There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (XIII)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart XPart XI, and Part XII. (Or click the tag on this post at the bottom to see all of the pieces in one spot.)

***

Dear Evermyn,

I received both of your most recent letters.

I am weary. I took them to the grove and sat for a long while with my lap desk, troubling myself over the manner in which I ought to respond.

I decided after much thought that I would take this risk. Your words awoke something in me that I have not allowed to stir for some time.

To answer your question, Drake knows some. He knows who we are, and he knows of our promise. I fear the rest is perhaps too complex and fraught, though perhaps I also am not giving my husband enough credit. He is at times as pragmatic as either of us, and I believe he understands that pragmatism, even when in full force, does not create a zero sum that precludes the simultaneous existence of love. Some pragmatic acts turn into authentic affection.

This game continues to tire me, and I cannot help but feel that there is something on the horizon, Evermyn. Perhaps we are coming to the end at long last. You may ask what has changed; I cannot say. All I know is that when Drake and I tuck little Drake into his bed at night, there is something within me that I have never felt before. I never thought I would have another child. It makes all of this seem somehow more urgent, even though I am well aware that hastening the end of our work means hastening other ends as well.

I have been fortunate to live the life with Drake that I have lived.

If we are truly at such a crossroads (and I trust your judgement on the matter), it may be time to take steps.

There is little else here to report. Or rather, nothing of import, really. The city council voted to rename the village in Drake’s honour, and with the typically predicable level of creativity, have named it Draketown. Little Drake will need his ego punctured at regular intervals if we are not careful.

I trust that you will keep yourself close, Evermyn. Come visit us if you are able.

Samwell Park

 

Note from Vanhelm University: This lines up with the city records in Draketown, dating this letter in 5821, as expected. -Prof. Ilis Correl

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (XII)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart X, and Part XI. (Or click the tag on this post at the bottom to see all of the pieces in one spot.)

 

***

Dear Samwell,

You must know that I read your last letter and approved of its contents. I do not have to say more, do I? I will say only that I am sorry for shaming you about Faras. In my grief–no, that is no excuse.

I returned to the letting house where I was staying with Faras to retrieve his belongings and some bits of my research. The letting lady informed me that someone had already come to collect it, a cousin, when Faras had no cousins.

I confess I flew into a terrible rage. I cannot say who took his things or who brought him to his end, but you know how I feel about coincidences.

You will tell me not to interfere. You will tell me to press on toward our goal. But I cannot, and you I think will know why. Perhaps even understand. Your choices have been so very different than mine, but do not think I have no understanding of family. Faras had become family to me.

Does Drake know?

Evermyn

 

Note from Draketown University: The following letter was found with several other letters from Evermyn Thedan to Samwell Park and translated from ancient Ahrinoshi (a dialect that preceeded the Alnori invasion by a full thousand-year) with the help of the Bard (7213). The Bard’s linguistic work underwent international peer review at the behest of the University. The letter utilises the Ahrinoshi alphabet and thus the handwriting required closer assessment in order to match it to the other letters from Evermyn. We owe thanks to the Departments of Forensics at Draketown and Vanhelm Universities.

 

Dear Samwell,

Forgive me the manner of my words.

There is always the chance that our correspondence will find eyes beyond our own, but today I am certain of it.

I must caution you, most fervently. After posting your last letter, six hours after it arrived in your home, there came a knock at my door. The letting-lady tells me someone had come to call upon me.

I brought the sun-glass and my research with me to the parlour, concealed, but on my person.

The man who greeted me claimed to be from Silvanfall’s university. He asked after my work, and he swiftly excused himself when I began to question how he came to know of me and my research. The name he gave me belonged to no-one on the faculty at the university. I trust you will sense the irony in my words, my old friend.

When I returned to my room, someone had been in it. Nothing was ransacked, but my pen was out of place, the wrinkles on the bed in different form, the mattress ever-so-slightly askew. Had I not the memory I do and the attention to such things, I would not have noticed or trusted my intuition.

I worry. I am too close to be thwarted by such creatures.

Be on your guard. Someone in your home is watching.

Evermyn

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (XI)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IX, and Part X. (I’m going to need a table of contents soon…)

***

Dear Evermyn,

You shame me. I may not have always enjoyed Faras’s company, but that is a far cry from wishing him ill. I am (Drake, too, of course) exceedingly shocked and saddened to hear that he was murdered.

I am thankful that you moved rooms, but I worry this will not be enough. We agreed last year that this would be the time to [illegible smudge]

(Forgive Sootly again. Dratted cat.)

pursue this enquiry at long last, but I am ill at ease about it. Perhaps it is wee Drake’s grief and our own. Waking in the middle of the night to the child’s sobs between us has been a waking nightmare every time it happens, and it happens often. Drake mourning the loss of his sister and her husband and his niece is almost too much to bear for any of us. You and I have become somewhat more accustomed to–no. I cannot finish such a sentence. No one ever becomes accustomed to death, however frequently one encounters it.

I wish to help you, if I can. Tell me what you would have me do, and I will do it.

Can you believe me when I say this? I hope you will find it in yourself.

I went to the grove, as you requested. The trees are still in their unholy quiet, but they did not pull away from your letter this time. Their leaves sang their sadness. This, I feel certain you will believe.

Perhaps now is not indeed the time, Evermyn. I cannot be sure of anything just now.

You should know that our adoption of Drake the younger did go through. We finalised it with the solicitor yesterday, and he is now officially Drake Elsin Park II. You will notice the discrepancy, since my Drake’s (they are both my Drake–I shall have to find a better way to differentiate) name includes no middle name, or didn’t. We could not bear to make the child give up his surname, and changing his name at all was something that we were, in all honesty, loathe to do. However, the adoption requires him to be a Park for inheritance purposes, so both Drake the elder (this also sounds wrong the more often I write it) and I added Elsin to our own names. Though Park will be our only legal surname, the whole of our little family will now carry Carthia, Kubu, and Martia with us until the ends of our lives.

Samwell Elsin Park

 

Note from Vanhelm University: Records of the Park family clearly show this adoption–the tragic deaths of the first Drake Park’s family and his adoption of his nephew have long been part of public record and knowledge. Aside from a few legal documents, however (the mentioned adoption papers and inheritance records, along with their eventual final testaments), most institutions omitted ‘Elsin’ from their official accounts, likely as middle names are uncommon in this part of the commonwealth. -Dean Idan Simmon

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (X)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VIIPart VIII, and Part IX.

***

Appendix III: Selected correspondence. Sanworth, Mbuku. Correl, Ilis. Trummel, Adelyn. Park, Drake (XII, b. 7273)

(pp. 11-15)

 

7312, first harvest

Mbe,

I cannot yet leave Silvanfall, and I hope you will understand why when you read this. Indeed, it is my hope that you will apply to your department chair directly for a sabbatical and join me here.

There is a small college near the coast that is, I believe, a sister-school to a university in Dehalm, but the name of the university escapes me. I got it in my head to chase after a mention made in one of Samwell’s letters to Evermyn about East Valyn, and I have been searching for references to that place and finding none, until yesterday. It seems that in 5510–forgive me, I am getting ahead of myself.

I have been searching for East Valyn under the impression that it was a remnant example of orthographic drift and that it was related to the root word of Vanhelm, which drifted with Alnor influence from Valen, but I was mistaken. I made a passing mention to the librarian at the college who corrected me and informed me that Valyn was a transliteration of Fahlyan far to the south of Vanhelm where the Alnor empire conquered the Ahrinos people and snuffed out their old alphabet. Hence, ‘East Valyn’ was actually the Alnor translation/transliteration of Fahlyan, from ‘Fa’ (east) and ‘Ahlya’ (oasis or lushland).

I confess that there are so many pre-commonwealth civilisations that the Alnor empire devoured that I have been unable to make a study of them all.

Fahlyan, then, was a border village on the eastern fringe of the Ahrinos land where the first skirmishes between the Ahrinos people met with Alnor invaders. Which brings me back to my previous mention–in 5510, Fahlyan was destroyed by a massive calamity that the librarian assured me was entirely unrelated to the Alnori. The librarian is a pre-commonwealth scholar who specialised in the preservation of historical documents from lands the Alnori conquered. Her knowledge is as wide as a continent and deeper than the seas. The record of Fahlyan’s destruction can be found in the works of Alnori historian Hafan (a sympathiser with those his people crushed). Hafan managed, remarkably, to distribute records of seventeen different peoples outside the reaches of the Alnor empire (which certainly would have had such records expunged had they discovered his work).

This is a very long way of saying that Samwell was referencing Fahlyan’s destruction, an event that took place some three hundred years prior to his life. The librarian (I ought to call her by her name, Professor Emeritus Unama Rycan, though she insists I call her Unama) has promised she will see what she can dig up about Fahlyan itself, as she knew the reference and etymology but not the specifics offhand.

Will you then join me here, Mbe? Your presence and added intellect would be desperately welcome.

Affectionately,

Ilis

 

7312, first storing.

Ilis,

Your letter took me somewhat by surprise, and I have spent the past two nights mulling over it. I am somewhat familiar with the Ahrinos myself, as the stories of my own ancestors (the Hacuma) mention them as on-and-off adversaries and allies. I had not considered that the reference to East Valyn could have been a translation from Fahlyan, but it does make sense in retrospect, as there is still a place a hundred leagues southwest of Vanhelm by the name of Alya.

What I cannot stop thinking on is the tone in Samwell’s letter to Evermyn about it. It felt personal, which is odd considering their three hundred year removal from any contemporary connections to ‘East Valyn’–it would not be the first time in history people have closely identified with events long before their time, and I am not usually one prone to fancy. That said, it is more than passing strange, Samwell’s words on the subject: ‘It reminds me of East Valyn years ago. I’m sorry to bring it up, as I know you hate the subject, but there is no other comparison.’

Strange thing to say, that.

I applied to my department chair for sabbatical and was granted it. I believe she is taken with this project’s progress almost as much as anyone else in our midst, and like your Dean Simmon, she was put out by Drake Park XII’s presumptuous letter. You can expect my arrival one week hence, after I prepare my assistant to take on the autumn lectures until my return. I have been granted one year, since I skipped my last sabbatical.

I am most encouraged.

Affectionately, etc.,

Mbe

 

 

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (IX)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VIPart VII, and Part VIII.

***

Dear Samwell and Drake,

My heart has broken for you. I am writing back as quickly as I can manage, but I can hardly hold the pen in my fingers. I am numb all the way through. Or perhaps that is not true. I feel like I am layered like the petals on a bud left out to freeze. I am frozen through my skin and into my heart, and I do not know if I will open to the sun.

Hold that baby close. Tell him I love him. Wrap him in your arms and tell him that his Evermyn will be there soon.

As for the rest, we can speak on it when I arrive. I will be there within the week, as soon as I am able.

I have stitched Carthia’s knitted square onto my quilt. It will remain there forever.

All my love,

Evermyn Thedan

 

Dear Samwell,

I know you don’t agree, but I think it is for the best that we continue to correspond. Now is not the time for family to be removed from one another, and now is certainly not the time for us to break the promise we have long kept.

I do remember, as I told you.

Something has changed in the air since my return to Silvanfall. There is something heavy in it, something that I can feel upon my skin when I leave my room.

Faras has not returned from the capital. He was due back a seven-night past. Ms. Catsan, the letting lady, told me that two days after he was due to return, someone came calling for him but would not leave a card. Faras has never received visitors in the entirety of his service to me. I do not have to explain further, do I?

Tonight I will remove myself to another letting-house in the city, closer to the sea. You can find me henceforth at Seawall House, in Harbourage Street.

I saw this music box in the market today. It is made by a Kafyri artisan and she told me that the song it plays is a lament for those taken too soon. I asked her if all Kafyri laments end so triumphantly, and she replied, ‘Yes, my dear, for surviving to carry the memories our loved ones leave us is a triumph indeed.’ I thought perhaps you could give it to wee Drake. He is too young to understand, but perhaps it will give him some small comfort. The Kafyri inscription on the inside of the box reads ‘blessed are the seeds of love we grow within ourselves, tilled into the rich soil of never-forgotten truth’.

Please show Drake (the elder) the sketches on the back of this letter. There is something with regards to the sun-glass that both he and I are missing, and while I am certain that my geometry is correct, I am short a few variables for the rest.

Visit the grove for me, Samwell.

Yours with love,

Evermyn Thedan

Post Script: Just as I was about to leave the letting-house and post this letter, my messenger returned from the capital with news that the constables responded to a call about a murder and found Faras’s body in the ring-road park two days past. I know you were not overfond of him, but he was my companion these past five years, and I will grieve his loss terribly. I know you will blame me for his death. You would be right to.

 

Note from Draketown University: There was evidence of this letter being twice-sealed and twice-opened, likely due to the author’s need to add the post script. The sketches on the back of the letter were intact, and while some of the figures were obscured and unretrievable due to their position on the letter’s creases, the author’s depiction of the Park family sun-glass is the first in history to be discovered. Without the artifact itself, there is little in the way of authentication. Faras Harovem, from public records, died 5820, before spring evenlight. -Prof. Mbuku Sanworth, Department of Antiquities and Curiosities

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (VIII)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart VPart VI. and Part VII.

***

Note from Vanhelm University: The following letter appears to have been written over several days or even weeks, judging by the dating process used on the inks. This fits well with the knowledge that the first Drake Park lived for decades with the bone-quake illness that ultimately claimed his life. If our dating is correct and this letter was written in 5820-5821, Drake Park would have been nearing the end of his life (he was just past his fiftieth year when he passed away) and would have had significant difficulty with fine motor skills. Professor Trakynd, Chair of the Epidemiology Department’s Tribunal for Genetic Research states that given the relatively ineffective treatments available in the fifty-ninth century, writing a letter of this length would have caused Drake Park severe pain.  -Prof. Adelyn Trummel

5821, first thaw

Dear Evermyn,

I don’t dare tell Samwell that I am writing this letter, as I know it will skirt dangerously close to encouraging you to break the promise you made, but I cannot bear to let this continue. Samwell does not understand your endeavour, and while I loathe such a thing bearing down upon your shoulders, I know you well enough to understand that you will not let it pass to anyone else.

I wish you not to worry after me. While your long silence did distress me, I worry that too frequent correspondence will spark unnecessary gossip. The last letter we received from Faras implied as much, my dear. Let us not trouble the high society of the capital and Silvanfall with our back-and-forth.

The children left just the day before yesterday. I will miss them ever so much. Samwell and I have long discussed adopting a child, but with my health in decline it is unlikely we will be able to manage. We neither of us would like to leave the raising of a child to a nanny. We will miss the children so, and their parents, of course.

Carthia left a small knitted square for you, which I have enclosed. I believe she thought it could be a pot-holder, but I’m afraid you wouldn’t like the smell of burning wool if you were to place a hot pot on it.

Be well, my dear. Let us plan on midsummer’s night well in advance this time, shall we not?

All my love,

Drake Park

 

5821, first flood

Dear Evermyn,

Drake thinks he is more stealthy than he is. It’s always endeared him to me, this fact that he cannot hide secret nor surprise from me.

It pains me to see what he has written you, however, though I understand why he did so. (I did not snoop–I doubt you will believe me, but he showed me his letter of his own accord once I caught him at it.)

I am not certain there is a way around it, Evermyn. There is the promise, and there is the question of society’s prying eyes, and while I hesitate to write so plainly, I do not think it behooves either of us to skirt the issue. I worry that we are on a course now that will not be corrected.

The trees were quiet today when I went out to them. I could not tell you why.

Note from Vanhelm University: The original here has a break in lines, and the remainder is written in uncharacteristic haste for Samwell Park. Some words were blotched by water droplets and have been restored with the assistance of Prof. Adelyn Trummel.

Since writing the above, I am afraid we have received dreadful news. Martia and Kubu were aboard the transport that overturned on its rail a fortnight ago. We both saw it in the newspaper delivered from the capital, but it wasn’t until yesterday that the messenger arrived, along with a warder from the capital’s Department of Child Welfare.

Forgive me. Forgive me. I cannot seem to make my hand write the words.

Martia and Kubu and our beloved Carthia were killed in the crash. Little Drake–that precious child–has been brought to the Park Estate, along with a physician who will be staying on with our family indefinitely, as Drake’s left hand was crushed in the crash, and had to be amputated at the elbow. Kubu and Martia wrote in their final testaments (long ago; Drake the elder and I have known for some time) that should anything happen to them, they wanted the children to come live with us.

I am sorry, Evermyn. I am sorry.

Samwell

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (VII)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part IIPart IIIPart IVPart V, and Part VI.

***

Appendix III: Selected correspondence. Sanworth, Mbuku. Correl, Ilis. Trummel, Adelyn. Park, Drake (XII, b. 7273)

(pp. 6-10)

7312, first sprout.

Ilis,

I must confess that I reread your letter several times before I could process the meaning of it. You have found letters to Evermyn? Truly?

By the time you receive this letter, I will be in Vanhelm, as I bought transport tickets immediately upon receipt of yours. A colleague will cover my lectures. Excellent work, my friend. I do not pretend to any belief in a providential force leading you to this discovery, but such serendipitous fortune is so seldom found in our field.

Thank you for your work. I will see you shortly.

Eagerly,

Mbe

 

7312, first birth.

Dear Professor Correl,

I apologise for my late response. I have been at Northpoint helping a colleague with the restoration of an old painting.

Your letter mentioned that you had a letter that appears to be damaged by water. I am quite happy to assist, especially if it pertains to the Park family. Anything that embarrasses this most recent Drake Park is something I would quite like to be part of. He once burned a priceless carved sculpture just to keep it out of the hands of Northpoint University, and for that I will never forgive him.

I’ll return as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Prof. Adelyn Trummel

 

7312, first weaning.

Mbe,

I am reenergised by your visit. I have booked another journey to the Silvanfall Silvenfal Crescent for just after spring evenlight, and I hope that you will find time to join me.

The students discovered another letter to Evermyn today. I’ve enclosed a copy of it here. I hope we will be able to place them in some kind of sequence eventually, as the ones we have found so far certainly paint an intriguing picture.

What do you make of the bit about the promise? Do you think it would be worth consulting the Park Estate about this?

Ilis

 

7312, spring evenlight.

Dear Profs. Sanworth and Correl,

I am appalled that you have so wasted your time as to present such obvious fabrications to me as supposed record of my own family. You can be assured that these letters are the product of some mischief to discredit the Park family and our history.

If you bring such nonsense to me or any other person of my blood, I shall ensure personally that neither of you keep your posts in the commonwealth and that you will never see another university position on this globe.

A copy of this message has been forwarded to your department chairs.

Drake Park, twelfth of his name

 

7312, first fruit.

Mbe and Ilis,

I hope this message finds you well (at all, to be frank). I heard from the Dean that Drake Park sent you both a very nasty letter and forwarded it to the Dean himself. Insufferable man. (Park, not Dean Simmon, who is perfectly delightful. I believe his exact words regarding this affair were, “Drake Park can feast on his own toenails if he thinks he has power over my faculty.” I can only hope your department chair is as supportive, Mbe.)

I have succeeded in recovering the text of the letter in question. It appears to be from Drake Park the first himself, and I have consulted with three separate experts who agree that the hand is undoubtedly his own. Would that he could see how far the twelfth of his line has descended into nincompoopery.

I have enclosed the contents of the letter here. It seems to belong in sequence with a letter from his husband, Samwell Park.

The graduate students have continued their cataloguing of the archives, but they have not yet found anything else of note.

Do update us on your progress as soon as possible.

Adelyn

 

7312, midsummer.

Ilis,

I grow concerned, my friend. You have been more at Silvenfal Crescent than Vanhelm of late. Adelyn wrote me to entreat you to return, summer holidays or no.

Perhaps an additional few correspondences can draw you out? Please come to Draketown, at the very least. I’ve found two other letters from Evermyn, and I know Adelyn has uncovered another from Samwell Park that appears to fit into the chronology after Evermyn’s absence, which your behaviour has eerily begun to emulate.

Please visit, Ilis. I begin to feel conflict in myself for having led you to the head of this path.

With affection,

Mbe

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (VI)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part IIPart IIIPart IV, and Part V.

***

Dear Mssrs Park,

Evermyn bid me write to you and provide assurances of her safety and well-being. She says that she will write to you before autumn evenlight.

Yours respectfully,

Faras Harovem

 

Note from Draketown University: Professor Mbuku Sanworth found the following slip of paper at the bottom of a large crate that contained the letter from Faras Harovem above. Prof. Sanworth posits that they should be read together.

 

Mssrs Park,

I apologis [sic] for the curt tone of my earlier message. Evermyn was dictating and in a rush, but I feared to leave it at that.

Please be assured that she is indeed safe and well. Her studies of the sun-glass have consumed her like a fever, and she believes she is very near to understanding something vital as to the instrument’s nature. Please do not take her silence or short words as an affront; she hardly has a “good morning” for me and instead begins each day launching into her revised hypotheses and adjusted plans for the day.

I hope to convince her to call upon you both for the longest night. I think it would do her good to step away for a week or two, but [illegible scrawl]

Forgive me. It is half past midnight and she knocked on my door to show me a mathematical proof. I begin to fear that she will not sleep before the new year dawns.

I will do what I can to convince her to take a reprieve and spend it with the two of you.

x

Faras Harovem

Note from Draketown University: The following letters were compiled from archives in Draketown. Faras Harovem has little public record, only his dates of birth and death, limited to years. (b. 5795, d. 5820) Nothing else has as yet been found regarding his life or correspondence. No other correspondence from him exists in the Draketown archives.

Mssrs Park,

I woke this morning to find that Evermyn had rushed off to the capital and left only a note with the letting lady for me. She bid me stay and await her return, but with her in such a state of obsession I do not think it wise to leave her be. She is very distractable [sic] and I have a taxi coming to take me to the transport station as I write this.

x

Faras Harovem

 

Dearest Drake and Samwell,

I must sincerely apologise for my long silence and lack of attentions to you. Time sometimes escapes me, as well you both know.

The university in Vanhelm has one of the most extensive collections of relevant texts in the commonwealth, and when I realised that I had seen a reference to–well, I will not bore either of you with it. Suffice it to say that I could not spare an instant and left within fifteen minutes in order to catch the earliest train to Vanhelm that day.

Faras tells me that I have caused you (Drake, I suspect–I am quite sorry, my love) severe distress, and for that I am sorry.

I forget myself at times, especially forgetting that the seasons turn more slowly for you. Time is, after all, relative, is it not?

I would be most delighted to share midwinter holidays with you, and I have made arrangements for some few deliveries that I hope will delight the children when they arrive for their visit.

Yours affectionately,

Evermyn Thedan

 

Mssrs Park,

I trust you received Evermyn’s letter at long last. She has returned to Silvanfall and I am to join her shortly after ensuring some few things are investigated here with regards to an enquiry Evermyn received last week about the sun-glass.

I will update you as I am able.

Faras

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (V)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part IIPart III, and Part IV.

***

Dear Evermyn,

We heard there were some postal delays due to the storms along the coast, so when you didn’t arrive for midsummer’s night, we attributed your absence to simply not receiving the invitation in time, but as we have not heard from you and first harvest is upon us, Drake is very worried.

You are more than capable of surviving a summer storm, but Drake would sleep better if you would write to assure him that you are well.

Regards,

Samwell Park

 

Dear Evermyn,

Drake has insisted upon dispatching one of the women in his employ to seek you out in Silvanfall. If this letter reaches you before Anlyn does, please send word by express of your well-being.

This is the longest you’ve gone without writing me in several years. The last time you had simply wandered into the forests of Sallan, so I hope that this silence is due to a paper shortage or a jaunt on a fishing boat or some other such past-time in the name of research–[illegible scrawl, paw print in ink]

Forgive the smudges when you read this. Sootly jumped onto my writing desk and stepped in the ink. His paw pads now match the rest of him.

There’s a hush about the place. It reminds me of East Valyn years ago. I’m sorry to bring it up, as I know you hate the subject, but there is no other comparison.

Please put my husband’s nerves to rest, Evermyn, however engrossed in your studies you are. I refuse to believe anything befell you.

Yours, etc.

Samwell Park

 

Dear Evermyn,

Anlyn returned late yesterday evening with news that she visited your boarding house and that the letting-lady informed her that you had paid up till midwinter and left some weeks ago for an undisclosed errand.

It’s just like you to think only of yourself and not those who would notice your absence. Drake had half-convinced himself that you were dead.

Remember our promise. Everyone thought I would be the one to break it, but you are treading ever closer to it yourself.

Damn it, Evermyn Thedan, if my husband’s nerves fray anymore on your account, you will never hear the end of it. I am keeping the promise.

Samwell Park

 

Note from Vanhelm University: These documents were found in three separate archives throughout the university. The Antiquities Department has not as yet been able to attribute a reason to their placement.

There Are Sharks in the Water, and You Smell of Blood (IV)

You can catch up with this story by reading Part I, Part II, and Part III.

***

Appendix III: Selected correspondence. Sanworth, Mbuku. Correl, Ilis. Trummel, Adelyn. Park, Drake (XII, b. 7273)

(pp. 1-5)

 

7310, final planting.

Professor Sanworth,

I was very surprised to see your message. It’s been ages since anyone in the department worked on the Park family lore, but I imagine being in Draketown itself leads more people to enquire. You heard correctly; we are in possession of a number of letters both directly and tangentially related to Drake Park, or in his own hand. His husband was a prolific corresponder and had contacts throughout the commonwealth. Much of his correspondence has been preserved, though much has also been lost, especially what was at Silvenfal when the sea swallowed it.

Note the orthographical shift between the copy of your letter from Samwell Park. Silvanfall to the modern Silvenfal. I will look through our archives to see if there is anything regarding Evermyn Thedan. The name is not one that is familiar to me, but the letter itself is of such a familiar–if adversarial–tone that if it can be authenticated, it would open wide the curtains on a heretofore unexplored bit of Park family history.

I will be in touch.

Yours respectfully,

Professor Ilis Correl
Vanhelm University
Antiquities Department

 

7310, first harvest.

Professor Correl,

I thank you for your time and diligence. I have several other letters from Evermyn Thedan at hand, and in my inventory of discarded correspondence found in the old history building’s sealed vaults (sealed, I think, out of laziness rather than any attempt to protect or conceal), there is so much to go through that I expect I will encounter more. Those that I have are enough to pique my interest. I’ve enclosed copies of the ones I have found. They are undated, but from the subject matter, seem to be spread out in time.

Please do let me know if you are able to find anything of interest.

Kindly,

Professor Mbuku Sanworth
Draketown University
Department of Antiquities and Curiosities

 

7310, darkening time.

Professor Sanworth,

I hope you will forgive me, but in the intervening seasons since our last correspondence, I have been unable to find anything of reference to Evermyn Thedan among Samwell Park’s letters.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavour, and I fully empathise with this maddening property of our chosen field.

Kind regards,

Professor Ilis Correl
Vanhelm University
Antiquities Department

 

7311, first light.

Professor Correl,

There is nothing to forgive, sir. As you so appropriately mention, this is simply a dead end in a labyrinth of our studies. I am and remain very appreciative of the work you have put in to this project, and I wish you all the best.

If you find yourself in Draketown, do call upon me at the university. I should like to pay my thanks in person.

Kindly,

Professor Mbuku Sanworth (Mbe is how I am known to friends and colleagues–please feel at liberty to call me that if you will.)
Draketown University
Department of Antiquities and Curiosities

 

7311, spring evenlight.

Dear Mbe,

It was a pleasure to meet you in person last week at Draketown. Thank you again for the hospitality you and your department showed me, and thank you also for sharing the originals of the letters. If you are ever in Vanhelm City, I hope you will do me the honour of allowing me to repay the favour.

I confess that handling the letters ignited somewhat of a fire in me to take up my search once more. I cannot promise that it will uncover anything of note, but I am well and truly intrigued by this Evermyn Thedan, who, by most accounts and records I have searched, seems to have never existed.

Best,

Ilis

 

[undated]

Ilis,

I have expanded my search for Evermyn Thedan to other areas of the commonwealth, but to no avail. Her surname rings Alishanian, but her given name is clearly from the Vanhelm states. So far I have found nothing.

Best,

Mbe

 

7312, first planting.

Mbe,

Forgive my long silence since my last visit; I went to the Silvenfal Crescent on holiday, which is inhospitable in winter, and I’m afraid my academic curiosity (and far too much time outdoors in the coastal wind) resulted in a lingering sickness I have yet to shake. Please do not worry yourself.

I visited Crest Island while I was there, which is a jagged rock covered in sea birds and sea bird shit. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to the city that once stretched miles in every direction with only the sea to stop it from spreading west.

But I ought to tell you the real reason for writing. After my physician allowed me to quit my bed, I went back to the archives and somehow–I trust you will appreciate the serendipity in this, my friend–got horribly turned round in the stacks and came across a section of misfiled primary sources.

I cannot bear to draw this out. I found a letter that appears to be from Drake Park (the first, I presume, as he mentions his husband), addressed to Evermyn. I have included a copy, though there is quite a lot of moisture damage, and the words are unclear. My colleague Professor Adelyn Trummel has set about the restoration of the letter, and I have enlisted a fleet of graduate students to begin a full inventory of this section of the archives here, because it is now clear that the filing of vital historical documents was left to a toddler.

I am at once disgusted and elated, my friend. I eagerly await your response.

Yours,

Ilis