So much has happened this week that I had quite forgotten to make notes! But I will make good now, since we have just returned from visiting Khastana and Parandé, and what happened must be noted down among my cases.
It was good to see, however, that the lessons include a lot of practice are not just theory, as I had feared. There are about a dozen apprentices, four or five are gifted, the rest have to rely on their ordinary senses and sensibility.
After helping Tarin, though I was a little tired and drenched with sweat (I did not dare take power from my fellow students, although all the gifted apprentices were watching me with their spirit), I still told everyone about us visiting all the schools in Turenay and having the stonecutters come for a yearly inspection of their lungs.
There was a very old man, about forty years old, who started out as a maker of paint, if I understood him correctly . He has taught himself reading and writing, and he is now the secretary to his guild and an apprentice doctor, because, just like me, the Gods have intended this to be. He was very interested in what I told about the stone-cutters and intends to do the same for his guild members, who often work with very poisonous ingredients, apparently. (I didn't know that, and now I feel guilty about loving brightly coloured clothes, although, of course, I mostly wear easily-washable white, or will be when I return to Turenay. I intend to do the same I did before entering Valdis, but the other way around: I am going to enter Turenay dressed as myself, that is, in my hospital clothes.)
Over the past few days, I have visited the Academy three more times, and I think I have learned quite a few things. Besides, Raisse is going to have copies made of three very interesting herbaries, and Dushtan has lent me her notebook, which I have copied out very rapidly, though I need to stay up a bit to finish the task tonight, after I have finished my notes. Aidan is sleeping now -- I have danced for him, and he has been very sweet to me, not talking at all of the horrible things that might happen, but just telling me how much he loves me and making me more compliments than ever before (though still a bit awkwardly worded.) I cannot sleep anyway -- I have taken brush, ink and paper and am sitting down next to him, while he is resting his face against my buttocks and for the rest curled up around my knees. I did not know he could do that!
Oh the poor Ebru! Or rather, the awful customs of her people! She arrived in Valdis from the Plains the day before I treated Tarin, and we met her when she was on her way to the Palace to deliver a letter by Prince Reshan astin Ökgelen. They have cut her cheeks with three or four (I didn't dare look close enough to count them) slashes, each of them, and then rubbed them with a horrible powdered root to make the gashes swell and form scars! They still sting and hurt her, and I am not allowed to do anything for her.
But apart from that, it was very good to see her again. I had missed her dry wit, her warm disposition and her sunny mood more than I had realized. She has performed a very heroic deed, rescuing a plains boy from the clutches of the enemy -- the boy had entered a Khas camp to, as Ebru says, piss in their porridge, doing his bit for the war effort. She beat off an entire Khas army with her fighting stick, grabbed the boy and got her slashes immediately afterwards, without having to undergo another trial.
And the master of the Order of the Sworn of Ildis, who is there with his troops, has immediately given her her gray uniform. Ebru tells me she was very glad about that, because the boy who was already sweet on her before she left had not forgotten her and wanted to marry her. Apparently, without the uniform, she would have had a hard time making him obey her no. And much as I regret it, I do doubt that Ebru would make a good wife, and certainly being married would not be any happiness for her!
Oh, the past week has been so busy. Hediyeh and I have, true to my promise, given dancing lessons to Arvi and Raisse every afternoon. Raisse has made nice progress (and Arvi has had at least four boy friends visit her in the night this week, and one was only eleven years old!), and we have allowed Raisse to dance for Athal this evening. We made her look her very best, and I even added a little glamour using my spirit, not to seduce Athal, but to make Raisse feel even more one with her body. Mostly, Raisse and her body seem to be a bit -- well, separated, perhaps. As if they are sisters who are barely on speaking terms!
We also reviewed the troops, and I have seen Aidan's little group of soldiers he is responsible for. His task is very honourable, as noted above, but not very dangerous, and with probably little chance for gaining great glory. The only danger I see, having talked to his charges in their court language, is that he will not be able to control his temper with them. They are very exasperating people, too full of their own importance and not smart enough to see that their days are over. I must give Aidan the Iss-Peranian book on statecraft I had wanted to give to Raisse -- he needs to read it so he is more prepared for politics and scheming. He's so wonderfully innocent! I hope he will not have lost all that innocence when he returns to me.
The troops were soldiers -- I am not any judge in these matters, so that is all I could see. There were about six thousand of them, and four hundred Khas. Also, when the parade was over, they just went their own way, instead of properly and decoratively marching towards the camp. But Aidan explained that this is the Valdyan way.
That was yesterday morning; yesterday afternoon we went to visit the dandar Parandé.
Parandé is a young woman, perhaps not very intelligent. She is in love with a man called Bahush -- from Raisse's stories this man is the worst kind of Iss-Peranian husband who does not allow his wives to leave the house, and a spy for Koll Konandé besides. However, Parandé loves him. We found her, Bahush' mother and Bahush' first wife, Hinla, in the house of Hinla's mother. Bahush' mother is very distinguished old lady, she came from Zameshtan, but had left long before I was born. But we could speak Zameshtani together, which gave her great pleasure.
Parandé is not much of a dandar: she is barely talented and knows this, but still managed to engineer the desired marriage between Hinla and Bahush. Hinla also loves Bahush, of her own accord, and the two women do not mind each other, but like to be together as friends.
In the end, Raisse took Parandé to Khastana, who was still at the palace of the Order of the Sworn. I do not know what they said to each other, but it ended up with Parandé going to the temple to pray to Anshen, and I had a few moments with Khastana, as noted above. Note: do not forget to send on her letter to her son and daughter-in-law in Veray.
I did discuss the subject or marriage with Parandé and convinced her to stay in Valdis and make Bahush promise to allow her and Hinla to go outside the women's quarters. Parandé wants to take a job as cook; when I first met her, she was teaching Hinla (who also is not very intelligent, I am afraid) how to prepare lemon chicken. It smelled very good, and I would have loved to stay and taste it, since I haven't had real lemon chicken for over a year now -- there are oranges in Turenay, sometimes, but I've never seen a lemon!
Life in Valdis has been cheap. I have received my five riders allowance at the festival, from Athal, just after Prince Attima gave us the ship. Aidan got his increased allowance, but has given the extra riders to me, for the household. Athal had to grin a lot, I think he saw it as a joke.
I still have two riders and a couple of shillings from the ten I kept for taking Athal and Raisse out with: I spent four shillings on visiting Imri.
We also have taken out a loan against the ship we got from Attima, two hundred riders, with an insurance, costing twenty riders, against the disappearance of the ship. The temple fee is another twenty riders, ten to the hundred. So we had one hundred sixty riders: we divided this, and I have gone into Valdis with Aidan and we have bought necessities for his travel, such as linen for shirts (I have made him six, so I can keep his old three for my own sentimental reasons), cloth for trousers and lots of other things soldiers apparently need, and a few keepsakes of this visit for myself, as well as presents for my friends in Turenay -- marbles and glass beads for the young girls I know, Selevi's and those downtown, some special Síthi hair oil and a very nice comb for Sinaya, for her own personal use, and so on.
This has left Aidan with 76 riders (allowance plus remainder of the loan) for taking with him, and there are 84 riders and twelve shillings for me, allowance and remainder of the loan.
Tomorrow I will give Aidan my letter and my portrait (that I have had encased in a strong leather envelope and varnished, hoping that this would be more durable than easily bent silver).
 In fact, a dyer of fabric.