Broddi and Ceceil,
I’ve left these notes in case certain bits of helpful advice given over the past month might have escaped you when your eyes were glazing over. I hope you’ll not need any of it, but I feel better if you have it. And so.
If you have any problem at all, large or small, go to Arion. He’s as good as kin. Make sure you invite him over for supper regularly and if he says he’s too busy, take him covered dishes. Check to be sure he’s got plenty of tea. He says he doesn’t like it, but he drinks it anyhow. He forgets about the laundry coming on Friday and it’d be good of you to check to be sure it’s going out. He needs two new socks every month and he never thinks to get them, so be sure you do. I’ve left Broddi the key, but no fair using it for pranks. I’ll be very upset if I hear about short sheets and fish in his boots.
If you need money, you have the key to my strongbox. Take what you need. I’ve had my cooking fees put by for a while, so you’ll have a decent cushion. Don’t borrow from lenders. They charge too much interest, and double it for foreigners. Be charitable, but mind your own stores. You’re old enough now to be trusted with thrift. But whatever you do, don’t use lenders. Go to Mr. Course before you go to a lender.
If you get sick, Lond Sennas will treat you and charge good rates. Go to Leafcutter’s for your draughts, of course, and bring treats for her children. She has three now, so don’t forget to have enough.
If I don’t make it back, use a cheap boat. Paint it all you like, but I won’t have you burning up good ships out of some misplaced feeling of grief. Cheap, old boats work just fine in the afterlife, I’m sure. It’s not like the dead drown. Give Arion the box from the vault and let him have first pick of things. Try to keep him from moping. Don’t let him court any idiots either. Plenty women think they can handle him, but they haven’t the foggiest clue.
I don’t want a lot of fuss, and I certainly don’t want anyone carrying my corpse around anywhere for any reason. Build an effigy like normal people and don’t burn up all my good skis and skates. Save those for Lucy.
I have every intention of coming back in the flesh, needless to say. But remember about Arion and don’t let him run out of socks.
You know full well what you are to me. But just in case you need reminding, I’m going to tell you a story you’re too young to remember.
When you were just a baby, Ma wouldn’t let me watch you because I couldn’t hear you crying. I was furious because I could too see you cry and anyway you were more fun than dolls. So I stole you away to one of the ice huts out on the freeze to show that I could too sit you. Now, you were a wee thing, just sitting up, and I was very careful to wrap you up into a Broddi dumpling. That was your first fishing trip, and you caught yourself a decent salmon. I noticed when you fussed and fed you bits of shortbread soaked in water and that shut you up real fast.
Now we got home, and Ma was frantic. They’d called out the watch because they thought someone had made off with you, or worse, a winter lurker had nabbed you out of your basket somehow. And here I walked in all full of myself showing off the salmon you caught us for dinner. It didn’t end well for me, but after that, they let me sit all I wanted.
Anyhow, I don’t know why I’m going there right now. Only, I still think of you as that little baby sometimes, even though you’re a perfectly fine young man who’s doing pretty damn well for himself. I suppose we’re always a little frozen back when I seemed ancient to you, and you tiny to me. Now we’re both grown, it’s hard for me to let go of that.
I’m proud of you. I love you. Find our star at night, and I’ll find it too. Forever and a day,
Treat him like a king and remember what I said. Being seventeen’s no excuse at all. I’m not saying kiss his boots because that’s just wrong, but for the love of Bema remember that he cares if something happens because you’ve got some harebrained scheme for saving the world. I suppose it’s not your fault things went so horribly wrong, but still. That worries the piss out of me.
Don’t negotiate with witches. Don’t deploy till we’re back, at least. Get your armour refitted because you’ve grown, but wait until you’ve trained up. I left you an account with Bainsbridge and Guradan down in Snowflood. Bainsbridge you know, Guradan will refit your weapons. You’re bigger now and you’ll need them all rebalanced. Find someone to train with who won’t go easy on you and go slowly. Above all, stay away from witches.
I’ve never quite managed to get this out, so bear with me trying here. Before Leofryn left us, she told me a few things that aren’t your business, and some things that are. That woman loved you better than most blood mothers love their own get. I still can’t account for how the blazes she’d have done what she did there at the beginning of this mess, but that one thing I’m sure of. She knew, I think, that it was her last chance to say it. At the end, you filled her heart. Annoyed as I am with you at present, you have to know I feel much the same.
So no talking to witches and if you think you’re talking to a witch, go talk to someone else. I left plenty charms and so on for you and Broddi, and I’m sure some of them have to work. No, that does not count as talking to a witch. That’s witch armour, and it’s completely different. Wearing a breastplate is not the same thing as looking for orcs.
I love you. No witches.
Forever and always.