Dear Aunts Tilla, Muzzy, and Skeef,
How is spring finding you? I can imagine how the fields of Ur are rich with the spring crops, and the woodlands blessed with flowers. This letter is full of hope that you three and all the clan are healthy and ready for a kinder season than winter.
On my last visit, I promised that I would write more often. I know that six months have already passed since I saw you, but I figure that if I get another letter off to you between now and winter solstice, it will be twice as much writing as I did last year, and thus I will keep my promise.
You won't believe it, but I now have a sort of answering machine by my front door! This came about because I was subpoenaed to appear in court to interpret for a ghost. Two brothers were quarreling over an inheritance, so they dug up their grandfather to testify. Ha, ha, his testimony was so rude it made me blush to repeat it, and made the judge (Lord Stonewall, what a dim lantern) grind his teeth. The two grandsons were cut out of the inheritance completely, and they got so mad they threatened to dump the old grandfather's remains into the outhouse, where they could let him know every day how they felt about his attestation. So now his bones reside in an herb planter beside my house, and in exchange for some hooch every now and then, old Garfer Miller keeps a spectral eye on who comes and goes. Some days I wish he would move on to the next world, but he still worries about what his wife will do to him when he arrives on the Far Shore. And truly, I cannot assure him of what might or might not happen.
If you come to visit here in my village, you may find a regular resort town instead of a sleepy little stopover. A batch of dwarfs managed to get hold of six cases of dynamite and blew a hole in the valley past the next ridge, and it's filling with water with the rains and the runoff from the mountains. I thought the idea was crazy, but the crater looks beautiful in the reflection of the hills, and if it gets properly stocked with fish, I think they may have a tourist attraction there.
Remember how young Dan Ur-Jennan had to be magicked into a wizard because that dunce Cloudraft the Alleged Great couldn't swim to break the curse put on the Jennan Well? She went off with Cloudraft to learn more about controlling the new skills, but a few months later, Danner came to visit me for a while, and we took on an evil mage who was making her apprentice cast spells on animals to make them into talking slaves. We were able to defeat her, though Danner got wounded in the battle (don't worry, she's fine), and when Danner returned to Cloudraft's castle, she took with her two fine, upstanding, really well-spoken talking baboons that the mage was going to waste as janitorial help. Currently they're working as archivists for the wizard Cloudraft, who can't keep his own papers straight even when he tries.
That sicko mage and her apprentice also made some talking raccoons, some talking dogs, and some talking horses. You know, it can really bend your viewpoint conversing with a raccoon about life and objectives and necessities. Alas, the horses and one of the talking dogs were eaten by wilder creatures than they, so I will never have the chance to find out how differently they view Life.
At this time, I'm traveling west with a troll named Margot (you may or may not remember her from last summer as we passed through on our way down the coast) and the other of the mage's talking dogs, who's attached himself to Margot. We're just taking it easy and slow, on our way to visit Danner.
I think I need to mention that the wild creature who ate the talking horses, and who helped Danner and me immensely is a dragon. He's really a nice sort, very well-spoken and good-intentioned. Bronzey-gold in color, with some overtones of green, and yellow eyes. I didn't catch his name but it's possible he's headed towards the lands of Ur, seeking employment. You might want to mention to the elders of the Clans to keep on the lookout for him -- he doesn't seem to eat people but it might be a good idea to keep a few steers on hand in case he does drop by. Personally I think he would make a great security guard.
I plan on making my way up the coast from Oceanwind Castle where Danner is staying -- maybe I'll be able to stop by and say "Hello".
Until then, may the lands be at peace
and all hearts in grace,
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