The paper is rough and the ink weak, but the words are carefully written:
Aithne and I began scouting for a new place to live. The place where we live now is all well and good, if all you need in life is water, turtle meat, and stone. Yet I crave some semblance of civilization for myself, and I would like to go hunting without the constant threat of sandstorms.
Also, the trees there are subpar, and the crafter in me sobs.
Aithne would not have been my first choice of travel companions (that is my brother, always)–but someone had to guard our main camp, and the Prickly Princess has hardened to this life more than you’d think.
(Aithne if you read this you have only yourself to blame.)
So we went north. We saw what you would expect: crocodiles, cannibals, hyenas.
Then we stumbled across ruins and…well, I think they were elephants. I’d only heard of them, but they were certainly large, intimidating and of course–dangerous.
And that’s not counting the stabby beasts that were with them. Oh, and tigers.
…we crossed that region, but not without injury on my part. I have been gritting my teeth ever since, but work can’t stop just because I’m pretty sure I’ve cracked a rib or five.
So in essence, I wanted to die the entire time I spent erecting a new shelter for us here in the north. For that is where the river finally led us.
It is green here! And cold and wet, but I’m not going to complain about either of those things after the desert. I reserve my right to complain about bears, but at least they are not elephants. I will be eternally grateful if Aithne can make me something warmer than my desert garb. She does not seem overly bothered by the chill, but if I’m out in the rain or swim across the lake, I am truly a sad man. And the shivering makes my ribs hurt, naturally.
We found a ruined temple, and a stone that AIthne says is holy. It sure is something, but as soon as I heard its whispers I stumbled elsewhere. I am not a faithless man, but I prefer my gods distant, if you will.
She wishes to live on the island where we found the temple. I think we have had better ideas, but we have also had worse ones. There is plenty of food, water, and best yet–timber! Oh, and iron, but the timber is what pleases me to most. With materials I am used to, I can build us a true home and not an awkward shelter.
Part of me wishes for more of a village–individual homes, and a common lodge, perhaps. Yet for all that our group is small, so is this island. We shall see. I will ask my brother, and the others as they wander back (if they wander back?).
When it comes to personal living spaces, I am not sure what to plan for. I am three-quarters certain I should expect company for mine, as Aithne seems to have joined herself to me most firmly. I have had many occasions to rue this, but things have been smoother of late.
…but there are conversations that need to be had. They have been long in coming, and are all the more complicated for having waited. And yet I am cowardly, for I do not wish to have any sort of emotionally complicated conversations that could go wrong while we are, by and large, dependent on each other. But neither do I want us to fight over some misunderstanding and have it come at an even worse time. It would be my luck to stalk away from her and run into an elephant by myself. I do not want to literally die to avoid this awkwardness, no.
I am not looking forward to the trip back. I am going to have to confess how much my injuries plague me and beg that we linger here a few weeks. I’m sure the others will worry–as I myself worry–but we can’t assume there won’t be fighting on the way back. (But we will go AROUND the elephants and the…stabby beasts.) I will see how much wood I can work in the meantime while these ribs heal. I sense this will be…not much, but I can try. Never mind the hindrance of other activities.
(The writing ends abruptly, and the rest of the page is filled with hastily sketched building plans.)