The Nightingale: Dear Hallem Kemp

Dear Hallem,

I realized it had been ages and ages since I wrote you last. I hope that you are well and the company has had a lot of (safe!) work to keep you busy. Are you still digging graves, too? I never imagined that I would write a such a sentence as that, but there you go! You are an eclectic man. Have you climbed any good cliffs lately? I, unfortunately, had a terrible fall a bit ago. It was before the battle near Minas Tirith. I was on a roof at the Tower and I fell. Luckily, I was not dead and they found me and Miss Cirieldis took care of me while I recovered, but sometimes I wish .   . that I had more things to do than stare out of the window. While I was laid up in bed.

Something terrible has happened, but I don’t really want to talk about it. At least Father is not dead as the reports originally said. I have moved in with him, with Hathlafel. He still wants me as a daughter even though I am not his and I cannot be more thankful for that. Without him, I feel like I would truly have no family anymore.

Sirifast, his brother, is tending to the house he bought. It is in my name. It was kind of him to do that for me, but I don’t know what to do with a house I cannot live in. Did you meet Sirifast? I cannot recall if you ever did.

Oh, Miss Ciri also helped me to get out of working for you-know-who. Another girl, one “trained” for such work, took my place. I cannot help but feel terrible that another girl is doing that and because I couldn’t. It nearly destroyed everything before the Swan-knights left for Minas Tirith. So, you see, it really had been forever since I had lived in that house. I lived at the Tower instead.

It’s so empty now. Surely there is a fine layer of dust over everything. Is it wrong of me that I wish to sell the property? I wish to forget everything about that bit of my past because it hurts too much and to see his remaining family hurts too much and I should never have married him in the first place. Romantic relationships outside the order complicate things. Roses aren’t supposed to marry.

Miss Cirieldis doesn’t think that way. She is in love with Sir Aureldir. Sometimes I remember that I once believed he was my father and it seems like so long ago. This is turning into something quite unlike what I had intended. I’m sorry for not staying very well on topic–Hello, Hallem, how are you, Hallem, I am well, Hallem. That sort of thing. I just miss you so much and there is so much to say and I don’t really want to think about any of it, really, but I should. I need to talk to people, don’t I? I need people to help me remember the world has good in it still. That it isn’t just murders and kidnappings and lies and death.

Do you remember Lord Claur of House Baudh? He was injured recently and I have been helping him with his research. It was a nice diversion while my own injuries kept me from being able to work as much as I wished. I am mostly recovered; I simply cannot waltz back onto the ship full stop so soon. It would raise suspicions.

He is a nice man, Claur. I enjoyed working with him. He took the time to hear my thoughts about his topics and it felt good to have someone listen to me.

This is probably too long to be a proper letter. I hope life in Bree is good. Please write me back. I miss you.

With Love,

Merry