To the Lady Toressa, sometimes The Witch of the Small Tower in the Corner Near the Stables, dread sorceress of Yavedra, Master of
Eight Nine many Rings, daughter of Holdan and Jacinie, Lord and Lady Yavedra, and sister to the Right Honorable Hartaxa, sometimes Envoy Extraordinary on her behalf to the Lord Protector:
I begin briefly with that which is of no interest to my noble patroness. I am well and have made my journey in good speed. Accept my thanks for those devisements which you kindly provided me, the ensorcelled gloves and boots have been a great comfort. Concerning that which is of more to the matters of heart, the most secret and most vital embassy on which I was sent, my tidings are good. This wonderful mission, I believe, has been a success. Here I lay out to you all as it transpired.
Upon my arrival at the encampment, I straightway met with the Lord Protector. In this, I must humbly beg your leave to admit that we dealt first with some most inconveniently trifling matters–the disposition of troops and tribute and of the alliances whose oaths I have been made keeper–but these being swiftly dispatched as all such sublimely unimportant matters must be, the Lord Protector came at once to the crux.
I recount verbatim:
“Hartaxa,” (he said,) “Do you bear me any word from your lady sister?”
I replied that I had no letter nor token.
He said, “How, and does she not know that you came?”
My dear sister, who taught me to never speak a lie, and moreover, who, had she seen the sorrow of the Lord Ihlander when I bore him no tidings, no token, and even no word from thee, will not blame me for disclosing in all honesty my great and terrible, my most noble and vital embassage.
“Lord,” (I said), “You have seen our tribute. The preparations we have made are such that not even the most silly scholar could unsee them. More, Lady Toressa has been much involved in the devisement of certain of the stores we bring. Concerning you I am made her special envoy.”
And I told to him the conditions thou set upon me, excepting those things which were like unto threats and so unsuitable for the hearing of other men.
The Lord Protector did smile a little, but then he said very earnestly to me, (I quote), “Say to the Lady Toressa, ‘I inquire after her health and happiness, and trust that both are good–yet not so great as upon the day when I take her hand in marriage.’ ” I am commissioned to say as well, he shall write again when he can, but hopes it is understood that time and tide stand against him at this moment. On my own part I say it is true and counsel thee patience. My Lord Protector is very graceful, but the winds blow very hot just now, and it is hard for a man to make love by letter.
This, madam, is the true and full report of my embassy unto this date. I trust it is acceptable to thine eyes. But I write no more. Word is to prepare for battle to-morrow. I shall send no special greetings to the lord Holdan or my lady mother by this letter but will reserve those for the next, with which I will recount whatever glory the men of our house have achieved in the name of the Green Tree Banner and the Lord Protector.
I am ready. I feel no fear. If I am to be brother to the Lord Protector, still it is of my own honor to be his sword brother also. To you a ring; to me, a shield.–Aye, and it will be good.
Farewell. I am, as before and will be after, your affectionate brother