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Letters Across the Sea
Letters Across the Sea

Letters Across the Sea

ThomastheRayThomas Ray
6 Reviews


 

Dear Brother,

Life has been different ever since you left, and I’m not sure if it’s a good kind different or a bad kind. I’ve had you here for sixteen years, so I don’t know, it’s just more boring with you gone. Mother cries at night, but father is as stoic as ever. We all miss you.

How’s the war? Are the fish giving you too much trouble?

Write back soon.

—Your Sister

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Dear Sister,

Life is different for me as well, though not in the same way. The war is surprisingly slow-moving, leaving me with more empty time than fighting.

The merfolk are vicious as ever. Their teeth are sharper than my spear, and I have a wound on my leg to prove it. That’s another reason why I’m not fighting now. Another week, and I’ll be back to normal.

The other soldiers are uncultured idiots who don’t know how to do anything but fight. Well, most of them. Let me say, I’d rather be with the elite squads, as they are bound to be more civilized. Ah, well, we both know that won’t happen; they’re practically royalty, and I’m just a rich village kid from the “easternest island in the world,” as you might say.

I miss you too. Someday this war will be over. I’ll come back.

—Your Brother

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Dear Brother,

Stop quoting the younger me. I would have you know that my language studies are easier than ever. More boring, as well. When will they start teaching me things I don’t already know?

The windy season is coming, along with the pressure of winter on its way. We’re working hard, but I’m sure your troubles are more pressing than a few potatoes.

I’m sorry to cut the letter short, but I honestly can’t think of what to write.

With boredom,

—Your Sister

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Dear Sister,

I’m in pain. My wound wasn’t cleaned well (apparently our army’s doctors are pathetic) and it became infected. Now I’ve gotten more professional care, but the wound had to be cleaned, which involved some cutting. Needless to say, it hurts.

I’ve finally met some intelligent people, none of which would get along with you. They’re too… Strange. Some of them can fight, but none of them had training like I did. I don’t brag about my skills, but only because everyone notices them without me saying a thing. Only you really understand the process of getting where I am now. Our training was intense and professional. Unlike these city boys, I didn’t require a school.

Another battle has been predicted, two days from now. I almost wish my leg would heal before then, but all this time sitting around can be good for me. You might say I should think less, but I find my thoughts very enlightening. Time to myself can be beneficial.

Rambling,

—Your Brother

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Brother,

Idiots are common, and sometimes I worry that I’m one of them. Our cousins finally traveled to visit us, and they’re making me appreciate my language class more and more. They certainly need the disciplinary teaching I’ve received from my teachers. One of them (the youngest boy, I think?) screams without fail if he doesn’t get his way, and it seems like whatever we do, his five-year-old brain finds some problem with us. I’ve had a splitting headache for two days now.

Enough on me. It’s been at least two weeks by now. I hope the bite marks are gone by now. Tell me everything about where you are. I mean, you obviously aren’t very far from home, your letters consistently come a week after I send mine, but I want a description anyway. Are there mountains bigger than ours?

—Your Sister

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Sister,

My leg has been healed for days now, and I’m alive and well. The battle I missed was a mild one, and ended quickly. The first battle after I healed was the opposite. The merfolk are sending more and more fighters, younger ages too. One girl I saw fighting had to be younger than twelve! The idea of children fighting greatly disturbs me, and I admit to being very shaken. Anyway, during the battle, I fought like a beast, my spear was cutting the fish in every direction.

Apparently, the general saw me fighting, and wrote to the prince telling him all about me. I’ve received a promotion! I’m being transferred to the Western Reaches, and now I’ll be rid of the idiots who I’ve fought with until now. The journey will take more than a week, so our letters won’t reach each other as quickly. That’s the only reason I’m not ecstatic about this turn of events.

The mountains here are the same. More rocky and less green, but they aren’t taller. Look around our house, and imagine me there. Take that mental image, and it’s probably accurate to my surroundings.

—Your Brother

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Brother,

You’re going to the Western Reaches! That’s next to one of the highest mountain ranges on the continent! Those you’ll have to tell me about.

I”m glad you’ve been promoted, but I’m not sure what to think of the distance between us. When you were only a few days away it was easy to imagine you visiting home. Now, though, I doubt you will. Maybe for the Cold Festival? I am excited for you.

I’m researching the merfolk, and they’re terrifying. In the context of novels, they’re much less disturbing than imagining them within feet of you. Good luck, and stay safe.

Happy for you,

—Your Sister

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Dear Sister,

The last few weeks have been a wild ride. We made the journey without any problems, and I’m happily fighting next to the “royalty” of the kingdom’s army. I met someone, a girl, and we’re becoming good friends. She’s almost as tall as me, with beautiful black hair, and get this: she can fight almost as well as me! At first there was a little jealousy both ways, but I’ve agreed to show her some tricks in return for nothing in particular. She’s improving wonderfully. The water is getting increasingly colder, and soon it will start freezing in the still parts by the shore. Fighting will become uncomfortable, but I’m sure I’ll live.

I hope I can visit for the festival, but I might not have the time. If I do come, I’ll bring my new friend to meet you. Hopefully she’s not too strange for your tastes.

—Your Brother

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Brother,

Waiting so long for your letters make me sadder with each month. The Cold Festival was fun, and the lanterns shone brighter than any year I can remember. I just wish you could have come. I know it’s silly, but I can’t help but imagining you having fun with your new friends, having fun in a warm mountain tavern while I was here dealing with our cousins. I’ll try to forgive you.

So, the mountains? How tall are they? I want enough detail to draw them at least semi-accurately.

Tell me about the battles. I’m trying to write a story like you do, and I’m putting in a battle scene with the merfolk, so I need details about that too. Especially about the Merfolk themselves.

Come home soon.

With Some Jealousy,

—Your Sister

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Dearest Sister,

My celebrations were brief and chilly. I missed the lanterns and I’d even venture to say I missed the cousins. The last battle was my hardest yet, and we all left with wounds. My new friend’s leg was shattered near the end of the battle, possibly ending her fighting career. I don’t mean to make you feel guilty, but she needed me here. I will try to visit, but if there’s anything keeping me here other than the war, it’s her. I can’t imagine leaving her alone, and I know I would feel empty without her.

Now, the mountains. I’ll try to give you a feel for them, as I’m sure you’ll add them to your story. They’re tall, but not a sudden kind of tall. Gradually rising, they climb toward the clouds with patience and strength. They’re mostly rocky, but there’s more life on them than you might think. I think you can imagine the rest.

Merfolk are more fish than human, and I’m learning just how vicious they can be. I’ve fought with them for so long, I just want it to be over. My sympathy for them, even for the young ones, has run out. Their scales vary in color, but the only colors I’ve seen are shades of green, blue, and purple. Their teeth are sharper than seems possible. I’ve seen men’s throats ripped out by them. I hate them. I would kill every one of them if I could. Looking into their eyes is one of the most immersive and terrifying things I’ve ever done. They’re rounder than our own, and always the most vivid shades. I’ve seen bright pink, electric green. Deeper blues than any human on the planet. The battles usually start without warning. Once we’re underwater, there’s little communication other than hand gestures. The merfolk rush up from the blue depths, claws ready. They never wear armor, and that fact is the only reason any of us soldiers are still alive.

I hope I’ve given enough detail for your story. Good luck writing.

I’ll visit as soon as possible. Don’t forget that I love you. I think of you all the time, every battle when I think I’m about to die. I will come home, someday.

—Your Brother

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Dear Brother,

I think I understand now. I’m sorry for my hastily-written letter. Stay when you need to. I’m not going anywhere.

Those descriptions were all I needed. Well, basically all; I still don’t know how it will end. The fish sound terrible. If I were you I think I would run as far up the mountain as possible, just to get away from those haunting eyes. I’m glad I’m here.

I’m trying to write like you do, but the words don’t come easy. Even when I know what I want to write, it comes at a snail’s pace. Maybe when you come back you can help me.

I still don’t have much to say, so I’ll wait for you to write. You should ask some questions for once.

—Your Sister

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Dear Brother,

It’s been two months since I sent my last letter. Please be okay.

Please come home.

—Your Sister

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Dear Brother,

It’s been three weeks since the man came saying that you went missing. I finished my story. I finally figured out how to end it. What I was missing was the emotion. I finally found it, just not in the way I planned.

I’m not sure where these letters are being sent anymore, I just have to write. It keeps my hope alive.

Come back to life. Then you can come home and everything will be okay again.

—Your Sister

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Brother,

In your last letter, five months ago, you said you hated the merfolk. I hate them too. I wish they had never existed, I wish you had never been called away to the battle. I just miss you so bad.

I’ve edited my book. Now that it’s officially polished, I might let someone read it. I didn’t know it for a while, but I always expected you to be my first reader. You will be. When you come home.

Ever Hopeful,

—Your Sister

Author Notes: Well. This was super fun to write. Especially with the same five songs on repeat the entire time.

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About The Author
ThomastheRay
Thomas Ray
About This Story
Audience
All
Posted
3 Jan, 2019
Words
1,903
Read Time
9 mins
Favorites
2 (View)
Recommend's
2 (View)
Rating
4.5 (6 reviews)
Views
619

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