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Dear Miss R.A. Oul

Chapter Text

Dear Miss RA Oul,

 

I’ve always been a quiet guy – it’s my nature. But it’s reached extremes as of late. After I was sick and abed with the Sweating Sickness, everyone’s forgotten me. It’s as if I no longer exist!! What would you recommend of me, in order to catch everyone’s attention? I’ll do anything you advise!

 

- Your Shy, Blond Shadow



Dear Shadow,

 

I thought I'd been making curtains awfully lumpy of late - my wife told me I was putting on weight, but now we come to the truth of the matter!

 

Notoriety in Tortall if you are a man is gained either via being very powerful, or plotting against those who are very powerful. If you are a woman, you may either try to pass yourself off as a man, or, from what I gather, wear orange and pink together. Everyone will be talking of you.

 

Hope to hear of you soon!

 

- Miss R A Oul

 

**

 

Dear Miss R.A. Oul,

 

Ever since my brothers went on a political rampage of aggression, I’ve had a damnable time finding a good gardener. Nothing matters to me as much as my wives or my gardens, but every person I hire ends up disappearing or leaving. I suspect foul play, but I’ve never really been able to control my ministers and nobles. So, until then, I’m just looking for a reliable hire. Any suggestions? I’m willing to hire beyond my own borders.

 

- Stuck in Displeasure Gardens



Dear Stuck in Displeasure Gardens

 

How funny that your letter should have come at a time when I am considering a change in career. I have always been a very keen gardener, and would love to take care of your delicate flowers whilst you focus on whichever wife takes your fancy.

 

Let me know where to apply!

 

Love, Miss R.A. Oul.

 

**

 

Miss RA Oul –

 

My friend loves to ice-skate. As soon as the ponds freeze over, she’s out and about doing circles and figures-of-eight in the ice. This is troublesome for two reasons: I fear she will become frostbitten and – perhaps this is the real reason I write – she upstages everyone else. We’re all at court to find our mates, and she is stealing the limelight.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

 

Sighing with Envy.



Dear Sighing with Envy,

 

I know your predicament all too well, being the friend of somebody who always manages to steal the limelight. You'd have thought young ladies wanted to be queen from the way they flocked to his side!

 

I would excel at something else instead. For example, I chose wrestling, though eventually I had to move onto giantkilling; my friend upped his game by getting crowned.

 

Gloves should solve the frostbite - or frostbite could solve your other concern. Just a thought.

 

- Miss R A Oul

 

**

Miss R A Oul –

 

I’ve been an incredibly talented mage my whole life, and recently have begun training with other people in my field. And my teacher keeps ignoring me so she can gush over the other two – and they’re girls! What can I do to regain the head shaman’s attention?

 

Yours,

 

Flame in the Desert

 

Flame in the Desert,

 

If you can't beat 'em, leave 'em, is my motto. Give up the ghost, and seek your fortune elsewhere.

 

Incidentally, on a completely different matter, I hear the Third Company of the King's Own are looking for a new mage. But that's neither here nor there.

 

love,

Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Dear Miss R A Oul,

 

I come from a long line of successful usurpers, so coming to Tortall was a delight! I met a fellow who clearly needs my assistance (having been very unlucky and gotten himself killed in his first attempt) but he will have none of it. He won't even share his plans with me! What can I do to make him recognise my expertise?

 

Unappreciated in her own time.

 

Unappreciated in her own time,

 

Clearly you have an axe to grind with this man. Maybe it's time for you to take matters into your own hands, and show him what you're capable of doing. If he still doesn't take you up on your kind offer, perhaps it's best to cut your losses. After all, you don't want to get dragged down to his level, particularly not with his unfortunate background of dying on his co-conspirators.

 

Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Miss R.A. Oul,

 

I hate having to say goodbye, and I fear that my time with a friend has come to an end. I was sent to help her, you see, and now she’s more than ready to take on the world without me. Leaving is never easy – especially the way I always do it – but this time seems harder than most. Should I say goodbye, or simply part ways without saying anything to her?

 

- Pouncing Faithfully

 

Dear Pouncing Faithfully,

 

I had a friend once who always kept to the shadows. One day, when I looked back for him, he was no longer there. Not even behind the curtains, though I still check sometimes.

 

To avoid a tragedy such as this, you must say goodbye first, although I advise bringing handkerchiefs along. You’re never too manly to cry over your dear departed.

 

- Miss R A Oul

 

**

 

Dear Miss R A Oul,

 

A recent series of incredibly popular plays in Corus have featured a brother and sister who are twins, and their behavior has been… less than sibling-esque. As a prominent twin, this has led to many jokes from friends about my own relationship with my twin brother, and it’s getting old. So I need to know… is this an appropriate time to call them onto the fencing courts, or have my brother incinerate them with his Gift?

 

-Entwined

 

Dear Entwined,

 

Incest is a family affair, and should remain such. No need to resort to fencing courts or incineration for a turn of phrase that - if you think about it, really hard - is actually pretty funny.

 

Kindest, warmest regards,

 

Anonymous Agony Aunt   



 

Chapter Text

Dear Miss R A Oul:

 

We’ve been having a spot of trouble with some new students in my school; there’s been an outbreak of fights, theft, strange weather and willfulness that have all been linked to four children. What would you recommend doing to bring tranquility back to my world?

 

Eagerly awaiting your advice,

 

Circle Headmistress



Dear Headmistress,

 

I'll give you the advice my parents took when I was younger. Page training. Absolutely fail-safe, guaranteed to give you total peace and tranquility. As a bonus, these days you can't be too old or too female for it.

 

Enjoy your quiet time again!

 

Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Dear Miss R A Oul,

 

I'm a foster kid. (A kid, in case you didn't know, is what street-people call their children.) And I live with three foster siblings: girls! They're all over the place, meddling with my affairs and fixing my clothes and correcting my grammar. What should I do to get away from this?

 

Thanks,

Smothered.

 

Dear Smothered,

 

Luckily for you, I have spent years perfecting the art of hiding from womenfolk. Your affairs cannot be meddled with, clothes cannot be fixed, and grammar cannot be corrected if you cannot be found.

 

It's curtains for you, my dear young goat. I find curtains the most reliable method of concealment; certainly nobody has managed to find me when I haven't wanted to be found!

 

Good luck and best wishes,

Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Dear Miss R. A. Oul,

 

I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I’ve been attached to a fellow for most of my life, and I rather fancied myself in love with him. But now I’ve met a new person in my life, and I’m falling in love with her. They’re complete opposites, and I can’t fathom life without either. What is a girl to do, with such possibilities?

 

With thanks,

 

Dedicated to Many



Dear Dedicated to Many,

 

I'm going to share a piece of advice that, whilst it may seem less fun at first, will be infinitely more rewarding (and less thorny).

 

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

 

Think on it.

- Miss R. A. Oul

 

**

 

Miss R.A. Oul,

 

I might’ve gotten in a bit over my head. While I was away at university I managed to accrue a surprising amount of debt, and I can’t pay. Now these blasted pirates are after me and are demanding that I help them in their vile deeds, just because I wanted some fancy clothes and liked to gamble a bit. How does a fellow get out of a contract like this?

 

Sincerely,

Swimming with the Sharks



Dear Swimming with the Sharks,

 

I think time away from your vices would be the best thing for you, though I suggest you take care or you’ll be swimming with the fishes instead of the sharks.

 

- Miss R A Oul



Dear Miss RA Oul:

 

My cousin has become the pride and joy of the family now that he's managed to use his tappy-feet to some good, but it's becoming embarrassing. I mean, I want him to fight crime, but I don't like it when he dances better than me at festivals!

 

- Humiliated Harrier

 

Humiliated Harrier,

 

The answer is there if you look for it! If you don't dance at the festivals, your cousin cannot possibly dance better than you. I have always found much success being the strong, silent type emulating a wall-hanging.

 

- Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Dear Miss RA Oul,

 

My dearest friend has been celebrating her birthday on Midsummer for as long as I’ve known her, but now I discover she was actually born on Longnight. Is it appropriate for me to do something special for her – bake a cake, give her new seeds – on a day she doesn’t really celebrate? And is it wrong to overtake our temple’s celebrations in order to honor her?

 

Sincerely,

Uncertain Songbird

 

Dear Uncertain Songbird,

 

Your dearest friend's happy accident of birth sounds like an excellent reason to escape formal celebrations. I would inform your temple that you've both come down with a cold (not implausible at this time of year!), and hold a quiet celebration yourselves. Who doesn't like to be spoiled in an appropriate manner with no risk of having to give a speech?

 

Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Dear Miss R A Oul,

 

I've been having a small debate with my foster-siblings, and would like you to settle the score. They simply refuse to believe me when I say there is proper etiquette to consider when issuing invitations to an... elite and select romantic gathering, even if there are only four of you. Will you please explain that my invitations were appropriate?

 

Sincerely, Spinning in Circles.

 

Dear Spinning in Circles,

It is understandably difficult for me to judge how appropriate your invitations might have been without having received one myself. Perhaps you could remedy this?


Miss R A Oul.

Chapter Text

Dear Miss R.A. Oul:

 

I might have made a mistake. Several months ago I abandoned my family in order to run off with an amazing man from another nation. I’ve been living in self-imposed exile since then, enjoying the beginnings of family-life. In the meantime, my sister has completely taken over the role I left. My son is her heir now, and I think it’s important for him to take the throne. Such struggles have led to strife in our family and nation’s history. Can you recommend a subtle method of ensuring my son’s position?

 

- All in His Best Interest

 

Dear All in His Best Interest

 

I think the most effective way of dealing with this is to make sure your son really gets to know his aunt, by sending him to visit her.

 

If you plan well, you could even avoid his more difficult times this way. I'd recommend all of his teenage years.

 

-- Miss R.A. Oul. 

 

**

 

Dear Miss R.A. Oul:

 

My field of business is security, and keeping my queen safe. However, the Royal Spymaster has this habit of inviting her family to visit for the holidays. (Her mother enjoys the comparative warmth.)

 

This wouldn’t bother me, other than the fact that I suspect her father might be a spymaster for another nation. How do I keep them from visiting?

 

- Safety First

 

 

Dear Safety First

 

In-laws are a tricky business, however you try to dress it up. I suggest you plan a holiday for yourself and your sweetheart, somewhere this "spymaster" won't be able to find you. Or won't want to follow you to - like Port Caynn.

 

Miss R A Oul.  

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Dear Miss R A Oul

 

I've found myself in an unfortunate predicament: after years of studying with my best friend, I grew rather attached to him. After confessing my feelings, he got a bit angry and now I'm running for my life. (His temper is infamous.) What advice can you give?

 

Sincerely,

Love on the Run

 

Dear Love on the Run,

 

I was once in your position. Let me tell you, it didn't matter how many other men I surrounded myself with, or what jobs I applied for to take me away from him. I found nothing compared to him, and that I couldn't live if living was without him.

 

Of course, there's a lot to be said for absence making the heart grow fonder, so take a holiday. He'll be on his knees, begging you to come back in no time, I'm sure.

 

Regarding his infamous temper, I think he'll be most amenable if he thinks you acted independently, entirely without outside help. Good luck to you lovebirds!

 

Miss R A Oul.


**

 

To the esteemed Miss R. A. Oul,

 

Years ago two of my dearest friends had a falling out of enormous proportions and I (wisely, in my opinion) remained with the friend whose prospects matched my own and provided a degree of security and prosperity.

 

News has arrived that the third in our trip will be back in the city, and our paths will most certainly cross again at the banquets and parties I plan. How do I navigate these awkward waters?

 

Yours,

Hostess with the Mostest

 

Dear Hostess with the Mostest (to worry about),

 

Ex-lovers meeting again can be explosive! I suggest you provide lavish entertainment, excellent drapery, and invite your dearest advice columnist. I have a great fondness for uncomfortable situations.

 

To make sure it doesn't get too out of hand, try inviting some of the elderly members of your acquaintance. It always helps to have a few dinosaurs about the place to calm things down.

 

-- Miss R A Oul

 

P.S. If this is you, Thayet, ignore the above. I intend on being very far from Corus when those two collide.


**

 

Dear Miss R.A.Oul –

 

While visiting a mortal I’ve been assisting for the last two years, I happened to learn that he’d imprisoned my sovereign queen. Naturally my first thought was of revenge. What do you think is most suitable for a stormwing to do to get even?

 

Has Razor Wings for a Reason

 

Dear Has Razor Wings for a Reason,

 

I always find a nice jousting tournament to be just the thing when I find myself in a similar predicament. You will have to be careful which mount you choose, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as knocking somebody from their saddle.

 

Good luck!

Miss R A Oul


**

 

Miss R A Oul,

 

Fourteen years ago the king assigned a knight-protector to watch over me. I am now twenty-four years old and perfectly able to run my fief and protect myself. However, my knight-protector won’t leave. Every time the subject is brought up he changes it, or makes a joke, or clings to his teddy bear. What is a girl to do to get some independence?

 

- Queen of Opals

 

Dear Queen of Opals,

 

Instead of writing in, complaining to poor advice columnists, you should be sending gifts to Mithros and the Goddess for bringing you such a wonderful Knight-Protector, a true representative of his realm. You certainly should not entertain thoughts of his leaving, and should not try to accelerate this! Remember, most people don't know what they have till it has gone. Keep this valiant man by your side at all times. Independence is overrated.

 

Yours in gratitude,

 

Miss R A Oul.

 

P.S. That was a dirty trick you pulled, sending him to Corus over Midwinter. I've got my eye on you.


**

 

Dear Ms. R A Oul,

 

I was placed upon my throne by a very eager goddess, and I’m incredibly grateful. However, she always makes lewd comments about how I look, and has even suggested that she bear my demi-god of a child. I appreciate her attentions, but I’m more than a little creeped out. And my (incredibly hot, incredibly stubborn) wife would like me to ask this goddess to leave me alone. What should I do?

 

Respectfully,

 

Plagued by the Hag

 

Dear Plagued by the Hag,

 

May I suggest a little match-making? I'm sure if you offer up an aesthetically-pleasing alternative, you will be able to please your goddess and your woman in one fell swoop.

 

Finding an alternative should be relatively simple; what man wouldn't want to sacrifice himself for his ruler?

 

All the best!

 

Miss R A Oul.

 

P.S. This isn't you again, Jon, is it? I'm not offering myself as a sacrifice, just so we're clear. You can deal with Alanna yourself.

Chapter Text

Dear Miss RA Oul -

I've been married for six months into a family that doesn't seem to listen to me. When I make suggestions about how to improve the nation, I'm completely brushed aside or ignored. Just because I oppose slavery!

What would you recommend I do to make myself heard?

Sincerely,

Deserted Empress.

 

Dear Deserted Empress,

Persevere! Not everybody approves of change, but sometimes foundations need to be shaken, and you need to tear things down to rebuild.

Should your relationship with your in-laws not improve after that, I suggest you invite a few old friends over, to make you feel more comfortable in your new home. I hear the Wild Mage caused quite a stir last time she was in town.

- Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Miss R.A. Oul –

I’ve been the source of ridicule for my entire life because of my name. I don’t know what my parents were thinking/drinking when they came up with it, and everyone – even my brothers and sisters (who don’t have exactly common names themselves!) – mocks me! You don’t seem to have a conventional name. What advice could you give a fellow in order to deal with this?

Sincerely,

Mortified and Mocked


Dear Mortified and Mocked,

It might have helped if you'd included your real name somewhere on your letter - so I could see exactly what troubles you, you understand, and not because after a day of answering letters, I'm in sore need of a laugh.

I suggest you follow in my footsteps, and find yourself a forbidding moniker - something like 'Giantkiller' tends to still mocking tongues. Take care not to overreach yourself if 'Weedkiller' is all you are able to amount to; folks like a demonstration once in a while.

- Miss R A Oul.

 

**


Dear Miss R. A. Oul –

I’m the victim of an arranged marriage with a noble from a neighboring country, but I’m afraid I’ll never learn to love him. He’s barely older than me, and I can’t find myself attracted to anyone who is younger than thirty. What should I do?

- Picky Princess

Dear Picky Princess,

Choose your advisers wisely, and don't be afraid to turn to them in times of need. Remember who has, er, served you well in the past.

Forever yours,

Miss R A Oul

P.S. I can pack at a moment's notice.

 

**

 

Dear Miss R A Oul –

I’ve accrued quite a bit of debt in order to maintain my luxurious life as a duchess, and the only way I can think to pay is by collecting my husband’s life insurance. I know that we vowed to be together forever, but I didn’t except forever to be quite this long!! Is there any way I can work around this?

Indebted to you for a response,

Desperate and Destitute

Dear Desperate and Destitute,

I consider myself to be a fashionable woman, though trends in Court don't always follow the patterns I set. Recently, I have noticed that it appears to be popular to seek solace in the arms of somebody new, after having had a loved spouse take a fatal tumble off a cliff.

I leave these thoughts to you, but suggest that you handsomely compensate anybody who has offered you advice in your time of need.

Regards,

Miss R A Oul,
Helpful Columnist.

Chapter Text

Miss R A Oul -

 

My partners have gone mad. We live an unusual life, with loyalties to each other and our purses rather than the law. But recently they’ve both taken to wanting to canoodle with puppies (of the legal variety; we’re not *that* unusual). I can’t help but worry that their new proclivities may affect our arrangement.

 

Thick as Thieves

 

Thick as Thieves,

 

Legally procured puppies or no - this is all most alarming! As a respected advice columnist, I do try not to judge, and so my only advice can be to don a pair of fluffy ears and hope for the best. For yourself and the puppies. Hopefully you can lure your partners back to you like a siren, or perhaps a piper.

 

No need to update me on progress.

 

Sincerely,

Miss R A Oul

 

**

 

Dear Miss RA Oul -

 

Over the last year I've become acquainted with an amazing girl who can't seem to look me in the eye - and I don't know if it's her shyness or if she's simply not interested in me. Could she be worried about the class-difference, or does she have a lover already? I'm afraid to pursue strongly, as this might make her more skittish.

 

- Love is (Legally) Blind

 

Dear Love is (Legally) Blind

 

I'm no expert, but eye-contact is more or less essential to maintaining a relationship (even if one of you has to stand on books to achieve it). I suggest you give this girl a wide berth for a while, and then you can reflect on whether your feelings are real, or just puppy-love. Besides, I hear absence makes the heart grow fonder, so perhaps before long, she'll be the one dogging your footsteps.

 

- Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Dear Miss R A Oul -

 

I've gone bad in my past, and I've tried to do the proper thing since. However, I find myself attracted to my work partner. I still love my man, but how can I tell him I might have two loves of my life?

 

- A dog with too many bones



A dog with too many bones,

 

Honesty is always the best policy. If I were you, I would sit your man down, and explain things to him before he finds out another way.

 

You should, however, be prepared for this to backfire. I heard of a man (feared by many) who decided to take this course of action, and expressed a preference for a certain blue-eyed sergeant. His wife gave up her job to tail them around the country. But you can't win all the battles...

 

- Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

My wife has a dangerous job. I don’t begrudge her the work because she loves it and she’s good at it. But she was injured on her last chase – dangerously so – and I think maybe it’s time for her to move toward a desk position instead of risking her life every night. How do I convince her that this might be a good idea, and perhaps more importantly, her idea?

 

Thank you,

 

A Devoted Husband



Dear A Devoted Husband,

 

I find it hard to condemn somebody to desk work, considering I have been chained to my desk for the best part of the day. Allow me to present you with some other options. Being, as I am, married to a strong woman myself, I understand the predicament in which you find yourself. In fact, my wife recently gave up her own dangerous work, in favour of spending more time with me, at my dangerous work. That was her idea, though - or at least, I think it was. If you can stand one another's company, suggest she joins you at your work. Hours of marital bliss (please note this is not a guarantee).

 

Alternatively, if you are not so fond of each other's company, may I suggest you try to get her to hear the pitter-patter of little feet?

 

All the best!

Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Dear Miss R A Oul,

 

I’ve been sweet on a girl for a long time, but our paths in life contradict one another. I’m a bit of a rascal while she could be called something of a goody-two-shoes, always siding with the law because it’s her job . How can I seal the deal?

 

- The Piping Hot Thief King

 

Dear The Piping Hot Thief King,

 

Perhaps you should consider using your respective paths in life to your advantage. I suggest letting her catch you in the act, as it were, and am sure that in no time at all, you will have stolen her heart away.

 

As a side note, I have heard the King grants land to Rogue kings who forgo their past. Tell him I sent you.

 

Good luck!

 

Miss R A Oul.

 


**

 

Dear Miss RA Oul,

 

I’ve been seeing a mot for several years now, and each Midwinter is a chore. She comes from a better family, and is in a position to have aught she wants. What’s a cove to do? I would give her the world, but she already has it.

 

- Good Dog, No Biscuits

 

Dear Good Dog,

 

I find offering time spent with me works best, though perhaps that's because one year, I cooked a meal for her, and she found the former far preferable.

 

- Miss R A Oul.

Chapter Text

Miss RA Oul,

 

It all began with a Midwinter kiss. A friend of mine smooched me out of the blue one year, and ever since then all my other friends have made moves during the holiday. What is it with this holiday that brings out such nonsense? It doesn’t even seem to matter where I am – they find me in the middle of nowhere in order to get their holiday snog.

 

Can a lady knight not have one Midwinter to herself?

 

- Keeping Busy on the Border

 

Keeping Busy on the Border,

 

I have spoken to your commanding officer, and apparently more men have signed up to protect the border over Midwinter after they found out where you were positioned. It is proving to be an excellent recruitment technique.

 

Keep up the good work.

Miss R A Oul.

 

**

 

Miss R.A. Oul -

 

I joined an elite military corps as a standard-bearer because I wanted to get the attention of someone I respect. He still doesn’t notice me! He’s friendly enough on the job, but in the evenings he holes up in his tent answering correspondence, when he’s not focusing on that bratty upstart squire of his. What can I do to get the promotion and accolades I desire?



- Can’t Bear Much More

 

Dear Can't Bear Much More,

 

I say you look to get his attention by sharing his interests. Perhaps you could try writing to him, since he apparently keeps up with his correspondence.

 

Good luck!

 

Love, Miss R. A. Oul.

 

P.S. I would never condone underhand tactics, but you could also consider discrediting this squire of his.



**

 

Miss R. A. Oul:

 

I’ve been offered a job by a warlord, and the assignment worries me a bit. I’m to play body-guard to the lowest form of a man I’ve ever seen. The money is good, though. Moral objections have never weighed heavily on me, but I feel like they might be asking a bit too much of me this time. I don’t want to lose my head, taking on something as important as this. Is there a way to refuse a political leader, or should I just go with the flow and embrace the hard cash?

 

A Good Head Above it All



Dear A Good Head Above it All,

 

I know what it is like to work for a leader who makes you do things you otherwise would rather not. I have tried objecting on moral grounds, even feigning injuries or attempting to camouflage myself, but I find that there is often no way to refuse him - and there I am, stuck learning the steps to the latest dance. If you have better luck than me, please write in and let me know!

 

-- Miss R.A. Oul


**

 

Miss R. A. Oul,

 

Ever since I was really little, I’ve known things. Things that I shouldn’t. And sometimes I open my mouth and elemental magic speaks through me. This is more than a little disconcerting, to me as well as the people around me. I don’t really have a way of controlling the things I know – I just get a feeling, and before I know it, I’m blurting out information that I shouldn’t know about. Just last week I told the lady knight that she would have an affair with one of her mentors, and I wish I hadn’t said anything.

 

What would you suggest?

 

Creepy Girl

 

Creepy Girl,

 

I'll thank you to keep your nose out of my business. I don't appreciate my curtains being twitched, and neither does the lady knight.

 

- Miss R A Oul.


**

Dear Miss RA Oul,

 

I find myself an artist among heathens, dining each night with fellows who have no appreciation for the art and beauty. They frown upon my poetry, they snicker when I delight in the gentler and more sophisticated aspects of life.

 

What is a person to do when their pursuits are actively ridiculed?

 

- the beleaguered bard



Dear Beleaguered Bard,

 

For a moment, I suspected my past self had written to my wayward friend (a misguided notion, to tell the truth, but fortunately I have intercepted this request and have the opportunity to impart my own well-won wisdom). I know well the scorn these jealous thugs can throw upon a debonair individual. Once, I wrote the most exquisite ode to a fair angel's hand covering that this world has ever seen. The brutes I was then (and now) unfortunate enough to be acquainted with used it to get me accused of a crime and banished from the sight of my own eye's delight. (The fact that she later turned out to be embroiled in a treasonous plot is neither here nor there - perhaps my love might have been enough to sway her... of course, since I am now most happily married, the lady would have wasted away from unrequited love)

 

Persevere, echo of my younger self, rose amongst terrible thorns! Shine like a daffodil amongst weeds. Apply yourself to the delicate arts. Comfort yourself that these soulless fools themselves look ridiculous waving about their sticks on horseback, and enjoy the moments they get dumped on those body parts from which they appear to do most of their talking.

 

Sincerely,

Also Not Appreciated in My Own Time.

 

Dear Beleaguered Bard and No Fool Like an Old Fool,

 

Can't a fellow go to war without having his correspondence answered in his absence? Beleaguered Bard - listen to your friends. Your odes to nose-hair deserve to be thrown in the Olorun River. Try not to burn them. Mithros might mistakenly think they are an offering, and smite you where you stand.

 

On second thoughts, give it a try.

 

As for my very foolish friend, we both know I did the world a favour - and that you stole that glove!

 

- Miss R A Oul.


**

 

Dear Miss R. A. Oul,

 

Everyone seems to be enormously interested in my love-life, and it’s driving me crazy! I’m too busy for any kind of match-making, and I’ve made it perfectly clear. How can I get all those weird and wonderful pairings out of people’s heads?

 

Sincerely,

Still Busy on the Border

 

Dear Still Busy (with whom??) on the Border,

If you want to stave those gossiping tongues, I suggest getting hitched. It'll be a magical, memorable day, and afterwards, those meddlesome fiends won't dream of attaching you to the nearest passer-by. Worked wonders for my wife and her girlfriend.

 

I'll expect my invite by Midwinter. Please provide adequate drapery.

 

Love,

 

Miss R A Oul


**


Miss R. A. Oul:

 

You and the Third Company are needed in Corus. I’m tired of waiting.

 

- Your King

 

Don't you have more important things to do than wasting Palace supplies (and time) in this manner?