Towards the Twins

Dear Aelise,

The byways of the rivers are the best places to be. All sorts travel up and down this region, and especially the Ardites, who use this river as their almost single means to obtain most of their goods from outside their borders. I know, yes, you would probably have learnt by now that the Ardites are our mortal enemies, but I’m not sure, perhaps the water washes away all grievances, or perhaps they know that this route is too important to risk.

There are occasional insults and the traditional parries, but none that would lead to the drawing of swords. They call us dirt-eaters, and they are called milk-teeth (on the account that the Ardite cuisine consist of mostly vegetables), but after a long day, everyone agrees on the ridiculous taxes and we all come away happy with a mug of ale. The river is too transient for such insults to hold. Sitting in one place, yes, it’s easy to brood over a single word said (or not said), a gesture wrongly interpreted (or given), but on the river, you are always heading somewhere new, leaving yesterday behind.

I am reminded of an Ardite saying, ‘Na nuisci athru i gconai’, the water always changes.


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