2 Mirtul, 1368
I’m going to skip Obe the Illusionist since it’s just a tutorial. I had a look and there’s nothing new in there anyway.
On my way to the barracks I walk past the Infirmary. I remember that Sir Trun’s fiancée was worried about him so I decide to pay him a visit.
I find the one-armed knight laying in his bed.
Dorthon: Are you Sir Trun? I talked with your fiancée. The poor woman doesn’t feel well at all.
Sir Trun: *sigh* I know, and it tortures me that I am incapable of helping her. It… it is like I am paralyzed…
My injury is no reason for my behaviour toward her. I… I fell in love with a beautiful young maiden and proposed to her, and now…
Dorthon: You can’t handle the thought she might be stronger than you?
Sir Trun: No, no, not that. I…
*sigh* Since she already talked to you, it won’t hurt if I do so, too. Actually I feel a great urge to talk about this with someone who cares to listen.
We got into an unexpected fight. Everything was going well. Then all of a sudden, one of the creatures sunk its teeth into my arm. I wasn’t able to free myself, and it was dragging me toward the portal… There was a pain at my shoulder, and next thing I knew, I was lying in front of the portal, watching it close behind the last of the monsters. Linda was standing beside me, pale as a ghost, my sword in her hands.
She saved my life the only way it was possible in that moment, by chopping off my arm.
I am not talking about the loss of my arm. That was lost the moment the monster bit into it. I… What I mean…
Dorthon: What bothers you is her sudden foresight and prowess. Not only did she understand the only way to save you, she also *did* it in what must have been a timeframe of mere seconds. And all that despite the fact that she is “only” the daughter of a noble house.
Sir Trun: That… yes… yes, that’s it! That is what keeps troubling me. She is completely inexperienced, if it comes to fighting, yet she… acts like a long-established knight! I couldn’t have done it better, had I been in her position.
The… the sensible detachment she showed by cutting off another’s arm, if it was the only way to save him… How much experience must one gain, how many friends must one lose in battle before developing this insight? She… she just did it, when it was necessary. My poor Linda! Surely she is terribly frightened. But… how should I confront her, after being so distant toward her… All she did was save me!
Dorthon: There is only one possibility. Linda has to learn how to fight, so you will have to teach her. Take her as your squire.
Sir Trun: I beg your pardon? That is absurd. She is a young maiden, innocent and frail…
Dorthon: And she shows the fighting prowess of an experienced knight. There is more to your fiancée than you thought, Sir Trun.
Sir Trun: Wait… I… I see, what you mean. It is hidden inside her, isn’t it? The gift shows differently in different people. Some know from early childhood where their path will lead. For others, the revelation comes all of a sudden, as a great surprise.
Yes, it seems the only way to go forward, and leave this horrible memory behind us. She made the first step on the path. To expect her to return to her former life would be cruel… and unrealistic. I will go to her now. I’ll be approaching her with an unusual present for a woman of her origin: my sword.
My body recovered a long time ago. It was my mind that felt injured and wouldn’t come to rest. You dragged me out of my thoughts of despair, and I thank you deeply! We are in your debt.
Now I will go to her…. I am eager to see how she will react. Is she really ready for this? I am also bothered as to what I will tell her parents, who imagine their daughter on an educational journey in Candlekeep… *weary smile* Farewell, in case we don’t meet again. May Tyr protect you.
Dorthon gets 150xp and 1 point of Reputation for this!
I’ve helped guide someone, two people, to exploring a new experience. Marthammor should be proud. On my way out I talk to the priest that runs the infirmary.
Dorthon: Yes, that would be nice of you.
Priest of Oghma: Alright then, take this potion.
He gives me a potion of healing.
This will be useful if I run out of healing spells.
I say hello to the Reader, but he seems busy.
I leave the infirmary and make my way toward the barracks. On my way I find 15 coins in a crate outside the Bunkhouse.
I decide to check who’s staying in the bunkhouse since I’m here. It’s someone I don’t recognise.
Dorthon: And what business is that of yours?
Carbos: I’ll make it my business if’n I please. Just thought I’d have me a look at you for myself, before I puts a blade down your gullet. Someone seems to think you’re trouble, so I’m gonna use your head for a ticket out o’ the gutter! I’m just a little street trash hood they say, but I’ll show ’em!
Another assassin? Why do they insist on telling me their life story before lunging at me with a dagger? We dance for a short while before I crack his skull open.
I’ve never hurt a soul in my life, and in only a few hours I have killed three assassins. Why is this coming so easy to me? On his corpse I find a dagger, and in a nearby barrel another scroll of Friends.
When I leave the building I am approached by Linda.
Linda: Maybe… maybe he will fall in love with his fighting squire just as he fell in love with the maiden once… Maybe. For now he has a task as a knight, as do I as a squire.
May Lathander bless you with all his power. Farewell.
Blessings from both Tyr and Lathander so far. I should be in the gods favour today. After Linda leaves, Karan, one of my many tutors, comes running toward me.
Dorthon: He’s… He’s dead, whoever he was. He lunged at me with a knife. Oh, Karan, what is happening to this place?
Karan: It’s not this place, child. It’s you they’re after. Gorion is waiting on the steps to the central library and wants you to go to him as soon as you have bought what you need at the Inn. Oh, Dorthon, I have been your tutor for so many years and only in this moment have I come to doubt that my teachings have been enough. Go to Gorion, child. It is safe for you here no longer.
I finally find my way to the barracks.
Inside I meet Fuller, a Watcher with a hangover.
Dorthon: I was just wondering if you had any errands I could run.
Fuller: Errands? Yeah, actually. I need a quarrel of crossbow bolts. If you could get some off Winthrop at the inn, I’ll reimburse you… Oh, very well, there’ll be a few coins in it for you too, so you can stop giving me that look.
I walk over to Hull’s bed and find his long sword, alongside an antidote and some good berries.
The long sword is well crafted, I’m not surprised Hull wants it back so badly.
The antidote can help cure hangovers, but Hull mentioned that Dreppin needs this for one of his cows.
These magical berries might be useful in a pinch.
I take the sword back to Hull.
He’s pretty rude about it but gives me 10 gold as a reward. I cross the road to The Inner Grounds and I see Imoen wandering around.
Dorthon: I’m afraid I cannot chat today, little one. My foster father wishes me to prepare for a journey, but will not say to where.
Imoen: Little one? I’m not much younger than you, though you sure got tall fast. Relatively, anyway. A journey, eh? I never get to travel. Wish I could go with ya.Yep, I really wish I could. Yes, sir. Really do.
Dorthon: All right, all right, I get the message. I’ll ask if you can go with us.
Imoen: Oh, don’t be silly, Gorion would never even let you finish the sentence. Especially after what that letter of his said… er… did I say that? No, of course I didn’t. Never saw no letter. Nope. I’ll just get back to work now. You had better go. Gorion is waiting.
She leaves before I can say any more. Almost as soon as she does, I am spotted by Camryn.
Dorthon: Good to see you, too, Camryn. It’s been awhile since the last time you came out of the Library, hasn’t it?
Camryn: Hmmm. Let’s see… Today is 2 Mirtul of the year 1368, and I was last out of the Library in Ches of the year 1339, so, it’s been… Oh, my! Thirty years. Now that I think about it, I don’t think that I’ve left the Library during your lifetime!
I suppose it has been a long time since Candlekeep’s Master Illuminator and Scribe has been out of the Library, though. There are so many requests for books to be copied and so little time.
Dorthon: Surely you haven’t just been inside the Library all this time!
Camryn: I suppose that would seem strange to a young, adventurous soul like you, but I’ve always been the sort of person who stayed at home and kept to a routine.
(Gazes off into space). I suppose my habit of keeping to myself and my routine has kept me from ever experiencing life. Oghma discourages taking much interest in the outside world. Of course, that’s what Tamah always said. I didn’t start seeing her point of view until it was too late. But nevermind that! You get along and enjoy the fresh air while you still can. Otherwise, you’ll get to be old and crabby like me!
Dorthon: Phlydia found this letter in the spine of a book I was retrieving for her. She said it’s a love letter, and she thinks it’s from you.
Camryn: (sigh) Now why would you think that it’s mine? There are many books in the library you know. Who knows what patrons will leave in them.
Dorthon: The letter’s addressed to a woman named Tamah. You mentioned her the last time we talked.
Camryn: (Camryn blushes). Oh. Did I mention her? She was one of my assistant illuminators many years ago. I’m not surprised she was meant to be the recipient of the letter: she was very beautiful and, even better, very intelligent. Books that she has done the illustrations for are very, very valuable these days, too. That letter only proves someone loved her and hoped she would open that book.
Any other reason you think the letter is mine…?
Dorthon: Because the handwriting looks like yours.
Camryn: (sigh) That would be a little harder to explain away, I guess. Yes, young one, that’s my writing.
I might as well admit it to someone. Tamah and I were lovers once. But she felt trapped by the high walls – the very walls that help me feel safe. She tried to persuade me that we should leave, but no matter what she said, I had a counter-argument. Finally, she went without me. I haven’t heard from her since.
Dorthon: But what about the letter? Why didn’t you send it?
Camryn: Ah yes… the letter. That’s merely one of many. I’ve had years to write them, after all. And Tamah is ever in my thoughts. That’s one reason I’m heading out to the Inn today. Today’s the anniversary of her leaving and I finally decide to do what she’s always wanted me to do – change my routine, face my fear, and go out for a drink in her memory.
When Tamah left me, I was devastated. The only way I could keep myself from going insane was to write out all my feelings in letters. Then, it occurred to me that the books I copied would be leaving Candlekeep. That was the key to my plan. Tamah loves to read. If I could get just one of those books I’ve copied into her hands, I could communicate with her. You see, I… (cough) I used to hide love notes in the books I gave to her when we were together. Wherever she is now, she might still recognise my work in a book and pick it up out of sentiment. She might use the book in the proper way and… POP! Out will fall a letter from me.
Dorthon: But why not send the letters directly to her?
Camryn: When Tamah left, she never said where she was going. And, coward that I was, I never could face how much more dangerous it is to leave these sturdy walls.
I never anticipated that she would be gone so long without at least writing back. I figured that the books were likely to end up in someone’s library… And libraries always attract scribes. Sooner or later, Tamah would at least visit a library if not work for one copying books. There’s always work for scribes in noble houses. It may not seem the most straightforward of methods to contact her, but I… I had to make some effort. I had to do something to reach her…
Dorthon: How can I help?
Camryn: It’s kind of you to offer to help, Dorthon, but Tamah left… Oh my! At least thirty years ago… Maybe more. I lose track of time so easily these days. I don’t know that she’s even still alive. Humans don’t live very long, usually. On the other hand, she does have some elvish blood in her, so she might… No, I’m fooling myself. If she’s still alive, she’d no doubt have a family and a completely different life.
Dorthon: Come on, Camryn! I could at least take this letter with me when I leave. You never know… I might run into her or someone who knows her.
Camryn: I don’t think so, Dorthon. It’s not right for you to carry around such a… a personal note.
As I’ve said, the letter is mine. Let me take it… Oh! You… you opened it?! Is your name Tamah? (blushes heavily)
Dorthon: I didn’t open it. It tore by accident when Phlydia removed it from the book.
Camryn: Phlydia? (Raises an eyebrow). She’s a fine woman, but it would be wise not to imitate her in matters like this… Historians are always such busybodies!
There is such a thing as respecting the privacy of someone else’s letters, you know.
Dorthon: Er, you did know that placing the letters into the books would make people find them, eventually? I mean, wasn’t that the purpose of placing them there?
Camryn: Well, yes, but still… That is why I wrote Tamah’s name and description *on the envelope*, young Dorthon. So no one else would read it.
Dorthon: I assure I didn’t read it.
Camryn: Well… Alright. You have been a good child for these many years. I suppose it could have been Phlydia’s doing. Thank you for returning the letter to me. You know, as a scribe, I think much of my life has been concerned with the creation and duplication of letters. Sometimes I open one of the Candlekeep Library books up and find letters and what not inside… Which, in retrospect, explains the origin of my idea to send out letters hidden in copies of the Library’s books. It was about one, two years after her departure, in which time I tried to locate Tamah by asking newcomers whether they might have seen her – to no avail, as you can imagine.
Then one day, I opened one of the books that she had left behind, one she enjoyed reading, I mean, and I smelled her inside! I smelled her discreet perfume, and I imagined her wonderful hair, too, and in the rush of the moment heard her laugh… So the idea hit me: If I could find her in a book, why not make it so that she could find me in one, too? I figured she would have the need for money eventually, and working as a scribe would be the obvious choice. Either that, or a trusty fellow scribe would find the letter and pass it on. So I started to hide letters in the books I copied that I assumed would leave Candlekeep.
Dorthon: Such a sweet story!
Camryn: (Looking intently at Dorthon). I hope you are not being disrespectful. I am your elder, after all.
I will keep this letter, thank you. I’d rather you weren’t running around with it. Where you’re going a lot of others might see it… No need to put more salt in the wound. It was nonsense to put it into this book, but at the time I copied I didn’t know it would never leave Candlekeep. (sigh) This was what? Twenty years ago…? You weren’t even born yet!
If you happen to run across her when you leave here, you can let her know where she might find the other ones… if she hasn’t already.
Oh! I almost forgot! I’ve got a little going-away present foe you. This nice book bag! I never go anywhere without mind.
Oh… and here’s some gold to put in your pocket for your journey with Gorion… You might need it. And now… to go have my drink. Have a good day, Dorthon.
He gives me 25 gold, as well as the book bag.
Pretty handy for an avid book reader like myself. I’ll have to keep an eye out for any unusual books on the Sword Coast. There might be more letters out there.
Phew! That was a pretty long conversation but worth the reward. The book case also holds scrolls so this should help keep our inventory organised.
Gonna stop this chapter here since it’s getting long – we’ll do the rest of the Inner Grounds and maybe return to the Candlekeep Inn in the next chapter.