Summer 1378 AF

It is Laia's birthday today. She wrote me to say that she is very happy in the Colligium, and she has many friends already. She knows how to do most of the chores, and is learning the ones she doesn't. Her Companion's name is Fiorina, but she likes to be called Fiori. According to Laia, she is the most wonderful thing in the world. I don't doubt it. Laia will get through the Colligium quickly, because of her age and learning. Then, she promised me, she will come back and get me. Laia is so good, to me, to her friends. She will be the perfect Herald. I only wish I was a Herald! It hurt when I read her letter, I wanted so much to be her.

I did write her back, and the letter is currently on its way to Haven and Laia. But I said nothing about my suspicions involving my supposed betrothal, or about our father's sudden increase of anger. She doesn't need to worry about that. But...it'll be two years or more before she can come for me. Lord and Lady help me, but I'm so frightened of my father...

Summer 1378 AF

Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no.

It's happened. I'm officially betrothed. Now I understand how frightened Laia was, because I'm just as afraid. This man...he can hardly even be called that. He's a beast! I've seen him kicking the dogs, whipping his horse, beating the servants. He's at least fifty, more then three times my age. Half his children are older then I am! His other wives died of mysterious reasons. The one I saw was pale and quiet, his colorless shadow. Gods forbid. I'll kill myself before I end up like that.

I'm going to run away. There's no other hope for it. Maybe I can be a seamstress, or something. Maybe...ah, gods, who am I fooling? I have no money, no skills. I'll be caught quickly.

There's no hope at all.

Summer 1378 AF

I was wrong. There is hope.

There is so much hope, so much love, I can't believe I was considering suicide. Of course, I can't be married against my will now.

Oh, gods. I'm too happy to write now. I'll tell you all about it later. Let me only say that her name is Sorsha.

Summer 1378 AF

Who is Sorsha? you might ask. Is she my fairy godmother? Is she a Herald, come to spirit me away?

No. Sorsha is none of these. Sorsha is my--are you ready for this?--my Companion.

I couldn't believe it either, at first. I still can't believe it, even now, even when I look up and see her over there, lying in the grass under the moonlight, grazing. Every now and then she will look up, over at me, to make sure I'm all right.

And I am. I'm more then all right. Everything is wonderful tonight.

Everything will always be wonderful, Sorsha, because of you. Because of you, I will never be lonely and unloved again. Because of you, no one will ever hurt me again.

I love you, Sorsha.