Epistle VI: Battle in the Mud and Snow
[The epistle consists of a flower with a small sheet of paper affixed to the stem. The flower has with careful hand been pressed in the book.]
My Dearest Éfhelìnye
Beloved, thank you for the letter you sent me. We fought a terrible battle today. The snow was falling very hard, and all of the ground was mud. Giraffes and ostridges and dinosaurs were becoming stuck in the sludge. The hills were flame, and roaring down from them came cascades of mud to cover the men.
It was with some relief this night when the Ravens came. I could sense their approach from afar, and they came to deliver your epistle before turning to their feast of the battlefields. Khrùkhtii and Paloîta and I were filthy from the battle. The Ravens were wild. We came up unto a hill and oversaw fields all of mud and ice. I gave the letter to Paloîta but he managed to sit on it and smear some of the charts that you and Karuláta made, so I hope that you are preserving well your own copy. Khrùkhtii practiced saying the names for me just as you suggested, but I was unable to say a single word. I am very sorry, my Princess, but I have never been able to speak aside from in your presence, and the only name I’ve learnt to say is your own. I think that talking may be far too difficult for me. It seems best that there should always be someone around me to translate, perhaps you or my Sisters or one of my Acolyte friends. I do not enjoy having to communicate with the Elders.
I was a little confused by some of the glyphs you used in your last letter, such as p’ and m’ and fh’. Grandfather Pátifhar taught me my letters when I was very small, but I did not know that one could use letters and add a little sign to them and make them mean something completely different. I understood a little what you meant when you were trying to explain to me that although Language only has twice eleven consonants and five vowels, we actually hear far more than that. Sometimes when I listen to the adult units in their speaking my kean ears detect song and cosmoi of sounds, variations that appear faint to everyone else. I’m not explaining myself very well. I do remember when I was young and learning words that the people of Jaràqtu would call the rivages of the shore fhùrye, but some of the barbarian princes whom my Father visited when he took me on tour to play for them would call the same shores fhùreye. That struck me as odd because they were adding a sound to it. Also, when Karuláta learnt to speak, and she did so very youngly, we all knew that her birth mother was Khmaryáta, but the barbarians used to call Kàrula the daughter of Khmareyáta. Why is that?
I hope that this letter finds you well. I am glad that you do not have to witness these battles. Please keep the family safe and tell them not to worry about me.