World Letter Writing Day

Sep 01, 2023 by HL Bernabe, in Cooking Up Magick

Dear Aunt Higgie-

My trip to Garastrade was pretty eventful. A cat glommed onto me along the way, so now I have a pet. Her name is Rayleon Whipclaw. She’s fluffy and has got the prettiest green eyes. An elf named Idari joined our group shortly after I got Rayleon and she traveled with me, Buckley, Torin, and R.W. Then we met Gunur. More on him in a minute. It was a tough journey, but we made it in one piece.

I wish you could see where I am right now. I’m inside the dwarf caverns of Garastrade, employed as a chef in the kitchen of a well-respected healer named Grusilda Firebody. The caverns are magnificent, and awe-inspiring to behold. It feels like a dream, and I have to pinch myself periodically to prove that I’m awake and really here. Torin and Buckley are busy with their duties, and they come visit me when their time allows. Torin introduced me to another soldier friend of hers named Leel, too.

Mrs. Firebody is an old dwarf, and age lines crease her face. While the years have robbed her of her physical vitality, she is still sharp and not much gets by her. She is kind, compassionate (something necessary for a healer, I imagine), and has been so wonderful to me. She loaned me the use of her family cookbook while I’m here, so that I might learn the recipes therein. It’s written in Dwarvish, but Gunur is helping me translate. I’ve learned to make nordrum, savory sausage pasties, goosebeck, and many other dishes, besides.

About Gunur: he is a half-orc and twice my size. I’ve only met the one orc before—remember when he came and ate at our inn? He was such an unpleasant fellow. But Gunur is nothing like that other orc. He is sweet, funny, and charming. He helps me with the translation of the cookbook, but he is too big to help me in Grusilda’s kitchen. Even hunching and bending over, he still hits his head on the rafters. So he sits at a table while I cook. He’s teaching me dwarvish and orcish! Gunur’s a fearsome warrior in his own land. If it weren’t for his huge muscles and scars, you would never know it, though. He likes to spout poetry and talk about theater. We talk about all sorts of things while I cook. I think if he were a halfling, I would probably have a huge crush on him. But he isn’t, so there is no sense in thinking about it.

I’m not sure where I’ll end up next after here. Perhaps I will move on to meet the King of the Dark Elves. Idari says she knows him and can take me there. The Dark Elves are so mysterious and never let outsiders in, so if she can smooth the way, I may take her up on it. It would be an opportunity few have ever had, and I would be crazy to pass it up.

Gunur said he will be my bodyguard wherever I go. I saved his life when we met on the road (he was badly injured and I insisted on helping him even if he was an orc), and so I guess he feels a debt to me. I told him he doesn’t have to, but he insists. Honestly, it’s probably for the best. Few people would mess with me after seeing Gunur.

Don’t you worry about me, Higgie. I’m fine and learning bunches! It’s the reason I came out here, after all. I love you, and please take care of yourself.


(Note: This letter doesn't exist in my book Cooking Up Magick, since Paisley wouldn't have had a way to get it to her aunt, but if she did, this is what she would have written.)