I am well, and so is Adia. Branner has a cold, but his mother says he can play tomorrow. I pray that this is true, for he is badly needed for the War of the Sky-Ice.
You see, it came, but it did not kill anything but the garden after all! It was very soft and tickly, but cold. Did you know it can be molded so as to form sculpture and missiles? It is like clay, only cold and requiring more pressure to form! Sitt Meritt says it is the same as normal water, only cold. It is like the ice of desserts, and Omi made some for Adia, Branner, and I with cream and honey. It was not like home, for we have no mango, but it was very tasty.
But I must tell you of our ice war, which we conduct with the children of the village. You see, because the sky-ice can be molded, it can be used to make fortifications. It is very easy. Perhaps you can try it with the baby, when she comes, if she becomes bored. You take a small handful and pack it into a larger ball, and then this you roll into a much larger ball. If you have help, it can be made large enough to form walls! Branner is very good at this, and so is not useless after all.
So the village children said they would beat us, because we are foreign and do not know snow. And so we said no, we would beat them. And then we had to let some of them join our side because it was not fair otherwise. And then we had until lunch time to build our fortifications. Ours was very good, for Branner knows all about walls and buttresses. A buttress makes the walls stronger so that even if Ranilt, who is very fat, is thrown against them, they will yet stand. And he also knows how to use ladles to make the missiles fly farther and more accurately. I did not think it right to take them, but Adia says it is right that we defend our honor by all means. I hope this does not displease you.
And so! We made hundreds of sky-ice balls and we threw them as the village team invaded. Some of my own people joined, but by then our fort was full, so they had to join the village side. But it was a fair contest because our walls were very strong indeed. Only we were hard beset by the missiles of the village whenever we left the walls, and Adia and I got very cold! So Branner and his boys stormed their walls through a barrage of heavy fire, thus taking their banner. But then Janna’s son Felim tackled him before he got back, and then we had to go eat dinner, and so I am not sure if we won properly. I hope it does not disgrace you that our victory was not complete, but Omi says it is only play and I need not take it to heart.
Mother Sedileth was so worried because we were all wet and cold, but only Branner got sniffles. It is unfortunate, because today we were going to build Men of Ice! But they say we had better stay in, and it is not fair to go without Branner. So instead I am writing to you a letter. Tell Ada Glariond thank you for not telling the sky-ice to stay away. I think it is cold, but I like throwing it. It is all right that I throw it? Adia says an Amirah must always be ready to defend her people and avenge her honor, and they did throw sky-ice at me first. It went into my neck! It was a Great Insult. For this, they too were given cold necks. If I did wrong, I humbly submit myself to your mercy.
Amirah Nafisah bint’Aziz al’ Behd’ad.
Dear Ada Glariond,
I am thanking you for your nice letter and the very good advice. Also, thank you for letting the snow still come. We had fun throwing it at each other, and did not get into trouble at all! Mother Sedileth is taking me to a party in a few days and I am having a new dress. It has sparkles! I am liking sparkles very much. The dressmaker say I am looking like a little brown doll. Perhaps someone will sketch it.
What you said about the goat humping is true, I think, that it is something ignorant people say. I ask Mother Teriel what means ‘ignorant’ and she say ‘when someone does not know better.’ So Adia and I fix it so you are not having to be angry with the smith anymore. We went to him and we say, “The men of Harad do not lie with goats as one lies with a woman, but rather they lie with women in that manner.” And we thought, perhaps he had other things he did not know better, so we also say, “You can tell because if our men did lie with goats, would not our children be wooly as goats are, and not shaped as men? But see! Our children, they are not coming here with goat parts, and our goats, they are not born with the parts of men. And so by this you will know that we do not lie with goats.” But Branner say, perhaps they think it is just that goats cannot have man-babies, and so we must think of other reasons. So we tell him, “Have you seen how goats relieve themselves? You could not lie with one and remain clean! And our people are very clean, bathing all the time in either water or sand. Why would we risk filth when we have very nice women?” And so we think by this we made him know better. But I am not sure, for he turned very, very pink and could not look at us so as to tell we had no goat parts.
Khassan, he say perhaps the man needs more proof, and so he invite the smith and his family to dine at our huts, and Mother Teriel, she make him go. Khassan say this man know very much better now and will not ever say the men of Harad are Humpers of Goats again, but are indeed Humpers of Women of great renown and skill. Indeed, this must be true, for why else do so many women marry one Haradrian man? Khassan say, it is because our men are so good at the humping of women. And then he saw Adia and Branner and I listening and say, “Go home, for it is time for dinner.”
And so that is how we fixed the ignorant people. I think it work, but if it did not, we will try harder next time. Only Mother Sedileth says I must not talk about anyone lying with anything, woman or beast, when we go to her friend’s party. Why is this? She just say “Because.” I am having to go now because more of the snow is coming and the bird needs to fly now. Is my sister born yet? We want to play with her. It is dull with Branner sick.
Nafisah, Lady Arathalion