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Gretel- October 31, 2003

October 31, 2003
Dear Arri,

You’re probably wondering why this letter is from me instead of Keish. If you will be patient with me, I will try to explain everything that has transpired since Imato and I wrote.

Imato and the others have been gone nearly seven days now, and Imato thought it would take at least eight to find you. Liop double-checked the maps that they had out (Imato has a hard time with Liop being involved as he’s so young, but Prince Tulson insisted he be allowed to look over the maps with them, which is good, since now we need to look at things). The village Onoff is not too far from the swan formation and we sent Imato a message, so if you haven’t left yet, just go to the village and they will find you there.

Keish sent the message to Imato after reading your letter. She then retired to her room. That was two days ago. I am writing since I don’t think you should be left without an answer any longer.

Her father is very ill and Brynn, Taty and I have been attending to him. We are also seeing to Liop, who is a great help and is quite fond of Jace. The two of them spend a great deal of time researching anything they can think of and tending Keish’s garden so that we have the herbs we need.

Lord Adlen will recover. We do not want to worry you, but their food was being poisoned. Brynn is now preparing Sir Adlen’s food herself. Keish is fine as she was not eating anything other than stews and teas prepared by Brynn. Jace is the only one that can get her to eat even that.
Since writing the above, something extraordinary has happened! A letter came for Lord Adlen, but when Brynn saw it she forbade me delivering it to him. I hope you will not think it wrong of us, but we opened it and Brynn was proven quite right-- in his current state the letter would have been too much. But I have not told you who it was from! The letter was from your Uncle Winthrop!

After we looked over the letter I said that Keish had better see it and handed it to Jace.

“No, I should take it,” Brynn said, looking grim.

Jace shrugged. “You can try, but she may not let you in. Even though she calmed down about you not telling her everything I don’t think she wants to see you.”

Brynn considered this and said, “Perhaps you are right. She will misinterpret what Winthrop says, but perhaps it would be better if I were not there when she first reads it. I shall stay close, though, since she will surely call for me.”

So Jace took it to her. As he has not returned, nor called for Brynn, I will take a moment to give you some of the contents of the letter.

Winthrop (should I call him Lord Winthrop? I do not know, so I will speak of him as Brynn does) speaks of a prophecy of Brynn’s, though I will speak of that later when I know more. Brynn is not willing to say anything until she has spoken with Keish.

Winthrop was abducted just three days after his last letter to you. While at an inn in the village of ONOFF (yes, you read that right) he heard a rumor about you father being alive near Goatsyard. He did not mention this as he did not want Imato getting “all fired up again.” He was abducted in Goatsyard and taken to a cave where the men tried (over the months) to siphon off his magic. The attempt to take you was to make him more cooperative since that was the ingredient they were missing.

You already know about him calling the dragons, I guess. They took care of all but two of the captors.

Winthrop then describes your grand entrance-- though I’m sure he doesn’t really approve, he sounds proud of you. He also assures Lord Adlen (obviously he’s assuming that Lord Adlen knows all that’s been going on) that you have not been captured.

The point of his letter, apparently, is that “there is a plot against Lakeisha’s life” which explains the poison. Obviously someone within the castle is involved with the Narls. Winthrop continues
“They know about Brynn’s prophecy and are determined to destroy her before she can fulfill it completely.”

Again, Brynn will not say yet what this means and she’s right-- Keish should hear it first.
As well as you know Winthrop the warning he gives will come as no surprise-- “You must stop Keish from meddling any more with the omens! She must not perform magic! Take her away from the palace-- not to the cave as Ellean suggested…”

I will stop there for now. I can hear Keish-- she yelled and something crashed, so she probably reached that part.

Jace came out to collect Brynn and he says to tell you that Winthrop is in Onoff (or nearby, he says to send reply care of Franz Journey in Onoff), before I get caught up in Keish’s tantrum and forget. As if I would forget to tell you something so important.

Jace says Keish threw a vase but magically reformed it immediately. Magic has become a way of life for her and we are all astonished (well, not Brynn) at her growing power when Jace tells us what she is doing.

I do not think you would agree with Winthrop, though if you do, you must understand this point. Magic is too much a part of Keish-- it grows in her everyday. I can foresee nothing that could persuade her to give it up, even after this matter is all settled and life resumes its normal course. Perhaps you can help your uncle to understand this.

Keish has stopped yelling, though Jace says she is probably still crying. He is so good at reading her moods, even without being in the room with her. I am almost jealous; I feel I don’t even know her anymore. Her lightness seems to be gone. I do not tell you this to worry you, only so you will understand why I am writing instead and why I cannot tell you everything. The truth is, I do not know much of what is going on in her head.

I think I should tell you that I have come to believe (though I have no real proof) that the King’s inquiries concerning Keish’s health are due to his belief that some sort of cycle is coming to a close and if he understands the omens correctly, Keish should be with child. I have not discussed this with her, obviously, and Brynn will not give me a straight answer. Jace, who is reading over my shoulder as I write this, says he agrees with me, though he’s not sure if Keish has come to the same conclusion. She has become obsessed with the dream of her mother and may not be focusing on the present as much as the past. If there is supposedly a cycle, it would all be linked anyway, as ten years seems to be a common cycle length.

It is evening now. I had to tend to Lord Adlen and decided I would put this aside, since I would have nothing more to say until Brynn came out of Keish’s room. When she finally did, she made a strong tea and Jace returned to Keish to try and make her drink it. Apparently, it will put her in a deep and dreamless sleep, though Brynn admits that Keish’s powers may be strong enough that she will dream anyway.

After sending Jace off to Keish, Brynn sat down with Taty and I to tell us what Winthrop meant. Liop, much to his dismay, had already been sent off to bed. It was late and I wanted to hear what Brynn had to say before deciding if Liop should hear it. After all, he is still so young, and shouldn’t hear too much about your father’s disappearance and Keish’s mother‘s death. This may not really be my choice to make, but someone must.

Brynn sent to Lord Adlen a few months before Winthrop’s disappearance to give a prophecy. She informed him that “the circle is coming to a close and the recovery of someone lost will be the sure beginning.”

The “circle,” she explained tonight, referred to the omen of ten years ago that Keish has been searching for in connection with her mother’s death. Apparently, the omen indicates a peak in magical powers. Usually, this peak is a convergence of extraordinary power in a single child. Often this child is taken by the fairies. There is an old prophecy, though, which Brynn’s not really sure of, that must say something about the child gaining power and interfering with… something. Brynn doesn’t believe that King Menion feels threatened by the child, though, or that he would be a danger to such a child. He simply wants to know who the child is. Of course, as Keish is not with child, I think the King is satisfied that this year is not the year it will happen.
Brynn also reaffirmed what she said to Keish not long ago-- that she knew nothing of Ellean’s death. She understands that her death must have been connected with the omens and prophecy, but that is something Keish had already determined.

After Brynn’s explanation and some discussion, joined by Jace, who let us know that Keish had fallen asleep, we agreed that the child in the old prophecy must upset the plans of the Narls, who are not friends of King Menion, nor of Tulson’s family. Obviously, the King would be interested in the birth of any child prophesied to be an enemy of a group he wants to root out.

How any of this connects to the Brio legacy, none of us are sure. There must be some connection, though. After all, the omens seemed to center around Ellean and now around Keish. This could be a mistake, though, since Winthrop’s letter also states that he doesn’t think they understand your importance. After all, if it is to be a Brio child (maternally, since it seems so focused on Brio women), any child of yours could fulfill it as well.

I must sleep. I will send this off in the morning.

Nov. 1st

Keish has left the castle. No one could persuade her to stay; I don’t think any of us tried terribly hard. Since Winthrop said not to go to the cave, though Ellean suggested it, that is exactly where Keish is headed. We still don’t really know where it is, but Brynn says that Keish is likely to be drawn to it. Don’t worry, she didn’t ask Liop where it is. We have all been careful not to ask him or to set him thinking about it. No one wants him to be in any danger.

He is staying with me, as are Brynn and Taty. As you may have guessed, Jace went with Keish. She did not argue about him going, though I don’t know that she would have let anyone else come. No one else tried to go with her. Even Liop refrained from asking, though I could tell he was upset about being left behind again. I told him I need him here to continue tending to the herbs that are so important to Sir Adlen’s recovery.

Since you sent your letter with Clotho, Keish altered the enchantment so that she will always bring letters to me instead. Hermes, of course, will still find Keish, so keep that in mind when sending your letters. If you need to contact both of us, you will have to send both birds.

Keish also said to apologize to you and promised to write to you as soon as you send Hermes. She doesn’t want you to worry. She has figured out a way to communicate with us here, though I don’t really understand it, so I will make no attempt to explain it. It draws heavily on her magic, though I think Brynn is planning to do all she can to use her magic instead so that Keish will not attract any more attention than she must.

Please don’t worry. She will be safe. She has Jace and her magic to protect her.

Do not worry about us here, either. Keish believes that with her gone, we will not attract any danger. Brynn agrees, though she is keeping Liop in check so that he does not become a target either.

Stay safe. We send our love. Give my love to Imato as well, when you see him.


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