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Keish-- January 15, 2004

January 15, 2004

Dear Arri,

It is absolutely too much of Tulson to make you do something like that! I should like to give him a piece of my mind on the subject. I think I will, when I’m there in a couple of weeks. Honestly, what could he have been thinking, putting you in such a position?!

And then to be upset with you for what you told the queen… the nerve! He makes me so mad sometimes. Spoiled youngest prince. Grr. That is just…. I need to go distract myself with something.

I’m calm now. I think you did an excellent job. Far better than what Tulson had in mind, I’d say, since you got the queen to admit that one must marry for love. Perhaps you should be studying diplomacy as well as healing.

As far as ways to introduce Clara… well that’s only part of it, isn’t it? How is Clara going to explain going to Rousha to begin with? Or are the Westridges the type of people that would understand? I wrote to Jace yesterday to see what he thinks-- and to tell him to make sure Tulson realizes she’ll need a wardrobe and such. Maybe he’ll have some ideas.

I suppose Clara could go with you-- supposedly as a sort of ladies’ maid or something.

I’ve been thinking about this since I got your letter and I haven’t come to any conclusions. It just isn’t done-- there’s no precedent. Even in the stories, they never bother to mention those kind of practical details. Gretel hasn’t been able to think of anything either and Papa just laughs… at everything these days.

I haven’t called him that in years, but it just slipped out the other day. He’s started calling me Keisha or Keisha Nerys. He hasn’t done that since Mother died.

Speaking of Papa-- I finally got things worked out for his birthday. He rather wishes we could all celebrate together since Uncle W.’s birthday is coming up also. We’re just going to have a quiet dinner here this week and then Jace is making arrangements with his parents for a larger dinner the day after the ball. Please tell Uncle W. and Imato and Liop so they plan on it. Since we’ll be spending the day with Lady Pren, I thought that day worked out the best.

Oh! Since you didn’t seem to object, I told Jace to go ahead and write to Liop about them exploring together while we’re with Lady Pren. If it is a problem, just let me know and intercept the letter from Jace.

Personally, I’m looking forward to being in Rousha as a good way to avoid Vanessa. Naturally, she’s coming too, but there should be enough going on to keep her from pestering me. Unfortunately for Clara, once it’s announced that she’s Tulson’s fiancĂ©e, Vanessa will probably want to compare notes on wedding plans.

It’s too bad Clara doesn’t have a long-lost father like Marie. Her presentation to court was a few days ago and it went very smoothly. It was pretty much like any other. She looked lovely in her gown and managed all the dancing, which she was quite concerned about.

January 16

I lost track of time while I was writing yesterday, so I had to leave off when Gretel came looking for me. We were supposed to go out to do some shopping. She needed to get away from the palace for a bit. Really, some of the gossip is getting out of hand. Even Vanessa’s mother is fading into the background as far as the gossip goes-- and her daughter is marrying the prince!

Gretel’s mother is taking the whole thing too far. If one more person mentions the idea that Imato’s training has taken longer because he’s really a sorcerer knight-- a position that no one has held in at least a century-- and that he’ll be the king’s personal sorcerer… well, I might scream. Poor Gretel has to put up with the talk constantly since there’s a steady stream of women coming to gossip with her mother. I think she’s starting to wish they could just elope.

Last night Papa told me that the king has been receiving reports indicating a complete collapse of the Narls. There have also been many reports of men suddenly not knowing why they are where they are, or arriving home after having been missing for years-- with no memory of what they’ve been doing.

There have been some reports of problems, but mostly it seems that taking care of Gessair has taken care of the Narls.

Does Nysa remember more? She asked Brynn some interesting questions. I hadn’t realized Brynn was from the Toroon line. I’m not sure there’s anyone left from that line…

I wonder why the fairies didn’t take one of us? Do you think our mothers found a way to keep them from taking anyone? Or did Nysa stop the fairies?

Oh! You said Liop made a bright blue potion that caught fire? That little sneak! That’s why I can’t find that book of spells-- he must have taken it with him. You’d better get it away from him-- several of the recipes have mistakes in them (like that one). It’s a small volume, kind of ragged and says simply “Practical” on the front. It’s sort of a dirty yellow with red lettering. Hopefully you can find it before he sets anything big on fire… a lot of the mistakes seem to result in flames. Sorry, I didn’t even realize it was missing until a few days ago. He must have found it after I left and he wouldn’t have realized it has so many mistakes. I’ll have to get it from you when I’m in Rousha-- I’ve been trying to correct it.

I’m bringing a “lady in waiting” to Rousha. Well, sort of. One of the maids that helps me from time to time said something a few days ago about wanting to visit Rousha, so I figured, why not? Her name is Shelly and I quite like her. I won’t need much, so I told her she could do all the exploring she wants. She’s thrilled. Gretel just laughs at me.

Speaking of which, (laughing, that is), I’m sorry everyone is telling you not to listen to everyone else. It is funny, though. I don’t know if it would be helpful if I tell you not the listen to Mendel or not, so I’ll refrain even though it’s tempting.

January 19

Sorry I haven’t sent this yet. I thought I’d best wait to see if Jace had anything helpful to say. I just received his letter and he says his mother wants to arrange things. She seems to know what to say to the Westridges and is going to have Clara come stay with her. Lady Pren also seems to think that just introducing Clara as “Clara Songson” is enough and that she (Lady Pren) can control some of the gossip. So I suppose Clara will be hearing from her. (This is one of the rare occasions when I am all too happy to turn things over to an adult!)

Oh, and Jace says that Tulson had already thought of the need for a wardrobe (there may be hope for him after all) but he was happy to turn those details over to Lady Pren also.

It’s quite late, but I’ll send this off first thing in the morning. You’re probably getting anxious since I’ve taken so long responding. I shall see you soon!

Love Always,

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