This is a letter-within-a-letter. The plain text reads:

Beloved friends and family, lovers, people and spirits of the household, citizens of our fair nation:

I hope this letter finds you all in good health and good cheer. Matters at the school have been taking up much of my time, and I have been spending the rest checking in on our relations and acquaintances abroad.

It will cheer you to find that those I have been able to locate are mostly alive and well, and those who are unwell are mostly deceased! I find it is preferable to be deceased than to be unwell, don't you? There is nothing more comforting than spending a few years in an ancestor temple, living on incense smoke and prayers (or so my grandmothers tell me).

It will also cheer you to hear that civil unrest abroad continues unabated, and all over the world, the citizenry looks over the fence at the Sunlands and wonders that the grass is greener there. Our empire spreads!

I have also acquired a very interesting recipe in my travels. It is a traditional fermented fruit beverage from the island of Salustren. Several native fruits are immersed in sea water for a number of days, after which they are peeled, seeded, and the ground pulp is sealed in an earthenware jar along with a small sample of...a sort of lichen? I believe the term is lichen. The jars are covered in mud and allowed to age for up to a year.

When unsealed, the liquid is filtered and bottled. It turns a delightful scarlet color and has an extremely intense earthy bite. It is something like drinking adobe. In a good way! I have gathered a sample of the lichen, and I think there are some fruits we could adapt to the method. I am looking forward to experimenting!

Also be assured that I will return to the Cascade in due time. If you are unable to find me at the school, leave a message with Iallu and she will be sure to contact me with all necessary expedience.

With love,

Phoenix of Ashes

p.s. !Hu would like me to send this poem to Zahara:

By day I praised you and never knew it.
By night I stayed with you and never knew it.
I always thought that I was me--but no,
I was you and never knew it.
p.p.s. I think !Hu has been reading my books in his free time.

The secret message is legible to any Solar Exalt attuned to the Cascade, and reads as such:

Dear friends,

An item of some interest has come into my possession. It is a mote of Essential darkness, which seems to be connected in some way to the Lacuna. There are a number of Hundredfold which I suspect have been in possession of similar items for some time. (She relates relevant details of the Yul-Adr and Aeliar.) This Zuben person has annoyed me significantly. I will continue my investigations for the time being. Also please feed my sourdough.

If one of you has a chance, could you also look in on Iallu for me? She is not very good with people, but she's very attached to her job, and so she needs to be reminded to perform the duties of her Heavenly office at times.

Love, Phoenix

Page last modified on March 23, 2009, at 02:24 PM