My Dear Meliathara,

Following three rainy
Days on the road, muddy
Boots sloshing, hearts pining
Feet tripping, roots breaking
Rhythms of thought under

A gentle ray
The moment’s rest beneath
His gift, a breath, respite
Joy, but unintended?
Might he know the grace ‘neath
His own incandescence?
His lot: a curse to bless?

Feet tripping, roots breaking
Boots sloshing hearts pining…

Do you like it? I know my Elvish is dreadfully clumsy, but I adore its poetic forms, so I thought I’d try to borrow some of their rhythms for a poem in the human tongue. It’s a first draft; I need to hammer on that second stanza, at the least. I’m certainly open to suggestions.

The experience is partially autobiographical. Write what you know, they say; I’ve known nothing but rain for a week. Even the single ray of sunlight is a fiction, actually. The poem was inspired by a moment of hopeful daydreaming, broken cruelly by a wayward root that nearly sent me sprawling into the mud. Not even an actual moment of rest.

Speaking of sprawling into the mud, I should love to introduce you and father to my new traveling companions. I know I’ve already written reams about Zero and Caius—I swear, someday we shall make proper introductions—but I’ve met three more! First, Roland. I think he’s rather like the kind of person you warned me not to associate with. He’s young, very young, and full of a rage. Not the rage of a wounded bear-mother or a hungry lion, but a very human, mortal rage. And he has magic baked into his flesh, seemingly still hot from the oven. Then there’s Key (pronounced more like “Kay”). She’s an Elven huntress, and she is possessed of the animal fury, the singular, unrefined and undivided purpose. Zero wishes to refine that purpose, which should be an amusing project. I wonder, though. We met her in a human town, and her mannerisms… has she no village? No Tel?

I know, I know… you would disapprove. Please don’t be too upset! This life is what I’ve always wanted. I want to see the unseemly and the dangerous just as much as I want to see the beautiful and the awe-inspiring. I earnestly believe, and have already begun to hear, the music in both of their lives. They will not hurt me—beneath the anger and pain, I believe they sing the same melody I do.

I know you’ve been at once so supportive and so concerned. I owe it to you to come back in one piece, and I intend to.

Well. Maybe not just one piece. Remember a week ago I wrote about familiar spirits? I completed the calling! I met a spirit in the form of a beautiful raven. I call him Virgil. He has this prodigious wingspan, and his plumage is that beautiful, silky blue-black that just can’t be captured in paintings. But I can’t help but feel a little confused. The familiar spirit that heeds the calling ought to be familiar, no? I didn’t expect him to be, well, him. He can be so grumpy and blunt and annoying. But I don’t know what it is. I love him. I just want to stroke his wings for hours on end, and I can feel how much he feels happily at home on my left shoulder and how it pains him to be any further away from me than that. I don’t know. I want to find out what this says about my own soul. But now, I have a dear friend, and his name is Virgil, and someday soon you shall meet him.

So, now, what’s this about father having found your secret flower beds? Surely you were aware that you can’t hide anything from that man! Expect them to be filled with those bright blue mushrooms again within the week. Did I ever tell you he once brought me along to help him find the mushrooms for that prank? That was the time he got bit by the snake! He made me swear to never speak of it. Well. I’m not exactly speaking of it, now am I?

I’m writing this on the third day of what might be a two week or so journey through some small villages. I’ll find a way to deliver it as soon as I can!