I have good news. Father is well and seems to have found what he was looking for. He arrived on the 7th of Pharast. I apologize for not writing sooner. I admit, his arrival was a surprise. As grateful as I was to see him, I was even more surprised to learn that he wanted, nay needed to stay. So far as I can tell he is hale and hole and keeping quite busy.
In my last letter, I introduced you to Oleg's trading post. We've had some success, and with the reduction of the number of bandits in the area, the trading post is doing better than ever. Oleg is so busy he's had to expand the trading post. His wife, Svetlana, is quite happy with the influx of visitors—although she often complains that I am her only female company. They have enough huntsmen coming through that they no longer worried about having enough food to feed the guests. Thanks to a fortunate hunting trip they have piglets, newly purchased goats, and plenty of chickens.
The bandit leader in the region, known locally as the Stag Lord, was recently defeated. Hopefully this will end the bandit attacks on local hunters and traders. The young master believes the old Stag Lord's fort might be a good place to form a new settlement. It's on the edge of a large lake, near the forest and not too far away from the main road out of Fort Serenko. At the forest's edge is a giant statue of Old DeadEye. It was a way marker on the old trade route through the area. In our travels, we've found bits and pieces of old road and occasional way markers; but most of them have been heavily overgrown by the quick-growing old Margreeve.
Our travels through the old Margreeve have devoured my time and energies. Tamarie is a master at making maps. Her record of our travels are beautiful, and no doubt will prove invaluable over time. I have met so many interesting people, and learned so much about the forest, and yet I still feel like I know nothing and have so very many questions.
Kaylee is doing well, and has even made a friend. He's an old hunter who lost the lower part of his leg. They seem to enjoy sharing tales (he tells them, she listens). She's also bread Caliber with the mares; and all are currently healthy and well.
In our last foray into the forest, Kaylee was able to take down a dire boar that had an evil reputation (including having injured her friend the old hunter). The fight was … difficult and in the ensuing chaos Aether took a boar's charge that was meant for me. The charge killed Aether instantly, and thanks to Kaylee's skill and Old DeadEye's grace the boar followed him into death. I miss Aether terribly, but find it hard to mourn him. If he hadn't died — I surely would have. It's … an odd feeling. I owe a great debt to that old dog. I'll honor his memory as best I can, and hope that is enough.
The young master is well. He seems to be enjoying the exploration of the forest and surrounding lands as much as I am.
I shall try to write more often.
All my love