A scrap of parchment



pick up bread from bakery
parsnips
mushrooms
mutton
brandy, six bottles
2 jars pickles

[written in a different hand in the Lossoth language:]

I miss the diary I kept back in Lumi-mâ. It was in my bag in the lavvu at the camp. I wonder if the others on the trading expedition brought it home to ma and pa. I am being given many coins now; they call them 'tips' when someone in the inn gives you more than the cost of their drink or food. Maybe one day soon I will be able to buy a new journal and can copy this into it. Mister Butterbur, the innkeeper, sent me out to market with this list; he was very surprised that I knew how to read and write. He was going to burn the parchment afterward, so I kept it to write on.

I have been working at the inn of the dancing horse for two days now, after three days of 'trial', where he let me try to work to see if I could do it. I learned fast like I told him I would. I know where all the drinks are and what they cost, and though I do not know the names of many of the customers, I know what they drink. (They have some very expensive, very potent brews here called whiskey and brandy, and some people spend more coin in one day on them than it would take to feed a family for a fortnight!) And I know enough about how to cook to help with that, and can clean dishes. My time in the city of the bridge prepared me for many things about how they live in Bree, though not for how big a city it is. I have not even been to the far side yet. I heard that sometimes people pay each other for sex here. I am still not sure how they know which one pays which one. And there is an odd rotting smell sometimes, especially when the wind is from the north. They say it will be worse in a moon when the farmers are making the crop-lands ready. And there are vanha-väki (I serve one dried apple slices -- apple is a kind of sweet fruit) and kivi-väki (one likes to drink steaming hot milk) that come into the inn, and also vähän-väki called 'Hobbits'. I wonder what other surprises Bree will have for me.

I suppose things are going well. One of the Rangers, Bright-Eye, I met by the risen lake is here and he has a room he is letting me use since he does not use it, and I have enough pennies for food and maybe more things one day. I do not have any friends yet. It has only been a few days. But I have been doing good at what ma would say, 'be yourself, just not quite so much'. It is easier when I do not talk to people about anything more than what they want to drink. There is one girl, whose skin is even more brown than mine is (very unusual here, everyone is so milk-colored), called Einhr, who wanted me to tell her about Lumi-mâ. I got very nervous and scared and found a reason to go do something else, because what if I start babbling and being like me, and then she never talks to me again?

But people are very kind. Biddy told me I am a pretty girl and so I would get more tips, so maybe that is why they are generous. My pouch has many pennies of copper and even some silver. Most of the time people are nice to me too. I did have one person who was mean to me at first. Not to me but to Koira. She is one of the Watch, which is like the spear-men who stand at the bridge of Sûri-kylä, but as there are no kalpa-kita here, or piekko, I do not know what they would be ready for. Wolves, maybe, because this woman was so scared that Koira is some kind of wolf that she almost attacked it with a sword right there in the inn. (I should probably find out if Koira is a boy dog or a girl dog so I can stop saying 'it'.) But does she really think a wolf, wild and fierce, would walk into town, not be stopped by the spear-men at the gates, then follow me into the inn, just so it could only then attack someone? Other people in Bree know about dogs, but this woman knows not about dogs or wolves. I saw other dogs, even in the inn, and Bright-Eye said Butterbur would allow dogs, but now I have to keep Koira outside anyway. This is probably for the best. Koira was not yet comfortable being in a room. Anyway the woman apologized when she saw Koira was not wild, but I still keep Koira outside now.

And there was a girl who I did not know until too late is unable to hear. I felt very bad about that I had been talking to her about her food and things, and when she left she seemed angry at me. She was gone before I knew why and I have not seen her to apologize. I do not know how I could apologize, anyway.

Tonight after I brought the shopping to Butterbur and was brewing coffee (a dark, bitter drink, I do not understand what people like about it) I slipped and spilled the coffee and burned all down my left arm. It still hurts but it is starting to itch under the bandage, and I know that means it is already getting better. I spent two of my silver pennies in the market to have a healer put a salve on it. It made me think of Sofie back in Sûri-kylä. I think she would have a better salve and I would already not be itching. I know nothing about healing. Maybe there are better plants for making salves for burns for in Lumi-mâ. Or they just know more about burns since we have more fires because of the cold. (It never gets cold here, though they think it does.) I cleaned up all the mess but then the man who ordered it, and his love (I think), were gone so I could not serve the coffee. My arm hurt too much so I had to leave soon after that to find that healer. I have not been back yet. I stayed out under the stars with Koira. I hope Butterbur is not angry.

The stars are nice, but not as bright as in Lumi-mâ. I do miss the beribboned dancing sky-lights, and that feeling when you first come into the ghoati and the fire is warm, and my ma and pa, and the oily fish that Olavi caught, and how much brighter are the stars, and the songs, and hearing my language. And even the people I tried to make into friends, but failed. But I have Koira, and people have been nice to me. And there is much still to see. I wonder how hot it will be in summer here!