Early Tiger 2611

My beloved Dazi,

I can practically hear your voice in my head when I read your letters. Please don't stop writing, even the most mundane things interest me greatly.

I laughed when you mentioned cooking. I have to help in the kitchen at times and I made stew one night. It seems making stew for forty is much different than making it for four. They were all so kind, but I could tell by the looks on their faces that it wasn't good. When I finally sat down and had a bowl, I almost choked on it. Everyone at the table broke into laughter at my discomfort. I felt embarrassed, but when I thought about how they had all tried to hide their distaste to save my feelings, I had to laugh as well. One of my closest friends here, Leila, promised to help me. She explained what she had learned and my next effort was much better. Still they teased me though, making me sit and taste it before they would try it.

I feel close to these people, Dazi. They're good people who really care. I couldn't ask for more. I wish you could be here, but you are better off with Kassia, at least for a few more years. I'd tell you that you should stay in the Vale where it is safer and more quiet, but I know your spirit. You are not the type to remain planted. Just make sure you are truly ready. This is a very dangerous world, Daxia, and it comes in many forms. Some obvious, some not so.

I saw the results of savage fighting last week. A company of men came to us, many injured... most in fact. We tended their wounds, mostly with bandages and herbs, but for the more severe, some of the Ladies used their divine gifts to aid them. I saw a man have his hand reattached, almost like new, Dazi! His hand! It had been nearly severed completely and Lady Attera's love helped him. I can still see the look of awe on the man's face when he looked at his hand. When I feel like all I do is study and study and I want more, I call up that image and the time flies. I want to help someone like that, Dazi, and I will one day. Lady Catherine says it takes hard work, dedication and humility for someone to be so blessed by the Lady. She believes I can do it. She told me that yesterday.

It is not all studying though. There was a wedding at Korren's manor a couple of months ago. We were all invited. Oh Dazi, it was so grand! We wore our finest dresses and the attention we received from the men, Dazi! I felt like a noble woman for that day. I could hardly walk the next day for all the dancing. It seems I'm actually a fairly good dancer for I never seemed to have a chance to sit down before another man asked to escort me to the floor. I don't know if I've ever been so tired in all my life, but what a time I had. I thought we'd dance until sunrise. Strangely though, the night ended quite abruptly. A very handsome man, Toren was his name, asked if I'd like to go outside and dance under the moonlight. We were on our way, when Lady Catherine stopped us. She gave Master Toren a severe look. One I'd seen myself... that one of complete disapproval. The next thing I knew, she had me by the hand, whisking me back to our rooms. She didn't seem mad at me, concerned, I suppose would be more apt. She was telling me that dangers lurked in the most unlikely places. I suppose she feared for brigands outside the manor. Still it was a marvelous evening and now when I go into the nearby villages, many of the men smile and greet me by name. I always knew that a Lady of Attera is always well received, I suppose it even extends to an initiate.

You're much smarter than a cobble-block, little one. Kassia said the same to me, so don't fret over it. Looking back now, I think it was usually when my head was swimming with ideas of unicorns, and riding through the countryside. I'm sure she could tell I wasn't concentrating as well as I should.

We must all choose our own path, Dazi, and the one I have chosen is not for you. Your heart will lead you, follow it when you are older. Just promise me something, Daxia. Don't let dreams and fancy lead you from the Vale before you're ready. Use your head as well. If you leave before you are truly ready, then Kassia would be correct, for you truly would be dumber than a cobble-block. So put this letter down right this instant, Daxia, and promise me that if you leave, it's because you know for certain that you are ready.

I'm certain I'm jealous that you get to ride. It seems like forever since I've been astride a horse. Is it not the most wonderful feeling in the world? To let your hair blow in the wind behind you as you fly across the land? I can just picture you like that, little one, and it makes me smile.

I am off to find a courier to send this, then I must go to the market to gather some things for dinner. It's Leila's turn to cook, but I'm helping her.

Take care precious, I love you,

© Nivek
The Heartwood and all characters not otherwise expressly stated are © Kh'Lyh'ra Press / Mike Naylor