An experiment on whether a novel can be written entirely in personal letters.
In this world, the months run as follows:
1 Anu, 2 Ben, 3 Certa, 4 Dom, 5 Emis, 6 Fal
7 Geolid, 8 Het, 9 Inet, 10 Jokai, 11 Keff, 12 Lourd
Winter: Lourd, Anu, and Ben
Spring: Certa, Dom, Emis
Summer: Fal, Geolid, Het
Fall: Inet, Jokai, Keff
This is the first day of many days, I know, but I find myself nervous. How could I have imagined the absolute terror that would come with the care of this tiny baby girl. I know that this is what I said I wanted, and I still do, but it is scary.
When they brought her to me, that little fussing bundle with dark brown eyes and waving fists, I confess I was smitten. I unwrapped her from the layers of gold embroidered cloth and satin swaddling clothes till she was able to move. You can’t believe how tightly she was wrapped. It was no wonder she was out of sorts. Anyway, as soon as she was unwrapped she looked up at me and smiled. I did not know that babies this little could smile. The wet- nurse tells me that she has never seen such a happy baby, and though I haven’t much experience with babies, I have to believe it. There never was such a precious bundle as this tiny girl. They tell me her official name is Her Royal Highness, Tetnia Sodis Belrusse Neliphius Dornatte, Lady of the Three Seas. They say that those are just the titles she was born with, but that she will have more very soon that I will need to remember. I think I will just call her Tetnia.
I had to laugh when they started bringing her regalia in. What baby needs crown jewels? Do you know, she has seventeen different blanket wrappers, and each of them must be worn for very specific state visits? I am thankful that the Dorna will handle all of that.
In addition to the Dorna, our little household here on the hill has been nearly quadrupled with the arrival of little Tetnia’s entourage. It makes sense now why the poor Dorna was so unhappy running the house all by herself these past weeks as we waited for Tetnia’s arrival, without the army of gardeners, grooms, maids, secretaries, cooks, huntsmen, and the countless other servants that seem to be an absolute necessity to run the Royal Household. To think that you and I lived all those years with only the two of us and Cooksey and Old James. I don’t know how we did it my dear.
By the way, Cooksey sends her love. The poor old dear is enjoying her early retirement here and is bothered not a bit to be relieved of her workload by the newcomers. She is perfectly happy to putter about in the garden on sunny days. I had no idea how much she enjoyed flowers. Funny how you can live with someone and not know them truly.
On that note dearest, I must confess I do miss you. Our long years together serves both to console and sadden me at times. Consolation because I have all those happy memories to reflect on. So many do not have even that much. Sadden, because I am without your fine face to greet me every morning, your steady disposition to calm my nervousness, your silly laugh to gladden my heart. I am thankful to at least have these letters. I look forward to yours, and I hope that your charge is as much a joy to you as is mine.
Thank you for your letter. I see that you wrote in the spring, and it is now early summer, so I will not hear from you as often as I would like. If that is part of the calling though I will endeavor to accept it with grace.
I have been busy setting up my household as well, although my experience has been as different from yours as night is day. The practice of pampering the princess is not the proscribed methodology of raising a prince, it would seem. His Mighty Eminence, The Emperor, May He Live Forever, has made perfectly clear that his son will be a warrior first, a king second, and a child not at all. The little man does not seem the worse for the regime though, and appears to be a happy, though sober boy. He has just begun to toddle around, and took his first steps into my arms. Sweet Beatrice, do not think less of me, but I cried. I wiped the tears away quickly though for I am sure they would have been frowned upon.
I wanted you to know, Sweet Beatrice, that I never regretted, nor blamed you for our childless life, and I would have been content to live out the rest of my days with only you by my side, happy in your company alone. But there is something to be said for the joy of having those tiny trusting hands reach for yours. And who knows but that the gods willed it thus. Had we children of our own, we would not have been ordained for the current calling we now find ourselves privileged to fulfill.
Did you ever think that night your sister sent for you to attend her at the palace that it would come to this? I may have protested more had I realized our comfortable existence was about to be thrown into such astounding, and amazing chaos. But I am grateful, I do not wish you to believe otherwise. I would never have dreamed such an honor could come upon me, the simple son of a simple man. Though I am not sure that a lowly cobbler was the best choice to be the Berthold of the heir to the throne, I will do my best. His Mighty Eminence, The Emperor, May He Live Forever, must have seen something in me, in us, that I did not see. Perhaps it was our very simpleness that appealed to them. If that was the case they could not have chosen better. I got better than I deserved when I married you, and my fortune seems to be ever increasing by your association.
I am glad that you are happy. I pray the gods will keep you so. I look forward to seeing you at years end.
Your loving husband,