Mid-Spring – Ardrennan.

It took much longer to reach the coast than I had expected, though the delay has been in no way troublesome. So much has happened, and I have written so little in the intervening month that I must cast my mind back across so many events and try to recall the most interesting.

The naspani troupe I mentioned in my last entry became my very good friends. I had forgotten how much I missed travelling with troubadours and actors. They knew several members of my old troupe in the north, and we shared many stories of the performing life. Since I parted ways from my kin back in Autumn, I have kept myself busy enough to not fall prey to melancholy reminiscence about the good old days with the troupe. I expect I will return to their company soon enough, perhaps a year, perhaps longer. However, travelling with this naspani band, The See-Saw-Sailors as they call themselves, has put me back in mind to ask around for my troupe now that I am in Ardrennan. I don't expect them to be here, by now they would be somewhere near Ekkar, preparing to cross the sea to Lutheria.

The See-Saw-Sailors have been rehearsing a new play about the Mermaids of Altan. They tell the legend of the founding of the city by cornar sailors who married the local mermaids, only to discover that the mermaids already had husbands under the sea. The conflict, and its eventual resolution, is a comedy of errors including selkie shape-shifters, a dolphin who can only tell lies, and the very peculiar methods for choosing a king and queen from among a population of fishermen. I expect the play will be a huge success, as making fun of the royal family of Lutheria is always a popular theme for the stage.

On my arrival near the city, the tower tops of the great library were the first thing I saw. The delta approach is thickly populated with naspani communities – farms and gardens everywhere, with floating timber towns spanning the hundreds of broad streams breaking from the main river for miles upstream of the city.

I have arrived at an excellent time of year to see the city, as travellers from across all Telanya show up for the busiest trading season in a decade. The khumos on the barge claim that everyone is there to buy their ale, while the naspani say that the springtime population swell is due to the imminent arrival of a royal emissary, a princess who has come to court a prince.

Ta