It has been nearly two months since I wrote Mr. Carter and I have received no answer. I worried and wondered. Had he been hurt? The North Downs are a treacherous place now, people die up there. What if he had befallen some cruel circumstances. Yet, would my brother not carry the news to me? As a guard in Trestlebridge, Corrben would know of any skirmishes and raids. The truth is what I fear to face. He no longer wants me, he has lost interest after the long time apart. A few letters and a few meetings, it is not enough to build a life time upon. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, it makes it forgetful. I hesitate to post a last letter to him, whether out of fear he might reply or the long silence if he does not.
I have come to know a strange yet fascinating man who goes by the simple moniker of “Crow”. It suits his pitch colored clothing and inquisitive, sharp gaze. Apparently he is an acquaintance of my brother whom he met in Trestlebridge and was kind enough to letters for us. Corrben writes of news of more refugees and need for food and basic clothing. Nothing about Owler. I have started to come to expect that. It’s also like my brother to try to shield me from worry, at least in his mind. Though not knowing is somehow worse than even the dreaded words.
Crow has introduced me to wine. I rather enjoy it, despite it being even stronger than any ale or cider. It has a complex flavor, sometimes earthy, sometimes oaken and several fruits. It was fun trying to figure out what it was made of and I got rather tipsy. I must confess that I spilled my troubles to him, my doubts about Mr. Carter. He listened and did not give me direction or lecture, which was rather nice. Sometimes a person just wants to be heard. He was also kind enough to walk me home from the Prancing Pony though he did not linger, which is well as Mother was waiting up.
The farm is demanding and even I need a break now and then. The harvest is ready and we have not enough hands but Crow made mention that there are many farmers displaced and some may want to work. He said he would pass the word in Trestlebridge and I am hopeful to bring some of them to work the harvest. I would rather not employ foreigners that have dubious pasts and little skill when it comes to cutting wheat.