Daughters

Principal characters: Numair, George, Neal, Sarralyn, Aly and Georgiana

Summary: Letters from father to daughter.

Numair

Sarralyn,

As I write this you are sleeping peacefully. A candle mark ago you were a wolf, and taking great pleasure in ripping our furniture to pieces. I do not know what other shapes you will take in your life, nor how much of our home you will destroy in the process of learning how to control your magic. I do not know and neither do I care. I cannot predict the arguments we will have in the future, the raised voices or the angry tears. But I can say with utter certainty that twenty years from now, fifty, one hundred, I will love you.

All my love,

Your father.

Over the years, every time Sarra got in trouble for breaking the boundaries her parents had set for her in terms of shape shifting, she would retrieve the letter from its place hidden in a book and re-read it, smiling through her tears.

George

1, 12, 25

3, 15, 14, 7, 18, 1, 20, 21, 12, 1, 20, 9, 15, 14, 19/ 15, 14/ 3, 18, 1, 3, 11, 9, 14, 7/ 25, 15, 21, 18/ 6, 9, 18, 19, 20/ 3, 15, 4, 5/ 25, 15, 21/ 8, 1, 22, 5/ 13, 1, 4, 5/ 1, 14/ 15, 12, 4/ 18, 15, 7, 21, 24

12, 15, 22, 5/ 4, 1

As Dove's Spymaster, Aly kept the first code she ever broke folded up in a secret pocket, along with the yellowed translation written in a scrawled, childish hand:

ALY,

CONGRATULATIONS ON CRACKING YOUR FIRST CODE. YOU HAVE MADE AN OLD ROGUE VERY PROUD.

LOVE DA.

Neal

Many sleepless nights

Made far more bearable by

Baby's beaming smile

Years later, Georgiana fixed the haiku above her own daughter's cradle to remind herself why she rose from bed while all sensible people were sleeping.