WARNING: Other players should not read this until Chapter 1 is complete.
[OOC: This letter is written on both sides of average-quality paper in what Garoway would recognize as laboriously small and neat handwriting for Kebrin.]
I hope this letter finds you and the rest of my family at Ista Weyr well.
I think I am finally adapting well to life here in Harper Hall, but miss you all very much.
Fort Hold and especially the Harper Hall have beautiful architecture and more people than I had ever seen in my life, but they still don’t feel like home yet.
Speaking of which – I’m sure you’re curious to know how my Initial Assessment with Masters Chanler, Salinda, and Farrell went. They made me play all three instruments I know (even some snippets of songs I didn’t know from sheet music), sing, and recite for over an hour. It felt like the longest hour in my life, since I thought I was doing great – but they looked less and less happy. Finally, Master Farrell asked me if I liked teaching and I was about to answer with Master Salinda interrupted to ask me to pick up my guitar and show her “what it will feel like when the last of the dragons leave Ista Weyr.” I played her one of the Weyr songs I had made my own a few days after you broke the news to me on board the Cormorant. I was crying by the time I finished, and I don’t think Master Chanler was far behind. Master Salinda said she would take me as her student, and I started studying under her later that week. A few days ago, she finally told me what had gone wrong during my Initial Assessment: My playing and knowledge of the teaching songs and other required lore had been absolutely flawless. Textbook perfect.
Exactly what they expected from your boy.
But my playing had lacked heart until she pushed me.
It was difficult at first, but I am making a point of meeting lots of new people and trying lots of new things. Like a lot of things, it’s getting a little easier with practice. Meeting new people and learning new things keeps me from dwelling on my homesickness for long. I’m at or near the top of all my classes, and am studying ahead a little to help make certain I stay there.
You have my word that I will continue to do my absolute best to reflect well on you and the honor of Ista Weyr.
Just like you warned, some people don’t like me because I’m from a Weyr or because I started studying under a Master my first week here at Harper Hall. I try to not care too much, though, because I’ve already made a lot of friends – some of whom are turning into good friends: Tumar, Landon, Jarris, Arton, and Tevan.
Autumn came early to Fort Hold this Turn and it is absolutely beautiful. I don’t think I have enough words for all the different colors of gold, red, and brown here!
I will need much warmer clothes than I have before the snows come, so I am looking for my first real job. Tumar, a Senior Journeyman librarian assistant, warned me that wearing my riding leathers amounts to picking fights – something I don’t need. I’m probably going to ask K’len, rider of blue Pentiath, in Fort Hold if he has any good ideas – or maybe he could use a hand taking care of Pentiath, since neither is as young as they once were and oiling a dragon is hard work. I’m also going to try delivering serenades and small love trinkets during the upcoming Gather. Since kids my age grow out of clothes really fast, I’m going to ask around in Harper Hall and Fort Hold to see if there’s a storeroom full of old clothes – or a store that sells them – somewhere. If there isn’t, then I’m going to ask Master Salinda if I can start one – since we aren’t all from wealthy Holds, and it’s hard to hold a job during the semester.
I have some questions that I hope you can answer for me, either in a response or the next time I come home:
- I was assigned to Gannon Dorm. Which dorm were you in?
- Do you have any advice on good ways to earn money between semesters?
- Kealle, an older girl in a couple of my classes, turned me down when I asked to dance with her at the Autumn Dance. Practicing my dancing will help, but do you have any other advice for getting a girl to dance with me?
- Master Salinda knew that Ista Weyr will close only a few weeks after we did, and that’s a very private matter. Tumar tells me that Harper Hall has some of the largest libraries in the world. Is Harper Hall really about preserving and teaching history, tradition, and news – and just uses music as a good way of helping people remember?
Harper Hall will only mail a single letter for us each semester, so would you please let everyone else back home know that I think of you all fondly and often.
I look forward to seeing you again soon.
P.S. Don’t worry. I drafted this letter on scrap paper, because paper is precious and ink unforgiving.