(1310-08-03) Letters to Arterre: By the Mists of Alba
Summary: A letter written by Isabelle de Valais to her cousin, Arterre de Valais, dated two years ago in Alba.
RL Date: August 3, 2018
Related: None

December 03, 1308 — Somewhere in Alba

(One of the letters that Arterre de Valais, Vicomte de Barrême, has kept over the years from his world-traveler and fashion designer cousin, Isabelle de Valais. It is a folded piece of cream parchment with black text, written in a flowing, feminine hand.)

Mi Cielito,

You will find that once again I have been rendered sleepless and unlike other nights, it cannot be burned away by work, no matter how I much I relish testing my ability to come up with something entirely new. It must be the day - did you know that in Alba, countryfolk believe that the thirty-first of October is when the veil between our world and the realm of the spirits is the thinnest, and that spectres and other dark creatures become more visible in the evenings? They say this is the night that witches perform their rituals deep in the forests, and that the ghost lights foolhardy travelers sometimes see when they brave journeying through the dark are the fires from their cauldrons. Sitting here by this window overlooking the moor surounding this stately manor, I can believe it, with the black silhouettes of skeletal trees blanketed by thick mists beckoning my eyes from a distance. I can almost expect something dangerous and otherworldly to jump at me from the shadows, but I suppose that to you, that is not surprising. You know of my predilections enough to know that I do not consider something an adventure if it is not dangerous, or strange - without elements that engage my restless mind.

It has been two months since you returned home from Aragonia and I cannot help but be painfully cognizant of the empty space you left behind. Ever since Papa decided that I was old enough, experienced enough, to engage in business in the wild, wide world, my travels have been strictly solitary affairs and were it not for Guillermo's service and devotion, I suppose the loneliness of it would have consumed me. Would it surprise you to know that I did not know it myself until you showed up in our villa in Amilcar, all smiles and eagerness at what you would be able to see and learn in a land completely different from Terre D'Ange? Ah, but this is so typical of me, is it not? To able to write you about these things so easily on parchment, but not have the willingness at all to tell you myself with my own voice, while looking at you right in the eye.

I like to think that even if you did not know, you would have sensed it regardless. You know my mind like no other. As I am fond of saying to you now and then, you are the brother I wish I had.

And it is because of it that I had to send you back home after what happened.

It is not because I doubt your courage, but because I doubt my own, and even moreso, my ability to keep you safe. Your parents would never forgive me, and I would castigate myself forever if I failed as badly or worse as I did that day. In this, I would rather suffer your displeasure and return you to Chateauredon alive, than have you remain by my side and suffer further. I assure you that my heart, what little of it there is, no matter how confusing or labyrinthine, would not have been able to bear it, and so I must.

I hope that you will find it in your own heart not to be too angry with me. Know that I was only thinking of what is best for you.

~ Izzy

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