Oh sister, sister! I will have to go to Valdis. My lord husband wants to meet Athal before he leaves to conquer Aumen Síth. I am a dutiful and obedient wife and it his pleasure that I accompany him, but I am dreading Valdis, where there are so many agents of Koll Konandé. I also hope that Athal and Raisse will not be angry with me or my lord husband. I do not think my lord husband has thought of the danger, for he is very brave.
I wish that Leva would forbid me to go tomorrow -- and I wish she wouldn't! I must ask Riei what to wear in Valdis and prepare my clothes, since I cannot appear at Court in my hospital clothes.
I need clothes for visiting the court... I do not think I have anything suitable. When I came to Valdyas I only had three shifts and my sailor's clothes. In Veray, Lyase bought boots, a long skirt and a jacket for me. The skirt is cut short now, though still my best, but the jacket too frayed to wear.
I did have three pairs of hospital skirts and jackets, but Selle accidentally packed them and took them with her. She did give me a white shirt of very thin linen set in with bands slightly thicker linen so it is still decent: I can wear that, together with the green jacket I made in Gralen.
I also have the three pairs of hospital skirts and jackets I made in Veray, but they are frayed and gray with washing and even the embroidery looks tatty now, besides, the skirts and sleeves are very short, maybe too short to wear while travelling.
There is another, longer skirt, that might be suitable for travelling in, since it is not very becoming but quite thick, as well as three pairs of stockings I knitted before the feast of Dayati and haven't worn during the summer.
My nightshirt and shirts I have given to Lara, but I can wear my lord husband's old shirts, so that is not a problem, besides they are long enough that they also can make do as petticoat. I made a skirt and jacket for the summer a few weeks after the feast of Dayati, but the jacket was improper and I gave it to Selle.
There is the white jacket I made for our wedding: I will take it to show to Raisse, but I do not dare wear it again for fear of spoiling it. Besides, it is very beautiful, but maybe not courtly enough.
I do still have a length of red linen I had intended for a hunting costume of Aidan, a length of multi-coloured linen that I wanted to give to Selevi and the silk bed sheets Erne gave us: three in all, in gold, orange and red.
I thought I had made more clothes since arriving in Turenay, but most of it has been for my friends, besides, I am always wearing my hospital clothes except when we go out for dancing.
There are many things I need to set in order. We cannot leave before Anshein hanre next week, since I have agreed with Faran the dean of the guild of stonecutters that I will examine (with Lydan, Rhanyn, Kancho and Leva) all the guild members for wounded lungs. Before that time I need to finish these tasks:
Aidan suggested that we pay Arvi during the weeks we are gone, but I have a much better idea. Surely I am entitled to my own lady's-maid when I visit the Court? I will take Arvi and together we will learn the courtly manners and traditions of Valdyas. Besides, we promised Arvi that she would learn all that is necessary for the management of a great and noble household. Aidan does't yet know I intend to take her, and I still need to ask Arvi. I will do that tomorrow morning, first thing.
But now I need to sleep: downstairs, Dimani and Jilan are softly talking and giggling. They did kiss, at the Unicorn, tonight, which pleases me, but I was too small to see them doing it. Tomorrow afternoon Dimani will help Jilan negotiate the price of a formal portrait with a nobleman!
There was also a man in the Unicorn who was sent by lady Moyri to see whether Dimani was doing well. He did look at me in a most unpleasant way, but that was because he thought that I might be Dimani. I may have been too snappy at him and not polite enough.
Still some good will come out of this: we won't be in Turenay for the fighting and I look forward to meeting Athal and Raisse, Rikhi and Pnimah. And also Dushtan and Roushan (whom I sent to Valdyas!) -- so they can see that we Valdyan doctors are among the best there are!
The day after tomorrow we will leave... I should have taken the time to keep my notes in order this week, but it has been very difficult to find time at all. And so much happened!
I really should do the sums, but I simply don't have the time!
There are about sixty children attending the poor school in the East Quarter, near the river. They have one master, master Fian. Master Fian is a much better school teacher than I had been led to believe, only dreadfully poor.
His wife is a stupid useless improper woman who doesn't know her duty as a wife and, I am resolved, will get it in the ear from me when I see her, she has driven him out of their house and taken up with another man. Master Fian now sleeps in the woodshed behind the school! What Master Fian needs is a nice Iss-Peranian wife, someone who knows how to honour her husband.
The woodshed is where we examined his pupils. Most of them I already knew, of course, since they come from the poor quarter, and quite a few I had already washed and cleaned from vermin.
He has two quite bright pupils, who want to become apprentice masters -- which is a confusing thing to say -- but he cannot afford to feed them. They are Jinla and Morin. And the children at school get to eat at school during midday, but only with bread the baker couldn't sell the day before (well, I dare say he could sell it still, for a reduced price, so it's still a worthy gift).
Nobody was really ill, only a few of the children had to go to doctor Torin the next day (that's where being poor, not being Síthi and so not eating sweets all the time counts!), and we took Master Fian to the place where Aidan had had such nice ducks, near the back of the whores' place, for the midday meal. He was so hungry I could give him three-quarters of my duck almost without him noticing!
Then we took all children and Master Fian to the Mill Baths, where we could tell the boys and girls all about growing up and things, and get them really clean besides. I am writing this down because I must make a note: there were two rich ladies, Halla astin Hayan and Caille astin Rhydin, who saw the children and saw that they were very skinny. They asked me about them, and I told them about the school and about looking for someone to help. I had thought about Lord Moryn... But they then said they wanted to speak to the Master themselves, and were thinking of putting a rider or two a week towards his apprentices, the school meals and so on.
Note: on return, make sure this has happened! (Also, visit Halla the whore whom I met when I was eating ducks with Aidan at the abovementioned restaurant, and who is so poor all her clothes are in tatters. Also, visit the whorehouse Erne and I visited where all the improper women are neglecting their health and comeliness and have to ply their trade in beds without even clean sheets, which is a situation that should not be allowed to continue.)
I do think that the town should make sure the school buildings are solid and in good repair, and when Aidan and I dined with Lord Radan, he agreed with me. That reminds me: he told me that Aldan, the chandler's son, has been working with him to his absolute satisfaction on the town's accounts.
Tomorrow, Arvi and Aidan will pack, and I will be with doctor Jeran, and in the evening receive the stone-cutters. Tonight we will sleep in our old room in Raisse's house, since our belongings have already been taken up so the builders don't soil them.