to be this dragons fucking damned way forever.
nothing lasts forever.
Mother and Father are going to die and you'll be left with your lovely wife and your lovely children and your lovely lovely lovely house and what does Sky get. Sky gets an empty house and a brother who he barely knows and all the rumors he can hear before -- before Autumn puts an end to them, our dear dear little queen. our dear little queen ... and all the wine he can drink to pretend he's not so hideously dragons damned miserable and alone.
Why can't things just be the way they were before
that's all I
I miss you
Ah haha ... this is ... so strange, isn't it? The fields and forests of Northern Dentoria. I ... we came through this exact same pass, almost eight years ago, did you all know that? We walked this exact same trail, these same steps ... Dragons, it was a lifetime ago.
I -- ah, I must thank you, Lord Hasten, and Lord Glenn and Lord Fartgus Lord Kiefer and -- and Lord Tarmon, as well, of course, yes ... for your invitation to be a part of the main column. I ... it's a pleasure, if a ... a strange one. I -- we -- that is, some of us knew some of you, before, and ...
... this is so different than it was, when we first came back here. Then, I thought I was just going back home. I really thought that Franel would be there, that everything would be back to normal as soon as we saw the walls rising up, but now ...
... ah, well.
Is -- isn't it a beautful countryside, though, everyone? I ... it really is beautiful.
Darling, I do hope you can read this! I have been looking over our last conversation and I still cannot for the life of me figure out what connection there would be between Elizabeth and Lachlan. You are going to have to explain that to me, as I'm afraid my imagination may be running quite wild now.
Dragons, I don't know if I can take another one of these. It seems that I never know if this book will be working properly or not and when it isn't ...
I hope you can read this. If so, have you been able to speak to Lady Eriena? I am due to be evaluated again by the healers soon and I can't imagine they won't say that I am ready, even though I know I'm not.
Oh, it's going to be so good to be home again! Back where it's nice and warm -- I don't want to sound mean but I was getting tired of being up here, it's too cold. And it's such a good time, too, now that it's summer...
And I'm so happy the journals are finally back. I've missed everyone -- well, talking to everyone. Being able to. I...I don't like it when these don't work. I felt so lonely.
I suppose it's a start. "Visiting nobility". As if anyone with two eyes, two ears and a brain behind them could mistake me for anything other than a Northern lord. Even Hasten cannot deny that, but still, it is to serve the kingdom and the pretense stands. A little acknowledgement is better than none at all.
I should put my pride aside. The others have sworn no vows to me, and they still fought as if they were my retainers. They deserve to be feted along with the rest of the army. It will be more time together before ... well, perhaps I should not think too far ahead just yet.
Hasten has invited us to be part of the Dentorian victory train. Each of you can choose whether or not to accept, but this is his way of recognising that we made a significant contribution to his current position. And I think that being treated like heroes by Northerner commonfolk is the least all of you deserve.
Well ... Thank you, girls, for coming by. It was sweet of you to let me know that these were working again. I did miss them, while they were away ... silly as I know that is.
I suppose I ought to make a return to court soon, shouldn't I? I'm sorry, I know you must have been worried. I just ... I think I need a little bit more time away. Things seem ... different now, somehow. I'm not sure how to describe it.
Please, though, enjoy yourselves. I'll be back before very long at all, I promise.
That is very, very strange.
Well, what do you know? They're back after all. That's lucky, since I need some help, here.
I think we need another volunteer to help carry Jordan's litter. Nessa insists that he still shouldn't be riding or walking yet, even though I'm sure getting on his feet would help him walk this thing off. Though I guess pushing himself is what got him into this in the first place ...
Anyway, the soldier who was doing it on our last march is giving it up ...
... I know you get frustrated whenever I bring this up, but I swear Elden's been a nightmare, lately.
[there's a scribbled out start of a word here]
Is this really working again? Is everybody still out there?? I was going to just go back to using this as a journal again, since I thought maybe it was gone for good. I mean this is the third time.
There's so many Holy Guard members here all the time now. I never get to hear what they're looking for or if they've found anything, they only talk to Dad about it, but ... Well, it doesn't seem like they'll be going anywhere anytime soon. They've got the stables filled up with dragons and we had to move the horses ...
Leon, are you reading this?? I'm going to go find you if you're not. I, um ... I wanted to talk to you! About stuff with Jared. Dad and I have been talking about it ... Tell me you're reading!!
I can't believe all of these things ...
It's all real, isn't it? Somehow, it's all real. These monster statues ... I haven't seen anything so detailed! And how can the magic in some of this still work, even after ...
If this is all real ...
[Filter: The People looking for Chartri]
I thought I should tell you, whatever you said to the Adveni a few pages ago -- I can't see it, and they won't let me see it -- it wasn't the right thing at all. They're not really letting anyone who isn't Adveni in, and I think you probably know why. If you're from Evendim or Fairen, you should especially know why.
I can get you some supplies if you need them to keep going, but you can't stop here.
The journals failing, and while it was my birthday of all times too! This is simply unacceptable and I demand answers! I couldn't even write about Lydia and I going on a wine tour of Hanalan, and writing about all of the wonderful new wines we were able to try! We even went all the way to Harcha, and now it is far too late.
Oh!!! I cannot believe that he saw it before either of us did! We should have been the first to find out about the journals working again. Your's is working, isn't it?
I try to find a way to say
Convince the mighty thing to stay
Or throw the damned thing away
Never feel full to hide that way
Is anyone else annoyed that our very way of life is being threatened? I don't want to fight this war without the perks of having a personal magic channel.
[Filter: Runecrew and the Adveni]
... hello. We are about an hour out of Chartri, your city, as I understand, and ... we're looking for your help. A great deal of help, possibly, but we also have things that we can offer you, in return.
We want to know about Dyfeint.
Look, see, I told you it was working just fine! There's not even very much writing before us, we're the first ones from court to know, but it seems to be working just as well as it was before it went out. And heaven only knows why that happened! Next time these quit working, I'd just wash my hands of them entirely if they weren't so handy.
Go ahead, write back, we can make sure it works that way as well!
They're back again.
[the runes from the seal in the caves in Megam are carefully inscribed here in very precise, strong lines. There are annotations about possible meanings for each of the runes, spidering off from the main glyphs like a web, in a hand too cramped to be readable without effort. Care has been made not to crowd the runes themselves at all. the spidery diagrams continues to grow even as you watch.]
At least she likes it when people help her. At least she hasn't turned me away or let some bad guy tell her to turn me away.
Um, so I picked some flowers on my way home from work! Not a lot, just a few daisies and lilies and violets, but they should be enough to put on the table tonight. Or on the windowsill! I think we should have flowers in the house more often, they make it look brighter.
How many people here keep flowers in their house? Just wondering!
Mood: trying to stay happy
I almost wrote this morning to ask if there was anyone who wished to go to the market with me, before remembering that I seem to be the only one left writing who is actually in Rhia. After so long, you'd think I would have gotten used to it by now.
Thankfully, the twins were more than happy to join me and we had a lovely outing. I thought I might find a different hat for this season but so far nothing has seemed quite right. I shall have to keep looking. Still, with the weather turning so nice this past week, it was good to get outside and enjoy it.
It seems so trivial. It always did, really, but I never felt it so much.
Well, I visited home to pick up some of Mother's books. But...it's so strange, being there now. Being a guest in what used to be my home. Mother and Charles have missed me, of course, but Father just seems...awkward. As if he doesn't know how to act towards me. And my room...well, not my room anymore, but they're turning it into a new study for Charles. It shouldn't upset me, but...
The princess does not like me. In another life, another time, I would be hurt. But at present, it is hardly worth another thought. It does not matter that she dislikes me. If anything else, it is easier that she does.
It becomes easier to convince myself that I am doing She has learned to be wary of me, but I wonder if she has learned to be wary of my son. My son, who is almost inseparable from the lady of of the manor. And Eara is the lady of this manor, even with her father's second marriage.
They are still very fond of each other, even after all of these years of becoming more aware of adult concerns. They probably see each other as the sibling they never had, but should it become anything more than that ... I wonder if Nicolas has entertained the thought. I wonder if this is another one of his plans.
So, when he is not with me, Ethan spends his time with Eara, and they go where ever they will, free roam of a manor holding an unprecedented number of visitors hiding secrets. I think he does not yet realise how much people dismiss him, unsee him on account of his age. They see a boy. My son, but still a boy, and they are less guarded in his presence than they are in mine. They do not know that he can recall every word he has heard when I ask. And he is becoming so very good at that.
We're coming up on the Conare gates right now!
I can't believe how long I've been gone! And I can't believe we got home just in time for my birthday! Lady Rachelle, Lady Harmonia, Princess Seraphine, Princess Kelita, I hope you're all ready for tomorrow! And I'm so excited to see you all. Maybe we can have supper together tonight? If you're willing, of course ... And with my lord and Eara, too, of course!