Oh, I have been so negligent! I have left my notebook closed for far too long. Tomorrow, it's the Festival of the Goddess of Death. Cynla and Torin will marry then, and I will have lost the anchor (that's what Cynla says the big stone the captain of a ship ties to a cord and throws overboard to stop the ship is called) that kept me from having nightmares every night. Last night, the nightmares were bad enough, I crept into Arvi's bed again. I ought to talk to Leva or Raisse or doctor Airath about this, I think.
I had Lady Khastane sleeping with me, but though she tried to comfort me, she is not yet a very comfortable person -- she will have to learn that with her grandchild. This morning, when I got up, I had forgotten that Torin was staying with us and came into the room naked. I dived under the covers, next to Cynla! He told me he thought me very cute, but I know how he used to look at me, when Aidan was giving me swimming lessons last Summer. How long ago that seems!
I have been in the Temple of Mizran to get some money to give my friends for the Festival of the Dead (it seems that the Valdyans do not have this custom, I had a lot of difficulty explaining my giving something to everyone whom I had given something in the past year, although the Valdyans do give something extra to their apprentices with every feast day), and I learned that we will likely get between 15000 and 35000 riders from the cargo of the White Whale; if we had had to buy the cargo the profit would have been less, of course. This is so much that I had to speak out to the Priestess: I do not want to be so rich. I already had written to Aidan about that.
I spent about thirty riders on these gifts, and about five on gifts for Cynla and Torin.
In any case, a lute will not be a problem, nor will we have difficulty building a new house or buying a vineyard and a farm. Tylse has seen a nice house in a good neighbourhood, where there are all kinds of small shops selling luxury items, so she will be asking about the price, and we will probably be able to arrive at an agreement. I will not start building the new house until Aidan has arrived: he is my lord and master, and he ought to have a say in its design and appointments.
Tomorrow (or rather, today, I am writing these notes in the hospital, where I am doing night duty), Cynla and Torin will be married by Raisse: they arrived at this decision not so long ago, and Arvi and I had to scramble to buy presents.
Also, Kancho and Anju will be married. I will visit Cynla and Torin during the afternoon, and Kancho and Anju in the evening. Síthi weddings always take much more time! It's a good thing I prepared their wedding gifts a long time ago, some beautiful silk dresses for Anju. And Ram helped me sort out the medicine Aidan sent me, and I have made a really nice packet of rare medicines and also spices and herbs that are costly and useful in a household.
I am doing the hospital, together with Torin, since Leva has gone to her birthvillage for a midwinter visit. She was so tired after all our work during the lung epidemic!
Not a case, but I have spoken to Seran, sergeant of the watch and temporary commander of the army in Turenay, and he will make sure every veteran arriving from Essle will go through my or Erne's hands: we want to make sure that anyone infected with the Síthi whore's sickness will be caught in time, before the infection spreads. It will be a wrench when Aidan comes home, and I have to make sure he is healthy before making love! Maybe I ought to ask Erne to check on Aidan, instead of doing that myself.
Lady Khastane: she came to Turenay and managed to find our little house. She was very tired from the journey from Valdis, and I gladly gave her shelter. She really is nice, but when she tried to comfort me after a nightmare I did not feel calmer. This may be because she isn't sure of herself yet, or because I am still afraid of dandar and she still feels a bit like that, I am not sure. I felt very bad about it; it must have disappointed her and maybe even insulted her. She left yesterday because she could get a ride from a carter to Veray, but I was busy buying presents and we could not take leave of each other properly. I will make a point of visiting her when I go to Veray, when Leva is back.
Rovan:: he is so strong! So lively, so cheerful! I found him in the stables, keeping the horses company and brushing them, when I wanted to check on his progress. He is making excellent progress, so in a few weeks he'll be able to walk without splints. I am going to take him with me to Anju's wedding, so he has a chance to meet some other Síthi girls. Maybe he'll get a girlfriend...
Last night, all the acolytes from the Temple of Death were busy finding a man to sleep with, so I had night duty in the hospital. Lyse was away, and Halla had just come back from her fourth case in one afternoon -- all my fault! -- so I went when a man came. Nothing special, though. The woman was well tended by her mother-in-law, and when I arrived, I already could see curly black hairs peep through. A very pretty daughter!
Selevi is expecting again, by the way. And I should check whether the High Priestess Senthi is pregnant: she visited doctor Torin tonight. We just had a cup of tea together, apparently he kept her busy all night long. She smelled deliciously of having been with a man, and she seemed very satisfied, although she told me before she prefers women to men. (Which seems like a dangerous proclivity for the mistress of a temple full of women and girls, but then, what's the difference compared to home?) And she told me Torin was indeed very sweet, and that he deserved a nice girlfriend. Also, Senthi has promised me to send someone to master Fian of the poor school, since he had a sprig of holly pinned to his door, and Arvi told me that that was an invitation for the priestesses to come in on their yearly quest for a chance of beginning a new life in the middle of death.
This is a part of the Valdyan tradition that I do not understand -- we celebrate the Festival of the Death quite differently in Albetire! With lights floating down the river (although they do that in Essle, too, I was told), fireworks, nice food with all the living and dead members of the family, presents of money for all dependents -- here it is a very sad festival, really. The only thing that reminds people of newborn life is the possible visit of a Priestess of Naigha who seeks to become pregnant!
I spoke to Maille about this, and she told me she wouldn't allow Mernath to pin holly to their door, it is mostly only widowers and bachelors who receive the priestesses. But Lord Moryn's brother was born of a Priestess of Death, too, he told me that very openly.
Bahush, the former owner of Javan and Dorush, has sent someone to Turenay to pin a nasty little letter to Dimani's window with a Hayan knife! The letter said, "Go away, all filthy foreigners!", so we were very angry! I am not going to write about this to the Queen or to Aidan, since I suspect it was a personal attempt by Bahush at either getting revenge, or showing Koll Konandé that he had done something for him.
In any case, Koll Neveshtan has died and has left his fortune to the King and has also disinherited Koll Konandé. I am not sure how this will all play out, but then, it is not my thing to worry about either!
So much has happened that I really should note down! My bookkeeping is in tatters, I hadn't paid Arvi for weeks, I have learned a lot about infectious diseases, I can diminish fever now, I have seen a whole new side of the world of men and women in Erne's practice -- but I am tired, and I am going to sleep for an hour or so before taking up the morning duty. This afternoon is for Cynla (such a pity I had to take night duty, so I couldn't have one last night with Cynla, but then, if I hadn't, Senthi couldn't have had her only night-a-year with Torin!), and the evening is for Kancho and Anju.