Secret diary of Althea Deverara, 2217-2222
Discovered by Dom, deciphered by Ilphere
8-12-2217. The nightmares have been bad again the past few nights. I dreamed of Theonée’s birth, that dark time when my spirit was so clouded. I can barely remember it during my waking hours, but my sleeping self has never forgotten how she looked at me with those too-wise eyes, the words I heard (she spoke?) in my mind when she was but newborn. “I carry within me the seeds of destruction.” I love my eldest daughter dearly, and yet, knowing what I know of her origins, I cannot fail to be uneasy around her. Tristane has always treated her the same as the other children, for which I give thanks. I wish that I could do the same, but I know I fail on many counts. Still, she has done well in her studies, graduated from the Castalia, and I am proud of her, even if I find it difficult to tell her so, or indeed to understand the subjects she speaks of with such excitement. There are moments when she reminds me so painfully of Father, and I know he would be fiercely proud of her too, were he here to see the young woman she has become.
4-3-2218. My little girl, who was so shy she barely spoke until she was eight, is fortunate to have such fast friends as Emoune, Velten, Ysana, Halden, and Butler. She has blossomed in every way since she left the palace and took up her travels with them. The three girls could be sisters, with their long black hair. Theonée returns and tells me of their adventures in ways that make me shudder - a cave in Mearim full of eerie statues; a forest in Gentilly haunted by the ghosts of dead soldiers; the ruins of a sea-swept tower in Cap Irus, the lower levels of which were partly submerged and, to quote her, "completely infested with scrags" (I don't even want to know what those are!) I was never so adventurous, at least not in that rugged, outdoorsy sort of way, and I find it amazing that my daughter has taken to that lifestyle so enthusiastically. I wonder if she was ever truly happy here in the palace, or if we could have done more... I worry for her out there, but at the same time, I'm glad that she seems so happy, and has made such good friends.
She speaks of Butler in particular in glowing terms, though I confess I cannot really understand what she sees in him. He is a nice enough young man, but not especially handsome, and so prim and proper that I chuckle to think of my headstrong girl struggling to sway him. Still, she seems utterly taken with him, and I expect she will have her way in the end, if she has not already. I can remember them playing together occasionally as children, and she always found him quite insufferable then, but I suppose these things change. They are adults now, after all, and perhaps he is not so straitlaced as he appears before old folks like myself...
8-21-2219. Our children are grown now - nothing makes that clearer than attending the wedding of someone who spit up on you when he was four months old. I did not remind Halden of that little story today, it seemed inappropriate for the happy occasion. If the bride's gown was a little full through the waist, no one said anything - I think everyone with eyes in their head has seen this coming since they were twelve or so, and Kalman is just thankful it didn't happen earlier. Other weddings will soon ensue - Velten du Champe is engaged to Trenta Belden (she seems so young, only eighteen! Were we ever that young?), and Pasith announced afterwards that her son Butler is also betrothed, to some nobody, Cora something or other I had never heard of. She is in the Order of the Spoke, and is every bit the proper young paladin, by Pasith’s glowing account. Theonée seemed unsurprised, though I would have laid good money a year ago that she would persuade the boy to marry her. She offered them her best wishes, but I suspect she is hiding her true feelings.
10-3-2219. Stupid, stupid girl, why did she not say something earlier? To him, to me, to anyone! Even a month ago, something might have been done, but it is too late now. She got hold of the potion and tried it anyhow, but of course this far along all it did was make her dreadfully ill, and to no avail, apart from letting me guess what had happened. What we will do, I have no idea. I can hardly sleep, turning it over in my mind, and the nightmares are worse once more. If Pasith knew... I shudder to think.
10-13-2219. Theonée has decided to travel to Greywatch with Emoune. It seems prudent under the circumstances. Emoune is a sensible girl, and will watch over her to be sure she tries nothing else drastic.
11-28-2219. Word from Falke that Theonée is safely arrived, and is well as can be expected. I will not pester him for more news, although I long to know everything. He is being quite helpful enough as it is, the old dear. If I had not gone entirely off men... well, who knows what might have happened. It’s all in the past now, but, out of our shared bond of affection, I know he will look after my daughter and keep her secret safe.
3-15-2220. I have been counting the days, so anxious, fighting the urge to run to her side. I finally had word from Theonée today, at last, and all is well, and yet so very wrong too. I ought to be there with her, and it breaks my heart that I cannot. Tristane sweetly offered that when the child is brought back to the city, I might be permitted to see it once, but holding it and then giving it away would be worse than never seeing it, I think. My first grandchild, and I will never know her.
3-30-2220. Tristane tells me that she and Kalman have made the necessary arrangements, and that the child will be well looked after, quite nearby even, with a trustworthy young family. She would have told me their names if I had asked, I am sure of it, but I do not wish to know. I did not even wish to hear that much, as knowing that she will be safe, and in the city, does not console me as it should. Now I will constantly be trying to guess which one she is, glimpsing signs of my daughter in the faces of little girls on the street.
6-8-2220. Butler and Cora’s wedding today. Everyone seemed so happy, and I could not beg off with a headache for fear of causing offense, so I was forced to put on a happy face as well, and wish them every joy in their marriage, even as I felt the urge to tell him everything surge up within me. I was able to contain it, thank the Centre – imagine what the papers would say. I doubt they could pass that one off as one of my ‘little spells’.
1-11-2221. Theonée has decided not to return to the palace. Instead, she says she will go to Combermere, where she can have some peace and quiet to pursue her research. I think there is peace and quiet to be had in the city too, but she finds too many memories here, I suppose. My poor, poor dear.
3-15-2222. Somewhere, my granddaughter is two today. Meanwhile, Couramance Silveira registered the birth of a son last week, no father named, though of course there are candidates aplenty. But then, she has always courted scandal and no one would expect any different from her at this age. Even still, there is talk, the kind of malicious gossip I would never wish my daughter to be subjected to. It is not as if I have forgotten the days when I was the target of those same wagging tongues, or indeed what happened to my own mother. My poor mother… I wonder, so often, if we are making the same mistakes over and over again. But no, this time it is different, I feel sure of that. Theonée says she does not miss the child, barely even thinks of her, and I believe her – her studies are now more important to her than anything else, even, apparently, her love. She is turning cold, I fear, and will not open her heart again. I am the one who misses the little girl, not my daughter, and to force her to withstand that scandal, not to mention the pressures of raising a child she does not even want, out of my own stupid selfishness, would be cruel. Even writing about it gives me pain now, and so I think it best if I put this journal aside and conceal it. I probably ought to destroy it, but some part of me hopes that, someday many years hence, when there is no longer any concern for anyone’s reputation or feelings, that it might be found, and that this little girl, or her descendants, might know the truth. If that is the case, then I hope she knows she was loved by her grandmother, and by many other friends who worked to keep her safe.