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Turenay, Anshein Hanre of the ninth week of Anshen
- Aule, the mother of the baby Venla. She was severely
undernourished and and did not have milk for her baby. However, she
was too proud to accept help, but when I proposed that she should
become maid to Maile and Mernath, she accepted (although I had a hard
time convincing her. Lord Radan has agreed to pay the shilling a week
I promised her as a salary. Maile and Mernath and the two babies
produce enough dirty laundry that Aule is kept busy and feels that she
is earning her keep. By now, Aule has milk for Venla, so Maile is
indeed free to go the hospital to work, with little Athal in a sling
on her back.
- Myself. A case of shingles or childpox. Having this illness when
one is fourteen years old is no pleasure. There were very unpleasant
dreams, and I do not remember Selle and Arin coming to take leave of
me because I had too high a fever. Also, my skin is still very itchy,
so itchy that now that I am home I have asked Arvi to put the silk
sheets on the bed and I refuse to dress except when really necessary,
namely tonight when I have dinner with Radan and Halla.
Selevi came by this afternoon so her two toddlers could catch the
illness from me to "get it over with". I had heard from Leva that this
is a custom with the Valdyan people, and now that I have been ill
myself, it seems very wise. Plus, it was rather nice to have two
toddlers with me in bed, playing tiger and leopard (the boy, Seran,
said "loudpard") with my feet.
The apprentice-priestesses of Death have cared for me very well and
rubbed my skin with Leva's mint ointment, which helped a lot, but
still the need to scratch was so strong that I also asked them to bind
my hands to the headboard of the bed. This was not comfortable, but
better than disfiguring myself in my sleep.
- Note: Tarin and his sister Verla: the boy is the
apprentice of Orin the butcher. When his master was complaining about
doctor Jeran laying a complaint about the lack of cleanliness of his
workshop, the boy disagreed with his master and said that indeed the
workshop was a shambles. It is of course improper to disagree with
one's master, even if he is wrong, but the reaction of the master was
inexcusable: he threw his chopper at the boy, who ducked just in time,
so it hit his sister on her shoulder. I had the healing of her, and
then sent a message to the town guard to apprehend the man. Throwing
heavy knives at children is surely to be punished! And indeed, I have
since learned that the Butchers' Guild has forbidden the master his
trade, and I saw builders at work making a new floor in the shop, for
the senior journeyman has taken over now. (I had forgotten to note
this down earlier.)
- Not mine! I am not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed. I
had not drunk the tea when I was down with shingles in the hospital,
because I wanted to offer to the Mother. When Aidan came home from the
campaign, and took me to our own house, the next morning we made love
before I had thought to drink the tea, but I did not conceive.
I was already feeling unwell when I got up the day after the
wedding celebration, but at first I attributed it to going to bed too
late and drinking perhaps more wine than I should have. I did manage
to introduce Aule to Maile, and then went to the hospital. Leva
immediately saw the spots on my face, especially near the throat and
ordered me to bed. I went to Lara to ask her to borrow the nightshirts
I had given her and to tell Arvi and Aidan that I would be in the
hospital for at least two weeks.
Aidan was very sweet to me, and came to bring me books about herbs
from the school library. There came one other guest in the children's
ward, a boy whose ribs had been crushed by a wheelbarrow: his sister
had pushed the wheelbarrow downhill, and he happened to be in the way
when the wheelbarrow escaped from her hold. It is sometimes very
difficult to decide whether I am a child or a grown woman in Valdyas:
it did not feel right to lie with the builders in the adults' ward,
and it was a little strange to lie with this boy in the children's
ward, but on the other hand, I am just two years older than this boy,
and the builders are more than ten years older than me.
Then Aidan had to go on the summer campaign with the regiment of
Turenay. Two weeks camping out in the forest. He had high hopes of
catching bandits and having a proper fight, but this did not happen.
At least, there was no group of bandits, but they did find an
Iss-Peranian spy hiding in the forest near Turenay, who was however
not after me, but trying to track another Iss-Peranian, someone called
Rahul, Aidan tells me. It must have been a spy because he took poison
when he was approached by the soldiers of the regiment.
Note: I must give Aidan the chance to tell more
about the campaign, since it is clear he enjoyed it a lot, and should
not be made to feel guilty because he went while I was ill. I am not a
pleasant companion when I am ill, I am afraid: when I have a fever I
don't remember anything, and when I am getting better I feel very
Leva tells me I cannot work yet, because I am too tired and because
I would still make other people who haven't had this illness sick, but
she has given me the task to read and compare the books on herbs the
School has and the Hospital herbary; and I am making notes about
agreements and disagreements between the authors. This is a very
worthy work, and I am learning a lot from it.
Turenay, Dochein Hanre of the tenth week of Anshen
This was a bit of a shock: Rhanyn, Torin and I went to the Guild
School -- well, actually, just Rava's small group of people who had
missed the chance to go to another school and are now to old to go to,
for instance, the Temple School, but who still need to learn to read.
And there were two Iss-Peranian boys from Il Ayande. One spoke a
little Valdyan, the other even less. I was so surprised and distressed
at finding people from home in Turenay that I didn't quite know what
But I learned that they had come with an Iss-Peranian woman who had
adopted them and that their adopted mother did not leave her house or
suffer visitors to enter her house. I did discuss this with Leva, who
decided that tomorrow we will go to the poor quarter and will make
sure to visit her. I think that the spy Aidan and his regiment have
caught came for her, not for me.
Turenay, Naighei Hanre of the tenth week of Anshen
This has been a very busy week! Today was not so busy, I was able
to go out and order new shoes to be made for me. The second-hand boots
I bought in Veray when I arrived in Valdyas are now thoroughly spoilt,
there are holes in the soles and they were too large for me anyway.
Also, the sandals I am wearing now are too large for me, I must have
very small feet compared to Valdyan people. Rovan, Erdan's master,
will make new shoes like Raisse's, that encase the feet but still show
- Rusla. Rusla is the woman who suffered from the growth on her
liver. When we went downtown on hanre Donanei to see whether we could
find the Iss-Peranian woman Dimani (of whom more later), I also
remembered to visit Rusla. We found her very jaundiced, that is, her
face and arms were a yellow colour that was becoming nor healthy. It
was clear that immediate action would be needed, so we took her to the
There we laid her down in a bed and sent a message to
her husband, who came immediately. It was the time for the evening
meal in the school so I went there and asked Rava for permission to
ask the students to help us with the operation: I knew I would need
many helpers to complete the task I had set myself.
Everyone volunteered, and I selected about thirty people to help me,
as well as Rava to give me the strength to complete the task, since I
cannot do a great work and grab the strength that is floating in the
air at the same time yet. I am not yet a master in the guild of
Anshen, although now I think I am close.
We had devised the following plan: I would enter the woman in my
spirit and untangle the tendrils of this growth that cut through the
liver and encased it, too, as the caul of a cow's stomach, and every
time I had untangled a tendril (which is just the spiritual
representation, in reality there are no tendrils, but the growth did
have off-shoots all through the liver, maybe seedlings would be a
better simile), I would give it to my helpers. Then when the growth
would be completely detached, Leva would make a cut to the liver, take
the growth out and sew up the wound.
The operation took about two hours, and we did succeed. Leva and I
were both tired out, and we had to call Rhanyn in an emergency to make
Rusla's liver begin working again, since it had stopped already, which
is what made her look so yellow. Rusla does not even have a fever
The students who helped us were magnificent: without them we could
not have done this work. Some of them were very disgusted by the
growth though, and two or three fainted during the proceedings, and I
found my beloved lord husband, who had helped, too, scrubbing himself
at home, to get clean from the taint of this growth.
- Halla: among the children who visited us when we were sitting
outside Arlyn's house (as is our custom when we practise in the poor
quarter), was one girl, Halla, who suffers from the same weakness of the
lungs as poor Maile. She really should go to Sarabal, too, but she is
only eight, and loves her parents. She lives in a very poor, damp
house near the river, and she is also too thin and has weak blood. We
took her to the hospital to fatten up a bit and give her lungs a rest
through being in a clean place. Also, a syrup made of the following
herbs gives her relief:
- purple coneflower
- Dimani Ar-Rajul. When we were sitting outside, and Leva was
treating the adults and I was treating the children (both their wounds
and other complaints, and giving them sweets. I was very strict: first
the sick children would be treated and given a sweet, then the
children who are too thin (I also gave them a shilling, which I should
get back from the fund the school or hospital has for this kind of
charity, but then it wouldn't be my gift anymore), then the rest of my
friends. For they are friends: when we go down the bridge, they
already come to us to greet us and get a kiss or a cuddle from me. I
wonder what will happen next time Aidan and I go to the bridge to
kiss...), well, when we were sitting there, I saw Dorush and Javan,
the two boys I met at school. I asked them to come to me, and they
told me their mother couldn't stop crying at all.
That made us decide to go their as soon as we'd treated the patients
waiting for us. The boys fortunately had keys, because the house has
very strong locks. I know some semti can open locks with
their spirit, but I cannot do that yet. Inside, we found Dimani, who
is about thirty-five years old, quite comely and very, very sad. I
went to her and held her, only to discover that I have no Iss-Peranian
words to console someone with, only Valdyan words. She was
undernourished, had evidently been poisoned (which has damaged some of
her organs) and her womb had been damaged by repeated miscarriages.
But nothing we cannot heal, I am confident of that!
But the worst thing was her head: she must have lived in misery and
fear ever since she married. Soon after her marriage the
dandar must have started feeding her poison so she would not
give her husband a son, and after she had miscarried three times, her
husband repudiated her. Her cousin, the despicable Koll
Konandé, then promised her that if she would go to Valdis and
keep King Athal from honouring his part of the alliance, he would
reinstate her honour and find a husband for her.
I do think that she was rather meant as a decoy, to make sure the real
agents of this worthless traitor would have a free hand while the
King's agents would be busy with her. Also, she would have died from
the poison if she hadn't fallen in the hands of Lord Moryn's daughter
Moyri and Raisse (the queen). I am not sure that Koll Konandé
knew about the poison, though.
We took her to the hospital, with her boys. They are very nice
children, and have befriended Selevi's eldest son, and some other
children in our street and play very elaborate games about generals
and armies and robbers and so on. We have her for dinner now and then,
to fatten her up a bit.
Also, it is nice to speak my own language now and then. She does have
rather an accent in her courtly language, but so do I. Her ex-husband
used to berate her for that accent, but he seems to have been a very
despicable man, completely under the influence of the dandar
he married as his first wife.
We asked doctor Airath to come and see her, and he is treating her
with kind words and the herb goatweed which makes a red concoction and
is good for sadness and fear. I have decided that when I have nearly
finished my studies with Leva, I will try to learn from Airath, too,
for some time.
I have kept a very strict schedule for myself, so I have not been
just working: on Anshein hanre, after the morning service and some
work in the hospital, Aidan and I went to visit sergeant Lyase, who
still has some weeks to go with her twins. I had hoped that Lyase and
Aidan would have fun talking about military things, but Lyase has no
care nor interest in the world but for the children in her belly,
which is understandable, so Aidan went to see how the watermill works
with Lyase's husband, while we talked women-things.
And in the evening we danced at the Unicorn, and we took Ayneth
home for a last glass of wine. Ayneth had confided that she was a bit
unsure about her ability to keep Raith with her, and I proposed to
teach her how to dance. After all, if a wife dances for her husband,
how different would it be for Ayneth to dance for Raith? I am more and
more learning to handle the Valdyan way of thinking about these
things. Perhaps I should not have shown Ayneth a dance, but her love
for Raith is strong enough that she was not seduced by it, though
Aidan was, and Ayneth had to go home immediately afterwards. But I
will reinstate the dancing lessons on the evenings Aidan has to fight
with his regiment. I do not have to organize it: Alyse and Ayneth will
make sure of the room, and they will fetch me from whatever I am
On the morning of Naighei hanre, I went to Lord Vurian's lessons
in making seals for only the second time this season. It's not that I
do not want to attend, for the lessons are very good, but I have been
ill and the season started very late. We had to penetrate a seal Lord
Vurian had made: the first time it was of soft glass, and trying to
burn a hole in it made the whole seal disappear. The second time the
seal was like a straw roof, and I made a mouse out of my spirit and
looked away carefully while the mouse nibbled its way through the
straw. This was a lot of fun to do, and the mouse was very small and
cute. Maybe I should have tried to find a real mouse and steer its
little mind, but I am not sure whether that is at all possible and
besides, the mice have been nearly exterminated by all the cats we
have now in school, house and hospital.
This afternoon I have helped in the hospital, got new books to read
for the children in the children's ward from the school library, gone
to order new shoes (it was also very fascinating to see Ervan and
Rodan work on leather to make shoes, but the glue stinks and gives me
a headache), worked on the comparative herbary and also went out to
learn about painting things, Dimani having expressed a desire to go
outside and paint.
There is one painter in Turenay, who also paints all the signs at
the inns. I found him repairing the sign of that very disreputable inn
I caught Lyan at: he took me home to look at his things. He seems very
nice and will come to dinner tonight, to talk with Dimani about
painting (I have asked Selevi to have Dimani's sons for dinner), and
to ask Aidan to allow him to paint me.
For when we were walking to his workplace (which is a shed with big
shutters in the roof that when open allow the daylight to enter), he
suddenly stopped, looked at me in a way that make me blush from
ankles to headscarf, and said he wanted to paint me. He even made a
quick sketch on a slate while I was looking at his paints, which I was
allowed to take home to show to Aidan. It is very nice. I am not sure
about this painting though: we probably cannot afford to buy it, and
if someone else buys it then someone will look at me all his life
without me knowing, and I do not know what that person will be
thinking when he looks at me. It would be inappropriate if it were
improper thoughts, I think.
I have seen only one other painter, and that was Queen Raisse's
Shab Hafte, who likes to paint women and their children. He mostly
chooses a moment when they are unclothed but his paintings are never
improper. This painter, Jilan, also paints portraits of nobles with
their horses, and there was a painting of Arin's father (Selle's Arin,
I mean). But they were all clothed. I do not know anything about
painting, I am afraid.
Dimani thought the sketch on the slate very good (I was still
holding it when I was back at the hospital after running my errands).
Maybe she can become his apprentice: she has enough money to support
herself and her boys for quite a few years yet. Ceti has put her money
in the temple coffers, since Dimani was carrying it with her, and it
is a large sum, about 600 riders.