Worlds Apart 3

In Haradrian

Honored Mother,

I am well, as are our people and Ada’s.  Father Khassan sat with me in council this week and let me decide how much Yasmin wife of Bhurza’s son Tamar should pay for breaking Samir son of Khassan’s dumbek.  It was very difficult because they don’t sell dumbeks here, you see, and this makes it harder to fulfill the letter of the law, which says that Tamar must buy Samir a dumbek that is just as good as the one broken.  I was very confused and everyone was looking at me and that was awful, but I had an idea.  You see, Samir’s brother’s wife Rivkah told me her father used to make dumbeks, and she knows how to make them too.  So I said Tamar must pay Rivkah to make Samir a dumbek.  But then nobody had goat skins, so that meant that Tamar would have to slaughter a goat, and goats cost more than dumbeks.  That wouldn’t be fair.  Sitt Meritt said it would be all right if I go to ask the winds to bring me wisdom, so I left it undecided.  People said they weren’t disappointed, but I know they were.  Father Khassan says that it’s all right to think about things before deciding, and he does it all the time, and so do you.

The winds must have heard me, because the next day Honored Padrian just happened to find a goat that wolves must have caught.  The goat was part of Ada Glariond’s herd, and Padrian said that it would help him and Ada very much if we found a use for the hide so it wouldn’t go to waste.  I am not sure if I should be happy that the fates took Ada’s goat, but Padrian didn’t seem sad about it, and Ada has a lot of goats.  Padrian says this goat wasn’t a very good goat.  He was naughty and ran off a great deal.  Perhaps the winds saw and punished his wickedness?

So I had Tamar buy the goat hide from Honored Padrian.  He had no coin, but will herd goats for Padrian this week.  If he does well, Padrian says he will earn a proper wage, and this will be good for his poor mother, I think.  Rivkah will make the dumbek and says Tamar can pay her by working on her house.   They are making houses here because the winters are too wet for tents.  Samir will get his dumbek, and everything will be fine.  I hope I did well.  If I did anything wrong, Father Khassan says you can fix it.

Other than that, things go well.  The worms we brought are alive and making cocoons.  Ada hasn’t many mulberry trees, but our men are working to plant more.  Most of them are busy with building and herding, and Father Khassan says this is good because tired people don’t make trouble.  I study hard every day and Mother Sedileth says my Westron is much better now.

I hope you and Ada come home soon.  Everyone is very nice here, but letters take a very long time and I want you to meet Adia.  And Branner too, I suppose.

Dutifully,

Amirah Nafisah al’Behd’ad bint’Abdul bint’Aziz

In Westron, more or less

Dear Ada,

I goed to talk to the mother of Branner like you say, and she was very nice.  She sayed that Branner was wrong to be teasing me about the eated bug, and that he would not do that anymore.  I sayed that I am sorry I said Branner was mean and she say little boys sometimes are mean, and that Adia was probably right to make Branner eat a bug.  We promised we would never make anyone eat bugs ever again.  So it worked, but I was very afraid until it were over.

Padrian is worried about something, but he is not saying what.  Does he have a mean uncle too?  Adia and I make sure to invite him to tea a lot so he does not get to be lonely.  Branner says tea is for girls.  But men drink lots of tea, yes?  Padrian drinks tea.  He is very tall and does not pull hair ever.  We like him very much.  He payed a nice lady to draw Adia and Branner and me for you.  It is on the back of this.  I am the darkest one, and Adia is the one grinning.  Branner is the boy.

I losed a tooth.  Adia says that in the North, fairies pay you for tooths.  I send it to you in case you and Honored Mother need money.  It is not heavy.

Mother Sedileth have a very big picture of you in the hall.  I give it kiss good night to keep for you.  Don’t forget to get them when you come home.  Adia do not have an Ada, so I share with her and she kiss you good night too.  She may like to have one of Uncle Thragan, perhaps.  She say he is braver than Padrian.  Of course Adia never lie, but perhaps she has to think him bravest because he is her uncle?  I do not like uncles until I meet Angthul.  Uncle Angthul is very nice and gives me sweets.  Padrian is still bravest.  He saved lots of people, and they say he is a very great warrior.  He make Uncle Jamil put me down and run away.  He would have catched Uncle Jamil too, if he not stop to pick me up.  Is Padrian my brother now?  Some people say he is, from when Mother Teriel were your chief wife.  She say no.  Can Padrian be my brother anyway?

People try to feed Padrian every time he come to the tents.  He say, he is getting fat.  Is fat bad?

Love,

Nafisah Arathalion

PS: Why is this ‘to be’ word so hard?  It is not fair to make a word so hard.

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