Two truths: that the Academy at Greymere marked all her 'students', and that Finian's son was wasteful of his inheritance. The finest tactical mind of their generation spent her youth guarding 'a g...
I fear that my lord Simon does not understand the seriousness of our position. He has sent a child to hold the western shore against creatures from nightmare. What can this young girl do, where my soldiers are failing?
There is a toughness about her, this girl, that belies my first impression of her. She is tall, for a woman, and very slender, so that you think she would break in a light breeze - but she plunged into the freezing waters without a backward glance, when even my soldiers hesitated. I cannot say she came through the battle unscathed - she was limping, very slightly, when she returned to the castle - but we were victorious.
Her name is Bridie Kierney. Her ankle was broken in the battle, and her wrist also, and she would not have sought healing had I not pressed it upon her. I only learnt of her injuries when I took her hands to praise her for her bravery.
Three cracked ribs. A dislocated shoulder. Collarbone broken. I have made it a standing order to her that she must come to me after every battle, that I may heal her wounds. She comes grudgingly, as if it goes against the grain to take outside aid.
Her elbow was shattered into shreds, it took all the power I have to ensure that she would use the arm again - and there was nothing, no sign on her face to tell of the pain she was surely in. I asked her where she had come by this resilience, at such a tender age; the look she turned on me was almost pitying.
"Greymere." She said, as if that explained everything.
Another broken ankle, and more ribs. I almost asked again, how she had become so tough, but the look on her face stopped me. Those eyes have seen more darkness than any young girl should. Instead, I set my messengers to finding out what she had meant by that one word.
She sits ram-rod straight. There were no broken bones, this time, which was fortunate, since it was all I could do to drive the water from her lungs. The purple bruises and the vicious cuts that mar her skin do not seem to trouble her unduly.
Wrist broken again, and finger-bones shattered. My messengers tell me that the Academy at Greymere is a place where children are trained to be warriors. But what kind of training could draw this toughness from a child? I have sent them to enquire further, though I fear what I may find. There are old wounds, scars long beyond healing, on Bridie's thin body; that much my talent tells me whenever I take her hands.
My lord Simon requests my presence upon Carycoll. Once I would have left reluctantly, but now I am confident to leave the Island's defence in Bridie's capable hands. One of my maids is a capable healer; I have left her with instructions to see that the girl is cared for.
The maids found this journal in Islain's chambers, and brought it to me; they treat me now as they once did him. My lord Ceriog had Islain executed; reading this, I suspect that it was his enquiries into Greymere that offended my lord.
Islain would have done better not to have asked. It would only have distressed him to have known the truth. He should have stayed here, out in the western sea, far removed from the Ceriog and the Frost and all that goes with them... Though even here, the winter drags on, and the seasons do not turn.
The catalogue of injuries is somewhat chilling. I had not realised quite how frequently I return from the sea with bones broken. Amarise is as capable a healer as Islain was, and I wonder if I begin to rely too heavily upon their services.
The day I cannot stand alone is the day that I shall fall.