Letter to Bran, delivered by Pattern magic:

Dearest father,

I’m sorry. I know that you are probably very angry and disappointed in me right now, but I don’t think you could be surprised. All my life I have wondered where I was to fit in, always imagining far away places, always thinking about everything and anything except where I was and what I was doing.

I think this, now, is what I am meant to be doing.

Believe me, walking the Pattern, I was terrified. I thought I was going to die and all I wanted was to erase that moment of lunacy when I put my name in to the lottery and go back to the way everything was before. But I didn’t die, and as much as I love you and want you to be happy with me, i couldn’t go back to being the same person, doing the same things over and over again So I let it take me wherever I was meant to go.

It was the right decision. I feel comfortable in my own skin now in ways I never did before. I’m learning how this all works and who is who (yes, i’m actually applying myself to something other than day dreaming), and I’m not alone.

I have met some of my “cousins” as they keep insisting I call them, and they are being very kind to me.

Prince Hagen is helping me  understand some of the family history (i know I should have learned all that before, but it never seemed important until now) and how to use all sorts if different weapons. He says I’m doing well and picking up combat moves very quickly. He is also very patient with my many many questions.

Prince Emil is also being very patient with my questions, and does lovely things like reminding me about the importance of shoes and jackets. He’s a very nice chap, and we talk about his sorcery and all the things it can do. He may help me to learn a little if I’m lucky. I would like to make an artefact one day that does something amazing and beautiful.

Prince Luce is also nice, although he seems to have a limit as to how many of my questions he can take. He says I need to work on having an inner monologue. I’m not sure what he mean’t, and when I asked him he just shook his head and laughed. He’s quite a dramatic person, and really really doesn’t like Prince Random, so we have something in common 🙂 I do worry that he wants to kill Prince Emil’s father though. Emil is absolutely certain that his father is innocent of the crimes Luce blames him for, and I’m sure that in time he will discover it to be the truth. Emil is too nice a person to have a horrible father, and I think Luce is too intelligent a person to think that for very long.

I forgot to mention Lara. She’s new like me, and we’re learning a lot together. We went to her shadow to help with a weirmonken problem. I remember reading about them when I was in classes, and they seemed really nasty. But, dad, they are total jerks!! We dealt with it and that was my first adventure to another world. Lara is nice, but reserved. Sometimes I can’t tell if she likes me or not! I’ll see if she wants to come with me when I visit you. Apparently, in her shadow, there is a mythical underwater world called Atlantis, but they lost it. So she might like to see Rebma!

I will visit soon, I have to. All the princes keep reminding me that we are family now, which is still strange to me. For so long it has just been you and me, and I need to ask you questions. About who I am, who mother was, how I fit myself in to this new idea of family. I look at the trumps you gave me, and I can’t really see mother in any of them. (Oh, I also may have prank trumped Random a couple of times. Sorry!!!)

I must go now, Prince Hagen is teaching me how to throw shiruken properly today.

gift1I’m also sending you something I found in Lara’s shadow. I’m not sure what the artefact is, or if it does anything, but I thought you might like it for your collection.

I love you very very much, father, and I will see you soon.

Your Sioned.

Ps. I hope Mr Hywll was not too upset that I didn’t show up to work again. Should I send him an apology letter?

PPS. I completely forgot to tell you that I got to talk to the Unicorn!! It was scary and ace!!

Delivered a few days later, by way of a tiny orange crystal that, on arrival, breaks open to reveal the letter:

My sweet darling daughter,

It’s you who should be disappointed in me. I was never brave enough to do what you did. I’ve travelled shadow only by following in others’ footsteps, but you’ll be able to find your own paths. You’ll see more wonders than I can imagine!

There is gossip here, of course, for how could the daughter of a simple Rebman be of royal blood? I intend to be as vague as possible about the truth, but being invited to so many important dinners is, for the moment at least, diverting. The Queen, out of deference to my friendship with her late mother, has been perfectly polite about it, and has so far not asked me outright what your parentage is.

To my mind, it is none of her business. Nor anybody’s, but ours.

It behooves a father to give useful advice, I think, but so far my advice has not guided you well, and for the realm of Amberites I am only slightly less ignorant than you. My mother was so very damaged by her encounter with the royal family that she raised me in fear of them, and though I’ve tried to take a more measured approach, the few of our family I’ve met do not leave me with the desire to get to know any more of them. I hope you’ll have better luck with the princes. To me, they seem very lonely people.

Thank you for the gift. You have an eye for things that can bear the weight of magical energy. If you’d studied a little harder, you could be making artifacts with such things…

Do not worry about Hywel – he will be drinking free on the story of the hidden princess for as long as he can milk it.

And as for your mother, you won’t find her face in the trump deck. I’ve enclosed with this letter a miniature painted by Fra Daffyd, to remind you of her. It’s given me comfort over the years, and I think I like the idea of her traveling with you, as she did with me all those years ago.

So, your father is a coward who could never face the Pattern. Perhaps that’s why the Unicorn came to you – my father’s last words have skipped a generation and come to rest on you. I hope he left a blessing and not a curse.

Be safe, be well. Be magnificent!

All my love,