I tracked down a courier who might be able to track you down. I’d like to hear more about the Ettenmoors. How far a journey is it? I might visit. It sounds like a worthy fight.
What is there to say? It’s Bree. And yes, Arion is fine. I’m even having a dress made by a real seamstress, and not bought second hand off that fellow who likes to dress like a lady. There’s a play and I’m trying out being a politician’s wife. Fiancee. Whatever. The net effect is the same; folk look at him, then at me, and they wonder if he’s dating some bloke. Ha ha.
Anyhow. Seamstress. She’s really nice for a girl girl. She said nice things without making up crud like ‘oh, you’re so delicate’ and so on. She gets the need for movement. It’s going to be green. I’m wearing it to Luned’s big play if it’s done in time.
There’ve been things. I don’t know if I feel like writing them down, but it’s things that make me realize again what it means to be a mercenary. I hate that word ‘mercenary’. I used to fight for a big, easy idea. Protect the people who live in the Lakelands. Kill pirates, rescue prisoners. I know it wasn’t perfect, and the blokes I served with weren’t perfect either. Especially on that first ship. You know, with the pulley block and the flogging. But still, we weren’t there to make as much money as we could. We were there because we loved our home and wanted it to be safe. Well yes, and the ‘pressed sailors. That wasn’t fair. And some of the lads were less gentlemen than even Arvorn or Rennec. Dale wasn’t perfect either. But we were trying for something beyond ourselves. We gave up everything so other people could have a fair shake at a normal life, and I liked that. It was worth it. The bad apples didn’t get a say in what we did and who we fought for.
Right so. Today I realized that I’ve not got that same higher purpose anymore, much as I wish I did. Best I come is wanting to kill that damn fludding twat of a witch. I hate that we take booty for it. This last time when we stood there and let Rennec get himself made Lossoth not because he loved the folk, but because he wanted to make Panja look an ass, I felt off. Wrong, even. Yes, Ciri had a right to say ‘no’ to a wedding, but it was wrong to trick those folk into adopting Rennec. Rennec doesn’t even like Forochel, or skating, or even mammoths. And I bloody helped him too, jogging and skating and all. Who am I, Aster? What am I turning into? It’s little steps down a path that leads to rationalizing anything, so long as it’s convenient. I don’t want to be that person.
So. I wish we could talk. Bad as the Panja business was, it’s just got ten times worse. I don’t know if I can ever be in the same room with some of these people, let alone die to protect them. I best come out and say it; they’re thinking of buying a brothel. We’d be taking money from people with no better place to go and no real say over their bodies or their lives. Slavers, basically, no matter how pretty you dress it up. Pimps. It makes me sick. It’s one thing to pay them, but to take money from them? Because that’s what we’d be doing eventually, taking money from the vulnerable and the hopeless.
I suppose folk have a right to earn coin as best they can, but is it really the same as barmaids? Cooks? I earn my coin right out and keep it. Nobody beats me if I refuse to make a meal, and nobody calls me names for doing it. I have dignity. Respect. I can go cook somewhere else if I don’t like it, and I don’t have to live where I work. If we want to help them, shouldn’t we be helping them to live free, and not profiting off their helplessness? But then, is this different than what we did to that restaurant? We take some of their profits too, now that they’re on their feet and working. Is there a difference between selling your soup and selling your bits? I know so, but I can’t explain why it’s true. I only know I will be no pimp. Ever. There must be better ways to help, if only I could find them.
Anyhow, enough about that. You listen to enough of my conscience droning on and on and on. Tell me about the Moors. Let me know you’re well. Mind the wargs and burn your rags. I miss my friend.