Late Poet 2611

Dear Bekkah,

When I read what you wrote about the man's hand that was reattached because of Lady Attera's love and blessing, I felt shivers all over. What an amazing thing to be able to see! I have always believed you will be a great Healer. I'm glad your Lady Catherine believes you can do it, too.

The world does sound like a very dangerous place. I wouldn't think a wedding would be a dangerous place, though. Perhaps some of the guests were not very nice people, and that's why Lady Catherine wanted you to leave? I heard some of the initiates talking about their families, and it seems like people get mean when they drink too much beer or ale or wine. Maybe that's what happened.

I like to dance, too, sometimes. I don't dance with any boys, though. Well, of course, there aren't any boys in the Temple anyway, but when we go to the Midsummer and Midwinter festivals, Kassia makes sure I stay with the initiates. And she watches us all very carefully. Maybe there are dangerous people even in the Vale, though I can't imagine Khorall Linnell allowing that to happen. Still, I do feel very safe when Kassia or one of the other Verchovai are with us.

Daneel says her secret for making good stew is to keep a pot going forever. Every day, she just adds more meat or vegetables and spices sometimes. She says that gives all the different flavors a chance to get to know all the other flavors and get to be friends. Even though I was a little bit annoyed that she explained it like I was still a little girl, it does make sense. And it certainly works, because she makes the best stews!

I think I'm listening to Kassia better now. She still gets upset with me and calls me a cobble-block, but I think now it's because I'm not learning things fast enough. Sometimes I'll suddenly understand something she said a fullhand of days before. Of course, when I tell her I finally understand what she'd been trying to teach me, she just sighs and says, "It's about time." My brain can only work so fast, Bekkah! I'm only eleven, after all! I'm not all grown up like you, or old like Kassia. I am always doing my best, and really am doing much better than last time I wrote.

I promise not to leave the Vale until Kassia says I should, Bekkah. I like it here, and it's such a beautiful place. I'm way too young still to even think about leaving, and I'm too old for daydreams.

I ride every day now. I help the stablemaster exercise and groom the horses. She showed me how to clean the mud from the horses' hooves so I don't hurt them. Horses don't like to walk around with really dirty feet, I guess. Darra even lets me ride her destrier -- that's what the war horses are called. She's so BIG! But she's very gentle, too. I didn't understand how such a gentle horse as Blossom could even be a war horse. But Darra said the Kierkegaards train them so well that they can be gentle when all is well, and very fierce when they are in a battle. It made me think about the fight you wrote about. People aren't the only ones who get hurt in battles, are they? Beautiful horses like Blossom could get hurt, too. That makes me really sad. I think even if I decide to become an initiate of Dayala, and learn how to fight, avoiding fights is still the best idea.

Besides studying and doing all my chores, I like to go with Daneel to the markets on Marketday. There are always so many interesting things to see. And when the Pass is open, so many merchants come up from Cragside! They bring things from places I've only heard about in stories -- Talantal, Trundle-on-the-Hill, the Amber Clans on the Plains of Kaa.

I miss you, my dear sister!

All my love,

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