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Letters from Elbyrk

Last week my writers group received an interesting piece of homework: write an epistolary (which, in English, is a story composed of documents, namely letters). It’s a writing style that has largely gone out of popularity, and so we were assigned the project to write a small piece, to try something different than what we normally write.

Of course, I knew before the glove was thrown who I was going to work with.

Roscha. Big surprise, right? I know. Never saw that coming, did you?

The second character is his mother.

Bet you really didn’t see that coming, eh?

But yes, while it isn’t actually made a big point of in the story, Roscha does exchange letters fairly regularly with his mother while he is living on base, so I thought this the perfect opportunity to explore these two and this aspect of Roscha’s life. Originally I wanted to incorporate a third person, but that would have really stretched things out, and as you’ll see, what I have here is quite long enough already!

That said, shall we get started?

Roscha, on 3/Shol/YGC 782

To Mother

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while, but I sprained my hand and Keenan had it wrapped up so tight I could hardly move the blighted thing. I tried with my left hand, but even I could hardly read what I wrote, so I thought it would be better to save the paper and ink and wait.

The snows are melting fast around here, leaving behind sloshy and freezing pools of mud that the instructors are making full use of. I haven’t felt clean in ages, and everything is damp, but it’s no worse that it is every year. But this will be the last one, finally. Graduation for Salt is this Ji’van, do you remember? It’s been seven years since this whole thing began, and now that it’s coming to an end I can’t help but feel rather surreal about it all. When I remember it’s actually happening, of course.

Anyway, last Sabbadae me and Shyloh went for a walk in the woods out behind Elbyrk, and in some places the snow was still halfway to our knees. We found some boar tracks, and Shyloh had this grand idea to follow them and see if we couldn’t find it. I went along with him because I had hope he wasn’t daft enough to pick a fight with a boar without any weapons, but I should have known better. We did find it, and it was none too pleased. I thought my heart was going to jump right out of my throat when the thing charged at us, but thank Avin’El and his angels there was a tree close by we could climb up and escape. Watching Shyloh cling to the trunk like a burr with his eyes squeezed shut made it all worth it, though. I couldn’t stop laughing, even though the boar rammed into the tree several times. We had to stay up there until well past curfew, and when we did finally dare come down we ran like hares all the way back to base. Barthol almost made us stay out all night, but he did let us in, and man did Izak rip us a new one. Oh, well, it was fun.

Tomorrow we’re going out into the field for drills, and I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to rain. Here’s hoping you’re warm and dry and clean.



Mum, on the fourteenth of Shol in the year of Avin’El’s blessed land 782

To Roscha, my dear son

It is good to hear from you again, I was getting worried! And I can’t believe you actually had a run-in with a wild boar all by yourselves, so reckless! I praise Avin’El that you both made it back unscathed. Please don’t ever do something like that again. You tell Shyloh for me that if he gets anymore ideas like that then I shall have to march all the way down there and scold him myself.

Believe you me, son, I have not forgotten for a moment that this is the year of your graduation. I am counting the days – as are we all. Even Tobias asks about you. Everyone here does so love to hear the stories you tell about your adventures in training, even though they don’t always do my heart well, truth be told. I hope you don’t mind that I share those parts? After all, it wasn’t just me that you left behind all those years ago when you moved to Elbyrk with your father, but all of us here in the temple. I miss you both so much.

How did your field drills go? Was it just a day, or several days? Did you manage to win any of your spars this time around? It’s all right if you didn’t. More importantly, did you get hurt? Not that I expect you to tell me any of that, I know how much you hate to worry me so. You’re such a sweet boy.

In any event, I have some exciting news! You remember that young couple I told you about in my last letter? Well, she finally had her baby! About time, I dare say, and he’s a chubby little thing, he is! I can’t believe how she managed it so well, he’s so big! They named him Neëmiah, and I think it suits him well. Also, I thought you might be interested to know that the season’s first flowers are poking their heads out of the garden soil in the courtyard. This place becomes such a lush and colorful haven in the summer, I wish you could come see it. I yearn to share it with the both of you. Maybe after graduation you and your father could make a trip up here? That would be so wonderful.

With all my love,



Roscha, on 27/Shol/YGC 782

To Mother

That’s wonderful news about the birth, and did you know that when I was choosing a name for Ma’tayo I almost picked Neëmiah instead? I didn’t remember until you told me his name. I pray he grows well and doesn’t join the army. Or that he doesn’t have to, perhaps more so that.

I would very much enjoy coming to the temple, not only to see the garden but also the entire grounds. I don’t remember anything about the place, but maybe if I came I would? Avin’El knows. Even so, I honestly doubt the opportunity will arise. Deployments usually come within a week of the awards ceremony. Someday, though, I hope.

And the field drills went fine. We got soaked, as I expected, and it frosted overnight. It’s late enough in the season that it doesn’t get that cold at night anymore. We spent three days out there, and nothing particularly interesting happened.

I’d like to tell you about the other day’s scavenger hunt, when Mallorie and Mattan fell into a mud pit, but it’s almost lights-out and I wanted to get this letter to the post office tomorrow while we’re free for the afternoon. You won’t get this until well afterwards, but pray I don’t accumulate so many penalties that I miss the time slot.



Mum, on the twelfth of Riv in the year of Avin’El’s blessed land 782

To Roscha

My son, I know that you can only send your letters on Emyrdaes, but please, don’t feel rushed. I know how hard it is to find time to write with how busy you are, and it warms my soul that you take the time at all to humor me. Know that for however long, short, dull, or frightening your letters may be, I treasure every single one of them. If there is something you want or need to tell me, take the necessary time to do so, and I will wait.

Have you heard any news yet about the graduation assessment? I so dearly wish that I could be there to send you off and welcome you back, but for being at peace, Ophnai is certainly a busy place and there is always work to do every single day! The Sabbadae rest is the first real opportunity I’ve had to take much time for myself. Life certainly can be full, can it not? But even though we are both busy little bees, how different our labors are! Both are for the good of our people and country, though, so perhaps not so different?

The tiny amerbells are blooming, and they’re such a vivid purple this year. I don’t recall them ever being so vibrant before, and the mourning heather is budding early, but so far the golden sash hasn’t shown a single sign of life. I hope it hasn’t died over the winter, it has such lovely flowers.

Oh, I’m sorry, Roscha. I was called away while in the middle of writing this letter and now the day is nearly done. I can’t write so well by candle light anymore, my eyes are getting old before the rest of me. I shall send this along anyway, since I’m not likely to add more to it in a timely manner.

I pray you are well, and Avin’El be with you.

With all my love,



Roscha, 26/Ryv/YGC 782

To Mother

With all the busyness, I hope you remember to take care and not wear yourself out. But if you do get the time to tell me more about all the things that are keeping you I would love to hear it. Anything that’s different from the same old things going on here would be welcome.

All my personal time this week so far has been chocked full of penalty chores, which is fine, I guess. Except I need to study for the test coming up at the end of the week. I should be doing that right now, but to Raba with it oh well. Besides, with Shyloh and the twins and just about everyone else in the barracks right now pestering me with questions, I’m basically studying already, so I don’t feel guilty.

Ma’tayo had a bad day today. He wasn’t hurt or sick or anything, quite the opposite. He was in rare form. Which actually made it a bad day for me more than him, I guess would be more accurate. He can get a real stick up his an attitude that makes him almost as impossible to work with as Shyloh’s e’Ahnzy. He wouldn’t listen to any of my commands and he snapped at two instructors. I’m surprised I’m not still out picking rocks in Gallie’s garden or hauling fuel or scrubbing the stable’s walls or whatever. What’s the difference between

Sorry, that was actually a question Azel was asking, and I accidentally started writing it. These guys are persistent. I guess I should call it quits for today, then. The rest of the week doesn’t sound too promising, but things change all the time. I’m supposed to spend half of tomorrow in Rign Platoon (they’re Basics) and I’m hoping the instructors will change their minds about that because I really don’t like Rign, Eijun especially, that arrogant twit really gets on my nerves. But I’m not expecting to get what I want with that. It seems that the less I want something, the more likely it is to happen, so I’ll probably have to spar against Eijun tomorrow. I guess there’s not a whole lot to be done about it, though.

Hopefully I’ll have something better to tell you about next time.


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