Short Distance Confusion: Chapter 3

Dec 16th, 2016
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  1. -
  2. Dear Palamina,
  4. How have you been the last week? Enjoying the snow? I know I'm not.
  6. This isn’t the first time that I’ve sat through snowstorms but the Northwest Reaches are terrifying compared to anywhere else. Wind, snow, wind, snow, brief clear skies that only last long enough to push away enough to avoid having my fire smothered, then more snow. Very happy to have not been here during winter when I was a guest of Charlotte’s. Have you ever had to cancel the holidays because of early snowstorms? Then again, I suppose every cold night can be a celebration for couples. So what do single people do?
  8. Now let me I'll tell you about a surprise named Sari. She’s angrily shoveling some hot soup into her mouth right now as I write this letter. That tail fire of her’s flares up with every grumble about being ordered to come out here twice a week in place of Malida. Which is a lot. It’s a long long walk out here, even for a salamander that can easily melt a path back and forth. Plus I hear that there’s as much work as there is snow waiting for her after this. Guess this has to do with keeping your city functioning in winter but care to explain why this salamander here sounds ready to lead a mob on you?
  10. On the other hand, I’m glad to see Sari and not Malida. Last thing I need to hear is that our personal matchmaker got lost in the snow and wind or that her wings got frozen. Last time I saw her was after Cuddlefest a week ago, scooping up her kids and rushing off with little more than ‘thanks,’ and ‘bye.’ Probably because of not seeing them for a whole night in what is clearly the worst time of the year. That or she was still hurt from whatever lecture you gave her the night before.
  12. Anyway, you must be busy yourself to send Sari instead of coming personally so I’ll see you later, kind of sort of. Wanted to talk privately about that argument we had before but that can wait.
  14. Take care,
  15. John
  16. -
  19. ~
  20. Dear John,
  22. It’s good to hear from you, knowing that you haven't frozen in your shelter. Now only boredom and loneliness are your enemies. Sari is right, move to the forest near the plateau. Kitty could loan you a cave for the winter and then everyone there could visit and Sari wouldn't have to travel as far.
  24. The reason why she and a number of her kin are so frustrated is because of what they are required to do every winter. Salamanders, wendigos, white horns, yetis, and any others who can resist the fierce weather are forced to pick up after every other species living here. Even a portion of those enlisted in the military are taken, but not too many.
  26. Those exceptional monsters perform deliveries, escort others, hunt and forage for food, scoop snow away from paths and construction sites, maintain and repair machines, check on residents, and just about any other service one could think of and more. If they aren’t performing what’s necessary, they do other tasks for such as entertaining those who live alone or performing additional construction. However, having their numbers stretched thin is normal and even the influx of yetis this year doesn’t look like it will help much. If only even a single yuki-onna came to live out here, the quality of life would change significantly with their power over the snow.
  28. Thankfully, all the winter workers begrudgingly understand that this labour is to the benefit of everyone and ensure my realm’s survival. To thank them, they are the main focus of the first celebration in spring, Thawsday. The name’s been the same for about sixty years now but sometimes I think it should be changed to something that emphasizes the people and not the season. Any ideas?
  30. If you’re wondering why I don’t just mold the weather myself, that action carries too many disadvantages. Manipulating the weather in my realm is strictly for emergencies such as mass evacuations into the mountains or when the walls need repairs. When the Church sees snow steering itself away from my realm’s borders, they know immediately that I’m occupied and can’t focus on another large scale event without letting the snow come crashing back in. Lilims may be near all-powerful but we are nowhere near all-seeing. It is an opportunity for those supposedly holy men to organize simultaneous raids on villages and independent forests or cave systems that contain residents who support me and my subjects. Such strikes were not always easy to repel.
  32. On a more personal note, manipulating the weather is mentally draining and leaves me somewhat unfocused in regards to properly filling out the paperwork that still manages to reach me. Once, after much needed repairs, I even forgot that the birth of the new year had gone by.
  34. I hope that answers your questions, John. Also, I would appreciate it if you burned this letter after reading. Small as they are and perhaps outdated, there is information regarding the military here that I never want out in the open.
  36. We’ll compare notes on childrearing at some point in the future, I assure you. Our stances will be much clearer without your allergy or my anger interfering.
  38. Sincerely,
  39. Palamina
  40. ~
  42. -
  43. Dear Palamina,
  45. Paper sure makes great fuel. I'm writing this letter now in front of the fire it got tossed in.
  47. I’ve seen the caves that Kitty rents out as storage. They’re actually rather small and I don’t want to imagine what she’ll charge for their use as homes. In any case, there wouldn’t be much of a door to keep out the weather either.
  49. I can’t think of much for names for holidays.
  51. Workersday Worksday Wint Winters’ Honour
  52. Pres Wondersday Survivorsday Wintersend WintersEnd Wonders
  53. Preservers’ Holiday Preserversday Living Miracle Wonders Winter Holiday Day Preserve
  54. Help Hand Digging snow Unblocked doors
  55. Pathfinder maker scout band party group Bow Down To Your Saviours And
  56. Bring Out The Virgins
  58. Winter Wonderband? Because the band of monsters that do everything for everyone in winter seem like miraculous wonders? I think it sounds like a group of gods, but also weird.
  60. Sari’s face looks the opposite of last time. She’s been talking about how you’ve been helping out the winter wonderband Sorry, I just wanted to try out writing it in a normal way, still sounds weird.
  62. She’s been talking about how much easier things are around the capital. Joking about you lowering yourself to manual labour, holding yarn and conversations with lonely knitters, slacking off by initiating snowball fights, those sorts of things. What tops them all is the news that you’re planning to hollow out half your tower to act as a shelter. Over a hundred feet of stone you used to need to separate your berserk magic from everyone and now it’s going to be a spiral shell shaped mansion. I’m betting that no one appreciates your efforts more than you. Not in a vanity sort of way but in a ‘finally, I can do these things’ way.
  64. Keep up the good work,
  65. John
  67. Just thought of something. Your room has two holes for walking through and another to see through. Do you seal them with magic, glass, stone or what?
  69. Also, how are Snitty and Mitty dealing with the weather?
  70. -
  73. ~
  74. Dear John,
  76. Winter Wonderband is indeed an awful and awkward name for a holiday. The last few days have revealed nothing better however. Best to put that aside for another year. It is a low priority.
  78. I thank you for the praise. With paperwork at a minimum in winter and my magic under control, there is nothing stopping me from personally helping my subjects.
  80. The hollowing of my tower is just an idea or rumour at this point as I'm unsure if my aura will build up again to intolerable levels and overlap those areas once more. Perhaps thirty feet for starters to form three ten-foot high chambers in the widest part of my tower, the base. I provided the original design and oversaw construction, but never imagined that I’d get to carve into it one day. Additional architects and engineers must be consulted for stability. The gardens ringing it will need to be redone as well.
  82. Regarding how I keep the snow and wind out of my room, I don't like having to focus on keeping my room sealed with magic. It was a constant little needle in my mind every time I had to do so. As soon as I could, I had glass fitted into iron frames that are the shape of the entries and exists to my balcony. A smaller version can be squeezed into the window above my desk. All three are usually stored in a corner of my library and only need magic channeled through them to melt any snow or to allow messages and monsters to pass through the glass like ghosts. They remind me that we haven’t discussed your hothouse plans in much depth and that Derutcurt’s glaziers haven’t responded to my inquiries yet. Perhaps we should visit them.
  84. No need to worry about Snitty and Mitty. Despite having lived in the forest with Kitty for a year and being feral for who knows how long before that, they prefer spending time in my poorly lit library. Remember when we tried to catch them down there? Both still love curling around my feet whether I’m awake or asleep too. I’m a little worried that they won’t tolerate me having a husband though and see him as an intruder. They seem to like you well enough though, so a new man likely won’t be a problem unless he hates cats.
  86. Hope to hear from you soon,
  87. Palamina
  89. I thought I'd finished writing but an invitation from Lady Charlotte Dodd arrived not even an hour after the fact. She wishes to dine with me on the final evening of the month and meet in-person for the first time. I haven't spent the birth of a new year with others in decades. It's rather exciting.
  91. You were her guest for three weeks some years ago, if I remember your tales correctly. What do you know about her?
  92. ~
  94. -
  95. Dear Palamina,
  97. I've been working on the hothouse project for a lot of my time and a few problems have come up besides that dome design you suggested.
  99. One, winter weather. This is my biggest concern. The Northwest Reaches produces the most snow and wind in a day that I've ever seen in my life. Having fires outside, like I used to do for every model I’ve experimented with, would be impossible. Thanks to the blizzards, say goodbye to the constant and consistent heat that’s needed inside the building . I could start fires inside the hothouse but that would severely limit crop space. The only non-magical way to solve this is for me to hire on a salamander willing to sleep and eat inside it all winter and you can't spare any, I'm sure.
  101. Two, location. I can't build on the plateau. Could but I want to find a perfectly flat area with a lot of space for expansion. Future planning and all that. More importantly, what if you need the plateau for that ritual again?
  103. Three, alternatives. This isn't actually a problem but an idea. I founded my first orchard here, however briefly, with trees taken from the local ruins. They thrive here with or without people and I could find more elsewhere, waiting to be moved and grouped into another orchard. The hothouse is a barely tested project anyway and might turn out badly when it's built larger than a dog.
  105. Got anything to say? I'm listening.
  107. Business aside, I had a visitor who isn't Sari recently. Guess what I got that you got too?
  109. If you thought about a fancy dinner invitation, you win. If you also thought about a set of formal clothing coloured dark purple and grey, you win again. Not sure what you won, I'll think of something. Maybe some laughter at the sight of my shoulders looking like they’re doubly broad and my lack of proper pants. Also this hat feels soft enough and looks wide enough to just flop over my head like a limp sheet of paper.
  111. So we’ve both been asked to join Charlotte and her new husband, I think, for dinner. Personally, I’m not sure I have a choice since she sent clothes. It still surprises me to know that the wight who didn't mean to poison me lives only a few mountains away from Derutcurts. When we were sifting through all that research to fix your aura and you mentioned as much, I wondered how I'd missed your lands on my way towards and out of the Dodd estate. Probably because of traveling by ship instead of land both times.
  113. Writing about a gourmet wight is going to take up more power than my wrist has and more ink than this well holds. That might be exaggerating but it’s my way of saying that we should talk about this in person, most likely while we’re in the carriage she’ll send to pick up both of us. If I’m right, Charlotte still has something perfect for getting through any kind of weather.
  115. After writing that down, I realize that it is still almost two weeks before the day we both visit and you’ve never come by here since after Cuddlefest. My point still stands, just focus on your people for now and we’ll talk about what, how, and why we’ll be eating at the end of the month when we meet again.
  117. I’m also going to go ahead and guess that you’re going to take this chance to begin some sort of diplomacy session. Her lands are smaller but she’s the one with a connection to a bay to a river to the ocean and to the foreign ports, right? Where else could that rice I’ve seen sometimes come from?
  119. Looking forward to seeing you,
  120. John
  121. -
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