It is good to be back at Inenmar, however inauspicious my departure from Wintercourt may have been. Indeed, I was so eager last night to spend the night under my own roof that I pressed on past sunset, only to arrive here unexpected and unlooked for, the man I sent ahead to warn of our arrival having been delayed. The sight of the keep in the moonlight--I wish you had been here to see it. Could you see such a sight--and there are many more even more beautiful--I know you would love Inenmar as I do.
But although I look forward to welcoming to you to Inenmar when the time comes, I regret to hear that our betrothal is so well known. You are right to think that it is Inenmar's influence, the old and the new, that is most likely to draw attention to you, especially now that I am gone from Wintercourt. This alliance of Inenmar and Velreisan will strengthen both of us, but until it is consummated both our positions are more precarious than otherwise.
I have considered writing to your godmother, the Countess of Doumcen. She would make a worthy ally, and I believe her positions are not so far from our own. I have been considering as I travel, and I can think of no one better suited to help us in this uncertain climate. Unfortunately, she is so well positioned that I cannot think of what to offer her in return for her favor. Perhaps I must look to those more ill-positioned in the current regime. Discontent and ambition breed a useful sort of person, though perhaps not the best company.
Do write soon and tell me all the news of court. I will need to remain well informed if this exile is not to be the undoing of many plans.
Before I close this letter, I have not forgotten that I promised you an account of the proceedings from my duel with Lord Pendrin. I will not sully your eyes with a precise recounting of the insults he gave me, nor bore you with an account of the duel itself. Instead, I will begin at the end of the duel. Hardly was the man injured when the younger Lady Temornar, his sister, appeared with a group of courtiers. She took one look at her brother and rushed off, no doubt to bring her tale to the emperor's wife, and thence the emperor. The others of her party remained, complicating my attempts to bring a physician to Lord Pendrin's aid. Those with any claim to skill with a sword seemed to wish for a stroke by stroke recounting of the duel, while those without such skill concentrated on bemoaning the ruin of Lord Pendrin's costume, which was excessively grand, and his person, which seemed a more apt concern to me.
For all this disarray, a physician arrived in a timely manner, and shortly thereafter I received a letter from the emperor, delivered by the captain of the imperial guard, informing me that the emperor no longer welcomed my presence at Wintercourt. I therefore left most hastily, the temper of the emperor being notoriously uncertain of late.
If there was a plot, and the timing was neat enough to make such speculations appropriate, I consider it to be without doubt that both Lord Pendrin and Lady Temornar were involved. As for the rest of the party with Lady Temornar, I cannot suspect Lady Asliske, though she was the most vocal of those asking about the duel, nor Lord Julti, who I must applaud for showing more presence of mind than most in tending to Lord Pendrin before the physician arrived. The rest were simply the usual run of courtiers, overexcited by the novelty of an affair of honor being settled in the lantern gallery of the palace rather than one of the more usual places.
Thus ends the tale of my disgrace. I have no doubt that you will fare more cautiously in the fickle climate of Wintercourt. I am glad to hear that you have contacted Kornan. He is the best of men, the best of mages, and makes a useful ally, especially now as it is his season.
I submit that your childhood quirks are more likely to be useful than mine, though terrifying people is no small talent. I am reliably informed that the wine steward at House Inenmar is still terrified of me.
I beg you, take care and write soon.
From Inenmar this 12th day of summer, in the year 1034 of the First Imperial Year,
I remain your ladyship's most assuredly,
Aldvar s'Endrin, Lord of Inenmar