May 12th

My Dear Lady Hawthorn,

I am writing in regards to a mutual acquaintance of ours, a Mr. Alexander Nearing. He is a guest of ours for the summer, and I have been recently privileged to hear of your family's generosity in accepting him as a brother after his parents perished. You see, he is scheduled to arrive on May the 18th, which I have been informed is his twentieth birthday. I was hoping for your advice on what to present to him upon—

Thank goodness! I apologize for the previous pompous tone, but my father had seen fit to watch me as I penned this to you. Allow me to introduce myself properly. My name is Petunia Charlotte Selworth. A horrible name, I assure you, but "mother knows best". Most of my friends, however, call me by my middle name. You may call me that too, for I hope we become friends. I know we don't know each other, but I heard of you, and that you were from Garish, and I just had to write to you! I must say first off that people from your country have the most beautiful accents – nothing like the harsh ones here in Waylan. I've never visited Garish before, but I've heard the most unusual stories. Forgive my rudeness, but is it true that Mr. Nearing has some sort of power with fire, and your family adopted him because you have equally unusual powers?

How silly of me to bore you with all this curiosity – I do hope I haven't frightened you away. I must explain that I'm quite bereft of interesting news or people to converse with. You see, as the general's daughter, life is full of saluting young men and barked commands. My father felt that wasn't proper for a young lady, so I spent the past two years assisting my elderly aunts and caring for their plethora of grandchildren in the country. Let's just say I've had few friends my age and gender since I was young. Luckily, my father doesn't believe in forced marriages, though I've heard your father has an entirely different view on that. I'm just fortunate, I guess, even though none of the young men I've met have caught my eye. Hopefully I'll remain happily unwed for a long time – or at least until I see fit. I value my freedom too much right now – there's so much to explore and see, and I'm only eighteen!

To return to the original topic of this letter – Mr. Nearing. I understand he's to come to get a taste of military life, and to hopefully befriend and tutor my younger brothers. Please say he's not arrogant nor crude! All the young men who have spent their summers here believe that they are above military life, or see fit to make rather disgusting remarks at our supper table. I hope for his sake that he is neither of these things. If he is, however, I fear he will be getting a taste of my brothers' worst attitudes. They may only be fifteen and ten, but they're very protective and have an overdeveloped sense of what they figure is right or wrong. Well, I'm certain this Alexander is a capital fellow, I just hope all the war preparations don't drive him away. Ever since the Queen's assassination by, we can only assume, Wolthins, life has gotten quite hectic.

I personally believe it is deep grief that has pushed the King over the edge. Nevertheless, if the King wants the forces to be ready for battle, they will be. Still, we have no evidence or proof, and it doesn't look like we're going to get any soon – not with our poor intelligence system?

There I go again, babbling on as if my opinion is the only one that matters. Surely you must have heard something about our country's current misfortunes? I do hope Mr. Nearing has some idea of just what he is getting himself into. If he has not left already, be certain to advise him to bring warm clothing – we are having an unnaturally cold and wet spring this year! I'm afraid he will find life on our complex quite dull, unless he has a fancy for waking up quite early to drill with the troops.

Dear me, I almost forgot! Do inform him to pack some nice clothing, for we (my family, that is), have been invited to the Ball after the Royal examination of the troops, and he is (presumably) to join us. I fear it will be the only bit of excitement we'll receive this summer but it should be amusing.

A small town, in case you should wonder at the impropriety of my life around mainly men – is where we reside. Our town is composed entirely of families of the troops, or their nieces who can think of little else but a man in uniform. What I wouldn't give to live in the hustle and bustle of the city as you do, with new faces at every party and amusements abound! Though I care not a whit for fashion, I fear we are rather noticeable when we do get out into society, if only because our clothing is ten years out of mode. It is of no consequence, however. Please, do tell me of all the diversions life must have for you!

Oh dear, Papa is approaching again – it appears he has woken from "resting his eyes a bit". I shall have to end our correspondence here. But do reply, Lady Hawthorn, for I shall be awaiting your letter. Be safe until then, and a blessing upon your house.

With my regards,

Miss Petunia Selworth

A/N: So, this is a story written between one of my closests friends and I as a game. I wrote to her 'character' and she wrote back. We're not allowed to discuss the plot with each other in person, and our characters can never meet, so we send literal letters to each other. This is the first. They might be slow in coming - we're both college students and time isn't just lying around. Anyway, please read and review!