Magic, murder, intrigue, missing relatives, secret caves, fantastical creatures, royalty, nobility, romance...
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Keish- November 30, 2003

November 30, 2003
Dear Arri,

I'm sorry your feet are so sore-- I have leather peasant boots that are quite sturdy. Jace and I decided that we must dress as commonly as possible so as not to draw suspicion. Brynn helped us get what we needed. There haven't been many real roads for a while now. We were just following forest trails-- now we cut across fields or follow the farm paths.

Tell Imato you'll adventure as much as you please. I have a feeling this really isn't over yet, so you may have the chance to get used to it. I am glad you've arrived safely.

It was very good of Uncle W. and Imato to include you when the doctor explained things. You had every right to be included, of course, it's just not something those two tend to remember or acknowledge.

A long-term committal? Would they allow you to bring in a healer? Your father must be seen by one. I know that Uncle W. and Imato are dismissive, but I keep having this feeling that it's terribly important. I've even dreamt about it.

Last night, after reading your letter, I dreamt of your father. He spoke to me-- told me that while the doctors would do no harm, a healer must be called for, preferably one with a background in magic similar to your mother's. That's what he told me. I fear his memory loss may not be strictly due to head trauma. I know Uncle W. especially will not like the idea that there's magic involved, but we can't ignore it, especially considering the circumstances.

Is Tulson still around? Because you should really probably ask him about the mental house. He should know more about it and may know about getting a healer involved. Jace says he's never heard of them working with a healer, but he's not sure if that's because they won't or simply because there are so few. He does say, though, that the doctor there is one that the king himself relies upon, so he must be a good physician. But your father didn't ask for a physician in my dream, and Jace points out that a physician is not a healer in the sense we need, no matter how good he is or who he's connected with.

I know Uncle W. doesn't want help paying for things, but you may want to suggest to him that because of your father's position, the king has every right to be involved and may be upset if he's left out of things. Jace says he's the kind of man who feels a responsibility to men like your father and would insist upon it-- and it's not like you're going to be able to keep all this a secret from the king.

One possibility has occurred to me. If Brynn brings Liop to you, she could help. She has the background in magic, certainly. Communicating with her last night, she insisted that she's not really a healer in the sense I mean, in the sense that your mother was, but she would be willing to do what she could. Actually, she said that if she could work with you to develop your skills, you could perhaps be the healer we need. Just something to think about. She of course can bring Liop to you, but it would be best if they were sent for, since people may ask difficult questions otherwise. We wouldn't want to try to explain to people who she was communicating with, let alone how. Gretel's mother would absolutely not stand for her doing it, but Father is doing better and she can tend to him. Brynn promised to speak with him today, so perhaps I will talk with her tonight before sending this off. (Jace laughs when I say I will talk to Brynn, as if I were going over for a visit or something.)

Speaking of laughter, Mendel's letter made me laugh! (Jace says it's good to hear me laugh again. Traveling has improved my mood and I've been able to break through some of the gloom.) Mendel must have been worried Imato or someone might read it. (Though Imato really should know better-- would he like you to read his mail? Honestly.) Though, can I ask why Imato doesn't think Mendel a worthy suitor? I mean, he's the prince's cousin-- I would have though Imato would like you to find someone in such a position to marry. (I'm not saying I think you should marry Mendel, I don't know him. I'm just surprised at Imato's reaction.)

I also find it really funny that people thought that you and Tulson had eloped! That's great! You've got to tell him- he'll love it! Hmm, maybe it will give him ideas… Just teasing. (Though that could be a good match too.) Sorry, I can't help it, it's all too funny. (See, I told you I'd broken through some of the gloom… I'm being mischievous.) I suppose it'll be interesting when I finally get back to the castle to hear what everyone thought. Of course, they must think that Jace and I have eloped. I wonder if they'll be disappointed.

If we ever get back. I mean, surely we will, but it seems like this is going to go on forever. We're getting close to the Midaeans, but what do we do once we get there? And where do we go next? There are so many unanswered questions-- it feels like it will take a lifetime to sort everything out. (Sorry, I've broken through some of the gloom, but not quite all of it. Sometimes my emotions are on a roller coaster.)

Perhaps Marigold is headed in the same direction we are. I don't know how fairies find their way to the cave. Maybe they don't; maybe fairies like Darius seek them out and bring them back. That cave is pretty far east, so I don't know that Marigold would be drifting that far. I feel like we're approaching a convergence of sorts, a center of power, but I don't know if it centers in a place or a group of people. I suppose, considering the prophecy about a convergence of power, that it could center on just one person, but that child wasn't born. Maybe it means our paths will all cross.

I don't know. I guess I'm rambling again. I'm good at that. I wish I had something more interesting to tell you, but nothing interesting has happened. Maybe something will happen today. I will put this away for now so that we can start out and write more later.

Something interesting did happen today. Actually, we're debating what it means… and if it's a good sign or not. I've told you we make our way telling fortunes-- well we came to a town of sorts today and were plying our "trade". Usually I just act dramatic and make some broad statement that would be true for anyone, but today I couldn't. The magic took over and I gave real fortunes-- real divination. I tried to stop it, causing me to hesitate with each new person, but I couldn't control it. I've been trying so hard not to use magic. I've not wanted to draw attention to us, though I don't think anyone from the palace would look here and I don't believe there are any Narls in this part of the country. Still, though, I've kept it to little things like preserving our food or making it stretch a little further. Little things.

I don't know what happened today. We caused a stir, though. We couldn't turn the people away, and everyone in the town wanted a fortune told. We declined the offers to stay the night, however, just in case. We put as much distance between us and the people as we could. It's quite late now, since we had to push hard, and I am writing by a magical light while Jace watches, looking worried. I cannot sleep, though, until I write more. Again, I can't seem to help the use of magic.

I had been doing so well, too. I know Gretel told you about the last days I was at the castle and how I wasn't always able to control it, but since leaving I had been doing well. Suddenly the power is growing quickly again. If I cannot control it we shall just have to hope that all will be well. This attitude does not comfort Jace, but I feel calm, much more so than I should, I'm sure, but I can't seem to help that either.

Don't worry, though. We are close to the mountains now. I can feel it. The caves are close.

Dec. 1st

I was finally able to sleep and I spoke with Brynn. This was a difference too, for it was not as draining as it has been up to this point. Anyway, we discussed so much, I don't know where to start. It seems so odd to finally have Father know everything.

First- the Narls. It seems they are a group bent on possessing magic-- generally by stealing it from others. Father says, and Brynn confirms, that the Brio family's magic is strong enough to be a very coveted prize. I think that may be part of what Uncle W. meant about them not realizing your importance. They wanted you to persuade him to part with his magic-- they didn't realize you have your own. Someone in the castle, one of King Menion's advisors or something, must be involved with them. Other than that, I don't know. Brynn admits that she spent some time trying to find out more about them, before she came to teach me, but has been unable to learn much. They are a very closed society.

About Brynn's prophecy, and a possible older prophecy, etc.-- Father puts it all together as a Brio child will bring together the Brio powers to conquer some evil that threatens the kingdoms. Clearly this evil seems to be the Narls, or at least associated with them. Bringing together the powers must mean a cooperative effort of sorts, for it doesn't seem that there's any indication that all of the powers will be centered in one child. I think the Narls misunderstand this part.

About the cave Uncle W. talked about in his letter, that my mother suggested- Father says that Mother thought that the lioness would protect us if something happened. I guess Mother said that it would be the best place for one of us to go if or when the trouble indicated in the omen started. (Okay, so just for clarification, since I'm not sure I'm keeping this straight-- there's the old prophecy of a Brio child, etc… the omen my mother discovered 10 years ago was a sign that it would soon come to pass and then Brynn's prophecy was that the cycle was closing, etc etc.) I wonder if the book Darius gave me is the key to all of this. (I still don't know what it is. No spell seems to work. I did have a vision though, the other night as I held it, of myself reading from it. I was in a cave and there were other people around me. Maybe I just have to wait until that time comes.)

Father is still very tired, so I told Brynn not to bother him about Marigold. He did mention, though, that Mother always liked having a fairy around, first Brynn, and then Pricille (both house fairies-- which Brynn confirms are those that choose to leave the ring for whatever reason but retain enough memory to be comfortable in our world). Brynn just sort of appeared at the castle just after my parents started courting (as you know, my mother had traveled to Arella to study with the old astrologist, mostly out of a sort of boredom, I think. A restlessness that I seem to have inherited.) Anyway, Brynn taught my mother, though Mother's powers were already rather developed. I'm rambling again, aren't I?

About my father's letter to Uncle W., which Uncle mentioned-- Father thought that perhaps the family member to be found was Pricille's child. (Distant cousins, remember). He never quite believed that the child was dead and thought perhaps that would solve the whole mystery. He admits that this was wishful thinking as he wanted the consequences to be at a distance from all of us. Obviously, the boy would not be a Brio child, but Father convinced himself that it could be. He and Uncle Winthrop disagree mainly because Father thinks the whole thing is important, just doesn't necessarily want me (or you or Imato or Liop) all that terribly involved. He seems to almost hope that it will all go away if he continues to ignore it. Uncle W. on the other hand, thinks the world is on it's own and that our family has given quite enough. (You'll have to ask him what exactly that means…. Though keep in mind, this is from Father's point of view, so it may not be exactly what Uncle W. thinks.) They disagree on the politics, so to speak. Neither of them really wants us involved and each in his own way has been avoiding dealing with any of it or telling any of us anything. Father at least realizes that this was foolish-- that we are involved whether we like it or not and that we should have been told more sooner. He says Uncle W. should be telling you everything, but I don't know if Uncle will agree. As much as they like each other, they don't seem to see eye to eye-- Father used a couple of interesting phrases…. I think camel-minded was one of them. (Just for the record, I've always found that to be an excellent phrase. I used to use it nearly every day. What would Imato say to that?!)

I think that's really about everything Father had to say. He is getting much stronger, and though he's very worried about me he knows I really couldn't have done anything differently.

Oh, Brynn did say that Gretel is suddenly nervous about how she's been caring for Liop! She's worried that she was presumptuous and took too many liberties making decisions that should have been yours or Imato's or something. She's all flustered about it. She told Brynn that I have to tell you she's very sorry. I think she's worried she crossed the line somehow. She's too nervous to write you herself.

I must close. We're not getting any snow, but it is getting cooler. It's still comfortable though.
Keep safe, but don't let that stop you from living.
Love always

Oh, by the way, tell Imato that he'd better write to Gretel. Brynn says she's not heard from him in many days and is getting anxious (probably part of the concern over her treatment of Liop). If he sends for Brynn and Liop and doesn't write to her she's liable to come bash his camel-minded head. (Yep, I said it again… I do like military slang.)

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