(This letter is under a read more because it’s full of profanity — Kim has very colorful language when truly angry.)
Things are coming along really good. Healer even said that I might get the brace off my wrist a few days early! Stuck with the damned sling for a while yet, though. Never break your collarbone, it’s the worst. My hip is healing too, but now it’s in that really nasty stage. I’ll…spare you the details. It itches so much.
Mum and I went over to the jail yesterday to talk with them about what they got out of him. So this guy doesn’t even know who I am or nothing, he just got paid to do it. Who the hell would pay someone money to attack me? I’m not that annoying, am I?
They’re gonna hold him until he starts talking, but seems like he’s keeping his mouth shut for now. Doesn’t want to break his word, a really weird thing for a guy willing to beat someone up for pay. But I came up with a really good idea, though. I think it’s a good idea, anyway. Mum isn’t so sure yet, but I’m right confident about it.
Don’t get mad. I’m gonna go offer to pay this guy’s fine if he gives us the name and leaves Bree-land. He won’t get out until we can confirm that the guy who hired him is actually the one who did it, but I’ll let him go if we can get that figured out. I’ve got a good reason for it: even if that first guy sits there and wastes away in jail, what’s to stop this other guy from hiring someone else?
Not a big fan of rewarding some jackass with the nerve to attack a woman for some coin, but I really don’t like the idea of someone out there just…waiting to find the right person to beat me up again. Get to the root of the problem, then rip it out of the ground and throw that fucker in jail.
So that’s my plan tomorrow. Hopefully it works. Speaking of work (writing of work, whatever), Mum agreed to let me start heading back to the market after my wrist brace is off. She’s gonna come with me, won’t let me say anything otherwise, but it’s something. I need to get out, see people, feel the sun again. Being stuck in here is horrible after a few days. This is like the time I got diphtheria. Ugh.
I miss you. You better be doing okay. Remember to watch out for those bears. You know, I realized that you’re going to be away on your birthday…you did that on purpose. I’ve got your real present here, but you’re just going to have to come back home to get it! Not that easy. To tide you over, I wrote the first chapter of that book and it’s in this package. It’s absolutely terrible and you better enjoy it. Let me know if you can figure out what the repetitive word is. I’ll save the rest for when you get back here.
I can’t wait until you’re back. Nights are steadily getting cooler around here and you’re a lot warmer than the pillows. I keep dreaming about throwing snowballs at you, then going inside and drinking spiced wine. I love you, Frank. So much. Be safe.
In the early afternoon, a package arrives in Cirieldis’s office: a small, unassuming box wrapped in basic brown paper and held together with twine. The only hint as to whom sent it is the hand in which her name is scrawled: bold, flowing penmanship. It rattles quietly if shaken, a muffled sound. Whatever is inside has been packaged with care to avoid breakage.
Once opened, the box contains only a short letter and something the size and shape of a small rock, wrapped in plain muslin. The letter reads as follows:
I hope this letter finds you well, as we have not spoken in many months and both of our places in life have changed significantly since then. I found myself watching the sea from my new residence and caught myself reminiscing as to how I came to be here.
My introspection led me to realize that I had never properly thanked you for your role in my coming to Dol Amroth, and for that I must apologize! You were the catalyst for this change of scenery in my life and this change ended up being amongst the most welcome in my recollections. As such, I wish to convey my utmost gratitude.
Enclosed is something small; naught more than a whim, really. One of my current avocations is to walk along the shore and collect shells which ensnare my interest. I have included one whose hues immediately reminded me of a pair of most peculiar boots I first noticed back in Bree. May it bring a warm chuckle and memory to you same as it did for me.
At your service,
The small cloth bundle’s bounty is immediately apparent upon pulling the string wrapped around it: a small, delicate seashell. The intricate wentletrap shape lends its pearlescent purple color considerable luster when the sun’s rays shine through.
I have reached the border of the Shire. The waters of the Baranduin are slow and steady, a great comfort to a weary traveler. Did you know that in this land, they more oft call the river by the name “Brandywine”? It is a peculiar and particularly charming mispronunciation. There is a small settlement of Hobbits (they seem to be amused yet slightly offended at being called “periannath”) in which I stay this evening. They are not quick to trust, but are used to travelers, and my songs and coin were enough to persuade them I mean no harm.
I can barely fit into their tiny houses; therefore I sleep under the stars. It is a reassuring way to rest, watching the constellations move through the sky as I listen to the river’s waters flow nearby. There is something inexplicably soothing about hearing a cricket play its song, or the rustling of long grass in the wind. It helps me recognize that the world does in fact continue to move, heedless of my whims or heartbreak. Logically I have known this all along, but this does not mean that I feel it in my heart yet.
The reflection of the sun against the rippling waters of the Baranduin was bittersweet, even as the Hobbits assured me it would lift my spirits. How could they know the fiery red of the sun and vivid blue of sky yet undarkened, dancing upon water, would remind me of that I wish to forget? Their gesture and kindness were appreciated, regardless.
My candle supply is limited until I find a proper town with traders, and so I must cut this short. The Hobbits assure me my letters will make it through what they call “the post,” which is their courier/letter system. This shall reach you when it reaches you. May you, Father, Thurinon, Merileth, and all their children, fare well. I will find treats for each of you on my travels, particularly Arassiel. Hobbit-sized is what we could consider child-sized; perhaps a writing desk or easel… Ah, my thoughts run away. Fare well, Mother.
Forgive your son for being short on words, so heavy is his heart. After chancing across some old acquaintances and friends, it has become abundantly clear to me that I am incapable of properly socializing with others at this time. To continue to stay indoors during the warm months is not sustainable, nor do I particularly wish to stay within these walls more than absolutely necessary. I am sure you understand.
I think it best if I travel for a time. A change of scenery, as well as copious amounts of walking, will perhaps help clear my mind. It was a goal of mine to see the home of the Periannath and to walk the green hills of their land. I will do so, as well as continue my journey toward Duillond. I know you and Father have partners in the elven port, including Maluhíl. It is my fervent hope he has not departed yet, for he would be a comfort to see once more.
During my travels, I will write when it is possible. Please send any replies you wish through our family’s connections in Duillond, as that is my final destination. I am unsure if I will return to Bree to live, or if I shall sell the land and move elsewhere.
This is a journey of discovery, much like my former one, yet this time I do not seek glory or to be remembered for my words and deeds. Instead I desire to regain my sense of self. The vibrant and alive colours of Bree-land in the summer do nothing to stir my heart; this is something which must be remedied. Deep in my heart, I know there is magic and wonder and beauty in the world…and I must learn to see it once again.
Wish your wayward son luck, for I believe he shall need it. Despite my somber words, know that I still – and always will – smile with joy as I think upon you, my father, brother, and beloved sister. Give them my sincere love.
I remain yours,
I write you yet again. I apologize if the weekly ramblings of your youngest son begin to wear you away with boredom; I do not mean such! Yet know I miss you terribly. Your warm and loving conversation has been most missed these days. Let me start by assuring you, once again, that I am hale. I have managed to slightly injure my wrist, but already it is almost completely healed. As you can see, I write to you regardless! So therefore it is not so bad. How fare you, my brothers, Father? Please remember: I do think upon you all every day, every hour. With fondness, of course. Merileth has received her own letter this time, so do not think I shun my beloved sister!
The snow in this land is most curious. When I last wrote, I had finished an experimental house made of snow. It has sadly begun to melt – this is such a perplexing idea! How can something so cold, in such cold air, melt? The sun is truly a powerful force. Soon it shall be nothing more than a pile of cold, white powder. Ah, the snow as it falls, mother! It glistens as stars falling to the earth: a gift from the Valar. What I would not give to see your reaction to such beauty. I can picture you, even now, standing in the yard and bundled in furs, looking to the sky as the snow floats around you, sparkling like diamonds. It is dreadfully cold business, however wondrous. I stay indoors whenever I find the opportunity.
Yet that is not the most important thing which weighs on my mind. I have past written to you of my current plans to remain in Bree for a time; I now wish to beg your forgiveness. “A time” has become “an indefinite amount of time.” It is not the weather, nor my health. I must be discreet, for various reasons which I am unable to disclose to even you, but I can no longer hold this façade. I beg of you, truly, truly beg of you to tell no one: not even Father. It is a matter of utmost secrecy, and even as I write these words, I worry for putting them to paper. I will not request something as dramatic as to burn it after reading, or anything like that…yet I must implore silence.
I stay for another. She is not learned, not compared to the education in which you raised me, and she is not what most in your circles would consider a graceful lady; yet she stirs deep within me something which I have never dreamed possible. I am a poet; if there is one thing I have read over and over throughout my life, it has been descriptions of meeting someone who can take your breath away with merely a look. After Nídhil, I questioned if that were even possible: if someone as beautiful, intelligent, and well-bred as her could not cause the skipping of a heartbeat, who could? I now see that was folly on my part – foolish brooding. You of all people know my fondness for speech, being the one who instilled it in me so well, but now there are times when even I am brought to utter silence by a look or touch.
This letter may come as a shock, my words seemingly scribbled upon the page. My apologies if any are hard to read. I find myself unable to speak to all but one confidant, and even he is unable to truly understand her. Even when described through my own eyes, her demeanor around others skews his opinion too much. She is keenly intelligent, proud, strong, and harbors a deep, abiding sense of hope as well as love of the fanciful. There are many layers to her, each different and a joy to learn. She inspires something altogether new to me, Mother. Protection.
I desire to protect her. Naturally, I have always wished to do as I am able to help protect those I care for, but this is a far more fierce need. When I see tears begin to bead in the corner of her bright eyes, my heart aches to stop whatever is causing it. I want nothing more than to hold her for so long that her worries and sadness dissipate. It is new, and almost disconcerting in its intensity. I aspire to be a better person – nay, a better man – for her. It is far too soon to speak of that which I know you are already wondering. Far too soon. Yet know I am beyond smitten.
I know this should not surprise you, but I do feel obligated to tell you: she is not from the same place as you or me. I do not mean the city proper, either: my meaning is of status. It matters not to me. I care only for the warm, delicate swan hidden behind the mask; not whom her parents may be, nor anything else that could be considered something to be undesirable by my peers at home. Her accent is rough and her hands have callouses; her hair is haphazardly cut and her dresses plain – all these things help to shape who she is, each desirable in their own fashion. I cannot apologize enough for not staying behind and marrying well. I truly cannot, for it was a selfish action. Yet I beg more forgiveness from you still as you read the next line: I will never regret it. I am not sorry, for it brought me here, to this quiet and green land with snow and blossoms of twilight.
This is not the letter you were expecting, no doubt. Yet it is more truth than most would dare speak. I am slowly falling for a woman of no social stature in a land with little true education, and nothing in this world fills me with more joy and nervous hope. You and Father were considered a proper match, so I am aware that the situations are not the same…yet if you would write me your counsel, it would be most welcome. You once did something rash and followed your heart; it brought love and happiness to your life. Did it scare you as much as it sometimes does me? The reward, the future which could theoretically happen, is more than worth the risk: this I know for certain. I only wonder if it is supposed to cause disquietude, or I am truly such a fool. Regardless of my status as “fool” or “not a fool,” I fear I have caused enough distress for you in this letter, Mother.
Forgive your foolish son, and please do but love him still. My address is stationary as of now, and as long as the envelope is addressed to Tegil, it shall find its way to my hands. Please write.
You are the only one for whom I will still sign a letter as such.
Your son, with all his love,