Timoinei Hanre, tenth week after the festival of Timoine

From Raissei Cora to Dushtanei Asa Khora astin Zameshtan

Dear Sister,

Very early yesterday morning, it was just getting light, I was called by Lyse to assist her with Mialle, who was going to give birth to twins. Their birth was uncomplicated: the two boys turn out to be exactly alike, there is nothing at all that makes them differ from each other. Mialle's husband is a very big man, and he was very pleased to have sons again.

Babies

Except for the ship I sailed to Valdyas on, I have never been in a place where there is so much vermin. Our cats are ever hunting the mice, and yesterday Leva reported that she had seen a big rat in the herb room. I decided to take our cats, that by now have learned to be good hunters, although they did not know what to do with a mouse when I came into the house of Raisse, to the hospital. The small black and white one was very frightened and leapt onto the workbench where it stayed, but the big striped one did hunt and kill the rat, which was as big as the small black-and-white cat.

I do feel neglected by our cats, though, just like Raisse felt when I came into the house, since the striped cat now sleeps with Lara instead of in the hollow of my knees (but I think that is because Aidan always sleeps with me now, so there is no room left for her), and the black-and-white cat is as much in love with Aidan's scent as I am, and I always have to struggle with her for a place on Aidan's breast to sleep on.

The carpenter is working in our "house". She is only an apprentice, but works very fast and neatly and has nearly finished with the wooden things in the walls where the doors will go into. I will have to ask her what those things are called in the Valdyan language. She is also going to make the doors herself: tomorrow I will go to the Temple of the God of Money to get money to pay her and to pay for the wood, yesterday I did not succeed in doing that because I went to sleep coming home from helping Lyse with Mialle and her twins, and did not wake up until Aidan came into the bed with me in the evening.

This morning, it being the day of Timoine on which day Raisse allows me and Aidan to test our prowess in making seals by trying to break them by making love, I made the seals and climbed on Aidan as soon as I was awake. He was still asleep, but it is never necessary to arouse his interest in the mornings since it always is already risen. The ancient handbooks do teach that this is commonly so with men and has nothing to do with a man being in love, but it is very convenient nonetheless. Very soon he was properly awake and was able to make my clouds break, but we did not go through the seals and nobody noticed but Hinla, who always notices everything.

Tonight we will try again, but I feel confident that no matter what I do to Aidan or he to me, we will not inconvenience the people of Turenay again. Unless we forget making the seals, so we will have to guard against that.

I expect that the Halla's medicine will be ready today, and I hope that the tincture will give her relief and teach her body how to make strong enough blood. When I visited the hospital yesterday night, I saw that there were two children newly come, a boy and girl about four years old. The girl is wounded in the arm, the boy in the leg. I will go to the hospital now, and see what caused the wounds.

your sister Cora

Needlework


Dear Sister,

I have to write this down quickly before going to Erne for my afternoon of helping her. Not only did Lara discover just now that she needs to have lessons really soon now: she already knew, of course, that she was very gifted, but helping to clean out the scent shop made her start working with the spirit. However, Raisse is in Veray, Aylin will leave for Essle very soon and Lady Rava is not yet returned from Valdis (although she is expected very soon, only to leave for Veray and then Gralen almost immediately), so to whom could Lara turn?

Aidan and I thought of Alyse at the same time and called Alyse to come and help us. Alyse promised to make time tomorrow to start teaching Lara how to keep her spirit together and how to make simple seals.

The other thing that happened just now was when I was in the hospital, that the two small children woke up. They were bitten by a wolf, although they had not ventured far from the farm they live in and declare they were indeed still within sight of the farm. Their father has killed the wolf and gone to Lord Vurian's house where he will get a shilling for the tail. But the girl, who is only four or five years old, she had woken up a little when I visited the hospital last night, and she recognized me because she had seen me being light, just like Lara had seen Raisse being light that morning that we had visited her.

I wonder why Lara did not see me as light, but there is no doubt a good reason for that. Alyse is going to lend me a book on the theory of working with the spirit, which she says is very boring, but I know I can work my way through boring books already. But if the girl at four or five years old already can see the things of the spirit, she must be at least as gifted as me or Lara. Raisse will be very pleased!

The list of things that I must do is increasing again:

For my jacket, a design that is more proper: a tight bodice to support my breasts, a fairly tight breastpiece formed with small folds to follow the form of my breasts, a small, square neckline that does not uncover anything that should be covered (still, it's strange that Valdyan people do cover themselves up so much when they think nothing of bathing together, men and women), and not separate, but from the same piece, a fairly loose skirt that ends just above my knees, with small folds, to make it stand out a bit.

I need to go to Erne now, or I will be to late for her consulting hours.

Cora


Turenay, Hanre Nafur, last day of the tenth week after the festival of the most holy goddess Timoine

Dear Sister,

Yesterday I went to Erne again, because I had understood that she desired me to visit her at least every other week. I must have been mistaken because she says that although she appreciates my helping her very much and that she learns from me, too, she never wanted me to feel obliged to come to her.

But I had wanted to there anyway, to give Selle my design for a jacket that Hinla and Lara had declared too improper for me to wear. I thought, well, if it is that improper, why not give it to someone who is supposed to be improper?

Selle was very pleased indeed with my little design that I had made from odd scraps of cloth and declared she would go an buy some rich blue cloth to copy the design in. She has very much the same shape I have, perhaps only a little more fullness in the breasts and belly, but not much. She expects to earn much more money when wearing this jacket, which makes me thing that Halla and Lara are right, though it is a pity.

Selle was shaving herself -- civilized woman! -- when I came to her room, and since she had trouble shaving herself left-handed, I offered to finish the work for her. In some respects, just like Raisse's household is similar to the women's palace in some respects, the house for improper women is also similar to the women's palace. Not only that men do not live there (I hear that there is a street in the north quarter when men make themselves available for other men whose tastes lie that way -- and is there a place to go for women who want to pay for either men or women? Must ask Erne.), but many of the womanly arts are cultivated here also. Selle tells me she forbids the men who come to her to talk about their wives: when she had them in her bed, she wants to give them the feeling that they are completely and solely hers. I think that this is what makes her less empty and bitter than some of the other improper women, and also very succesful at her work.

I had previously refused Selle's offer to give me something in return for the design, because I feel I have everything I need or indeed want already. But when I was shaving her, she offered to buy me a good razor at the market for the festival of Anshen. Since it is good to give people the opportunity to be generous, and because if I have a good razor, and can be civilized every day, I accepted gladly. I hadn't told Selle that this was only the second time that I had ever shaved anybody, including myself: the first was Serla, who had the bladder stones, but everything went without any mishap. Only Aidan notices I smelled of violet, the oil with which Selle rubs her skin before shaving being perfumed with that scent.

Selle is rather nice, and we chatted for a long time before I came down to fetch Arni, who guards me now that Lyase is getting too big with her children. I offered the girls in the kitchen to teach one of them accounting, I hope she will come by this evening -- although the evening is, of course, their working time, more than the day.

Before I went to Selle, I went to Erne. Erne really is a bit too strict, I think. There was a man in her antechamber, and she was sending him away, because she doesn't want to treat men. But he complained of a headache and looked very ill to me. One of the girls told us she had found him in the street and offered that he might have been clubbed on the head and robbed.

It did turn out that he was very concussed indeed. Fortunately, I knew what to do, because we have had a case of concussion before, namely in the school for fighting. I tried to call Leva to bring the donkey cart, but didn't manage that, although I have learned to communicate really well, lately, and then asked one of the girls to take care the man didn't fall asleep while waiting for the cart.

I also treated a sprained ankle by making the tendons realign themselves, like Leva taught me to treat torn muscles when we had the builder with the crushed arm. This earned me a compliment from Erne and admiring looks from the girl with the sprained ankle, who, fortunately, earns her bread lying down, not dancing, as she told me.

This morning I will be in the hospital, and I will tell Lord Radan that I will come with him this afternoon to celebrate the "putting up of the roof" on our bath house. Afterwards, I want to visit doctor Jeran to ask him about the men who are visited by men. I want to learn to know everyone in Turenay -- even the neigbour of Arni, who scolds her children incessantly (and, of course, especially her children). This whole world is so new and big -- and there is so much to be discovered and learned.

Truly, I am very grateful to the wise and great Queen Raisse -- I only wish I dared, I wish I could gather the courage, to write her a letter telling her about our house and about Leva making me her apprentice. Raisse already sent her letter telling the Queen all that, and every day I don't write makes me look bad.

But I've designed a new dress last night, and Hinla and Lara have pronounced it to be of impeccable propriety and very becoming.

Raissei Cora

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