The following letter was written twenty years before the events of Heirs of Mâvarin.
Sabedu, 5th day of Mudelem, 876 MMY
Well, I finally took your advice about that one prophecy. It only took me eleven years. King Jor turned out to be a rather nice man, with a streak of eccentricity that runs at least as deep as mine. He's worried now, though, as we knew he would be. He believed everything I said, even if he didn't understand it all. Perhaps now that he knows there's trouble ahead (not that he doesn't have plenty of trouble already), he will appreciate what he has while he still has it.
I got through the battle of Eplimar all right, wondering the whole time why the Infinite sent me here before the fighting started, and then told me not to talk to the King before the fighting was over. I managed to help the King's forces with some illusions. My only injury was when a horse stepped briefly on my foot. Nothing's broken, fortunately. I'm hardly limping any more. There were a few moments when I was in real danger, but a couple of the King's soldiers drove off the Mâtonans (not mages, but conscripted villagers) who had targeted me. I think the Mâvarin soldiers were named Jami and Pol. I have a feeling I'll see them both again someday.
After the battle, I finally found out why I'm here, aside from delivering the prophecy to the King. I was walking by a burned-out house--there is terrible devastation, far too depressing to describe to you--when I saw a girl sitting in front of it. Her eyes were all scrunched up, as though she was determined not to cry, not to show any fear or weakness. She was thirteen years old, tidy and pretty but not really beautiful. She was looking for somebody to help her bury her parents, whose charred bodies were still in the house. Mera was willing to exchange her freedom--four years as a bond servant, doing even the most degrading tasks a teenage girl might have--for her parents' burial and her own food and shelter. So of course I did what she wanted, but not on those terms. Congratulate me, Hasi--I have a daughter! Mera is bright and honest and hard-working, and a wonderful cook, it turns out. She's very lucky I heard her offer before some randy soldier got to her, and I'm very lucky she came into my life. Of course, it's not really luck at all, but a blessing from the Infinite.
I'm working on a comic ballad at the moment, partly to cheer Mera, and partly to be performed when I play the itinerant entertainer. See what you think of what I have so far:
The Beaver and the Bear went a-walking up a hill
(Back when the trees were growing there still).
And some bees started buzzing, like the bear’s own snore,
And the Bear said, “Look! That’s what trees are here for!”
The Bear said the trees were for storing up honey,
And the Beaver said trees were for building a dam.
But the farmer said, “The trees here are costing me money.
It’ll be much better when I clear the land.”
The Bear said, “You’ve used trees to make yourself a house,
And so does a human, and the tiny titmouse.
But the best tree-houses are made by the bee,
Because they’re the ones that make all that honey for me!”
It will be a whole parable about the way all the animals can use the land together until the farmer ruins everything. It probably won't go over well outside Gathmak, but oh, well.
Say hi to Pata for me, and come visit when you can. Mera and I should be home three weeks from tomorrow.