A Bitter Pill: Dear Master J

Cwendlwyn Tain, field medic of the Wayfarers Guild and accomplished cook and gardener, returned to the house she was occupying with her daughter Neilia the day after the half-orc made his demands and she was sodden from head to toe. One could only guess the woman had fallen into the river and several residents of Durrow expressed either concern or cheerful warnings as they inquired about her state and informed her that the orcs had seemed to have moved off.

Cwen paled during these discussions and found relief when the darkness closed around her upon entering the house on Garden Street. Wendy Whitethorn, on her way to Ravenhold to seek the mayor’s opinion on the state of affairs, had been particularly worried that her new neighbor might be falling ill and while Cwen appreciated the concern the matriarch of the Whitethorn farm displayed, she did not want the wives of Durrow lining up to bring her chicken soup or herbal remedies any time soon. She only wanted to be alone.

The front room of the spacious house was in a disarray from their renovations and only mirrored the mess of thoughts cluttering Cwen’s mind. She felt trapped. Her lungs constricted but would not expand. She couldn’t breathe.

The writing desk shoved against the far wall behind the sales counter caught her attention as the morning sun rose high enough to shine its beam through her back window and reflect off the inkwell sitting on its surface. The flash blinded her. Blue feathers filled her mind. Delicate pastries and enchanting music and the strong arms of the Bluejay leading her through the dance steps soothed her.

She inked her quill and smoothed the parchment. The words appeared without struggle and flowed with ease.

My dear Master J,

I hope this letter finds you well. I do apologize for the delay. There was an unfortunate incidence with the main gate that trapped everyone in the village for several weeks. The Wayfarers fared as they would in such circumstances: they assisted Oendir in managing the town’s stores, setting day and night patrols, and tending the Fallowmath flame. 

I had not participated in a Fallowmath lighting since I was sixteen. The ritual was held even in my small village on the far side of the gap. I found a peace in the lighting of the massive tent of trees like I was casting aside the life I led the year before and asking my ancestors to lead me forward into the next season with their wisdom. In that act, I was a part of them and not such an outsider. 

Did they see the little girl kneeling before to fire and know that she wished more than anything to see her mother again?

I wondered this year, after so many years of neglect, which of my kin would visit me. I have so few that I know of in truth. Some would be welcome. My mother, of course. But some…some would not be so welcome. The Flame was only supposed to draw benevolent spirits, but I always wondered how it could know the difference. 

I do have some blood in my past that would not return out of benevolence.

This hardly seems like a letter to write to ro[the rest of the word is scratched out completely] one with so many more important things to concern himself with. But I feel as though you want to know. That you are listening, even as I cannot speak in a way that you will hear my voice.

My dear Master J, I would be glad to look for your letter in response to mine. I would welcome the correspondence as the first steps of a potential courtship. But I need you to know the full me. I will not hide anything from you. I am so tired of hiding.

The woman you wish to court is a tired mother left by her Rhunic husband because of the simple fact he was a scoundrel. He is a scoundrel to this very day, wherever he may be, and I am certain he does not waste a single blink in wondering about his daughter. This woman is lost between worlds and every time she tries to settle down in one, she gets beaten up and tossed aside by her own heart. She cannot make a good choice when it comes to anything having to do with trusting in herself. I simply cannot.

Perhaps this is because she lost her mother when she was seven and then found out a mere decade later that her father was from Dunland and wanted to destroy everything she thought he had held dear, including her.

I never could blend in to the stock of the Men of the Mark and I had grown up hating the Hillmen on principle. I was stuck between who I wanted  to be and what I wanted to do. So many times in my world do I have to make that distinction. I hardly ever feel whole.

So, my Prince, if you wish still to write me, your words will find their way even if I may not be here when they arrive. I have faith that if we are truly meant to find each other, no miles will be able to keep us apart.

Most sincerely,


Within hours of the gate being clear enough, Cwendlwyn donned her traveling robes and set off for Bree. She would post the letter and make some inquiries.

She would not stand by helpless, though, and simply wait for the next tide to bring in something new. After she sent the letter, she would investigate next week’s caravans to the Lone-lands, and as soon as she could, she would seek Oendir’s permission to travel, even if she had to go alone.

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