Alas, it has been so long since last I wrote here. It couldn’t be helped, though; I misplaced my otterskin case and diary, and I was thoroughly preoccupied with other matters. Now I have only to wait for a final ship.
It took rather a lot of persuasion to convince the captains to take all my people back across the sea. There were twelve huge ships in all, and I knew for certain that the crown – which is, at present, mine by say-so alone – had no coin to pay the seamen. Cedric advised me of an alternative: I could give them lands and lordships. I didn’t like it. Only one or two of the captains appeared to be kind at all, but besides, I hate the idea of selling my people and land to foreigners. Sadly, we were too penniless to offer anything else they might accept. The captains – all save one – pounced on the offer. The last one wanted even more, so we let him leave.
From then on, it was loading and sending ship after ship after ship. With enough people to populate a city, it took us more than a week, even though easterly winds favored us.
Beren and Mercy tended to Aena as best they could, and at my request Caleb went out and found a skilled herbalist. Aena recovered, but promptly fell into fever for two days. I sat with her as often as I was able. Beren never left her side. The fever passed, though, and Aena regained her strength. “Lad,” she told me, “I’m glad you’re king now. I was very close to your foster parents, Lord and Lady Soulstone. They were good people. You’ll be a fine king; after the last two, that’s exactly what Brucia needs.”
If I was a fine king, wouldn’t I have taken the throne before my people were sent into exile? At least I am able to repair the damage that was done. Perhaps not all has gone ill; the events have certainly made it easier for me to accept my inherited role, and perhaps they have also made my crowning easier for my people to accept.