Emerald Chronicles, Volume 6 (book)
- Emerald Chronicles I
- Emerald Chronicles II
- Emerald Chronicles III
- Emerald Chronicles IV
- Emerald Chronicles V
- Emerald Chronicles VI
Emerald Chronicles VI: Legacy
16th day of Lirisa
Year if the Golden Panther, 213
Tidings, old man. Your fair daughter Tijit arrived late last evening, and has taken to bed but is well. She and Einselda arrived during a fantastic storm. At [[Asketi's Hunt]] we could see them riding from the edge of the wood illuminated by lightening. When they finally arrived, both were quite cold and bone-drenched with rain. I'm sure a day by the fire with some fenberry tea will chase the chill of our new Second and her squire.
This ceaseless rain makes sodden the ground and weakens our defense. The Dark'wood route becomes more treacherous to navigate with each storm's wash. The palisades slouch in the muck and our patrols are slowed to a crawl. Are there no fronts without foes?
The Chadatru amulet enclosed is a gift for Alizia.
Lay it upon her breast and say the mantra for me. Though
she may not hear it, her heart will feel it and be better
prepared to receive the Mighty's strength as she makes her
3rd day of Shorka, 213
I trust you have had letters from Einselda in these past weeks. She takes good care of us here (as is her ever- constant way, blessed creature) and I hope she has told you of our days. Forgive Tijit if she writes less frequently than you would please, but she's been consumed with her training. You must forgive me also, for it is by my cause that she is so consumed! These wearying days have made more urgent my wish to retire and I am anxious for her to come due. She is doing well, Hren, and she is indeed your daughter by her fair-mindedness, that anyone can see. It will win her favor with the knights and carry her well in the seat of command.
I have introduced the girls to Seome and they adore
him. I have told them nothing. We three took a stew
kettle to the recluse's dwelling and supped with the lad
and old woman. Afterward we sat for many anlas telling
tales. It felt warm like the hearth of my boyhood home.
It was a wonder the old woman allowed it.
2nd day of Ka'len the Sea Drake
Year of the Amber Phoenix, 214
Every fiber of my being reaches across the farlands to you in your anlas of greatest need, friend. May you be lead through your sorrow by the mighty courage of our Blessed Chadatru and find your peace as 'Zia has found hers. Einselda is preparing our things, and we will ride north after we take tomorrow's morning meal. We have good officers and they will hold our post until we return.
4th day of Shorka the Cobra
Year of the Amber Phoenix, 214
I hope this letter finds your spirits improved, my friend. I will arrange to visit you again, likely for a longer time, when I am able to retire my command and finally rest. Tijit sends you her affections and says she will post you a letter before week's end as she has much news to report to you, but I won't steal her thunder so you will have to wait for her missive.
I went to see the lad to speak with him about the apprenticeship yesterday, but he was not at the Reach so I will take it up with him at my next visit. He has become a good hunter of small fare and when I left the old woman was sharpening her cutlery. I expect she will miss him should he leave, but if she has any affection for him, she will see there are better prospects for him elsewhere.
While we were in the midlands there was a fire at the refectory. The men are gathering wood and slate for the repairs, but we're waiting on a crate of iron nails to arrive. Now that there is no need to thin the soup, the rain does it for us for lack of a roof! The caravan should arrive within a week and all of us have never been so excited to take up a repair.
I am very grateful the fire was the worst of trouble during our absence. Just as there is always a surge when I am most tired or unprepared, I expected it would -know- of our leaving and take advantage of it. The watch reports nothing of note, but I know we don't see enough and the forest is a cunning adversary.
Though I've had no messengers come with word
otherwise, I suspect I will soon. So strange, Hren, that I
should spend so many years so close to the Hand and it is
only when I return after time away that I notice its
presence. We had scarcely reached the canyon's mouth when
I could feel the cold dark slip around me again, a slowly
simmering panic that makes the canyon walls seem closer and
the night far deeper. When I was a younger man it merely
hung around me like a shroud, but now I feel it seep
through my skin and reach into the soft, age-weakened
corners of my soul. The anlas grows late and I should take
some rest so I have my strength for my visit to Shard
Year of the Amber Phoenix, 215
Seome has gone. The foolish lad left to find his mother in the Hand, and I can only suspect the old woman of putting him to it. I tried to speak sense to him, but he would have none of it. Nor would he hear of going to the Crossing and serving an apprenticeship. Nor would he come to the Wall and seek his mother from a base there. He would not allow even one of my men to accompany him. There was no argument I could make to the lad that he did not dismiss, as though I were the one talking foolishness!
I couldn't bring myself to speak it to the poor lad, but I don't expect she is even still alive. I've had no messenger or sign in some years and what tales I've heard make the soul shudder. Curse me for saying so, but I would wish the lad be felled before he find her if she and those rangers have indeed become another of the Hand's necromantic shadows.
I returned to the reach only three andaen following
and the lad had left. All the old woman would offer is
another of her scowls. I know in the center of my soul
that I shall never see him again, Hren. I know you
understand how deeply this cuts me. So many fallen over so
many years and not even a small child can I save from the
torment of that damnable wood! How many more lives will it
consume? I yet breathe and it has taken all of mine!
16th day of Ka'len the Sea Drake
Year of the Iron Toad, 215
Good tidings come with this letter, old comrade. Tijit's letter is delayed an andu, so please don't speak of this news until it arrives. I've had word from the Ferdahl. In a fortnight he will confirm our Tijit as Commander Nebban of the Emerald Knights and I will be freed from the burden of this fight. (Father Galwydd was right when he would tell us "young arms are the tools of old men's wars.") You and the girls will wish to come south for her Confirmation Day. As is the way of the Eloths, they will make a grand show of it in their city and perhaps the Emerald Knights will have some of glory.
Our Tijit will make a fine Commander. She is fair- minded and strong with a quick wit and quicker sword arm. Her faith in the Mighty will keep her strong in the dark anlas ahead. She knows they will come; she feels the Hand's touch already. It is my prayer that she should see the day when her command passes to younger arms and she may have a few years of freedom as reward for the sacrifice she will make.
When you leave for home, I intend to come with you and
spend the last of my andaen in peace. I have been to see
the healers and each tells me a different number of months
I should expect, depending on how much gold they think they
can shake from an old man's pockets. I will have none of
it and will hear none of it from you. I shall not waste my
days in trying to prolong them, Hren. Death comes now not
as a foe to strike me down but as a good comrade to lead an
old soldier home. Chadatru's blessings, dearest Hren. In
a fortnight I will meet you in Shard and you will see their
spires truly are of crystal and not just Elf-lies.