LETTER TO THE ARCHBISHOP
Archbishop Byleth Eisner Blaiddyd
Garreg Mach Monastery, Unified Fodlan
To Her Esteemed Archbishop,
Apologies for delaying so long in responding to your last missive. I admit I was reluctant to speak about the delicate matter that has come to the Fraldarius household in the recent year. Yes, my father is still missing, and while I have certainly been educated and groomed to command my father's household, it is still a sore point that he should have disappeared from home without even telling me. As you are aware, Fraldarius is mostly--if at all--not under my control (until several moons ago, my late mother had been the sole leading lady governing Fraldarius--and from her room, I may add!). The inheritance has now defaulted to me, but I have enough trouble as is in the north, and even with esteemed Uncle Syl on hand to assist, keeping Sreng from testing the borders is...tepid at best.
Still, onto the matter at hand.
You had asked for any information that could possibly lead to the location of former Duke Felix Hugo Fraldarius. At the time you had sent me a letter, I was not even aware he had gone missing. (The Lioness and I had only recently arrived from our excursion to the north.)
Was I surprised about his disappearance? No. My parents were both eccentrics, particularly my mother, and my general response to her disappearing for long periods of time has often been: "Yes, but did you REALLY check her private rooms? REALLY?" She always shut herself up inside, though this should be no surprise to anyone.
My father, on the other hand...
In truth, Archbishop, I have no idea where he went. I wouldn't be worried, but when I'm getting a letter from both the Archbishop and the King of Unified Fodlan soon after asking about his right hand’s whereabouts, that gives me some pause. According to Uncle Syl, my father would "never let The Boar alone without supervision" (please don't repeat this to His Majesty). It is unlike Father to shirk his responsibilities, and even more unlike him not to tell Uncle, you, His Majesty, or the Lioness what his plans were. Perhaps he'd been kidnapped?
No. I suppose not. Felix Hugo Fraldarius is not one to get easily taken. Especially within his territory.
I cannot tell you where he possibly went. Fodlan is a big place. Logic tells me he journeyed south to the old Varley lands, though as to why, I’ve no inkling on the matter. However, I did find something that may interest you.
Arriving with this letter are several journals from my late mother, Lady Bernadetta, wife to Felix Hugo Fraldarius and former heir to House Varley of the Adrestian Empire. Father was not a prolific writer, so it’s hardly a surprise that there is no record of his comings and goings, his actions, his deeds, after the years of the Unification War. If it hadn't been for the songs that were sung of the Savior King and his Blue Lions, I don't think I'd have known much about my father's past.
Thankfully, it is mother who kept good records--there are volumes of the day-to-day humdrum of inventories and household cares. But her interests were not only on the workings of the household. In fact, a majority of her other written tomes are dedicated to her actual life.
Mother's prose is, I will say, quite excellent. Uncle Syl and I have been poring through volumes of journals dating back from the time Your Esteemed Archbishop entered Garreg Mach Monastery. Uncle has always been a fan of her writing, and much of the books that now line my shelves are stories my mother wove from even before I was in her womb. She records her meetings, her adventures, her fears, her love. It is difficult to fathom, but I do believe she and Father had loved each other very much.
I have yet to read the later years, but instinct tells me that somewhere in these Varley Files is a clue to where my father has gone. These were the last journals he'd read, according to the librarian. Father had gone so far as to request every single leather-bound volume to be squirreled away to his study. By the time I arrived, most of the journals had been opened, and there were notes written in the margins. Whatever my father was up to, I am sure it had to do with my mother's books.
So far, her musings are mostly that: musings. But you of all people would know her well, Archbishop, and perhaps you might find something Uncle Syl and I missed on our first go. I have written annotations in separate files and marked passages of interest. Let me know if you discover something Uncle and I did not.
I shall write again in two month's time to tell you of any more findings regarding her journals. I shall also be sending more journals then. I hope the new season is finding you well, and give my love to Their Majesties!
Felicity Glenn Fraldarius, Duchess
Fraldarius Territory, Faerghus, Unified Fodlan
LONE MOON, 1180
My mother was wrong on all levels. This new world in the Monastery was no better than being home, and I almost wish I was back at Varley in the comfort of my own room.
Except I would never willingly go back. Not when my mother took so much pains essentially kidnapping me from the household. How she did this is beyond me, but I both fear and respect her decision.
Still, silly Bernie is having a hard time.
There are too many people here at Garreg Mach Monastery. If I'm not being forced to talk to the Archbishop, I'm being forced to go to class. I'm being forced to interact with my classmates. I'm being forced to make friends. The Black Eagles seemed like a good choice, especially since most of the people I speak to are nobles. Father would no doubt come marching forth screaming for a bloody religious war if he found out there are more than just nobles in the Black Eagle House. (Quick, Bernie, we must come up with ways to hide our connection to Dorothea, immediately!).
Our house leader, Edelgard, is fascinating, but a bit scary. I don't think she makes for a good wife. I kind of admire that. She is heir to a thousand-year-old empire, and I don't think Father would mind her too much, especially not if she'll be the new Emperor once the old one's dead.
Oh, Bernie, there you go again, rambling about politics that you certainly have no part in.
(Note: For someone who found herself to have no business in politics, Mother was very well informed...)
It's taking a lot of effort just to get to class. To be present, as mother would call it. It becomes difficult just making my way out of my own room to attend lectures, especially when there are people there. The professors are okay, but it's difficult trying to please them. What good am I as a student anyway? None of the subjects are things I've been groomed to learn. In place of etiquette lessons, I'm learning magical theory. To replace embroidery and needlepoint, I'm meeting up with an archery instructor, taking equestrian lessons, and learning how to hold a spear properly. It's confusing to say the least, and goddess, I am so very sore by the end of each day. It's been a good few moons and I'm fairly certain I still don't know how to swing a damn lance. Bernie is a lost cause, folks. I've accepted that, why won't anyone else?
Archery lessons, on the other hand, I kind of like. (It comes with the fact that I don't have to deal with any targets up close and personal. And no sparring, either!) Still, I'd prefer to avoid it and any interaction with people if I can.
Bernie's Two Things That Give Her Solace at Garreg Mach:
Thing One: The scenery. When you can find a place to yourself, always take advantage of the scenery. There are mounds of rolling hills and grass so green that even I could be persuaded to shed a tear over how beautiful the area is. It's no wonder that the monastery was built where it was built. It overlooks most things below, including the village that people go to during their free time. I prefer to wallow up on the monastery grounds while everyone else is away. Soooo much quieter and peaceful, and nobody bothers Bernie then.
Thing Two: The greenhouse. I guess this relates to scenery, but you should see the plants in there! Not even the gardens at Varley can compare to the amount of flora variety found in the greenhouse. It's another quiet place, and unless a student is on duty, not many go in. The greenhouse keeper leaves me alone most days, and there's only two other students who really come in to come see the plants for the most part. I try to hide when the giant from the Blue Lions House (De-something?) comes around. He's scary, but I do notice he’s gentle with the plants. Maybe he’s not too bad…
Marianne from the Golden Deer House also comes to visit whenever she thinks nobody’s there. I know this because she never sees me lurking in my own corner. Maybe she does know I’m around, but she doesn’t want to talk to me, either. Let’s be honest, Bernie, who does?
Sometimes I think Marianne is as much of a recluse as I am, but after more observation, I think her attitude is more a punishment than anything. I almost want to ask, but I don't.