The Elk's Home Inn

Sandy Beach

Duchy of Bola

17th of Cold

Dear George,

Rose says I should write to you. She's been on top of me ever since we left Clay. I told her I don't have a big family to write to. (Or any family at all, for that matter.) She said "What about George?" I said he doesn't care. She said "How do you know? Didn't he give you money when you left Silver City?" I admitted that you did. She said "You know, probably everything he hears about you comes from the Horribles." I thought about that. She must have seen my expression because laughed and gave me paper, pen and a bottle of ink.

We are staying at the Elk's Home Inn in Sandy Beach. Sandy Beach is a town at the head of Wolf Pass in the Western Range. I can see a peak from the window that they call Snowice Mountain. I wonder at the way people name things around here.

A big storm came through the day after we arrived and snow fell all day and night. There was a lot of wind, too. When I went down the next morning, the Innkeeper said the yard was buried and the snow was halfway up the front door. She asked for volunteers to help clear it. I did, along with some other people. My arms and shoulders were sore the rest of the day. That afternoon the Duc's messenger arrived and said the pass was closed. I wasn't surprised and neither was Rose. He also announced that the local Air Mage had said another big storm was coming by the end of the week, so people should find shelter. Anyone who did not want to stay at the inn or in town, could come to the Ducal Palace where free rooms had been prepared for the poor.

Rose said, to me, that it was very generous of the Duc. I agreed and said I'd never heard of a Duc opening their palace like that. A man standing behind us said people don't stay inside the palace, they stay in the old barracks on the grounds that are left over from the War. The Mother's temple gives everyone food and blankets, and the Duc arranges for firewood. Rose and I are staying at the inn. We have more than enough money. Our room even has a fireplace. But I worry about thieves. Rose says I'm silly, but I still put spells on everything when we leave.

Rose is hungry and wants to go downstairs. I'll write again later. ~J