Moreover, I do not know why you
are making this gods-awful fuss over a few welts and rashes. It is not as if the
rashes will not disappear in due course. As for this bright purple sheen upon
your skin that will not wash away…I am reasonably optimistic that the puce-like
color too will fade, given time.
Honestly, anyone would have thought you had been scarred for life the way you
screeched, yes, screeched at me in your letter! I wonder if Mother knows about
the extremely unladylike words you had used for I am sure she will rebuke you
most diligently if she did. I have sent her a copy of your letter for her
perusal. The messenger should be arriving today at Father’s house even as I
write this. I trust you will believe me when I say this is for your own good.
However, I am by nature forbearing and forgiving. Hence you will be reassured to
know that I shall not hold you the least responsible for your words and merely
attribute them to a brief malady of the mind of which I had noticed you are
often prone to.
There, we are Sisters once more and I shall not blame you anymore for you know
how deep my fondness for you is.
Cousin Kyiri was exceedingly sympathetic when I told her of the letter you had
sent me. She made a gift of several trinkets to me to sooth my distress. How
sweet and good of her! The merest trumperies, she said and laughed. Have I ever
told you about her laugh? It is truly amiable like the rest of her. I am
reminded of the chiming of bells when she laughs. I shall endeavor to practice a
similar laugh in the privacy of my chamber.
I am sure you are avidly keen to know what Kyiri gave me. I shall list them for
you so that you can share my gratification. A gold necklace with a finely cut
garnet stone, a pair of garnet earrings to match, a silver bracelet inset with
diamonds, said to have been forged by a master dwarf-smith and needless to say,
very costly indeed.
Clissa wearing the emerald ring
she received from her cousin. Picture from
the game Mystical
Empire™, used with friendly permission. Illustration by Faugar.
Lastly, our dear cousin presented me a ring from her own collection! An emerald
cut in the finest order and possessing a lustrous sheen that bespoke its
Cousin Kyiri insisted I wear it immediately and said it suits me very well. I
was naturally reluctant to accept such a veritable treasure but it is true,
emeralds always accentuated my coloring to perfection. Furthermore, I would have
been insulting our cousin grievously had I not accepted her benevolence so I had
no choice in the matter but to take the trinkets with a good grace.
The emerald catches the light and flashes green fire from its depth most
pleasingly on my finger as I write. I hope you are not jealous but I know you
are not for you have been promised Mother’s pearls as part of your dowry when
and if you marry. Do not listen to the servants' idle gossip. I am confident
that the pearls are not dipped despite their curious lack of shimmer.
My life in Voldar has settled to an extent of dullness that would surprise you
when you hear of it. You may laugh but it is quite wearying to attend an endless
repetition of parties, dinners and constantly being surrounded by a dozen
admirers, telling me that I am exquisite or that I am Baveras reborn into mortal
shape, rose from the seas to walk upon the lands once more.
Now, I do not like to encourage blasphemy even when it is well meant but listen,
only this very morning at Aether Covan’s domicile located in a very exclusive
part of the city for a light luncheon engagement, a shaft of sunlight peered
through the window and illuminated exactly the spot where I was standing. I was
adorned in a gown the exact shade of sea foam with ropes of pearls in my hair.
Everyone present exclaimed in fulsome admiration and remarked how much like the
Goddess of the Seas I resembled. Astonishing, is it not? I myself smiled
modestly, as is proper, at the compliments and took great care not to boast for
it would not do to anger the Gods for the feminine Ones are especially jealous
when a mortal woman’s beauty surpasses Theirs.
You may also be interested to hear that I have attended my first city
performance yester evening accompanied with Lady Celladyn’s two daughters.
Tiresome creatures who think only of gowns, men and themselves but they are good
for appearances so I bear with their tedious chatter. A traveling troupe of
surpassing reputation was performing at the Theatre of the Queens, so named in
honor of Voldar’s past female sovereigns. Cousin Kyiri had a headache and thus
could not attend.
My dear Brydda, the stench from the commoners below was appalling, like nothing
you can hope to imagine, although I cannot fathom why you would wish to imagine
something so unpleasant, as we sat down in our box. A miasma of rotten eggs and
stale sweat rising up to our level on the second tier. Good Gods, have they not
heard of soap or scent? I had to hold my lace kerchief near my nose, scented
with drops of costly perfume made from allia blooms, throughout most of the
I cannot understand why some of them and even a few of the highborns would
insist that such segregation of nobility and commoners is an archaic notion and
should be abolished without further ado! I have no prejudice against the
peasants, no indeed! In fact, last week, I very kindly dispense some thoughtful
advice to a woman that she would be better off finding a decent occupation
instead of lazily lounging about near Cousin Kyiri’s house, dressed in a highly
provocative manner and with heavily rouged cheeks. She seemed to be on intimate
terms with several of the men passing by who robustly hailed her as ‘Leaky Peg’,
although she seemed not to be dispensing spirits or any type of liquids as far
as I could tell.
So, as I have said, I am all for equality of status but I do wish only the
commoners would not be so equal around me without taking baths first. Dwarves to
their caverns and elves to their trees, as Father always says.
The troupe bard was the last and Lady Celladyn’s daughters went into a swoon
over his dark, curly hair and brown doe-like eyes and then started a quarrel
over to whom the bard had directed his attentions to when he was singing the
ballad, ‘Lover’s Requiem’. Silly chits. A bard is still a bard without lands or
a title no matter how pretty he is or how sweetly he chirps. What is more, it
was obvious to all who had eyes to see that the little bard was looking at me
when he sang the lines, ‘No matter how far apart we are, I shall love and think
of thee’ and not at Lady Celladyn’s daughters. Both of whom had inherited their
mutual Parents' plumpness and a singularly sallow complexion.
The reek of the unwashed peasants was unbearable by then and I had to excuse
myself for air outside the hallway.
As I stood fanning myself outside, you will never guess who I saw coming from
She was wearing a gown so tight that I was astounded she could walk in it, let
alone breathe. Brydda, I cannot accentuate this to you enough times for I have
discerned with much apprehension that you have the same propensity. But a woman
who has red hair should never ever, under any circumstances, wear pink! Heed me
It was truly an awful sight, a quivering mass of pink, topped with red hair and
dripping with ostentatious jewelry everywhere gilding towards me. I was wearing
a stylish combination of pale blue and white lace with Cousin Kyiri’s emerald
ring on my hand that had garnered sighs of envy from Lady Celladyn’s daughters
when they saw it. A very elegantly understated and yet modish ensemble if I do
say so myself.
She had another one of her lovers beside her, behaving in a shockingly
outrageous manner as he leaned over and whispered something into her ear. As I
watched…I do not know if the following occurrence which I am about to relate to
you will be overly excessive for your delicate sensibilities but I feel I must
tell you in order for you to comprehend the true extent of the Countess’s
The man, young enough to be a son, kissed her on the mouth and as they did, one
of his hands went up to fondle her bosom! And she permitted this obscene
familiarity and even giggled wantonly! For shame! I was quite discomfited to be
belonging to the same sex as her then.
Nonetheless, I am more worldly by now, having been in the city for a spell, so I
did not faint at this disgusting spectacle but merely coughed a little in
contempt to enlighten the couple that they were not alone.
The Countess’s…companion did not stop his groping but they did stop kissing for
which I was grateful. What a repulsive woman. I do not wonder that Cousin Kyiri
dislikes her so!
The Countess Hronia turned to look at me and she has the strangest eyes…
are, well, almost colorless. Her irises were a pale, pale gray and a thin band
of darker gray surrounding them. It was extraordinarily disconcerting to have
her stare at me so. I could not think why I felt so except perhaps for the
peculiar colour of her eyes. Otherwise she was another Voldarian noblewoman bored
with her husband and seeks out hedonistic pleasure in the arms of younger men to
alleviate that tedium.
Is that not what she is? Dearest Sister, I had thought so when I first laid my
eyes upon her figure at that party but as she continued to stare at me, I became
“So you would be Kyiri’s latest,” the Countess said to me in a superior manner
that I definitely did not care for.
“I am the Lady Kyiri’s cousin, your Ladyship,” I corrected her with what I hoped
was a cutting tone of voice. How rude of her! Calling me Kyiri’s latest,
latest… whatever she meant, I am convinced it was not meant to be an accolade.
She laughed odiously as if I had said something terribly amusing, which I had
“Indeed you are,” she replied and with her groping companion in tow, she brushed
past me as I squashed against the side of the hall, wanting to be as far away
from the two as I could manage. She would probably give me warts if I had
“A word of caution, little chick. There are forces at work that you cannot
possibly understand and you would do well to leave. If you are wise,” she said
to me as she turned a corner, a swath of revolting pink.
Detestable, draconian woman!
And the man with her… my hand falters as I continue to write, that is how
overwrought I had been and still feel the effects even now. The lapdog had the
audacity to wink at me as the two entered into their own box to continue
gods-know-what degenerative debauchery there.
Are you breathless with indignity on my behalf yet as you read? I am sure you
are for I was never as insulted as I was then! How dare that woman talk to me
When next I see her, I shall be sure to accidentally spill a glass of wine onto
her person, right at that stuffed bosom of hers.
As for the things she said, I pay them no attention. Forces at work indeed! What
sheer gothic drivel. Words of a woman whose vapid head is filled with gratuitous
dissipation even as the signs of her age begin to exhibit themselves. If you had
been standing next to me there, you would have seen the early stages of a second
chin on her face. I found that to be exceptionally gratifying.
I hope she chokes on a bone.
Your fuming Sibling
P.S I have had a thought. Mayhap the rashes would disappear swifter if you would
abstain in your truly prodigious appetite for Thyslan spice cakes. And it would
certainly help in reducing your girth. Voldarian men do not approve of a
ponderous heaviness in their women.