Cirieldis

Innocent Heart: My Dearest Friend

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Dearest Lalaith,

Greetings! I apologize that a reply took so long to get to you. How is little Vana? I cannot get over how beautiful she is. I may have to beg for a sketch of the two of you one of these days. Has she been feeling and sleeping better at nights? I hope you have found a nurse to allow you more sleep. How have you been feeling?

Things here are as busy as always. I am living in the Ivory Tower now, did I tell you? My Lady has had so much on her plate, and there is ever so much to do, but I enjoy the work and it always helps the time pass more quickly. And I have had plenty to distract me with lately aside from work, teaching, fencing, and reading to the swans. Perhaps too much (but I will write you about boys some other time).

Tutoring is going well. With one having gotten a sponsor so he could continue as one of the few pages, and one of my girls in Pelargir for an apprenticeship I have had the freedom to take on a new student. We spend most of our lessons on the beach, or taking little field trips around the city. Dannert is still rough around the edges, but I have earned his trust, and there is a quiet understanding between us that wherever the group goes he is sure to help me avoid his brother. I hate the brother almost as much as I did Auntie. Perhaps even more so. He is the model for everything bad a human could be, everything vile brewing in this city, and I always fear doing anything that might trigger his abuse of Dannert. He makes me feel vulnerable and ill deep in my gut. Maybe one day he will bump into me atop the long city stair and accidentally fall of the edge….

Then there is my Lady. Lady Cirieldis is changed of late, especially after we’ve been staying in the tower, and I am ever worrying more and more. She has secluded herself, and it does not bode well. I brush her hair every night and it is like the world weighs on her shoulders. If I could take it from her I would in an instant. She should smile more. I try, but it feels as if it is becoming increasingly difficult. Nay, nigh impossible. Some nights I imagine the hair brushing might sweep away her troubles and stress. I imagine she was you and then I could sit with her and hug her till she feels better, or spirit her away for a walk like the one we took last year, where no one expects anything of her. I am fairly sure Sana still holds that against me, by the way.

How is Sana by the way? And Corden, and Orin, and his Lordship? Has the Haradic gentleman visited yet? I remember there being some speculation, but hopefully Pelargir is treating it’s foreign residents better than the ones here. Tell Orin I found another book he might enjoy, that is if he has not read it already. It is called ‘Heart of Nations’. The writer has a wonderful voice and cites very good sources.

I miss you terribly, and hope to have time afforded me soon to pay you a visit. Every time I visit the city seems bigger and brighter, and it makes my worry for Dol Amroth deepen. Kiss your darling girl for me, and tell her to be good to her mama. I have a dozen little presents for her, though they may end up being mailed, and will send some of Berests’ cheese your way when next I am able. With the regrettable state the city is in I cannot say when I may be free to see you next, but please do not worry for me.

Wising you every blessing,
Yours affectionately,
Feira

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Innocent Heart: Broken

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“I did what you suggested… with letting the air and cold clear my head…. I was wondering if you might tell me what you know about… well, about him. The short boat ride seems like a proper place to sort it all out in my head….” Feira did not want to speculate. Speculating made her feel like she would lose her late lunch, and yet, if the Lady knew something, what was to come might even be worse.

Cirieldis threaded her fingers together, and let out a light breath. “I am afraid it is not a simple conversation. How long do you have?”

Feira licked her pink lips and resisted the urge to glance back to the door that blocked their view of the waiting Elf. She had spent the entire trip in Forochel trying to keep the young man from her mind by day, even as he always seemed to find his way back in at night to crowd all else out. She felt nervous and sick, and she needed to know. “I have time enough,” she replied softly with a small bob of her head.

Cirieldis nodded. “Very well. Come with me.”

Feira followed, careful to not step on any swan feet. Ciri’s balcony was secluded– set high and facing the ocean, making it impossible for anyone to eavesdrop from it’s location. The Lady invited Feira to take a seat at one of two delicate white chairs, at a table set for tea.

Looking a bit more nervous than before, though no less determined, Feira quietly lowered herself into the offered seat. Silivren hopped into Feira’s lap as she settled, and the girl was comforted by the snuggly bird.

“Tea?” Ciri asked, offering the teapot. “You are welcome to help yourself to sweets.” She indicated the tiered plate stacked with cakes, truffles, and pastries.

Feira smiled softly and nodded gratefully, pausing her petting of the swan to carefully reach over to accept the tea with out disturbing the bird. “Thank you.” While she had little appetite, it would have been rude to refuse even the tea.

Cirieldis settled in her chair. “Before we begin, I would like to hear everything you know about Lhainan. It will help me decide where to begin.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

There was nothing as Feira made her way to the ship to Pelargir. She felt no ocean breeze on her colorless cheeks, nor saw any faces through the haze of tears that rimmed her ever-bright eyes. What little she had eaten that day had been lost in an alley on the way to the port, and still the sick pain in her stomach remained. The commotion and busyness of the docks was distant to her ears, and she counted out her carefully saved coin for a small cabin below deck only because some distant knowledge moved her hands and feet for her.

The sapphire blue sky was grey, and the open space closed in around her as she shuffled down the wooden steps without a word. Fumbling numbly with the lock, Feira managed to finally get the narrow door open, and slipped inside to lock it behind her. The pungent smell burned into her memory flooded over her as she sank to the well-scrubbed wooden floor. Her mother’s muffled cries and screams filled her ears, and the young woman curled into a ball on a ship to a place she forgot as wracking sobs seized her chest.